Our experience of health is most directly related to our ability to manage stress. That is, the ability to clear the negative influences of stress combined with the ability to generate healthy physiological responses.

Chiropractic plays a big role in stress management as it facilitates the release of stress, the stimulation of healthy responses and the restoration of the body's own self-healing, self-regulating abilities. But, also of major importance is the development of a way of living that continually restores us and decreases our stress load.

STAYING

NATURALLY HEALTHY

Exercise

The importance of proper exercise in maintaining an adequate level of fitness is well established. There is more access to exercise than ever before and the variety of activities, programs, techniques and instruction has never been greater.

Still, there is an art to designing the proper individual exercise program and the key to any exercise program remains one of compliance.

Dr. Dwyer's interest is in designing exercise programs that are simple, efficient and do-able, particularly for those individuals who do not exercise regularly and those who are prone to pain and injury that results from their attempts to exercise.

Diet

These days nearly everyone appreciates the link between good diet and good health. A wealth of information is available on the subject, however, not everyone agrees on what constitutes a good diet. Much of the information is contradictory, seems to change quickly, and is driven by marketing. Further complicating the subject is the fact that the right diet varies from individual to individual depending on body type, metabolism, level of activity, etc.

The first step in sorting our way through the confusion is adherence to the set of sound dietary principles listed below:

  1. Eat natural foods.

  2. Eat whole foods.

  3. Eat high quality foods.

  4. Eat more fruits and vegetables.

  5. Eat less animal food.

  6. Eat less sugar.

  7. Eat less flour products.

  8. Eat regularly.

  9. Eat less.

One of the best things you can do to get a handle on your diet is to make a close observation of what you are actually eating. A Diet Diary is an invaluable tool for this. Simply write down everything that you eat and drink for a period of seven typical, consecutive days. Do longer if you can, but seven is usually long enough to see the reality. Also, make a note of the time of day that you ate, if you over-ate (in your opinion) and if you were relaxed while you were eating. You'll be amazed how quickly you'll discover if your diet adheres to the above principles!

Dr. Dwyer assists patients in evaluating their Diet Diary and makes specific recommendations for supplementation if necessary.

Yoga

Yoga is a large body of knowledge that encompasses philosophy, ethics, daily observances, posture exercises, breathing techniques and practices for developing mindfulness.

Hatha yoga refers to the practice of postures and breathing techniques and as such comprises a highly effective system of self-care. It contains a unique blend of the key elements of movement, relaxation, release of tension, deep respiration and concentration.

As one explores hatha yoga and becomes somewhat proficient, self-knowledge expands through observation of a type of bio-feedback process. One begins to get a sense of the energetics of the body, of emotional and psychological states, as well as the state of the physical body. With practice one has a way to immediately assess several aspects of one's health.

Dr. Dwyer often recommends yoga to his patients. Almost always he recommends starting at the beginning to build a good foundation for further yoga practice. He also advises that there are many different ways to practice and therefore unlimited potential to individualize your own. This requires that you continue your exploration until you find what works for you.

Dr. Dwyer teaches yoga on Wednesday evenings at All That Matters in Wakefield, Rhode Island. Learn more.

Meditation

Meditation has profound positive effects on health and well-being and is extremely beneficial for everyone. It becomes particularly necessary if stress, tension, anxiety, poor sleep, and tiredness are effecting your life. It is a simple practice that releases deeply held stress from the body and allows for deeper levels of rest. Though the method is very simple and can be done by anyone, it requires specific instruction. Go to www.mountsoma.org and click on the meditation button to learn a profound daily meditation.

Sleep

Good sleep has perhaps a more profound impact on health than any other factor and is often the most overlooked. Sleep disorders and sleep deprivation, as well as medical prescriptions to aid sleep, are increasing.

Our culture puts a high value on being productive, informed and entertained, and less value on maintaining normal sleep cycles.

Some tips for establishing good sleep:

  1. Avoid stimulants, from mid-afternoon on.

  2. Avoid alcohol consumption, particularly close to bed time.

  3. Establish a time for sleep and try to be regular (Don't go with the flow of the day).

  4. Unplug from electrical equipment for a period of time before bed.

  5. Do activities for stress reduction and relaxation before bedtime such as journaling, light reading, light stretching, breathing exercises, self massage or a hot shower.

  6. Maintain a quiet environment in the bedroom and make it as dark as possible.

  7. Do not have your computer or television in the bedroom.

Good sleep is also dependent on our overall state of health and the level of stress, tension and discomfort in the physical body. A sound program of chiropractic adjustments, yoga, meditation, good diet, and exercise will improve the quality of sleep.

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