This blog is probably for the more hardy/stoic wellness aficionado, but has some simple ideas that can be incorporated into our day without much fuss.

Conventionally when we think of health interventions they are, almost invariably, related to diet and exercise; which is so far so good. However there is a third pillar of wellness, and that is the capacity to push ourselves out of our climate-controlled life-styles. Cold-exposure therapy has been around forever; whether its northern Europeans dashing from the sauna into the snow, or the hardy Brighton “iceberger’s”, swimming all year around regardless of temperature – this idea of exposing oneself to a little bit of thermal discomfort is far from new.

What is new, however, is that science is now studying it and providing us with an understanding of what Cold-exposure therapy does to our physiology. For instance, moderate cold exposure stimulates what is known as “brown fat” to be made by our bodies. Brown fat is very metabolically active, unlike the common white fat, and burns white fat off. As such brown fat raises the metabolism and stimulates fat burning…….yay!! Cold therapy has also been linked to reducing inflammation and enhanced immune function.

The most famous protagonist of this approach is a Dutchman called Wim Hof, The Iceman. He has bought these ideas into the modern era and has been a guinea pig for numerous scientific studies. For information about Wim Hof, “The Wim Hof Method” (a combination of cold exposure and breathing exercises) and “Wim Hof Method Cold Shower Challenge’ go to his official site https://www.wimhofmethod.com.

Another interesting resource comes from one of my favourite (itunes) podcasts “The Art Of Manliness” . In podcast #275, Brett Mackay interviews Scott Carney, an American investigative journalist and writer, whose acclaimed book “What doesn’t kill us” explores the linking evolutionary theory and environmental conditioning with the Wim Hof Method. In this podcast Scott discusses what he describes as “the renewing of our lost evolutionary strength” through stepping out of climate-controlled lives for a little while every day. It make for fantastic listening and is extremely informative and inspiring.

https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/275-how-your-climate-controlled-comfort-is-killing-you/id332516054?i=1000380717245&mt=2

Feel free to contact me directly if you have any queries regarding these methods and ideas.


01Mar

breathe

Things I learnt from my recent Yoga retreat in Bali.

The most recurrent theme was truly appreciating the value of conscious use of the breathe. Between the yoga, qi gong, tai chi, and Wim Hof workshops the universal theme was the profound benefits of consciously breathing correctly. I have posted a previous blog (January 8, 2018 post ) on the power of breathing and more to come.

Whilst most coaches and wellness instructors I have met will mention this, very few truly appreciate the massive benefits, both physical and physiological, that can be derived from this. It is really the Dutch Iceman, Wim Hof, who has demonstrated to the world what a powerful tool conscious breathing can be.

The other thing I learnt is that I need to take more holidays!!


16Jan

bliss

 

Well all good things must end, and having completed my yoga retreat in the beautiful mountain region of Ubud, Bali, it’s time to head back to Australia and work for me!

yogab

 

The lessons learnt during the stay at The Yoga Barn, Ubud, will be incorporated  into my daily routine.

Look out for my next post where I will share  some of the key insights I learnt during my stay.

yoga-drWell its back to work – clinic re-opens  9.00 am tomorrow  (Wed 17/01/18).

be well, be happy

 

Dr Josh


08Jan

relax-2018

The new year is perfect time to reset health and lifestyle goals and start afresh.

With this in mind, and inspired by  Dr. Vranich’s  ‘breathing’ pod cast (see ‘just breathe’ post),  I have decided to take a little time out to attend a yoga retreat in the picturesque hills of Abud, Bali.

What  better way to start the new year!

So while I’m breathing, stretching and posing (yoga)  the Clinic will be closed as from Monday 8th January and re-open 9am Wednesday 17th January.

stay well

Dr Josh

 


08Jan

Just Breathe

nutrient for our wellbeing

 

If we had to nominate the most important nutrient for our wellbeing it would uncontestably be oxygen.  No other nutrient is anywhere near as  indispensable;  easily proven by seeing how long you can hold your breath for! Poor breathing patterns are, overwhelming, the rule rather than the exception amongst us.  And being poorly oxygenated as a result of this impacts on every part of our wellness, both physical and emotional.  Dysfunctional breathing means we are always much more fatigued than we should be, thus everything we do is more labored and tiring.

Looking for a quality instruction manual of correct breathing, I recently came across a book called “Breathe” by Dr. Bresila Vranich (easily found on Book Depository etc.)  Dr. Vranich is actually a Psychologist counselling mental health issues.  She noticed in her work that poor breathing patterns were a universal feature of her patients presentation, and wondered whether correcting this would result  in clinical improvements; it did! Bresila gives a very informative talk on a podcast called “Art of Manliness”  (podcast 323)   for those who are up on podcasts.

Here’s a link to the  podcast    https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/the-art-of-manliness/id332516054?mt=2 , its well worth a listen.

From the Osteopathic perspective having a bit of work done to free up the ribs, thoracic spine, and diaphragm is also of great value assisting effective breathing.

Best wishes,

Dr. Joshua Brohier

 


walking-2

There is good evidence to suggest that walking is a useful tool in helping to stave off cognitive decline as we age; and this does seem like common sense – healthy body, healthy mind etc. But what precisely is happening when we walk that achieves this? And do other forms of exercise have the same effect?

Conventional scientific thought has always been that the blood supply to the brain is involuntarily regulated by the nervous system and relatively unaffected by exercise. But scientists at New Mexico Highlands University in America have made a discovery that is changing this view. They recruited 12 healthy young men and women to ultrasonically measure the blood flow through their carotid arteries (the big arteries under each side of the jaw that supply most of the blood to the brain; also the ones that vampires like to bite into!)

First, the blood flow was measured with the subjects standing at rest. Then the flow was measured whilst they walked at a moderate pace. Lastly, measurements were taken during running and cycling. And here’s what they found;-

The most significant increase in blood flow took place during running. And even though walking wasn’t as effective as running it still produced a significant increase in blood flow to the brain.  And cycling had no effect at all!

It seems that to get the improved blood flow to the brain during exercise we have to have some foot strike – the feet hitting the ground triggers reflexes that improve circulation to the old meat-loaf sitting between our ears. This does make sense from an evolutionary perspective because to raise the pulse one would probably be running either towards, or away from something – fight or flight response. So it would make sense for the brain to be needing more oxygen to process the situation. But our ancestors would not have had many ways of raising the pulse without the foot-strike action – no bicycles for hunter/gatherers!

But walking is still a big step (pun intended) in the right direction. Studies have shown that in people who don’t get any other forms of exercise, walking around 4-5 km per day (the famed 10,000 steps) reduces the risk of death from illness by nearly 50 %.

This new information has encouraged me to take up a moderate degree of running , after a couple of decades of avoidance. I trot around Albert Park lake a couple of times per week and do feel better for it.

Best wishes,

Dr. Joshua Brohier – Osteopath

walking-4


With autumn well underway now is the time to give you immunity a boost before the cold and flu season hits.

I find a natural and healthy way to strengthen the immune system and maintain wellness, is to add or increase immunity-boosting foods and supplements into my diet. Super food powder, immune boosting supplements and soups are the season ‘must have’ !

SUPERFOODS

Some days it seems impossible to eat all the servings of fruits + vegetables I’d like to, so to ensure I reach m daily quota I take a Super food powder such as Vital Greens, which I can blend into smoothies or have on its own with water.

Vital Greens is an easily absorbed, carefully balanced powder blend of essential nutrients that have been extracted from natural dense vegetables and fruits plus the addition of probiotics, herbs, vitamins and minerals.Just two teaspoons daily delivers 76 vital ingredients that are loaded with probiotics, prebiotics, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, essential fatty acids, fibre and a unique high alkalising pea protein. Just one serve provides 30% of the recommended daily requirements of fruit + vegetables. This means it’s high in antioxidants from pure wholefoods that can quickly be absorbed by the body – especially good when your immune system is compromised.

ORGANIC GINGER & LEMON TEA

Natural Immune Boosters

Ginger is a powerful antiviral herb that helps the body remove toxins, stimulate circulation and boost the immune system. Lemon assists with the detoxification process and adds a refreshing taste. This boosting tonic is easy to make and nourishing, its potent mix of ingredients will help boost your immune system. Each of these ingredients posses unique, natural medicinal qualities and when combined, they create a soothing tea that can support detoxification, boost the immune system and relieve digestive symptoms. This power charged and delicious tea is great to have all year around.

 

INGREDIENTS (SERVES 1)

  • 1 tablespoon fresh organic ginger – finely grated
  • Juice from ½ organic lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of fresh organic turmeric –  finely grated
  •  4 cups fresh boiled water (preferably filtered)

*organic is preferred but not mandatory

METHOD

  • Combine the lemon juice, ginger, turmeric into a large tea pot.
  • Pour over freshly boiled filtered water.
  • Steep for 3 – 5 minutes.
  • Sip slowly and feel the healing benefits infuse into your body.
  • If desired sweeten to tastewith your choice of Manuka honey or natural sweetener

Natural Immune BoostersSuper charge: Increase anti-viral and detoxifying effects by adding fresh organic garlic or a pinch of cayenne pepper.

Brew up a large tea pot and allow the flavours to infuse for at least 5 minutes, then sip slowly and allow the natural properties to get to work.

IMMUNE SUPPORT

Vitamin C & Zinc play an integral role is supporting the immunity and possesses many health benefits, including aiding immunity, reducing the risk of age-related eye diseases and helping wounds heal. Vitamin C also helps the absorption of plant-based iron, while zinc is required for the body to make DNA and for cell division.

Take at the first sign of a cold or flu – this duo packs a powerful punch and is an immunity support ‘must have’.  There is some evidence that taking zinc tablets within 24 hours of cold symptoms starting may help reduce the severity of symptoms and how long they last.

In addition Echinacea and Olive Leaf Extract have long been talked about as immune boosters and,  like zinc, if used at first sign of cold symptoms may assist in reducing the severity and length.

Good health!

Dr Joshua


Ah, a new acronym; NEAT: non-exercise activity thermogenesis (thermogenesis means “to burn calories thus creating heat”) But what does it mean??

standing-02NEAT was coined Dr. James Levine, a pioneering researcher into the negative health effects of sedentary life-style at the famous Mayo Institute in the US. In a nutshell, NEAT is all the moving around we do in a day that is not classed as exercise; walking up the escalator, standing on the tram, hanging out the washing etc. etc.

Levine did a pioneering study of movement patterns in office workers to try and answer the question; why do some people gain weight and others don’t for what seems to be the same amount of food and activity? So he wired up a bunch of office workers with movement devices and put them on a diet of a 1000 calories greater than what was their usual; and forbade them from active exercise. At the end of the study some gained weight, some didn’t. Those who didn’t gain weight moved, on average, 2.25 hours more per day than the those that did; simple as that! They walked down the hall rather than send an email, took the stairs rather the elevators, walked up the escalators rather than just standing on them, etc. etc.

A simple study in the 1950’s compared the health of London bus drivers (sitting all day) to bus conductors (on their feet all day). No prizes for guessing who had the much poorer health!

What the research shows us is that every indicator of health we can measure, whether cardiovascular, inflammation, cognitive (brain) function, immunity (infections, cancer etc.), and life-expectancy are improved considerably with greater daily general movement; even without doing strenuous exercise. Conversely, of course, all the measures of wellness are trashed by being sedentary. So lack of NEAT-ness is a royal road to weight problems, diabetes, poor blood fat control, osteoporosis, and just about anything else we can measure regarding our health – both physical and emotional.

You may have heard the popular new mantra, Sitting is the New Smoking; well there is a large body of scientific research evidence to support that rather bold statement. It seems as though prolonged sitting is an independent risk factor for your health even if you exercise in your leisure time! The growing popularity of the sit/stand desk is definitely to be encouraged; it’s an excellent solution for the desk-bound of us to get some on-our-feet time during the course of the day.

We can’t overstate the benefits of getting more movement into our day if ones occupation is sedentary. From the improved strength of your muscles and bones, to reduced heart, diabetes, and cancer risks amongst many other benefits it’s all good news.

neat

Want to know more about  the Five Health Benefits of Standing Desks – check out  “The Smithsonian Mag” on line article here :

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/five-health-benefits-standing-desks-180950259/

So get on ya feet, and do some NEAT!

Best wishes and good health,  Dr. Joshua Brohier – Osteopath

 


Turmeric is, probably, the most clinically researched spice.   Its anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties are very well documented, both as food and nutraceutical (supplement).  Turmeric is certainly one of my go-to suggestions for the maximum number of health benefits from one source.

fresh turmeric root sliced in half
You are almost certainly familiar with turmeric as the bright yellow spice used in curries; and Indians are well- known for liking curry.  What you may not know is that turmeric contains active components that have been shown to pass into the brain and assist breaking down beta-amyloids, proteins that are implicated in Alzheimer’s disease.  It may just be a coincidence but Indians have a high rate of turmeric consumption and a low rate cognitive decline (what Alzheimer’s causes).

So the take – home message is that turmeric is protective for these age-related brain conditions; “it’s only The Brain, but probably still worth protecting!”

This remarkable spice does much more than ‘just’ help to protect your brain function.

Turmeric has been shown reduce inflammation just as effectively as prescription drugs, but without the myriad of side-effects from gut ulceration to increased cardiovascular risk.

Published research has indicated Turmeric delivers great value in the treatment / management of 6 keys areas;-

  1. Arthritis; as an Osteopath this is probably what got my attention first.  Turmeric is well documented for reducing inflammation throughout the body, and this is really noticeable in its effects on painful joints such as osteoarthritis of the knees.
  2. Immunity i.e. helps strengthen immune function and fight infection.
  3. Cancer; has been shown to have positive effects on some cancer cells.
  4. Skin; in addition to the previously described benefits for skin it also helps resolve inflammatory skin issues.
  5. Detoxing; helps the liver in its vital role of breaking down harmful compounds.
  6. As mentioned earlier, Dementia.

turmericI observe the clinical value of turmeric every day, in both acute and long-term pain/inflammation conditions.  As turmeric can be as powerful as prescription anti-inflammatories I often prescribe it for patients who have contra-indications, or reluctance, to taking conventional pain-killers.  The particular product I prescribe is Metagenics Inflavonoid Intensive Care.  An example was a recent patient with a sprained ankle from tennis; middle-aged man who also was very prone to stomach ulcers and had compromised liver function.  Having a history of ulceration tends to rule out conventional anti-inflammatories, and sub-optimal liver function means that paracetamol is not an ideal choice as it can be hard on the liver.  All the side-effects of turmeric are pretty much positive so this was a safe and effective option.

I also encourage my patients with osteoarthritis, often very manifest in knees and hips, to incorporate the use of turmeric over the longer term.  Once again the anti-inflammatory effects are well documented and, unlike pharmaceutical options, the side-effects are actually desirable!

But wait, there’s more!

A Queensland vet, Doug English, has a recipe called “Doug’s Golden Paste”.  It’s a simple and very quick recipe combining turmeric, black pepper (enhances the effectiveness of turmeric dramatically) and, my old friend, coconut oil (see a previous blog of mine).   I have seen the Golden Paste work wonders in treating animals with everything from skin conditions and arthritis to cancer.  Humans can (should!) take it too.

I have attached a link to Dr. Doug’s website, Turmericlife, as it’s an excellent resource for information on this wonderful spice.       http://turmericlife.com.au

‘til next time, yours in good health

Dr. Josh 🙂


The wear ‘n tear condition, Osteoarthritis (OA), is very prevalent in Australia – this is not a news flash to you I’m sure! Anti-inflammatory drugs such as over-the counter Nurofen, along with prescription ones like Mobic are big sellers for this reason. There is a growing body of evidence that deficiencies in the Trace Element – Boron, may well be related to the development of osteoarthritis. Apparently, in areas of the world where boron intake is 1mg or less per day the prevalence of OA ranges from 20-70%. However, in regions where the boron intake sits between 3-10mg a day the rates of OA are between marginal and 10 %!

Research has shown that folks with arthritis have significantly lower levels of boron in their bones and joint linings than those without arthritis. It has also been demonstrated that boron works on multiple pathways in the body to decrease inflammation and assist cartilage and bone renewal. It has also been found that boron enhances the effectiveness of the more well-known joint supplement combination, glucosamine/chondroitin. It has been suggested that if you’ve tried glucosamine for those aching knees but haven’t had results then it may be boron deficiency holding things back.

A trace element is a nutrient that we only need tiny amounts of; in this case boron is vital to the formation of bone and cartilage but only tiny amounts are required.

I first learnt about this connection between boron and OA from a very old and wise Veterinarian over 30 years ago. He could look at an animals bones and tell the farmer if it was deficient in boron by signs of wear and tear in the joints. The benefit to the farmer is this is a very cheap problem to rectify for healthier animals on market day! At the time I had no context for this piece of information so promptly forget it (!) until I recently started coming across research papers on osteoarthritis, especially in relation to the knees.

Arthritis then Boron Is not BoringThe results I see in my patients include very significant reduction in pain and inflammation, along with improved mobility. Boron actually helps joint repair whereas all the anti-inflammatories in the world do not. And talk about cheap; you couldn’t spend more than 20 cents per day on this if you wanted to!

All the capsules I’ve seen are 3mg, and the consensus seems to be a dose of between 3-10 mg daily; I split the difference and suggest 6mg/day.

All the best,

Dr. Joshua Brohier – Osteopath