Sinus Congestion and Hayfever

Sinus Congestion and Hayfever

With winter almost over, some recent warmer weather has given a reminder that spring and warmer times are rapidly approaching. Whilst spring can be a beautiful time of year in Victoria (for both weather and the fillies and fashion!!), it is also the time of year that  hayfever, sinusitis and allergies are at their peak.

These ailments can turn a beautiful time of year into a very uncomfortable time. Unpleasant symptoms such as sneezing, sinus congestion, runny nose, itchy eyes, headaches, persistent coughs, wheezing and skin irritations are experiences that many people, despite going to great lengths to avoid, simply have to put up with.

But there are many natural preventative and treatment strategies that can make this spring and enjoyable one.

In addition to reading the Wellness Review (above) on hayfever, sinusitis and allergies, we can offer several highly effective approaches to treating these conditions or, even better, avoiding them altogether. Make an appointment to see Naturopath, Tim Altman in South Melbourne, South Yarra or Torquay. Take a look at clinic times to see what days he is in each location.

Focus on Preconception Care

Fast Facts – Preconception Care

Current News, Events and Tips

  • A male factor is involved in up to 50% of clinical infertility cases, making preconception care for both partners absolutely essential for the best chances of achieving a successful, healthy pregnancy.
    (Ref 1)
  • Proper development of the placenta is largely dependent on the expression of genes from the paternal chromosomes, further supporting the role of the male for optimal pregnancy outcomes.
    (Ref 2)
  • Infertility is estimated to affect 15 to 18% of couples in Australia.3 While this is an alarming statistic, it is important to remember that many risk factors for infertility, including obesity, toxicity, stress, and oxidative damage, are modifiable through dietary and lifestyle intervention.

Read the complete Focus On: Preconception Care article  


  1. Kumar S, Mishra VV. Review: Toxicants in reproductive fluid and in vitro fertilization (IVF) outcome. Toxicol Ind Health. 2010;26(8):505-11.
  2. Miozzo M, Simoni G. The role of imprinted genes in fetal growth. Biol Neonate. 2002;81(4):217-28. Review.
  3. Rayner JA, et al. Australian women’s use of complementary and alternative medicines to enhance fertility: exploring the experiences of women and practitioners. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2009; 9:52.

Supplements Colds and Flus

Supplements for Cold and Flus

Been exposed to more than your fair share of cold and flus this winter? This month’s Wellness Review focuses on natural supplements, herbs, nutrients, vitamins and some diet and lifestyle changes that could give your immune system the boost it needs.

You could also make an appointment with Tim Altman, your Naturopath in South Melbourne, Port Melbourne and South Yarra to say goodbye to colds and flus.

Weight Loss Case Studies

Weight loss, or more precisely, fat loss is one of today’s most widely marketed, yet thoroughly confused, health interventions. Current affairs television, magazines, pharmacies and newspapers peddle the latest, greatest revolutionary pill that will shed kilos or cm off your waist in record time. Yet for every quick fix there is always a down side or a catch that winds you back where you started (or worse). Many people end up thoroughly confused, frustrated or despondent.

In order to achieve long lasting weight loss or fat loss it is important to understand the biochemical, physiological and hormonal mechanics of why we put on fat or find it so hard to get off and keep off.

These case studies outline the main principles that underlie the extremely simple and effective fat loss program that I use and give you information to help you understand and take responsibility for your own progress. Two examples are given to illustrate what can be achieved.

Weight Loss Case Studies

We don’t aim to break world records. But we do aim to make the fat loss permanent.

The True Energy Drink

The use of caffeine both in sport or for general/everyday use has received a lot of mixed press over recent years. Whilst research is unequivocal that caffeine is a very effective means of increasing energy levels, endurance and alertness in the short term, there are also definite downsides from regular use including a wash-out of effects and a range of symptoms relating to caffeine intoxication – including and especially fatigue. It is definitely not the answer to maintaining energy levels and alertness on a day to day basis. And should never be used to achieve this function.

In this article I look at the pros and cons of using caffeine and outline how to make the most of its effects without incurring its downsides.

I discuss another, more holistic, way of viewing the issue of maintaining day to day energy levels and why these fluctuate or become drained over time.

And finally, look at an excellent alternative to caffeine for regular use that may increase energy levels, endurance & stamina and boost the immune system; but does not have a down side to regular use.

This ‘TRUE ENERGY DRINK’ provides an excellent solution for the problem of maintaining day to day energy levels without harming the body in the long term. And it allows users to make the most of the benefits of caffeine by using it the right circumstances at the right frequency.

Download the True Energy Drink article.


The Problem With Sugar

The presence of sugar and refined carbohydrates in the modern Western diet represents one of the two major deviations that entered into our eating patterns compared with what we ate a few hundred years ago. The other deviation is the introduction of over 60,000 different chemicals into the food chain over the last 100 years.

Research has found that both of these deviations have had serious implications to our overall health and wellbeing. We will focus in this article on ‘the problem with sugar’.

As a species, most of our evolutionary history (approx 1 million years) involved eating only what we had access to from the land or water i.e. the Paleolithic diet. So our systems have developed or evolved to function ideally based on what we were exposed to in the environment. Our diet consisted of fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, meat or flesh when we could find it and we drank water. The only access to sugar we had came from some fruits.

Grain as an edible food source came into our diets 5,000 to 10,000 years ago representing, at best, 1% of our evolutionary history. Whilst we have adapted to some grains, this is a very small fraction of our evolutionary history and therefore grain should contribute only a very small portion of our dietary intake and source of fuels.

Furthermore, wheat as an edible grain has only existed for a few hundred years and white flour, or refined grains (including white rice) have only come into existence in our diets over the last hundred years.

Download the entire article, The Problem With Sugar

To work out how to create an ideal eating plan for yourself that optimises energy production, cellular function and body composition refer to the ‘Optimal Performance Nutrition’ e-book on our online shop or book a personal consultation with Tim.

Try some Sauna Therapy

I had a very healthy morning this morning. Starting with a 45 minute meditation, followed by a 12km paddle on the river, then a sauna and finished with a beautiful organic breakfast. I feel amazing.

My immune system has been the most robust it has ever been since I began having regular saunas (I try for 2 per week) about 2 years ago. Interestingly, the only period in this time I experienced a cold or flu was when I stopped them for a couple of months.

Hippocrates, the forefather of modern Western medicine said: ‘Give me the power to induce a fever, and I shall cure any disease.’

He was a clever fellow. I agree with him wholeheartedly. It is a highly under-rated modality or health measure in Australia.

For more info on saunas and sauna therapy take a look at the Pine Needle Research website or take a look at some Pine Needle Products.

PS: For those who accuse me of stealing the Hippocrates quote from this site – I wrote most of the content for these sites anyway. So I can steal from myself!!!!

CapnoTrainer® Biofeedback Technology

The latest chapter in the Breathing Dynamics modality ‘CapnoTrainer® Biofeedback Technology’ is now on the site for your information. Capnometry is the science of measuring partial pressure of CO2 during respiration. This is not new technology and has been used extensively in hospital operating theatres and ICUs. Due to the vital role of CO2 in respiration, and in blood chemistry (especially maintenance of correct blood pH), it must be monitored to ensure that it remains in the correct ranges for ideal body function. The CapnoTrainer® is a small and highly portable capnometer that, via software provides real time information on breathing efficiency.

Take a look at the complete article, if you have any questions regarding CapnoTrainer® Biofeedback Technology and other aspects of the Breathing Dynamics modality, phone Tim Altman on 0425 739 918.

Winter Nutrition for Paddlers and Athletes

Winter Nutrition for Paddlers

I recently wrote an article for the Outlaw Paddling monthly newsletter. It looks at winter nutrition for paddlers, however it really pertains to all athletes.

Nutrition Tips to Train Through Winter

Nutrition plays a vital role in staying healthy and energetic during the colder winter months including prevention of illness, warming the system and making sure you are putting the right fuel into the tank.

Below are some tips to keep those winter cold and flus or the winter blues away:

  • Eat regular, smaller meals that have a source of protein in each meal – the regular meals, and especially the protein, will keep basal metabolic rate (our internal fire) up and keep insulin levels low so you produce energy more efficiently and don’t put on too much fat. In addition, the presence of protein in each meal, will promote the production of satiety that make you feel fuller for longer.
  • Get fuel for energy from fibre and nutrient dense sources of carbohydrates: i.e. fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, and some WHOLE grains. In addition, these nutrient dense (and unprocessed) sources of fuel are rich in nutrients including vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which assist with energy production and provide a huge boost to your body’s immunity.
  • Many people use cold and flu shots as a preventative over winter. In my opinion, if you focus on good nutrition, you will get better results anyway. As well as have more energy. However, if you find this difficult, then consider the shots as an option.
  • Have 1-2 small serves of grain per day and make sure they are WHOLE grains – most wholemeal and multigrain bread is still mostly white flour. When you take the brown bit off flour or rice you remove all of the fibre and most of the nutrients which will impair energy production and function of all cells – including immune system function and recovery from training. So refined carbohydrates are essentially sugar in disguise – or empty calories that don’t give much back in return. They should be avoided!!
  • Grains will be 100% whole grain only if it says it is – don’t assume. 100% whole grains options for bread, pasta, cereals etc can be found in health food stores or the health food section of supermarkets.
  • Eat plenty of essential fatty acids – from fish, nuts and seeds, avocado, tofu and soy products and some oils (olive oil and many nut and seed oils). These help to increase muscle production and reduce body fat. Plus they are essential in energy production, reduction of inflammation and the function of the immune system.
  • Have lots of warming foods to keep you warm and keep the circulation flowing: i.e. warming herbs and condiments (pepper, cayenne, chilli, ginger, garlic, turmeric etc), soups, herbal teas, casseroles etc.
  • Whilst caffeine can be helpful during an event, more than one to two coffees per day can make you pay energy wise. It exacerbates fluctuating blood sugar levels (which need to be kept constant to maximise energy production) and is a central nervous system stimulant, so it will drain you over time if you rely on coffee or those evil energy drinks to keep you up.
  • Use a good quality supplement(s) based from whole food or plant extracts. Many multivitamin/mineral supplements that are synthetically produced are not readily bio-available to the system so, whilst the label says they are potent in lots of goodies (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants) they also have fillers etc, and you will end up urinating most of these ‘so-called’ goodies out without ever receiving the benefit of them to your system. Most of us have experienced the smelly yellow-orange wee after taking vitamin-mineral supplements. Well, that’s where the money you have spent is going if you don’t get a good quality supplement.
  • As our digestive systems evolved over a million or so years by exposure only to whole foods (except for the last 100-200 years or so) these are easily digested and assimilated and you will get full benefit from the nutrients contained in them. Examples of whole food or plant extract supplements would be Juice Plus, Vital Greens, fish oils, herbal extracts such as Siberian Red, Olive Leaf Extract, Echinacea etc.
  • My ideal supplement protocols for maximising cellular health, energy production and immune system function is as follows. I developed and followed this protocol over many years since having recovered from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome:

1. Juice Plus – high potency pure fruit and vegetable extracts. They replace the multi-vitamin/mineral supplements. Bioavailability is excellent and research has found that levels of major vitamins and antioxidants increase considerably after having used this for a month or more. See more info on Juice Plus. Users of this report fewer incidents of colds and flus and less fatigue.

2. High potency, high quality fish oils including EPA and DHA: i.e. Metagenics, Bioceuticals or Ethical Nutrients. The oil is better than capsules as it is far more potent – so find one that tastes ok and mix it in with your smoothies or salads. 95% of the Western population is deficient in Omega 3 essential fatty acids.

3. Bioeffective A – an antioxidant and antimicrobial (including antibacterial and antiviral) extract from Russian pine needle species that is also terrific for liver regeneration and support. Great for digestive health and liver health and preventing colds and flus. Available in some health food stores or at Pine Needle Products.

4. Siberian Red – a pure liquid extract (non-alcohol based) from Siberian Fir tree needles. Siberian research found this excellent as an antioxidant and adaptogen (which helps increase the body’s ability to cope with stress produced by training load, winter coldness or psycho-emotional stress) It is great for reducing fatigue and enhancing endurance and stamina. It also a potent source of highly bio-available iron for a plant source.

Available from Pine Needle Products


About 18 months ago I stumbled upon a piece of technology that I knew immediately would play a role in not only treating and healing disease, but understanding the processes that lead to optimal health or peak performance.

This technology is known as the CapnoTrainer and it measures end-tidal CO2 levels during respiration. Because CO2 plays such a huge role in determining the availability of inhaled O2 to tissues and cells for energy, and CO2 is not readily available in the atmosphere at ground level (we produce CO2 as a bi-product of metabolism), it is vitally important we maintain a reservoir or store of CO2 in our lungs at the end of exhalation (otherwise known as end-tidal CO2) so that it can be made available in arterial blood to optimize release of oxygen to our cells.

As such, the CapnoTrainer is a fantastic opportunity, via biofeedback, for us to measure the efficiency of our breathing (or respiration). The biofeedback provides the chance to verify any theoretical understanding with a first person view of breathing efficiency.

My interest in breathing stemmed from 2 sources:

  1. My involvement in sport at elite levels as both an athlete and coach for well over twenty years. I had read a couple of years earlier an article from a leading and well respected sports physiologist who had said that, given the advances in understanding of physiological training and recovery over the last twenty years or so, breathing was the area that was least understood and held the greatest potential for improvement in sporting performance in the future. So my radar was up.
  2. I have had an interest and involvement in meditation for 20 years and yoga for the last 5 years. Both of these pursuits place a huge emphasis on breathing and efficiency of breath.  As I was a regular meditator and had a regular practice in Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga, I was very open to understanding how to improve the efficiency or rhythm of my breathing.

The last 12 months, in conjunction with a colleague of mine, Mark McGrath who is a Movement Coach and Bodyworker and a leading professional in the field of Deep System Stabilisation, has involved us conducting extensive research in breathing physiology and biochemistry, the role of breathing in both disease and optimal health (or meta-health as it is often referred as), and methods to improve breathing efficiency.

We combined our previous learning in our areas of expertise with current scientific and medical knowledge of the respiratory system, and existing understandings and methods for improving breathing efficiency  (including Buteyko breathing and the work of several pioneering and leading breathing experts – including Mike White, John Douillard, Roger Price and Dr Peter Litchfield).

We verified our theories and ideas using CapnoTrainer biofeedback technology to determine if the idea or theory was replicable in the human system.

From this we developed our own system of breathing and postural retraining called Breathing Dynamics. We have been using this clinically and in courses to improve efficiency of breathing, health and performance in a variety of circumstances including:

Performance work with

  • Athletes
  • Corporates
  • Those involved with the arts.

And, in treatment of a number of conditions including:

  • Asthma and breathing difficulties
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Stress management
  • Snoring/apnoea
  • High blood pressure, hypertension
  • Allergies (eczema, hay fever etc.)
  • Fatigue
  • Digestive complaints (IBS, constipation etc.)
  • In conjunction with corrective dental work.

The results we have been achieving with clients have been both outstanding and in some cases we have been nicely surprised.

As a result of this, and the fact that breathing is the function in our body that we perform the most whilst having some conscious control over it (and therefore is possibly the most central function in the human system that we can regulate or re-train), we believe that breathing retraining is a modality that should play a major role in most holistic health practices.

Why? Because the things that adversely affect breathing the most are the stressors that we are exposed to on a day to day basis, including:

  • Postural and musculoskeletal stressors.
  • Environmental stressors – what we ingest (eat, drink, inhale etc.).
  • Psychological and emotional stressors.

These sources of stress, and the ailments resulting from them, are the direct focus of practically all of the holistic healing and medical modalities currently available.

That breathing retraining plays a major role in management and treatment of conditions addressed by these current modalities is a new concept, yet one that should be taken very seriously.

At Breathing Dynamics we offer group courses or one on one work in breathing retraining that can be tailored specifically to your circumstances or needs.

To gather further information take a look at Breathing Dynamics, send an email to Tim Altman or Mark McGrath or call Tim on 0425 739 918 or Mark on 0417 358 832.