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A GOOD SPINE IS THE CURE TO GREAT WELLBEING
GOOD SPINAL ALIGNMENT LEADS TO IMPROVED HEALTH AND ENHANCED PERFORMANCE
There are few less prepossessing places to kill an hour than in the London Wellness Centre. Dr Ingvild Næstvold, a picture of health in her own right with flawless complexion and immaculate teeth that shone in every room of the tour greeted me. Their treatments are bracketed under Psychological, Musculoskeletal, Food & Diet, Women’s Health and Feet. Before I offer you a match report on my findings, perhaps you'll allow me to offer you an explanation as to why I was there in the first place.
Two Weeks Prior
How naive I was to think that I would be pampered and mollycoddled by the masseuses at the Ayii Anargyri Natural Healing Spa on a recent trip to Cyprus. Having never previously experienced a massage of any nature, I assumed it would be a luxuriating appointment in which I would struggle to remain awake. My appointments that week consisted of an Indian Head Massage, a Deep Tissue Massage, a Thai Massage and something obscure, where I was coated head-to-toe in clay and told to sit motionless in a booth like Schwarzenneger hiding from Predator.
"How hard would you like your massage Mr Peter?" Asked Arpo, the resident Thai masseuse, already applying a medium press on my lower back with her elbows. Of course like any real man I wasn't going to shrink from the gauntlet of masculinity. "Hard as you like," I replied, assured. In my view it's a terrible falsity to have the word 'massage' included in the title because I swear she damn near broke my clavicle. The Deep Tissue and Indian Head Massages were excruciating, and during the Thai Massage the deceptively sweet and diminutive Arpo contorted my body in the most malevolent fashion.
I arrived at the resort with my back in pieces, walking like a man mimicking a Dalek. A week later I left with my back in pieces, but yet the pieces aligned appropriately. However, the pain in my back had been the root of something. Perhaps the result of my many years on construction sites carrying cinder blocks up ladders - or more likely, hunching over my desk editing podcasts on whisky, before writing articles on whisky whilst drinking whisky. A climate one could argue is equally inimical to one’s health.
Back in the UK
I sought professional council for my back whilst in a phase of convalescing. So, back to the previously mentioned appointment with Dr Ingvild Næstvold. She conducted a series of preliminary tests and questions. When asked 'How much alcohol do you consume?' I was tempted to deliver a Bondian retort of, 'Too much' but showed professional restraint and lied, 'about average'.
The common misconceptions of Chiropractic treatment being painful and unsettling is entirely ungrounded. Good spinal alignment leads to improved health, enhanced performance and less pain. Your spine is the central highway of your body, protecting and controlling every aspect of health as well as movement. If it moves poorly then there are multiple knock on effects to your health, your ability to move and your general wellbeing.
It's a curious thing that we administer regular checkups on our teeth and even our cars, yet our general wellbeing both mentally as well as physically, is allowed to meander without tutorship. As men, we'll seek physiotherapy if we receive a knock in training or what-not, but it's often a last resort. At The London Wellness Centre they focus on health and healing of the whole body with the central nervous system at its core. They are uniquely qualified to reach and treat the cause, rather than the symptom. However, health and wellness is a work in progress. Bad habits die hard and the key to strength, speed and agility is to move correctly through all movements every day.
Dr Ingvild's 5 top musculo-skeletal tips
1) Get up from your desk every 20 minutes. A good tip is to try and limit the amount of emails sent to co-workers in the office - walk over to them and chat in person instead. This allows you to stretch.
2) Try swapping your computer mouse to your other hand every few days. Yes, it will be weird at first, but will assist in helping any upper back/neck pain and stiffness.
3) Try to incorporate exercise throughout the day - consider walking or cycling to work. Get out of the office at lunchtime. Take the stairs instead of the lift. Unfortunately, a killer workout after a day of sitting down in the office does not balance out the hours sat motionless. In fact, it can be more detrimental to your musculo-skeletal health. Poor posture can lead to slack, weak muscles - countering this with intense exercise puts undue pressure on your body, which in turn, leads to an increase in injuries.
4) Consider swapping to the other side of your bed every few weeks. This allows you to sleep on different parts of your body - easing pressure on joints. It's also quite fun to do.
5) Take a Vitamin D supplement. We never get enough sunlight in the Northern hemisphere. Vit D - also known as the sunshine vitamin - not only helps those winter blues and boosts the immune system, but it keeps bones strong too.