4 Benefits of Practicing Meditation

Meditation is great for all ages but becomes increasingly helpful during stressful times and with age. Meditation benefits spiritual, physical, and mental sectors of life. Making a goal to meditate more has the potential to add a multitude of benefits to the value of your lifestyle. Here are four specific benefits that meditation could bring to your life:

Good for the Heart 

Meditation has been shown to improve hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and high cortisol. With that being said, it could positively impact your heart health. It could provide a natural cure for conditions that harm heart health.

Regulates Sleep Schedule 

Mind tired and body wired? Meditation can help the mind and body get on the same track. This could mean an easier time going to sleep and relaxing the mind and body when the time comes. Meditation can potentially cure insomnia with practice and in combination with other holistic health practices.

Increases Strength of Mental Health 

Meditation is a way to take a step back and look at the here and now. Learning to be still and clear the mind is a skill that will be applicable in nearly any stressful situation. Practicing meditation will allow your mind to handle stress and anxiety in a multitude of situations better. Meditation has been proven to give the mind more control over sleep, which has helped some insomniacs with their struggles getting to sleep.

Meditation also helps those with depression. Studies have shown that groups who have practiced meditation have shown fewer cases of depression and anxiety. Meditation decreases ruminative thinking and negative thoughts. It also has been found to help those struggling with an addiction to alcohol or other substances.

Weight Loss 

Meditation allows the mind and body to connect and listen to each other. This might help you realize that your body wants more natural foods and physical exercise. The mind has the potential to become increasingly aware of what the body needs to live fully. Meditation allows those struggling with their weight to look within and see what is best for their body and lifestyle. It allows you to think clearly while not being self-critical. 

Meditation increases the mind-body connection that leads to a happy spiritual, mental, and physical balance. A life full of mindfulness and meditation is life on a path towards balance and fulfillment.

Five Ways to Naturally Increase Cognitive Function

Diet, exercise, mental health care and small lifestyle changes  can make a huge difference in the way the brain works. Feeding our minds the right nutrients is crucial to staying alert and focused. These five tips can make or break daily productivity, increase cognitive function and decrease the chances of Alzheimer’s.

1.Eating Certain Foods

There is no single food that can promise strong cognitive function forever, but there are foods that have been proven to increase brain power. A diet high in leafy vegetables such as: broccoli, spinach and kale may help slow cognitive decline.

Naturally fatty foods also feed the brain. Some of these foods are: coconut milk, nuts, avocados and fish. Foods high in fat can decrease chances of Alzheimer’s disease.

2. Exercise 

Regular exercise changes the brain to improve cognitive function, according to Harvard Health Publishing. Exercise reduces anxiety, helps sleep patterns and increases quality of life. Exercise is great for the brain because it often clears the mind and allows relaxation. This might seem like it would exhaust the brain, but it actually increases focus. Exercise helps the mind fall asleep better at night also.

3. Getting the Right Amount of Sleep

Exercise helps the mind and body wind down and get to sleep, which is another essential lifestyle pattern that is best for brain activity. Nobody works well or can focus with lack of sleep. It may be fine for one night, but the body and brain take far too long to recover from poor sleeping habits. This confuses the mind and decreases focus. It is important to have a steady sleep schedule so the brain can take a break at night and feel recharged for the next day.

4. Avoiding These Foods

Stay away from bread and sweets, no matter how tempting. Eating healthy foods instead of reaching for a muffin at lunch can save the mind from crashing mid-afternoon. The sleepiness that happens after lunch is from eating the wrong foods that aren’t doing the mind any favors. It may be hard to stay away from unhealthy carbs and refined sugars, but the energy levels will be rewarding and make this lifestyle change worth it.

5. Meditation 

A Forbes article discusses that meditation can preserve the aging brain. Meditation also eases anxiety and depression, which can lead to a healthier life and increased focus. One study found that just 2 weeks of meditation increased the focus and memory for students taking the GRE. In a previous Relax Holistic blog post, we discuss how to begin a meditation regimen today.

Being conscious of how lifestyle choices affect cognitive function will bring the body one step closer to a healthier, happier life. These 5 tips are doable for most lifestyles and worth trying for the noticeable increase in brain function that will follow.

Is your Holistic Diet and Exercise Plan Right for Your Body Type?

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Have you been doing everything right, and still struggling to maintain or lose weight? Even if you’re sticking faithfully to your diet, and getting consistent exercise, you might not get the results you see from the person next to you at the gym. Unlike what fad diets would have you think, you won’t find a single diet that works for everyone. In addition to a holistic diet and healthy lifestyle, your body type plays a big role in how well you can lose and keep off extra weight.

Everyone falls under 3 main body types, which are Ectomorph, Mesomorph, and Endomorph. If you’re an Ectomorph and you’re eating and exercising like an Endomorph, you won’t be happy with the results. On the other hand, if you exercise for your body type, and follow the right diet, you’ll see gains. Even within the body types, each body is different, and you should see a doctor specializing in holistic health to tailor your diet and exercise plan to your exact needs.

Ectomorph Body Types

If you’re an Ectomorph, you have a small frame with a light build. Your joints are small, and you’ve got lean muscles. Ectomorphs are characterized by their ability to eat as much as they want, as well as their difficulty gaining muscle mass.

Because you don’t gain weight so much as an Ectomorph, you don’t have to be as careful about what you eat. However, you will want to add protein to your diet if you want to add muscle mass. You should eat frequently, 6-8 meals over the entire day. For timing, you should get your carbs in after your workout. You probably don’t need to worry about calories. Even though conventional wisdom says you shouldn’t eat before bed, if you’re an Ectomorph, eating before bed can help prevent muscle catabolism overnight.

When you’re working out, you should make sure your workouts are short and intense. While you’re doing these intense workouts, focus on your big muscle groups.

Mesomorph Body Types

If you have a medium sized bone structure, an athletic body, and a good amount of lean mass, you’re probably a Mesomorph. Mesomorph body types find it easier to gain muscle and fat.

You should focus on having a balanced diet, splitting your food types up by 40% Carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 30% fat. This 40/30/30 balance will give you the nutrients you need for your body type. Be sure to take frequent, smaller meals just like Ectomorphs.

Like everything else with your body type as a Mesomorph, you should do balanced workouts, combining weight training and cardio.

Endomorph Body Types

If you work hard to lose weight and nothing seems to work, chances are high that you’re an Endomorph. Endomorphs have large bone structures and high amounts of total body mass. Some of the characteristics of being an Endomorph are that you’re naturally chubby, or you have a round and soft physique. You’ve probably got a slow metabolism, and find it much easier to gain weight than lose it. However, you’ve also got an easier time gaining muscle mass as well.

When you’re eating, it’s going to be more important for you to avoid sugars, high carbs, and starches. Because Endomorphs tend to have slower metabolisms, you’ll turn those sugars into fat more easily. While you’re avoiding sugars, carbs, and starches, do eat lean proteins, essential fats, and high fiber foods. Make sure those high fiber foods are more veggies than fruits though.

As an Endomorph, you’re going to want to hit the weight training, and high-intensity interval training 3 days a week. This gives your body time to respond to the intense workout regimen.

The Doctors at Relax Holistic can help you find the holistic diet and exercise plans that will work for your body type. You can start your path to a healthy and natural lifestyle at any of their 3 locations. Call (310) 838-1600 for the Culver City location, (310) 652-3200 for the West Hollywood location, and (310) 827-3200 for the Marina del Rey location. If you’d like to get in touch over the internet, you can request an appointment from any page of the website, or fill out the contact form at the bottom of the homepage.

Share Your Story

Do you want to share your story of reaching your health goals using a holistic and natural approach? You can share your story on the Facebook Pages for Our Culver City, West Hollywood, and Marina Del Rey.

Got tech neck? 6 Ways to Fight Poor Posture

Got tech neck? 6 Ways to Fight Poor Posture

You hear from an early age to keep proper posture. The impact posture has on your health is very clear. Poor posture can cause spinal pain, headaches, mood changes, blood pressure, even your pulse and your lung capacity could leave you looking for a back pain doctor. Simply improving your posture may reduce or ultimately eliminate many of your symptoms.

There are many factors in today’s lives that encourage poor posture. Computers, phones, TV, video games, and backpacks all cause people to use a “forward head posture”. When you hold your head forward you overwork and strain your neck and upper back muscles. Spending a lot of time in forward head posture can cause muscle fatigue and neck pain caused by continuous isometric contraction. Your neck muscles will suffer from less circulation which causes burning pain. Forward head posture can even damage your spinal tissues by causing them to deform and change. Long term forward head posture can create permanent changes to your spine causing frequent visits to the back pain doctor.

FHP can change or even reverse your normal neck curve, which can cause disc compression, tension headaches, and it could even cause early arthritis. In addition to those problems, FHP could leave you with TMJ, a painful disorder on its own. If you have forward head posture you should have it immediately checked by a chiropractor. You will not be able to get help from a medical doctor. Even if you’re not feeling any symptoms yet, they rarely present themselves early. Long term FHP will cause spine and nerve damage.

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How to Detect FHP

To determine if you have FHP there are a few things you can look at. Stand in front of a mirror and from a side view, your ear should line up with the top of your shoulder. If it doesn’t, or you’re already experiencing symptoms, call your back pain doctor to schedule an appointment.

 

Common Causes of FHP

Computers often encourage poor posture. If your monitor is too low you will need to strain forward to comfortably view the screen. Coupled with repeatedly moving your head to read up and down the screen, this makes your computer ergonomics very important when combating FHP. Raise your monitors up higher so that your head is level when you’re looking at them to read. Use a desk chair that can adjust to the right position and then lock to discourage slouching.

Watching television or playing video games is another contributor to poor posture. When you sit on a couch for long periods playing video games or watching television you don’t get the back support you need for good posture. Consistently sitting in one position for longer periods of time can cause your body to adapt to the poor posture easier. Try sitting in a desk chair or other seat that has strong back support and encourages proper posture to combat this.

Heavily loaded backpacks will naturally push your head forward to counterbalance the weight. This causes extra stress on your nerves, discs and joints. Try not to overload your backpacks to prevent your body from using your head as a counterweight.

Trauma such as falls and car accidents can create a muscle imbalance that pulls your spine out of alignment.  Visit your back pain doctor to get treatments for your injury and keep your spine properly aligned.

Smart Phones are a strong contributor to FHP. Most people look down at their phone resting their arms. This pulls your head forward and strains your neck muscles. Instead of holding the phone down, hold it up in a more neutral position. Your arms might get a little tired but your proper posture will be worth it.

Solutions for FHP

1. The First step in correcting your FHP is to have a chiropractor examine and x-ray your back to measure your FHP. Once they’ve gotten the exact measurements they can develop a treatment program for your FHP. This will include specific exercises and adjustments. Ask your chiropractor to point out any improvements to your ergonomics situations to discourage FHP.

2. There are exercises you can do when you’re sitting in one position for a long period. Every 20-30 minutes sit up straight and pull your neck and head over your shoulders. Hold while counting to 3. Do 15-20 reps of this.  Another exercise you can do is to stand against a wall with a small pillow in the middle of your back and move your head back to touch the wall. Hold that position for another count of 3 and do 20-25 reps.

3. Always use a pillow to support your back when you’re sitting or driving. Keeping support on your lower back will naturally move your head and neck back over your shoulders.

4. Never wear your backpack over one of your shoulders. Try to keep your children’s backpacks at 15% of their weight. Whenever possible choose backpacks that have a waist and chest belt. This will neutralize the load and keep your head from moving forward to compensate.

5. When you’re at home lay face down on the floor. When you’re laying on the floor extend your head and shoulders up and pinch your shoulder blades together. Hold this for another count to 3 for 15-20 reps.

6. Position your computer monitor so that the top third of the screen is even with your eyes and around eighteen to twenty-four inches away from you.

 

Good posture will improve your health in many areas and make you feel better every day. Between a little effort on your part and a good back pain doctor on your team, you set yourself up for a future full of the activities you love instead of pain and degeneration that you’ll get from poor posture. If you have any questions or are looking for treatment, schedule a spine and posture exam at Relax Holistic Healthcare.