Understanding Blood Pressure

Normal blood pressure is vital to life, however, blood pressure can become dangerously high and it can also get too low.

What is blood pressure?

Blood pressure is what allows oxygen and nutrients to move through our circulatory systems and is the force that moves it.  It’s an important force     because oxygen and nutrients would not be pushed around our circulatory system to nourish tissues and organs without blood pressure.

Blood pressure is also vital because it delivers white blood cells and antibodies for immunity and hormones such as insulin. Just as important as providing oxygen and nutrients, the fresh blood that gets delivered is able to pick up the toxic waste products of metabolism, including the carbon dioxide we exhale with every breath and the toxins we clear through our liver and kidneys.

Blood itself carries a number of other properties, including its temperature. It also carries one of our defenses against tissue damage, the clotting platelets that prevent blood loss following injury.

But what exactly is it that causes blood to exert a pressure in our arteries?  Part of the answer is simple – the heart creates blood pressure by forcing out blood when it contracts with every heartbeat. Blood pressure, however, cannot be created solely by the pumping heart.

Function

Our circulation is similar to a highly sophisticated form of plumbing – blood has ‘flow’ and arteries are ‘pipes’.’

A basic law of physics gives rise to our blood flow and this law also applies in a garden hose pipe.  Blood flows through our body because of a difference in pressure.

Our blood pressure is highest at the start of its journey from our heart – when it enters the  aorta – and it is lowest at the end of its journey along progressively smaller branches of  arteries. That pressure difference is what causes blood to flow around our bodies. 

Arteries affect blood pressure in a similar way to the physical properties of a garden hose pipe affecting water pressure. Constricting the pipe increases pressure at the point of constriction.

Without the elastic nature of the artery walls, for example, the pressure of the blood would fall away more quickly as it is pumped from the heart.

While the heart creates the maximum pressure, the properties of the arteries are just as important to maintaining it and allowing blood to flow throughout the body.

The condition of the arteries affects blood pressure and flow and narrowing of the arteries can eventually block the supply altogether, leading to dangerous conditions including stroke and heart attack.

Measurement

The device used to measure blood pressure is a sphygmomanometer, it consists of a rubber armband (the cuff that is inflated by hand or machine pump). 

Once the cuff is inflated enough to stop the pulse, a reading is taken, either electronically or on an analogue dial.

The reading is expressed in terms of the pressure it takes to move mercury round a tube against gravity. This is the reason for pressure being measured using the unit millimeters of mercury, abbreviated to mm Hg.

Readings

A stethoscope identifies the precise point when the pulse sound returns and the pressure of the cuff is slowly released. Using the stethoscope enables the person measuring the blood pressure to listen out for two specific points.  Blood pressure readings consist of two figures:

  • systolic pressure is the higher figure caused by the heart’s contraction
  • diastolic pressure is the lower pressure in the arteries, during the brief ‘resting’ period between heartbeats.

The reading is given as, for example, 140 over 90mmHg.

Range

The NHS cite normal blood pressure to be below 120mmHg systolic and 80mmHg diastolic.

As a general guide:

  • ideal blood pressure is considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg
  •  high blood pressure is considered to be 140/90mmHg or higher
  •  low blood pressure is considered to be 90/60mmHg or lower.

However, blood pressure changes naturally and can have marked short term fluctuations   occurring within a 24 hour period eg beat to beat, minute to minute, hour to hour and day to night changes. There can also be long term fluctuations occurring over more prolonged     periods of time, for example days, weeks, months, seasons and even years.

If you have any concerns about your blood pressure, speak with your doctor.

Tips

The guidelines for doctors list the following measures patients can take to help keep a healthy blood pressure:

  • keep a healthy body weight
  • eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables
  • cut down on sodium, or salt, in the diet
  • take regular aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, for at least 30 minutes a day, most days of the week
  • moderate alcohol intake – men should drink fewer than 2 alcoholic beverages a day and women and men with a lower body weight should consume a maximum of one alcoholic drink a day.

Taking these steps can reduce the risk of health problems further down the line.

Check our Instagram and Facebook pages throughout the month for our Top Tips.

equired.

Check our Instagram and Facebook pages throughout the month for our Top Tips for exercises that might help give some relief for TMJ pain.

https://www.instagram.com/thestudiodurhamhouse
https://www.facebook.com/DurhamHouseChiropractic/
https://www.facebook.com/thestudiodurhamhouse/
http://www.durhamhousechiropractic.co.uk/index.htm

New year, new habits, new you

How much do you remember about brushing your teeth? Have you ever found yourself scrolling through Facebook or Instagram again when you only just closed it? We spend up to 50% of our day to day lives  performing automatic behaviours, otherwise known as habits. These habits can be so strong that even when we know if a habit isn’t good for us, the habit still triggers and we catch ourselves performing it anyway. So, what are they, why do we have them and how can we help ourselves make new ones?

What is a habit?

According to British dictionaries, a habit is: ‘A settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.’

‘Something that you do often and regularly, sometimes without knowing that you are doing it.’

Why do we have habits?

Many studies have been performed to look at habits as they are a frequent obstacle to overcome in healthcare. In our brains, a habit can help to reduce how much energy we spend processing the same set of information if we see it often and regularly enough. This is how we go from needing to check directions to get to a new workplace to unconsciously navigating the route without even checking the signs. The diagram here demonstrates the findings of one of these studies. As you can see, once it has recognised the cue, brain activity drops almost in half right up until the end of the habit where it gets the reward. This introduces us to the basic structure of a habit.

Habits all have:

  • A cue, something distinct which then triggers…
  • the routine, the behaviours that we perform in order to get to…
  • the reward, something that satisfies…
  • the initial craving. The stronger the craving, the more likely a habit will be triggered. Therefore a sugary drink will be chosen more easily than choosing to drink water, as water doesn’t   trigger the same sense of craving or reward.

How can we create new habits?

By understanding what forms a habit, we can start to work out how we can make a new one or alter the ones we have already. Each habit must have each part of the cycle in place, repeated often, in order to create the circuit in our brain. For example, it’s easy to say ‘this year I am going to go to the gym more’, attend the gym a few times and then other priorities get in the way .

The easiest way to create a new habit is to add to one that you already do. That way you don’t need to change too much in your day to fit something else in. For example, we brush our teeth twice in the day. Add to that stretching out neck and shoulders either before or after and, over time, it becomes natural for us to stretch whenever we go to brush our teeth.

Sometimes we want to replace a habit completely, for example snacking on unhealthy foods.

This can be tough because, once we have created a habit in our brain, it can’t be erased. However, knowing what makes up our habit cycle allows us to change it into a different habit.

The key is to keep the cue, reward and craving all the same whilst changing the routine to something that still satisfies that loop. For example, changing our snack food for something healthier that still satisfies us and keeps us full. In  order to help the new habit to form and settle in, we need to put energy into sticking to it over a period of time. Each time we go through the cycle, the circuit we are forming in the brain becomes stronger. Other ways to help can include having an accountability partner or logging your habits in a notebook tracker.

So, to summarise:

  • Habits are automatic behaviours we use to save energy for our brains.
  • A habit is made up of a cue, a routine, a reward and a craving.
  • In order to change a habit we must keep the cycle the same and change the routine.

Here are some ideas for habits to include in your day:

  • Think of 3 gratitudes, something you are grateful for, each day.
  • Getting up from your desk once an hour to help your joints.
  • Drink more water in the day.
  • Spend 15 minutes a day reading a book.
  • Compliment someone every day.

Check our Instagram and Facebook pages throughout the month for our Top Tips for exercises on the subject

https://www.instagram.com/thestudiodurhamhouse/
https://www.facebook.com/DurhamHouseChiropractic/
https://www.facebook.com/thestudiodurhamhouse/
http://www.durhamhousechiropractic.co.uk/index.htm

All pictures from Power of Habits by Charles Duhigg

TMJ

Let’s talk this over !

TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint and refers to your jaw. It consists of a lower and upper part, on each side, that articulate together and are separated by a disc.

The anatomy of the jaw is such that the lower part or mandible has a condyle that rests in the socket of the upper part of the jaw, which is the temporal bone and is part of the skull.

There are two main movements of the TMJ – a hinging action that is then immediately followed by a forward gliding motion which is facilitated by the intra-articular disc. The correct movement of the jaw is important for normal function and helps to keep people pain free.

This is quite a vulnerable joint and can create problems for people. It’s one of the most frequently used joints and can be overlooked when being examined for certain issues, such as headaches. It’s estimated that the temporomandibular joint is used between 1,500 – 2,000 times a day during  activities such as chewing, talking, swallowing, yawning and snoring.

When a clinician is assessing someone’s jaw, first they will start by taking a history and asking  questions. By doing this they are hoping to narrow down the possible pain generating tissue.

The TMJ can cause multiple issues. The most obvious might be direct jaw pain or restricted  movement but issues such as headaches can be less obviously associated with the jaw.

Other jaw issues are:

  • ear ache
  • lock jaw
  • tinnitus
  • clicking or grinding sounds
  • bruxism (grinding of the teeth or clenching the jaw)
  • nerve irritation and resultant nerve pain.

The clinician will inspect the jaw by looking at the movement as you open and close your mouth. Primarily they are looking for asymmetry such as that depicted below (jaw span), a bony and soft tissue palpation, where they feel the joint and, as it moves, try to determine any bio-mechanical problem. There is some simple muscle testing and a few neurological tests that may be performed too.

If a problem is found then some treatments can be offered by your chiropractor, but others may  require a dentist or doctor.

There are a wide range of management options, from manual treatments to home treatments,  including ice or heat, jaw exercises / stretches, muscle relaxation techniques, medication and mouth guards.

Possible issues

Some issues we see are muscle tightness which can cause asymmetrical movement of the jaw, pain and referred pain.

There are 4 muscles of mastication (chewing) that move the jaw; the temporal muscle, medial and lateral pterygoids (found inside the mouth) and the largest, the masseter. If these get tight and tense they build up with toxins and become painful. If very painful, they can refer pain.

Bruxism is a common issue and is characterised by jaw clenching and teeth grinding. This is often done unconsciously and can be caused by emotional stress. Physically it can result in muscle tightness which can be treated by a manual therapist and also with a mouth guard from the dentist. A mouth guard can help off load pressure from the jaw and protect the enamel on your teeth. If the main cause is possibly psychological, then relaxation techniques and regular stretching is a good  approach to manage this.

Intra-articular disc issues can be very painful and can be more complicated. The disc can become displaced or can degenerate which can alter the smooth movement of the jaw.

If simple treatments are not helping then sometimes surgery is required. Before this is considered though, a full consultation with a doctor is required.

Check our Instagram and Facebook pages throughout the month for our Top Tips for exercises that might help give some relief for TMJ pain.

https://www.instagram.com/thestudiodurhamhouse/

https://www.facebook.com/DurhamHouseChiropractic/

https://www.facebook.com/thestudiodurhamhouse/

http://www.durhamhousechiropractic.co.uk/index.htm

Porous bones

Osteoporosis is a condition where your bones become less dense and  therefore weaker as the mineral density drops below the normal level for your age.

Normally your bone density increases until about age 20 and stays the same until age 35.  From there on everyone’s bones starts to slowly become less dense.  If someone loses their bone density they have a greater risk of fractures, even with minimal trauma.

Who gets osteoporosis?

Some people lose their bone density faster than others. Generally women are more prone to osteoporosis than men because of hormone changes in menopause.  Other risk factors are:

  • family history of osteoporosis
  • previous eating disorders such as anorexia
  • digestion disorders such as Crohn’s
  • long term steroid use for example for asthma conditions
  • heavy drinking or smoking
  • long term bed rest.

Menopause and osteoporosis

When women hit menopause the body slows down the production of the hormone oestrogen. Oestrogen helps to keep your bone density high. Women who hit menopause early have a greater risk of osteoporosis. Taking HRT (hormone replacement therapy) can help to prevent osteoporosis, however, the effect only tends to last whilst you’re taking it.

Prevention

Genetic factors play a significant role in determining whether an individual is at heightened risk of osteoporosis. However, lifestyle factors such as diet and physical activity also influence bone development in youth and the rate of bone loss later in life.

After your mid 20’s, bone thinning is a natural process and cannot be completely stopped. The thicker your bones, the less likely they are to become thin enough to break. Young women in particular need to be aware of their osteoporosis risk and take steps to slow its progress and prevent fractures.

Childhood and adolescence

It’s never too early to invest in bone health! The prevention of osteoporosis begins with  optimal bone growth and development in youth.  Bones are living tissue and the skeleton grows continually from birth to the end of the teenage years, reaching a maximum strength and size (peak bone mass) in early adulthood, around the mid 20’s.

Children and adolescents should:

  • ensure a nutritious diet with adequate calcium intake – our bones are made of it
  • avoid protein malnutrition and under nutrition
  • maintain an  adequate supply of vitamin D. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium. It can be hard to get all the vitamin D you need from food, especially if you have a  vegetarian or vegan diet. You can get vitamin D from being out in the sun, however, in the winter months it can be useful to take supplements if you know you might be at risk of vitamin D deficiency
  • participate in regular physical activity
  • avoid the effects of second hand smoking.

Adulthood

Bone mass acquired during youth is an important determinant of the risk of osteoporotic  fracture during later life. The higher the peak bone mass, the lower the risk of osteoporosis.  Once peak bone mass has been reached, it’s maintained by a process called remodelling. This is a continuous process in which old bone is removed (resorption) and new bone is created (formation). The renewal of bone is responsible for bone strength throughout life.

During childhood and the beginning of adulthood, bone formation is more important than bone resorption. Later in life, however, the rate of bone resorption is greater than the rate of bone formation and results in net bone loss, a thinning of your bones.

Any factor which causes a higher rate of bone remodelling will ultimately lead to a more rapid loss of bone mass and more fragile bones. The nutritional and lifestyle advice for building strong bones in youth is just as applicable to adults to.

Adults should also :

  • ensure a nutritious diet and adequate calcium intake and supply of vitamin D
  • avoid under nutrition, particularly the effects of severe weight loss diets and eating disorders
  • participate in regular weight bearing activity
  • avoid smoking and second hand smoking
  • avoid heavy drinking.

Diagnosis

Because bone loss is gradual and painless, there are usually no symptoms to indicate a person is developing osteoporosis. This is why osteoporosis is often referred to as the silent disease. Often the first symptom of osteoporosis is a fracture. Most commonly, osteoporotic fractures occur at the spine, the wrist or the hip, although osteoporotic fractures can occur in other bones as well.

While most limb fractures (such as at the wrist or hip) are obvious, spinal fractures can be more difficult to diagnose. This is because they might be painless or, if there is pain, a person may not know it is caused by a fracture due to the many different causes of back pain.  More obvious signs of spinal fractures are:

  • loss of height
  • development of a curved upper back (sometimes called a Dowager’s Hump).

Since there are usually no outward signs of osteoporosis developing, doctors will often recommend diagnostic testing depending on your age and if you have other risk factors for the disease.

Living with osteoporosis doesn’t have to be a life sentence. There are medications and lifestyle changes available to help you manage your osteoporosis. These can allow you to enjoy an active lifestyle.  In our Top Tips article we talk about exercise and activity for osteoporosis and throughout this month we will be looking at some weight bearing and weight training exercises for all.

 Exercising is important for your body to keep its bone density and    encourage a demand for stronger bones.  It’s also good for your heart!

Yoga & Sleep

Yoga & Sleep

Poor sleep quality has been associated with obesity, high blood pressure and depression, among other disorders.

Studies show that incorporating yoga into your routine could help promote better sleep.

In a 2005 study, 69 elderly patients were assigned to either practice yoga, take an herbal preparation or be part of the control group.
The yoga group fell asleep faster, slept longer and felt more well-rested in the morning than the other groups.

Another study looked at the effects of yoga on sleep in patients with lymphoma. They found that it decreased sleep disturbances, improved sleep quality and duration and reduced the need for sleep medications.

Though the way it works is not clear, yoga has been shown to increase the secretion of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep and wakefulness.

Yoga also has a significant effect on anxiety, depression, chronic pain and stress — all common contributors to sleep problems.

Nutrition for Pilates

Most Pilates practitioners understand that Pilates is a lifestyle and not just an exercise routine, and proper nutrition is one of the best ways to invigorate this lifestyle. Today we explore a few nutritional tips which can support your Pilates practice (and exercise in general).

Stay Hydrated

Good hydration provides maximum flexibility, so you get the most out of your Pilates routine. And, since so many cellular chemical reactions are water-based, especially in the muscles, proper hydration boosts strength and endurance, so you can squeeze an extra few minutes out of each Pilates session. That little extra effort often makes a significant difference in how you look and feel.

The water you drink way before you come to class is the water your body will use for cooling and to maintain your blood pressure in class. Coming to class dehydrated can even make you feel dizzy or nauseated.

Hydration for the class you’re going to take can even start the night before. Drink in the morning or throughout the day before you come to class and you’re sure to feel on top of your game.

Boost Protein Intake

It is no secret that your core and your stomach are going to get seriously worked.  Therefore you need to have a solid nutritional base when undertaking regular Pilates. Stick to lots of protein and fresh fruit and vegetables to give yourself the best choice.

Protein is slow-digesting energy that supports the endurance for Pilates workouts. Proteins also create a feeling of fullness, so adjust your eating/workout schedule accordingly.

Protein is slow-digesting energy that supports the endurance for Pilates workouts, and aids muscle and tissue repair following an intense workout. Proteins also create a feeling of fullness, so adjust your eating/workout schedule accordingly.

Pilates is a wonderful way to enhance your life both physically and emotionally. The more you can do to optimize your Pilates workout, the better results you’ll see. By making these few nutritional changes, you can truly take your Pilates routine to the next level.

To find out more about Pilates visit our website thestudio@durhamhousechiropractic.co.uk.

The Studio Durham House Blog | Exercise and Holistic Health

Yoga at Durham House

There are vast amounts of literature available that discuss the benefits of exercise on everything from your physical, emotional, spiritual and intellectual health.  At The Studio Durham House we offer a range of weekly group classes; including yoga, flexicore, pilates and barre, as well as regular workshops and courses that can support one or more pillars of
your overall holistic health.

In today’s blog we look at the key benefits of taking part in regular group exercise on your health and well-being.

Group training for mental health. 

As far back as the early 80’s scholars were looking at the benefit of physical activity on mental health. Researchers  Folkins & Sime  found that physical fitness training leads to improved mood, self-concept, and work behaviour; whilst the evidence was less clear as to its effects on cognitive functioning, although it does appear to bolster cognitive performance
during and after physical stress. Further research in the mid 80’s by Barre-Taylor, Sallis & Needle suggested that physical activity and exercise probably alleviates some symptoms associated with mild to moderate depression.

Nowadays many organisations promote the benefits of regular exercise on our sense of self, ability to function well individually or in relationships, deal with the ups and downs of life, cope with challenges and making the most of opportunities. Regular exercise has been suggested to give us control and freedom over our lives and give us a sense of purpose and value, which is turn connects us to our community and surroundings.

Exercise and physical health.

In addition to the benefits of exercise on mental health, exercise and physical health are extremely well documented. Exercise, play and sport all constitute physical activity and all have a part to play in your physical health. This can include the management of body composition, the ability to move correctly, and being in control of your body. Furthermore, the exercise has been found to combat health conditions and diseases.

Researchers suggest that no matter what your current weight is, being active boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the “good” cholesterol, and it decreases unhealthy triglycerides. This one-two punch keeps your blood flowing smoothly, which decreases your risk of cardiovascular diseases. Regular exercise helps prevent or manage many health problems and concerns, including, strokes, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and arthritis.

Exercise and intellectual health

Firstly, when you are describing intellectual health you are referring to having the ability to use the resources available to expand one’s knowledge, improve one’s skills, and create potential for sharing with others.

Countless studies have shown that regular physical activity and fine-tuned motor skills benefit cognitive function beginning in infancy and continuing through every stage of our lives.

Neuroscientists have known for decades that brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is released during aerobic exercise and stimulates neurogenesis (the growth of new neurons).

This provides you with a much needed boost for the brain regardless of your age or when you start.

Exercise and spiritual health

Finally, despite less scientific research that is available, many individuals and organisations suggest a positive correlation between physical activity and spiritual health. Basic improvements like promoting mindfulness and improving your relationships, it has also been found to make you more sociable and heighten your intuition.  These can be especially prevalent in a group training environment like the one available at the Studio Durham House.

In summary

So, to summarise, any form of activity, be it running, yoga, weight training has been found through research to provide a positive effect on all aspects of your overall holistic health and, no matter who you are, it is not too late to start.

Durham House Chiropractic Blog | Giving pain the elbow

Earlier this month we discussed two common conditions associated with the elbow. In today’s blog we look at some stretching and strengthening exercises you can try yourself at home.

STRETCHING EXERCISES for both golfer’s elbow and tennis elbow

Wrist active range of motion, flexion and extension:

Bend the wrist of your injured arm forward and back as far as you can. Do 2 sets of 15.

 

Wrist stretch: Press the back of the hand on your injured side with your other hand to help bend your wrist. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Next, stretch the hand back by pressing the fingers in a backward direction. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Keep the arm on your injured side straight during this exercise. Do 3 sets.

Forearm pronation and supination: Bend the elbow of your injured arm 90 degrees, keeping your elbow at your side. Turn your palm up and hold for 5 seconds. Then slowly turn your palm down and hold for 5 seconds. Make sure you keep your elbow at your side and bent 90 degrees while you do the exercise. Do 2 sets of 15.

For tennis elbow specifically

Active elbow flexion and extension:  Gently bring the palm of the hand on your injured side up toward your shoulder, bending your elbow as much as you can. Then straighten your elbow as far as you can. Repeat 15 times. Do 2 sets of 15.

You can do the strengthening exercises when stretching is nearly painless.

STRENGTHENING EXERCISES for both golfer’s elbow and tennis elbow

Eccentric wrist flexion: Hold a can, bottle or hammer handle in the hand of your injured side with your palm up. Use the hand on the side that is not injured to bend your wrist up. Then let go of your wrist and use just your injured side to lower the weight slowly back to the starting position. Do 3 sets of 15. Gradually increase the weight you are holding.

Eccentric wrist extension: Hold a can, bottle or hammer handle in the hand of your injured side with your palm facing down. Use the hand on the side that is not injured to bend your wrist up. Then let go of your wrist and use just your injured side to lower the weight slowly back to the starting position. Do 3 sets of one and gradually increase the weight you are holding.

Forearm pronation and supination strengthening:

Hold a can, bottle or hammer handle in your hand and bend your elbow 90 degrees. Slowly turn your hand so your palm is up and then down. Do 2 sets of 15.

For tennis elbow specifically

Wrist radial deviation strengthening:  Put your wrist in the sideways position with your thumb up. Hold a can, bottle or a hammer handle and gently bend your wrist up. Do not move your forearm throughout this exercise. Do 2 sets of 15.

 

Wrist exension with broom handle:  Stand up and hold a broom handle in both hands. With your arms at shoulder level, elbows straight and palms down, roll the broom handle backward in your hand. Do 2 sets of 15.

For Golfers Elbow Specifically

Grip strengthening:  Squeeze a soft rubber ball and hold the squeeze for 5 seconds. Do 2 sets of 15.

 

 

Resisted elbow flexion and extension: Hold a can of soup with your palm up. Slowly bend your elbow so that your hand is coming toward your shoulder. Then lower it slowly so your arm is completely straight. Do 2 sets of 15. Slowly increase the weight you are using.

 

If despite these exercises you are still experiencing pain. Contact one of our team on either fleet@durhamhousechiropractic.co.uk or farnham@durhamhousechiropractic.co.uk

The Studio Durham House Blog | Bridge Pose

Bridge Pose — Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (SAY-too BAHN-duh shar-vahn-GAHS-uh-na) — is a beginning backbend that helps to open the chest and stretch the thighs. When you’re in the pose, your arms and legs create a “locked bridge” with your body. This pose can be used as preparation for deeper backbends or practiced with a block as a restorative pose.

Bridge Pose opens the chest, heart, and shoulders. It stretches the spine, the back of the neck, the thighs, and the hip flexors (front hip joints). Because your heart is higher than your head in this pose, it is considered a mild inversion (less strenuous than other inversions, such as Headstand) and holds all the benefits of inversions: Relief from stress, fatigue, anxiety, headaches, insomnia, and mild depression.

Bridge Pose also calms the mind and is known to be therapeutic for individuals with high blood pressure. Because it opens the chest, it increases lung capacity, which is therapeutic for those with asthma.

Bridge Pose also stimulates the abdominal organs and thyroid glands, which improves digestion and helps to regulate metabolism. Because it revitalizes the legs and stretches the shoulders, it can be a particularly rejuvenating pose for those who spend the day sitting in front of a computer or driving.

Do not perform this pose if you have a neck or shoulder injury. Always work within your own range of limits and abilities. If you have any medical concerns, talk with your doctor before practicing yoga.

Instructions

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Extend your arms along the floor, palms flat.
  • Press your feet and arms firmly into the floor. Exhale as you lift your hips toward the ceiling.
  • Draw your tailbone toward your pubic bone, holding your buttocks off the floor. Do not squeeze your glutes or flex your buttocks.
  • Roll your shoulders back and underneath your body. Clasp your hands and extend your arms along the floor beneath your pelvis. Straighten your arms as much as possible, pressing your forearms into the mat. Reach your knuckles toward your heels.
  • Keep your thighs and feet parallel — do not roll to the outer edges of your feet or let your knees drop together. Press your weight evenly across all four corners of both feet. Lengthen your tailbone toward the backs of your knees.
  • Hold for up to one minute. To release, unclasp your hands and place them palms-down alongside your body. Exhale as you slowly roll your spine along the floor, vertebra by vertebra. Allow your knees to drop together.

If you’re having trouble keeping your hips lifted or to create a restorative version of the pose, place a block or bolster under your sacrum — the spot on your lower back directly above your tailbone — to support your pelvis. Allow your weight to rest on the block.

If your shoulders are very tight, keep your hands alongside the body with your palms pressing into the mat rather than clasping your hands beneath your torso.

When you are in the full version of the pose, do not force your shoulders away from your ears by tugging too hard or turn your head to the right or left when you’re in the pose. Doing so can cause neck injury.

Keep your shoulder blades drawn together as you extend your arms beneath your torso.

 To find out more about Yoga at the Studio Durham House Farnham, click here

The Studio Durham House Blog | The Benefit of BARRE on the prevention and rehabilitation back injuries

BARRE Pilates

Whether you are trying to prevent lower back injuries or recover from a recent injury, regular practice of the BARRE concept method has many benefits that work alongside regular chiropractic or sports massage.

Barre-based fitness classes have risen in popularity over the past few years due to the positive feelings many of our members experience, as well as the results. The best part is, you do not need to be a prima ballerina to discover the benefits.

What is BARRE Pilates?

BARRE

Barre fitness is a hybrid workout class – combining ballet-inspired moves with elements of Pilates, dance, yoga and strength training. Most classes incorporate a ballet barre and use classic dance moves such as plies, alongside static stretches. Barre also focuses on high reps of small range movements.

But the real difference between barre and other workouts are the isometric movements you usually perform – holding your body still while you contract specific muscles, until you shake and feel the burn! Many barre classes can also be modified so they are a safe workout option for pre or post-natal clients. Barre workouts are also a good cross-training option to pair with other exercise like running, weightlifting or cycling, because they strengthen the muscles needed for these exercises without being too stressful on the body.

How does BARRE support your back?

Firstly, if you are trying to prevent lower back injury, regular attendance at BARRE can have a huge impact on your core strength. Core exercises train the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen to work in harmony. In addition, the barre method also offers quick results. Barre helps strengthen and tone your muscles without increasing bulk, and it improves your posture. It also increases cardiovascular endurance and metabolism, which helps to quickly burn calories.

BARRE for injury rehabilitation

The most common issue that clients come in with is back pain that usually stems from weak core muscles and hours spent sitting at the computer. As you strengthen your core, you will notice that you can sit and stand taller and your lower back will take less stress and tension throughout the day.

In addition, if you are recovering from back injury, BARRE can be a nice step from guided physiotherapy or chiropractic to help fully rehabilitate you from your injury. The use of some equipment helps support the back while you are exercising, and this helps loosen and work the muscles in a safe, controlled way.  Regular attendance can increase your core stability and increase your flexibility.