I encourage many of my patients to undertake regular physical exercise – even in the cold, winter months!

For many people, winter brings a reason to abandon workout routines. As temperatures drop and gusting winds seems to push us back indoors to the warmth of our living rooms, a lot of us tend to put all fitness routines on the back-burner until the wrath of the winter weather subsides. But… as a leading osteopath in London, I advise patients (that are able to exercise) that the benefits of regular physical activity are too significant to be put on hold when workouts become untimely. All it takes is a little planning…

Remember to layer up properly when exercising outdoors in the cold weather. Start with a thin synthetic material, such as polypropylene, to extract perspiration from your body and then add an insulating layer (such as a fleece) on top. And of course, don’t forget your breathable, waterproof outer layer to protect you should the “heavens open”.

If you’re exercising outdoors during the evenings or early in the mornings when it’s dark, wear a reflective outer layer and choose footwear with adequate traction to prevent falls.

And if that isn’t enough? Then there are always indoor gyms, swimming pools and fitness classes that you can attend!

Don’t freeze your fitness plans this winter – it could come as an unnecessary cost on your health.

With the countdown to Christmas in full swing, more and more drivers will face heavy traffic as they head to the shops or travel to visit relatives or friends. As a leading London osteopath, I regularly treat patients who are suffering from back and neck pain as a result of being in road traffic accidents. And quite often, whiplash is a major culprit.

Whiplash can occur following vigorous movement of the head that overstretches and damages the ligaments and tendons in the neck. Symptoms include neck pain and stiffness, reduced neck movements, muscle tenderness and headaches. In some cases, symptoms can become chronic; leading to anxiety and depression.

So what can you do to prevent the risk of whiplash injuries when you’re on the road this Christmas? My advice, as a reputable London osteopath, is as follows:

1: Adjust your seat appropriately

Make sure your car seat has less than a 20 degree incline angle. This will help to keep you in your seat should you be involved in a rear end collision.

2: Adjust the height of your head restraint

The top of your head restraint should be level with or above the top of your head. A good way to measure this is to place your hand on the top of your head and adjust the head restraint so that it touches your hand.

3: Position your head restraint close to your head

Adjust your head restraint so that it is about 5cm (2 inches) from the back of your head. The closer your head restraint is to your head, the less distance there will be for your head to build up speed and load the neck during a collision.

Small adjustments can make big differences when it comes to road safety this Christmas.

Carlos AcostaI recently read an interview with Carlos Acosta, a Cuban ballet dancer who has been deemed “the greatest male dancer of his generation”. During the interview, Acosta said something that really stood out to me. He was asked, “If a person didn’t train in dance while young, do you think they can still gain suppleness with regular practice?

This is how he responded:
“Nureyev didn’t start till his teens and he went on to become a legend. Nothing is set in stone …there is this great trend for people in their 50s and 60s to train with ballet rather than go to the gym”

His words came as music to my ears. You see, as an osteopath in London, I regularly treat people who have developed negative long-term habits; lifestyle choices that often result in damaged physical and mental health. But if we consider the consequences of our choices, particularly the long-term consequences, we can start to see the impact our hobbies and habits are having on our health and we can gain the motivation we need to break free of our restrictions.

Too often we become trapped in the mind frame of “If we had our time again”, but as long as we are alive and capable, it is never too late to start a positive new adventure.

Dancing offers a long list of physical and mental benefits including:
• Improved condition of your heart and lungs
• Weight management
• Better coordination, agility and flexibility
• Increased aerobic fitness
• Improved muscle tone and strength
• Stronger bones and reduced risk of osteoporosis
• Increased muscular strength, endurance and motor fitness
• Improved balance and spatial awareness
• Increased physical confidence
• Improved mental functioning
• Improved general and psychological wellbeing
• Greater self-confidence and self-esteem

The choices you make now are affecting the rest of your life.

You can read the full interview with Carlos Acosta at http://www.theguardian.com/stage/live/2015/nov/27/carlos-acosta-webchat-carmen-royal-ballet. Or, watch the BBC’s programme: Carlos Acosta: Cuba Calls

Displaying physical symptoms but struggling to get a definite diagnosis from your GP? Told your suffering from “stress” when you don’t feel stressed? Feeling confused and frustrated by your abstract symptoms? Our leading London Osteopath suggests that psychosomatic disorders should be considered in certain medical cases.

The word “psychosomatic” comes from the mind (psyche) and body (soma) and is classified as a disease which involved both the body and the mind. Leading London Osteopath Robin Kiashek believes that some physical diseases can be made worse, and sometimes even caused by mental factors such as anxiety, stress and depression. A patients’ mental state is also believed to affect the severity of a physical condition.

Leading London Osteopath Robin Kiashek is dedicated to working with all patients to understand the cause of symptoms and to endeavour to find a long-term solution based on each individual case.

For many patients who visit The Robin Kiashek clinics, understanding the true cause of their physical symptoms is often the first step on the road to recovery.

dr perrin wins osteopathic awardAs a London osteopath with a keen interest in ME/ CFS, I was delighted to hear that Dr Raymond Perrin, creator of the Perrin Technique, has won the Research and Practice Award handed out by the Institute of Osteopathy. The first ever national awards ceremony took place last month at their yearly convention where Dr Perrin was handed the award to recognise 26 years of research into ME/ CFS and fibromyalgia.

Perrin’s dedication to research into the diagnoses and treatments of these conditions has led to a new NHS trial at Wrightington Hospital, in Wigan. As a London osteopath who successfully treats ME/ CFS patients using the Perrin Technique, I look forward to the day when the nation is better educated on these restricting conditions.

When Dr Perrin first started his research, he established a registered charitable trust, The Fund for Osteopathic Research into Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, which has gone on to raise more than £400,000 and funded large research projects including an extensive radiological study involving MRI scanning at the University of Manchester.

Upon receiving his award, Dr Perrin said “To sum up how my research has changed the way I practise, I now run a clinic that combines very traditional osteopathic concepts with evidence-based techniques that are backed by cutting-edge science and ground-breaking medical discoveries…It makes every day in clinic demanding, challenging, exciting, and extremely rewarding.”

The Perrin Technique has gained an international reputation as a highly regarded treatment option for CFS/ ME and we are delighted to be able to offer this groundbreaking treatment at The Robin Kiashek Clinics.

CFS/ME (now known in The USA as Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease) is a neuro-lymphatic disease that presents with severe, disabling fatigue together with a combination of symptoms made worse by exertion. Scientists have now proved that fluid within the central nervous system acts as a lymphatic system, draining toxins out of the body or into the liver where they are broken down. Unfortunately, in a CFS/ME sufferer these normal drainage points are congested. A backflow of toxins into the central nervous system creates damage to the brain and impacts sleep function, temperature control, emotions as well as pain in muscles and joints all over the body. This is often on top of the debilitating post-exertion fatigue that ME/ CFS patients experience.

The Perrin Technique™, which we offer at The Robin Kiashek Clinics, is an osteopathic approach that stimulates the fluid motion around the brain and spinal cord. Manipulation of the spine helps to drain toxins out of the cerebrospinal fluid while gentle massage of the head, neck, back and chest direct toxins from the lymphatic system into the blood, where they are then detoxified in the liver. Eventually, the sympathetic nervous system starts to once again function correctly and health is restored.

We send a well deserved “congratulations” to my trusted associate, Dr Raymond Perrin.

So You Play Sports? London Osteopath Robin Kiashek May Be Able To Help YouMany of my patients enjoy participating in different sports, ranging from a hobby of gentle walking to top-class professional athletes whose livelihood depends on peak sports performance. Whatever your own personal level of sports participation, there are three keys to maximising performance and avoiding pain.

Warm up and cool down

Sports injuries are common and one of the most common causes is through not warming up beforehand or not cooling down afterwards. While you might prefer to simply kit up and launch yourself onto the soccer field, this can give your body quite a shock, causing cold muscles to suddenly stretch and increasing the chances of strains and other injuries.

A warm-up session should include muscle stretching and light cardiovascular exercise. Its goal is to warm and stretch your muscles so that they are better equipped to take the impact they are about to be given and to increase circulation and loosen joints. Ideally you should take at least 20 minutes to prepare your body for sport by warming up.

If you are taking part in a sport that is more static (eg cricket) then you should maintain body temperature and muscle elasticity by gentle exercise and stretching when you can during the game.

Cooling-down is also important and is often overlooked. The cool-down process adjusts your body back from high activity to low activity in a gradual way. By cooling-down instead of simply stopping, your heart rate and blood pressure reduces in a more gradual way, reducing the chances of fainting or dizziness. Cool-downs also help to remove the build-up of lactic acid in your muscles after their vigorous activity. Stretching during a cool-down can also help improve flexibility. You do not need to spend a long time cooling down, 5 to 10 minutes is normally enough depending on how vigorous the sport was.

Avoid over-enthusiasm

It’s very tempting to hurl yourself across the court to make that winning shot or kick with tremendous enthusiasm in the hope that the ball will be too fast for the goalie to stop but this can lead to problems. Stretching our bodies beyond what they can cope with can lead to a variety of different problems.

And, no, it is not an age-related problem. It is certainly true that a less-young golfer might twist over-enthusiastically to encourage the ball just a little closer to the hole but younger people are just as vulnerable to problems. Their growing bodies are often expected to perform to very high standards and they can be putting exceptional demands on their bodies that they are simply not able to cope with. Over-enthusiasm affects everyone when they step outside of their limitations.

Incorrect equipment

Incorrect or ill-fitting equipment also causes problems. Badly fitting footwear can cause foot, knee and hip problems. Don’t forget that footwear that is a little old may no longer be giving you the correct fit so avoid wearing your running shoes until they fall off!

Ill-fitting protective equipment or not wearing protective equipment such as shin pads, head protectors, etc may not be a direct cause of injury but it can expose you to a greater chance of injury.

The good news

Although sports injuries are common, the good news is that the fitter you are, the faster and better you will recover. Therefore, it is valuable to keep doing the sport to maintain your fitness, even putting aside the pleasure that most of us get from participating in a sport.

How London Osteopath, Robin Kiashek can help

As well as treating sports injuries, osteopathy can also help improve sports performance by restoring structural balance, improving joint mobility and reducing adhesions and soft tissue restrictions. For instance, a golfer’s swing may be able to be helped by improving the body’s ability to move. This may also have the added benefit of reducing the likelihood of injury.

If you want to keep fit then osteopathy can help to improve your muscle tone and keep you supple. This will reduce the risk of injury and help the body recover quicker from any injury.

Robin Kiashek offers more than osteopathy from both his central and north London clinics. His allied therapies can better support you to achieve even higher sports performance or faster and better recovery from a sports injury.