A New Year. A New You.

Break the old posture habits that stress the body.

Now that you've been back at work for a few weeks, you may be noticing the return of a few aches and pains that the holiday season had dispelled. Before you lose all the relaxation benefits of your break, let's take action against the body stressors that come with having to work at a desk.

Do you spend a lot of time seated? Here’s what to do.

Sitting in the same position for extended periods of time can cause back and neck strain. It’s important to be aware of your seated posture to minimise strain. Here are the actions you can take:

  • Choose a chair with good lower back support.
  • Sit up straight.
  • Tilt the seat of the chair slightly forward, so that your knees are lower than your hips.
  • Hold in your stomach to support your back.
  • Keep both feet on the floor.

That's a good start! But there is more to do.

When we're focussed on our work (especially on a computer screen!), we tend to lose awareness of our posture. We stop fighting gravity, and we get so drawn into what we're doing or what we're reading that our posture alters considerably:

  • Shoulders slump down.
  • Backs round.
  • Necks stretch forward.
  • Chins jut towards our screen.
  • Arms become locked in position.

It's important to check in with our bodies regularly and re-adjust to a neutral posture that induces the least stress. So take frequent breaks to check your posture, and stretch! Set an alarm an alarm to remind you to check in with your body until you establish the habit.

Try these stretches for quick relief.

You can do them without leaving your desk.

  1. Are your shoulders hunching forward? Do you feel the strain across your back?
    Use exercise 1.
  2.  

  3. Do you tend to crane your neck forward towards your computer screen, with your chin pushed forward?
    Do exercise 2.
  4.  

  5. If you spend a lot of time typing or using a mouse, you may find that your arms become “locked” in this T-Rex position.
    Exercise 3 can help.

 

 

Poor Computer Posture - Ralph Dinkelmann - Body Stress Release Practitioner
Exercise for shoulder hunch - Ralph Dinkelmann - Body Stress Release Practitioner

Clasp your hands behind your back and pull your shoulder blades together.

Hold for 30 seconds.

Exercise for Chin Jut - Ralph Dinkelmann - Body Stress Release Practitioner

Sit up straight. Pull your chin back as far as you can, and hold this position for 30 seconds.

You’ll feel your neck muscles respond.

Exercise for locked elbows - Ralph Dinkelmann - Body Stress Release Practitioner

Stretch your arms out in front of you at shoulder height; palms up.

Then pull your fingertips towards the floor, and hold for 30 seconds.

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How to use your holiday to relax and recharge

Everyone looks forward to the holiday season. At the end of a long work year, it promises the reward of care-free days, fun activities, family time, and celebration. With all that going on, it can be very easy to forget to actually rest. 

The holidays can be the most effective time for Intentional and mindful rest so factor in some time for each of these six ways to relax and recharge even as you celebrate.
 

6 Ways to Relax This Holiday Season

 

  1. Spend some time alone
     
    Especially important for introverts!
    If you don’t spend time preparing yourself mentally for socialising and stimulation, you’ll soon run out of energy and find that you’re not enjoying all those things you were looking forward to. Try to take time each morning to clear your mind and mentally prepare yourself.
  2.  

  3. Express your gratitude
     
    Showing gratitude causes your brain to release oxytocin - the feel-good hormone. So, let people know why you’re grateful to know them. A hug, an email, an action, a gesture, even your thoughts of gratitude will make you feel good
  4.  

  5. Do something you love
     
    Painting. Baking. Gardening. When is the last time you focussed on your hobby? A holiday is a fantastic time to get back to something you enjoy. You’ll relax, tune out thoughts of work, trigger your creativity and widen your horizons. 
  6.  

  7. Get outside
     
    Time spent outdoors has many health benefits: lowering your stress levels and your blood pressure. It even heightens your creativity! Try to get out into nature for the day or start a ritual after-dinner walk. It’s all about getting some fresh air and the exercise is good for you too.
  8.  

  9. Reflect a little
     
    Plan some thinking time at the end of the day to focus on meaningful achievements, personal accomplishments, people who inspire you and motivate you to achieve, and the “why” behind your work. These thoughts will refuel you - energising you when the new year begins.
  10.  

  11. Get a little help through body stress release
     
    A few sessions of body stress release will prompt your brain to work on stress areas in your body, encouraging it to heal itself of the aches and pains related to locked in tension. The holiday season is the perfect time! Not only will you get the most out of your time off, you’ll also be truly refreshed and ready for the new year.

 
I hope you have a very happy holiday. I hope you take the time to relax, rest, and recharge. Please give me a call if you’d like to kickstart the process with body stress release.

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Fibromyalgia - Body Stress Release - Ralph Dinkelmann Body Stress Release Practitioner

Fibromyalgia. Can body stress release help?

Fibromyalgia is notoriously difficult to diagnose and treat. It presents itself in symptoms which doctors consider to be subjective. As a result, there is no clear known cause, and a lot of frustration for fibromyalgia sufferers.

They symptoms of Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia sufferers often report areas of tenderness (or trigger points). These are places on the body where even light pressure causes pain. Sometimes the pain caused by these trigger points may be described as a dull ache affecting many areas of the body.

Persistent experience of this pain - for at least three months - may point doctors to a diagnosis of fibromyalgia.

More symptoms of Fibromyalgia

People with Fibaromyalgia may also report:

  • fatigue
  • sleeplessness
  • sleeping for long periods without feeling rested
  • headaches
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • inability to focus or pay attention
  • pain or dull aching in the lower abdomen

It is believe these symptoms may be the result of the nervous system misinterpreting or overreacting to normal pain signals.

The causes of Fibromyalgia

Medical researchers and doctors have not yet pinned down the causes of fibromyalgia. They are, however, closer to understanding the factors that may work together to cause it.

The factors that cause Fibromyalgia are:

  1. Infections: Prior illnesses may trigger fibromyalgia or worsen the symptoms.
  2. Genetics: If you have a family member with this condition, you are at a higher risk for developing Fibromyalgia.
  3. Trauma: Physical or emotional trauma may lead to fibromyalgia. In fact, the condition has been linked to PTSD.
  4. Stress: Like trauma, stress can have long-reaching effects for months and years. Stress has also been linked to hormonal imbalances that may contribute to fibromyalgia.

Doctors don’t fully understand the factors that cause people to experience the chronic widespread pain associated with fibromyalgia. Some theories suggest it may be that the brain lowers the pain threshold. What once wasn’t painful, becomes very painful over time. Another theory suggests that the nerves and receptors in the body become more sensitive to stimulation. That means they may overreact to pain signals and cause unnecessary or exaggerated pain.

Treatment for Fibromyalgia

Commonly, pain medication, anti-depressants and anti-seizure drugs are used to manage pain in conjunction with lifestyle changes to reduce stress as stress, and how the body manages stress, appears to have a major impact on pain levels and quality of life.

Through body stress release, stored tension is released so that there is less of an overreaction to stressors. Those clients who have responded positively to body stress release treatments have required gentle releases, more often, along with active lifestyle measures to manage stress levels.

(Source: https://www.healthline.com/health/fibromyalgia)

 

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Stress Headaches - Ralph Dinkelmann - Body Stress Release Practitioner

Stress and Headaches

Tension headaches have become a way of life. We simply accept them as part of modern day living. We put up with the continuous dull ache. Pop pills when it becomes too intrusive. And - every now and then - retire to a quiet dark place to wait out a big one.

Imagine living headache free!

The first step towards a headache-free life, is uncovering the root cause of your headache. When it comes to tension headaches, investigating body stress is a good place to start. So let’s have a quick look at how the body responds to stress.
 

How the body responds to stress

The body’s reaction to stress begins in the muscles. Life’s pressures may cause the muscles in the neck to tense. Bad posture or prolonged sitting may put the muscles of the lower back under strain. If this stress is not released it becomes locked into the muscles and these will eventually seize up.

When the muscles tense up, nerves are compressed; causing headaches and blocking messages to the brain about the true location of the pain or discomfort. That’s why we’re not always aware of the real problem.
 

How to find the root cause of the problem

Body Stress Release gently stimulates muscles to take pressure off the nerves; re-instating communication pathways with the brain. This is why, after the first body stress release session, you may experience some discomfort. With the release of tension, the muscle will begin to adapt to its new suppleness and sensitivity levels. Feeling starts to return to the muscle, highlighting the true stress issue and - at the same time - beginning the healing process.
 

The importance of body stress release

Body stress in the muscles can cause sever pain and stiffness, but the problem doesn’t end there because muscles don’t work in isolation. They support organ function, the nervous system, blood circulation …. Tension and compression in the muscles can stand in the way of a healthy functioning body and give rise to potentially serious ailments.

It’s important to note that body stress release does not diagnose or treat specific ailments. All it does is identify sites of tension and boost the body’s own healing mechanism. In essence, it alerts the brain to stress areas so that the body can set about healing itself.

Frequent body stress release sessions can be preventative. Not only will these treatments help your body to find its natural balance, your practitioner will also recommend strategies for managing stress and building your body’s resilience and ability to self-heal.
 

Learn more about Body Stress Release

Would you like to find out more about the body stress release technique that will help you find the root cause of your headaches?

If you still have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I’d love to be able to help you.
 

Try these easy stretches to relieve neck stress

In the meantime, instead of reaching for painkillers, why not try these simple stretches recommended by Dr James Hubbard on Reader's Digest. They're quick, easy and gentle. And they may help treat the true cause of your headache.

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Cold weather tension - Ralph Dinkelmann BSR

Is winter a pain in the neck?

Does your back hurt more in winter?

Do you get a sore neck?

Or stiff shoulders?

Even headaches?

That’s because your body is less active and “bracing itself” against the cold.

In winter; we shiver, hunch into our coats and scarves and huddle under our blankets to protect ourselves from the cold - tightening our muscles and scrunching our shoulders up towards our ears; creating increased muscle tension and tightness in the neck and shoulders and residual aches and pains in other parts of the body.
 

What you can do to beat neck and shoulder pain in winter:

  • Wear a warm (but lightweight) scarf
    If your neck is warm, you’re less likely to lower you head and scrunch up your
    shoulders.
  • Check your shoulders
    Make a conscious effort to drop them and focus on the feeling of relaxation in your shoulders.

This quick and easy exercise could help:

Sit up straight on a firm dining room chair, gripping the sides of the seat with your
hands. Lower your shoulders and lengthen your neck at the same time. Repeat this
stretch three times at least twice a day.

  • Follow these tips to protect you back and neck
    Changing only a few habits can relieve discomfort and also protect the spine for

    the future.

 

 

How can body stress release help?

Body stress release can help you develop a defence against the effects of cold weather.

We will identify precise sites of tension in your body. Then, through light yet firm pressure to these key areas, we’ll activate your muscles to release the stress and enable your body to heal itself. I’ll also help you grow your awareness of tension-causing habits and suggest ways, particular to your discomfort or pain and lifestyle, to relieve your pain and help protect you through the bracing winter months.

If you’d like to book your body stress assessment and treatment, please use the calendar below, or drop me a line by clicking the button on the green box below.

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Sciatica

What is sciatica?

Do you have it?

What causes it?

What relieves it?

Here's a short video to help answer your questions:

Sciatica Video

6 Common Causes of Sciatica

The more you know about your body, the more you can help it heal. If you suffer from sciatica, the root of your discomfort could be now of these 6 causes:

  1. Lumbar herniated disc
  2. Degenerative disc disease
  3. Isthmic spondyliothesis
  4. Lumbar spinal stenosis
  5. Piriformis syndrome
  6. Sacroiliac joint disfunction

Read more about these here.

Gentle Stretches To Ease Sciatica

These gentle stretches can bring immediate relief. It’s worth giving them a try. Why not work them into your daily routine? They’re quick and easy and you may even find they help as a preventative measure.

Scissor Hamstring Stretch for Sciatica Relief

Stretch both hamstrings at the same time with these easy exercises.

Exercise

Seated Chair Hamstring Stretch for Sciatica Relief

Add this exercise to your exercise regime for sciatica relief.

Exercise

Easy Hamstring Stretches for Sciatica Relief

These stretches are performed while lying on your back. You'll need a towel.

Exercise
Back and Neck Pain Relief Tips - Ralph Dinkelmann

Tips to Minimise Back and Neck Pain

Back and neck pain is a miserable experience! But, changing just a few bad habits can not only bring pain relief, but also protect the spine for the future. Have a look at these easy ways to ease your back or neck pain.

Ralph Dinkelmann - Back and Neck Pain Relief Tip

When lifting … let your legs do all the work

Back or neck injury or discomfort is commonly caused by lifting things awkwardly. The object doesn’t even have to be too heavy. Lifting something light can be just as harmful if you’re twisting your spine to get to it.

The trick is to make your thighs work, and not your back.

  • Bend your needs.
  • Keep your back straight.
  • Hold the object you’re lifting close to your body.
  • Stand up slowly.

If it’s a heavy bag you’re carrying, don’t sling it over one shoulder. Cradle the bag in front of you, or use a backpack instead.

Do you spend a lot of time seated? Here’s what to do.

Sitting in the same position for extended periods of time can cause back and neck strain. It’s important to be aware of your seated posture to minimise strain. Here are the actions you can take:

  • Choose a chair with good lower back support.
  • Sit up straight.
  • Tilt the seat of the chair slightly forward, so that your knees are lower than your hips.
  • Hold in your stomach to support your back.
  • Keep both feet on the floor.

Back and Neck Pain Relief Tips - Ralph Dinkelmann

Bad posture puts pressure on your spine. Change the way you stand, sleep, and sit on a sofa.

When standing:

  • Keep your shoulders down and relaxed and your neck long.
  • Ensure your back is slightly curved, but don’t hollow you back by sticking your bottom out.
  • Hold in your stomach.

In bed:

  • Throw out a sagging mattress and choose one that’s well-sprung but not too hard.
  • Lie on your back or your side.
  • Avoid too many pillows, which twist your neck and back.

On the sofa:

  • Slouching on a sofa is a terrible idea! Low slung sofas (where your bottom ends up lower than your knees) are the worst. Choose a higher, firmer sofa where you can sit upright.
  • Don’t tuck your legs up beside you. This can over-extend the hip bone and twist your spine.
  • Follow the tips above for the ideal seated posture.
Back and Neck Pain Relief Tips - Ralph Dinkelmann

Take a good look at your shoes. Could they be adding strain to your neck and back?

High heels push your lower body forward, forcing your upper body to arch. This puts enormous pressure on your spine. Test your shoes  to see which allow you to adopt the ideal standing posture.

Avoid shoes with leather soles. These send shock waves through your skeleton as you walk. Choose shoes with cushioned or shock-absorbing soles.

Back and Neck Pain Relief Tips - Ralph Dinkelmann

Go on the offensive!

Now you’ve removed any bad habits that contribute towards back and neck pain, it’s time to work on protecting your spine. Exercise is integral to injury prevention.

Concentrate on exercises to strengthen your back and stomach muscles. Go gently. You’ll start feeling the benefits very soon.

In a little while, I’ll post a 5-minute exercise routine that – followed regularly – should help with both pain relief and protection. Until then, try these Tips to Minimise Back and Neck Pain and let me know how it goes.