Sauna 2.7_Barrel_inside2_pond_blog

Use of Sauna and Cold to Increase Net Resilience, Mitochondrial Biogenesis, Mood and Longevity

A fantastic video by Dr Rhonda Patrick on the health benefits of saunas and cold water exposure on the brain, metabolism and longevity.

She claims that our bodies are beautifully designed to handle all types of stress.

http://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/15ccfa6cd98cae2d

Definitely worth a watch.

I’ve certainly found these benefits from regular sauna use, so listening to this will reinforce my resolve to continue. Why would I not anyway as you feel so good afterwards…and you’ll have the best sleep in years.

 

 

 

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.

evolutionary-medicine

Research: “The Rhythm of Breathing Affects Memory and Fear”.

Rhythm of Breathing Affects Memory and Fear

A new study (linked) reports the rhythm of your breathing can influence neural activity that enhances memory recall and emotional judgement.

http://neurosciencenews.com/memory-fear-breathing-5699/

And the research on the positive benefits of functional breathing for our health keeps piling up. Yet, whilst most of us are unaware, pretty much all of us do no breathe functionally. We over breathe – both in rate and volume.

I’d like to focus on what was suggested about the findings from the study in the linked article.

“The findings imply that rapid breathing may confer an advantage when someone is in a dangerous situation, Zelano said.

 

If you are in a panic state, your breathing rhythm becomes faster,” Zelano said. “As a result you’ll spend proportionally more time inhaling than when in a calm state. Thus, our body’s innate response to fear with faster breathing could have a positive impact on brain function and result in faster response times to dangerous stimuli in the environment.”

This is a great advantage when you are in a dangerous or emergency situation, yet, in the modern world, most of us are not.

However most of us breathe far too rapidly and with far too much volume (we over breathe), which the study points out is our body’s instinctive, and advantageous, response to an emergency or dangerous state. This implies that the way we now breathe, as a result of a mismatch between the body we inherited from our hunter-gatherer ancestors, and the culture we live in, has us perpetually in this innate, or instinctive, emergency mode neurologically (or as far as our brain is concerned), which is a considerable disadvantage as we are not in emergency situations often at all.

The metabolic impact on our health of being permanently in emergency mode (fight or flight) or sympathetic nervous system dominance is huge. My blog linked goes into detail about this..

Email me at tim@timaltman.com.au or call 0425 739 918 if you want to learn how to get out of emergency mode.

 

ME CFS Awareness Month

This Month Is ME or CFS Awareness Month

Celebrate ME or CFS Awareness Month by Curing Your Condition

It is ME awareness month.
Here at Mickel Therapy, we don’t just think it’s important to raise awareness of ME but also to raise awareness of the fact that people CAN and DO recover from it.

I thought I’d celebrate by sharing a blog from the Mickel Therapy website (linked below) about the recovery of one of my overseas colleagues. I’ve made it easier by copying and pasting it here.
Please read and share as widely as possible so that we can reach and help as many people as we can.

It is true. People do recover. Often.

I have witnessed and personally guided many recoveries in clients suffering from CFS, Fibromyalgia, IBS, Anxiety, Depression and a range of other chronic illness. A great number of them had been ill for many years, and had almost given up hope after trying almost everything. I, and they, are glad they didn’t completely give up….

Also, as an offering for May and June, I will offer a free 15-30 minute phone or Skype discussion to offer more information about Mickel Therapy and its’ role in curing CFS, ME, Fibromyalgia, IBS, Anxiety/Depression etc., and determine whether it would suit you or someone you know who suffers from these ailments. Send me an email or contact me via phone (o425 739 918) to take me up on this offer..

I survived M.E. now I’m thriving.

Saul Levitt, Mickel Therapist

 

 

 

 

 


Advanced Mickel Therapist and Trainer

2006 seems like a long time ago. I guess it is!

That’s the year I fully recovered from M.E.

Let’s back up a little…..

In the late 90s while studying a degree in Marketing at Plymouth University, I was struck down with a horrendous bout of the flu. It meant I couldn’t return to university for over a month.

I remember my first day back at university, everyone excited to see me and welcoming me back and all I wanted to do was crawl into bed. I had to drag myself around with zero energy, the lights in the student common room hurt to look at and I felt dizzy.

Things didn’t get much better for the next few years. I developed food intolerances, couldn’t drink alcohol, had excruciating muscle pains, stomach problem…I could go on and on.

Now, I was never someone that found studying that easy, possibly as I have dyslexia but trying to study for a full on degree while experiencing the effects of M.E. was nearly impossible.

I, as so many others do, tried all sorts of things to get better. I particularly remember my housemates disgust at the smell of me boiling herbs having tried Chinese medicine…let’s just say the taste was less than great.

A few other things I tried: Osteopathy which relieved my aches to some extend but they would have returned by the end of the session, counselling, naturopathy, antidepressants…the list goes on.

Some how I managed to push through to get my degree (a 2:2) and even go on to get a job, meanwhile still struggling with multiple symptoms.

Some years later, looking for a move in career and something different, I decided to travel to Australia for a year. This is something I’d always wanted to do but was pretty daunting given my illness, even though I was somewhat improved by this point.

Anyhow, I went ahead with it and unlike my usual approach to travelling, went without a plan, other than knowing I was staying with some friends on my arrival.

Now I won’t bore you with my tales of travelling but sometime into my stay my sister back home told me of a friend of hers who had got better using Mickel Therapy.

I immediately looked up the website, downloaded the eBook and devoured it. Unlike so many other treatments I tried, there was something about this that connected and clicked with ‘M.E.’

At this time (2006), there weren’t any Mickel Therapists in Australia but there was training in a months time in New Zealand to become a Mickel Therapist Practitioner and something told me that I had to do it.

I applied and after an interview with accepted onto the training and the rest as they say is history.

I remember on the last day of the training having a beer with the other trainees (something I wasn’t able to do during my illness) and feeling fine, so much of my energy was already returning and over the coming weeks and months things continued in this direction, so much so that I thought I’d share a list of a few things I’ve achieved since my recovery:

  • Cycled 65 miles from London to Brighton

  • I have two children both under the age of 5 (neither of which are great sleepers!)

  • Skydived, bungee jumped and everything in between

  • Helped other people like myself around the world also struggling with M.E.

  • Held an art exhibition jointly with my wife and sister

  • Enjoyed simple things like watching a movie without feeling exhausted or in pain

I’m not sure what’s next on my wish list but I know helping anyone I can who’s gone through something similar or worse is part of it.

 

http://www.mickeltherapy.com/blog/

 

 

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Testimonial: Eliminate Asthma with Breathing Dynamics

A lovely testimonial and great result from another happy asthma sufferer – soon to be former sufferer.

The reason I bang on so much about breathing retaining is that this kind of result is the norm using my biofeedback driven breathing retraining rhythms. The shame is that most asthma sufferers overlook this technique as it seems to simple to be true.

“Tim Altman’s breathing techniques made a dramatic improvement to my asthma. The breathing exercises were easy to incorporate into my life, and the biofeedback was helpful to refine the technique. After two weeks I have reduced my asthma medication by half.”

Tim L, Melbourne

Read previous blogs of mine on Breathing Dynamics, The Biochemistry of Breathing and Breathing Dynamics Solutions for Asthma.

Or watch my Youtube video; ‘Breathing Is Life’  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zulIZxuEUvw&t=58s

I am also about to launch an online course for “Breathing Dynamics Solutions for Asthma and Breathing Difficulties”. If you are interested in the course, or would like to book a clinic appointment with me, please email or call 0425 739 918.

 

 

 

Plato fasting

Fasting: History and Purposes

The History and Use of Fasting

The use of fasting has a long and ancient history as a healing process and a spiritual-religious process. It has been a tradition in most religions including Christianity, Judaism and the Eastern religions to purify the system and enhance communion with god or higher sources or intelligences.

For many ancient philosophers, scientists, and physicians, fasting was an essential part of life, health, resistance to disease and recovery from illness. These included Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Galen and the forefather of modern medicine, Hippocrates, from whom we derive the ‘Hippocratic Oath’.  Many yogis have used fasting as an excellent health measure.

Juice fasting may be used in treatment plans for many diseases, to increase our natural resistance to disease, to detoxify from drugs, alcohol or coffee, to promote transformation or life transition, or to provide increased mental clarity and spiritual awareness.

Some of the chronic conditions for which fasting may be beneficial as a part of the treatment plan are listed as follows:

  • Colds and flus – and prevention of these
  • Respiratory tract infections
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Digestive complaints – constipation, diarrhoea, indigestion, IBS, food allergies/sensitivities, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s Disease
  • Asthma
  • Allergies
  • Skin conditions
  • Insomnia
  • CVD disorders – atherosclerosis, hypertension, HBP, coronary artery disease, angina pectoris
  • Fatigue – in many cases
  • Mental illness – in some cases
  • Immune conditions – hypersensitivities, auto-immune conditions

Fasting is very versatile and generally fairly safe; however it should not be used without proper supervision from an experienced health practitioner who can monitor physical, physiological and biochemical changes.

Find out about the Benefits of Fasting and Fasting Programs Offered through naturopath, Tim Altman. Phone 0425 739 9148 or email.

Respiratory Therapy - Torquay, Geelong, Melbourne

Nose Breathing Will Improve Your Memory and Make You More Emotionally Aware

Below is a great article that discusses new research that has found that breathing using the nose rather than the mouth will improve memory and increase emotional awareness.

I’ve discussed at length in recent blogs about the myriad of physiological and neurological benefits from nose breathing, so the addition of the benefits found from this research make it even clearer that learning to breathe as we were ‘built to’ using your nose and diaphragm, instead of mouth and chest/shoulders, is something that we should all prioritise as much as our nutrition and exercise for our long term health and well being, as well as for our performance. 

While this may seem a lengthy tip to recall in the midst of uh-oh moments, the power of active breathing—voluntarily inhaling and exhaling to control our breathing rhythm—has been known and used throughout history. Even today, in tactical situations by soldiers, or in extreme cold conditions by the Ice Man, we know that slow, deep breathing can calm the nervous system by reducing our heart rate and activating the parasympathetic (calming) nervous system. In this way, our bodies become calm, and our minds also quieten. Recently, however, a new study has found evidence to show that there is actually a direct link between nasal breathing and our cognitive functions.

How Nasal Breathing Influences the Brain

Northwestern Medicine scientists were interested in understanding how breathing affects the brain regions responsible for memory and emotional processing. Through a series of experiments, they discovered that nasal breathing plays a pivotal role in coordinating electrical brain signals in the olfactory “smell” cortex—the brain regions that directly receive input from our nose—which then coordinates the amygdala (which processes emotions) and the hippocampus (responsible for both memory and emotions). We know that the “smell” system is closely linked to the limbic brain regions that affect emotion, memory and behaviour, which is why sometimes a particular smell or fragrance can evoke very strong emotional memories. This study shows, additionally, that the act of breathing itself, even in the absence of smells, can influence our emotions and memory.

Initially, the scientists examined the electrical brain signals of 7 epilepsy patients with electrodes in their brains, and found that the ongoing rhythms of natural, spontaneous breathing are in sync with slow electrical rhythms in our brain’s “smell” region. Then, they also found that during nasal inhalation, the fast electrical rhythms in the amygdala and hippocampus became stronger. One way to understand this is to think of the system as an orchestra: our nasal breathing is the grand conductor, setting the tempo for the slow playing of the smell regions of the brain while weaving in the faster rhythms of the emotion and memory regions.

The In-Breath Encodes Memories and Regulates Emotions

To further understand these synchronous effects that nasal breathing has on our brain regions, the scientists then conducted separate experiments on 60 healthy subjects to test the effects of nasal breathing on memory and emotional behavior. Subjects were presented with fearful or surprised faces, and had to make rapid decisions on the emotional expressions of the faces they saw. It turns out that they were able to recognize the fearful faces (but not surprised faces) much faster, when the faces appeared specifically during an in-breath through the nose. This didn’t happen during an out-breath, nor with mouth breathing. The scientists also tested memory (associated with the hippocampus), where the same 60 subjects had to view images and later recall them. They found that memory for these images was much better if they first encountered and encoded these images during an in-breath through the nose.

Our in-breath is like a remote control for our brains, directly affecting electrical signals that communicate with memory and emotional processing centers.

These findings show a system where our in-breath is like a remote control for our brains: by breathing in through our nose we are directly affecting the electrical signals in the “smell” regions, which indirectly controls the electrical signals of our memory and emotional brain centers. In this way, we can control and optimize brain function using our in-breath, to have faster, more accurate emotional discrimination and recognition, as well as gain better memory.

So taking a breath in through our nose can control our brain signals and lead to improved emotional and memory processing, but what about the out-breath? As mentioned earlier, slow, steady breathing activates the calming part of our nervous system, and slows our heart rate, reducing feelings of anxiety and stress. So while the in-breath specifically alters our cognition, the act of slow, deep breathing, whether the inhalation or exhalation, is beneficial for our nervous system when we wish to be more still. In fact, mindful breathing emphasizes not only the breathing component, but also the mental component of paying attention and becoming aware of mind, body and breath together. By observing in a non-judgemental manner, without forcing ourselves to “get to” some special state, we are in fact then able to watch our minds and feel our bodies more clearly. This in turn becomes a path to insight and a practice we can keep working on. Our breath is powerful enough to regulate emotions and help us gain clarity, and to fully do so we must also make the effort to center our minds to the here and now.”

To learn how retraining your breathing can help your health or performance, contact me via email or phone. I conduct breathing assessment and retaining sessions either one on one, with groups or online via Skype or phone.