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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, Mar 1 2017 09:00AM

WNT founder and massage therapist, Jennie Duck, shares her experience of therapies and teachings from colleagues during her pregnancy last year


We have been planning a pregnancy information day (Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond) at West Norwood Therapies to share the broad experience our team has and the support we can offer people during their pregnancy journey. And this has led me to think back to my not-at-all-distant (but a lifeltime ago!) past and how I used the various therapies on offer during my pregnancy…

Acupuncture:

Acupuncture and pregnancy go hand in hand for me. I actually had acupuncture way before I was pregnant to treat polycystic ovaries. My sessions with Philippa cleared that up, regulated my cycle and I had an easy conception. I kept having acupuncture throughout pregnancy, mostly for general wellbeing, I found it very grounding and balancing (physically and emotionally). The therapist matters too, and Philippa’s steady presence, interest in my progress and thoughtful advice around diet, movement and labour was a good support.


She also armed my husband and me with some acupressure techniques and moxa. The former was my primary pain relief all through labour (secondary was 2 paracetemol around 2am!) and was a helpful way of involving my husband in birth preparation and supporting me through birth itself. Then we used the moxa a week or so after to help recovery (we were going to use it before too as my baby was breech, but he flipped himself a few days before) and I’ve since had some acupuncture to help full recovery internally – turns out that can all take a while to get back to normal, it’s quite a thing growing and birthing a baby!


Pilates

Pilates was another fantastic support to me from pre-conception right through labour. I had a mixture of one-to-one sessions and prenatal classes, both with Matthew before he joined WNT, and I felt so strong through my pregnancy and immediate recovery from labour. Though I work with bodies, working with your own is a different matter and I learned a lot from my sessions about how to move safely with a giant bump sticking out of me and to build strength in the most necessary areas to support both the baby and my body. More surprisingly, Pilates with Matthew also helped me relax - there was a good level of focus on the breath and some visualisations and relaxation exercises that really made a difference. We also incorporated some of the exercises in our birth preparation with my husband (lots of tandem squats!) and we now own 2 exercise balls - one at my desk and the other in the bedroom for bouncing baby Willow to sleep at 3am :-)


The concept of prenatal pilates was simple but powerful: Build enough strength to support the baby and help your body manage the extra weight safely, and be able to relax these same developed muscles to be able to get the baby out...it worked!


Massage

As a massage therapist I am obviously a big advocate of massage through all stages of life and I never go very long without getting on the massage table myself. During pregnancy the desire to have your muscles kneaded is especially acute and the relief to your lower back and shoulders is particularly sweet! Durning my last trimester my husband gave me a foot massage and lower back rub every evening. Unfortunately this hasn't become a permanent fixture, our baby is the only one who gets a daily massage these days...but that again was helpful for my husband to feel involved and for me to feel relief and connection to him. I saw my colleagues for fuller, professional treatment too - Veronica is a very understanding therapist around pregnancy changes and her treatments really feel nurturing which is what you need in pregnancy. I had some lovely deep massage with Erika too, in fact she helped Willow make his way down - I had a massage with her on Friday afternoon and went into labour the following Monday...


Osteopathy

While acupuncture, pilates and massage were regular fixtures for me during my pregnancy, I only saw Yinka for osteopathy a handful of times. This was of course limited by time and finance, I couldn't manage all 4 so regularly! But I did call on Yinka when I felt like things were getting a bit twingy. Once when my hip felt like it was a bit unstable, once when I had a twinge in my groin and another time in the early days when I fell off my bike and tweaked my neck. Each time it wasn't long to get back on track and any longer-term issues were averted. I find osteopathy helpful for getting a better understanding of pain and biomechanics and a really empowering treatment to have.


I know I am lucky to work in a world where I have this support structure around me and it may not be possible to have as many different treatments as consistently as I have, but I hope that sharing my experience will help other women on their pregnancy journey to see what support there is available and to make informed choices about what could best benefit you. Our pregnancy information day is being planned to this same effect, so do come along if you are interested to hear more.


More information about Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond, our information day for women, couples and birth partners.


Jennie Duck is back from maternity leave, working a reduced hours and only seeing existing clients.



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, 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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