Whether you are looking to improve your spinal health, or your holistic wellbeing, Dr. Ben Dyer, Chiropractor and the founder of ATLAS Chiropractic shares best practices, how chiropractic influences our overall well-being, and some essential tips and techniques to boost your health!
Hailing from the United Kingdom, Dr. Ben Dyer had his initial encounter with Chiropractic when he pursued his education in alternative treatment and prevention studies of the human musculoskeletal system, going on to attain his Master’s Degree in Chiropractic in 2013. Upon mastering the basics of human body functions and the diagnostic procedures for musculoskeletal conditions, Ben went on to further expand his studies, focusing on short-term relief of those pain points.
Soon after, Dr. Ben was demoralised by chiropractic being a short-lived solution, as he often encountered clients returning with the same problems. Ben further explained the chiropractic approach, saying “we’re not actually correcting the root cause of the problem. We deal with the symptoms and [once] the clients go on about their lives, they experience the same issues over and over again.”
Dr. Ben decided to seek a different approach to standard treatment methods, something more holistic and long-lasting. He began to explore corrective wellness care, collaborating with various chiropractors and health coaches around the globe, to understand the benefits and applications of regenerative care.
While on this journey, he shifted to Hong Kong, where he set out to open his own chiropractic practice, “to dig deep into the root cause of such health problems, [develop] programmes of care which correct these issues, and help clients throughout the process.”
On a mission to change the narrative on traditional chiropractic, Dr. Ben established ATLAS Chiropractic Studio in Hong Kong, to offer accessible and approachable health and holistic wellness solution, personalised to meet the diverse needs of their clientele.
Living in a fast-paced city, we overlook many small stress inducers, and often only seek help when the problem aggravates and impacts our lives. Working to change this, Dr. Ben shares helpful chiropractic tips and practices one can apply in their hectic day-to-day to improve their spinal health and overall well-being.
How Does Chiropractic Help with Our Overall Well-Being?
While some may speculate the significance and impact of spinal health on our overall well-being, Dr. Ben explained the connection in a more scientific context, “Our nervous system is what controls the function of our body, with our health being heavily dictated by how well our nervous system operates. The spine is what houses the nervous system, and so when we get interruptions to the flow of communication across our nervous system, the nerves going to a particular part of the body can be interfered with, and therefore it starts to break down.”
While the chiropractor embraces a holistic philosophy for his clients’ care to mitigate ailments, in order to achieve long-term ramifications, the work goes both ways. Individuals are just as responsible to make essential lifestyle changes to lay off triggering factors, from limiting unhealthy processed foods, to moving our bodies more frequently, having positive day-to-day affirmations, and practising good spinal health.
Chiropractic helps with more than just headaches, pain points, creaks, and other body strains- it looks at the human body as a whole and provides care in the required areas. It covers everything from and in-between, adjustments and realignment of joints to mitigate the stress and improve movement motion, and other exercises and light stretches which facilitate the restoration process of joint stability and mobility. This being the tip of the iceberg, Dr. Ben urges individuals to seek regular spinal health assessments and care by licensed chiropractors.
Dr. Ben described his work at Atlas as a means “to expand the vision and perspective of chiropractic so that people understand that, [while] we do help with back, and neck pain, we also provide assistance with all sorts of other conditions, such as sleep problems, stress and energy levels issues, which most individuals initially would not associate with seeing a chiropractor.”
Tips on Achieving Optimal Spinal Health and Improving Your Overall Well-Being
Take Care of Your Spine
Maintaining good spinal health goes beyond simply improving our posture. The human spine is an intricate network of elegantly balanced nerves, muscles and tissues. These nerves send out electrical nerve signals throughout your body, which are responsible for the feeling of sensations and muscle movements. An injury or even the slightest stress to our spinal cord can gravely disrupt our overall body movement and function.
Distribute your Body Weight Evenly
The key to good posture is rather simple, Dr. Ben shares with his clients the importance of standing evenly on our two legs, which most of us have been told from a young age, however often fail to apply. Many of us are guilty of slouching our backs, although unknowingly, it contributes to a great amount of stress on our spine, and in some severe cases, will affect our nervous system functions.
Dr. Ben recommends practising this simple exercise: “put 50% of [your body] weight on your left foot and the other 50% on your right. You [can] check that you can close your eyes, take a few breaths, and hone in on how much weight you have on each leg, and then bring yourself to that centre position.”
It is important to remind yourself to repeat the exercise daily until you have become hardwired to follow it normally.
Following the same principle as the first, instead of twisting or crossing your legs when sitting, individuals ought to maintain an upfront position, while centring themselves on both their sitting bones, located on the lower parts of their pelvis. Dr. Ben advised individuals to pay close attention to this even in the minor aspects of our lives, from how we sit when watching TV, to ensuring we centre our hips when sitting at our desks or in meetings.
Move Your Spine
With our hectic work lives, most of us often lead an inactive lifestyle, which requires us to sit motionlessly at our desks, staring at a screen. A healthy human spine requires movement to facilitate and support proper functionality, and more importantly, to develop and strengthen our back muscles.
The chiropractor encourages those with such inactive lifestyles to start off by introducing gradual movement to our spine, essentially our neck and shoulder area. Dr. Ben suggested trying an easy movement exercise which takes up the least amount of time out of your busy schedule. First ensure your shoulders are straight and balanced, next raise your head and lean to the back until you feel the good stretch and hold for 3 seconds, then back forward again, and simply repeat this technique for all four sides, and you will notice an instant relief from any neck strain. It is recommended to practise this movement once, and for optimal results, 3 sessions per day.
Aerobic Base Building Exercises
When it comes to introducing movement and regular exercise into our daily routines, most may think of high-intensity workouts, or other strenuous activities, which may cause people to burn out even more, after a long day at work. Instead, Dr. Ben encourages individuals to take up aerobic base-building exercises. While for some people it might be a brisk walk, others may take a gentle jog.
“Rather than running for an hour straight, [slowly] build that up over maybe three months until the point where you can maybe run continuously for an hour,” he added.
In addition, Dr. Ben suggests slowly building up your body movement by adding at least two resistance-training sessions per week at minimum, by lifting weights, as well as other resistant exercises to improve your overall strength and endurance.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
While everyone has heard at some point from their doctors that humans require at least 8 hours of sleep to maintain normal brain functionality and revitalise our mind, body, and energy levels, most fail to apply it.
As many struggles to keep up with our sleep schedules, Dr. Ben suggests using a tracker to monitor the quality of our rest time, which offers better insights into how we could improve our sleep, and consequently, our overall well-being, by identifying root causes that hinder our sleep.
Adequate Sun Exposure
The best way for humans to produce vitamin D is to ensure regular sun exposure. Vitamin D is vital to humans as it helps regulate the calcium and phosphate levels in our body, which are essential to nurturing and developing our bones, teeth, and muscles.
One should at least spend 15-20 minutes to get an adequate amount of sunlight for the most effective outcome, said Dr. Ben, adding, “Early morning exposure to the sun is important, as those photons set our circadian rhythm for the day. By getting under sunlight, you make it easier for your body to [fall] asleep as well.”
Eat Healthy and Organic
Our overall health is directly determined by the substances we put inside our bodies, from our food and water consumption, to other harmful chemicals and unwanted intake.
Dr. Ben states it is best to steer clear of foods and beverages that contain high amounts of chemicals and preservatives, and this includes produce harvested in farms using chemicals, pesticides, and herbicides, recommending organic alternatives.
Moreover, hydration is key to keeping a healthy regulation of our bodily temperature and fluids. “Our water consumption should be individualised and we have come up with a good formula for that, every person should have one litre of water for every 30 kilograms of body weight per day,” suggested Dr. Ben.
Our mental and social wellbeing is just as important as our physical health. Humans are inherently social beings, with families, friends, communities and other groups, which require us to interact and build alliances to survive and thrive in society. Being isolated from such social interconnectedness potentially leads to adverse psychological impacts, and is often associated with causing greater anxiety, depression, and further isolation.
Building on that, Dr. Ben emphasises giving ourselves some timeout from our stressful lives and giving into our primal instincts to socialise and interact with our friends and family. He emphasised that it is important that we take necessary breaks, and keep track of our social and mental wellbeing.
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