Clapham Osteopathy and Functional Movement

How to Make Diseases Disappear

Can you actually make a disease disappear? Dr. Rangan Chatterjee thinks you can, and describes how in this TEDx Talk. Often referred to as the doctor of the future, Rangan is changing the way that we look at illness and how medicine will be practiced in years to come. He highlighted his methods in the BBC TV show, Doctor In The House, gaining him much acclaim from patients, his contemporaries, and the media.

We’re big fans of Chatterjee’s approach, and highly recommend his book, The 4 Pillar Plan: How to Relax, Eat, Move and Sleep Your Way to a Longer, Healthier Life.


Why the pursuit of pleasure is making us sad

This is a fascinating interview with Dr. Robert Lustig on the difference between happiness and pleasure, and how the two are driven by different chemicals – Dopamine and Seratonin. In a nutshell, Dopamine governs pleasure, while serotonin governs happiness – and the two do not overlap, says Lustig. Pleasure is short-lived, visceral, can be had alone and can be brought about by substances or behaviours. Happiness is long-lived, ethereal, usually social and cannot be had from substances or behaviours.

Check out the full article, Why the pursuit of pleasure is making us sad.

The Latest Science on What Meditation Can and Can’t Do

meditationHere is an interesting article on what meditation can and can’t do. It is becoming very popular for good reason. We try to meditate for 10-30 minutes every day, but it is not a universal panacea. Recently we have been using the Insight Timer App, which has loads of guided meditations of varying lengths and subjects for those of you who need a bit of help to get started.


Read the full article, From States to Traits: the Latest Science on What Meditation Can and Can’t Do

Why Saunas Can Build Muscle, Boost Endurance, and Increase Strength

Here at Backs Etc., we’re obsessed with saunas. But not just for the calming benefits a nice sauna session gives us. There are also a number of ways in which regular sauna sessions can help us physically, as well as mentally. These include boosting strength and endurance and even building muscle.


Read the full article, Why Saunas Can Build Muscle, Boost Endurance, and Increase Strength

Doctors Tell Us How Hiking Can Change Our Brains

HikingWe at Backs Etc. love hiking! We find getting out in nature and getting from place to place under our own natural power immensely satisfying and cathartic. And now it seems that more and more doctors are actually writing ‘nature prescriptions’ or recommending ‘ecotherapy’ to reduce anxiety, improve stress levels, and to curb depression. Looks like it’s good for body, mind and soul, so what are you waiting for? Get out there and hit the trails!


Read the Full article, ‘Doctors Tell Us How Hiking Can Change Our Brains’

The Whys and Hows of Sleep

Sleeping woman

If you want to enjoy a long, healthy, energetic and productive life, it is pretty much agreed that you need to work on four basic areas: nutrition, exercise, stress and sleep.  In this post, I’m going to focus on sleep as it is something that many people (and I include myself here) struggle with.  

Why is Sleep so Important?

There is a very rare condition called Fatal Familial Insomnia (FFI) whereby sleep becomes impossible, it leads to panic attacks, hallucinations and eventually death, with no known cure.  Thus this shows that sleep is essential to stay healthy. Recent research has found the existence of the glymphatic system which drains metabolic waste products from the brain via the cerebrospinal fluid (including those pesky amyloid plaques that build up during the progression of dementia).  This system only works when we are in deep sleep, making regular good sleep essential for maintaining brain health, aside from other body maintenance and repair processes that occur mostly whilst we are asleep.  It has also been shown that good sleep is essential for memory formation and that mood and willpower problems are exacerbated by a lack of sleep.

Why do we have so much trouble with sleep?

Until recently, our sleep cycles were driven by circadian rhythms with the rising and setting of the sun driving the release of hormones and brain wave patterns.  Now the abundance of electric lights and digital stimulation after dark, as well as jet lag and shiftwork has disrupted this primal cycle. Most people find that when they go camping, with light being limited to torches and the campfire, they start to sleep much better, especially if they have a comfortable airbed

What can we do about this?

The key is to support your body’s production of melatonin, the sleep hormone which is triggered by darkness, and is suppressed by light – particularly bright white light at night – including these new energy efficient bright LED street lights that are replacing many of the old yellow ones. So here are a few tips which I try to implement most days to support melatonin production and sleep cycles:

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Your brain has a ‘delete’ button – Here’s how to use it

brainIn this concise article, the author describes the importance of good sleep and mindfulness in ‘cleaning’ your brain to build and strengthen positive neural connections. Your brain gets really good at whatever it does all the time, so you need to devote time to the things you want to be good at, whether that is studying for exams or playing golf.  If you constantly think negative and anxious thoughts your brain will get much ‘better’ at being anxious. Sleep is when the brain embeds the pathways that you are forming during the day, so without good sleep, all the practice and studying will not be fully effective.

Read the Full article, ‘Your brain has a ‘delete’ button – Here’s how to use it’

How Slow Breathing Induces Tranquility

slow breathingHere at Backs Etc, we are obsessed with abdominal breathing as it is the basis of core stability. If you cannot build intra-abdominal pressure using diaphragmatic breathing, it will lead to an over-reliance on neck or back muscles that become painful and susceptible to injury. But there are other benefits too. As this article outlines, slow deep breathing is very calming to the nervous system, helping you to relax, something that is very important in today’s fast-paced world.

Read the article ‘How Slow Breathing Induces Tranquility’

Develop core stability with 360° breathing

breathing retraining at Backs EtcProper breathing technique is something we focus on at Backs Etc in both our therapy and training appointments. Without addressing poor breathing mechanics, it can be hard to make lasting changes to a patient’s pain or dysfunction. Often the problem stems from the inability to build intra-abdominal pressure (‘IAP’) using diaphragmatic breathing, and so there is an over-reliance on neck or back muscles that become painful.

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