Sharpen, Strengthen, Straighten

It’s time to Sharpen, Strengthen and Straighten

This month we explore what you can do to help yourself Sharpen, Strengthen and Straighten!
With some amazing sporting events including the Women’s World Cup, Wimbledon, The Tour de France and Cricket World Cup, what better subject than to Sharpen, Strengthen and Straighten.

You see, the real key to all sporting performance is the communication between the brain and the body (mainly the muscles in this case). And the beautiful thing is that whatever works on the sporting field, also works in our lives and for our health. Therefore, the key to 100% health is a clear and connected brain and body.

Allow me to explain.

Imagine Roger Federer if you will, arguably one of the worlds greatest ever tennis players. He has sculpted an incredible career and life for himself and his family through the game of tennis.

But how does all this work? Let’s go right to the most basic aspect of playing tennis, hitting a ball.
Imagine that yellow ball flying towards you at nearly 100 miles per hour. The first thing that happens is that you SEE the ball. This vision of a yellow object hurtling towards you is registered in the visual centre of your brain. This sends a very rapid message to your brain’s alert centre, in the area called the hypothalamus, leading to a short-term stress response that will force you to move out of the way of the ball. In tennis however, the aim is to return the ball, and therefore move into the path of danger. In order to do this the body needs to learn to overcome the short-term defense response, and fire off motor patterns that move the muscles to swing the racket and hit the ball.

As I am sure you can now picture, these motor patterns and signals need to get from the brain to the muscles for movement. And the only way they can do this is through the nerves that run down your spine, in the spinal cord.

We can thus understand that in order to have the best reactions and move our body in the most effective and efficient way, we must ensure there are no ‘roadblocks’ in the spine, or areas where the signal is slowed down or even stopped. We call these areas in the spine, subluxations.

A subluxation is a misalignment of the spine that stops, changes or reduces the message between the brain and the body.

So, imagine if you were to face an oncoming tennis ball. Your brain registers the danger and sends out a signal from the brain, through the spinal cord, to the feet, to tell you to move. However, as the signal is traveling down the spinal cord, there is a vertebra (backbone) that is out of place, and as such is impacting the nerve and like a kink in a hose pipe, it slows down the signal. This means that the feet do not get the message to move and your reactions slow down. And wallop, the ball hits you!

So, I’m sure you can see now how vital good alignment of the spine is for the sporting arena, and that is exactly why all the top sports stars and teams use chiropractic to enable them to have the edge and perform at their best.

But let’s hold that thought and think about another muscle, the heart. The heart too only beats due to signals sent from the brain and through the spinal cord. Now imagine if there was an interference, a misalignment known as a subluxation that changed the signal between the brain and the heart.
The brain would send its message for the heart to beat, but maybe the signal would be delayed, maybe the signal would be too quick, therefore ending up with arrythmias or palpitations.

What this brief introduction shows is how vital the alignment of the spine really is for everybody’s overall health.

And the big question therefore, is what can you do to help yourself?

Well number one of course is to see a corrective chiropractor. No one can realign the spine without a proper assessment first (including x-rays if necessary) and the right skills to correct it. This is what we focus on at Epoch.

However, we do know there is so much that you can do yourself and along with the theme of this blog, we give you the ‘3 S’s’ of spinal health.

Sharpen, Strengthen, Straighten

If we can Sharpen the communication from the brain to the body, Strengthen the spine so it doesn’t buckle and Straighten the alignment, then we really will have a body that functions optimally, runs efficiently and in harmony which may significantly reduce illness or injury.

Who wouldn’t want that?

Sharpening your brain and speeding up brain-body communication comes down to 3 fundamental areas:

1.       Stimulation of the nerves 2. Nutrition for the nerves 3. Oxygen for the nerves.

This can be achieved so simply:

1.       Move the body. In doing so you are sending signals to the brain which improves the brain- body connections and speed of the signals.

2.       To help nerves fire fast, it is essential to help the myelin sheath that surrounds them, and the best supplement for this is Omega 3.

3.       Oxygen thank goodness is in great supply. Help your body by breathing deep and expanding the lungs. Smoking however will dramatically reduce this.

To Strengthen the spine, we must work on our core and postural muscles. Better than any sit ups or crunch exercises, are squats and lunges. Keeping the head up when doing so, these exercises tense the whole body, encouraging strength into the postural and stabilising muscles.

Straightening the spine is best achieved with chiropractic care, however there are some things you can do. The number one thing is the use of the mobile phone. Looking down with the head forward puts massive stress onto the spine and nerves. Aiming to keep your head up and focus forward will keep the spine straight.

As I am sure you can see, all these steps are simple, but with sustained practice and making them habit you will be able to improve your spine health, nerve health and your overall body health.

Tom Waller