Breathing Man Diaphragm

Video: How To Breathe Using Your Diaphragm

Diaphragm Breathing Explained

I often get asked by clients, “how do I breathe using my diaphragm?”

Or, “I can’t feel my diaphragm move during breathing.”

Watch this video to see how I answer this common question…..

If you would like to learn more, contact me via tim@timaltman.com.au or 0425 739 918.

And if you like the video, feel free to subscribe to my Youtube Channel (Tim Altman).

Breathing Man meditating - breathing optimally...

How You Deal With Stress is the Number One Contributor to Your Mortality

Our Cortisol Slope, via Our Relationship to Stress, is The Greatest Predictor of Total Mortality

A fascinating video (linked at the bottom) from Food Matters TV during their recent Sleep and Stress Online Event chatting with Dr Alan Chritianson discussing the relationship with stress and mortality and highlighted some findings from the Whitehall II study in the UK, which revealed that for cardiovascular mortality, cigarette smoking was the number one predictor of mortality, with cortisol slope (via our relationship to stress) following closely behind. They also compares these with the usual health metrics such as exercise levels, blood pressure, cholesterol levels etc. etc.

Yet, for overall mortality, cortisol slope was the highest predictor of mortality.

The implications for this on how to prioritise your health incentives are huge – Dr Christianson, said these results hit him like a tonne of bricks. You could be a non smoker, non-alcohol drinking, clean food eating, exercise loving health nut, yet if your relationship with stress, or how you deal with stress is dysfunctional, it could make you ill or kill you quicker than a smoking, drinking, junk food eating couch potato who doesn’t get overly stressed too much. That sucks!!

These results basically suggest that, whilst it is important to focus on our nutrition, exercise, alcohol consumption, eliminating cigarette smoking etc. for our health, we should make how we deal with stress our number one priority.

Fortunately, two of the modalities I use with clients focus one exactly that.

  1. Diaphragmatic breathing – of all of the automatic functions that our body performs, breathing is the only one that we can consciously control, with ease. And the same nervous system that regulates our automatic functions (including breathing), the autonomic nervous system (ANS), is also the same nervous system that regulates stress. Moreover, most of us breathe in emergency mode, far too quickly, with an exhale to inhale ratio that is out of whack, so we end up in permanent emergency mode, or ‘fight or flight’ functioning. By learning how to diaphragm breathe in certain rhythms, we can get out of emergency, or ‘fight or flight’ mode, and restore a nervous system that is more restful and relaxed, than it is on the go.
  2. Mickel Therapy – this technique, which is far from therapy as you might think of it, is an ‘action based’ technique that focuses on restoring harmony and optimal function to the ‘hypothalamus’ gland in our brain stem, which is the gland responsible for regulating the function or our autonomic nervous system, and therefore our stress response, all automatic and endocrine gland functions of our body, our immune system, our sleep cycles, neurotransmitter levels and many other bodily functions. It is like the ‘general’ of our bodily functions and it’s job is to maintain homeostasis, or efficient, healthy functioning of our body. It is also like a link between our brain and our body. A healthy relationship with stress requires, at the highest levels of our functioning (in our brain) a healthy relationship between our instinctive, emotional brain (which registers threats to our system and, therefore, stress) and our thinking, or rational brain (which, ideally, interprets the signals of stress sent by the emotional brain, negative emotions, and creates actions to deal with them). This allows us to functionally deal with stress as it arises. However, we ‘modern’ humans have created a huge mismatch between the bodies we have inherited (from our hunter gatherer ancestors) and the culture we have created, and this mismatch leads this healthy relationship in our brain between our instinctive emotions and our thinking, to break down. The result being that rather than dealing with stress functionally, most of us, most of the time, suppress it; and the hypothalamus is the gland in the body that first deals with this suppressed stress, causing it to go into overdrive. The follow on effect of this is that homeostasis within our body is upset and our automatic functions start to go into emergency mode, resulting often in symptoms of acute and/or chronic illness.

Hopefully these explanations may shed some light on why our relationship to stress is the number one predictor of overall mortality.

If you would like to explore using these modalities to improve your relationship with stress, overcome any chronic illness that you believe stress may play a role in (CFS, Fibromylagia, IBS, Anxiety/Depression, Auto-Immune etc), or you would like to explore increasing your quality of life, or the duration between now and your inevitable mortality :-), then contact me via tim@timaltman.com.au or call 0425 739 918.

https://www.facebook.com/foodmatters/videos/10154761999126570/

 

slider11

Scientists Suggest A Possible Blood Test Diagnosis for CFS

Article: ‘Yuppie flu’ an inflammatory disease which blood test could easily diagnose, say scientists.’

The article above (and linked below) by science editor of the Telegraph newspaper in the UK, Sarah Knapton suggests that:

“Chronic fatigue syndrome is an inflammatory disease which could soon be diagnosed through a simple blood test, scientists have said.

Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine discovered that people suffering the symptoms of CFS show spikes in 17 proteins produced by the immune system. The bigger the rises, the more severe the condition.”

Given that diagnosis of CFS, Fibomyalgia, ME, Post Viral Syndrome, Adrenal Fatigue (or whatever name you choose to label it) has always been so difficult to diagnose (in fact, it is a diagnosed by exclusion, meaning that everything else yielding similar symptoms that can be diagnosed via a number of tests is ruled out), this is great news.

The failure, or difficulty in diagnosis of CFS, and therefore the failure to recognise this condition as an actual, or legitimate illness by much of the medical community, and the general public, has led to untold suffering and frustration over extended periods of time for those unfortunate enough to live with this illness.

Knapton says: “But for decades the illness was largely dismissed by skeptics as ‘yuppie flu’ because no cause could be found.”

So often clients present to doctors and health practitioners feeling extremely helpless, frustrated and depressed, and to have the medical professional offer them anti-depressants as the only, or main solution, is extremely offensive, and frequently exacerbates their feeling of helplessness, frustration and depression.

So, the news that this condition may be diagnosed via a blood test in the future is very positive.

However, I remain very wary about being overly optimistic as, whilst a faster and simple diagnosis may lead to more universal acceptance of this illness, which is extremely positive, it is highly unlikely to remove the sense of helplessness and depression sufferers feel as the diagnosis as an inflammatory illness will not make conventional medicine and science any more capable of providing a cure or treatment solution.

The mainstream medical approach, by and large, merely palliates inflammatory ailments (also including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity etc.) rather than eliminating or curing them. And, the anti-inflammatory drugs used invariably result in a myriad of side effects that can be as uncomfortable as the original, condition itself.

To create an effective treatment, or a cure, we need to take a step back from biochemistry and pharmacology, and look at what causes these conditions in the first place. And the answer lies more in genetics and anthropology.

Evolution takes a long, long time. In fact, research suggests it takes 40-100,000 years for a change in our environment to be fully assimilated by our bodies. What this means is that the body we have inherited is that of our hunter gatherer ancestors some 40,000 years ago, or more. In short, our body still thinks we are wandering the bush.

We were built to eat food directly from the source, exercise a lot in order to survive, live in social, supportive tribal settings where our only biological needs were to stay safe, comfortable, fed and happy. We did not live in isolated family homes, watching screens for entertainment, sit a lot, eat highly processed foods with as many chemicals as nutrients, have expectations to succeed, earn large incomes, have mortgages, or spend most of our day working. In fact, research has suggested the average hunter gatherer culture worked only 15-25 hours per week (hunting and gathering). The rest spent in leisure, or family/tribe time.

We have developed our culture so quickly, that we have created a mismatch between the body we have inherited and the culture we have created. Address and rectify the mismatch, and the biochemistry and physiology of the body will be optimised, and the body will return to ideal health. It’s that simple, yet it requires a thorough approach.

My favourite quote, that beautifully summarises this dilemma is as follows:

“We didn’t evolve to be healthy, but instead we were selected to have as many offspring as possible under diverse, challenging conditions. As a consequence, we never evolved to make rational choices about what to eat or how to exercise in conditions of abundance or comfort. What’s more, interactions between the bodies we inherited, the environment we create, and the decisions we sometimes make have set in motion an insidious feedback loop. We get sick from chronic diseases by doing what we evolved to do but under conditions for which our bodies are poorly adapted, and we then pass on those same conditions to our children, who also then get sick. If we wish to halt this vicious circle then we need to figure out how to respectfully and sensibly nudge, push and sometimes oblige ourselves to eat foods that promote health and to be more physically active. That too, is what we evolved to do.” Daniel Lieberman, ‘The Story of the Human Body. Evolution, Health & Disease.’

My complete recovery from CFS over 20 years was achieved by this approach. That is, addressing the factors of living that influence our health and performance, and comparing how we we’re built to perform these, with how we actually do it nowadays. This process oriented approach was extremely thorough, and yielded a permanent outcome, that far better than I believed could have been possible (prior to treatment). In fact, I became far healthier than I ever was prior; and continue to be so. Exploration of the upper limits of health and performance have been a focus for myself and many clients ever since.

Subsequently, my approach to clinic work, specialising in CFS has also focused on this methodology. In treating a client, I aim to correct any imbalance in the following aspects of living, that then restore the person back to full health. I have found this approach far more effective than a reactive approach aimed out eliminating individual symptoms, or an approach using product to attend to theoretical deficiencies. The modalities I use include:

  1. How we process stress via the hypothalamus addressing the relationship between our rational, thinking brain and our instinctive, emotional brain via Mickel Therapy. This technique has been incredibly potent in yielding complete resolutions as it addresses the highest or root cause of chronic illness.

    mickel therapy

  2. How we eat and drink based on our understanding of how our hunter gatherer ancestors ate and drank.

  3. How we breathe – via Breathing Dynamics. Most people do not realise that we invariably over breathe (too often and too much volume) compared to how we should (or what we are built for). And this affects not only our energy production, but a number of other functions throughout the body.

  4. How we rest and rejuvenate – via relaxation, meditation, sauna therapy, detox/fasting etc.

  5. How we sleep.

  6. Also using herbs as medicines.

If you suffer from CFS, fibromyalgia, post viral syndrome, ME, adrenal fatigue, IBS, anxiety, depression or any other chronic ailment and would like to be free of it, feel free to book in the calendar on this website, or email tim@timaltman.com.au.

Or, if you have any further questions, please call +61 425 739 918.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017/07/31/yuppie-flu-inflammatory-disease-blood-test-could-easily-diagnose/

 

 

appetite

Ketogenic Diets Suppress Appetite: Research Review

Do ketogenic diets really suppress appetite? A systematic review and meta-analysis.

In order to evaluate quantitatively the effect of ketogenic diets on appetite,  the authors of the review (linked) conducted a systematic literature search and meta-analysis of studies that assessed appetite with visual analogue scales before (in energy balance) and during (while in ketosis) adherence to VLED or KLCD.

Their conclusion was: “Thus, the clinical benefit of a ketogenic diet is in preventing an increase in appetite, despite weight loss, although individuals may indeed feel slightly less hungry (or more full or satisfied). Ketosis appears to provide a plausible explanation for this suppression of appetite.”

As discussed in my last blog, I have used controlled ketogenic diets in clinic for over 15 years, and have always found that those who are in ketosis (within the range we specify on their testing strips) rarely feel hungry.

In fact, one of the indicators I use to determine if they are properly in ketsosis in the range we specify, in addition to using the test strips, is the absence of hunger, and general feeling of increased energy.

If you are interested in investigating ketogenic diets further for weight loss, energy levels, or an ailment you may be experiencing, please email me on tim@timaltman.com.au or call 0425 739 918.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25402637

Ketogenic Diet

Ketogenic Diets Offer Significant Benefits for Mental Health: A Research Review

Ketogenic Diets for Psychiatric Disorders: A New 2017 Review

Where the science stands, and what it means for you.

The linked article (below) is a summary by Dr Georgia Ede on a recent review article The Current Status of the Ketogenic Diet in Psychiatry by researchers at the University of Tasmania in Australia [Bostock et al 2017 Front Psychiatry 20(8)]  that updates the status on research of ketogenic diets and mental health.
Quoted here is Dr Ede’s definition of a ketogenic diet: “Definitions vary, but what all ketogenic diets have in common is that they are very low in carbohydrate (typically 20 grams per day or less) and relatively high in fat. The goal is to lower blood sugar and insulin levels; when these are nice and low, the body naturally turns to fat (instead of sugar) as its primary source of energy. Most ketogenic diets also limit protein (to no more than the body requires), because excess protein can raise blood sugar and insulin levels to some extent. Body fat and fat from the diet then break down into ketones, which travel through the bloodstream and can be burned by various cells throughout the body, including most brain cells. Ketone levels rise in the blood, urine and breath within days, and can be measured using various home test methods, but it can take weeks for the body to become efficient at burning fat for energy, and for full benefits to be realized.”

Dr Ede, adds: ”Ketogenic diets have been around for about 100 years, and have proved to be invaluable tools in the treatment of stubborn neurological conditions, most notably epilepsy. They have also shown promise in the management of other brain-based disorders such as Parkinson’s Disease, ALS, Traumatic Brain Injury, Multiple Sclerosis, and chronic headaches, as well as in metabolic disorders like obesity, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.

But where does the science currently stand on the ketogenic diet and psychiatric disorders like bipolar disorderschizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s Disease?”

The review of research suggests benefits to a number of psychological conditions, in addition to the extensive research on epilepsy, Parkinson’s Disease, ALS, MS, chronic headaches, obesity, cancer & Type 2 diabetes. Whilst, in many cases further research needs to be done to make these findings more definitive, these additional conditions include:

  1. Bipolar Disorder
  2. Schizophrenia
  3. Anxiety
  4. Depression
  5. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
  6. ADHD
  7. Alzheimer’s Disease.

I have used controlled ketogenic diets in clinic for over 15 years and have found them extremely effective for weight loss, raising energy levels, regulating and lowering blood sugar levels, improving sleep quality, and reducing inflammation and chronic pain.

If you are interested in investigating ketogenic diets further for your general health or health condition, or would like to book in to start a program, please email me at tim@timaltman.com.au or call 0425 739 918.

 

Gluten

Opinion Article: The Myth of Big Bad Gluten

A very interesting article that suggests, bases on research available, gluten may not be as evil is suggested so often in the modern world.

Rather than it being that our bodies have not adapted at all to grain as yet, it is possible that the cause of the dramatic increase in Coeliac’s disease and immune system dysfunction in the modern world has more to do with the impact on cultures and environments we have exposed our immune systems to since we moved away from hunter gatherer living.

Food for thought 🙂 ……

 

Obesity

Research: Consuming more of daily caloric intake at dinner predisposes to obesity.

Consuming more of daily caloric intake at dinner predisposes to obesity. A 6-year population-based prospective cohort study.

Linked below is a study confirming the old adage “Breakfast like the king/queen, dinner like a pauper”.

Quoted here is the conclusion: “Consuming more of the daily energy intake at dinner is associated with an increased risk of obesity, metabolic syndrome, and non-alcohol fatty liver disease (NAFLD).”

Well, technically this study only suggests the second part – ‘dinner like a pauper’. Or, certainly not a king or queen.

However plenty of studies have found that those who make their breakfast (or first meal of the day) their most substantial meal, they eat better and less for the next 24 hours.

I certainly have found consistently with clients in clinic that eating substantially at breakfast and less at dinner is much better for regulating blood sugar levels, having even and consistent energy throughout the day, and definitely helps to stay lean or lose weight.

Most clients who come to see me often really understand what foods are good, and not good, however many of these people simply do not know how to put together their daily nutrition to get the most out of themselves. They may be eating organic foods, and consuming lots of ‘super-nutrients’ (I quietly hate that term), but so often they don’t regulate their blood sugar levels, so end up having sporadic energy levels and mental functioning, and can often battle to keep prevent weight gain.

If you feel you would like help in working out the best way to plan your daily nutrition, please email me at tim@timaltman.com.au or phone 0425 739 918.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25250617

Nutrition for energy and performance

TED Talk: Research Reveals Nutrition Improves Mental Health Better Than Prescription Medication

A great TED talk and article outlining that good nutrition is often more potent than medication.  It doesn’t just stop at mental health.

The findings cross over to longevity, chronic illness and the immune system.

If you want to get the most out of your nutrition and yourself, email me at tim@timaltman.com.au or call to book on 0425 739 918

In the mean time, it’s definitely worth watching this great TED talk

Fruit

Research: Dietary Sugar from Fruit Enhances Mineral Balance

An interesting study (abstract Iinked) that compares the effect of dietary starch and fructose on mineral balance in humans.

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/49/6/1290.abstract

I will quote the words of Josh Lamaro, Paleo Osteo  from a Facebook post of his on this this study:

“Did you know the ingestion of fructose can help the body retain magnesium, copper, calcium and other minerals? Glucose alone did not have this effect.
This is one of many reasons why carbohydrates that contain fructose (sugars, fruits, juice, honey, fruit vegetables) are superior to carbohydrates that contain only glucose (starchy grains.)
The war on sugar needs careful contextualisation.”

Definitely some food for thought 🙂

And lends weight to the idea of eating a diet similar to that of our hunter gatherer ancestors – from whom we inherited the bodies in which we habitate. Sugars from fruits are safer than those from starchy grains. Makes sense…

Whilst fructose, is also in table sugar, agave syrup, molasses, fruit juice and honey, stepping back 40,000 years or so, most of these were not available, so we can use this study to compare the sugar we were ‘built’ to eat from fruit, to that we a majority of now from starch. As such, from the evolutionary perspective, it is no surprise that fructose sugars enhance mineral balances whereas sugars from starch (gains etc.) do not.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chronic Disease

Article: Two Reasons Conventional Medicine Will Never Solve Chronic Disease

An Article That Echoes My Feelings About and Approach to Chronic Disease

I love this article (linked below) by Chris Kresser, author of “The Paleo Cure” on why modern medicine struggles, or fails to effectively deal with chronic disease.

So many of the points made are those that I so often make to clients on a day to day basis.

Essentially, it is like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. They just do not fit with each other. The conventional medical approach developed at a time where the vast majority of us suffered from, and died of acute infectious diseases and trauma.

The most effective approach in these cases is an intervention based approach isolating the problem and eliminating it; i.e. via antibiotics, surgery etc. It involved putting out spot fires. And it worked spectacularly well.

If I suffered from an acute, potentially life threatening  infectious disease, or experienced a life threatening trauma, I would immediately seek the help of a conventional medical doctor at a clinic or hospital.

Yet chronic illness is not like a spot fire. It is not acute in it’s development. Chronic illness is invariably insidious (on slow and silent) in it’s development, and often impacts multiple areas of the body.  Effective treatment therefore logically involves investigating and treating the underlying cause of the chronic illness that lead to the development of symptoms, rather than just focusing on symptoms alone. Research has suggested overwhelmingly that lifestyle is by far the number one factor in the development of chronic illness.

To quote Kresser: “Chronic diseases are difficult to manage, expensive to treat, require more than one doctor, and typically last a lifetime. They don’t lend themselves to the “one problem, one doctor, one treatment” approach of the past. 

Unfortunately, the application of the conventional medical paradigm to the modern problem of chronic disease has led to a system that emphasizes suppressing symptoms with drugs (and sometimes surgery), rather than addressing the underlying cause of the problem.”

Enter the world of evolutionary biology or medicine. The approach that has most influenced my practice. It investigates the lifestyle, behaviours and habits of our hunter gatherer ancestors and compares those with the way we live in our modern, so-called ‘developed’ world. Genetic and anthropological research has found that evolution is a very slow process, and it takes tens of thousands of years for changes in the environment to be assimilated by our bodies. What this essentially means is that our body still thinks it is wandering the bush as our hunter gatherer ancestors did some 40,000 to 100,000 years ago.

An example from the article of a modern culture that still lives close to these roots describes beautifully how we are built to live:

“As a case in point, consider the Tsimané, a subsistence farmer and hunter–gatherer population in Bolivia. They eat meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds, and some starchy plants. They walk an average of 17,000 steps (~8 miles) a day. They spend a lot of time outdoors, get plenty of sleep, and aren’t exposed to a lot of artificial light at night.

In a recent study, researchers found that the prevalence of atherosclerosis was 80 percent lower in the Tsimané than in the United States. Nearly nine in ten Tsimané adults between the ages of 40 and 94 had clean arteries and faced virtually no risk of cardiovascular disease. What’s more, this study included elderly people—it was estimated that the average 80-year-old in the Tsimané group had the same vascular age as an American in his mid-50s.”

In short, we have created a mismatch between the body we have inherited and the culture we have created, and this makes us sick and unhappy.

A quote by Daniel Lieberman beautiful sums up this mismatch and has been a quote that I have used as an inspiration for my practice and for my clients;

“We didn’t evolve to be healthy, but instead we were selected to have as many offspring as possible under diverse, challenging conditions. As a consequence, we never evolved to make rational choices about what to eat or how to exercise in conditions of abundance or comfort. What’s more, interactions between the bodies we inherited, the environment we create, and the decisions we sometimes make have set in motion an insidious feedback loop. We get sick from chronic diseases by doing what we evolved to do but under conditions for which our bodies are poorly adapted, and we then pass on those same conditions to our children, who also then get sick. If we wish to halt this vicious circle then we need to figure out how to respectfully and sensibly nudge, push and sometimes oblige ourselves to eat foods that promote health and to be more physically active. That too, is what we evolved to do.” Daniel Lieberman, ‘The Story of the Human Body. Evolution, Health & Disease.”

This is how I approach my work with clients, be it in treating chronic illness or in helping clients achieve greater health and well-being, or those seeking to perform at higher levels.

And I believe it is why I see far better results in clients since I have adopted this approach.

If this blog resonated with you, contact me via tim@timaltman.com.au or 0425 739 918 to book an appointment.