Meditation

MEDITATION OFFERS THE IDEAL COUNTER-BALANCE TO THE MAN-MADE STRESSORS OF THE MODERN WORLD

Article: Meditation as a Voluntary Hypometabolic State of Biological Estivation.

I first came across the linked article by John Ding-E Young and Eugene Taylor (News Physiol. Sci. • Volume 13 • June 1998) in 1999 via a university physiology lecturer whilst completing second degree, a Bachelor of Health Science, majoring in naturopathy. It really made a huge impact on me.

I had been meditating on and off for many years, since being introduced to it and yoga in my teens, and had always found it to be a deeply profound and potent practice for not only achieving fantastic health and performance outcomes, but also sense of calm, focus and flow in my day to day life. It felt so good.

However, as most meditators will attest from their experiences, my practice had always been sporadic, which frustrated me a lot. It was the first thing I recommenced when I felt down or not well, or life had got on top of me, and was always the best cure for all of these. Yet, as soon as I stated to feel well again, or in control, it was the first thing I dropped from my routine. Yet I knew how good it was for me and how much better I felt internally (both physically and psychologically) whenever I practiced it; and especially when I had a consistent regular practice.

When I saw in this article from ‘creditable’ western scientists in a ‘credible’ western publication on what was being observed and measured in many ‘advanced’ meditators, I was really shocked. I had read about these so-called physically and physiologically impossible phenomenon in books about holy men in India and Tibet, but to read about it so clearly, and validly measured in a western scientific publication really brought it to my attention. I felt a sense of guilt and disappointment that I had not meditated more often and more consistently. It had felt like I had a golden opportunity for, or the keys to the door to freedom and limitlessness, yet I had turned my back on it.

Using a swimming analogy, if this is what the Ian Thorpe or Michael Phelps of the meditating world can achieve, then there is still scope for there to be so much benefit for the average ‘lap swimmer’ of the meditation world.

I will say that this article shocked me into action, and I began a consistent practice of meditation for several years, including spending time living in an ashram in Melbourne whilst I was completing my studies. It began a profound period of internal growth that changed my body physically and helped me release many out-dated, negative self-limiting patterns. Whilst it did involve hard work, discipline, and often sitting through some very unpleasant times (as the old emotional layers and patterns peeled away), the reward was a physical robustness that I had never before felt, and a deep sense of mental and emotional sweetness that I have been deeply grateful for ever since.

The process is an ongoing evolution, and I was by no means living in permanent peace and bliss as a result, but I did feel very well physically most of the time, and know I only had to turn inwards to experience the sweetness again and again. And to come from having been very ill for a long time with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), and very frustrated and miserable internally,  a couple of years earlier, I felt very, very grateful – like I had escaped a very dire future.

Below, in italics, is an excerpt from the article that I hope shocks you enough for you to pay more attention to the potent and profound benefits of meditation on health, well-being and performance. Especially, given many of the people who find my website, read my blogs and come to me for treatment, have similar experiences to my past, where they suffer from chronic illnesses such as Chronic Fatigue Sydrome (CFS), Fibromyalgia, IBS, Anxiety/Depression and feel helpless, misunderstood and miserable.

“In a different study done in a more naturalistic setting on a different adept, Yogi Satyamurti (70 yr of age) remained confined in a small underground pit, sealed from the top, for 8 days. He was physically restricted by recording wires, during which time electrocardiogram (ECG) results showed his heart rate to be below the measurable sensitivity of the recording instruments (see Fig. 1). News Physiol. Sci. • Volume 13 • June 1998 151 “Hypometabolism is markedly increased in the advanced meditator. . . .” by 10.220.32.246 on November 6, 2017 http://physiologyonline.physiology.org/ Downloaded from

The point is that deep relaxation appears to be the entryway into meditation, but in advanced stages refined control over involuntary processes becomes possible, in which systems can be either activated or inactivated. From the practitioner’s standpoint, in a purely naturalistic setting, this is achieved through mastery of a particular technique that is understood in the context of a specific philosophical school of thought, usually communicated under the supervision of a meditation teacher……………. During his 8-day stay in an underground pit, Yogi Satyamurti exhibited a marked tachycardia of 250 beats/min for the first 29 h of his stay. Thereafter, for the next 6.5 days, the ECG complexes were replaced by an isoelectric line, showing no heartbeat whatsoever (see Fig. 1). The experimenters at first thought he had died. Then, 0.5 h before the experiment was due to end on the 8th day, the ECG resumed, recording normal heart rate activity. Satyamurti also exhibited other behaviors similar to hibernating organisms. One of the most economical methods of preserving energy during hibernation requires animals to bring their body temperature down to that of the surrounding environment. Satyamurti, brought out of the pit on the 8th day, cold and shivering, showed a body temperature approximately equal to that maintained in the pit, namely, 34.8°C.”

Finally, the authors of the article have postulated that the evolutionary significance of meditation, the authors have associated meditation physiologically with processes such as hibernation and estivation, and have suggested it to be the re-acquisition of a very old adaptive mechanism.

When we consider the evolutionary significance of the hibernating and estivating response, the most obvious benefits include conservation of energy and adaptive survival in harsh environments where the weather is bad and the food and water supplies are not always available year round.

Similarly, now, instead of being merely reactive to environmental variables, such as temperature change or lack of food, human beings must be trained to re-enter this conservative and restorative state, but as a voluntary act of will in response to the increasing and unpredictable stresses of man-made environments.

Based on the research, breathing and meditation clearly appears to offer a brilliant adaptive advantage to mismatch we have created between the body we have inherited (from our hunter-gatherer ancestors) and the largely artificial, highly stressful world we have created. Without it, our bodies are poorly adapted to cope.

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/67ec/32b0d49be7fe6b4137c064dbe43d81b65cc9.pdf

 

 

tims detox2

Fasting Testimonial

Another Fasting Success Story

The following quote came to me as a text message less than a week after she started a program combining intermittent fasting with blood sugar regulation.

“I FEEL AMAZING. I woke up after my fast day and my skin is glowing and I have so much motivation and energy. Oh my goodness, I’ve never felt this good.”

This is from an 18 year old woman who was struggling with depression, weight gain, poor energy and her skin had really broken out in rashes and pimples.
She had experienced skin reactions to certain foods (particularly dairy) for most of her life.                                                                    Unfortunately, her diet was poor, so she failed to regulate blood sugar levels (as she had never learned how to do so) and, as such, she craved processed foods and sugar – many of which were exacerbating her intolerances, poor skin, lack of energy and depression.

So, we introduced intermittent fasting in combination with regulating her blood sugar levels (during non-fasting periods) as a way of changing her eating habits, creating permanent weight loss, and allowing her body to regulate rest and cleanse itself internally.

I am also monitoring her body composition, inflammation levels and energy production via bio-impedance testing. It was clear on the initial test that, whilst she carries too much body fat, her muscle mass is also quite deficient (which will ultimately mean that it will be harder for her to burn fat, and have consistent energy levels). So we also recommended that she do regular resistance training along with regular protein in her diet to improve muscle mass.

From the above, it seems that it is ‘so far, so good’.

I saw her a week later and her skin is much clearer, she had lost fat, her energy was great, her disposition much brighter, and her attitude was much more positive.  As is so often the case, her body responded extremely well to her regular short one day (or 36 hour) fast, combined with keeping blood sugar levels regular, and some minor fasts during the week (akin to the 16:8 program).

She is not clear yet. These are only the early stages, However, the changes we have made have stimulated the necessary internal improvements we are seeking. Persistence and consistency will be required to continue these improvements, and maintain them long term.

But, for now, it is great that she feels so positive, and that her skin and weight have responded so well.

 

The Story of the Human Body

Evolutionary Biology and Mismatch Diseases

The Story of the Human Body – Evolution, Health and Disease.

Evolutionary biologist, Daniel Lieberman in his book ‘The Story of the Human Body’ suggested that medicine could benefit from a dose of evolution. Whilst evolution may appear irrelevant to medicine at first glance, our body is not engineered like a car; rather it evolved over time with modification. It therefore follows that knowing your body’s evolutionary history helps us understand why your body looks and works as it does, hence why you get sick.

Although scientific fields such as physiology and biochemistry can help us understand the proximate mechanisms that underlie a disease, evolutionary medicine helps us make sense of why the disease occurs in the first place.

Over time, natural selection adapts (matches) organisms to particular environmental conditions and this process occurs over tens of thousands of years. Research suggested that it takes 40,000 to 100,000 years for an environmental change to assimilated (genetically) by the body.

However, as innovation has accelerated, initially since farming began (approximately 2,000 to 10,000 years ago), and especially over the last few hundred years as a result of the industrial and technological revolutions, we have devised or adopted a growing list of novel cultural practices that have conflicting effects on our bodies. Many of these cultural changes have altered interactions between our genes and our environments in ways that contribute to a wide range of health problems known as mismatch diseases – which are defined as diseases that result from our Paleolithic bodies being poorly or inadequately adapted to certain modern behaviours and conditions.

Most mismatch diseases occur when a common stimulus either increases or decreases beyond levels for which the body is adapted, or when the body is not adapted for it at all. Moreover a common characteristic of these diseases, is that they occur from interactions whose cause and effect are not immediate or otherwise obvious. And most of these mismatch diseases are ailments that, as far as we can tell, were rare in our Paleolithic ancestors.

In other words, we get sick because we do what we evolved to do in an environment to which we have not adapted, and then pass these habits and illnesses onto future generations, who also get sick..

Hypothesised mismatch diseases account for a vast majority of deaths in the modern Western World. These are the chronic, insidious onset ailments that include heart disease, cancers (some), stroke, diabetes (Type II), obesity, chronic  respiratory conditions, cavities, apnoea, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, ADHD, depression, anxiety, insomnia, IBS/Crohn’s disease, OCD, hypertension Alzheimer’s disease to name a few.

Following this understanding, it makes sense that in preventing and treating these mismatch diseases, we apply what is understood of how we lived and therefore, how our bodies are structured to function ideally.

The aspects of living that most impact our health include:

  • Nutrition
  • How we move and stabilise
  • Breathing
  • Sleep
  • How we think and emote – which influences how we process stress (which subsequently affects all other aspects of living).

This is the primary influence or core philosophy in my approach to treatment and prevention of disease, performance and optimal living. Using what understanding we have of how we performed these aspects of living as we were evolving and applying this in an approach to treatment or living can yield outstanding and life changing results. And, over time, it reduces or eliminates the need or reliance on synthetic or artificial medicines.

Further, the use of accurate and reliable biofeedback to provide information on the efficiency that one is achieving in performing these aspects of living, makes learning much easier and more rapid.

Finally, the use of pure extracts as medicines and supplements, where necessary, provide the perfect balance. As opposed to manufactures and synthetic, or new to nature, pharmaceuticals and supplements, pure extract herbs and nutritional medicines exist in the form that our bodies were exposed to them over millions of years and are therefore far more easily assimilated, or are more bio-available than artificial chemicals and lead to no side effects as a result.

Modalities used to bring about recoveries from these chronic illnesses include:

  1. Mickel Therapy – which addresses imbalance at higher levels – specifically, the hypothalamus which regulates all automatic functions, endocrine function, immune, cognitive function, sleep cycles, neurotransmitters etc.
  2. Nutritional medicine
  3. Breathing retraining
  4. Therapeutic fasting
  5. Herbal medicine

The more we begin to understand how nature has adapted us to live and living our lives in accord with this, and using foods and medicines provided to us by nature throughout our evolutionary history, the more we will shift the focus of medicine from treatment to prevention and optimal living.

Fibromyalgia Warrior

Research Now Starting To Support Cure For Fibromyalgia Pain

 New pain study offers hope for Lady Gaga, others with fibromyalgia.

I love the article linked below as it outlines that research and evidence is starting to support the approach of sourcing the cure to chronic pain and fatigue, and ailments such as fibromyalgia, CFS, ME, IBS, anxiety/depression etc. at higher levels in the body (specifically the brain) rather than at the site of symptoms. or other areas of the body.

A couple of excerpts from the article outline this approach, which appears strikingly similar to the approach used in Mickel Therapy.

“We know there are two things that trigger pain neuropathways. One is tissue damage and the other is emotions that activate the exact same pain processes in the brain as physical injury,” he told PhillyVoice.

Schubiner says that pain is always caused by one of these two things or a combination of both. But, since there is usually no tissue damage involved in fibromyalgia, dealing with emotions that trigger what he calls the brain’s “danger-alarm mechanism” is often the only effective way to relieve the pain, especially when other physical, pharmaceutical, and even psychological interventions have failed, as they often do. The ineffectiveness of these treatments is on full display in “Five Foot Two.” Lady Gaga, a celebrity millionaire with infinite conventional and alternative treatment modalities at her disposal, is still in constant pain.

A new wave of pain researchers like Schubiner believe many people’s physical pain is due to the way we’re conditioned to think about our emotions.

“To be good people, we suppress our emotions. We’re taught to think that anger is bad, but it’s actually a very healthy protective mechanism,” Schubiner said. “It’s only bad to act out of anger in real life. But it’s actually therapeutic to allow those feelings to be experienced and processed.”

It goes beyond how we acknowledge, process and express emotions such as anger, fear, sadness, guilt, frustration, disappointment etc. Emotions such as lack of fulfillment, boredom, overwhelm, loneliness etc. actually look at how we live on a day to day level and create balance.

As a result of conditioning from our society (as to our roles, expectations etc.), or in the name of some mental objective or pursuit, many people ignore emotional and physical signals from the body about meeting their needs, asking for help, creating day to day balance, experiencing joy in their life, and suppress these vital messages. The result being that they suppress stress and go into internal overdrive permanently – it is like the body is running a permanent, internal, physiological, neurological and biochemical marathon. No wonder we end up exhausted and in pain.

So, the Mickel approach, and it seems Dr Schubiner’s, sees pain and fatigue etc. as stuck or suppressed energy (emotions), rather than lack of it. Taking the paradigm to shift this stuck energy yields surprising and extremely potent results.

I especially love Dr Schubiner’s quote at the end of the article. It pretty much sums up what Dr Mickel has experienced with his technique, and my experience of people asking about Mickel Therapy, and of client’s responses when they are first introduced to it.

“When people first hear these ideas, they usually react with disbelief and rejection. It requires a certain open-mindedness, courage – and desperation, clearly – because it is really hard for some people to question authority,” he says. “They have been told by so many doctors that their pain is either caused by injury or else it isn’t real, and the more they hear this, the worse the pain becomes.”

Schubiner says it’s only a matter of time before this new pain paradigm is accepted totally by mainstream medicine. He emphasized the history of once “radical” ideas that are now common practice.

I look forward to that day as I have seen so many fantastic and complete recoveries from fibromyalgia, CFS, ME, IBS, anxiety and depression, auto-immune conditions and many other chronic conditions using the similar approach to this via Mickel Therapy, yet it remains a fringe treatment. I guess because it involves such a paradigm shift for both the medical and scientific community and the public. I must admit, whilst the theory of Mickel made so much sense when I read it, as does Dr Schubiner’s approach, however I still had doubts about the effectiveness.

If it wasn’t for a couple of profound and complete recoveries in case studies I had read prior (I had rarely ever seen or heard from such results prior to this), I may have dismissed it as a good idea that doesn’t work. I am so grateful that I chose to take a leap of faith, as I have experienced many such results with clients since. It is very humbling.

If you have tried everything unsuccessfully (or partially) to alleviate your fibromyalgia, and feel there is nothing to lose by taking a paradigm shift, I’d love to surprise you by helping you feel vibrant and healthy again.

http://www.phillyvoice.com/new-pain-study-offers-hope-lady-gaga-other-victims-fibromyalgia/

Sugar Side-Effects

The Nasty Side-Effects of Too Much Sugar

What Sugar Does To Your Body and Brain

I’ll let this image do the talking for itself, other than to say that all of the nutritional programs I run focus on moderating sugar intake and regulating blood sugar levels – be they programs for energy and vitality; optimal wellness; weight loss; weight gain; fasting; intermittent fasting; detox; performance; boosting the immune system; ketogenic programs; paleo; elimination diets; FODMAP etc. etc.

I have found after close to 20 years of doing clinic and askingmost clients their average daily diet, that very few people actually regulate their blood sugar levels well, or at all. This includes many apparently ‘healthy’ people who eat organic foods etc.

Regulating blood sugar levels does the following:

  • Allows the cells to produce energy more efficiently.
  • Eliminates insulin resistance.
  • Reduces inflammation.
  • Regulates other hormones.
  • Detoxes your system.
  • Improves your immune system.
  • Mobilises the body to burn fat for energy – so you can lose weight more easily.
  • Prevents and treats many chronic illnesses – diabetes Types I & II, fatigue, hormonal issues, heart disease, stroke, gastro-intestinal problems, headaches and migraines, sleep disturbance etc.

If you’d like to learn how to regulate you blood sugar levels and function so much better,contact me at tim@timaltman.com.au or 0425 739 918 for an appointment.

 

Sugar Side-Effects

The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck

Book Review: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, Mark Manson

A Counterintuitive Approach To Living A Good Life That Resonates Very Strongly With The Principles of Mickel Therapy in Treating Chronic Illnesses Such as CFS, IBS, Fibromyalgia, Anxiety etc.

I love this book – ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck’, by Mark Manson.

It is so real and authentic, and cut’s to the chase about living a ‘good life’ or being happy so quickly. As the description on the cover says, it is counter-intuitive, but it is a breath of fresh air that is worth a read.

I have recommended it to many clients I am working with – especially those with CFS, Fibromyalgia, IBS, Anxiety and Depression with whom I am using the techniques involved in Mickel Therapy. Like this book, this approach is counterintuitive, or involves a paradigm shift which, I believe, speaks so strongly for the extraordinary results it has yielded with so many clients worldwide suffering with the above, and other chronic illnesses, as well as those looking to explore greater levels of performance or discovering optimal health.

Both address without saying this directly, what the the evolutionary biology/medicine approach to health and performance describes as a ‘mismatch between the body we have inherited (from our hunter gatherer ancestors) and the culture we have created today.’

The principles are so similar – being authentic, accepting how you feel now without judgement, focusing on true/core values etc. The Mickel work takes it further by targeting behavioural patterns cause people to get stuck in their head and miss the vital, instinctive emotional messages our emotional brain sends us in order to warn us of any threat and keep us alive (or happy, safe ad comfortable). The result is that we internalise or suppress these emotions (or, another way or describing it is we internalise stress) causing us to be hyper-vigilant, or permanently in fight or flight, which subsequently leads to our hypothalamus going into overdrive, and the homoeostasis in our body becoming severely disrupted. We then wind up with less than optimal health and performance, and very often chronic illness – which so often fails to respond to many other treatments as they fail to target the root cause higher in the brain.

In short, the Mickel approach involves identifying the behavioural factors that create this lead to this emotional suppression and internalised stress, and then uses an action based approach to reverse them. The persistence or removal of symptoms being the indicator of whether the action takes is the correct one or not.

I will quote a few passages from chapter one that I love – and, if you will allow me to indulge, I may end up doing a blog or two more with some other passages soon…

“Our culture today is obsessively focused on unrealistically positive expectations: Be happier. Be healthier. Be the best, better than the rest. Be smarter, faster, richer, sexier, more popular, more productive, more envied, and more admired. Be perfect and amazing and crap out crap out twelve-karat-gold nuggets before breakfast each morning while kissing your selfie-ready spouse and two and half  kids goodbye. Then fly your helicopter to your wonderfully fulfilling job, where you spend your days doing incredibly meaningful work that is likely to save the planet one day.”

Ironically, this fixation on the positive – on what’s better, what’s superior – only serves to remind us over and over gain of what we are not, of what we lack, of what we should have been but failed to be.”

“Now here’s the problem: Our society today, through the wonders of consumer culture and hey-look-my-life-is-cooler-than-yours social media, has bred a whole generation of people who believe that having these negative experiences – anxiety, fear, guilt etc.- is totally not okay.”

“The desire for more positive experience is itself a negative experience. And, paradoxically, the acceptance of one’s negative experience is itself a positive experience.”

The author has fun with his writing style, however what it downplays is a wealth of knowledge and understanding from a numbers of areas. So very profound and real.

Enjoy. And go get a copy of the book.

If you’ve read this book, or suffer from a chronic illness or lack of performance, and would like a realistic, action based approach that deals with this mismatch between how we’re built to live (including how we process stress and emotions), and how we live in the modern culture we have created, then email or call me on tim@timaltman.com.au or 0425 739 918

 

 

porridge

Soak Your Seeds and Grains for Better Digestion & Nutrition

Article: Why You Should Be Eating More Overnight Oats, According to Science.

Linked is great little article (and recipe) by Tori Robinson, on www.mindbodygreen.com, that reminds me of the recipes I have used post fasting to better digest and get more nutritive value out of oats.

The article focuses on the nutritive benefits of oats, and how soaking them overnight allows you to get far more of the benefits, however I have found that the same applies soaking grains/sees such as buckwheat kernels or brown rice overnight also.

As discussed, soaking is not new. I learned it from a Russian practitioner using traditional methods carried down over many years.

The recipe I was taught involves using 1 part (1/2-1 cup) of oats/buckwheat kernels/brown rice and  parts of water, bringing it to the boil, then turning the heat off, putting the lid on, and wrap with newspaper and a towel and leave overnight. In the morning add fresh fruit, yoghurt, cinnamon, fresh nuts and seeds (these can also be soaked overnight) etc.

These recipes are fantastic following a fast or for an easy and quick breakfast any time.

Yum!!

 

https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-27026/why-you-should-be-eating-more-overnight-oats-according-to-science.html

Molokai 2012 Tim Altman4

Article: Keep Your Mouth Shut To Improve Your Performance

Nose Breathing Improves Athletic Performance

A great article by Annette Verpillot of Posturepro (shared by the ‘Strength Sensei’ website, www,srengthsensei.com), on the importance of nose breathing for athletic performance.

Here is a quote from the article that summarises much of the content.

“It has been known for many years that people with proper occlusion of your mouth have greater endurance and better performance than those with malocclusion. The alignment of the muscles of the jaw and teeth can have a direct impact on a player’s performance and strength, as the upper and lower jaw are what allows you to connect your anterior and posterior muscular chains. Without the jaw it would be impossible to exert strength.”

“The vast majority of health care professionals are unaware of the negative impact of mouth breathing on global health and sports performance. The development of the jaw and all the functions attached to it, nasal breathing, chewing, suction, swallowing and phonation, will either put the body in a state of physiologic health or state of dysfunction.”

In addition, the article also discussed that (and I’ve added to the points they make) when you nose breathe, you:

  • increase energy production in the cells by increased supply of oxygen to the cells – based on the principles of the Bohr Effect.
  • allow the body to function more in a parasympathetic, or relaxed, state – which also improves immune function, digestion, blood flow to the brain and increases serotonin and melatonin levels.
  • increase nitric oxide production which enhances memory and learning, regulates blood pressure, reduces inflammation, improves sleep quality, increases endurance and strength, and improves immune function. 
  • increase the flow of air through your nasal system and sinuses, preventing mucous from getting blocked or clogged.
  • allow the nose and sinuses to do their job so you deliver filtered, disinfected, air conditioned, moist air to the lungs for optimal gas exchange – which is how they like it. 
  • reduce the volume and rate of breathing which, based on the priniciples of the Bohr Effect, optimises delivery of oxygen to the cells for energy production, and also allows for the tubes in the body to be more vasodilated resulting in improved function of the systems these tubes service – the respiratory, circulatory, lymphatic, digestive, urinary systems etc.

This article was shared by a close friend and colleague of mine, Ramon Andersson, head kayaking coach at the Western Australian Institute of Sport, who has done a lot of training of optimal breathing both personally and with his athletes. Our subsequent discussion agreed that once you get above anaerobic threshold in intensity of exercise, it is often necessary to use the mouth to facilitate breathing, as the intensity is at a level where it is extremely uncomfortable to nose breathe on it’s own.

The consensus is, from our own trials and with those we have trained, that at this level of intensity, as long as the inhalation is driven by the diaphragm first, before using the chest and shoulders to increase the volume of air inhaled, then the efficiency of breathing is still optimised. That is because using the diaphragm will allow you to use the full lung volume for gas exchange, as well as having greater control of both inhalation and exhalation which then allows you achieve slower breathing rates at certain intensities of exercise. The importance of this is that of all functions controlled by the autonomic nervous system (meaning that they are automatic), breathing, via the diaphragm, is the one function we can consciously control with ease (with training of course). As such, our breathing can influence other bodily functions controlled by our autonomic nervous system – including heart rate, digestion, the immune system, neurotransmitter levels etc.

Getting to the point; being able to breathe at lower breathing rates for a certain level of exercise intensity, will also allow you to have a slower heart rate, greater oxygen delivery to cells for energy production, reduced lactic acid levels, and for you to be more relaxed whilst exercising at this level. In other words, you will be far more efficient, or get more from your body.

If you would like to learn how to breathe more efficiently whilst exercising, and therefore increase your performance potential, contact me at tim@timaltman.com.au or call 0425 739 918.

 

 

 

Mickel Therapy

Article: The Unmistakable Link Between Unhealed Trauma and Physical Illness

The Root Cause of Chronic Illness Lies in The Brain and May Relate to Unresolved or Internalised Stress or Trauma.

A great article by Lisa Ranking, MD, a guest writer for Wake Up World (linked below).

This link between unresolved stress or trauma and chronic illnesses has definitely been my experience is many, many cases of chronic illness that I’ve treated; including:

  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS); M.E.; post-viral fatigue; adrenal fatigue.
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Anxiety & Depression
  • IBS and chronic gastro-intestinal issues
  • Auto-immune conditions.

And, as suggested by the author, it doesn’t have to be severe trauma that can ultimately create the chronic illness. A quote from the article summarises this:

“Most of us experience trauma at some level, not just war veterans who witness and experience horrific terror, but simply by growing up as vulnerable children in a world where many parents are themselves traumatized and can’t always hold that vulnerability safe for a child. You might mistakenly think that you must experience incest, child abuse, parental abandonment, or living in a war zone in order to be traumatized, but trauma can be much more subtle. Psychologist Dawson Church, PhD defines a traumatizing event as something that is:

  • Perceived as a threat to the person’s physical survival,
  • Overwhelms their coping capacity, producing a sense of powerlessness,
  • Produces a feeling of isolation and aloneness,
  • Violates their expectations”

This very much resonates with the Mickel Therapy approach to treating and curing chronic illness, which suggests that the behavioural patterns set up from childhood (or adult trauma) that then become automatic, habitual, or sub-conscious, when we become adolescents and adults, then cause us to stay in permanent ‘fight or flight’ functioning to some degree (the amount depending on the individual), or hyper-vigilance as some refer to it, as a protective mechanism that served us as kids. But not necessarily as an adult.

The result of such ‘self-limiting’ behavioural patterns is that the hypothalamus gland in the brain responsible for homeostasis (or balance/smooth running) in the body runs in permanent ‘overdrive’ and our bodies function like they are ‘running a permanent internal, biochemical marathon’. Hence we end up exhausted, in pain, sick, miserable and we cannot sleep. (The hypothalamus is responsible for regulating the function of all automatic bodily functions, our endocrine glands, the immune system, sleep cycles, neurotransmitters among other functions).

In addition, we often then pick up a viral or bacterial illness that we never recover from and we develop the chronic syndrome or disease. So often it is stated that these illnesses are the cause of the chronic disease, but we would argue that they are the result of  a body that has a compromised immune system because the body is running in over-drive (or permanent fight or flight) caused by unresolved, or internalised emotions and stress at a higher level. In other words, the ‘root cause’ exists at a higher level.

With the Mickel Therapy approach we identify and target these behavioural patterns that send the hypothalamus into overdrive. Reversing them using a specific action based approach takes the hypothalamus out of overdrive and restores balance in the body, resulting in the removal of symptoms. 

And this process works surprisingly well to most who first venture upon it – including a skeptical me. It is very common to see complete removal of symptoms, even in cases so chronic that the person has suffered from the ailment for years to decades and have tried many, many other options. This is no longer a surprise to me as this approach addresses what many, including myself and the author of this article linked, believe to be the ‘root’ cause of chronic illness. 

If you, or someone you know of suffer from a chronic illness such as CFS, M.E., fibromyalgia, adrenal or post-viral fatigue, IBS, anxiety or depression etc. and would like to investigate a cure that has yielded many, many complete recoveries, then  contact me at tim@timaltman.com.au or call 0425 739 918.

https://wakeup-world.com/2017/07/25/the-unmistakable-link-between-unhealed-trauma-and-physical-illness/

Mammalian Dive Reflex

The Mammalian Dive Reflex: A Fascinating Evolutionary Adaptation

The Mammalian Dive Reflex and How It Helps Feedivers

I’ve always been fascinated by the ‘mammalian dive reflex’ and have enjoyed experiencing it’s benefits in courses I have run training surfers to hold their breath longer under water, and to breathe more efficiently. Despite experiencing the obvious discomfort of holding your breath, I have always found the under water breath hold work extremely relaxing. Most people doing courses leave feeling super relaxed.

So, I thought I’d share an article on it from www.deeperblue.com.

Enjoy.

 

In this article we’ll looking at the mammalian dive reflex and how this helps us dive deeper for longer.

What Is The Mammalian Dive Reflex?

The mammalian dive reflex, or MDR, is a reflex hard wired into our genetic makeup and is brought on by immersion in water (particularly the face) and holding your breath.

It is seen in all kinds of mammals and is very strong in children. In the middle part of the twentieth century, when people started setting freediving records for the first time, the mammalian dive reflex in humans had not been recognized and it was believed that a dive to 30m would crush the lungs. Experiments on freedivers, particularly with Jacques Mayol and Bob Croft, demonstrated the extraordinary effects of the mammalian dive reflex and research is still being performed today to further investigate the incredible adaptations of the human body to breath holding.

The main characteristics of the mammalian dive reflex are bradycardia, peripheral vasoconstriction, blood shift, the spleen effect and immersion diuresis, and we’re going to look at each in turn to see the benefits and some drawbacks for freedivers..

1. Bradycardia

This is translated as ‘heart slowing’ and refers to the fact that when we hold our breath, our heart rate decreases, all the better to conserve oxygen. Jacques Mayol’s heart rate slowed to 27 beats per minute when he dived to 101m and a study in 1985 of cold water facial immersion showed that five people out of 27 experienced bradycardia of less than 15 bpm – one individual’s heart rate dropped to an incredible 5.6 bpm. The same study discovered that the effects of bradycardia are enhanced as the temperature of the water in which the subject is immersed decreases.

The effect of bradycardia on breath holding can be seen even when a person is nowhere near water. If you strap on a heart rate monitor and do an apnea ‘dry walk’, you will see your heart rate rapidly drop, even though you’re physically active. I have advanced students perform this to see how pronounced their dive reflex is. They sit on a chair breathing gently, then take a last full breath in, hold their breath seated for 30 seconds, and then stand up and walk (still breath holding). Responses vary by individual, but all experience a drop in heart rate whilst walking, some to less than half their resting heart rate.

Freedivers can even train to increase the effects of bradycardia, such as beginning a static session with a period of facial immersion while breathing through a snorkel, while others train by doing breath holds in bowls of ice water, varying the temperature to see different results.

2. Peripheral Vasoconstriction and Blood Shift

Peripheral vasoconstriction and blood shift are linked. Peripheral vasoconstriction is where the blood vessels in the extremities (your hands, feet, arms and legs) begin to constrict, shifting more blood to the core of the body. By moving blood from areas where the body needs it least, the vital organs are prioritized. This can be observed out of the water, too. One of my students relaxed in a seated position and performed minute-long breath holds repeatedly, with only one breath in between the breath holds. After a few minutes, his hands and feet went white and this started spreading up his arms and legs.

Blood shift, meanwhile, explains why freedivers can exceed the residual volume of their lungs when diving, all without their lungs collapsing, and what happens to some of the blood from peripheral vasoconstriction. As the lungs compress, the blood vessels around the alveoli expand with blood to compensate for the reduced volume of the lungs. Blood shift goes hand in hand with diaphragm and rib cage flexibility, because without those two ameliorating factors lung barotrauma can occur, when blood can actually enters the lung cavities.

3. The Spleen Effect

The spleen effect is another way your body can maximize oxygen efficiency. After repeated freediving, the spleen contracts, releasing more red blood cells into the blood. This increases the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood, enabling longer dives or breath holds. There is inconclusive evidence of when this occurs in the dive session, but at least one dive or breath hold has to have taken place before the spleen effect occurs. It is thought that the effects are only temporary, however anecdotal evidence has shown that active and deep freedivers have managed to sustain a higher than normal haematocrit level (the amount of hemoglobin in the blood) for many days after their last dive.

4. Immersion Diuresis (aka “the need to pee”)

One side effect of the mammalian dive reflex is immersion diuresis, whereby the freediver’s body increases urine production. This is brought on by pressure caused by full body immersion in water, peripheral vasoconstriction and a reduction in body temperature.

Water draws heat away from the body, leading to vasoconstriction of the blood vessels in order to conserve heat. The mammalian dive reflex also causes peripheral vasoconstriction which has the same effect. In response to the resultant increase in blood pressure, the body inhibits the release of the anti-diuretic hormone ADH, also known as vasopressin, causing increased urination.

Increased water pressure on the body also increases blood pressure, no matter the water temperature, again increasing urination. All of which means it’s incredibly easy for freedivers to rapidly become dehydrated. Consequently it is important to keep your fluid levels up during a long dive session. A headache and bad breath are both indicators of dehydration.I need to go to bathroom!

5. Muscle Fatigue

Another side effect of the mammalian dive reflex is the buildup of lactic acid in the muscles. As blood moves away from the limbs, the muscles rely more heavily on anaerobic respiration, which produces lactic acid. This causes a feeling of heaviness, or lactic acid ‘burn’ in the muscles and, in extreme cases, the muscles can simply stop functioning.

The mammalian dive reflex is a fascinating series of adaptations that the body has developed to aid breath holding and immersion in water. It enables the freedivers to better handle pressure and depth, enhances the blood’s oxygen carrying capacity and enables more efficient use of that oxygen in the body. In order to fully benefit from these advantages, however, freedivers need to be aware – and plan to prevent – the associated disadvantages. Keeping hydrated is vital and the better your physical fitness, the faster your body will recover from the buildup of lactic acid.