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BLOOD FLOW RESTRICTION TRAINING HOW IT CAN HELP YOU
As mentioned in our previous newsletter, my team and I provide the most up- to date and cutting-edge technology we can for our patients. Our goal is to help our clients get back to their normal lives pain free, so they can do the things they love without discomfort. We’re constantly on the lookout for new techniques that can give our patients additional means to achieve their goals. One very unique service we provide in our area, that no one else provides, is blood flow restriction (BFR) training. Peak Performance Sports and Spine has specialized in BFR training for 2 1/2 years, and we see remarkable results in our patients who undergo the training. This training method is growing steadily in popularity among athletes and professional sports teams. Through BFR, individuals who experience injury in their joints can receive the same benefits of a weightlifting workout, without the strenuous labor of lifting heavy objects or weights. This training can also benefit older adults or anyone
who cannot increase muscle strength through heavy lifting.
The arterial blood flow, or the blood going into the limb, is reduced up to 80 percent, while the venous blood flow, which is the blood flowing out of the limb, is reduced by 100 percent. This restriction minimizes the oxygen that flows into the limb and its muscles. In this state, the individual is then put through relatively easy exercises where their muscles become active, with very little oxygen. In doing so, the patient can increase strength in that limb with little or no resistance, generating the same effect as heavy weightlifting without causing any pain to their joint. Feel free to contact us if you’d like to learn more about Blood Flow Restriction.
For example, an individual who has had a knee injury or surgery and cannot apply significant pressure to their knee can increase the strength of their muscles through BFR. BFR uses a computerized tourniquet system that restricts the blood flowing in or out of either the arms or legs. A specialized tourniquet cuff is attached to the upper part of the legs or arms where pressure is then applied and restricts the blood flowing in and out of the limb. This cuff needs to be wide enough to use the exact amount of pressure the person needs to reduce blood flow without harming the nerves. The pressure required for safe and successful training depends on the particular person. Blood pressure; the size of the limb being treated; how much muscle mass is there; where the tourniquet cuff is placed; and how wide the cuff is all need to be taken into account.
"OUR GOAL IS TO HELP OUR CLIENTS GET BACK TO THEIR NORMAL LIVES PAIN-FREE, SO THEY CAN DO THE THINGS THEY LOVE WITHOUT DISCOMFORT.”
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WHAT’S STOPPING YOU? DAILY HABITS THAT IMPEDE YOUR HEALING Physical therapy can help your body harness
Painkillers can also inhibit the healing process because they mask pain without treating the source. Use them when necessary, but don’t rely on them for a long-term solution if you can avoid it. EAT FOR YOUR JOINTS You already know that food is fuel for your body, but what you eat can also affect your quality of life. Ingredients that cause inflammation — such as saturated fats, alcohol, and sugars — can increase pain in your joints and put extra strain on them. Instead, stick to a healthy diet of lean proteins, leafy greens, low-sugar fruits, and complex carbohydrates to give your body the boost it needs to heal. Making or breaking a habit can take weeks, so take it slow, understand that change is a process, and ask your physical therapist for advice. It may make your healing process more challenging, but it’ll be worth it in the long run.
its healing power, but without a lifestyle change, you may actually be hurting your body. Add these three tips to your PT regimen to help your body heal as well — and as quickly — as possible. TOO MUCH YET NOT ENOUGH Rest is necessary for healing, but when you rest too much, you do more harm than good. Nursing an injury by using crutches for too long or favoring a limb encourages unhealthy movement and keeps your body from healing normally. On the other hand, not resting enough can be harmful. So be active but take it easy, and avoid spending hours on the couch or the treadmill. SNUFF YOUR HABIT Smoking comes with a long list of health risks, and “inability to heal from an injury” is on that list. Nicotine, the powerful chemical that makes tobacco so addictive, keeps your immune system from doing its job. Smoking also makes exercise more difficult because of the toll it takes on your cardiovascular system.
STRENGTH OF MIND TIPS TO KEEP MEMORY SHARP AND IMPROVE COGNITIVE FUNCTION
Irish poet Oscar Wilde once called memory “the diary that we all carry about with us.” Of course, in Wilde’s time, the average life expectancy was less than 50 years old. As modern medicine continues to enable people to live longer, these “diaries” tend to become muddled. Fortunately, there are ways to counteract the natural dulling of our memory that comes with time. PUZZLE YOURSELF Just like any other muscle, our brain needs a workout in order to stay strong. As Dr. Celeste Robb- Nicholson of Harvard Medical School writes, “Challenging your brain with mental exercise is believed to activate processes that help maintain individual brain cells.” Activities like solving
puzzles, learning a musical instrument, or picking up a new hobby work wonders to keep your mind active and your memory sharp. These mental exercises are especially important after retirement, often to make up for the loss of stimulating challenges that work used to provide. GET PHYSICAL Taking care of our physical health has also been shown to help brain function. According to a study by Sydney University in Australia, aerobic exercise is particularly good at jogging our memory. The researchers note that “aerobic exercise acts by preventing the usual decrease in neurogenesis associated with aging, thus resulting in greater retention of neural matter — particularly in the hippocampus.” In
short, exercises like swimming and running keep the part of our brain responsible for memory from shrinking. SPEND TIME WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY Humans are social creatures. Many studies have shown that being a part of a supportive social group can significantly benefit our physical and mental health. In fact, the American Journal of Public Health reports that people who have daily contact with friends and family cut their risk of dementia and mental impairment almost in half. Our mental diaries may be longer and fuller than they were in Wilde’s day, but if we fill those pages with hobbies, exercise, and close friends, our memories will remain sharp and vivid for the rest of our days.
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A WALK IN THE WOODS IS THE PRESCRIPTION 3 WAYS CONTACT WITH NATURE IMPROVES YOUR HEALTH
Our ancestors were deeply connected to their natural environment, mostly because their survival depended on it. With no Whole Foods available, those who could best track a mammoth, find water, and forage for edible plants kept themselves alive and passed on their genes. Given our history as hunter-gatherers, it’s no wonder contact with nature provides us with several health benefits. A MEMORY BOOST In a University of Michigan study, a group of students were asked to take a memory test that involved repeating numbers back to researchers. Next, researchers separated the students into two groups. Group A took a walk around an arboretum and Group B walked along busy city streets. Afterward, they were asked to take the memory test again. Group A, the students who had walked
in the arboretum, performed 20 percent better on the memory test. Group B didn’t show any marked improvement. Additional research has corroborated the memory- enhancing effects of nature. A MOOD BOOST Observing the benefits nature has for cognitive function, scientists wondered what effects it might have on individuals diagnosed with depression. In one study from the University of Essex, participants with major depressive disorder reported an improvement in self-esteem and mood after spending time in nature. Exercising while in nature resulted in even more of a mood boost for participants. A CALMING EFFECT
time in nature reduces stress. In a study conducted by Chiba University in Japan, participants spent two nights in the forest. Researchers evaluated their levels of stress hormones during and after this period and compared it to their normal work days in the city. Across the board, participants’ stress levels were much lower during the days spent in the forest and for several days afterward. Today, we’re less connected to our natural environment than our ancestors were. Modern comforts and technology mean we don’t have to go outside to get our food. But nature is still accessible and you don’t have to go far to find it. In many of the studies, even minor exposure to the outdoors, like adding plants to your home or looking out a window during work, showed health benefits. This winter, find ways to bring a little more nature into your life each day. Your brain will thank you.
Research also shows that spending
TAKE A BREAK!
HAZELNUT BERRY CHOCOLATE BARK Inspired by Simple Vegan Blog
• 7 ounces dark chocolate • 1/4 cup roasted hazelnuts
• 1/4 cup dried cranberries • 1/4 cup dried cherries
1. Chop chocolate and place into a mixing bowl. 2. In a double boiler, melt chocolate. Stir frequently and remove from heat as needed to prevent burning. Keep chocolate under 115 F.
3. Once melted, pour chocolate into a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spread evenly. 4. Add hazelnuts and dried fruits. Let sit at room temperature until set. 5. Break into shards and serve.
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1. COVER TITLE THE BENEFITS OF BFR INSIDE THIS ISSUE
HEALING TIPS: WHAT HELPS AND WHAT HINDERS TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR MEMORY
3 WAYS NATURE IMPROVES YOUR HEALTH
DO THERAPY LIGHTS REALLY WORK?
THERAPY LIGHTS DO THEY WORK OR ARE THEY ALL HYPE?
The winter months can be dreary for folks who live in northern regions. The days are shorter and the sky is often obscured by clouds. This bleak weather can lead to seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. Depression, moodiness, and lower energy typically affect people with SAD more during the fall and winter months. The disorder has several different causes, but a primary one is a lack of sunlight, which can have an impact on your body’s internal clock. The winter climate can also reduce your serotonin levels, which influence your mood. Low serotonin can bring about feelings of depression. To address this problem, manufacturers developed light therapy devices. Therapy lights, or “happy lights,” are bright lamps that
can sit on your desk or end table. They simulate natural sunlight and are marketed as mood boosters that treat symptoms of SAD. But do these therapy lights actually work or are they just placebos? The answer is both. There are a lot of therapy lights on the market, but they’re not all equally effective. The difference is their output. While most lights attempt to simulate sunlight, some devices have weaker output, which means your body and brain won’t respond the same way they do when in natural sunlight. For instance, some lights are marketed as having “5,000 lux” or “10,000 lux.” There is a big difference between the two. Normal daylight (not direct sunlight), has the equivalent of 10,000– 25,000 lux. Direct sunlight can have
anywhere from 30,000–100,000 lux. Average office lighting puts out less than 500 lux. In order to be effective, you need a lamp with at least 10,000 lux. After about 30–45 minutes of use, you should notice a boost in mood and energy. While therapy lights are safe and come with few side effects, they are not suited for extended use. Many lights come with a warning not to use them for more than an hour at a time. Using them for longer than an hour can cause eye strain, headaches, and irritability. Therapy lights are not a cure-all. They can help, but they’re a short-term solution. If you feel the effects of SAD or experience depression, consult with a health professional to determine what solution is right for you.
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