My Personal Case Study Using Advanced Breathing to Gain a Competitive Edge in Sports Performance

My Personal Experience Using Breathing Dynamics to Achieve a Top Ten Finish at The Molokai World Sursfski Championships 

In 2010 I studied the science of breathing, qualified as a respiratory therapist and started working clinically with asthma & breathing difficulties, snoring & sleep apnoea, fatigue, anxiety, sinusitis etc., plus working with athletes I coach on performance breathing. I was seeing great results both clinically and with athletes. In 2012 I decided to take on the Molokai Surfski Challenge – my first venture at this event. At 53km from Molokai Island to Oahu Island across the Kaiwi Channel (The Channel of Bones), the Molokai Surfski Challenge is the ocean paddling equivalent to the Kona Hawaii Ironman triathlon – the unofficial world endurance championship. Like Kona, Molokai is the bucket list event of all ocean paddlers, and probably the toughest race in the world, often with big seas and winds, and a lot of heat and humidity to contend with also. I had 16 weeks to prepare, so it presented a fantastic opportunity to train my body to breathe optimally (using the diaphragm to drive breathing and mostly the nose on inhalation & exhalation) at higher levels of exertion. And at 45 years of age, I figured it was worth exploring a natural competitive edge as I didn’t have the strength or speed that I had when I was younger, or the time to train as much as I used to. So this presented a fantastic opportunity to see explore how much more I could gain in performance by learning how to breathe optimally whilst competing in the sport I was once at elite level in. In my youth I had been an Australian representative at the World Sprint Kayak Championships and a national medallist in surf lifesaving competition in Australia. Unfortunately my career at international level was cut short in my early 20s by illness – what we now know as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) or post viral syndrome. So I was a very capable paddler in sprint or middle distance with my best races being in the 1-3 minute range. I was more a sprinter or high lactic tolerance paddler, rather than a paddler with a high VO2 max. I wasn’t a great at time trials over a distance or a great marathon paddler (unless I could sit on a wash and sprint off at the end). As such, I knew that doing an endurance race, particularly against the best marathon ocean paddlers in the world, would not be my forte. But I grew up surfing and paddling in the ocean, and the Molokai race happens at a time of the year when the Hawaiian trade winds blow consistently in a particular direction, it is typically a downwind event where you surf the wind runs and ground swells, gathering great speeds. As I love surfing and downwind paddling, I couldn’t wait to do a race on one of the best downwind courses in the world. And exploring how much extra I could gain in performance from the breath training excited me also. The objective with breath training for sporting performance is to:
  1. Breathe predominantly using the nose, only using the mouth in emergencies, or if the exertion level becomes extreme – indications from what I’d experienced, as well as with other athletes who have explored performance breathing during exercise suggest that it is possible to nose breathe up to about 90% of max heart rate, suggesting that this is ideal especially for endurance sports. For people doing sports that involve intervals of sprinting interspersed with rest periods at random; i.e. football, hockey, basketball, etc etc; will find it harder to nose breath all the time, however there are still significant benefits to be gained by breathing only using the nose when recovering between sprints.
  2. Use the diaphragm to initiate inhalation – the chest is also used during exercise, but most huff and puff with their chest only. The diaphragm is the primary breathing muscle, and it is far more efficient to breathe using the diaphragm only at rest, and initially during low-level exercise, and then using the chest in addition to the diaphragm as exertion levels increase.
“Essentially, less is better with breathing for performance. That is, a slower breathing rate and lower breathing volume – be it at rest of during the exertion of sports performance. This is counterintuitive, as we want to huff and puff more the harder it gets, thinking that we’re sucking more oxygen in. But huffing and puffing reduces breathing efficiency, as it reduces the amount of oxygen that actually reaches your cells for energy production – which is the purpose of breathing in the first place. Whereas reducing the breathing rate and volume, will increase oxygen delivery to cells for energy production, and therefore efficiency in performance. It is very difficult initially without training to breathe less whilst exercising (or even at rest), but the benefits are worth the effort.”
The benefits of nose & diaphragm breathing, or performance breathing during exercise include:
  • Using greater lung surface area for gas exchange
  • More efficient oxygen delivery to cells for energy production
  • Learning how to breathe at lower breathing & heart rates at high levels of exercise
  • Delaying lactic acid onset
  • Reducing recovery times between efforts
  • Increasing relaxation during exercise
  • Allowing greater access to ‘zone’ or ‘alpha’ states during exercise
  • Improving relaxation and calmness at competitions
  • Improving postural stability.
Breathing Dynamics for Sporting Performance
My breath training involved a few aspects:
  1. Day to day diaphragm & nose breathing rhythms aimed at slowing down the breathing rate and reducing the volume of the breath – this represents what I would call ‘base training’ which restores normal or optimal breathing function on a day to day basis, and prepares the body for performance breath training. 30 minutes per day.
  2. Off the water diaphragm strengthening exercises (as most people’s diaphragm muscle is weak and atonic due to lack of use), combined with breath holds (to increase the brain’s tolerance to increased CO2 levels experienced during exertion). 20-30 minutes, 3-5 times per week.
  3. Practice of nose & diaphragm breathing whilst doing my paddle training or cross training – it takes time for the body to adjust to the reduced volume and rate of breathing experience when predominantly nose/diaphragm breathing, so I was fortunate to be able to build my capacity to breathe optimally as my program built in intensity from aerobic base training, to higher intensity race pace training, and finally lactic tolerance and speed training. If you try to nose/diaphragm breathe at really high intensity initially, before your body has time to adapt, it can really hurt, and lead to one feeling badly out of breath, light headed or having a headache. You simply have t build your tolerance to increased CO2 over time.
As my training progressed and increased in intensity, I started to get more comfortable nose and diaphragm breathing at higher intensities, and I felt very relaxed at these intensities – far more than I usually would. I knew the biggest difficulty in applying performance breathing on race day would be from the start, as we don’t start paddle race at a cruisy pace. Paddlers take off quickly in order to find their own water (as sitting behind multiple skis results in getting caught in bumpy, ‘dirty’ water that is hard to paddle in), or find the wash of another slightly faster paddler to sit on. As such it’s very challenging from a breathing perspective – many paddlers feel out of breath, and have to back off after the initial start until they feel comfortable in their breathing – and that has traditionally always included me. Therefore I knew that getting used to nose & diaphragm breathing at high intensities was necessary, but would also have to be my main emphasis for the start of the race. In addition, if necessary, I could use the mouth occasionally as long as my inhalation was initiated by the diaphragm first, and then the chest, rather than huffing and puffing with the chest only, which is effectively hyperventilating, and is extremely inefficient from a cardiovascular perspective. Even if you use your mouth instead of the nose, learning how to diaphragm breathe properly will still be more efficient than huffing and puffing with the chest and shoulders only, as diaphragm breathing will slow breathing down. But learning how to nose breathe for as long as you can, as well as diaphragm breathing, is by far the most efficient method. Ultimately, the less you mouth breathe initially, or the more you nose breathe, the better you set yourself for efficient breathing as the pace settles 20-30 minutes into the race. Therefore, on race day, after the start, my main focus and energy expenditure was on breathing efficiently rather than trying too hard. Fortunately in a 50+ km race, you can’t start too hard anyway if you want to get to the last half of the race, or the end in a reasonable state. Via this primary focus on nose & diaphragm breathing initially, which was quite a challenge, I found that I was able to maintain a consistent pace, rather than having to back off for a while, and then after 20-30 minutes of being at my limit of comfort (with the occasional mouth breath) I started to get more comfortable with my breathing and it became a nice, relaxed but energetic rhythm. As a result, I felt very good internally. I felt relaxed, with an upright posture, and could maintain a solid pace quite comfortably. It also kept me focused on the task at hand, rather than my mind wandering. At around the 1.5 hour mark, or just under half way (the race took me 3 hours 40 minutes), I felt fantastic, so whilst maintaining my nose/diaphragm breathing rhythm, I was able to accelerate for the rest of the race, and from here I began to overtake a number of paddlers who couldn’t sustain the pace they set out at. This was unusual or a surprise for me, as I had previously always been more of a sprinter who goes out fast at the start, and struggles to maintain speed, rather than an endurance paddler who builds as they go. In fact, it was a revelation to do this, as I’d never done that before. It also helped me regulate my hydration really well, as my mouth was closed so it wasn’t drying out regularly. This is super important for this race, as maintain hydration and electrolyte levels is one of the main challenges in this race, and one of the main reasons that many paddlers fail to finish well, or at all. As a result of settling into this breathing rhythm and being able to accelerate for the 2nd half (or two thirds) of the race, I performed better than I expected, and finished in the top 10 overall for the race – at the age of 45. I was very happy with the result, but I was even more elated at being able to master my breathing at a high level, and to surprise myself so much in doing so – not only how relaxed and in control I felt, but also the increased cardiovascular capacity I felt I had found. It’s very nice to be pleasantly surprised sometimes in life.  I felt like I had found a serious competitive edge to support my paddling.  The same pattern and result occurred two years later, when I did the race again. If you’d like to explore gaining a natural competitive edge in sport, or exercise, that is easy to learn, then contact me via this website to book and appointment, or enrol in my online course,  ‘Breathing Dynamics for Sporting Performance’. It is super thorough and you get some one on one time with me as a part of the course cost. Also, see the links for other articles and research on breathing for sporting performance:
Winning the 40-45 y.o. age group trophy at Molokai

Another Chronic Fatigue (CFS) Recovery Using Mickel Therapy, Breathing Exercises and more..

Below is a testimonial from a client who made a great recovery from chronic fatigue (CFS). It’s so humbling to witness the freedom and accomplishment clients experience after recoverng from chronic illnesses such as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), fibromyalgia, anxiety & depression, IBS etc.

Especially given they are so frequently told by medical practitioners and ‘research’ that a cure is not possible, so most sufferers end up feeling so helpless. It is so confidence and soul destorying for them.

Having experienced this myself, I know how they feel, and that is why I have been so motivated to find the most potent modalities to achieve recoveries over the last 20+ years of practice.

Plus it gives me such joy and a warm heart to see the change in them. As mentioned, it’s extremely humbling to guide them on their journey to recovery.

“After years of struggling with chronic fatigue with no improvement, I had lost hope of ever getting better. But working with Tim led to a huge boost in my overall well being. Using Mickel therapy, breathing exercises, and a variety of lifestyle enhancements, I’ve had levels of improvement that I didn’t think would be possible. He told me from day one that he wanted to help me become more resilient, and that’s exactly what we accomplished together.

My primary care doctor once told me that recovery from CFS is a game of percentages — that anything you can do to increase your energy by a small percentage is considered a success. And I can say that working with Tim has dramatically flipped those percentages in my favor. At my worst point, I spent a solid 90% of every day feeling absolutely miserable. And now I’d say it’s comfortably the other way around. I’m able to work full time, maintain a healthy social life, and even mix in some exercise at this point! I can’t recommend highly enough.”

But, wait there’s more. He sent me an addition a little while later:

“I also want you to know that I played my first 20 minutes of soccer in over two years this weekend! ……….I can’t tell you how great it felt to be on a field playing again.”

I love it. What was even more cool, was that this client lives on the other side of the planet from me, so all of the work we did together towards his recovery was done via online consultations.

If you suffer from CFS, fibromyalgia, anxiety, depression, IBS or any other chronic illness, and are suck of feeling helpless, then contact me to have a chat about a potential recovery.

 

 

 

 

CFS and Fibromyalgia Recovery Requires a Paradigm Shift

A Personal Evolution from Chronic Illness to Optimal Living

Having suffered from post viral syndrome, adrenal fatigue, or chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), ME – or whatever name one ascribes to this chronic condition) I understand how debilitating it is and how helpless and misunderstood sufferers feel.

It is extremely frustrating, and there’s rarely anything doctors, or most other practitioners can do to help.

And those suffering from chronic ailments or ‘syndromes’ such as fibromyalgia, anxiety, IBS, POTS and many more share the same or similar experiences, or feelings.

As such, I have the last 30 years of mt life exploring solutions, and the last 20 years as a natural medicine practitioner working with clients on making solutions.

Given I experienced a complete recovery 25 years ago, and my general health and resilience has improved so significantly over the last 10 years as a result of this exploration, I know intimately that there are solutions that create complete recoveries, so I have searched extensively for techniques that yield more than just partial or temporary results.

I’ve experienced complete recovery myself which allowed me to believe that it is possible, and have witnessed it with clients many times, so it has set a benchmark to aim for.

It often, or almost always, requires more than one technique. As such, it involves a combination of techniques.

And it involves a bit of a paradigm shift in one’s perspective of health and disease.

Rather than a predominantly medicinal approach, be they pharmaceutical or natural, I have found that the most profound or complete resolutions have come from behavioural of lifestyle changes.

It’s a far less appealing model for the general public, as it requires more work and responsibility for the individual. Plus, we have been so indoctrinated by the medical and pharmaceutical model that many believe that in order to change processes of illness in the body, we must take something.

However, if one takes a step back, we can see how short sighted this approach is – especially with chronic illness.

Agreed, it is absolutely necessary if one catches an infectious disease, and modern medicine & the pharmaceutical approach evolved at a time when 90% or deaths came as a result of infectious diseases and trauma. As such, this model, aided heavily by modern engineering and sanitisation, was highly successful.

However, the world has changed dramatically, and 90% of deaths now result from chronic, lifestyle preventable illnesses.

Therefore, a different approach is required. Hence , the need for a paradigm shift to yield more complete results. Or, dare I say it, complete resolutions.

This shift comes from looking at the fields of evolutionary medicine, genetics/epigenetics, and anthropology.

Research has found that it takes 40,000 to 100,000 for a change in our environment to be assimilated by our bodies, at DNA level. As such, the bodies we now inhabit, are those of our ‘hunter gatherer’ ancestors some 40,000 years ago.

Our bodies adapted to live, and flourish the way we did then.

But that’s a long way from how we live now. Pretty much most of what we do is different.

We sit more, eat differently, exercise less, stress more constantly, breathe far less efficiently, think too much, work too much etc. etc.

Life is much higher paced, and far more complicated. We’ve created a huge mismatch between the bodies we inherited from our hunter gatheerer ancestors, and the world we have now created.

Our highly evolved thinking or rational brains have allowed us to become ‘so-called’ top of the animal kingdom, yet we have forgotten how to live as we evolved to, or we are built to.

To quote one of my favourite evolutionary medicine specialists, Daniel Lieberman, in hos book ‘The Story of the Human Body. Evolution, Health and Disease’.

“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.” 

The way to create complete and long term resolutions to chronic ailments is to address this mismatch.

It was when I began to explore techniques based on this approach, that I started to witness far more potent results in clients.

Here are a list of some of the techniques I use both with clients, and personally in my exploration of optimal living. More information on each can be found in many articles I have written on this site. I shall provide a link to one of these for many:

  1. Mickel Therapy – the core approach or rudder that guides the rest. Eliminating (via action) the ‘sub-conscious behavioural and lifestyle habits that suppress energy and send us into constant ‘hypervigilance’, ‘fight or flight mode’ or internal overdrive.      https://timaltman.com.au/video-tim-altman-mickel-therapist/      https://timaltman.com.au/mickel-therapy-case-study-fibomyalgia/
  2. Breathing Dynamics – diaphragmatic breathing rhythms to retrain ideal breathing. https://timaltman.com.au/breathing-life-death/
  3.  Optimal nutrition – including regulating blood sugar levels, increasing vegetable and fruit intake. https://timaltman.com.au/the-ideal-nutrition-plan-for-the-modern-world/
  4. Meditation. https://timaltman.com.au/meditation-is-medicine-2/
  5. Therapeutic fasting.  https://timaltman.com.au/fasting-solution-optimal-health/   https://timaltman.com.au/fasting-history-purposes/   https://timaltman.com.au/fast-benefits-fasting/
  6. Optimising our response to stress: https://timaltman.com.au/deal-stress-number-one-contributor-mortality/
  7. Creating work-life balance – meeting your own deep seated needs as well as those of others or work.
  8. Optimal sleep practices.
  9. Herbal medicine.
  10. Sauna therapy.  https://timaltman.com.au/benefits-sauna-therapy/
  11. Creating more joy or play.

It won’t require all of these modalities or techniques to get better. For many, it only requires a few. Whilst it does require some work and responsibility from you, it is not as difficult or time consuming as you would think.

Once you start seeing results, it spurs you to start exploring more, and seeing further results.

I can assure you, the process of going from helplessness and despair to freedom and joy is certainly worth it.

What have you got to lose.

And the good news is that most of these modalities work as effectively when taught online via Zoom etc. as the do in person, so you don’t have to live locally to see the benefits.

If you’d like to explore further, email me at tim@timaltman.com.au or call 0425 739 918.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Testimonial: Adrenal Fatigue Recovery

‘Learning about Mickel Therapy and Respiratory Therapy has been so insightful and valuable to my health. After years of adrenal fatigue I finally have more energy back, thanks Tim!’  Olivia, Geelong

Above is a testimonial from a client who came to me with adrenal fatigue.

In her treatment we combined Breathing Dynamics diaphragmatic breathing exercises and focusing on taking her body out of ‘internal overdrive’ using the neuroscience understanding from Mickel Therapy.

After only 3 session is 6 weeks she had experienced a recovery from her fatigue and was feeling great again for the first time in years.

It’s not always this swift in recovery, but it;s wonderful to see when it occurs. Credit also to Olivia who complied with all of her ‘home work’ and applied the principles of keeping it simple, practicing and persisting.

My job is to teach the techniques and guide clients to recovery. Their job is to apply the principles in consistent practice. Olivia did that extremely well, so she thoroughly deserved her new found energy levels.

 

Testimonial: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) Recovery

“Hi Tim, just wanted to say thanks for all the guidance over the last 12 months.  My physical health is at it’s best since getting crook, and my mental health, and my ability to handle stress has improved greatly. This has been from all the little things that I have implemented through your guidance. Looking forward to taking that next step in my health this year.” Brandon, Colac

Above is a lovely new year’s message from a client who came to me just over 12 months ago with chronic fatigue syndrome or CFS.

His main, or most prominent symptoms were chronic fatigue, brain fog, dizziness, anxiety and shortness of breath.

His program included a combination of

  1. Behavioural and lifestyle modifications based on the neuroscience principles of Mickel Therapy aimed at detecting the triggers that lead to or increase symptoms and lessening the impact of these, or changing the behaviours or subconscious habits that lead to symptoms. This aspect is grossly underrated, but essential in the recovery from any chronic illness.
  2. Breath retraining using diaphragmatic breathing rhythms taught in a 4-5 stage process over time to increase energy production, regulate the autonomic nervous system and increase blood and lymph flow throughout the body.
  3. Nutritional changes and optimisation, culminating in a comprehensive 7-10 day juice fast followed by 3-4 week re-introduction to food process.
  4. The use of a small range of specifically targeted herbs and nutritional medicines that are all pure extracts (derived directly from plants rather than being synthetically manufactured) for increased bio-availability.

If you or someone you know has chronic fatigue syndrome, CFS, post-viral syndrome, adrenal fatigue, fibromyalgia, IBS, anxiety or any other chronic complaint, contact me via tim@timaltman.com.au or 0425 739 918.

My work is equally effective online as it is in person – in fact the client who is the subject of this post was an online client.

 

 

3 Top Health Tips For Surviving CoVid and Thriving Beyond

After having specialised for many years in treating people with chronic illnesses such as CFS, fibromyalgia, anxiety, depression, irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive complaints, as well as working at the other end of the well-being spectrum with corporates and athletes to improve performance, here are my top three well-being tips for surviving/thriving during CoVid and lessons we can learn so we thrive, going beyond.
These draw from research in nutritional medicine, neuroscience, psychoneuroimmunology, epigenetics, evolutionary medicine, physiology and biochemistry.

1. Practice diaphragmatic breathing rhythms 3 times daily for 10 minutes ea.

Most people breathe nowhere near their full potential – twice as often as we should (according to diagnostic norms) using our chest and shoulders instead of our diaphragm, and with our mouth in addition to, or instead of our nose. This impairs energy production by the cells, upsets our nervous system putting us in constant low to mid-level fight or flight mode, and can significantly reduce our performance and contribute to many health conditions, including:

  • asthma and breathing difficulties
  • sleep issues – including snoring and sleep apnoea
  • fatigue and chronic pain
  • anxiety and depression
  • headaches and migraines
  • allergies and sinusitis
  • IBS and other digestive complaints
Breathing is also the central, or base practice in meditation, most martial arts, yoga, tai-chi etc. The volume of research on breath practice, and particularly meditation is now huge.
Enough to say that breath-work and meditation are medicine – both physically and mentally.
If you already have a meditation practice, incorporate the breathing rhythms into your practice, especially at the start, as it will settle your nervous system into relaxation mode more quickly, and take the practice to a deeper level.
If you don’t, start with the regular breathing rhythms.
To start, see my online breathing course via  https://timaltman.com.au/

2. Eat more fruit and vegetables.

The most common denominator from the last 100 years or so of nutritional research is that the more fruit and vegetables you eat, the better your quality of life, and immune system, and the more you prevent the chronic illnesses that account for 90% of medical expenses and deaths in the western world.

Aim for a minimum of 6 full handfuls (your handful) of vegetables and 3 handfuls of seasonal fruit to your climate daily.
That = 9 handfuls of fruit and vegetables daily. If you struggle to achieve it, reduce your intake of processed foods, grains, dairy etc. as they provide nowhere the bang for buck nutritionally that fruit and vegetables do, but fill you up so there’s less room for the quality stuff.
If you eat meat (read meat, fish, poultry etc), have no more than a palm size portion in each meal, and buy organic wherever possible as the quality of the meat and the fats is much, much better.

3. Get more variety and reward in your day.

Research in genetics, anthropology and evolutionary medicine tells us that it takes 40,000 to 100,000 years for change in our environment to be assimilated by our bodies at DNA level, meaning that our body evolved to thrive as we lived 40,000 years ago at least, as hunter-gatherers. The way we spend our days has changed dramatically since then, but we can learn plenty about what our bodies are built for, or what environments cause them to thrive or fail.
The average hunter-gatherer population spent 15-25 hours per week hunting and gathering. So they got far more variety, balance and down time in their day than we did. We are simply not built to work as much as we do, and it takes its toll on our physical and mental health in more ways than we may realise.
Whilst, for a number of reasons it may not be easy or realistic to reduce your working hours so much straight away, or at all, we can learn so much from what our body is built for and apply the following principles into each day. Some tips include:
  • Combine work with reward; i.e. 45 minutes on, 15 minutes reward, or 2  hours on, half and hour reward, 3 hours on, 1 hour reward etc.
  • In your reward time, gut up from your desk and do something different – that you enjoy.
  • On that note, spend more time each day on activities you enjoy for no reason – your brain and nervous system will love you for it. If the list of things you enjoy has grown small over the years of grinding at work, think back to what you used to enjoy or what you’d like to do more of, and start applying them.
  • Get more variety in the tasks you do each working day. For example, if you spend long hours at your computer, then schedule in work calls regularly, and get up from your desk if you can and move around or go somewhere else whilst taking the call.
  • Sit less. Find ways of working in different postures – a standing desk, ergonomic chairs etc. I often lie on the floor and work on my computer when working from home.
  • Spend more time outside every day.
  • Take time after work to transition from work to home/social life. The breathing techniques above are great for this.
  • These adjustments require a significant shift in attitude, but most people who take the leap and start to implement these changes find they get far more done in each day, in less time than they did previously. Plus they don’t experience the burn-out and lack of joy that so many of us do.
I work one on one in clinic and with corporate or sporting groups as a natural medicine practitioner, breath coach, wellbeing coach, and also coaching paddlers ranging from beginners to international level. See  https://timaltman.com.au/ and https://www.worldpaddle.com/
I also work with wellbeing and performance online and in person in the corporate sector (see https://www.mindfullife.com.au/?loaded), and now have an online breathing course available via  https://timaltman.com.au/   or   https://www.lionheartworkshops.com/breathing-dynamics-tim-altman

CoVid-19. We Are Far From The Innocent Victims of a Freak Accident.

We Were Overdue A Visit From a Pandemic!

“Whether currently-circulating avian, swine and other zoonotic (transferred from animal to human) influenza viruses will result in a future pandemic is unknown. However, the diversity of zoonotic influenza viruses that have caused human infections is alarming and necessitates strengthened surveillance in both animal and human populations”  World Health Organisation on influenza

The above quote, cited by Vybarr Cregan-Reid in his book, “Primate Change. How the World We Made is Remaking Us” (Octopus Publishing Group 2018) is an alarming warning or foretelling of the present circumstances we find ourselves on a global scale with CoVid-19, given the book was published in 2018, so this quote predates that time.

It sends us sobering message that we are not the innocent victims of some random virus. The virus is a bi-product of the world we have created.

Is nature biting us back?

Below is some further text from this book that really sends this message so strongly:

“Animals are now reared with such intensity that mathematically it is only a matter of time before one of the many mutated flu viruses becomes an epidemic that passes freely to, and between, humans.

Farming animals no doubt provided us with opportunities for survival and growth, but with the intensification of farming practices today which encourage food-borne illnesses and antimicrobial resistance, the scene is set for viruses to mutate, trading genes to become the next super-flu transmissible between humans. There are major flu outbreaks approximately every three decades. We are currently overdue a visit from one.

That is our inheritance. This is what we have done with agriculture; but it is not yet done with us.”

Vybarr Cregan-Reid; “Primate Change. How The World We Made is Remaking Us” Octopus Publishing Group 2018

This would suggest that, not only have we created our current situation, if we do not change our ways, even if we eliminate the current threat from CoVid-19, it is highly likely that similar circumstances will occur again. Perhaps it is time to shift our focus from trying to eliminate the threat of CoVid-19 so we can get back to ‘normal’, to addressing the root cause of this problem.

What has led us to this? Where have we gone wrong?

As a species, we’ve become the so-called ‘top of the animal kingdom’ as a result of having a highly sophisticated intelligence, or thinking brain, and our culture and education system over the last few hundred, or arguably thousand years, has encouraged us to think rationally all the time, and that emotions are unreliable and weak.

However, the down side of this skewed logic is that we are so ‘in our heads’, we have forgotten that we are an animal – we have completely detached from our instinctive, intuitive emotional brain that is as much a part of us, and how we process information as our thinking, or rational brain.

To ignore this intelligence leads us to disconnect from our bodies, our feelings, instincts, and the planet ecosystem that nurtures us.  It creates huge imbalance internally, both for our nervous system, and our body in general, leaving us in permanent low to mid-level ‘fight or flight’ mode (some more than low to mid-level), and creates discord in the external environment with which we interact.

Or basic needs as an animal are for happiness, safety and comfort. These are real biological, evolutionary needs, and cannot be ignored.

Our primary motivation as hunter gatherers may have been to create a more comfortable and secure existence, but the advent of the concept of economics (it might seem shocking to some that our economic system is not necessarily real – it is a concept), has seen us go way beyond having enough to be happy, safe and comfortable, and we have become increasingly disconnected from who we are as a species, and from the planet and ecosystem that sustains us.

Our religious adherence to this concept, or economic model has blinded us to what it is that sustains us, and allows us to thrive in the first place. A predominance in importance is placed on profitability, productivity and success over sustainability, yet these ‘concepts’ lead us invariably to sacrifice our basic needs for happiness, safety and comfort. And that is where the imbalance, both internally and environmentally begin.

 

I hear so many people complain that the lock downs we have faced, or are still facing, are destroying our economy, which are valid concerns for our present and future happiness, safety and comfort, but it is time we see that our ‘slavery’ to profitability, and ‘success’ has been the ‘root cause’ of the current problem, and what is also currently threatening our economic viability.

In other words, we are being given possibly the strongest reminder in history, that our economic model of existence is clearly not sustainable – both physically and economically. We will continue to pay for our short sightedness if we don’t start looking beyond our current concepts and way of living.

Is it possible that this time in history marks the moment that the mess we have created has tipped us, and the planet over the edge and either goes one way or another – we continue to face similar environmental and lifestyle challenges that ultimately bring down our economic system on its’ own, or we wake up and learn the lessons from our past, and we listen to the messages our planet is sending?

Whilst the agricultural, industrial and technological revolutions were an outstanding success from an economic perspective, and one might say an inevitable outcome of evolution (of intelligence as well physical evolution), it was an absolute disaster for our bodies, and the environments in which we live.

Research in the fields of genetics and anthropology has found that it takes 40,000 to 100,000 years for change in our environment to be fully assimilated by our bodies – at DNA level.

What that means, is that the bodies we now inhabit, still think we are wandering the land as hunter gatherers some 40,000 years ago, and the environment we lived in, and lifestyle we lived as hunter gatherers is that which makes us thrive.

Yet we now live completely differently from how we evolved to live – or how we evolved to thrive.

The changes impact us across all levels, from how we eat and drink, move and stabilise, sleep, breathe, the hours we work and type of work we perform, our exposure to radiation and new to nature chemicals, and how we process information and stress (the combination of how we think and emote).

The present circumstances have seen a huge increase in hostility, and confusion as to what is truth, and what is imaginary. There are so many conspiracy theories, and so many polarised opinions, and hostility throughout the community – perpetuated increasingly by mainstream and social media. It is growing extremely difficult nowadays to know who to trust anymore.

No matter what you believe; be it the information we are being given by mainstream media, or the myriad of conspiracy theories out there, the solution is unquestionably the same for us as individuals. That is, to raise your own frequency or increase your resilience by improving your health, simplifying your life, increasing connection to yourself, your family and friends, and to the immediate environment in which you live. That is all you can do. No point getting angry. Just nurture what nurtures you deep inside.

Whilst we cannot go back to living as hunter gatherers, as our planet would not sustain so many people living this way, plus there were also downsides to this lifestyle that threatened our basic safety on a day to day basis that we have overcome for the better, but we could do very well to understand how we lived then, and the environment in which our current bodies adapted to thrive in, and compare it to nowadays.

Nor am I suggesting we all become vegans as, whilst there are both arguments for this approach both physically and especially ethically, there are considerable questions as to the efficacy of this approach for long tem well-being.

Going to the opposite extreme will create its’ own problems given the world we’ve already set up.

It is an opportunity to shift the balance far more significantly from profitability to sustainability.

I do not have the whole solution, as I believe it is something we are going to need explore as a collective as it unfolds, however it is very clear to me that the current circumstances we are facing is are very strong warning from the planet that it is time we shifted our perspective and approach to living, or we will pay more and more dearly down the track.

Not just gradual change. It is a significant shift in our attitude that is required. Our priority must be to raise our frequency and connect more intimately with or bodies and ourselves, as well as the humans, animals and the environment around us.

Here are a few suggestions:

 

  • A massive focus on sustainability over profitability.
  • Reducing our working hours by at least 20% – research has suggested our hunter gatherer ancestors worked 15-25 hours per week hunting and gathering. The rest was spent with a combination of leisure, ritual, sleep, doing nothing (a lost art in our culture), social etc.
  • Following from the above point, creating more time in our days for family and social time, and also activities that allow us to experience joy. We are not built to smash ourselves with just working, eating and sleeping. It comes at a cost to our physical and mental health. We need more variety, and joy.
  • Spend more time outdoors – especially if you live in cities or towns.
  • Get more down time – time to self and those close to you.
  • Breathe gently in and out through your nose, using your diaphragm – most fail at this far more often than they realise, and it significantly impacts their well-being and performance.
  • Meditate – meditation is medicine; both physically and mentally.
  • Try to be present more often – check in regularly and be present with, and aware of what you’re doing at the time, nothing else.
  • Be open to feeling your feelings, and to communicating them – it’s ok to be vulnerable. It can be scary initially, but it’s ok.
  • Eat fresh food over packaged, and processed food – grow your own as much as you can.
  • Buy organic food (especially meat).
  • Eat more fruit and vegetables – lots more.
  • Fast occasionally to give your body a rest.
  • Sit less, walk more.
  • Reduce radiation exposure via wi-fi, phones, screens, artificial lighting etc.
  • Exercise daily, and enjoy your exercise. Don’t smash yourself all of the time (or at all) – vary it around.

www.timaltman.com.au – for in person, online consultation, group courses, or my online ‘Breathing Dynamics’ course.            www.mindfullife.com.au – for corporate training both in person or online.

 

My 8 Minutes of Fame!! A Short Radio Interview on Breathing.

ABC National Radio Interview on Breath Coaching with Joel Spry

A recent radio interview on ABC National radio with Joel Spry, a former client, now good friend of mine with whom, we used a combination of MIckel Therapy and Breath work to overcome IBS, anxiety and CFS. Interview linked at the bottom.

We discussed breath coaching and many things breathing related – that most of us don’t breathe correctly; we over-breathe. The consequences over over-breathing, including:

  • Lack of energy
  • Apnoea episodes
  • Constriction of our breathing tubes as we see in asthma and breathing difficulties
  • Constriction in other tubes in our body, as seen in IBS, reflux and constipation, which are so often worse when we’re stressed and we breathe more rapidly.

We also discussed the affect of slouching whilst we’re sitting on our breathing; why we over-breathe in the first place; and what we can do now to correct this.

Finally, we finished with a simple diaphragmatic, nose breathing exercise.

See www.takeabreath.com.au or www.timaltman.com.au for more details.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmAsUUXZYQE

Nutrition for energy and performance

Video: There’s Far More to Healing The Gut Than Correcting The Microbiome.

There’s Far More To Treating IBS, Reflux & Other Digestive Issues Than Correcting The Gut Microbiome

The gut has been topical of late – with terms such as ‘gut microbiome’, the ‘third brain’ etc. becoming very popular. It has certainly become evident that gut function plays a huge role in both our physical and mental health, and we have seen an increase in digestive issues such as reflux, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s Disease, Coeliac’s Disease etc. etc.

In treating such conditions, and indeed in exploring optimal health and well-being, we need to focus on correcting and optimising the internal environment of our digestive system. Treatments have included stool analyses, detox diets, eliminative diets such as FODMAP, paleo and gluten free programs, antibiotic treatments, prebiotic and probiotic treatments, digestive enzyme therapy etc. have become extremely useful strategies. However, very often these treatments struggle to yield significant or complete resolutions.

Given this, it is worth considering that there are other influences on digestive or gut function, other than what goes on inside the digestive system, and that ignoring these can lead to less than complete resolutions. 2 other influences that have a significant impact on gut function, and must be attended to in order to treat the gut more completely, include:

1. Our breathing via the smooth muscle that surrounds the digestive tract – the average person over-breathes, meaning they breathe twice as often as they should, and with far too much volume (because they use mouth and nose rather than nose only). This upsets the delicate biochemical balance in our respiratory system that governs how we get oxygen from the air we inhale into our cells for energy production (the mechanism of which is known as ‘The Bohr Effect’). One of the compensations that result from the upset in the respiratory system by over-breathing is for the body to constrict the smooth muscle around our breathing tubes – and we experience symptoms of breathing difficulties and asthma as a result. Yet, the rest of the tubes that service our body are also surrounded by smooth muscle and over-breathing can lead to constriction and spasm in our digestive system, which is in itself a large tube, forcing it into lock down and preventing the peristaltic action of the digestive system to work effectively, leading to digestive symptoms. This is particularly highlighted by the fact that a vast majority of digestive symptoms and ailments are exacerbated by stress, are often see associated anxiety along with them (especially IBS or reflux). When we are stressed or anxious we over-breathe or hyperventilate even more, which can really exacerbate this constriction and spasm in the digestive system.

2. How we process stress – which is regulated via our hypothalamus. Our hypothalamus, in the brain stem, regulates the automatic bodily functions (including the gut, breathing, circulation etc.), endocrine function (glands and hormones), immune function, sleep cycle, neurotransmitters, some cognitive function etc. It’s job is homeostasis, and it really is the general in regulating our body and keeping it ‘purring’ along. But a hypothalamus that is ‘angry’ or ‘overdrive’ because it is working too hard as we live in constant low level fight or flight in this modern world, can then dys-regulate the function of many o all of our automatic functions – including digestion and the gut. How we process stress in the brain is governed by the healthy working relationship between our two intelligence systems: our thinking, or rational brain, whose job it is to allow us to interface with the world we live in by analysing and interpreting information, data processing, solving problems (the world of thoughts and rational – including our story of our past, and future); and the pre-thinking, instinctive emotional brain whose role is to keep us safe, happy and comfortable by constantly scanning the environment around us (in the now) and warning us of any threat, or stress, via emotions, which serve as a call to action to deal with the threat. If these two work together we attend to emotions as they arise, our thinking brain interpreting the call to action and activating action, then we process stress effectively and we go back to being happy, safe and comfortable. However, we have created a big mismatch between the bodies we have inherited (from our hunter gatherer ancestors) and the high tech, high paced world we have created, and we are taught to ignore emotions and discomfort (therefore the call to action to deal with stress) – be tough, don’t be so sensitive/emotional/irrational, don’t be a girl/sissy, push though, tough it out, don’t show weakness etc. As such we have become top of the animal kingdom, but have forgotten how to be an animal, so we internalise stress rather that dealing with it effectively. This sends us into permanent low-level ‘fight or flight’ activation, leading to symptoms.

We must attend to more than just the inside of the gut to treat it effectively!!

 

Research Suggests the Average Working Week Creates Too Much Stress and Fatigue, and Reduces Productivity.

People Over 40 Should Only Work Three Days a Week, Study Concludes

The linked article below from the University of Melbourne echoes what I have noticed so often in clinic when working with clients suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), fibromyalgia, post viral syndrome, adrenal fatigue, anxiety, IBS, depression and auto-immune illnesses.

When looking at what we’ve learned from neuroscience and neuropsychology about how our brains process information, especially stress, in combination with what we’ve leaned from genetic and anthropological research on how we’re built to live (our body’s still think we live as we did as hunter gatherers), we know that our essential biological needs as an animal are for food and water, shelter, safety and love – or happiness, safety and comfort.

It’s also been determined from investigations of existing hunter-gatherer cultures, and what we can tell from previous ones, that the overage hunter gatherer cultures worked between 15-20 hour per week. Yet, the modern day human works, on average, at least double this in the name of economics, which is a concept. In other words, it’s not real according to the body’s we have inherited.

This essentially means that the average worker sacrifices a sense of our basic biological needs, including work-life balance, happiness, variety, and fulfillment in the name of a concept. Similarly, in pursuit of material or fiscal success, another concept that is learned, and therefore not real, we so often sacrifice our basic need for fulfillment, variety and leisure – and therefore happiness.

This ultimately leads to us being permanently in over-dive or constant, unrelenting low-level stress, which in turn leads to symptoms of illness that we see in the above ailments, and in the general symptoms most people seem to accept as part of life in the modern world:

  • Fatigue
  • Pain
  • Gut or digestive symptoms
  • Difficult sleeping
  • Lack of joy
  • Anxiety/depression
  • Brain fog
  • And many more.

Yet, as per the quote below from the linked article suggests, and many more studies appearing are stating to suggest, fitting with what we have learned about how our hunter gatherer bodies are built to live, our productivity, presence at work, work-life balance, sense of fulfillment and happiness all improve when we work a little less.

“After factoring in people’s quality of life, economic well-being, family structures and employment, economic researchers found that individuals who worked an average of 25 hours per week tended to perform the best. In fact, overall cognitive performance would rise until people hit the 25-hour mark, at which point cognitive test scores began dropping because of fatigue and stress.”

Hopefully one day the economic system will focus more on quality of work, and worker satisfaction, than being focused mainly on dollars and quantity of time spent working (at the expense of workers).

Nevertheless, there is still plenty we can do to reduce stress and create more balance in our current working life by understanding what our bodies are built for. More focus on work-reward ratio, work-life balance, variety at work, and a greater focus on worker well being all make a significant improvement in client’s symptoms.

In clinic when working with a client, it’s just a matter of strategy, and then trial and error, using the client’s bodily results (in terms of symptoms and emotions) to determine the effectiveness of changes made. It takes practice, and perseverance, but it works a treat. And allows the body to heal itself, which saves a fortune on medications, and supplements.St

If you would like to find more work-life balance, experience less stress, fatigue, pain, gut symptoms, sleep more soundly, or just experience more joy and happiness, then contact me at tim@timaltman.com.au or phone 0425 739 918. Working in this way with clients has yielded far more potent results than any approach I’ve seen; and it’s made a huge difference to how I, and many of my clients live – for the better.

https://theheartysoul.com/three-day-workweek/?utm_source=WUW&utm_content=72439-M78A

Tim Altman Talks Men’s Health @ Surfcoast Wholefoods, Torquay

Free Talk on Men’s Health Issues @ Surfcoast Wholefoods, Torquay

“Men’s Health Issues”

Free Talk by Tim Altman    www.timaltman.com.au

Surfcoast Wholefoods, Monday 9th of July @ 7.30pm – Bookings not necessary.  tim@timaltman.com.au or call 0425 739 918.

Over 20 years of practice these are the main complaints I hear from men, but most suffer in silence.

  • Fatigue, Burn Out or Lack of Joy

  • Stress, Anxiety or are ‘in your head’ a lot

  • Impatience, Irritability or Chronic Pain

  • Difficulty Sleeping or Poor Sleep

  • Breathing and/or Digestive Issues

Using an evolutionary medicine approach based on genetic, anthropological and neuroscience research, I outline simple and easy to implement solutions to this chronic issue by addressing not only nutrition, breathing and exercise, but also how we rest and rejuvenate, process stress, communicate, and find work/life balance.

Another CFS Recovery using Mickel Therapy and Breathing Dynamics

Testimonial: CFS Recovery using Breathing Dynamics and Mickel Therapy

Below is testimonial from a lovely client who recovered fully from CFS after 25 years of suffering from it. She was an online client and we used a combination of techniques including Breathing Dynamics, Mickel Therapy, Nutrition and Naturopathy.

“Earlier this year, I completed a course in Mickel Therapy with Tim Altman.   I found this technique extremely helpful in my journey to wellness after 25 years with chronic fatigue.   With Tim’s guidance, I found the programme easy to follow and was able to achieve improvement after just one session.  This improvement has continued over time.   I appreciate Tim for his depth of knowledge, empathy and honesty and would be happy to recommend him to others suffering chronic illness.”   Andra Moores, Brisbane

Contact me at tim@timaltman.com.au or 0425 739 918 if you would like help recovering from CFS, ME, adrenal fatigue, fibromyalgia, post viral fatigue, IBS, anxiety, depression or autoimmune ailments.

mickel therapy

Video: Tim Altman Mickel Therapist

The Mickel approach is far from therapy in the commonly known sense. It is an action based technique derived from neuroscience research that teaches people to take their body out of pemanent, internal overdrive (or fight or flight mode) to achieve extraordinary health and performance results – especially with chronic illnesses such as chronic fatigue and pain, post viral fatigue, CFS, fibromyalgia, adrenal fatigue, IBS, anxiety, depression, auto-immune conditions, and more, as it addresses the ‘root cause’ of illness higher in the body – specifically, in our hypothalamus and brain. It is also fantastic for eliminating blocks to performance in all fields.

I discuss how the hypothalamus, whose job is homeostasis, or maintaining balance in all automatic functions, ends up in most people, and especially in those with chronic illness, in chronic overdrive. Or, as what is often described as, in permanent ‘fight or flight’ mode of varying degrees. The hypothalamus goes into overdrive because of a breakdown in communication or cooperation (internally) between the two intelligence systems in our bodies – the thinking or rational brain (head mind) and the instinctive, pre-thought emotional brain (body mind) that uses emotions as a call to action to our bodies to deal with any stress or threat to our safety, comfort or happiness.

The unprocessed, or effectively dealt with emotions, become internalised, sending our hypothalamus into overdrive, eventually resulting in symptoms of illness, and syndromes. As such, fatigue and symptoms of illness are described as resulting from suppressed energy, or stuck energy, rather than lack of energy. If it were merely a case of lack of energy, then rest and sleep would fix chronic fatigue – in most cases, we know this is not the case.

This occurs as a result of a severe mismatch between the body we have inherited (from our hunter gatherer ancestors) and the world we have created. Our bodies do what they are adapted for, in a world we have not yet adapted to. This makes us chronically sick, or under-performing, which we then pass on to our children etc. In the modern world, we humans have become supposedly top of the animal kingdom by having highly sophisticated rational, or thinking brain, but we have forgotten how to be an animal – to tune into the messages our body sends us about stress, and threats to our happiness, safety and comfort.

The Mickel approach is an action based technique that uses a potent set of tools to reverse this suppression of emotional communication, or energy, by targeting the day to day patterns, lifestyle, and behaviours that send us into overdrive or ‘fight or flight’ in the first place. I have witnessed many complete recoveries in chronically ill clients who had been ill for many years, and had pretty much tried everything else. It has been very humbling to witness.

And has dramatically changed how I approach my own lifestyle, relationships and how I treat clients. It is also fantastic for performance and optimal living – as well as relationships. Go to www.timaltman.com.au for more information – including some videos by Dr Mickel himself.

Video: My Approach to Health and Performance

A follow up to my introduction to myself as a naturopath, nutritionist, respiratory therapist, Breath coach, and Mickel therapist, where I explain in more detail my services, and also outline the underlying approach that pervades all of my services and how I treat illness (such as fatigue, pain, CFS, fibromyalgia, arthritis, anxiety, IBS and digestive complaints, excessive weight, asthma and breathing difficulties, sleep difficulties, snoring, apnoea etc). The same approach, influenced by evolutionary medicine also underlies my approach to optimal wellness and performance. Go to www.timaltman.com.au or www.13thbeachhealthservices.com.au

Tim Altman at 13th Beach Health Services

An introduction to myself, what led me to becoming a naturopath, nutritionist, respiratory therapist, Breath coach and Mickel therapist as I join the team at 13th Beach Health Services.

I also discuss my battle with CFS and, as a result of such a comprehensive recovery, what inspired me to explore optimal health and performance, and help others do so, or recover from chronic illnesses such as chronic fatigue and pain, fibromyalgia, IBS, anxiety, depression, asthma, sleep difficulties, snoring and apnoea etc.

See www.13thbeachhealthservices.com.au or www.timaltman.com.au.

 

 

 

12 Steps To Self Care

12 Steps To Self Care

Self Care is a huge part of what we teach clients through Mickel Therapy, as prolonged periods of putting everyone else first can lead to ill health.

We constantly see clients with illnesses such as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), fibromyalgia, IBS, anxiety, depression, and auto-immune illnesses make huge improvements in the severity of their symptoms, very often complete resolution, by learning to make their needs as, or more significant as those of others.

If you would like some help to start treating yourself as you deserve, and repair your health, contact me at  tim@timaltman.com.au.

12 Steps To Self Care

Posted by Power of Positivity on Sunday, 4 June 2017

mickel therapy

Building Strong Social Networks Could Cure Your Illness

The town that’s found a potent cure for illness – community.

A great article (linked at the bottom) by George Monbiot of The Guardian in the UK, about a town in Somerset, Frome, which has seen a dramatic fall in emergency hospital admissions since it began a collective project to combat isolation.

Here (in italics) are a couple of extracts from the article, that highlight the importance of social relationships and a sense of community for our physical and mental health – previous research indicating that the magnitude of the effect being comparable with quitting smoking.

What this provisional data appears to show is that when isolated people who have health problems are supported by community groups and volunteers, the number of emergency admissions to hospital falls spectacularly. While across the whole of Somerset emergency hospital admissions rose by 29% during the three years of the study, in Frome they fell by 17%. Julian Abel, a consultant physician in palliative care and lead author of the draft paper, remarks: “No other interventions on record have reduced emergency admissions across a population.”

Remarkable as Frome’s initial results appear to be, they shouldn’t be surprising. A famous paper published in PLOS Medicine in 2010 reviewed 148 studies, involving 300,000 people, and discovered that those with strong social relationships had a 50% lower chance of death across the average study period (7.5 years) than those with weak connections. “The magnitude of this effect,” the paper reports, “is comparable with quitting smoking.” A celebrated study in 1945showed that children in orphanages died through lack of human contact. Now we know that the same thing can apply to all of us.

The contents of this interesting article come as no surprise to us at Mickel Therapy because joy / lack of joy are important Mickel concepts and areas of focus. In short, joy helps to lead us in the direction of health and well-being whilst lack of joy sends us in the opposite direction. And there isn’t a huge amount of joy to be found in social isolation.

Very often, when treating clients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), fibromyalgia, IBS, anxiety/depression and many more, using Mickel techniques, we see that clients have become socially isolated because of their illness, and rectifying this plays a huge role in the resolution of their health condition. Here are some links outlining more information on the Mickel approach, and a couple of cases of the Mickel technique in action.

If you would like to make an appointment, or find out whether Mickel Therapy can help you, email me at tim@timaltman.com.au or phone 0425 739 918.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/feb/21/town-cure-illness-community-frome-somerset-isolation?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

More Evidence Linking Fibromyalgia to Childhood Stress and Unprocessed Negative Emotions Supports the Mickel Therapy Approach to Fibromyalgia

Article: Fibromyalgia is Linked to Childhood Stress and Unprocessed Negative Emotions

Linked below is a great article by Wyatt Redd from Medical Health News, outlining studies linking unprocessed negative emotions from childhood to fibromyalgia.

This is extremely similar to the way we approach fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), adrenal fatigue, IBS, anxiey/depression, and many other chronic ailments using Mickel Therapy – https://timaltman.com.au/services/mickel-therapy/.

This approach sees chronic symptoms as a result of long term suppressed or unprocessed stress or negative emotions, which send the hypothalamus in the brain stem into continuous overdrive, which then dysregulates, or sends into overdrive all of the automatic functions in our body (including digestion, immune system, liver, adrenals, breathing, the endocrine system, sleep cycles, many brain functions, neurotransmitters etc.) , ultimately resulting in chronic symptoms – almost like the body is running a permanent, internal biological marathon.

The process uses a unique technique that charts our responses to stress, our day to day negative emotions and symptoms in order to determine the nature, or theme, of the original unprocessed negative emotions – which are seen as the ‘root cause’ of the ultimate physical ailment.

Targeting specific ‘ideal’ actions to reverse this emotional suppression will then take the person’s hypothalamus out of overdrive and the body will correct, or heal itself. It often sounds too simple, or too good to be true (as I found in my first case – https://timaltman.com.au/mickel-therapy-case-study-fibomyalgia/  OR  https://timaltman.com.au/testimonial-post-viral-chronic-fatigue-and-fibromyalgia/ ), however the results are the most frequent, and complete results I have seen, or heard of for these ailments. I understand now that this is because the Mickel approach gets to, and rectifies the ‘root cause’ of the ailments.

It is very humbling to watch this process of recovery in clients – especially the joy they feel once they are free of ailments they had felt so helplessly trapped in.

I’ve included some quotes from the article that particularly resonated.

“When compared to healthy women, those who avoid strong negative emotions like anger and let it fester unprocessed are more likely to suffer fibromyalgia. In addition focusing on positive emotions does not appear to be a sufficient buffer. According to a report in the 2008 Journal of Psychosomatic Research, it is the lack of processing of negative emotions that precipitates the cycle of pain in fibromyalgic sufferers irrespective of the amount or duration of positive thoughts.”

“Conflict with parents and later with partners adds to the stress and contributes to the more negative perceptions of life by women with fibromyalgia  as indicated by the journal European Psychiatry in 2000.”

“Long term stress that is continuous and chronic affects the neuroendocrine system making it less effective over time.”

“The early chronic experience of stress appears to exert a much larger influence in contributing to the pain of fibromyalgia than any current stressful life event, as a 2006 study reported in the journalPsychoneuroendocrinolgy.”

If you would like to resolve your fibromyalgia, or know someone who suffers from fibomyagia, CFS, IBS, anxiety/depression etc, then email me on tim@timaltman.com.au or call 0425 739 918.

http://medicalhealthnews.info/fibromyalgia-linked-childhood-stress-unprocessed-negative-emotions-2/

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

 

 

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.