Archive for FAQs
Yoga is becoming a more and more popular activity in the Western world today. The number of places holding Yoga classes of many different types is on the rise. With a choice of Hatha Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga, Power Yoga, Iyengar Yoga, Bikram Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga and many more it can be easy to get confused. This article will help you to understand the difference between the most popular types of Yoga so you can choose which type is right for you.
Hatha Yoga – In Sanskrit (an ancient classical language of India) “Ha” means “sun” and “tha” means “moon”. This type of Yoga is a relatively slow paced, gentle type of Yoga and is a good place to start if you are completely new to Yoga and don’t know any of the asanas (poses). Like all types of Yoga, Hatha Yoga aims to unite the mind, body and spirit.
Ashtanga Yoga – Ashtanga means “eight limbs” in Sanskrit. It’s a fast moving, intense style of Yoga based on a progressive sequence of asanas, synchronized with the breath. Ashtanga Yoga can be quite physically demanding as you are constantly move from one asana in the sequence to the next, so you’ll find that it will improve your stamina as well as your flexibility and strength..
Power Yoga – This is a western interpretation of Yoga and is based on Ashtanga Yoga. A Power Yoga class may not necessarily stick to the exact sequence of poses like Ashtanga Yoga does, but it does involve practicing a series of poses without stopping and starting.
Iyengar Yoga – This type of Yoga is based on teachings by B.K.S Igengar and concentrates on the correct alignment and form of the body. Unlike Ashtanga Yoga, there is an emphasis on holding each pose for a long period of time rather than moving constantly from one pose to the next. Iyengar Yoga uses props such as blocks and straps to help align the body into the different poses.
Vinyasa Yoga – Vinyasa means breath-synchronized movement and is another fast paced type of Yoga, with an emphasis on breathing. A practice typically starts with sun salutations and moves on to more intense stretching. Throughout the practice each pose is balanced with a counter pose.
Bikram Yoga – Otherwise known as “Hot Yoga”, Bikram Yoga is practiced in a room heated to 105 degrees, with a humidity of around 40%. Generally a sequence of 26 different poses is practiced during a Bikram Yoga class and the hot temperature helps to loosen muscles. Due to the high temperature most people sweat a lot during the class and this helps to cleanse the body of toxins.
If you’re just starting out or have never done any Yoga before, you may want to try a few different types of yoga to find out what you like best. Remember, there’s no rule that says you have to stick to one type of Yoga.
Many people use the term sciatica incorrectly. Sciatica is pain along the path of the sciatic nerve which extends from the lower back down each leg. Sciatica is a symptom (like itching), it is not a diagnosis (like Parkinson’s disease). Sciatica can range from an occasional nuisance to excruciating pain that makes walking near impossible. There can be multiple underlying reasons for your sciatic nerve pain. A chiropractor can help find the root cause of the problem with an exam and may also order some diagnostic imaging such as an x-ray, MRI or CT scan to examine the underlying structures.
To answer the question, ‘what is sciatica’ it is helpful to explain some of the relevant anatomical structures. The sciatic nerve is both the longest and the widest nerve in your body. It begins in the lower back as five separate nerves that extend from five different vertebrae – L4, L5, S1, S2, and S3. These nerves meet up to form one large bundle which runs through the buttocks and down the entire length of the leg. The sciatica nerve is responsible (directly or indirectly) for nearly all the sensation in your leg including the skin of the thigh and gluts.
Sciatica occurs when there is compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve. The pain is felt in the low back and leg, but the site of the pain isn’t always the site of the underlying issue. Since the sciatica nerve is so long and travels around or through the large muscles of the buttocks, it takes an expert to determine if the pain is coming from disc compression, from muscle spasms or from something else. Again, sciatica is a symptom, not a diagnosis.
While sciatica is most often associated with pain, other symptoms may be present such as tingling, numbness, or muscle weakness. The pain can be nearly constant or intermittent. If you think you are experiencing sciatic nerve pain, keep a record of the location, duration and intensity of the pain. Your specific history plays an important role in determining the cause of the pain.
Treatment for sciatica depend on the underlying cause, so there is no one recommended course of treatment for all sciatic pain sufferers. Chiropractors use a variety of non-invasive approaches that include spinal manipulation, physical therapy, targeted stretching and active muscle release. They’ll also discuss the role that nutrition and hydration play in reducing tissue inflammation and keeping discs healthy. The spine, discs, muscles and soft tissue all have a role to play in sciatica and should be evaluated and treated as a connected system.
The most important thing to take away from this article is that sciatica (sciatic nerve pain) is a symptom of an underlying condition. You’ll only start to get better once the underlying condition is identified and this is done through a combination of an exam, history and recommended diagnostic imaging.
In light of the obesity epidemic of recent decades, it is clear our sugar intake has increased drastically, including our intake of artificial sweeteners. There are many who believe that artificial sweeteners are the solution to our obesity epidemic, but are they really a lesser evil? Did you know that aspartame was initially developed as a medical treatment for stomach ulcers?
 This means your tabletop sweetener or that can of diet coke you’ve just consumed was originally intended to be a prescription drug. Aspartame and saccharine are the most common artificial sweeteners encountered on a daily basis, and they can usually be found in your breakfast cereal, diet sodas, tabletop sweeteners and more. While they may well be low in calories, what is the price you pay for the alternative? Medical studies have indicated a possible connection between aspartame and migraines
, and headaches
. Sucralose, an active compound in many commercial sweeteners on the market, has also recently been found to trigger migraines
. Depression can also manifest from the consumption of artificial sweeteners. Regular dosages of aspartame have been found to decrease serotonin levels, which is the main cause of depression in the brains of mice
. Individuals suffering from mood disorders, such as bipolar disorder, are advised against the regular consumption of artificial sweeteners, since they are more sensitive to the adverse effects of aspartame
. There have been numerous studies and discussions about the carcinogenic properties of artificial sweeteners.
Whether aspartame or saccharine causes cancer is the subject of much debate, with numerous studies yielding inconclusive results. One Argentinean study  cites aspartame usage as the main cause of urinary tract tumors. Others suggest the FDA re-evaluate their position on the safety of aspartame in light of recent studies on animals, linking cancer risks to artificial sweetener consumption . Additional health risks may be caused by the consumption of artificial sweeteners. One possibility is that the long-term intake of aspartame may impair the liver’s antioxidant status and could lead to liver injury . Those suffering from fibromyalgia should also be cautious with their aspartame intake, since it may induce a curable but chronic pain . Many switch over to artificial sweeteners for weight loss purposes. However it may be the sweeteners themselves that contribute to obesity. With the rise of the obesity epidemic correlating with the use of artificial sweeteners, studies have been conducted to ascertain whether there is a link. Some theories postulate that sweeteners such as aspartame induce hunger cravings, causing us eat more and therefore gain weight, but results thus far have been contradictory and inconclusive .
 R.G. Bianchi, E.T. Muir, D.L. Cook, E.F. Nutting, J Environ Pathol Toxicol. 1980 Jun-Jul;3(5-6):355-62.  R.B. Lipton, L.C. Newman, J.S. Cohen & S. Solomon, Headache. 1989  S.K. Van den Eeden et al, Neurology. 1994 Oct;44(10):1787-93.  M.E. Bigal & A.V. Krymchantowski, Headache. 2006 Mar;46(3):515-7.  R.P. Sharma & R.A. Coulombe Jr., Food Chem Toxicol. 1987 Aug;25(8):565-8.  R.G. Walton, R. Hudak & R.J. Green-Waite, Biol Psychiatry. 1993 Jul 1-15;34(1-2):13-7.  M.M. Andreatta, S.E. Muñoz, M.J. Lantieri, A.R. Eynard, A. Navarro, Prev Med. 2008 Jul;47(1):136-9. Epub 2008 Apr 8  J. Huff & J. LaDou, Int J Occup Environ Health. 2007 Oct-Dec;13(4):446-8.  M. Abhilash, M.V. Paul, M.V. Varghese, R.H. Nair, Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2010 Nov-Dec;28(6 Suppl 63):S131-3. Epub 2010 Dec 22.  R. Ciappuccini et al., Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2010 Nov-Dec;28(6 Suppl 63):S131-3. Epub 2010 Dec 22.  F. Bellisie & A. Drewnowski, Eur J Clin Nutr. 2007 Jun;61(6):691-700. Epub 2007 Feb 7.
What is the Gonstead Technique?
With numerous chiropractic techniques available, choosing the treatment right for you can be a tough decision. If you’re not an expert, the various techniques can seem confusing, and may complicate your choice in finding the right chiropractor for you. One specific technique frequently seen is the Gonstead technique, named after its founder, Dr. Clarence S. Gonstead, who established the Gonstead Clinic of Chiropractic in Mount Horeb, Wisconsin. But what is the Gonstead technique, and why is it different from other chiropractic methods? Dr. Gonstead discovered that foot and leg pains, which were previously difficult to treat via conventional medicine, responded to chiropractic care, and this led him to further investigate the health benefits behind chiropractic medicine. The body’s foundation is grounded in the pelvic girdle, which consists of the pelvic bones and the lower back. If the girdle is rotated or tilted out of place, along with the vertebrae in the spine, it can result in various health issues. Pressure on disc separation in the vertebrae can cause misalignments in the spine, which can in turn compress and inflames the nerves, thus putting pressure on the nervous system. Generally, most chiropractors detect misalignments in the upper portion of the spiral column, but often relief from these adjustments is limited. The Gonstead technique focuses on the lower portion of the spine, which is frequently the origin of the problem. This treatment restores and maintains health by locating and correcting any interference with the body’s nervous system caused by swelling and misalignment of the vertebrae discs. The Gonstead technique seeks to go beyond the usual treatment offered by most chiropractors, offering a full spinal assessment and analysis with various criteria, in order to determine the location of inflamed or misaligned spinal discs. First, visualization is carried out, in which the doctor examines the patient for any subtle changes in movement and/or posture in the back that could result in potential problems. Instrumentation also plays a key role in the Gonstead technique. A nervoscope detects uneven distributions of heat along the spinal chord, possibly attributed to inflammation or nerve pressure. A chiropractor practicing the Gonstead technique uses a process known as static palpitation –feeling the spine in a stationary position in order to locate areas of swelling, tenderness, and abnormal texture or tightness in the muscles and tissues in the back. The technique of motion palpitation involves feeling the spine while the patient is moving and bending into various positions. In this way the chiropractor can determine how each segment in the spine moves in different directions. The doctor also visualizes the structure of the spine via X-ray analysis, which is helpful to evaluate posture, joint and disc integrity. After the analysis is complete, the necessary adjustments can then be made. The aim is to be as precise, accurate and specific as possible, with focus on the problem areas of inflammation and dislocation.
References:  http://www.gonstead.com/ Accessed September 2011  http://www.chiroaccess.com/Articles/Technique-Summary-Gonstead-Technique.aspx?id=0000128 Accessed September 2011
The risks of heavy metal poisoning are a frequently discussed health concern. Some definitions cite the atomic weight or a specific gravity greater than 4.0 or 5.0, but generally it refers to a group of metals and semi-metals posing a potential risk to humans and the environment – such as lead, mercury and cadmium. A danger of heavy metal toxicity is that its symptoms are commonly misdiagnosed, often as incurable chronic conditions, but if unrecognized and untreated they can lead to severe health problems and even death. In our daily lives, it’s hard to avoid heavy metals entirely.
Contaminated food, mostly fish, can contain traces of heavy metals, as can working environments, direct and passive smoking, mercury fillings and old homes that have used lead-based paint. Poisoning occurs after an excessive build up of heavy metals in the body. Usually these are flushed out via urine or fecal waste, but some people, such those suffering from chronic conditions, cannot excrete them and this results in an accumulation over time. Toxicity also depends on individual factors such as the dose absorbed, exposure, age and route of exposure. There have also been studies that indicate a possible genetic predisposition to heavy metal toxicity
. The usual symptoms associated with heavy metal poisoning can manifest as chronic pain throughout muscles, in the tendons and soft tissues; chronic malaise; ‘brain fog’, meaning when one’s thoughts become clouded; Candida and other chronic infections; gastrointestinal complaints; food allergies; headaches and migraines; dizziness; mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety; and malfunctions in the nervous system, which may result in numbness, tingling, paralysis and/or electric shocks in the body. Recent studies have found that a link may exist between heavy metal poisoning and cardiovascular disease
. Conventional treatment for detoxifying the body can take a long time – up to years in some cases – and many have experienced side effects resulting from heavy metals being stirred up in the body before excretion. Chelation therapy is the most common form of treatment, in which agents bind to heavy metals in the body and are expelled via urine or fecal waste. Medicines commonly used for detoxification include DMSA, prescribed to patients suffering from lead poisoning. DMSA binds with the lead in the body before excretion via urine
; Calcium EDTA is a chelating agent predominantly used against lead, but it can also treat for mild effects against mercury, arsenic and gold poisoning
. Finally, DMPS is a strong chelating agent treating mercury poisoning, with ten times the strength of DMSA. Maintaining a healthy diet can also help prevent and alleviate the symptoms of heavy metal poisoning. This means eating foods high in anti-oxidants; probiotics; cilantro, as anecdotal studies have shown that they may mobilize mercury and other toxic metals
, making it easier for chelating agents to expel them from the body. It is also a good idea to avoid consuming deep-sea fish and shellfish, which may be high in mercury. Exercise can help aid in the release of toxins, since sweating is a natural way to detoxify.
 “Mercury on the Mind,” Miller, Donald Jr. Dr. http://www.lewrockwell.com/miller/miller14.html Accessed September 18, 2011  E.M. Alissa and G.A. Ferns , J Toxicol. 2011;2011:870125. Epub 2011 Sep 8.  “Lead and Your Health”,http://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/assets/docs_f_o/lead-fs.pdf Accessed September 18 2011  “Edetate Calcium Disodium Advanced Consumer Drug Information” http://www.drugs.com/MMX/Edetate_Calcium_Disodium.html Accessed September 18, 2011  “Cilantro: A Common Spice/Herb That Can Save Your Life” http://www.mnwelldir.org/docs/detox/cilantro.htm Accessed September 18 2011
“*Mercury toxicity should be evaluated in any patient with hypertension*, coronary heart disease, cerebral vascular disease, cerebrovascular accident, or other vascular disease.” This was the conclusion of an August 2011 study that appeared in the Journal of Clinical Hypertension.
For those of you lucky enough to not know the term, hypertension is the medical name for high-blood pressure. About one out of every three adults in the United States has high blood pressure(National Center for Health Statistics, 2008) so the odds are that at least one of your parents or grandparents is affected. Or, perhaps it you that has high blood pressure? Either way, this is a study you’ll want to know about since it clearly connects /how/ mercury toxicity (which can be tested for and reduced) can manifest itself as hypertension and other vascular diseases.
Most research studies you hear about on the evening news or popular science programs are full of data and statistics. These types of studies are typically trying to correlate two facts — such as people with higher mercury exposure have greater incidence of heart disease — and may go future to try to establish causation. However, statistical methods don’t ever really settle the causation question. For that we need biochemistry.
Biochemistry is all about understanding the different pathways that nutrients (and toxins) travel in our bodies. This particular study looked at the many internal processes that mercury interferes with in order to establish a biochemical basis for the resulting symptoms- hypertension and coronary heart disease. Here’s what they found.
1. Inactivates many reactions that depend on sulfer-containing enzymes 2. Inactivates many sulfer-containing antioxidants 3. Substitutes itself for zinc, copper and other trace minerals in certain reactions
As a result:
1. Mitochondria — the energy powerhouses of the cell — malfunction 2. The body’s oxidative defenses are diminished increasing oxidative stress and inflammation
Which manifests in the body as:
1. Hypertension (high blood pressure) 2. Coronary heart disease 3. Myocardial infarction (heart attack) 4. Cardiac arrhythmias 5. Atherosclerosis 6. Renal dysfunction, and 7. Proteinuria
Even if you didn’t follow any of the preceding couple paragraphs, you can appreciate the need to ‘connect-the-dots’ between cellular-level processes and downstream diseases. This study connected the dots between high levels of mercury and the many downstream disease states listed. A brilliant piece of work!
So, what should you do if you have hypertension or other types of coronary heart disease? The study authors advise testing for acute or chronic mercury toxicity. Modern mercury toxicity tests are done using urine, blood, hair and toenail samples so they are minimally invasive and results come back fairly quickly.
Houston, M. (2011, August). Role of mercury toxicity in hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and stroke. /Journal of Clinical Hypertension, 13/(8), 621-7.
National Center for Health Statistics. (2008). Retrieved August 12, 2011, from Centers for Disease Control: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus08.pdf
If you are an office worker you probably spend at least six or seven hours a day sitting on the job. Add more time sitting in the car, at dinner and lounging with some late night TV and the total hours of sitting rockets up to somewhere around ten hours.
*When is the last time you thought about how you sit?*
*Probably never or a long, long time ago. *
Promise yourself that you’ll take a critical look at how you sit after you read this article. If you are sitting and reading this online, go ahead and freeze right now and really think about how you are sitting. Compare your sitting position to this checklist:
Proper Sitting Posture Checklist
* Sit with your legs uncrossed with ankles in front of the knees. * Place both feet firmly on the floor. Get yourself a footrest if your feet don’t reach. * Your knees should be lower than your hips and the back of your knees should not touch the seat. * If your chair has an adjustable backrest, move it to support the arch in your low back. If you don’t have a backrest, ask your employer about getting one or invest in it yourself. * Get up and move around every hour. Take a break from sitting even if you cannot stop working. Make a phone call standing up or close your office door and lie down for a few minutes on your stomach. At the very least, shift your sitting position occasionally.
Why Sitting Posture is Important
Good posture is important for long term health and disease prevention just like daily tooth brushing. And, similar to tooth brushing, habits are formed early and can be hard to break later in life.
Good sitting posture reduces the stress and strain on ligaments. Ligaments are responsible for holding the joints together, so ligament stresses can make you prone to joint injuries. Proper posture also reduces muscle fatigue. When muscles are able to work efficiently they use less energy and don’t get tired as easily. Abnormal motions or positions that are repeated over and over again on a daily basis are contributors to degenerative arthritis and joint pain.
Most adults would readily agree that posture is important. Most of that group would also admit that they don’t actively think about posture…it just happens. For the next 30 days, make an effort to really think about your posture and pause a couple times per day to compare your current position to the checklist provided above. It takes about 30 days of focus to break an old habit or develop a new one, so if you concentrate on your sitting posture for 30 days, you’ll be well on your way to a lifetime of better musculoskeletal health.
As always, if you need a recommendation for a good chair or back rest, ask any member of our team.