posture

The position you're doing in your bed isn't ideal

What's your favourite position in bed?

No! Not that kind of position.

Get your head outta there - although we could revisit that topic for another conversation. 

I'm talking about your sleep position.

Do you sleep on your stomach?

Back?

Right side?

Left side?

What's the best way?

People ask me this all the time.

Actually, sleeping on your stomach with your head turned to the side (with no pillow) and your arms at your side is a good position in which to sleep.

(Cue the shock horror music)

The structure of your neck bones naturally allow for that movement of turning your head to the side.

This is a normal (and comfortable) position.

But let me get into more detail here.

It's not so much your position, rather, it's the posture in which you sleep.

For one thing, most people don't have a good firm bed.

And I'm not a huge fan of the memory foam beds.

Think about it. 

If you already have a crazy crocked spine with horrible posture, why would you want your bed to constantly mold to that posture all night long, every night?

Doesn't make sense to me.

Your bed isn't supposed to fix you.

It's supposed to support your spine in the best way possible while you catch your Zzzzzzzzz.

Your bed needs to be slightly firm, with good even support as you lay down. 

You could have a firm mattress, and then have a soft thin layer on top to 'cushion' the firmness of the mattress.

Your pillow shouldn't be this huge lump that distorts and contorts your head into a forward posture. 

Kinda like this guy: he's not looking very happy.

 

Here's what laying on your back should look like. 
 


Having a firm pillow underneath your knees would be very good for your low back.

And the pillow should have an indent in the middle so the bulk of your head sits in there allowing for your neck and spine to be aligned without having your head pushed up and forward.

Here's a good picture of how you should NOT be sleeping. Take a look at how while sleeping on their sides, their heads are STILL in the forward position! 

That's a no-no.

When sleeping on your side, with a proper pillow, try to straighten your whole body out, give your body a nice big stretch as you allow yourself to prepare your body to fall asleep.

This is my favourite part of my bedtime.

Laying down, ON MY LEFT SIDE (which is the better side for better circulation due to the location of the heart), stretch the body out straight, legs straight, point your toes and flex all your muscles to pull and extend you into a straight line.

Think about it: all day, your body is in a forward hunched position.

  • Sitting at your desk.
  • Texting
  • Reading
  • Slouching

We're in a constant state of poor forward posture.

When you get into bed at night, while lying on your left side:

  • stretch yourself out straight
  • bring your head back,
  • clench your butt muscles and leg muscles to pull your body into big stretch, 
  • then assume a relaxed position once you release that stretch.
  • make sure your head isn't in a forward position.
  • train yourself to fall asleep like this
  • your body will relax into a nice comfortable position


A good way to know how to sleep in a proper position is to observe a baby sleeping. They usually assume a good natural position.
 

Since you're spending 30% of your life sleeping, I think it's a good idea to 'learn' how to sleep well.

After all, we spend so much time learning how to improve ourselves while we're awake running around all day, so it's important to learn how to sleep well!

— Dr MaryAnne

Magical Silver Man at Covent Garden

The other day I took my daughter to the Covent Garden Apple store. We don't really go very often, and I can't even remember the last time I went with my daughter.

It was a Saturday, at midday, so you can imagine how crazy the area was, packed with tourists, performers, and people enjoying the sunny summer day.

If you know Covent Garden, then you'll probably know about those street performers that are painted in either gold or silver, dressed in strange costumes, and magically suspended on a platform. 

"How do they do it?" I asked out loud, not expecting my daughter to respond.

"Oh, simple. That box underneath them has 4 big magnets, and they have a few magnets hidden in their clothes. That's how they do it. I saw a video on YouTube."

Right. Now I know what my daughter does when she uses my computer.

Anyway, I couldn't help but notice one performer who happened to have the most impressive and talented presentation. He also had the most horrible forward head posture I've seen in a while. Now, I gave him the benefit of the doubt, chalking it up to it being part of his performance. But still, it was remarkably bad posture, and I didn't want to think about how uncomfortable he must feel at the end of each day after hours of doing this. 

What a pain in the neck he must have!

I absolutely love what I do, adjusting people every day, helping people feel better and be healthier with chiropractic. It's the best job in the world.

But, if there is any one bad thing about it it's that I walk around noticing people every day with fantastically bad posture. In fact, every day at least a half a dozen times a day, I just want to walk up to a person with bad posture just to help them straighten up.

What is it caused by? Well, it is the defence posture, which is a response to stress.

When something negative happens in our lives, whether it's an accident, or an emotional trauma, or an ongoing stressful situation, the body goes into a stress response. That stress response creates a defence posture.

Head forward, shoulder muscles tense, shortness of breath, tail tucked in, heart rate increased, and many more things that we don't even know about. Just think about a scared dog. That's pretty much what we do when we're stressed.

Imagine years and years and years of that, stressful event after stressful event, starting as a child, and WHAA-LA! Chronic severe bad posture. And most of these people have no idea how bad it is. No self-awareness.

Bad posture creates a whole lotta problems with your health including poor concentration, spinal cord impingement, headaches, poor lung capacity, fatigue, low immune system function, depression, etc. 

I bet that silver man hovering over Covent Garden has no idea how bad his posture is. I even took a picture of him. Take a look!

IMG_1056.JPG

Body awareness, exercise, proper sound and regular restful sleep, wholesome nutrition, and regular chiropractic care will not only prevent you from developing bad posture, but it can also help reverse it. But start by being aware of it. 

And unless you're married (because you know your spouse is telling you to stand up straight), you probably don't even know it.

So book yourself in for a chiropractic check-up and start getting adjusted. 

The Womanly Arts

Self-care.

A few weeks ago I sent out an email asking you if you’ve said, “I love you” to someone recently.

Many of you responded to assure me that you had said a few ‘I-love-yous’ that morning. Excellent! It’s so important to say that regularly to the people you love.

Now, what about you? 

How well do you treat yourself? How selfish are you? What have you done today that gives you, and only you, pleasure?

You know when you’re in a plane and during the flight safety presentation they tell you to put the oxygen mask on yourself before you reach over and put it on anyone else? Yeah, that's because you can't help anyone if you’re having a hard time staying alive. Pretty common sense, right?

But that’s not automatically something we do on a regular basis.

Self-care. That’s more important than anything else.

Back when I was single and living in New York, I discovered a fantastic, brilliant institute which held seminars for women.

It’s called Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts.

I learned so much about myself and about what lights me up and gives me pleasure and happiness in my life. 

The ‘Womanly Arts’ didn’t come automatic to me, yet as I learned them, they became more and more natural to me. That's because they are.

It gave me the tools and understanding about me in these ways:

  1. Live and lead my life through my desires.
  2. There’s always a choice in life, and those choices have to be driven by pleasure.
  3. Focus on what what lights me up, puts a smile on my face, and makes me want to dance.
  4. Take care of myself with the highest level of care and respect.
  5. Do something everyday that gives me pleasure and allows me to see how grateful I am for my life.

What? You say? This is totally NOT what we're used to. That’s because we live in a culture where we're taught to hold back, put ourselves second or third, we judge, we make excuses, and we end up becoming miserable in the process.

Alongside that misery is usually poor health, pain, and low energy.

An essential part of self-care is knowing how to keep yourself healthy and feeling good. 

Chiropractic fits into this equation pretty damn well.

Chiropractic is about keeping your spine balanced. Making sure your central nervous system, the master system of the body, clear of interferences.

Getting adjusted regularly enhances the functioning of your whole body because everything is well connected. 

And, an added bonus: good posture is attractive.

Stop making excuses. Stop putting yourself second. Do something for yourself. Choose what you desire.

And we all desire good health and feeling great.

See you at your next adjustment!

A Man Is As Young As His Spinal Column

A Man Is As Young As His Spinal Column

“A man is as young as his spinal column”, Joseph Pilates famously stated. He was fascinated by animals, but a lot of his knowledge (and inspiration for exercises) came especially from studying cats, who he found to be the supreme animals!

What Does Posture and Stress Have To Do With It?

 

When you were little, did your mother or grandmother tell you to sit up straight, don’t slouch, and pick up your head? In some way or another, we intuitively know that good posture is important for good health. But, just because we know about a lot of things in life doesn’t mean that we understand it and apply it to ourselves.

So what does good posture mean? Why is it so important? We all have the understanding that we have a heart that pumps blood, lungs to take in oxygen, a stomach to break down food, and many other systems that keep us alive and functioning. All of your systems work together, not in parts, and the whole body is a complex machine that is constantly adapting, regulating, healing, and reorganising. 

The most important system that acts as the ‘hard drive’ and ‘main frame’ of your body is the central nervous system: your brain that sits in your head is the hard drive and it is always sending and receiving signals from your body via your spinal cord. Your nervous system is the master system of the body, constantly controlling and monitoring every function in your body. It never stops. And it is the only system in the body that is fully encased and protected by bone. The muscles along the spine are there to actively support your posture, voluntarily and involuntarily. How does this play in the role of your health? It is essential to have a healthy spine and nervous system in order for your body to function the way it needs to.

Chiropractic care is about getting your spine and nervous system checked, with regular adjustments throughout life. Just as you might choose to eat healthy, do exercise like pilates, and other lifestyles to support your health, it is important to also have your spine taken care of regularly. Why? Because the moment you are born, your nervous system is constantly taking in information and adapting and regulating to keep your body well. 

Stresses in life are what impact the body. These stresses are either physical, chemical, or emotional/mental. Physical stresses are car accidents, falls, chronic bad posture, overuse of texting, and other daily life activities. Chemical stresses include pollution, alcohol, smoking, food additives, poor diet, and low nutrition. Emotional stresses range from single incidents like arguments with a spouse, or chronic stress from long-term issues. It’s part of natural life that we are bombarded with these stresses, and it is our nervous systems that have to allow for the body to be able to cope with them to be healthy. 

As we process these stresses every day, our bodies ‘download’ them into our nervous systems and cause a response. As the response is being processed through our senses (either hearing, seeing, tasting, touching, smelling, or a combination), there is an impact on our other systems, including our hormones, body temperature, heart rate, and muscles. 

Let’s imagine back 100,000 years ago when there were saber-toothed animals chasing us for their lunch. That’s a source of stress! When we see that animal chasing us, our fight-or-flight system engages, and it’s instant action! All of a sudden our digestive system shuts off, our adrenaline kicks in, the eyes dilate, our blood pressure rises, the heart beats ferociously, and blood flows to our arm and leg muscles. That’s all happening to keep you from dying a horrible death! The problem is that now, we don’t have any saber-toothed animals chasing us for lunch. Yet, our bodies react to stress in exactly the same way, and our lifestyles usually don’t allow for proper release of that stress. This causes a build up of tension inside the body that is ‘stored’ in our brain and nervous system. Your ‘hard drive’ becomes overwhelmed and the effect is a negative change in posture which puts more pressure on all the other systems of the body. Our spines form into a ‘pattern’ called the defence posture. This pattern of defence posture puts pressure on the spinal cord and nerves, which will in turn cause interferences throughout the nervous system. These interferences, called subluxations, disrupt the communication and flow of the messages between the brain and the body.

Having your spine checked and adjusted with regular chiropractic care from birth is essential for a strong healthy life. Babies and children thrive when their nervous systems are clear. As children grow year after year, their bodies also have to assimilate, adapt, regulate, and heal. Keeping your spine balanced and aligned through childhood and into adulthood sets you up to have a healthy life. Your body’s systems are strong and healthy, your thoughts are clear, and your perception of the world is more open when your nervous system is free from interferences. 

In my office I see people with all sorts of pain and health issues. In the beginning there is a bit of Q&A, then I assess your nervous system with a complex computer system, a spinal posture analysis, and finally end with a thorough adjustment. The pain is what wakes people up (I talk about that on my website and blog). Pain is what gets people to stop and change what they are doing, but most people just want to be ‘fixed’. In my office I explain to everyone that I don’t ‘fix’ people. That’s not what my services offer. It is important for us to see what is the cause of the pain and health issue. In my opinion, it would be a disservice to you to just ‘treat’ the pain and then not help you reach a better state of health so the problem doesn’t come back. 

Most people see pain as the problem. Did you have the pain first, and then the problem started? No. It’s the other way around. Guess what, you’ve had the problem for a long time, and the pain was what alerted you to make a change to shift things around. Pain is just a signal to get you into action to focus on your health. Nothing in life doesn’t require a significant amount of time. Getting healthy takes time. Taking responsibility for your pain and body also takes time. Denial of that will get you nowhere. 

The chiropractic care that I recommend to help people get to better health is specific and personal to each individual. And I also recommend to everyone to get their nervous systems checked for subluxations (interferences). You don’t have to be in pain to get adjusted. In fact, when you feel well, that’s the best time to get your adjustments. Keep your system strong and supported. Don’t wait for a breakdown of your health to act. And when you do feel unwell, it’s not because you’re sick. It’s because your body is adapting. It’s your body’s way of telling you that it’s time to recuperate, slow down, rest, and let your body do its healing. 

Get your nervous system checked, your spine adjusted, and become more aware of your posture and health with chiropractic care.

— Dr MaryAnne.