29 Jan 2020
By Margaret Kraeling, PT, CCRT
In physiotherapy we primarily focus on joints, muscles, ligaments and functional exercises. Of course, this is important, and all of these issues need to be addressed however researches are now recognizing that other factors are also important to improve mental and emotional wellbeing. Any boost in our mental wellbeing will be helpful in reducing pain, anxiety and stress.
Researchers in New Zealand, Hong Kong and England studied groups of people who had access to a view of water such as a lake, ocean or even a river. They called this their “blue space”. They found that this view reduced stress levels resulting in a number of health benefits. These people were less susceptible to mood and anxiety disorders and overall had lower levels of psychological distress.
Another benefit noted was improved memory, possibly due to the fact that stress and anxiety trigger inflammation in the brain. Controlling stress and anxiety can improve memory for years to come.
A study done in Canada revealed that people living near large natural bodies of water had a 10% lower risk of dying in the 10 years of the study.
One possible explanation provided by researchers in the US and Europe is that many of us have a “paleo-deficit disorder” because we live in a man-made environment. We are not exposed to a natural environment and therefore pay a price in higher levels of anxiety.
These researchers are recommending that people spend more time in “blue spaces” as well as “green spaces” such as a wooded environment. Scientists in Japan say that areas of rich vegetation give off substances called phytoncides, natural substances released by plants to keep insects and pathogens from attacking them. These phytoncides may boost immunity, decrease anxiety and stress, improve relaxation and even help you sleep better.
This sounds like a much better option than any drug that I know of.
Now – off to the beach!
17 Dec 2019
Have you ever noticed those random purple marks many athletes or celebrities occasionally have on their bodies? I have seen Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Aniston proudly don their red marks on the red carpet! Those marks are from a practice called cupping.
Cupping is an ancient technique in which therapists use special cups on your skin to create a suction effect. This suction draws circulation to the surface and may leave temporary purple marks from the increase of blood flow being drawn superficially.
This suction and negative pressure effect is used to encourage blood flow, loosen muscles and myofascial tissue. The myofascial system is a network of connective tissue throughout our body that connects the skin to muscles and surrounds our organs. The distraction and suction of tissue can help to stretch and release this connective tissue. It is commonly used to relieve pain, stiff muscles, anxiety, fatigue, migraines, radiating pain, and inflammation in our bodies.
The cups may be made of glass, bamboo, earthenware, or most commonly, silicone. The technique dates back to ancient Egyptian, Chinese, and Middle Eastern cultures. One of the oldest medical textbooks, the Ebers Papyrus, describes how the ancient Egyptians used cupping therapy in 1,550 B.C.
The practice of cupping work to draw the skin, muscle and connective tissue away from each other. The cups may be used directly over a tight muscle band, in an area of chronic inflammation, or along nearby tissue to release tension, encourage circulation, and reduce inflammation at those locations. Cupping has also been used to help speed healing from a nasty cold, cough or allergy symptoms. It has been shown to help boost immune function by moving blood and lymphatic fluid throughout the body.
Poor circulation can lead to a buildup of toxins in the body. This build up can be the root cause of many different health conditions. Cupping can help to reduce stagnation in our body. This increase in blood flow to an area also brings nutrients, platelets, white blood cells and fibroblasts to aid in healing. This technique helps to release muscle knots and scar adhesions which can help with those stubborn injuries that seem to plateau. Many athletes and weekend warriors have found benefit from this therapy with aiding their body to faster recover from workout sessions.
If you are interested in trying cupping or have a stubborn injury that just isn’t getting better, the therapists at Two Hands Physiotherapy would love to help you out!
Jennifer Gordon (BScPT, CCRT, AFCI, GIMS)
Physiotherapist / Canine Rehab Therapist
Two Hands Physiotherapy / The Canine Fitness Centre
28 Oct 2019
By Laurie Edge-Hughes, BScPT, MAnimSt, CAFCI, CCRT
I’m getting older, and chances are, so are you! But what should we be doing to keep our bodies from declining? Aging doesn’t have to equal deteriorating. However, we likely have to be a bit more mindful about how we treat our bodies as we age and what we do in order to make amends for how we treated our bodies in our 20s and 30’s!
I found a wonderful article that touched on this subject:
A journal article, Muscular Strength as a Predictor of All-Cause Mortality in an Apparently Healthy Population: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Data From Approximately 2 Million Men and Women gives us some answers - https://bit.ly/2UQkHiB
The aims of the present systematic review and meta-analysis were to determine the relationship between muscular strength and all-cause mortality risk in an apparently healthy population. This article looked at 38 studies including 1,907,580 participants, in which there was a total of 63,087 deaths. Higher levels of handgrip strength were associated with a reduced risk of all-cause mortality. Also, adults with higher levels of muscular strength, as assessed by knee extension strength test, had a 14% lower risk of death compared with adults with lower muscular strength.
So, what does this mean to us? Does longevity live in your forearms? (That was sarcasm… it made me laugh anyways!) No! What this means is that strength is a predictor of health and longevity. And strength is something you can control!
If you go back through some of the past Two Hands Physiotherapy Blogs, you’ll find that a number of them discuss strengthening in conjunction with treating joint pain, back pain, neck pain, etc. Strength is critical for all things!
In society today, we spend far too much time sitting, working on a computer, watching TV, driving to or from work, and so on. We’re less fit than our ancestors. But this is changeable! The great thing about strength is that you don’t need anything too fancy to add some strength moves into your daily routine.
• Heel raises as you watch TV.
• Squats before you ‘officially’ sit down to the computer.
• Push-ups on the kitchen counter as you are making dinner.
• When picking stuff up off the floor, try doing it one-legged (let your other leg lift off the ground for balance).
At the risk of being called out as a big nerd, I will admit to not only doing all of these things, but also bouncing on a mini-trampoline (remember the ‘Rebounder’ from the 90’s?) for 10 minutes while watching TV. I also set up a desk for my treadmill (just a shelf board that goes across the arms of the treadmill) so that I can walk while I check my e-mails in the morning.
Go to the gym if you like. That’s fantastic! But if that’s not your cup of tea, then if nothing more, add some strength training into your daily routine to help improve your longevity. Wishing you happy strong aging everyone!