Uncategorized

Celebrate the milestones in your health journey: meet Zorro

So many of you are aware I had a hip arthroscopy in April this year. Well, just over a month ago I hit a milestone in the healing journey and I thought I should share it with you as I know many of you also have challenges with injury, pain and chronic health conditions.

One of the problems with having a hip injury is that you need to avoid hip flexion to prevent aggravating and inflaming the injury again. Now hip flexion includes just about every form of cardiovascular exercise you can image including: walking, running, swimming, cycling, kayaking, karate, yoga and most ball sports (luckily I can’t catch so that’s no biggie for me). The only two things I came across that didn’t really involve hip flexion were swimming with a pull buoy between your legs (and when this was first suggested I heard it as ‘pool boy’ and I wasn’t sure how that might help) and using an arm grinder at the gym. So it’s a real bummer when karate, cycling and hiking are your favourite types of exercise.

I was over the moon one day in July when I was given approval from my hip team (the surgeon, physiotherapist and exercise physiologist) to be allowed back onto the bike. A friend remarked that my “whole face lit up” as I recounted the good news to him. I am a rather keen commuter and recreational cyclist. The bad news is that my beautiful road bike, Bluey, causes too much hip flexion and will have to be rested, for now. The good news is that I have a brand new commuter bike. Meet Zorro:

Zorro cannondale quick

Zorro was chosen because I would be seated in an upright position and have less hip flexion. There were a few modifications to the handle bars to support this position too.

If you are a keen cyclist and have injury concerns (or pain anywhere in your body from cycling) I suggest having your bike fitted out by a physiotherapist specialising in bike fitting. I went to Eric at Physiotec. He was great and used physical assessment techniques and video to make sure my bike fitted perfectly ensuring I was using the correct muscles and not aggravating my hip.

My first ride with Zorro was magic and the winter sky complied beautifully.

blue sky and sun
A winter’s day in Brisbane. It doesn’t get much better than this!

I’m now back to commuting by bike to work (here’s 5 good reasons to cycle commute) and taking a few recreational cycles too. Here’s an excellent website to help you to find the best ways to cycle around Brisbane.

bike locker
Z is for Zorro. Hooray for lockers at work!

And I’m also well supported towards my next two milestones, a return to karate training and scuba diving, by my surgeon, physio, exercise physiologist, acupuncturist and naturopath too! See, I get treatment too!

Make sure to celebrate the milestones, whether large or small in your health journey. Some health conditions and injuries can take a very long time to resolve or manage so we need to acknowledge the small achievements along the way as it is these that pave our way to the big ones! And if you like, note them down in a gratitude journal or app (here’s 50 gratitude apps).

This journey has really helped me to understand injury and chronic pain personally. I have learnt so much first hand to help my patients who are also experiencing similar problems and I apply this to my consultations and treatments.

For further information on Chinese Medicine contact Dr Sarah George (Acupuncture).  Sarah is a practitioner of acupuncture (AHPRA registered), massage therapy and natural health at her Broadbeach clinic and is the Chinese Medicine Senior Lecturer at the Endeavour College of Natural Health Gold Coast campus.

exercise, health, martial arts, mental health, motivational

How to fit exercise into a busy life

Sarah Dad cycling 2013
My Dad and I after finishing the Brisbane to Ipswich charity ride this year.

I was asked to prepare a guest blog for the Endeavour College of Natural Health regarding how I fit exercise into my life around my many commitments. (Aren’t we all busy these days?)

We know that exercise (in its many forms) has a multitude of benefits for our bodies including improving cardiovascular health, maintaining a healthy weight, easing some types of pain, balancing blood sugar and enhancing our mental health. We simply cannot afford to miss a daily dose.

If you struggle finding ways to get some daily exercise in that:

  1. fits into your schedule and around your commitments
  2. is low cost
  3. is enjoyable

then click on this link which will take you to my Wellspring guest post (Workouts the experts swear by: fitness secrets from an acupuncturist) to get some ideas on how you can get exercise into your life… and feel so much better for it!

I am currently overcoming an injury (with herbs, acupuncture, massage, shockwave therapy and rehab exercises aplenty) but will be right back to my schedule as soon as possible – I miss it!

For further information on Chinese Medicine contact Dr Sarah George (Acupuncture).  Sarah is a practitioner of acupuncture (AHPRA registered), massage therapy and natural health at her Broadbeach clinic and is the Chinese Medicine Senior Lecturer at the Endeavour College of Natural Health Gold Coast campus.

exercise, martial arts, massage

Massage tension away with a foam roller

foam rollerI often recommend the use of a foam roller to my acupuncture and massage patients who suffer from pain associated with tense backs, buttocks, iliotibial bands (ITBs), hamstrings and calves.  I love doing these stretches myself and they are an excellent way to give yourself a little massage for pain relief and injury prevention.  My back and legs appreciate a good stretch and massage after karate training or a long bike ride. Whether you exercise a lot, are very sedentary or somewhere in between, these exercises may help to reduce your muscle tension. Do them daily for best results.

Daily stretching and self massage will enhance the effect of your acupuncture and massage treatments. If you are suffering from strong pain, numbness or tingling make sure to seek treatment from your health professional.

Here are a few videos of how to use your foam roller for common areas of tension:

Thoracic spine and chest stretch

These stretches focus on the du, ren, gall bladder, lung, pericardium and heart acupuncture channels.

Thoracic spine mobilisation

This massage technique focuses on the du and bladder acupuncture channels.

Buttock massage

These massage technique focuses on the bladder and gall bladder acupuncture channels.

ITB massage

This massage technique focuses on the gall bladder acupuncture channel.

Hamstring and calf massage

This massage technique focuses on the bladder acupuncture channel.

To book an appointment at the clinic or further information on Chinese Medicine contact Dr Sarah George (Acupuncture).  Sarah is a practitioner of acupuncture (AHPRA registered), massage therapy and natural health.

exercise, health, Uncategorized

5 reasons to switch to pedal power

Some of my favourite times of the day are the trip to work and the trip back. “In peak hour traffic? Surely not”, you say.  But my answer is still “Yes!”  That’s because I have found a way to avoid being stuck in a traffic jam, squished onto a crowded train or needing to allow extra time in the morning for the bus to turn up (after the first two buses didn’t show up).  For the last two or so years, I’ve chosen cycling as my preferred mode of transport to work.

Cycling to work (or uni, the shops or wherever you want to go) brings many benefits. Here’s my top five:

  • Avoid peak hour traffic.  Riding a push bike allows you a great sense of freedom.  Often, in peak times, you can move faster than the car traffic.  Not only that, for those who rely on public transport, riding a bike means the end of waiting for buses or trains that are late or don’t show up – no more timetables, you choose when to leave.  There are more cycle paths appearing all the time.  If you don’t have a safe route to ride to work you need to pressure your local council to provide one.
  • Get fit. Let’s face it, you have to make the trip to work anyway.  And lots of people I talk to say they don’t have time to exercise.  Why not kill ‘two birds with one stone’ and get your exercise on the way to and from work?  Cycling to work is an excellent way to get fit and healthy on a daily trip when you would have otherwise been sedentary.  Most cycle commuters will get their 30 minutes of daily exercise easily.  By switching to pedal power you will be burning around 300 calories for each 30 minutes you ride.
  • Save your hard-earned cash.  Fuel costs have escalated, car parking can be incredibly expensive and even the cost of public transport in Brisbane is on the rise.  A bike however, is a one-off investment (allow a minimum of $400 for a decent bike to get you around on a moderate commute).  Many workplaces now even offer facilities including showers so you can freshen up after your ride.  If yours doesn’t, end-of-trip cycling facilities such as King George Square Cycle Centre or Royal Brisbane Hospital Cycle Centre offer an alternative for less than the daily price of public transport.  Cycling to work may even allow you to cancel a costly gym membership.
  • Be happy.  We will never be short of studies that say exercise makes us happy.  Raising the heart rate, working up a sweat, breathing deeply and pumping the muscles aids the release of our body’s happy hormones, endorphins.  Not only that, exercise before work will wake you up and help your mind to be more alert for the day ahead.  Your ride home will give you an opportunity to forget the worries of the day so you are relaxed when you walk in your front door.
  • Reduce your carbon footprint.  For each kilometre you choose to cycle instead of drive a car you are reducing your CO2 emissions by approximately 0.3kg.

Obviously, cycling to work is not the answer for everyone.  However, many people do have a lot to gain by adopting this mode of transport.  It may take a little forward planning to find safe routes and organise clothing and toiletries to freshen up for your work day post-ride.  Once you have a system in place, the benefits of cycling will become crystal clear. And, if you can’t cycle to work, you can still jump on a bike on the weekend for a social ride.

For further information on Chinese Medicine contact Dr Sarah George (Acupuncture).  Sarah is a practitioner of acupuncture (AHPRA registered), massage therapy and natural health at her Broadbeach clinic and is the Chinese Medicine Senior Lecturer at the Endeavour College of Natural Health Gold Coast campus.