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By West Norwood Therapies Team, May 24 2017 08:00AM

Osteopath and yoga teacher Yinka Fabusuyi considers how gardening can give you some good exercise out in the fresh air at this time of year

Fresh air and exercise is for many people a great combination. Gardening is fantastic exercise and gets you out. Some gardening tasks are strenuous or require repetitive movement through the joints. Whilst most people will feel a little stiff and achy after a stint of gardening which quickly passes, others may find that they have prolonged pain in the lower back, knees or other joints. Osteopathy has a lot to offer. Treatment can reduce pain, improve mobility and get you on the road to recovery. As well as giving you advice and exercises which may reduce the chances of recurrence, my consultations allow time to explore your symptoms, offer treatment, and discuss ways forward.

The human body is strong and designed for movement, however there are some things to encourage, and things to avoid when gardening if possible.

1. When lifting heavy weights bend your knees and keep the weight close to your body in order to decrease leverage through the spine and joints of the arms.

2. Vary your gardening tasks to avoid overuse strains on your neck, back and shoulders.

3. Consider having raised beds made if you have chronic lower back pain.

4. Use mulch on bare patches of soil to discourage weed growth which adds more labour to your gardening tasks.

5. When using a spade or large fork, lean your whole body weight down through the handle rather than thrusting with your shoulders and back.

6. Keep your garden tools in good repair. Keep shears and secateurs sharp and get loose handles repaired to reduce strain to your back, wrists or shoulders. Independent garden centres sometimes offer a tool sharpening service. (My local one does).

Have a fruitful summer.

Yinka Fabusuyi

By West Norwood Therapies Team, Feb 1 2017 09:00AM

Osteopath and yoga teacher, Yinka Fabusuyi, shares her top tips for keeping your mattress in tip top condition to help support a healthy spine

I hope that you have had a good festive season and wish you a happy and prosperous New Year. As part of your goal for a healthy year, which includes keeping your spine in tip top condition, do not overlook the importance of a good mattress. After a busy day there is nothing quite like getting into bed and feeling comfortable, relaxing and waking up feeling refreshed. If this is not the case might your mattress.

Top tips

1. Use a washable mattress (and pillow) cover to protect your mattress from stains. Buy them in a purpose-made ‘barrier’ fabric if you have a dust allergy.

2. Throw back bedclothes in the morning and leave the bed to air for 20 minutes to allow body moisture to evaporate.

3. Turn your mattress over and end to end every three or four months. For new mattresses do this every week for the first three months, to help upholstery fillings settle down more evenly. Mind your back when doing this and don't do it on your own.

4. To keep your mattress at its best, do not let children bounce on it.

5. Do not sit on the edge of the mattress.

6. Try to avoid your mattress getting wet. If it does air dry it. If necessary use gentle detergent and water to spot clean. Do not use solvent based cleaners on visco-elastic foam mattresses.

7. A good quality mattress that is used regularly will last about 8-10 years. Poorly cared for mattresses will not last as long. High quality mattresses may last longer.

Yinka is at West Norwood Therapies on Wednesdays and ad-hoc www.westnorwoodtherapies.com/yinka-fabusuyi

Osteopath and Yoga teacher

By West Norwood Therapies Team, Nov 16 2016 11:00AM

Our osteopath and yoga teacher, Yinka Fabusuyi, explains the importance of choosing a good bra and some care tips to maximise their efficacy and life span

If you choose to wear a bra the right fit may make a huge difference to comfort and possibly posture. A good fit can make all the difference in the world to a painful mid or upper back, pain across the top of the shoulders or sore ribs. If you notice your bra strap digs into your shoulders or is leaving a deep mark, the fit may be wrong, larger breasts are heavier and may require more support and so a wider strap may be necessary. It is not unusual for your bra size to change if you lose or gain any weight, and also consider a new bra if you have just come to the end of breast feeding. Post birth and feeding breast tissue may require a different style of bra and your width fitting may have increased due to changes in the rib cage following pregnancy. The correct fit is paramount, and I think the only way to achieve this is to go and be fitted. Once you have the perfect bra, look after it. Here are some basic pointers:

1. If possible hand wash your bra. Alternatively and possibly more realistically use a delicate machine wash cycle.

2. Do not tumble dry your bra, the heat can have a negative effect on the elastic.

3. Get refitted if your clothing size changes.

4. If you use a different bra for the gym, yoga or to run in, and try to wash it as soon as you can after exercise.

5. See your bra as an important part of your wardrobe and invest in a good one.

6. Once you are happy with your bra brand, design and size you can always look for a better deal online.

By West Norwood Therapies Team, Mar 16 2016 10:00AM

Our osteopath and yoga teacher Yinka Fabusuyi looks at the effect of posture on hormones and stress and suggests a pose to help counteract imbalances.

Are you sitting up straight? You should be. Studies have demonstrated that certain postures (so called power postures or open postures) can affect our mood and general health. Levels of the stress hormonee cortisol and the male hormone testosterone have been shown to be affected by posture. We all need both hormones at the correct levels to maintain health. Men have much higher levels of testosterone but women do produce small amounts. Prolonged high cortisol levels can lead to weight gain, increased blood pressure, osteoporosis, changes to the skin, lowered libido and slower wound healing (although a short term increase in cortisol can be positive, by giving you an energy boost, heightening memory and increasing immunity). Testosterone in women is important for maintaining bone density and muscle mass as well as balancing blood sugar levels and helping to regulate libido.

What the science says: Power Posing Brief Nonverbal Displays Affect Neuroendocrine Levels and Risk Tolerance. Dana R. Carney, Amy J.C. Cuddy and Andy J. Yap. Psychological Science Journal 2010.

Dana Carney and colleagues investigated open and closed postures and found that they were associated with an alteration in physiological, mental and feeling states of the participants. Participants were found to have lowered cortisol levels and slightly raised testosterone levels after 2 minutes of adopting these power postures.

The open or power posture can be described as lifting the area around your breast bone and expanding the chest. Dropping your shoulders away from your ears and lifting the chin parallel to the ground. Abdominal muscles should be engaged so that they work to prevent slumping. The closed posture was the opposite of this (slumping, slouched and shoulders rolling forward). An open posture is the better posture to adopt when sitting at a desk or standing. As well as helping to prevent strain and stress in the muscles of the back neck and shoulders we now know it can have a positive affect on our state of mind. Give it a go. For advice and treatment for low back, neck and shoulder pain go to: www.westnorwoodtherapies.com or call 07951437402.

Try this posture:

This posture is an open posture (see above).

It stretches the muscles across the front of the chest (pectoral muscles)

Loosens tight shoulder joints and strengthens the thigh muscles.

From a standing position with feet about 50-60cm apart and arms held as in drawing, tuck your tail bone in and sink into the high squat as illustrated. Breathe in and out deeply for 3-5 breaths and return to your starting position. Repeat several times.

Yinka is at West Norwood Therapies on Wednesdays and ad-hoc www.westnorwoodtherapies.com/yinka-fabusuyi

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