Stretch before exercise

It’s that time of year – the clocks have gone forward, the days are longer and spring is definitely in the air. And, as people ditch winter woollies for T shirts and cotton frocks, their thoughts inevitably turn to getting toned and fit for summer. It’s time to build a healthy exercise habit!

Some will dust off their trainers and enrol in a gym (or return to the one they joined in January!). But if the prospect of pounding the treadmill or sweating your way through a spin class leaves you cold, there are many other ways to achieve your fitness goals, whatever they may be.

The benefits of regular exercise are many and proven. Think increased energy, improved immune system function, lower risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes, reduced stress and better mood.  Not to mention toning up and looking better.

Build a healthy exercise habit

But here’s the thing about exercise: achieving any fitness goal requires consistency (coupled with healthy eating), and the motivation to continue until it becomes routine. That’s not always easy so check out our eight top tips to help you build a healthy exercise habit:

Pick an activity you enjoy

You can burn a zillion calories on the rowing machine but if (and when) boredom sets in you’ll quit. Finding an activity that grabs you may take time and research but it’s worth it. Heading into spring, you can take advantage of the lighter evenings outdoors by walking, cycling, jogging, playing tennis or kicking a ball around with your children. Or if you like dancing, why not have a go at Zumba or salsa? For more sociable and/or competitive souls, a team sport like netball or football might be just the thing. Remember, too, that your chosen sport should align with your fitness goals. Yoga or weight training won’t increase cardiovascular strength, while running doesn’t build flexibility!

Indoors vs outside?

Various studies, including one in 2011 published by Environmental Science and Technology, have highlighted the health benefits of exercising outdoors, especially in a park or green open space. These include improved mood, increased energy, a more varied workout (based on your surroundings), and all for free!

Start exercising gently

If you haven’t exercised for some time (or at all), ease yourself into it by doing a few minutes at a time, gradually increasing the time and the intensity. Always warm up beforehand and stretch afterwards to avoid injury.

Schedule in exercise

Turning your chosen activity into a habit is all about regularity. Choose a convenient time and diarise the session just as you would a work meeting. Do allow enough time too. Some sports are more time-consuming, especially when factoring in travelling, showering and changing. If you lack time, consider exercising at home. You can do it at any time and you’ll never have to wait for the elliptical trainer – unless your exercise buddy (see below) or other half is hogging it.

Buddy up

Several studies have shown that people are more likely to stick with an activity if they receive support from close friends and family* or if they partner up with a friend or family member. That’s as true for Zumba or team sports as it is for ‘solitary’ activities such as swimming, cycling, weight training or exercising at home. Buddies share your highs and lows, helping to motivate you to achieve your goals. You’re less likely to skip a workout if it means you’re letting your exercise partner or the team down. There are other benefits, too. A 2011 study published in in the American Journal of Health Behavior showed that exercising with a buddy increases feelings of energy, enabling you to keep going for longer, compared with exercising alone. The same study found that it elevates mood and reduces stress.

Give self-control a helping hand

Relying on self-control doesn’t work. Barbara Brehm, author of Successful Fitness Motivation Strategies, says that “self-control is a limited resource and that the stress we experience during the day gradually erodes our willpower to exercise”. This is why morning exercisers are more likely to stick to a workout routine. By the end of the day we don’t have enough self-control to exercise, especially if it’s raining or there’s something good on TV. So remove barriers to making the ‘right’ decision to exercise by… picking something you enjoy, diarising it, buddying up and so on.

Consider safety

Some activities aggravate existing injuries or illnesses so seek advice from a doctor (if you have high blood pressure, for example) or an osteopath. With hip, knee or ankle problems avoid running or jumping and opt for lower-impact activities. So try rowing, walking/hill walking, stepping, cycling, swimming or weight training instead. Don’t be fooled by the term ‘low impact’ – you’ll still work hard and burn calories! With an exercise class, talk to the instructor beforehand. They will advise about avoiding specific moves, possibly suggesting alternatives.

Be Patient

Sometimes it takes time to achieve your goals. You can’t build a healthy exercise habit overnight. It’s normal for motivation to dip when you get sore or don’t see quick results. Don’t judge yourself harshly. Simply acknowledge the obstacles and use the tips outlined above to help you achieve the outcome you want and deserve.

If you’d like advice on which exercise is right for you, why not book an appointment with osteopath Robin Kiashek.

*The influence of close others’ exercise habits and perceived social support on exercise – Susan D.Darlow and Xiaomeng Xu, Psychology of Sport and Exercise, Vol 12, Issue 5, September 2011, Pages 575-578

Happy, healthy kneesRunner’s knee, jumper’s knee, housemaid’s knee (yes, it does exist!) and so on – the list of painful complaints that can affect this complicated joint is as long as your arm. Problem knees are surprisingly common in people of all ages, placing severe restrictions on both movement and lifestyle as a whole.

Strong and stable joints

On a day-to-day basis, we expect great things from our knees. As the largest joint in the human body, the knee basically forms a sort of hinge  where the thigh bone (femur) and shin bone (tibia), meet. This enables the leg to bend, straighten and generally move freely so we can run, twist, jump, fall over and so on. Knees must be also strong and stable enough to support our weight, even if it increases. These joints are ably assisted in their task by bones and soft tissue including muscles, cartilage, ligaments and tendons – all of which have the potential to go awry.

The knee joint may be a sophisticated mechanism but it’s still relatively easy to injure. For example, a sudden increase in intensity or duration of exercise can temporarily damage the bone, muscle or ligaments. Problem knees can lock, click, catch, give way or refuse to straighten. More gradually developing pain, especially in older people, points to conditions such as osteoarthritis. Here, the cartilage facilitating smooth movement between the femur and tibia gradually wears away, forcing both surfaces to rub together and resulting in pain and stiffness.

It’s all a bit of a catch-22. With persistent knee pain, most people’s instinct is to rest the knee and avoid putting any weight on the joint, therefore taking less exercise. While this would appear to be a sensible thing to do, if not diagnosed and treated, long-term weakness of the surrounding leg muscles can slowly develop.

Looking after problem knees

So, what should you do if you suddenly develop painful knees? Here are a few initial things that you can try at home:

  • The key is basically RICE: rest, ice, compression, elevation. This means, at the very least, not irritating the joint and, at best, giving the joint a chance to recover under its own steam;
  • When icing, use ice wrapped in a wet towel for 5 minutes and remove for 10 minutes, repeating twice more;
  • Sit, rather than stand, with the leg elevated, to avoid putting weight on the knee – rest as much as you can;
  • If suffering with acute or severe pain, in the short term, take painkillers such as Paracetamol;
  • If you feel up to it, try some gentle exercise, such as walking at a pace that does not aggravate your symptoms or non-weight bearing exercise such as swimming;
  • If your knee pain is still present after several days or is getting worse, why not book an appointment with Osteopath Robin Kiashek to see if we can find the cause of your discomfort and get you back on the road to recovery.

Eat healthy and pile on the pounds says London Osteopath Robin KiashekLack of easy to access credible information about nutrition and diet, often leads to people who want to eat well seeking ‘healthier’ options, but in actual fact they end up piling on the pounds. There are a lot of issue here, from food labelling and position of goods in the supermarkets, to advertising and a general yet widespread lack of health and fitness education. With Osteopathy in North London as a focus for my clinics, I come across a fair amount of people who think part of their diet is good for them, when in actual fact the opposite is true.

Here’s a list of things that we all consume that you may think would form part of a healthy option, but in actual fact, they’re the reverse…

Health Drinks

A trend that started with very calorific glucose drinks, there are lots of health and energy drinks on the market today. These drinks are often crammed with vitamins, pro-biotic and even fibre, but when it comes to helping weight loss, they fall well short of the mark. Some flavoured water drinks can contain a cup of sugar in them! Also, recent studies have linked drinks containing artificial sweeteners with vascular issues and even increases in metabolic syndrome. To avoid all of that, stick to water!

Coconut Water

Low in calories, natural fat and cholesterol free, more potassium than four bananas and super hydrating, no wonder a lot of dieters are looking to coconut water to form a part of their diet. However, this natural form of water isn’t calorie free. In fact, a large glass of coconut water will have as much calories in it as the same amount of lager or a fizzy soft drink, so it can’t be used in large quantities to quench thirst without adding significant calories to the daily allowance.

Smoothies

Some fruit smoothie concoctions can have as much as 1000 calories in them due to the condensed portions of fruit, vegetables, and added simple sugars and syrups. By blitzing large numbers of fruits and vegetables together and drinking them quickly, the calories really load up and can put on weight rather than help you lose weight.

Health bars

Many energy, fibre and protein bars are not that far away from the calorific value of a chocolate bar. Marketing tells us these are a healthy choice, high in fibre or protein, but if you think the calories are lower, think again.

Frozen Yogurt

Frozen yogurt seems so much healthier than ice cream and when you look at the food from a saturated fat point of view, it is. However, in terms of calories and simple sugars, there really isn’t all that much different. Certainly not a healthy choice…

Fat-Free Sweets

Fat-free sweets can be quite deceiving. People automatically think that fat-free means calorie-free, but is doesn’t. In most cases, sugar replaces the fat and the calorie count will remain high.

Granola

A popular breakfast cereal, Granola is laden with fats and sugars and therefore with large amounts of calories. Add to that the milk and the size of the portions to gain satisfaction and up to half of the average recommended calorie intake for an entire day could have gone in five minutes at breakfast!

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The AsapScience video below is quite fun and I think true. This clever presentation looks at some of the miscomprehensions about some foods and diets that we all assume are true. The basic premise that everything is made of chemicals and things that we assume are good for us, actually contain some of the same natural chemicals that in other foods we think are bad for us.

The title of this post, why detox is a marketing myth, is taken from the presentation, as I think it’s a clever line to use and actually it does, in this context, ring true. How can you truly detox when the range and amounts of natural and man-made chemical compounds exist in everything that we consume. There’s another line which states that ‘everything is poison at a high-enough dose’, which is also true if you think about it in terms of moderation. Too much of anything that you consume will have some sort of negative effect to the body’s balance. In truth, we all need a little of everything, including natural toxins, to attain a balanced diet and lead a healthy life.

The video is fun and makes some interesting points, however, as an Osteopath in North London I think the overriding message that I get is that education and knowledge about what we eat is very low and if that knowledge was more general and easier to understand, that would be a small but significant step in the improvement of health and most certainly would provide an elements of weaponry in the fight against obesity.

Check out the video yourself and see what you think…
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As an Osteopath in London treating patients who are suffering with some form of pain, I am always interested in research into pain management and keeping across approaches to pain recovery.

SIRPA, which stands for Stress Illness Recovery Practictioners Association, is an organistaion that has a mission to engage health professionals and train them in an approach to chronic pain recovery to help shift their patients from living with pain to living without it.

SIRPA have produced an interesting report that covers ‘5 Things Your GP Won’t Have Told You About Chronic Pain’ that can be downloaded from their website.

What is chronic pain?

Simply put chronic pain is any pain in your body that has lasted more than around 12 weeks. It can last for months and years. It can often start after suffering from an initial injury such as back spasm or ankle sprain and then continue from there. However a lot of the time the pain can be unexplained and could be because of posture problems or poor sleeping habits.

5 things your GP won’t have told you about chronic pain

SIRPA have outlined 5 major differences in their approach to chronic pain and that of current mainstream medicine.

These differences support SIRPA’s position that once physically damaging conditions such as cancer and autoimmune diseases have been ruled out that most causes of persistent or recurrent pain are not caused by something being wrong with the part of the body that hurts, rather by the brain.

In summary,  SIRPA highlights the following 5 points about pain

  1. Fear of pain and causing further damage can result in pain increasing
  2. A belief that there must be a physical cause for a pain often results in critical underlying factors being missed
  1. Pain can be triggered by the brain despite there being no physical trauma
  1. A patient’s belief that their pain is due to a physical cause often leads to their pain being ‘managed’ with full resolution being less likely
  1. SIRPA recognises that although chronic pain is a result of physiological changes that occur after the emotional brain is triggered by emotions, this is an unconscious and automatic response.

If you are suffering pain or discomfort and you would like further information on how I may help you or to book an Osteopathy appointment at one of my osteopathy clinics in London please feel free to send me a message or call me on 020 8815 0979.

 

 

 

Being an experienced osteopath in London a common questions I get asked is “what’s the difference between osteopathy and chiropractic treatment?”

An Osteopath in London explains the difference between (classical) osteopathy and (classical) chiropractic

The answer isn’t necessarily a simple one. There are as many similarities as there are differences between the two professions. There are not only differences between the professions but equally between practitioners of the same profession.

For example in osteopathy you have differences between classical osteopathy versus ‘cranial’ osteopathy and in chiropractic you have differences between classical chiropractic versus McTimoney chiropractic.

That being said there are differences between the two methods which are more to do with the underlying philosophical approach rather than which particular techniques are applied during treatment.

When it comes to diagnosis, chiropractors, will focus mostly on spinal integrity and will use x-rays of the spine to form a diagnosis. Osteopaths will use palpation (touch) of soft tissues (muscles, ligaments and tendons) and spinal positioning in conjunction with overall postural balance to form a diagnosis.

In the main, chiropractors work mainly on the spine. Osteopaths work on the spine and also on the whole body including peripheral joints.

When it comes to treatment chiropractors use more manipulative techniques whilst osteopaths may use manipulation in conjunction with soft tissue and mobilisation (stretching of joints) techniques. In my treatments I take into account the patient’s background, both physically and emotionally, which may then warrant the use of other approaches, such as Western Acupuncture, Low Level Laser Therapy and when appropriate, Nutritional advice and/or NLP and/or relaxation techniques.

If you are suffering pain or discomfort and you would like further information on how I may help you or to book an Osteopathy appointment at one of my osteopathy clinics in London please feel free to send me a message or call me on 020 8815 0979.

 

A recent study undertaken at Cambridge University found that a lack of exercise kills twice as many people as obesity. The study of 334,000 people found that a persons life could be prolonged by taking a modest amount of activity. It also indicated that the people who would gain the most would be the least fit.

The study is a stark reminder of the impact that an increasing sedentary lifestyle is having on people’s lives.

While the study found that taking a twenty minute walk a day would cut the risk of premature death by almost a third, Ulf Ekelund, who led the study believes that we should be looking to do more than this.

The most recent Government guidelines advises Britons to take 150 minutes of exercise or ‘moderate activity’ every week or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise. Moderate activities include such things as taking a brisk walk, gardening and dancing are included in this group  while vigorous exercise would   include playing sport, running or aerobics.Unfortunately in another survey it was found that a third of people can’t even manage to walk for 30 minutes over 7 days.

Take a walk in North London …

As an experienced North London osteopath I treat patients who are suffering pain and discomfort often brought on by their lifestyle.

Exercise can have so many beneficial effects on our health and wellbeing, so it is important to tale time out to fit it into our busy schedules.

All you have to do is take a brief walk. We are very fortunate in North London to have many places to get out and about in our local area. Just on our doorstep in Muswel Hill is Alexandra Palace. The Park is conveniently located to the surrounding areas including East Finchley and down the road we have Hampstead Heath.

So go ahead and take a walk, all you need is a 20 minute walk a day and you will improve the quality of your life.

If you are suffering pain or discomfort and you would like further information on how I may help you or to book an Osteopathy appointment at my osteopathy clinic in North London please feel free to send me a message or call me on 020 8815 0979. I also have a clinic in Central London should this be more convenient for you.

 

For over 30 years, Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) has been used in the field of osteopathy.

As an experienced osteopath in London I use Low Level LAser Therpay in my practice as it offers an effective form of treatment for pain, the healing of wounds and musculoskeltal conditions. These conditions include but are not limited to: sports injuries, heel pain, tennis elbow, achilles tendonitis, back pain, frozen shoulder rheumatoid and osteo-arthritis, fracture healing and headaches and migraines.

What is Low Level Laser Therapy?

LLLT uses low power or ‘soft’ laser light. I t is able to alter cellular function, improves outcomes and speed up your body’s natural healing process in a safe and effective way.

How does it work?

It works by directly treating damaged tissues with particular and appropriate wavelengths of light. This stimulates your body’s healing cells and optimises your recovery. The positive effects of LLLT have been researched and tested by medical professionals and the treatment is a viable option.

LLLT is quick, pain free and easy to apply. As an experienced Osteopath in London my patients experience the many benefits of this treatment which supports their body’s natural healing process.  It can also restart a stalled healing process and can be especially effective for chronic conditions or where the immune system has been compromised.

The benefits of LLLT

There are many benefits to LLLT and in short you will benefit from quicker injury recovery without the associated pain of other more intrusive treatments. You won’t feel the pain, discomfort and side–effects of other treatments.

As an experienced London Osteopath I believe that Low Level Laser Therapy is an extremely effective and safe treatment and LLLT is available at my London osteopathy clinic in central and north london.

You can find more informtaion about Low Level Laser Therapy here.

If you are suffering pain or discomfort and you would like further information on how I may help you or to book an Osteopathy appointment at either of my osteopathy clinics in London please feel free to send me a message or call me on 020 8815 0979. I have a clinic in North London and Central London.

As an experienced and busy Osteopath in London I have spent many years helping patients with a variety of conditions. Being qualified in the Perrin Technique, a practice which works towards diagnosing and treating Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), more commonly known as Myalgic Encephalitis or ‘ME’ I am able to help patients with this conditions.

The Perin Technique is a hands-on Osteopathic approach developed by Dr Raymond Perrin that detoxifies the body and the brain. The Perrin Technique aims to target the root of this potentially debilitating disease and cure it. Having trained with Dr Perrin and go on to be a practictioner of the the Perrin Technique helping patients with this disease I am pleased to know that the NHS is to trial the Perrin Technique for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME).

What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS/ME)?

CFS is a clinically defined condition characterized by severe disabling fatigue and a number of symptoms including disturbance of concentration, loss of short-term memory and disturbed sleep and musculoskeletal pain.

Due to the fact there is no accepted means of diagnosis by pathological tests such as blood or urine analysis, the standard diagnostic protocol of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome used within the NHS is one of exclusion. This means that a patient will only be diagnosed as suffering from CFS/ME when all other possible diagnostic tests has proved negative.

This isn’t an ideal situation for the patient at all.  It is not an adequate way to diagnose any disease; it causes distress amongst patients and forces in some cases numerous exhaustive tests that still provide no answer. Not to mention it is a slow process which will prolong the full force of the effects of the syndrome longer the needed.

The Perrin Technique NHS trial

A new research project is to begin at Wrigthington Hospital, Wigan, based on Dr Perrin’s discovery. The project “Examining the accuracy of a physical technique for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis” has received ethical approval and is being conducted by a team at the Allied Health Professions unit at the University of Central Lancashire in association with 3 NHS trusts.

Introducing an evidence-based bio-physical diagnostic procedure for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME at the earliest onset of the symptoms associated with this disease could lead to much speedier diagnosis. The patient  would then be in a position to have their illness managed far earlier than the present NHS protocol supports which in some regions can take at least six months before referral to an NHS specialist unit and at least a further month of blood tests.

The benefits to the patient is significant. In addtion, reducing the need of some of the pathological tests currently being carried out could reduce the huge financial burden placed on the health  service for these tests.

How leading Osteopath in London can help

If you are suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME and would like further information on how I may help you or to book an appointment at one of my osteopathy clinics in London please feel free to send me a message or call me on 020 8815 0979.

 

If you have not visited an Osteopath you may be slightly nervous as to what lies before you. That is why I want to put you at ease regarding your first visit to either of my London Osteopathy clinics at Muswell Hill or Soho and what you can expect.

Whilst every treatment and every therapy I offer is different and tailored to your individual needs,  there are some general practices that apply to the approach of the consultation and treatment you will receive.

Your Initial Consultation

Your initial consultation will usually last for approximately 45 minutes. This can vary depending on your problem of course.

What happens during the initial consultation?

Whether it’s your first time visiting an osteopath in London or just the first time you’re visiting me, the first thing I do is to learn about you. This includes finding out about details of your medical history, lifestyle and, if relevant, diet. It is important that I also understand what you hope to achieve.

After learning about you I will conduct a clinical examination. In order to allow me to examine your spinal and joint mobility properly it may be necessary for you to undress to your underwear.

The whole purpose of the process above is so I can get a clear understanding of you and your medical condition and reach a ‘working diagnosis’ and determine the appropriate treatment for your individual needs.

Once these procedures are complete, I provide you with a treatment protocol informing you of the type of treatment I would recommend and how many treatments are required. If Osteopathy is the appropriate treatment for you, I will explain the diagnosis to you and, where possible, the underlying causative factors for your condition.

After the consultation you will receive a short treatment if appropriate. You will also provide you with advice on exercises, hydrotherapy and ‘what to do and what to avoid’.

Patients with CFS/ME

In you are suffering with CFS/ME, the initial consultation follows a different format to that described above. You will be informed of this prior to your first appointment and will be sent information setting out the appropriate procedure.

If you are suffering pain or discomfort and you would like further information on how I may help you or to book an Osteopathy appointment at one of my osteopathy clinics in London please feel free to send me a message or call me on 020 8815 0979.