In my experience, few common injuries are more debilitating than those affecting our back. It’s one of those things where you don’t realize how much you rely on something until it’s no longer supporting you, and then even the most ordinary of actions become deliberate, uncomfortable choices.
What makes back pain even more frustrating is that it can be caused by even the simplest of actions, such as picking something up incorrectly or sitting incorrectly for an extended period of time.
Since we all need to do these behaviours regularly, avoiding potential back pain triggers seems nearly impossible, and the below back pain statistics — courtesy of the American Chiropractic Association —would seem to support that notion:
- Low back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the Global Burden of Disease 2010.
- Back pain is one of the most common reasons for missed work. In fact, back pain is the second most common reason for visits to the doctor’s office, outnumbered only by upper-respiratory infections.
- One-half of all working Americans admit to having back pain symptoms each year.
- Americans spend at least $50 billion each year on back pain—and that’s just for the more easily identified costs.
Rather than admitting defeat and resigning yourself to living in discomfort, I’d like to present a list of 4 simple things that can both help you to overcome back pain when it strikes, and hopefully avoid it altogether in the future.
1. Stretch It Out
To many of us, stretching is something that we associate (and thus only partner) with other forms of physical activity. We’ll stretch before and/or after working out or playing a sport, but will rarely stretch for any other reason.
While there are multiple schools of thought (view 1 | view 2) as to whether stretching before these activities is beneficial or not, stretching in general is undoubtedly good for us. The issue is that most of us approach stretching with the same mentality that has made the pharmaceutical industry into the juggernaut that it is: we choose to be reactive rather than proactive.
Instead of waiting for back pain to kick in before you stretch it out, why not make stretching a part of your normal routine? There are number of helpful and quick stretches that you can easily incorporate into your daily life, including this video, which outlines a 1 minute daily stretch regimen specifically focused on preventing sciatica issues.
2. Put Down The Cell Phone
With the recent (and to me ridiculous) global embrace of Pokémon Go, this may seem even more impossible than it already was, but it’s time for us all to put down our cell phones. I’m not suggesting that we completely discard them, but rather that we stop letting them be the focus of our lives.
They are truly powerful, valuable, and fun tools, but not enough to warrant the average 46 times, according to Time Magazine, that Americans check in on them each day. Even putting all of the EMF related concerns aside, our cell phones are doing a number on our bodies by promoting poor posture.
Even the slightest of tilts drastically impacts the amount of weight and pressure we put on our neck, spine, and backs — as elaborated on in this article. Considering how much we use them for, it’s no wonder that back related issues continue to be a major health complaint worldwide.
Continue to use your cell phone as necessary, but be conscious of your usage. Make an effort to minimize it when possible and find a way to break the habit of checking it unnecessarily.
3. Invest In What You Sit In
As much as we would love it to be otherwise, the majority of us work jobs that require us to spend a large portion of our day seated in a chair. This may seem harmless enough, but as a recent Ted-Ed video illustrated, this may be affecting us more than we think.
The best way to combat this damage is to invest in a good chair. One particular chair that I have had the opportunity to experience firsthand is the CoreChair, an ergonomically designed seat that is scientifically proven to improve the way you sit.
The CoreChair provides the support your back needs while also encouraging healthy movement, thanks to its mobile seat, all of which help prevent back pain and discomfort.
Investing in a chair like this may, in the short term, seem like an extravagance that few can afford, but the investment made on your well-being now will pay for itself (and then some) in the years to come.
4. Walk With Your Head Held High
A final adjustment we can all make is in the way that we walk. Most of us, and understandably so, do the majority of our walking unconsciously, since it is something we can do without much focus or effort.
The only challenge with this is that far too many of us walk in ways that further promote back, neck, and shoulder issues (among others). A general rule of thumb that I’ve learned is to always pay attention to the angle of the chin when walking. The more parallel the angle of your chin is to the floor, the more likely it is you are walking with good posture.
Keep these tips in mind, and you may just surprise yourself by how much better you feel.
12 Reasons To Drink Celery Juice
- The Facts:
There are many reasons to drink celery juice according to the Medical Medium, and people's results after even a short period of time on it are astonishing.
- Reflect On:
Are you currently caught up in fad diets that are symptom managers or quick fixes? Are you working towards true, deep physical healing?
Inevitably, you have heard about it: Medical Medium’s celery juice challenge that has the world drinking celery juice in order to help heal a number of health issues — and it’s working!
The challenge does not come without some backlash from the scientific community as we watch people heal diseases and health challenges that drugs, the paleo diet or even a vegan diet haven’t been able to help. Now, this isn’t to say diet isn’t the answer, because it often is, it’s more so to say that just because you are vegan, for example, does not mean you are addressing your health issues. There are plenty of unhealthy vegan foods like mock meats that wreak havoc on your digestion and clog detoxification systems.
What I love about the Medical Medium’s work is the simplicity. Go back to consuming vast amounts of fruits and vegetables. Ease up massively on processed foods, dairy, meat, and high fat diets. As he points out in his book The Liver Rescue, and as you can learn more about in this article, high fat and high protein diets are not healing diets, they are symptom management diets. Eventually, we have to move to the healing phase if we want to get our health back.
The carnivore diet and paleo diet have misinformed a lot of people when it comes to fruit, as they’ve made an enemy out of fruit due to its fructose content. However, fruit happens to be the one thing that can truly help heal the body.
I was in great shape just two and a half years ago. It wasn’t just my body shape as you can see in the picture below, it was my state of mind, being, and strength.
I was incredibly strong in my callisthenics practice and I slept like a champion all the time. This journey for me was kickstarted by a 17 day fast that helped heal digestive issues I had. But healing takes time, and although my fast helped a bunch, my journey was not complete, and I knew this.
About a year after the picture above was taken, I went through quite a stressful journey thanks to a business arrangement that affected both CE and personal investments I had made. I outlined that story and what I learned from it here if you’re interested. Through that journey, I let stress and worry get the best of me. My eating changed, my sleeping got bad, my workouts stopped, and I was watching all aspects of my health slowly decline.
Fifteen pounds later, which for me was a noticeable discomfort, I began focusing back on the health practice I learned about 11 years ago. Simple! Fruits and vegetables and a plant-based diet. But I noticed that even during times when I would fast or eat about 1800 calories per day, I was gaining mystery weight. I was no longer stressed or worried, but I was still putting on random bits of weight.
So I began reading the Liver Rescue book and started adding celery juice back into the mix for a period of time. During that period, my weight began to go back to normal, my sleep improved, and my digestion was already noticeably better. What happened next? I got a bit busy in life again, no stress this time, but I stopped making time for the celery juice and the mystery weight began to reappear.
What I was reminded of again was that healing takes time. I knew full well that 6 months to a year on celery juice and a simple diet would truly help my body go back to its natural state, but I wasn’t making the time to do that.
The fad diets we see popping up every few months or a year (carnivore being the latest) are not long-term healing diets, they are diets people jump to and from once symptoms begin to reappear after a while on the previous diet. Give yourself 6 months to as much as 2 years on dietary choices like those prescribed in Medical Medium’s Liver Rescue book. Without that, you are just managing symptoms, you are not creating freedom.
My next step: Once I get home from my travels I’m going to get back on celery juice and continue my journey toward fully healing my gut. I’ve already made many strides over the last year, but these things take time. As Dr. Greger says:
“Our body has a remarkable ability to recover from sporadic insults, as long as we’re not habitually poking it with a fork.”
So instead of getting overwhelmed with all the rights and wrongs in this very moment, I challenge you to grab a copy of Liver Rescue and begin drinking celery juice on a daily basis. When you get the book, read it with an open mind and truly examine the long-term healing results people are getting off of such simple yet powerful changes. What you’re going to see isn’t symptom management, it’s true healing.
12 Reasons to Drink Celery Juice
1. Lowers Inflammation
Celery juice starves the unproductive bacteria and viruses that are behind inflammation.
2. Supports Weight Loss
Celery juice helps to clean up and detoxify the liver, and a sluggish, toxic liver is behind mystery weight gain.
3. Aids Digestion
Celery juice restores hydrochloric acid levels in the stomach for better long-term digestion.
4. Reduces Bloating
Celery juice prompts the liver to increase bile production and strengthens the stomach’s hydrochloric acid production. Old undigested, rotting protein and rancid fats trapped at the bottom of the stomach and in the small intestinal tract can then be broken down, helping to reduce bloating.
5. Helps Eczema & Psoriasis
The undiscovered cluster salts in celery juice break down the cell membranes of the pathogens responsible for eczema, eventually killing and destroying them.
6. Fights Infections
Celery juice enhances your entire body’s immune system. White blood cells absorb the sodium cluster salts in celery juice through their cell structure and then use them as an offence mechanism, not just a defence mechanism.
7. Helps Prevent UTI’s
Celery juice is an antiseptic to streptococcus bacteria, which is the true unknown cause of Urinary Tract Infections.
8. Healing For Acne
Celery juice’s undiscovered sodium cluster salts are toxic to bacteria, including streptococcus in the liver and lymphatic system, which is the real cause of acne.
9. Prevents High Blood Pressure
Celery juice helps stabilize blood pressure by cleansing the liver of Liver Troublemakers (see Liver Rescue for info), which leads to healthier blood that can be easily pumped by the heart.
10. Helps Lower High Cholesterol
Celery juice helps cleanse and strengthen the liver, and breaks up undigested rotting proteins and fats that contribute to a sluggish liver, which is behind high cholesterol.
11. Helps Prevent Ulcers
Celery juice helps destroy the bacteria responsible for ulcers.
12. Protects Liver Health
Your liver’s individual immune system relies on the undiscovered sodium cluster salts inside of celery.
We must observe this repetitive process of ‘this is the next diet that will finally heal all for you’ or ‘this is the magical cure-all for what dis-ease you are experiencing.’ Health and wellness is both physical and emotional. This means we must approach it from a physical point of view, with time tested and truly powerful proven ways of healing, and we must observe our emotions along the way.
It often is simple when it comes to diet. A whole foods, plant-based diet including a ton of fruits and vegetables is a sure fire way to begin your healing journey.
How To Activate Autophagy: Your Body’s Self-Cleansing System
- The Facts:
Autophagy, the body's self-cleaning system, allows the cell to get rid of old cell machinery, breaking them down into smaller parts to be reused by the cell. Activating autophagy through fasting has neuroprotective and immuno-regenerative benefits.
- Reflect On:
Intermittent fasting (IF) is an easy and sustainable way to activate autophagy as well as reap many other health benefits. The easiest way to IF is to pick an eating window that is eight hours or less every day that works best with your schedule.
The fountain of youth has long been sought by man, science being the critical avenue in which we’ve explored this prospect, and one Nobel Prize-winning scientist recently uncovered a vital piece in the search.
On October 3rd, 2016, the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine to Yoshinori Ohsumi for his discoveries of mechanisms for autophagy, a term that translates to “self-eat.” In short, autophagy is the body’s self-cleaning system, a mechanism in which cells get rid of all the broken down, old cell machinery (organelles, proteins and cell membranes). It is a regulated, orderly process to degrade and recycle cellular components.
The process of autophagy is like replacing parts in a car—sometimes we need a new engine or battery for the car to function better. The same thing happens within each of our cells. During autophagy, old cellular debris is sent to specialized compartments within the cell called “lysosomes.” Lysosomes contain enzymes that degrade the old debris, breaking it down into smaller components to be reused again by the cell.
Fasting & Autophagy
Scientists have found that fasting for 12 to 24+ hours triggers autophagy, which is thought to be one of the reasons that fasting is associated with longevity. There is a large body of research that connects fasting to improved blood sugar control, reduced inflammation, weight loss, and improved brain function, and Oshumi’s findings provide greater insight into this research.
“Sporadic short-term fasting, driven by religious and spiritual beliefs, is common to many cultures and has been practiced for millennia, but scientific analyses of the consequences of caloric restriction are more recent…short-term food restriction induces a dramatic upregulation of autophagy in cortical and Purkinje neurons. As noted above, disruption of autophagy can cause neurodegenerative disease, and the converse also may hold true: upregulation of autophagy may have a neuroprotective effect.
Food restriction is a simple, reliable, inexpensive and harmless alternative to drug ingestion and, therefore, we propose that short-term food restriction may represent an attractive alternative to the prophylaxis and treatment of diseases in which candidate drugs are currently being sought.”
So autophagy and fasting is in essence a form of self-cleansing, getting rid of the junk to make room for new healthy cellular components. And it is the accumulation of the junk that may be responsible for many of the effects of aging. The consequences of accumulating old proteins all over the place can be seen in two main conditions – Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and cancer. Alzheimer’s Disease involves the accumulation of abnormal protein – either amyloid beta or Tau protein, which gum up the brain system. So, if inducing autophagy cleanses the body of denatured proteins, it would make sense that the process has the ability to prevent the development of AD.
Other Benefits of Fasting—Stem Cell Regeneration
While inducing autophagy is one of the key benefits to fasting, there are also many incredible longevity-related reasons to fast.
A study in the journal Cell Stem Cell shows that cycles of prolonged fasting not only protect against immune system damage but also induce immune system regeneration, shifting stem cells from a dormant state to a state of self-renewal.
In a study on mice and a Phase 1 human clinical trial involving patients receiving chemotherapy, long periods of not eating significantly lowered white blood cell counts. In mice, fasting cycles “flipped a regenerative switch,” changing the signalling pathways for liver stem cells, which are responsible for the generation of blood and immune systems. Prolonged fasting forces the body to use stores of glucose, fat and ketones, but it also breaks down a significant portion of white blood cells.
During each cycle of fasting, this depletion of white blood cells induced changes that triggered stem cell-based regeneration of new immune system cells. In particular, prolonged fasting reduced the enzyme PKA, an effect previously found to extend longevity in simple organisms, which has been linked in other research to the regulation of stem cell self-renewal and pluripotency (the potential for one cell to develop into many different cell types). Prolonged fasting also lowered levels of IGF-1, a growth-factor hormone linked to aging, tumor progression, and cancer risk.
How To Fast Intermittently & Activate Autophagy
While there are many ways to fast, one of the more sustainable methods of fasting is intermittent fasting (IF). IF is done cyclically and for shorter periods of time, so it is much easier to adopt IF into your weekly schedule as it won’t take much out of you compared to longer periods of fasting. In fact, practicing IF will have you more focused and energized throughout your day compared to when your body is in a constant state of digestion.
The easiest way to IF is to pick an eating window each day and stick to that window. This can be an eight hour window or less, but typically you want to keep your eating window under eight hours in order to reap the most benefits. An example of an eight hour eating window could be 11am-7pm, or if you normally eat later in the day then you could try something like 3pm-10pm.
During your fast you can still drink beverages as long as they contain no calories such as lemon water, tea, or coffee (without cream or sugar). There are incredible regenerative benefits to dry fasting as well (abstaining from consuming any food or water); however, dry fasting will push the body into deeper levels of detoxification and should be approached more slowly.
Breaking your fast is just as important as the fast itself. The first meal after a fast should be easy to digest. Juices, coconut water, and smoothies are great options as well as watery and astringent fruits such as grapes, cherries, and oranges. After that, salads are the next best option. After breaking the fast with raw fruits and vegetables, you can then move on to eating cooked foods as your digestive system will be activated by then.
Autophagy and fasting are the key to regenerating the body on a cellular level and, when used strategically and systematically, these tools hold enormous potential in transforming your health.
How To Release The Stress Stored In Your Body
It’s all about taking time to unlock the ‘Muscle of the Soul’
Do you spend much time sitting in front of a computer, on a plane, in a car? If so your hips may be locked up which effects your ability to dance, but worse than that it may be causing you undue stress and fear. The Psoas Muscle, is a long muscle located on the side of the lumbar region of the vertebral column and brim of the pelvis, that is also known as the “muscle of the soul”.
It is one of the largest muscles in the body and it is a place where we often store stress or trauma that can literally influence our mood and our outlook on life. We recently explored in depth just how much fear can inhibit our ability to think clearly thus creating an unhealthy perspective that can harm us and those around us. Now let’s look at where that fear might be stored in our body, and a few ways to release it.
In humans, the extremes of the two polarities might appropriately be described as LOVE (+) and FEAR (- ). Love fuels growth. In contrast, fear stunts growth. – Bruce Lipton, Ph.D
How Built Up Stress Makes Us Easy To Manipulate
Being in a state of fear allows us to be easily manipulated. Advertisers and politicians have learned to capitalize on this biological aspect of humans also known as the lizard brain. Unfortunatel,y our fast-paced lifestyles (mentally), combined with our relatively stagnate physical activity (driving, working at computer, etc.) causes our bodies to be ineffective at releasing built up stress which manifests in our thoughts as fear or anxiety.
Lizard brain refers to the oldest part of the brain, the brain stem, responsible for primitive survival instincts such as aggression and fear (flight or fight) – Joseph Troncale M.D., Psychology Today
Where Is A Majority of The Stress Stored?
It is often stored in one of the largest muscles in our body, the psoas. This muscle stretches from our lower trunk through our hips into the top of our thighs, it is used for core stability and the fight-flight reflex. Every time we see something that startles us (real or perceived threat) like an animal crossing the road while we drive, or a violent scene in a movie, our brain sends signals our body to respond by releasing epinephrine (adrenaline).
The muscle that is most central to our fight/flight response is the psoas. When we don’t respond, these stress hormones go unspent and become stored in the body. This can bring many health problems including insomnia, lowered immune system, anxiety, eating disorders, depression, and living in a constant state of fear or alert.
Because the psoas is so intimately involved in such basic physical and emotional reactions, a chronically tightened psoas continually signals your body that you’re in danger, eventually exhausting the adrenal glands and depleting the immune system. As you learn to approach the world without this chronic tension, psoas awareness can open the door to a more sensitive attunement to your body’s inner signals about safety and danger, and to a greater sense of inner peace. – Liz Koch, Author of The Psoas Book
Since stress accumulates on an unconscious level, healing our bodies is a process that must happen consciously. There is no single way to do this, it requires gradual lifestyle changes and a daily practice. Craniosacral Therapy is powerful because it helps teach our body how to relax into a parasympathetic state which relaxes the nervous system. This gentle and non-invasive approach helps us bring awareness to and melt away the stress stored within us.
To work with the psoas is not to try to control the muscle, but to cultivate the awareness necessary for sensing its messages. This involves making a conscious choice to become somatically aware. – Liz Koch, Author of The Psoas Book
Yoga and Personal Practice
The best doctor is already within you. There is no replacement for cultivating a practice that heals, replenishes, and relaxes you from the in-side, out. There are numerous yoga poses that can help you on your journey of releasing this stress, anxiety, and fear stored within your psoas. Yoga calls this “the muscle of the soul” so any focus here is sure to give great results to your overall well-being. Yoga International seems to have a comprehensive list of photos and descriptions of poses that can start you on your journey.
If you spend as much time stretching your psoas muscle every day as you just did reading this article, you will notice some big changes in your life. First you may begin catching a lot of attention on the dance floor, but more importantly you will loosen your mind from the grips of fear and anxiety. It comes down to a conscious choice to live in trust and love instead of fear and anxiety, and that choice has to be followed by real-world action. It all starts within!
H/T: Uplift Connect where I originally published this.
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