Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Top Tips to stay Healthy and Happy over Christmas and New Year’s from Team Octagon!

The festive period can be one of the most joyous and wonderful times of the year but unfortunately it can also be one of the least healthy. We don't want to put a damper on any of the fun but we do want  our Octagon friends to stay happy and healthy over Christmas and New Years and to start 2017 on a high so here's the Octagon Team's top seasonal tips!

From Chiropractor Hazel:
“The best way to keep healthy over the festive period is to make sure you are getting your required amount of sleep. Personally I make an effort to do this all year round but it can be especially important over the Christmas period when the weather is cold and the parties are frequent! 
Sleep helps repair and rejuvenate your body and if you're burning the candle at both ends for the month of December you don't want to find yourself run down and getting ill over the holidays.

So get those ZZZzzz's in your schedule and your body will be better equipped to fight any viruses that come your way.” 

From Massage Therapist Yoshiko:

“Christmas can be a busy, stressful and emotional time, so here are just three reasons to put sports massage on your present list!

1. Relieves emotional tension 
2. Removes toxins from your body
3. Relieves pain and muscle tension”.

From Nutritionist Pippa:

“If you’re going to be travelling long distances be prepared beforehand rather than having to rely on service stations, airports or train stations for your food. 

  1. Take a homemade salad that contains some protein, a date ball for your pudding and a smoothie to keep you feeling full and satisfied.
  2.  Snacks such as plain nuts and seeds are a nutritious alternative to chocolate and sweets.  Make a little snack pot containing: pumpkin and sunflower seeds, toasted coconut flakes, raw cacao nibs, flaked almonds and walnut halves.  Keeping this topped up also means that you have something to nibble on when everyone else is passing around the chocs and you want to keep to your healthy habits.” 

More Christmas top tips from Pippa here.

From Chiropractor Karen:
'Alcohol dehydrates your body. Remember your spinal discs need to be kept hydrated too so drink plenty of water too to avoid back pain caused by dehydration.

Recent research suggests that we consume around 3,000 calories in our Christmas dinner – more than the entire recommended daily intake for a grown man! Instead of gorging yourself on Christmas dinner, eat a normal-sized meal and then take a 20-minute break to see if you are still hungry (it takes this long for the brain to register that the stomach is full). The chances are, you’ll realize you’ve had enough.

 From Front of Hous-er Ruth: 
 But if you do overdo it at the Christmas table...
“A crisp wintery walk with the family (or alone!) is my suggestion. Enjoy the fresh air and a good dose of nature. You'll avoid cabin fever. Plus it will aid digestion of those heavy Christmas-sized meals!’. 

 Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year one and all!
Team Octagon X

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Turmeric – The Spice of Life

There's a lot of buzz around this golden-yellow spice but is it worthy of this hype? Our nutritionist Pippa Mitchell gives us the lowdown on turmeric....

Curcumin is the yellow pigment associated with the spice Turmeric. Turmeric is a member of the ginger family and curcumin is also found to a lesser extent in ginger.

There have been numerous studies that show curcumin has powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor and antioxidant properties and that is has multiple uses for many health conditions.

But it can be difficult to absorb this valuable chemical into the blood stream (most is quickly metabolised by the liver and walls of the intestines and then excreted from the body) so this should be borne in mind when using supplements to ensure that they are effective. 

There are good scientific studies which show that Curcumin:

    Reduces inflammation in many conditions
    Osteoarthritis: there appears to be significant reductions in symptoms of osteoarthritis, with the largest decrease noted 8 months after supplementation and more halved symptoms
    Improved function in the elderly with osteoarthritis – subjects were able to cover more than twice the distance than those who took a control
    Reduces oedema – swelling under the skin and in the body
    Pain reduction: at doses of 400-500mg the spice can reduce pain generally but also in post-operative and arthritic symptoms.
    Possibly increases HDL cholesterol (so called ‘good’ cholesterol) that brings circulating cholesterol and fatty acids back to the liver for clearance; high HDL levels are considered heart protective.
    Possibly reduces triglycerides but studies are inconsistent: circulating levels of fatty acids excessively high levels of which contribute to cardiovascular disease.
    Increases blood flow (blood circulation)
    Colorectal cancer risk: Appears to be associated with a reduced risk for colon cancer
    Fatigue: A decrease in postoperative fatigue has been noted with curcumin supplementation
    Mucositis is the painful inflammation and ulceration of the mucous membranes lining the digestive tract, usually as an adverse effect of chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment for cancer. Curcumin has been noted to decrease symptoms.
    Prostate cancer: appears to be associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer; has been noted to decrease prostate specific antigen levels following supplementation
    Crohns Disease and Ulcerative colitis: Symptoms reduced with supplementation of curcumin.
What supplement should you take?

As curcumin is poorly absorbed into the blood stream, supplement companies often combine it with piperine – an extract of black pepper that improves absorption.

In the case of curcumin, taking it with piperine is useful because it gets the supplement to the extremities rather than being broken down by the liver.

However there may be some contraindications in taking piperine if you are on prescribed medication so you should consult your GP, consultant or other health professional if that's the case.

There are a number of good quality supplements on the market that do not contain piperine but have been processed in ways to increase their absorption.

Another way to aid absorption is to take curcumin with a source of fat (as it is a fat soluble) – so pick a supplement that contains a healthy oil to enhance absorption.

The University of Maryland makes these recommendations:

The following doses are recommended for adults:
    Cut root (fresh): 1.5 to 3 g per day
    Dried, powdered root (spice): 1 to 3 g per day
    Standardized powder (curcumin): 400 to 600 mg, 3 times per day
    Fluid extract (1:1) 30 to 90 drops a day
    Tincture (1:2): 15 to 30 drops, 4 times per day

Dietary sources
Alternatively you can add the spice Turmeric to cooking along with black pepper and by ensuring you have a good source of fat with it. So perfect for curries containing ghee, coconut oil, sesame oil or others. Scrambled tofu with turmeric and pepper is also delicious as it turmeric tea, also known as Golden Milk!


More on Pippa and booking in with her here.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Welcome Chiropractor Karen Habershon to Team Octagon!

Hi Karen, Welcome to Team Octagon! 

So when did you first become interested in Chiropractic? 

I’ve always loved working with people and knew from a young age that I would do something people focused. I spent a lot of time doing work experience in multiple areas of interest such as with the police, in Court and A&E. My thoughts at that stage were to become a police officer until I stumbled upon chiropractic!
The chiropractor I spent time observing was so passionate about his job, much more than any of the other health professionals I'd encountered so that was the deciding factor I wanted to be like him, and I haven’t looked back since. There’s nothing better than being approached by someone in pain not knowing which way they should turn and being able to help them. I just wish more people knew about chiropractic.
I always look forward to receiving chiropractic treatment myself to keep me in tip top condition!

What's your favorite part of the job day to day?

I love meeting people and helping them improve their quality of life educating them on better lifestyle choices to encourage a long, happy and healthy lifestyle.

What are you up to when you're not helping people at the Octagon clinic?

I’m generally quite active. My biggest passion is surfing but I’m far from a pro and the fact the stunning south west coast line is so far away makes those coastal trips even more special. While land locked I make the most of exploring London with friends at the latest pop up events, comedies and shows. I also spend most days doing some sort of exercise such as cycling, swimming, running and the gym.
I also return to my rural roots regularly to make the most of my parent’s farm. Now I’m in the big smoke I certainly appreciate my foundation and love going back for the fresh air and beautiful animals.

West London recommendation please?

Cycles and walks along the river and in Richmond Park are a nice chilled thing to do at the weekend, perhaps stopping for a roast on route. The river is stunning day and night in addition to the wildlife you can find dotted about as you head further west. I often take my camera out and see what I can capture.
The Crabtree pub (W6) is quite vibrant and I also love visiting and supporting the wonderful West London local businesses, the service and produce are always way better than the chains! [Editors Note: vote for the Octagon Clinic in 'Hammersmith's Most Brilliant Businesses Awards here. Thank you!]
Artisans café is a great café and they have Lamingtons! I also like a local Dim Sum place towards Hammersmith called ‘Steam Restaurant’. 

To book in with Karen get in touch with us here.
Follow Karen on Twitter here. 

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Welcome our new nutritionist Pippa Mitchell to Team Octagon!

Hi Pippa! Welcome to Team Octagon. Tell us about your personal nutrition journey.

I first got interested in nutrition having backpacked around the world and picked up several interesting bugs!  It became apparent to me that what I ate had a big impact on my gut health and that in turn seemed to affect all sorts of other organs and processes in the body.  After returning home I looked into how to support my body through nutrition and dietary choices rather than going down a conventional medical route that involved lots of antibiotics and other medications.  I firmly believe that I was able to bring my body back into a good state of health (especially my gut) through nutrition.

What kinds of ailments do you help clients with?
I see clients with all kinds of health conditions from skin problems, cardiovascular health, hormonal imbalances, autoimmune conditions, weight loss, digestive problems including IBS and inflammatory bowel diseases – the list is endless.  Many clients come having seen their GP and want an additional approach to help them manage their condition – through diet, nutrition and lifestyle management.

Top 5 nutrition tips that everyone could benefit from.

½ of your plate should be greens – the remainder made up from smaller portions of protein (animal or vegetarian), beneficial fats, starchy vegetables and/or slow release carbohydrates.
Feed your gut with beneficial bacteria and prebiotics (the foods that help your bacteria flourish).  As Hippocrates said in the 7th C – all disease begins in the gut!  There is new and exciting research being undertaken into gut microbiome and the huge impact it has on our overall health.
Cut as much refined, artificial and added sugars from your diet as you can.  We can get all the energy we need from eating a balanced diet without the need for extra sugars.  In fact we know that these are harmful to us in terms of obesity, heart disease, Type ll diabetes etc.
Don’t snack after your main evening meal.  Snacking in front of the TV adds unnecessary calories that contribute to weight gain. You should try to leave 12 hours between your evening meal and breakfast to allow the body to rest and regenerate.
Eat mindfully!  Do you really need that second helping?  Eating slowly and chewing food thoroughly not only helps digestion but signals to the body when it is full up.  Leave the table feeling as if you could eat more but resist the urge to keep on eating until you feel too full.

What are you up when you’re not helping people at the Octagon?
I enjoy exercising – weights, body conditioning and I do a couple of exercise classes that involve lots of running and jumping around!  I love walking so every weekend will find me out and about in the countryside.  Closer to home I spend as much time in my garden as I can; socialising with friends which usually involves eating so cooking and experimenting in the kitchen is always on the agenda.

More on Pippa here. Contact us here to book in a nutritional consultation with Pippa.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Could Carrying a Heavy Bag be Causing You Pain?

Carrying a heavy bag or two? Could it be contributing to that daily ache or discomfort you feel? Read on to find out.

This information may appear to be more geared toward women but don't rule it out men – some of you need to carry around lots of items on a daily basis too.
You know how it is; you leave the house early in the morning and sometimes you don’t get home until late in the evening, therefore you need all those essential items stuffed into your fashionable over-sized handbag!
·       Book for the commute
·       Trying to eat healthily and save some money = snacks and lunch,
·       Bottle of water to keep hydrated,
·       Partial or full change of outfit and make-up for the after works drinks.
·       Not to mention your everyday essentials; wallet, mobile, keys, hand lotion, lip balm etc. etc.
·       The list goes on.
So you pack your bag and you’re ready to go, but can you even lift it off the floor to get going? And what do you look like posture wise as you struggle off down the road? 

What you need to know
Carrying a heavy weight on one shoulder results in the rest of your body needing to compensate. When the weight is on one side of your body you will naturally lean to the other side to balance your centre of gravity – this creates a sideways curve in your mid spine, your eyes then want to be straight so that your brain can accurately judge your position in space (proprioception), this creates an opposing sideways curve in your neck. These un-natural curves over time cause pressure on your joints and muscles to maintain this posture which may eventually lead to pain and discomfort in your back, neck and shoulders and can sometimes result in headaches as well.

What you can do about it - Ways to reduce the weight of your bag:
·       Regularly sort through your bag as you may be carrying items you don’t need everyday
·       Empty your purse/wallet of loose change – you may be surprised how much weight this reduces
·       If you like to carry an umbrella invest in a lightweight version
·       If you have somewhere to store food at work, do a grocery shop near work and keep the food at work for your week, or only do one journey laden with food at the start of the week
·       Consider buying travel sizes in the toiletries and make-up that you like to carry with you
·       Reduce the size of your water bottle – chances are you only spend a small portion of your day travelling so a smaller water bottle will likely suffice, you can then refill it at work for the journey home
 If you think your daily routines could be contributing to discomfort you are feeling you can contact the clinic and book a free 15 minute consultation to see if Chiropractic care may be right for you.

By Hazel Dillon (MChiro DC) a chiropractor at The Octagon Chiropractic Clinic

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Better Posture for the New Year

Stuck for a New Years resolution idea? I know we’ve past the official start date but its never too late to get started on improving your lifestyle, so lets talk about posture.

One of the most frequent and best tips that I can give to someone suffering with discomfort on a daily basis is to assess their posture – this includes when standing, sitting, driving, during certain movements and even when sleeping.

Good posture is important for you to create good health and plays such a huge part in how we feel on a day to day basis.

If we spend most of our time slumped forward we are putting added pressure on our organs and muscles.
 One major muscle that comes under pressure when we slump is our diaphragm; which we use to breath – if you are slumped forward your diaphragm is squashed and you won’t be able to breath as deeply as your body is capable of – you may not notice this as you go about your daily life but reduced oxygen in your body means that you get tired and worn out more easily – standing up straight helps you breath more easily! 

As we know the spine has 4 curves and maintaining these helps keep your spine healthy – the curve that takes the most pressure from our modern lifestyle is the one in our neck – if we slump forward when we sit or spend a lot of time staring at our mobile devices we are often moving our neck out of its natural curve. As well as placing stress on the joints in our spine, the muscles around the area start to get sore and tight from mis-use.

One of the main considerations when thinking about posture is to have your spine in a neutral position – this is when your spine is in its best position and you aren’t placing any added strain on any particular part of it. This is especially important when you are standing but you also want to carry the comfortable neutral spine position into all your other postures and movements.

How sitting affects your body:

·      Taking a seat shortens your hip flexors, bends the spine forward and places strain on the low back, upper back and neck

·      Furthermore practically every action we do when sitting involves reaching in front of us; to type, grab the phone, move the mouse, reach for your drink

·      When you spend your time hunched over a computer the joints in your back can become restricted and immobile - fixed into the position that they spend most of their time in

·      When the joints become less mobile the surrounding muscles start to become strained as they have to change the way they work to compensate for the immobility in the spine

A few quick and easy tips to follow when you are sitting are:

·      Place your bottom at the back of the chair you are sitting in – this is easier on a desk/hard chair than the sofa – if your sofa is deep you may want to consider putting some cushions behind your back for support

·       Make sure you rest back against the chair you are sitting in – this takes the pressure off your postural muscles to hold you upright and discourages a slumped forward posture.

. Test out your mattress before you buy it – different people sleep better with different firmness

·    Sleep on your back or side rather on your front with your neck twisted to one side

One of the best ways to improve your posture is to get moving!
 . If you sit all day at work – try to get up and move around every 30-50 minutes (taking regular breaks at work is also thought to improve your productivity)
. Get moving in your spare time – go for a walk or do a fun activity that involves getting up and moving around

·       Add some movement into your commute – I was thinking you could walk some of the way or cycle but if you want to dance on the tube then you can do that too ;-)

·       The BCA has a lovely and simple to follow 3 minute exercise programme called ‘Straighten Up’ you can find a link to the video here:

·       Our sister clinic Lucks Yard has produced an awesome app for your phone which is all about stretches – it even has reminders you can set: ChiroMoves Link.

By Hazel Dillon (MChiro DC) a chiropractor at The Octagon Chiropractic Clinic