More Information on Epsom Salts and the Benefits of Magnesium and Sulfate

Epsom salts are composed of magnesium and sulfate (sulphate). Both of which are nutrients which may be of benefit to those suffering from environmental illnesses.

The salts dissolve in water so can be used in a bath or footbath and have traditionally been used in this way to aid relaxation. Research conducted by Dr Rosemary Waring at the School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham, UK, demonstrated that both magnesium and sulfate are easily absorbed through the skin during bathing in epsom salts. The optimum level of epsom salts required seemed to be 400-600g per bath (60 litres UK/15 gallons US). Blood levels of both magnesium and sulfate continued to rise with repeated daily baths. Epsom salts baths are therefore a highly effective way to increase the levels of these important substances in the body. Epsom salts may now be available in transdermal patches and some parents of autistic children reportedly make up their own if baths are not an option.

Magnesium: A very important mineral in the body. Magnesium acts as a co-factor for numerous metabolic reactions including but not limited to those involving energy production, muscle function and the production of neurotransmitters. Magnesium is calming to the nervous system and as such acts as a natural tranquiliser. Sufficient levels of this mineral therefore are essential to maintaining healthy energy levels, mental functioning and mood. Studies and the clinical experience of doctors such as Dr. Sarah Myhill have demonstrated that red cell magnesium levels are low in those with chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) and that supplementation brings symptomatic improvements in patients. Some researchers have also noted magnesium deficiencies in autistic children and those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) suggesting supplementation may help, particularly with hyperactivity and behavioural problems.

Sulfate/Sulphate: A form of sulfur which the body requires for important processes includingdetoxification, protection of the gut lining, and activation of hormones such as DHEA. Sulfate is needed to detoxify a wide range of environmental toxins. Researchers including Dr Waring, Professor Malcolm Hooper, and others at Sunderland University, UK, and elsewhere have found that individuals with autism, ME/CFS, Gulf War Syndrome and possibly other environmental illnesses have low levels of sulfate. This may be due to an inability to convert sulfur from the diet into the sulfate form or because the individual has been subjected to a high load of environmental toxins therefore depleting sulfate levels in the body. Epsom Salts would therefore seem to be an ideal way to restore sulfate levels and detoxification potential as the sulfate is supplied in the readily useable form rather than as sulfur as it appears in the diet.

Neck pain often begins much further down

Neck pain is one of the more common reasons that someone may come in for therapy. Often it is the dull, achy general pain that occurs more at the end of the day. When I hear that, I think that it may not be a disfunction in the structure of the body, but simply that the muscles have been working hard all day and they are a little tired and sore. If a muscle is contracting constantly, it has a reduced capacity to bring in adequate Oxygen and ability to remove the muscle waste byproducts, which in turn does not allow the muscle fibers to repair themselves. Having this occur over a long period of time can cause many issues which ultimately result in symptoms like neck pain, headaches, dull achy pain to the arms, nerve compression and joint issues and sharp pain between the shoulder blades.

I have talked in the past about the importance of adapting your environment (work or home) to your balance position. For example, when sitting in front of a computer, having feet in front, good pelvic balanced position, finding the center of your torso balancing (so that you’re not falling forward or back), then doing the same with the head (making a nodding movement to find the point when your head does not fall forward or back). When you find this general balanced position, then you place your computer screen in a position where you can see your screen comfortably. Often this involves raising your screen up to eye level and about 2 feet or so away from you (a glare protector is good as well) so that you can see the screen and the font easily. Then you can place the keyboard at belly level so when you type, your elbows are back allowing the shoulders to stay back and open.

Like any position change, this will feel weird at first, but trusting that you have a good balanced position will make a huge difference in the amount that your neck and back muscles need to work, allowing them to bring in oxygen and get rid of the CO2 so they are healthy and happy. The important thing to be aware of, is the reduction of pain and other symptoms.  That is the ultimate reward for the body, and the body needs rewards to stay in a new position.

I find more and more that the pain is never where the original dysfunction is. I find that the pelvis is the center of the universe posturally. At least 8/10 times, when some has neck pain or similar it is simply because the muscles are working hard to correct the head position. For example, many times, a client’s pelvis may be raised on the right side, the body will attempt to corrcct that by pulling the torso to the right when sitting or standing. If you try leaning to the right, you will notice that your left shoulder raises and your head falls to the right. There is a sensor in each ear that ensures that if this occurs, muscles will tighten to make sure that the head is (as close as possible) rebalanced so it is level with the horizon. As above, when you are leaning to the right, your left neck muscles will tighten to pull your head straight. Very often you can’t tell that this is all going on because all that the brain is concerned with is that the head is now straight, no matter what unbalance and compensation is going on farther down in the neck and low back.

These are all side to side compensations. Now imagine that you are leaning forward on the computer working. Now your back neck muscles are working as you head is in a forward position and they are attempting to level your head on a side to side orientation. If they are doing this all day, they will become very tired and cranky causing the neck pain/headaches/arm aches/upper back pain.

So when someone comes in with neck pain, I often start by checking to see if the pelvic bones are balanced and getting an idea of the whole picture, then working up. Sometimes a person can get away with this for a while, but something very simple like a move in the wrong direction or sleeping in a strange position can set it off.

Good posture, balance, flexibility, and strength are the key to avoiding a lot of pain and dysfunction. It’s good to start from the bottom and work up to the top. To cap it all off, our heads are extremely heavy and we’re not doing out neck muscles any favors by making them hold up our heads in bad positions.

Getting your bike tailored to fit you

On my bike rides I was feeling like my back was really tightening up 2/3’s or so into the ride so I decided to go and get my bike fitted to make sure that everything was where it should be to make my rides more comfortable and efficient.

I went to see Bill at the Trek Store in the Songhees, just across the Johnson Street Bridge near Spinnakers (?) in Victoria. Having your bike fitted is really not something that you can do on your own. Bill pointed out that my setup needed to be changed in two ways:

1) That I need to move my seat a little more forward so the down stroke  was more over the pedals and therefore will produce more power

2) That I needed to reduce the “tilting back” of my seat as it naturally opened up my low back subjecting it to unnecessary strain and weakness.

So we made the changes and my first initial thought was that it felt really weird, which is normal as I had it in the other position for pretty much years and years. With these sorts of things, you really have to trust the math and the position will feel more normal over the period of a week or so with constant riding.

We also curled the brake levers and gear shifters more forward so that my wrist are not extended too much which can manifest their own issues over a long period of time.

My initial feeling is that maybe there is too much body weight forward on the handlebars but that may be just something to adapt to. I’m going back in a week and we can go over things like that.

It is something that I should have done a while ago and recommend that people that ride 3 – 7 times per week should absolutely do, so call and set up and appointment with Bill Fry at The Trek Store at 250-380-7877. It is quick, easy and will save a lot of grief in the future.

Check out their website at http://www.trekbikesvictoria.com/    as they have lots of great information and clinics available and fantastic inventory.

Buying an Apple Computer?

I have been a Mac User since the dawn of mankind…or at least Simon-using-computer’kind. I feel confident in recommending it to anyone. Especially now that you can run Windows (if you have to) natively on a Mac computer even though I think Mac has a dramatically superior operating system (but I will keep that to myself).  Since moving to Victoria 3 or so years ago, I’ve had the pleasure of dealing with one shop that has all the goods you need with the service to match.

This shop is Soho computers on Douglas street in Victoria. My friend Bruce is the owner of the shop and a fantastic advisor when it comes to buying a new computer. It’s important that you find the computer that gives you what you need with so many options out there.

Go see them and talk to them about what you need.

They are at    http://sohoservices.com/

If you are self employed, an option in addition to buying is leasing. I leased mine for 3 years as it is beneficial in increasing my write-off potential.

Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide in the body

Carbon dioxide is the waste product of the respiritory system, and of several other chemical reactions in the body, such as the creation of ATP. Pure carbon cannot be transported in the body, so CO2 is one form it takes that is water soluble. Levels of CO2 also tell the body when it needs more oxygen.

In the human body, the oxygen is absorbed by the blood stream in the lungs, being then transported to the cells where an elaborated change process takes place.

Oxygen plays a vital role in the breathing processes and in the metabolism of the living organisms.

Probably, the only living cells that do not need oxygen are some anaerobic bacteria that obtain energy from other metabolic processes.

Here is an really good link to a page that discusses how the body brings in Oxygen and rids itself of Carbon Dioxide:

Water goooooood

As I was writing in my last entry. I lead you to a link about the benefits of water but I though I’d just put it all here to make it easier.

Before you read. Make sure you don’t do this:    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/2535483/world_record_a_guy_drinking_2_liters_of_water_in_1_sec_very_amizing/

Happy reading:

Good water is essential to body cleansing. It’s obvious. It sounds like a truism. Your body goes down fast without water. Making up almost three-fourths of the body, every cell is regulated, monitored and dependent on an efficient flow of water. Not one of the processes in our bodies could take place without water. Water is something that we take for granted. But how many of us really understand how essential water is or what happens to our body if it doesn’t receive pure water every day, free of chemicals and pollutants?

– Water is the adhesive that bonds your cell architecture. When you get enough water fluid retention decreases, and gland and hormone functions improve.

· Water regulates your body temperature, maintains your equilibrium and helps the liver break down and release more fat.

· Water carries every nutrient, mineral, vitamin, protein, hormone and chemical messenger in your body to its destination.

· Proteins and enzymes, the basis for your body’s healing capacity, function efficiently only when you have enough water.

· Your daily energy depends on water, because your body’s chemical reactions are water-dependent. Just like a hydro-electric system, the energy generated by your body’s water is used by your two vital cell battery systems, ATP and GTP.

· Your brain tissue is 85% water. Messages from your brain to everywhere else in your body are transported on “waterways.”

Water is essential to the cleansing processes of your body.

-It lubricates and flushes wastes and toxins from all cells.
-It cleanses the internal organs.
-It helps eliminate toxins from the bloodstream.

Drinking enough water is critical to keep your skin soft and supply, your brain sharp and your elimination systems regular. But there’s another side to the water story. Most Americans have reduced their intake of fats (including the good Omega-3 fats) to the point that their bodies don’t hold and use the water they do take in. It’s one of the reasons I recommend adding more sea greens to your diet for moister skin, shining eyes and lustrous hair…. a quality of sea plants known since ancient Greek times.

How much is enough? Your body needs about three quarts of replacement water every day under normal conditions. Strenuous activity, summer temperatures, or a diet that’s high in salt increase this requirement. Your foods provide up to 11/2 quarts of water per day. (Fruits and vegetables are more than 90% water. Even dry foods like bread are about 35% water.) Water for metabolism is produced as part of the food digestion process, yielding as much as a pint per day.

Water is critical to your detoxification program!

For a healing program, several types of water are worth consideration:
· Mineral water comes from natural springs with varying mineral content and widely varying taste. The naturally occurring minerals are beneficial to digestion and regularity. In Europe, this form of bottled water has become a fine art.
· Distilled water can be from a spring or tap source; it is “de-mineralized” (only oxygen and hydrogen remain). Distilling is accomplished by boiling water, then converting to steam and recondensing it. It is the purest water available, ideal for healing, but not for longterm use because it can demineralize the body.
·Sparkling water can come from natural carbonation in underground springs, but most are artificially infused with CO2 to maintain a standard fizz. This water is an aid to digestion, and is excellent in cooking to tenderize and give lightness to a recipe.
·Artesian well water is the Cadillac of natural waters. It always comes from a deep pure source, has a slight fizz from bubbling up under rock pressure, and is tapped by a drilled well. Artesian water never comes in contact with ground contaminants.

Beyond buying bottled water, you can also take steps as an individual to conserve water and diminish pollution of ground water supplies:

– Use biodegradable soaps and detergents. Don’t use water fresheners in toilet bowls.
– Don’t pour wastes like paints, solvents, and petroleum based oils into drains.
– Use natural fertilizers such as manure and compost in your garden.
– Conserve water – use what you really need for a shower, a bath, laundry or cooking.

So be sure to get enough water every day, but make sure it is the right kind of water which can cleanse and heal the body, not toxic or polluted water which destroys health.

Heavy Drinking before Hot Yoga

irishyogajpg1No, I don’t mean drinking drinking. My ability to hydrate myself before activities can be suspect. My body is good at telling me when I forget. Yoga is an activity that can lead one to forget to hydrate properly. It is often a relaxed slow type of activity so I may not automatically think to myself “hey, I gotta drink water”. When doing yoga, there is an emphasis on toxin release and anytime something like that is done, you need to hydrate as fluid are a main carrier of toxins outside of the body. Generally a couple of litres of water is a good safeguard.

Then there is a Hot Yoga. I have to admit that I’ve only heard about it from several sources but haven’t done it myself. As I understand, it is quite a rigorous form of yoga with poses that are held for long periods that are quite difficult to do for a newcomer. The people that discuss it with me report losing a lot of fluids with sweat during the course of the session. What prompted me to write this entry is one particular instance where one of my clients were getting headaches. She wasn’t sure if it was connected to adjustment to the hot environment, maybe she wasn’t eating right, it was too strenuous for where she was at that point or hydration. Her personal intuition was that her diet and ability to listen to her body during the session (to make sure she wasn’t overdoing it) seemed to be fine but perhaps even 2 litres of water wasn’t sufficient. Many sources discuss that 2 litres of water per day in a non-strenuous environment is adequate so she did two things differently. First, she increased to 4 litres of water but more importantly (and I think just because of the sheer volume of liquid), she drank it over the period of the day and didn’t consume too much just before the yoga. It was an even consumption of water over the day. She then realized that her headaches went away. So that was the trick. Increase volume of fluids over the period of a day. You forget about how much stuff water does for the body. Take a look down the right side of the screen and there is a link that takes you to a page that discusses some of the things that water does for the body.