Acupuncture appointments now available

We are delighted to announce that Craig Minto will be back at the Clinic from 8th July.

Please head to our appointments tab to book in for a follow up appointment. For new patients please call us as this first appointment takes a bit longer.

BETTER BREATHING

As all of us will be aware the Covid 19 virus mainly seems to be targeting the lungs and causing affected patients breathing difficulties. Keeping ourselves healthy is important at this time and we should be doing everything we can to support our immune systems. This means eating lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and taking  regular exercise. Even fast walking for 30 minutes daily is good and the aim should always be to try and get a little out of breath.

It also makes sense to try and increase the fitness of the main muscle responsible for getting us to take a breath! The muscle responsible for keeping us breathing is the diaphragm

The diaphragm is a large, dome-shaped muscle located at the base of the lungs. 

When this muscle contracts we breathy in and when it relaxes the air is pushed out of our lungs. Your abdominal muscles help move the diaphragm and give you more power to empty your lungs ( See diagram below)

 

So good diaphragmatic breathing is essential for keeping our lungs working to their full capacity something that is really important at this time. Like any muscle the diaphragm can be exercised to make it stronger and work more efficiently – bringing more air into our lungs.

What is diaphragmatic breathing?

Learning and practising good diaphragmatic breathing will help you use the diaphragm correctly to:

  • Strengthen the diaphragm
  • Decrease the work of breathing by slowing your breathing rate
  • Decrease oxygen demand
  • Use less effort and energy to breathe

Diaphragmatic breathing technique

Lie on your back on a flat surface or in bed, with your knees bent and your head supported. You can use a pillow under your knees to support your legs. Place one hand on your upper chest and the other just below your rib cage. This will allow you to feel your diaphragm move as you breathe.

Breathe in slowly through your nose so that your stomach moves out against your hand. The hand on your chest should remain as still as possible.

 

Tighten your stomach muscles, letting them fall inward as you exhale through pursed lips . (as if you’re about to drink through a straw) The hand on your upper chest must remain as still as possible.

When you first learn the diaphragmatic breathing technique, it may be easier for you to follow the instructions lying down, as shown above. As you gain more practice, you can try the diaphragmatic breathing technique while sitting in a chair, as described below.

To perform this exercise while sitting in a chair:

  1. Sit comfortably, with your knees bent and your shoulders, head and neck relaxed.
  2. Place one hand on your upper chest and the other just below your rib cage. This will allow you to feel your diaphragm move as you breathe.
  3. Breathe in slowly through your nose so that your stomach moves out against your hand. The hand on your chest should remain as still as possible.
  4. Tighten your stomach muscles, letting them fall inward as you exhale through pursed lips. The hand on your upper chest must remain as still as possible.

Note: You may notice an increased effort will be needed to use the diaphragm correctly. At first, you’ll probably get tired while doing this exercise. But keep at it, because with continued practice, diaphragmatic breathing will become easy and automatic.

How often should I practice this exercise?

At first, practice this exercise 5-10 minutes about 3-4 times per day. Gradually increase the amount of time you spend doing this exercise, and perhaps even increase the effort of the exercise by placing a book on your abdomen.

 

Covid-19

We are still open for the provision of Osteopathic treatment for those who are in pain and distress, but we do not have appointments for Acupuncture and Remedial Massage.   In light of the current Covid-19 outbreak we have implemented a number of important steps to ensure a safe environment at our clinic. Our priority is to provide safeguards for all our patients, practitioners and staff whilst continuing to provide treatment, support and continuity of care for all those in need. We are happy to support and advise patients by phone who have conditions that potentially make them vulnerable to infection so that they do not have to attend the clinic.

We are constantly monitoring the official guidance for Health Care Professionals from The Department of Health and Social Care and other agencies including Public Health England.

We are currently taking the following steps:

We are asking all patients who have a any signs of illness especially a sore throat, cough or flu-like symptoms or a loss of sense of taste or smell to stay away from the Clinic but to please call us if they have any questions or concerns – we are here to help.

On arrival at the clinic all patients, staff and visitors are being screened and we are taking everybody’s temperature using a non-contact thermal thermometer.

All persons entering the building are being required to sanitise their hands with sanitizer provided.

All treatment tables and pillows have disposable paper sheeting and are fitted with plastic covers which are sprayed down with anti-viral agents after each appointment. We have also increased the frequency and thoroughness of cleaning hard surfaces and door handles etc. with anti-viral wipes several times a day..

We are also introducing measures to enable increased “social distancing”. We have created two separate waiting areas one for each treatment room in use. This is an added precaution safeguard so our patients who will not have to wait for their appointments with others. We are also asking that patients try where possible to avoid bringing friends or family to their appointment and that you do not arrive too early for your appointment.

In this way we are confident that all possible steps are being taken to protect you and enable you to continue to receive treatment and care.  This is anxious time for all so if you have concerns please know that we are here to help in any way we can. We have spent 40 years serving our local community and will continue to do so.

Update on available Practitioners

Whilst we continue to serve our community with osteopathic treatments, for the time being we regret that we are not able to offer Acupuncture or Remedial Massage. We apologise for any inconvenience cause and hope you will understand.

Acupuncture Explained

 

Many people coming to The Bower Mount Clinic are unsure if acupuncture from our highly acclaimed acupuncturist Craig Minto might be able to help with their particular health care problems. So here is an explanation that may help. Oriental acupuncture is a deceptively simple form of medical treatment (Chinese Medicine) involving the insertion of extremely fine needles into carefully located parts of the body. However, behind this apparently straightforward act sits a huge body of knowledge and philosophy, tried and tested over thousands of years and on millions of people.


Acupuncture is all about creating ‘balance’ in all the systems of the body. Human beings are hugely complex both physically and psychologically. We all need enough rest, play,work, love and laughter, at the right time and in the right amount to maintain our health. Any excess or deficiency leads to imbalance and eventually dis-ease. The holistic approach of Chinese Medicine allows the practitioner insight into the heart of the patient’s life and condition, taking into account all of the contributory factors that can result in illness. The aim is to awaken and assist the body’s own powerful and natural self-healing mechanisms .In this way acupuncture can help in a very wide ranging conditions and help improve ones feeling of well-being.

A ‘symptom’ is a sign of disharmony within the individual indicating that their body is out of balance. Every patient is different so the acupuncture diagnosis needs to look at and treat each individual and their unique imbalances and circumstances. Patients really appreciate the attention to detail and depth of analysis that an acupuncture consultation and treatment provides. It often gives them a clearer understanding of why their body is out of balance and what they can do in the future to prevent further problems. 

We all know that at times in our lives we just don’t feel ourselves, something that is often not detectable on the usual blood tests and scans. However, we do know what it feels like to feel ‘well’ and a course of acupuncture can often restore this sense of harmony and well-being.

If you have any specific questions with regards to your own health needs, and how acupuncture may be able to help you, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Autumn is upon us!

 

 

Sadly the warm weather is slipping away, the days are drawing in and before you know it, you’ll be once more wrapped up in thick winter woollies. We all at The Bower Mount Clinic hope you managed to make the most of the summer, soaked up some vitamin D and kept yourself in good shape for the winter ahead.

One of the challenges our bodies face with colder weather is that the muscles, tendons and ligaments that move and support our spines tighten up as the temperature drops. Also if joints are already inflamed, a drop in barometric pressure or temperature can aggravate swelling and pain.   

Over the years we have seen that autumn is a time when many of our patients find that an “Osteopathic Service” helps to keep their spines and joints mobile and pain free for the coming winter months. If you begin to feel stiff in the mornings or when doing everyday activities consider having a check up and osteopathic treatment to help prepare your body for winter.

Autumn is also a time to consider doing more regular stretching exercises to help maintain flexibility.

One very simple exercise to help maintain flexibility in the lower back is the Knee-to-chest stretch.

  1. Lie on your back on the floor with your legs extended.
  2. Lift and bend your right leg, bringing the knee toward your chest. Grasp your knee or shin with your right hand, and pull your leg as far as it will comfortably go.
  3. Remain in the knee-to-chest position while tightening your abdominal muscles and pressing your spine into the floor. Hold for 5 seconds.
  4. Return slowly to your starting position.
  5. Do the same with your left leg.
  6. Do the same with both legs at once.
  7. Repeat the sequence several times.

 

Please note do not attempt any specific exercises without checking with your Doctor or osteopath especially if you are experiencing any current symptoms in your spine. Always stop any exercise if it gives you any pain or discomfort.

Acupuncture Treatment For Arthritis of Hip and Knee Joints

Acupuncture is an ancient treatment modality used for a wide range of physical and
mental/emotional conditions. By stimulating acupuncture points on the body one can
provoke a healing process in the body, including the release of pain killing chemicals
produced in the brain such as endorphins.

Osteoarthritis (OA) of the hip and knee are two very common presentations treated in The Bower Mount Clinic. Indeed 1 in 5 adults over 45 years old has OA of the knee joints and 1 in 9 OA of the Hip joints.

Naturally, as we age, ‘wear and tear’ affects the bodies joints. Conventional treatment
includes non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs, which although generally safe in the short
term can cause issues if used over a longer period; for example bleeding in the stomach.
Generally treatment with acupuncture for OA usually involves a short course of treatment, once a week for up to six sessions. In the majority of patients benefits will be experienced during this period including less pain, better mobility and a reduction in medication. At the end of this course patients often return for occasional maintenance treatments.

Research
Several systematic reviews of acupuncture for osteoarthritis of peripheral joints/knee and
hip/knee alone have concluded that it is statistically superior to usual physician care, Kwon 2007;White 2007; Manheimer 2007, 2010). The benefits of treatment can often be enhanced by an exercise programme. The expert consensus guidelines of the Osteoarthritis Research Society International (Zhang 2008, 2009), recognise that acupuncture has clinically relevant benefits and a favourable safety profile, and they recommend acupuncture as a treatment option for osteoarthritis. If you would like to see if acupuncture can help you with the pain and stiffness in your knees or hips contact The Bower Mount Clinic and arrange an appointment to see our highly experienced and respected acupuncturist Craig Minto.

Osteopathy and Exercise Therapy in the Management of Hip and Knee Osteoarthritis

The National Council for Osteopathic Research have published a summary of key Osteopathically relevant literature on the subject of Exercise therapy in the management of hip and knee Osteoarthritis (OA). OA is a very common condition affecting over 8.5 million people in the UK. In OA the cartilage in the joints starts to wear away and the muscles around the joint tighten resulting in pain often aggravated by activity.

Research shows that mobilisation of the joint and appropriate exercise or physical activity is beneficial in
all patient groups, irrespective of the severity of the condition and pain levels experienced. There is strong
evidence that exercise reduces OA pain and improves physical function.

What is more, benefits of keeping the joints moving and exercise persist for months even after activity has
ceased. There is also evidence that suggests exercise to help strengthen muscles around joints affected
by OA also helps reduce pain.

Osteopaths at The Bower Mount Clinic can not only advise you on what exercises might be helpful for your
pain but also help mobilise affected joints and set you on the path to greater pain free activities.

Acupuncture comes into its own in the Spring!

Spring is here early – which gives us all a welcome boost of warmer temperatures and sunshine. However, the change of season is seen as a challenge to the body and mind in Chinese philosophy. We mirror and reflect the cycles of life and when our system is balanced we are able to adjust with flexibility and fortitude during these times of change.

Contrary to the lovely optimistic feeling that spring can give us, I have seen a lot of patients in the last couple of weeks struggling with this change, be it coughs and colds, emotional discontent (the spring relates to irritability, frustration and anger in Chinese philosophy) or just not feeling themselves.

Here, acupuncture comes into its own, helping to regulate the changes in the natural rhythms our organism encounters during this period. I have many patients who come for a ‘maintenance’ treatment every 3 months around the times of the change of season for this very purpose.


Photo copyright Craig Minto

How to stay on your own two feet during the winter months

1 In cold/freezing temperatures, assume all wet areas are icy.

2 Wear footwear that provides good traction underfoot.

3 Walk in designated walkways; ice and snow may be more prevalent on unused shortcuts.

4 It’s vital to keep your hands and arms free to help with balance . Do NOT walk along looking at your phone!

5 Concentrate on walking, don’t look around but watch where you are stepping and do not multi-task.

6 Move slowly, tilt forward, walk flat-footed (with feet pointing outward) and extend arms slightly away from body to help maintain balance.

If you are unlucky enough to take a tumble and you are still in pain when you get home consider applying an ice pack to the affected area. Yes the thought of it won’t appeal in these wintry months but it is the best way to prevent swelling.

If your back is injured and you feel stiff after a day or two consider calling The Bower Mount Clinic and we will be happy to advise.