May 7th, 2018
If you have pain, change the conditions and your body can thrive
I would like to start this blog with a quote from vitamin D expert Prof. Michael Holicks book ‘The Vitamin D Solution: A 3-Step Strategy to Cure Our Most Common Health Problems’, as I think he put it nicely, when he wrote the following:
‘We should give the human body more credit than it sometimes gets. People don’t shrivel, shatter, or shut down at the first sign of stress. Instead, the human body operates on the “overload principle”—when subjected to outside forces, it adapts by getting stronger. Examples of this phenomenon abound in the human body. Your muscles don’t pop and your bones don’t break if you regularly lift weights—they get bigger and more powerful so they can handle a heavier load. Your heart and lungs don’t explode or collapse if you go running every morning—they become more efficient and your lung capacity expands. Your ligaments and tendons don’t snap if you do stretching exercises—they get more flexible.’
I think Prof. Holick gets it absolutely right here. What he’s saying is, that our bodies are perfect the way they are, as long as they find the right conditions to work properly.
So what conditions can help the body to stay or become free from pain?
The main pillars of a good and pain-free health are a well balanced diet, regular high quality movement, plenty of sunshine, good supportive friends and family and of course good stress management.
Now, what’s a good diet? Ask five different people and you will probably get five different answers. So I will give you my opinion based on my research and my personal experience. Muscles hate acid and work best in a relative alkaloid environment. This means that a diet high in micronutrients (such as magnesium, potassium, vitamins, secondary plant substances) and rich in alkaloids like vegetables, fruit, legumes and whole grains, and low in animal based protein is going to help you get smooth, flexible muscles and soft tissue. Drink plenty of fluids (water or herbal teas).
I’ve been talking about the importance of regular high quality exercise balancing out your daily routines of one-sided movement patterns in recent blogs. There is an idiom that nails it: Use it (the right way), or loose it! Provide high quality stretches for tense muscles. That way you will gradually improve your range of motion and reduce pain. Exercise also gets your muscles to excrete myokines, molecules with a very wide range of healthy properties. Foremost, they are involved in exercise-associated metabolic changes, and in the metabolic changes following training adaptation. They participate in tissue regeneration and repair, maintenance of healthy bodily functioning, immune-modulation, cell signaling, expression and differentiation. What more could you want?
What’s sunshine possibly got to do with pain? Sunshine has several great benefits: It provides warmth. Muscles love that. It provides endorphines, which reduce pain and make you feel good. But first and foremost the UVB-fraction of sunlight makes your skin produce vitamin D. Sunshine is actually the main source of vitamin D. Even with the best diet you could not get enough of it. Vitamin D is a real jack of all trades. Among other functions vitamin D gets your bowels to absorb calcium and distributes it to the right places, like the bones and, very important, also the muscles, which is essential for good muscle function. So get out in the sun and enjoy it sensibly. Without getting burnt, of course.
Stress and a supportive environment
The last topics from my list, stress and a supportive environment, go hand in hand. The latter will reduce stress, which can be a major factor in increasing muscular tension. The stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol (long term stress hormone) create acid, which, as mentioned above, increases tension and therefore pain. So beware of stress, be it mental or physical and avoid people causing same.
In the end it all comes down to one thing. Be nice to yourself and do not exploit your body. You will be rewarded.
Do you have any further questions? Do send me an email.
November 7th, 2017
Osteoarthritis is widely seen as a destructive process of the joints cartilage, caused by wear and tear as people age. Addit genes are blamed as well. Yet a study published by researchers from Utrecht puts a different perspective on this illness. An illness that is believed to cause so much pain and puts such an enormous strain on health systems all over the world.
The current view on osteoarthritis leaves some significant questions unanswered. What about all the people developing osteoarthritis at a very young age? Many of those don’t do any strenuous activity. What about all the lucky people that despite having osteoarthritis don’t suffer from pain?
As you might know already from previous articles I have a different approach on where pain comes from and how destruction such as osteoarthritis come about. And now I found proof!
Browsing through the net I found a study carried out by researchers in the Netherlands found that osteoarthritis is reversible if you create the right condition for the cartillage to recover. Through the course of one year they observed what happens to people with osteoarthritis, when they had their joint facets surgically distracted for two months. Means the joint facets were pulled apart from each other by an apparatus built in surgically. One year later they revised their patients and found, that joint distraction can reverse ostoarthritis.
Now that is some message, huh? Even though I recommend a different kind of treatment, the message is loud and clear. Reducing the pressure on the joint facets – there I recommend stretching the muscles – will stop the pain and reverse osteoartrthritis which is a side effect of too much muscular tension.
Here’s the link if you want to read more about this, in my opinion, groundbreaking study: http://ard.bmj.com/content/early/2011/05/12/ard.2010.142364
September 17th, 2016
Have you ever wondered why some people turn sick sooner or later in life, while others manage to stay healthy, bright in mind and just don’t seem to be bothered by anything?
Is it all set in our genes? Well, maybe a little. Some people are just lucky and blessed with a great physique. But new insights from epigenetics suggest that genes only account for about 5-7% of what happens to us. Depending on our lifestyle we are able to switch on or switch off genes just as lifestyle requires. Now, that is really good news, it means that we can take our fates in our own hands.
So what can we do to improve our odds? If you asked me, I would say: ‘A good diet, regular exercise, no cigarettes and little to no alcohol will give you a headstart’ .
I can see you raise an eyebrow and say: ‘Wait a minute, that’s no secret. I knew that’. To be honest I would have been surprised if not, but do you actually know what a good diet is? Well, who does nowadays? Do you know, what kind of exercise will prevent or relief pain longterm? Be honest with yourself. In the last month, how much exercise did you do? What kind of exercise? How was your diet?
Some might say: ‘Ok, I walk a lot!’ or ‘I think my diet’s quite good.’
Stay tuned so we can have a look at how I think a healthy and longterm beneficial lifestyle could look like.