воскресенье, 30 августа 2009 г.

Women's Health

Women's Health Research into the hormonal dynamics of exercise reveals that much of the conventional wisdom on exercise is wrong. In fact, the way women are currently exercising may be robbing them of up to 90% of their results. Specifically, the prevailing focus on burning calories is misguided, because calories burned during exercise is a relatively minor benefit. The major benefits of a properly designed exercise routine are metabolic and hormonal in nature.

Women have about 20% smaller total muscle mass than males of equal body mass. Gender differences in skeletal growth produce a broader pelvis, shorter legs and consequently a lower center of gravity in women compared with men. These physical differences increase stability in the female, change her gait dynamics, and decrease her mechanical efficiency by increasing the angle of the thigh bone and brings the knees closer together. These biomechanical differences as well as increased female ligament laxity makes exercising women more prone than men to anterior cruciate ligament rapture. Shorter limbs in women increase stride frequency and limit peak running speeds. Achilles tendons, which are important in elastic recoil of running, are shorter in women than in men and thus affect gait as well as risk of injury. Smaller thorax, narrower and more sloping shoulders, and smaller muscle fiber diameter, particularly in the upper limbs, reduce the lever arm and limit throwing performance of woman. In addition, smaller and lighter bones in women make them more vulnerable to fracture. Women are less tolerant of dry heat stress than men because of larger relative body surface area for transfer of environmental heat load, lower sweat gland density, and lower sensitivity of sweating response to increases in core temperature. At sub maximal exercise intensities, women release and oxidize more adipose tissue lipids and rely less on muscle lipids and glycogen than men. This effect appears to be caused by greater sensitivity of female abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue to lipolytic beta adrenergic action of catecholamine, higher plasma concentrations of GH, and increased muscle but lower adipose tissue LPL activation by estrogenic stimulation.

The time has come for us to consider how the interactions between exercise and hormonal secretion can be exploited for the practical benefit of woman. Sports Scientists have uncovered some profound truths about human nature whilst exploring the connection between exercise, immunity and disease. Yet we live in a material world where the value of discoveries is measured not by their scientific interest or cultural significance but by their practical utility. Can scientific knowledge be used to help woman in menopause? Does it really work? The answer is YES!

Menopause & Exercise

The first truth about menopause is that every woman goes through it. The second truth is that every woman goes through it differently.

Our body is an amazingly complex machine. All of its various cells and tissues communicate with each other, and their activities are precisely coordinated. When we think of the numerous processes occurring within our body at any given time, it is truly remarkable that all of the body systems function so well together. Even when we sit and reading our heart pumps blood throughout our body, our intestines digest and absorb nutrients, our kidneys clear waste products, our lungs bring in oxygen and our muscles hold the book while our brain concentrates on reading. Imagine, how much more active all our body systems become when we engage in active movement. As our physical activity increases, so does our muscles physiological activity. Active muscles require more nutrients, more oxygen, more metabolic activity, and thus more efficient clearance of waste products.

Hormones are signaling molecules that regulate and coordinate physiological and metabolic functions by acting on receptors located on or in target cells. Hormones are produced by secretory cells that are localized either in secretory glands or in organs that have other primary functions. These messengers are given distinctive names, depending on cellular origin and the means by which targets arte reached. The term "hormone" is derived from the Greek word hormein (to excite).The initial use of hormone was restricted to chemical messengers produced within a gland of internal secretion and released into circulation in small quantities to act on distant receptors. The alternative term, "endocrine," was coined from the Greek words endon (internal) and krinein (to secrete).

The endocrine system shares its signaling and coordinating function with the nervous system. The two systems have evolved to control and integrate vital body functions.

Hormones can be categorized as two basic types: STEROID hormones and NONSTEROID hormones. Steroid hormones have a chemical structure similar to cholesterol, and most are derived from it. For this reason, they are lipid soluble and diffuse rather easily through cell membranes. This group includes the hormones secreted by:

* The adrenal cortex (such as cortical and aldosterone)
* The ovaries ( estrogen and progesterone)
* The testes (testosterone)
* The placenta (estrogen and progesterone)

Non-steroid hormones are not lipid soluble, so they cannot easily cross cell membranes. The non- steroid hormone group can be subdivided into two groups: protein or peptide hormones and amino acid derivative hormones. The two hormones from the thyroid gland (thyroxin and triiodothyronine) and the two from the adrenal medulla (epinephrine and norepinephrine) are amino acid hormones. All other no-steroid hormones are protein or peptide hormones.

The body responds to physical activity in ways that have important positive effects on musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, respiratory, and endocrine systems. These changes are consistent with a number of health benefits, including a reduced risk of premature mortality and reduced risks of coronary heart disease, hypertension, colon cancer, and diabetes mellitus. Regular participation in physical activity also appears to reduced depression and anxiety, improve mood, and enhance ability to perform daily tasks throughout the life span.

Its time to realize that exercise is not just certain physical activities but a process. Primarily a systematic and long duration, which must be progressively and individually graded? A great amount of results has accumulated on changes in the body induced by systematically performed exercises. The changes take place on the levels of cellular structures tissues, organs, and body building. The changes extended from the metabolic processes and their molecular mechanisms up to functional capacities of cellular structures as well as of organs and their systems. Pronounced alterations have been found in the mechanisms of control of bodily functions and metabolic processes, including levels of cellular auto-regulation, hormonal regulation, and neural regulation. During performance of exercises, hormones have an important function in mobilization of energy and protein resources and homeostatic control. They are essential in regulation of recovery processes after exercise. Training effects depend on hormonal influences both on transcription and translation, in the adaptive protein synthesis. Exercise can influence secretion of reproductive hormones directly and indirectly and therefore can affect the rate of sexual maturation and gender-specific growth, fertility, preproduction, and gender-associated health risks.

A great amount of data is concerned with hormonal changes in the blood during exercise. If in the case of some hormone responses there is a good accordance between the results of various authors, in regard to other responses there exists a pronounced discrepancy. These discrepancies were not excluded by the general use of radio immunological methods possessing a high level of both accuracy and specific nature. Consequently, in order to evaluate the actual hormonal changes one must take into account the possibility that there exists a number of factors that determine the response as well as a number of conditions that modulate the response. They both can be connected with the individuality of persons, the parameters of performed exercise, and the conditions in which exercise is performed.

During exercise the activity of endocrine systems is determined by the intensity and duration of muscular activity on the one hand, and by the adaptation of the organism muscular activity, expressed in physical fitness indices, on the other hand. Besides these three main determinants there exist factors modulating the hormonal response to exercise. One of them is emotional strain. In a highly emotional situation the adrenocortical response was obtained in exercises of under-threshold intensity.

Hypoxic conditions enhance the hormone response to exercise and induce the response in exercises of under-threshold intensity.

The modulatory effect of prior diet on the hormone response to exercise has been established in numerous studies. To a large extent, these modulations seem to be related to the differences in carbohydrate supply. A carbohydrate-rich diet as well as glucose administration reduces the responses of hormones related to mobilization of energy reserves.

In conclusion, it must be stressed that hormone response to exercise are determined and modulated by numerous factors. In regard to hormones controlling energy and protein metabolism, the main determinants of hormone responses to exercise are the intensity and duration of exercise and the organism's adaptation to exercise. The modulating factors are the emotively of a person and the situation in which the exercise is performed, environmental conditions, previous diet, fatigue state, endogenous rhythms, initial level of hormones in the blood, and changes in the plasma volume and hormone elimination rate. The main determinants of hormones controlling the water and electrolyte balance are the shifts in the corresponding homeostatic parameters. Besides the above mentioned factors, pathological conditions as well as age differences may alter the endocrine functions during exercise.

When the exercise causes only moderate demands on endocrine systems, there is a pronounced inter-individual variability in hormone responses, and their dynamics express differences in individual tactics of adaptation: adjustments at the level of production of regulative molecules or adjustments at the level of reception of these molecules.

Women typically reach menopause in their early 50's. Fluctuations in hormonal levels and cycles can make this a time of profound emotional and physical changes for many women. The hormonal changes affect not only mood swings, behavior, and emotions, but also the way our body works.

Menopause is a natural process. It dose not necessarily require treatment unless menopausal symptoms are bothersome. Some women may also choose treatment to prevent long-term health problems like osteoporosis and heart disease, especially if they begin menopause at an early age or after surgery.

Menopause terminology is often misused and can be confusing to clients who are experiencing the transition. In addition, the stages of menopause are not distinct; rather, they overlap each other. The World Health Organization defines the stages of menopause in the following way:

* Premenopause: the entire reproductive period up to the final menstrual period.
* Premenopause: the transitional time prior to menopause when the endocrinological, biological and clinical features of approaching menopause begin. Primenopause also include the first year after the final period, before menopause can be confirmed.
* Menopause: the permanent cessation of menstruation resulting from the loss of ovarian follicular activity (occurring naturally). This stage can be confirmed only a year or more after the final menstrual cycle. Menopause may also be induced, which occurs when both ovaries are surgically removed (with or without a hysterectomy) or when the ovaries are damaged by medical treatment (such as radiation, chemotherapy or medications). Induced menopause causes an immediate discontinuation of ovarian hormones, which may lead to more severe symptoms.
* Postmenopause: the time after the final menstrual period, whether the menopause was induced or spontaneous.

Heart disease is the number one killer of American women, and as women enter menopause, the risk of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases increases. Atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease rise sharply in women during their postmenopausal years, owing to increased serum, total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, decreased high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, weight gain, increased abdominal fat distribution and decreased physical activity. Researchers hypothesize that the changes in these risk factors are related in part to the decrease in estrogen production, coupled with lifestyle changes.

Osteoporosis is a common bone disease in postmenopausal women. Assuming that there is no disease process, treatment that would depress ectoblastic activity, and assuming proper dietary intake (e.g. sufficient calories, protein, vitamins, and minerals), there are several factors that increase the risk of bone loss. An uncontrollable factor is age itself. Diminished growth hormone and deteriorating protein anabolic function, both normally occurring with age, result in bone matrix not being deposited satisfactorily. Postmenopausal status, with the concomitant lack of estrogen secretion, is another factor since estrogens have an osteoblast -stimulating activity. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and other estrogen-receptor treatments are recommended for the reduction of menopausal symptoms and prevention of osteoporosis. However only 35-40% of women ever start HRT and many do not continue it. A major controllable risk factor for osteoporosis is inactivity. Bones require physical stress to stimulate osteopath deposition and calcification. Normally, bone strength adjusts in proportion to the degree of bone stress and adapts to mechanical loads greater than those habitually encountered. It is clear that postmenopausal women are a target population for risk reduction of osteoporotic disease and that an appropriate physical activity regime may be effective as a prophylactic treatment for postmenopausal bone loss.

Most physicians prescribe women in menopause 30 minutes 3 times a week of moderate exercise. All this is true; however they foster some questions that come to mind.

* Is 30 to 45 minutes, 3 times a week of moderate exercise enough for me?
* How to determine intensity and duration of moderate exercise?
* Which changes have to be induced in a specific stage of training?
* Which exercises induce the necessary changes?
* Which training methods have to be used?
* What sequence should various exercises in a training session follow?
* How to determine a sufficient workload for training sessions?
* How to determine the correct recovery time and methods between exercises and training sessions?

Research into the hormonal dynamics of exercise reveals that much of the conventional wisdom on exercise is wrong. In fact, the way woman are currently exercising may be robbing them of up to 90% of their results. Specifically, the prevailing focus on burning calories is misguided, because calories burned during exercise is a relatively minor benefit. The major benefits of a properly designed exercise routine are metabolic and hormonal in nature.

Several years ago (1978 Jurkowski) it was reported that in 20 min running at 60% to 65% VO2 max, blood progesterone and estradiol concentrations increased. More recent studies showed that plasma estradiol, progesterone, testosterone androstenedion, prolactin, and corticotropin levels increase with exercise duration and are most pronounced when exercise duration is greater than 50 min, with intensities of 75% to 90% VO2 max. In a study investigating high intensity free weight training resulted in a gain in spine BMD in men but not in women, whereas moderate intensity training produced no changes in either males or females.

To interpret these results, to evaluate the actual changes a few points must be considered. First, the significance of different intensities and duration of exercise, second individual physiological different bit win men and women, third the parameters of performed exercise, fourth the conditions in which exercise is performed and fifth individuality of persons.

Woman has about 20% smaller total muscle mass than males of equal body mass. Gender differences in skeletal growth produce a broader pelvis, shorter legs and consequently a lower center of gravity in women compared with men. These physical differences increase stability in the female, change her gait dynamics, and decrease her mechanical efficiency by increasing the angle of the thigh bone and brings the knees closer together. These biomechanical differences as well as increased female ligament laxity makes exercising women more prone than men to anterior cruciate ligament rapture. Shorter limbs in women increase stride frequency and limit peak running speeds. Achilles tendons, which are important in elastic recoil of running, are shorter in women than in men and thus affect gait as well as risk of injury. Smaller thorax, narrower and more sloping shoulders, and smaller muscle fiber diameter, particularly in the upper limbs, reduce the lever arm and limit throwing performance of woman. In addition, smaller and lighter bones in women make them more vulnerable to fracture. Women are less tolerant of dry heat stress than men because of larger relative body surface area for transfer of environmental heat load, lower sweat gland density, and lower sensitivity of sweating response to increases in core temperature. At sub maximal exercise intensities, women release and oxidize more adipose tissue lipids and rely less on muscle lipids and glycogen than men. This effect appears to be caused by greater sensitivity of female abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue to lipolytic beta adrenergic action of catecholamine, higher plasma concentrations of GH, and increased muscle but lower adipose tissue LPL activation by estrogenic stimulation.

The time has come for us to consider how the interactions between exercise and hormonal secretion can be exploited for the practical benefit of woman in menopause. Sports Scientists have uncovered some profound truths about human nature whilst exploring the connection between exercise, immunity and disease. Yet we live in a material world where the value of discoveries is measured not by their scientific interest or cultural significance but by their practical utility. Can scientific knowledge be used to help woman in menopause? Does it really work? The answer is YES!

Exercise and Mental Health

Exercise is surprisingly difficult to define. The Latin root of exercise is exercitium, meaning "to train" and the dictionary defines the word exercise as "regular or repeated use of a faculty or bodily organ," or "bodily exertion for the sake of developing and maintaining physical fitness" (Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionery,2003, p,437). Exercise also can be used as a verb, and then is defined as "to use repeatedly in order to strengthen or develop (a muscle) (Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionery, 2003, p, 437). According to the American College of Sports Medicine, "Exercise, a type of physical activity, is defined as planed, structured, and repetitive bodily movement done to improve or maintain one or more components of physical fitness" (ACSM, 2006, p 3).

Some exercisers focus excessively on exercise specific outcome or benefits, such as body composition, (body fat, muscle mass etc.) cardiorespiratory fitness, mental health, hormonal balance, weight loss, post injury, surgery, or illness rehabilitation. Participants who focus on exercise specific outcomes should follow the medical model of exercise. This model is treatment or medicine, exercisers follow the formula or prescription and the outcome is the specific health benefits. In contrast to medical model some exercisers focus on exercise outcome such as skilled performance, body toning, victory in a golf or tennis matches, rather than on the process. Exercisers do not follow a formula or prescription and freely chose to regulate the intensity, duration, and extent of their participation on daily or even moment to moment basis. This model called humanistic model which merges commercial and some scientific physiological and psychological information with the personal preferences of the participants. Third model is athletic model which is structured, planed for specific sport performance, high levels of strength and conditioning for individual athlete, baste scientific physiological, biomechanical and psychological information.

The full complexity and intermingling of the relationship between movement and mind, exercise and therapy, cannot be summarized in a single word. Mindbody? Bodymind? Even German, that quintessentially words-strung-together language, can do no better than leib-seele-einheit, or body-mind-unity. The word psychosomatic carries with it an implication of pathology, the menacing and pejorative encroachment of a diseased mind on an innocent body. One possible descriptor is behavioral physiology, characterized as "the study of behavioral factors which result in organic changes from stress reactions" (Wiggins, 1996, p. 126). This definition, however, represents a unidirectional and rehabilitative focus. The novelty of another term, somatopsychic (Sime, 1996), allows us to reflect on the effects of physical action on our thoughts and feelings. It may be more descriptive of the multidirectional and interactive nature of effective exercise. Although none of these quite captures the nature of holistic perspective, each can serve to remind us of the seamlessness of self.

Exercise is the term mean organized, focused physical activity that involves a certain amount of exertion. It is distinguished from movement, which may be random. Except where indicated, exercise is also distinct from organized sports, in being noncompetitive.

The term physical activity, as compared with exercise, has been in ascendance over the past number of years (e.g., weight loss clinics prescribe "P.A.", current recommendations by the Surgeon General focus on the role of physical activity in people's lives rather than on sport per se; or the revision of classic study on this topic: Morgan and Goldston's (1987) Exercise and Mental Health became, 10 years later, Morgan's (1997) Physical Activity and Mental Health). The advantage of the term physical activity is that it dose not carry some of the pejorative obligation imputed to exercise. It could readily be interchanged with the term exercise as it is meant here. However, with half the syllables, the word exercise is easier shorthand.

Along legacy of either or competition between mind and body has been evident in society, philosophy, science, and mental health. The body-mind dualism propounded by Plato, Galen and Descartes is most evident in medicine in the biomedical model, "the view that all diseases and physical disorders are linked to disturbances in physiological processes" (Rejeski & Thompson, 1993, p.7). Mental health practitioners often focus solely on the mind, viewing people in separate, competing, entities: mind and body. In doing so, therapists collude with clients in "cutting themselves of at the neck," thereby fractionating the self and missing some truly therapeutic opportunities.

A classical tradition of connection also has its proponents. Best known is the phrase attributed to Homer," Mens sano in corpore sano," a healthy mind in a healthy body. During the golden age of Greece, 24 century ago, much of the day involved vigorous physical activity, for children, adults, and the elderly. Deliberately, this activity was conducted for its contribution toward mental as well as physical well being (Seraganian, 1993). And within psychotherapy, we have our own long history of recognition of this body mind relationship. Freud conducted some of his analyses, including that of composer Gustav Mahler, while walking or hiking with his patients (Goode, 1998; Jones, 1967)

The biopsychosocial model that has emerged over the past 15 years reflects this current understanding of connection. This model takes "the position that the body, the mind, and the social context of human existence are reciprocally interdependent on one another" (Rejeski & Thompson, 1993, p. 7). As it supercedes the dualistic frame within medicine, the opportunity for new ways of understanding mental health and psychotherapy also can absorb this more complex understanding.

Renewed interest in health and well-being, has been the hallmark of the late 20 the century. Numerous physical benefits of exercise have become widely acknowledged and accepted. Exercise, it is recognized, not only decreases coronary heart disease risk and improves rehabilitative potential, but it also impacts coronary risk factors, including high blood pressure, cholesterol level and type, smoking, and obesity. Exercise decreases the risk of colon cancer, and results in reduced body fat, lowered blood pressure, and improved carbohydrate metabolism. Exercise is associated with reduced problems or delay of problems related to diabetes, assists in the maintenance of bone density, helps improve the quality and quantity of sleep, and creates increased oxygen capacity. Overall, exercise is associated with improved health habits. (Crandall, 1986, McDonald & Hodgdon, 1991; United States Department of Health and Human Services, 1996).

Less well known are the many psychological benefits. In a number of studies, exercise has been associated with decreases in depression and anxiety in both normal and clinical population (e.g. Byrne & Byrny, 1993; Kirkcaldy & Shephard, 1990; Klein et al., 1985; Morgan, 1985a; Raglin 1990; Simons & Birkimer, 1988; Steptoe & Cox, 1988; Lalaian, 1979,1980, 1982). Exercise also appears to have a positive effect on such psychological characteristics as self-concept, mastery, self-efficacy, self-sufficiency, body image and cognitive processing (e.g. Berger & McInman, 1993; Ossip-Klein et al., 1989; Rodin, 1992; Sime & Sanstead, 1987). Physical activity can affect people's positive valuing of the world. Exercise can tap into and enhance one's sense of well-being, calmness, control, and attention to the present. Highly active people tend to be more optimistic and less pessimistic than those who are inactive (Kavussanu & McAuley, 1995).

Even if one is convinced that exercise is essential to human being and that it can be experienced as pleasurable rather than compulsory, a connection between exercise and psychotherapy may not be immediately obvious; exercise and psychotherapy do not necessarily spring forth in the mind as natural bedfellows. The tool of exercise is the body, and that of psychotherapy, the mind. Yet these two apparently diverse areas can provide useful information to each other, as well as speak in concert.

The combination of exercise and therapy, addressing both physiological and cognitive processes and their interactions, may be more powerful than either alone (Buffone, 1984; North, McCullagh, & Tran, 1990; Sime & Sanstead 1987). One implication is that this multimodal treatment may result in more effective and efficient use of therapy. Potentially, clients who engage in both psychotherapy and exercise may make better and more rapid use of psychotherapy.

Featfully and Wonderfully Made Human Body

How beautifully our body is organized. Each part of a cell – the average human body consists of about fifty trillion cell – and each cell as a whole performs a special function. Each tissue, in turn, is specialized to accomplish characteristic task. Each organ and each system are experts in particular operations for the benefit of the body as a whole. Everything is intricately integrated.

The human body has more than 650 muscles, which make up half of a our body weight. They are connected to bones by tough, cord-like tissues called tendons, which allow the muscles to pull on bones. Humans have three different kinds of muscle:

* Skeletal muscle is attached to bone, mostly in the legs, arms, abdomen, chest, neck, and face. Skeletal muscles are called striated because they are made up of fibers that have horizontal stripes when viewed under a microscope. These muscles hold the skeleton together, give the body shape, and help it with everyday movements (they are known as voluntary muscles because you can control their movement). They can contract (shorten or tighten) quickly and powerfully, but they tire easily and have to rest between workouts.
* Smooth, or involuntary, muscle is also made of fibers, but this type of muscle looks smooth, not striated. Generally, we can't consciously control our smooth muscles; rather, they're controlled by the nervous system automatically (which is why they are also called involuntary).
* Cardiac muscle is found in the heart. The walls of the heart's chambers are composed almost entirely of muscle fibers. Cardiac muscle is also an involuntary type of muscle. Its rhythmic, powerful contractions force blood out of the heart as it beats.

The human skeleton has 206 bones. Our bones begin to develop before birth. When the skeleton first forms, it is made of flexible cartilage, but within a few weeks it begins the process of ossification. Ossification is when the cartilage is replaced by hard deposits of calcium phosphate and stretchy collagen, the two main components of bone. It takes about 20 -25 years for this process to be completed.

Bone building continues throughout our life, as our body constantly renews and reshapes the bones' living tissue. Bone contains three types of cells:

* Osteoblasts which make new bone and help repair damage
* Osteocytes which carry nutrients and waste products to and from blood vessels in the bone
* Osteoclasts which break down bone and help to sculpt and shape it. Osteoclasts are very active in kids and teens, working on bone as it is remodeled during growth. They also play an important role in the repair of fractures.

Bones are made up of calcium, phosphorus, sodium, and other minerals, as well as the protein collagen. Calcium is needed to make bones hard, which allows them to support your weight. Bones also store calcium and release some into the bloodstream when it's needed by other parts of the body. The amounts of certain vitamins and minerals that we eat, especially vitamin D and calcium, directly affect how much calcium is stored in the bones.

In the nine ounces of red marrow in our bones, red blood cells are created at the rate of approximately two million every second to replace an equal number destroyed.

Bones are fastened to other bones by long, fibrous straps called ligaments. Cartilage a flexible, rubbery substance in our joints supports bones and protects them where they rub against each other.

Joints allow our bodies to move in many ways. Some joints open and close like a hinge (such as knees and elbows), whereas others allow for more complicated movement — a shoulder or hip joint, for example, allows for backward, forward, sideways, and rotating movement.

Joints are classified by their range of movement. Immovable, or fibrous, joints don't move. The dome of the skull, for example, is made of bony plates, which must be immovable to protect the brain. Between the edges of these plates are links, or joints, of fibrous tissue. Fibrous joints also hold the teeth in the jawbone.

Partially movable or cartilaginous joints move a little. They are linked by cartilage, as in the spine. Each of the vertebrae in the spine moves in relation to the one above and below it, and together these movements give the spine its flexibility.

Freely movable or synovial joints move in many directions. The main joints of the body — found at the hip, shoulders, elbows, knees, wrists, and ankles — are freely movable. They are filled with synovial fluid, which acts as a lubricant to help the joints move easily. There are three kinds of freely movable joints that play a big part in voluntary movement:

* Hinge joints allow movement in one direction, as seen in the knees and elbows.
* Pivot joints allow a rotating or twisting motion, like that of the head moving from side to side.
* Ball-and-socket joints allow the greatest freedom of movement. The hips and shoulders have this type of joint, in which the round end of a long bone fits into the hollow of another bone.

Our body is wild. The body dose not requires the intercession of some conscious intellect to make it breathe, to keep the heart beating. It is to a great extent self-regulating: it is a life of its own.

* The eye, about the size of a Ping-Pong ball, weighs only a quarter of an ounce. The muscles operating its lenses move up to a hundred thousand times a day so that we can focus on all the varied objects that attract our attention.
* The brain has ten million nerve cells and each has a potential twenty-five thousand interconnections with other nerve cells.
* The nose can detect up to ten thousand different odors, yet our sense of smell, located in the upper part of the nasal cavity, is no more than two patches of membrane containing several million receptors.
* The inner lining of the stomach is a mucous membrane into which are set up to thirty-five million tiny glands that secrete gastric juice to break down proteins and carbohydrates.
* In the three hundred million air sacs (alveoli) of the lungs, carbon dioxide is exchanged for oxygen in one third to three quarters of a second, depending on whether we're at rest or engaged in exercise.
* The kidneys filter five hundred gallons of blood daily.
* The heart, no bigger than a fist, pumps blood day and night through a network of blood vessels calculated to be sixty thousand miles long.
* The liver – body's chemical factory, is able to perform more than five hundred different functions, including the production of more than a thousand enzymes essential for good digestion and healthy metabolism.

We are not a frozen anatomical structure, but literally a river of intelligence and information and energy that's constantly renewing itself. Every second of our lives we are remaking ourselves more effortlessly and spontaneously than we change our clothes. For example, in less than one year, we replace about 98 percent of all the atoms in our bodies:

* a new liver every six weeks
* a new skeleton every three months
* a new stomach lining every five days
* a new skin once a month

And the raw material of DNA, which holds memories of millions of years of evolutionary time, comes and goes every six weeks.

Poor Posture

Good posture is a form of fitness in which the muscles of the body support the skeleton in an alignment that is stable and efficient during movement. Unfortunately, there are many factors encountered in life that can get in the way of poor posture. Below are a few of the most common.

Injury
After an injury, the nearby muscles begin to guard the vulnerable area. They work in a diminished way in order to keep the affect part stable and free from re-injury. Because of this necessary function, muscles associated with an injury tend to be weaker than working muscles. This imbalance can cause aberrations in body posture.

Disease and Nutritional State
The presence of disease, dehydration and/or malnutrition can cause conditions that directly affect the bones, muscles and other structures of the musculoskeletal system.

Habit
The body in movement changes its patterns to accommodate weaknesses, tension or changes in bone or muscle landscape. It does this in a similar way to encountering a road block. The musculoskeletal system will create a detour to complete its intended movement. It negotiates its intended route.

Muscle Tension, Muscle Weakness
Just as in the case of an injury, if the body has areas that are extra weak and/or strong, it will not be held upright against gravity in the most effective manner. This will cause poor posture and pain.

Mental Attitude and Stress
Often stress leads to a decrease in full breathing, which in turn compensates body posture, as the two are inextricably linked.

Heredity
Sometimes it's just in the genes!

Improper Shoes
Clothing and especially shoes affect posture. If one wears down the outside of the shoes faster than the inside, for example, the shoes will amplify this effect. This will create a nervous system feedback loop that promotes an imbalanced posture.

Changes occur naturally in our body as we grow older. These changes can influence our posture and make it more difficult to maintain a good posture or correct a poor posture.

* The disks between the spinal segments become less resilient and give in more readily to external forces, such as gravity and body weight.
* Muscles become less flexible.
* Compression and deterioration of the spine, commonly seen in individuals with osteoporosis, cause an increased flexed, or bent forward, posture.
* Lifestyles usually become more sedentary. Sitting for long periods of time shortens various muscles, which results in the body being pulled into poor postural positions, and stretches and weakens other muscles, which allows the body to slump.

Despite the changes that occur naturally with aging, good posture can be maintained and, for many, poor posture improved. In individuals with severe postural problems, such as poor alignments that have existed so long that structural changes have occurred, the poor posture can be kept from getting progressively worse.

In any case, all of us must consciously work at achieving and maintaining good posture as we grow older.

Why Is Posture So Important?

It's estimated for every inch the head moves forward from neutral requires the exertion of 15-30 pounds of extra muscle tension. This extra muscle tension is transmitted down the spine, increasing chronic loading on the vertebrae and the intervertebral disks.

The importance of posture to emotional and physical health has been overlooked too long. Most health care professionals learn about posture from their mothers, as in "stand up straight", or "stop slouching."

We know that a person with really good posture creates an aura of self-confidence, standing tall erect and proud. While a person with poor posture gives off the opposite vibrations.

But there is a much greater negative effect from poor posture than just not "looking our best."

Dangers of Forward Head Posture
Joints Affected

* Atlanto-Occipital
* Cervical Spine
* TMJ
* Scapulothoracic
* Glenhumeral


Muscles Affected (Muscles That Shorten - Short Weakness)

* Levator Scapulae
* SCM
* Scalenes
* Upper Trap
* Pectoralis Major


Muscles Affected (Stretch Weakness)

* Lower Cervical & Thor.
* Erectors
* Middle & lower Traps
* Rhomboids

Direct and associated pain and dysfunction in the above joints can be directly attributed to the effects of Poor posture.

When the muscles are placed under additional stress, the vertebral joints and disks are placed under additional physiological loads. This can lead to pain and/or weakness. It can also be a reason that chiropractic adjustments don't hold or why they are difficult to deliver.

Over time the effects of Forward Head posture can be seen in the rounding of the shoulders, the head way forward of the center of the shoulder, and a compression of the thoracic cavity that can diminish lung capacity. The typical external indicator is the Dowager's Hump.

Effect of Poor Posture on the Muscles and on the spine.

You may remember from physiology that a muscle stretched beyond the physiological resting position tends to weaken. This is called "Stretch Weakness."

On the flip side, muscles kept in a shortened position tend to lose elasticity. They may test strong in the shortened position, but become weak as they are lengthened. This is called "Tight Weakness."

These two effects are present in clients with a postural dysfunction profile. Some of the short term effects of this profile may be pain from stress to the shortened structures, and a predisposition to injury or overuse syndromes, due to strength and flexibility imbalances.

In summary, the forward head, round shoulder posture profile:

* Decreases the load-bearing capabilities of the spine
* Increases the loading on it's supportive musculature
* Decreases the flexibility and strength of the supporting musculature.

Is it possible that this overall instability in the cervical spine can lead to subluxations or mis-alignments?

All three of these effects are important to the health care professional when considering a treatment plan. It is rare that an adjustment alone can correct this type of deficient posture profile. Direct intervention is needed to correct the muscle imbalances first.

OK, so you have a deficient posture profile. Now what?

Fortunately, good posture can be maintained and, for many, poor posture improved. In individuals with severe postural problems, such as poor alignment that have existed so long that structural changes have occurred, the poor posture can be kept from getting progressively worse. Myoskeletal-Therapy, Kinesiotherapy and Kinesio Taping are the solutions!

Pain Free Instantly

When drugs, surgery, and injections fail to benefit chronic pain it is time to consider effective non-narcotic, natural methods of managing and controlling pain.

Kinesiotherapy and Kinesio Taping are the Solutions!

If you suffer from one of these clinical conditions:
Strains, Sprains, Tendonitis, Bursitis, Tennis Elbow, Golfer's Elbow, Frozen Shoulder, Back Pain, Neck Pain, Scoliosis, Myofascial Low Back Pain, Plantar Fasciitis, Cervical Sodalities, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Runners or Cyclist's Knee, Osteoarthritis, or Sciatica

Don't be sidelined from your favorite activities. Team up with OLYMPIA STUDIO to reduce pain and inflammation, prevent injury & improve your performance.

Many top athletes prefer Kinesiotherapy and Kinesio Taping® because it is drug free, and assists the body's natural healing process.

The Kinesio Taping® Method is applied over injured muscles to reduce pain and inflammation, relax overused or tired muscles, and support muscles in movement on a 24-hour-a-day basis. It is not a restrictive type of taping, allows full range of motion and meant to be left on for several days.

Kinesio taping has the resounding endorsement of Lance Armstrong and professional sports teams like the New York Jets and the Seattle Mariners.