Breath Foundation Workshop for Collaroy



Wow. I’ve been sitting here, not needing to breath for 2 minutes and 55 seconds. It’s the first time being guided through this exercise and I’m sitting here, no panic, no ‘holding’ my breath… Just a feeling of ease and abundance as I watch the minutes pass.


Another time, a different breathing exercise, my heart beat and breathing suddenly engage in a resonant synchronisation, sending spiral oscillations up and down my body. I not consciously ‘making’ this happen, but i’m with it. Experiencing a new way of being in my body.


Just two of the many unexpected, ‘beyond ordinary’ experiences I have had, seemingly out of nowhere, whilst exploring the potential held within the breath.


And it isn’t just emerging physical phenomena. There’s always a corresponding shift in conscious thought. Going beyond the ordinary with breathing also permits us to break through barriers of perception. The ‘shoulds’ and limiting stories of why ‘you can’t’ seemingly dissolve, washed out us in a cleansing respiratory storm. Replaced by a new level of awareness, expanding the space in which to be.


That’s what happens when we direct our attention deep into a physiological process that forms the foundation of our life. Breathing is pretty important, it keeps you alive, but how often do you really think about it?


Consider poor dolphins. They always have to think about their breathing, consciously ensuring their blowhole is above the water before they let themselves take a breath. Then what happens when they sleep, you should be wondering? Well, they have this trick where they only shut off half their brain. Their brain halves actually take turns at staying awake to make sure they can breathe.


As land mammals, most of our daily breathing occurs automatically, so we take it for granted. That’s a shame because with a little understanding and practice you can literally ‘breathe life’ back into your… well… you can ‘breathe life’ back into your life.


Although simple on the surface, unconscious breathing, the ability to breathe without thinking about it, is a fairly complex activity that requires careful monitoring and control. This means communication and interaction between the many sub-systems in your body.


Various areas in the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system communicate with the respiratory tract and the musculoskeletal structure, controlling physical movement. Chemoreceptors buried in our larger arteries and brain stem feed back levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide. Whilst pressure, tension and pain levels also provide information to influence the unconscious process of involuntary breathing. This all occurs relative to the current demands put upon the body and managed via the brain stem.


Conscious breathing uses some of the same pathways to and from the body, but it’s controlled from totally a different place, up in the higher brain centres of the cortex. This higher level control of breath allows you to play the trumpet or swim and breathe when your nose and mouth are above the water (like our friend the dolphin). We can also control our breath to suit stressors or emotional stimuli and even direct our breath to various places along our torso.


The fact that breathing can occur both unconsciously and consciously means that we can look at breath as a bridge between the conscious and unconscious parts of the brain. Particularly when we learn to focus our attention into the body and direct our breath with specific exercises.


This is not a new realisation. The power and mystery of our breath has been revered in ancient wisdoms for thousands of years. Recent research in this area has shown that directed breathing enhances memory recall and emotional judgement.


Another study from the last 12 months is showing that breathing at certain paces or paying careful attention to where and how we breathe engages different parts of the brain, leading to changes in brain synchronisation and function.


Directed breathing techniques can reduce pain, increase mobility, clear metabolic waste, improve energy, open posture, lengthen life, modulate emotions and help initiate the relaxation response… just to name a few benefits.


This is why we incorporate progressions of specific breathing exercises and movements into the Neuro-Structural Optimisation plans we create for our patients. We call these specific exercises Somato Respiratory Integration.


Each stage of Somato Respiratory Integration has a specific application. Within each stage are various modifications to further personalise the exercise to suit each individual.


In addition to the specific breathing exercises incorporated in your personalised Neuro-Structural care plan, we also offer regular Somato Respiratory Integration workshops. These are complimentary for existing patients and we strongly encourage patients to invite friends or family who might also benefit from this work (guests also participate free of charge).


These workshops are held at the Collaroy practice and provide an opportunity to further develop and refine your breathing practice in a relaxed, but motivating, group workshop atmosphere. Workshops conclude with a free Q&A session and light supper.


Workshop dates and times are announced email and social media. To ensure personalised attention, numbers are strictly limited, so bookings are essential. Connect with our facebook and Instagram page to ensure you don’t miss out.

Northern Beaches New Year’s Resolutions




Did you know the ancient Babylonians were celebrating New Year’s and making resolutions 4000 years ago… Yep, 4000 years ago people were promising that this year they’d finally fit into their skinny jeans.

The statistics on New Year’s Resolutions aren’t the most inspiring. Only 10% of people successfully following through. It’s so bad that the second Friday after New Year’s eve is now called “Quitter’s Day” due to the number of people who drop their resolution within two weeks.

But you can be that 10% who rocks your resolutions to 2020 and beyond, by unlocking the secret to successful New Year’s Resolutions (NYRs).



Technically, a NYR can be called a ‘Behavioural Change Process’.

There are various strategies you can consciously apply to improve your chance of success with this. We’ll quickly mention a few of the better ones. None of these are particularly new.

A NYR created from an authentic internal desire (intrinsically motivated), and not simply to appease others, is more likely to succeed. Especially if it’s something you ‘want’ to do, not feel you ‘have’ to do.

Choose one or two NYRs and keep them simple, and make sure the NYR is realistic within your resources and potential capabilities.

NYRs which could take all year to achieve are best broken down into manageable chunks. This allows you to track progress and celebrate goals along the way.

Roadblocks, obstacles and lapses will happen. Use these as opportunities to reflect and make adjustments where necessary. The ability to adapt makes for robust NYRs.

The last conscious strategy is to write the NYR down, with a pen, using positive language. Commit and be accountable to the goal, and regularly revisit what you’ve written.

People have been applying these conscious brain strategies for years, with varying success. So what’s the confounding factor that leaves so many unfulfilled resolutions?



There’s a missing piece to the puzzle…

First we need to understand what we are doing when we make a NYR. We consider it a series of thoughts framed as a plan for the future. The NYR is a conscious thought from your educated higher brain centres (the prefrontal cortex). Which is the only part of your brain that actually wants to make the NYR.

What you are really doing when you make a NYR is you’re expressing a desire to change existing patterns of behaviour. Your existing behaviours aren’t just thoughts in your conscious brain. They’re physical patterns, ingrained throughout the structures of your unconscious nervous system.

Your unconscious nervous system is more concerned with survival than it is with fitting into your skinny jeans. It wants you to continue playing the old behavioural patterns from the past, because they are the ones that have proven to keep you ‘safe’ in the past. The less safe your unconscious nervous system feels, the more rigid it becomes in sticking to old patterns.

If you want a successful NYR and a better life, you must let the unconscious nervous system feel safe enough to relinquish its existing patterns and co-operate with the conscious higher brain centres.

The main obstacle in achieving your NYR isn’t how clearly you write it down with a pen. It’s reducing the Physically Retained Stress that is held throughout your unconscious nervous system, locked in your body. If you want a successful NYR, or a better chance for any positive life change, you must address this Physically Retained Stress and let your body feel ‘safe’.

That’s our focus at Foundation. Our gentle Neuro-Structural Optimisation teaches your body to resolve Physically Retained Stress, by providing a personalised solution to shift you out of the defence physiology locked in by years of low level, chronic stress.

One of the supporting features of our Neuro-Structural Optimisation involves 12 stages of specific breath training, called Somato-Respiratory Integration. SRI is linked to your progress through the various levels of care. Many of you are practicing stages 1 through to 4, some even higher. Practicing directed breathing has been shown to provide a bridge to access and create safety in the unconscious nervous system.



Breathe You Way to a Better 2019…

Here’s a basic but powerful breathing drill you can use to increase success with you NYR.

1) Write down your NYR in a simple short sentence. Repeat it to yourself until it becomes a little mantra you can remember.

2) Lie down on the floor, face up, Focus on where you are comfortably breathing in your body and place one hand on that area.

3) Repeat the NYR in you mind (or out loud), and notice where you aren’t breathing, or where your breath feels ‘stuck’ or tight when your mind goes to the NYR. Put your other hand there.

4) Keep repeat the NYR in your mind (or out loud), and think about doing it as you breath alternately into one hand and then into the other. Keep your breath smooth and slowly build momentum. going back and forth from the comfortable area to the ‘stuck’ area.

5) After 2 to 5 minutes, it will feel easier to breath into the ‘stuck’ area. Finish the directed breathing and take a few relaxed ‘normal’ breaths while you stretch and unwind.

6)  Now get up and go take action that will achieve your NYR. You should find a lot less resistance. Repeat this simple exercise daily or whenever NYR motivation is low.

To ensure you enjoy a better quality of life in 2019, Foundation is providing complimentary Somato-Respiratory Integration workshops for Foundation patients and their guests during January and February. Stay tuned for more details…


Beaches Health Responsibility ©



The main reason you’re not enjoying better health is a lack of response ability. As in, your ‘ability to respond’.
The good news is that there’s a simple solution for this…

Poor health is often blamed on bad genes, bad germs and, essentially, bad luck. This is an attractive way of framing things, as it allows us to shirk personal responsibility for our health and happiness.

In basic terms, health can be described as the consistent correct organisation of all 37 trillion cells in your body. Where the ‘organisation’  represents a response ability (the ability to respond) to adapt to internal and external challenges, overcome them and create health.

This ‘response ability’ is determined less by our genes and more by the responsible management of the external and internal environments that activate your genes. The external environment being physical activity and chemical nutritional, and the internal environment being our mental-emotional and recovery status.

Health relies on response ability. Response ability requires responsibility.

When we accept more responsibility for our health, it allows our body to have a greater ‘response ability’ to daily stresses which, in turn, leads to a greater quality of life.

(Before continuing ensure you’ve read the first article in this series, ‘Northern Beaches Health Foundation’, as it lays the ground work that we build on here).



How much health are you really enjoying?

Imagine a horizontal line. On the left there’s a zero, and on the right end a ten.  The zero equals zero health or ‘death’, and ten equals complete health or ‘consistent correct functioning of every cell in the body’.

(Death) 0 10 (Complete Health)

If you’ve been sick this year, had a few unexplained aches or pains and don’t wake up full of energy every morning, chances are you’re sitting at about 5 out of 10, maybe 6 out of 10 tops. That’s actually good news as it means there’s a lot of potential for it to be higher…

Would you like it to be higher? How would it feel to get sick less, sleep better, have more energy, greater focus, greater physical and mental performance, better relationships and more confidence?

You can have all that, but it requires an increase in your ‘response ability’.



The Basics of ‘Complete Well-Being’

One of the things we discovered in the first article was the World Health Organisation’s definition of health, which states that, “Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”.

This is a great definition but how can we turn it into a practical plan of action?

At a basic level, the human being can be described as 37 trillion cells functioning together in an organised manner. Before you can enjoy anything like ‘complete well-being’ you need to focus on the consistent correct functioning of every cell in your body.

That’s the basic plan if you want to enjoy your full potential for health, your potential lifespan, and the complete well-being you should be enjoying.

Correct cell function essentially means a cell’s ability to respond to the needs and stresses on the body.



You’re not a victim of bad genes or unhealthy genetics.

Remember the excitement about the ‘genome project’? We thought this would be the answer to life, the universe and everything.

What happened? Well, we found that a water flea has more genes than we do. In fact, so does a mouse… But the answers to a happy healthy life weren’t magically hidden in the genome.

People often blame their genes for lack health. But your genetic code is simply like a recipe book, waiting to be used by the chef. We all know that a recipe doesn’t necessarily guarantee the quality of a finished meal. Even with the best recipe in the world.

Any recipe being read by an overwhelmed chef, using low quality ingredients isn’t going to result in an enjoyable meal. On the other hand, a well organised, competent chef using high quality ingredients can turn any recipe into a memorable experience.

A similar process is constantly occurring in your body. Your genetic code is being read like a recipe book, to cook up the building blocks of your body. The ingredients are what you eat, the way you move and how you think and rest. These are often called the 4 pillars of health.

Whilst your nervous system, the intelligent system that organises everything, is the chef.  It’s also the foundation for the 4 pillars of health



A recipe for sickness, or health?

You were born smart, strong and beautiful, with the genetics to create complete well-being. Complete health and well-being is your birth right.

You are genetically programmed to create health. But in order to experience anything close to your health potential, you need an environment that let’s your body-mind express that potential. This is the concept of ‘genetic expression’.

A tiny percentage of health challenges are actually due to ‘genetic’ problems. The real problem is how the genes are activated. The signals they receive from their environment.



Health is relative to your external and internal environment.

A VERY important understanding about genes and genetics is that the way your genetic recipe is read, and therefore the health and quality of life you live, depends on your environment.

The ‘raw ingredients’ used in the recipe depends on your external environment (the way you move and eat) and the internal environment (the way you think and rest). The clarity of ‘the chef’ depends on an optimised nervous system.

You have control over the quality of the environments. You have the freedom to improve these ingredients and move closer to 10 out of 10 on your health scale. Or you can do nothing and continue to move closer to zero.  With this choice come responsibility.



Your Quick Start Guide to Healthy Response Ability

Spring has almost sprung but it’s not too late to start some health habits and enjoy an easy ‘Spring clean’. Simply choose one new habit from each of the 4 pillars of health below and stick to it for the rest of spring. You might be able to think of other healthy habits of your own.


Nutrition (the way you eat / chemical stress)

A piece of fruit before lunchtime
One fresh vegetable juice per day.
Thirsty? Add 2 big glasses of water per day
Look for ways to reduce your sugar intake.


Physical Activity (the way you move / physical stress)

Take ‘posture breaks’ at work/study every 30 minutes. Get up, breath deep and stretch for 1 minute.
Add 30 minutes of outdoor activity, 3 times per week
Remove your shoes and go for barefoot walk on the grass (or sand) every day.


Mental-Emotional (the way you think)

Take 3 minutes to only think of things you are grateful for.
Watch the sunrise or sunset in silence. Try once a week.
When toxic thoughts or memories pop into your head (inadequacy, fear, frustration etc), say the word ‘breathe’ in your mind and focus on your breath.


Recovery (the way you rest)

Aim for 8 hours sleep.
Set a waking time and stick to it all week.
No screens, phones, tablets laptops for 2 hours before going to bed.



The next article in this series will take deep look at the foundation that determines the strength of these 4 pillars of health.

Northern Beaches Health Foundation




The patients I see enjoying the biggest changes are those who have made a commitment to build a better life. Who realise the vital role health plays in having a great life and understand how easy is when they apply strong foundation concepts.

You may have experienced times when health was easy, and times when it was less so. When you understand what’s driving these experiences you can build the results you want. It’s often as simple as changing how we look at things, and knowing where focus our attention.

In this series of articles we’ll shake off harmful misconceptions, discover insider knowledge and lay the important groundwork for making that great life easier to achieve.



What isn’t health…

Even though we spend more resources every year on hospital beds, drugs and surgery, as a society we are becoming less healthy. Why is that? Maybe it’s because the way we think about health is the very thing stopping us from having it.

Many people in the modern world (including healthcare professionals) believe that as long as you don’t have pain or ‘symptoms’, you must be healthy. This dangerous misconception disconnects us from experiencing real health and the great life it allows.

Back in the dark ages the authorities enforced a belief that the sun revolved around the earth. People who understood the real science and saw a bigger picture were silenced. We now look back on those times as unenlightened and a little bit sad.

Fortunately, reason and logic eventually triumphed over the politics of the time. In the future we may look back at current misconceptions about health in a similar manner.

The first thing to understand is pain and ‘symptoms’ may indicate a lack of health, but a lack of these things doesn’t automatically indicate you are healthy.



‘Symptoms’ are actually Secondary Conditions

This is another important clarification that needs to be cleared up before we can proceed. We are led to believe that ‘symptoms’ are the problem with our health. That if we can just fix the ‘symptom’ then we are magically healthy. Symptoms (pain, tension, fatigue, anxiousness etc) are seen as the CAUSE of the problem, but this simply isn’t true.

Symptoms are the Secondary result of a Primary underlying Condition. An important step toward enjoying health is to stop using the word ‘symptom’, Instead call these things what they really are, ‘Secondary Conditions’. Then focus your attention on addressing the Primary Condition that is causing them.



What IS health?

It’s difficult to obtain something without an awareness of what you are seeking. The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) definition can help us with this. It tells us that:

“Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”.

That’s an interesting ““not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. Instead, health is, “Complete well-being”. The WHO definition isn’t some new-age idea. It was actually agreed upon and established back in 1946.



Why the illusion that ‘no pain’ equals ‘health’ can be harmful.

You’ve heard that backwards saying, “If it aint broke, don’t fix it”. People who follow this rule spend a lot of time fixing broken things, and living with things that are about to break. There is a better way.

Is it smarter to maintain your car and keep it in tune, or wait for it to break down?  If a warning light appears on the dashboard, you don’t just cover it up and pretend everything’s going to be ok.  That warning light means you’re long overdue for a tune up.

Covering up the warning light won’t make the problem go away. You still have a poor performing vehicle that is going to let you down at the worst possible time. Keeping your vehicle in good tune not only avoids warning lights, inconvenient break downs and expensive repair bills… More importantly, it makes the journey more enjoyable.

This is the same for your health. Secondary Conditions are a ‘warning light on the dashboard’ letting you know that you’re long overdue for a tune up. If your journey through life isn’t running smoothly as you want, then you need to be more proactive about staying in tune.



Secondary Conditions are a ‘late stage strategy’ for the body.

Think about this example for a moment…
Cardiovascular disease is one of our major killers. It develops over a long time. But often the first ‘warning light’ is the severe (and sometimes fatal) secondary condition called a heart attack.

A week before someone has a heart attack, when they ‘feel ok’, do you think they’re in a condition of complete well-being? No, they’ve probably been in an unhealthy state for a long time.

How about a week later, when the crushing pain of the heart attack has passed and they ‘feel better’? No, they’re a long way from complete well-being and have a lot of repair work to do.

You will NEVER build a great life by sitting back and only taking action when the ‘warning lights’ appear. A pro-active approach is the only sensible option.



Health requires self-organisation.

Unlike a car, your body has the ability to ‘self-organise’. That’s what your nervous system does. A healthy nervous system should automatically keep you in tune, without you even being aware of it.

However, your nervous system evolved in nature. The daily wear and tear of modern life can make you go ‘out of tune’. Many aspects of the modern world overpower, exhaust or confuse your natural nervous system’s ability to self-organise and keep you in tune. Any reduction in self-organisation can lead to a Neuro-Structural Shift.

Neuro-Structural Shifts are a Primary Condition and can lead to many Secondary Conditions. Neuro-Structural Shifts can be detected by chronic tension patterns, shifts in structure and movement, changes in the body’s behaviour and perception of sensory input. These are some of the indicators we assess for during our thorough Neuro-Structural examination and it’s what we re-assess before and after every visit.



A foundation of health for the Northern Beaches.

The WHO definition speaks of health as ‘complete well-being’. From a very basic perspective, a human can be described as 37 trillion cells organised in a manner that supports life.

Without the self-organisation there’s no life. Just a bunch of cells. Your nervous system is responsible for the organising. The health you enjoy and the quality of life you are currently living is directly proportional to the level of organisation your nervous system can sustain.

A clear, robust nervous system, unencumbered by Neuro-Structural Shifts is the foundation on which we build a better life.



Recap of the foundation concepts:

Health isn’t just removing pain and covering ‘symptoms’. In fact the correct term for ‘symptoms’ is Secondary Conditions.

Health is complete well-being and relies on self-organisation. Your nervous system is responsible for self-organisation.

Neuro-Structural Shifts reduce the nervous system’s level of organisation. A clear, robust nervous system is your foundation for a better life.



The next article in this series is a (shorter) discussion about necessity of healthy ‘response ability’ and the world’s Easiest Spring Clean..


Collaroy is Talking Behind my Back ©


I often hear, “I love what you do, I tell people about it all the time”.

It happened again recently, “I want everyone to experience this, I can’t stop talking about it!”  When I asked what was ‘talked about’, the reply was very familiar, “Well, what you do is hard to explain”.


The Northern Beaches are talking about the Foundation of Health…

But no one knows what to say!


If I can share one thing with you, it’s that a course of Neuro-Structural Optimisation doesn’t add something you don’t already possess.  This gentle process teaches your system to resolve the patterns of stress that stop you enjoying the most your life can offer…  The feelings you experience and the benefits you enjoy are because of what we set free.

There are many reasons why Neuro-Structural Optimisation obtains such profound results, some quite complicated.  We can explain it via Prigogine’s Nobel Prize winning work on complex self-organising living systems and chaos theory.  Or through evolutionary biology, functional neurology and polyvagal theory.  We can also look at the neuro-matrix theories of the latest pain science.  These are all interesting and valid, but let us start with a simple way to communicate what I do…


Picture yourself traveling along your life’s path

And whilst you travel you’re wearing a backpack.

As you walk along life’s path your backpack collects rocks. You don’t really notice these rocks because they’ve been accumulating gradually your whole life, one here and one there.

Until you’re where you are today – trying your best to put one foot in front of the other and get ahead, but loaded down with a backpack full of rocks. The real catch is that, up until now, you didn’t know that the backpack is there. So you think that its normal for life to be a bit of a struggle…

It isn’t.

Life can be so much better.


What if those rocks weren’t weren’t there?

Well… Then life would become a different experience. You’d be thinking, ‘wow, the journey can be painless. In fact, it can be enjoyable’. You’d be able to travel along your journey with less effort and more joy.

Even if the path gets a little rough, things will be .  Because it’s easier to skip the rough stuff when you’re not lugging around a backpack full of redundant rocks from your past.

…That’s a simple way to explain what I do.


If it sounds a little too simple. Then try this…

Those ‘rocks in your backpack’ that weigh you down are actually Neuro-Structural Shifts.
Neuro-Structural Shifts cause chronic tension, structural imbalances and challenge your nervous system’s ability to maintain the balance required to create health. Those sensations you feel during a Neuro-Structural adjustment, the ease of breath and the light, floating relaxation as you unwind is your system gently resolving Neuro-Structural Shifts to find a new level of ease, alignment and health.


Resolving the Neuro-Structural Shift Liberates New Levels of Health

A reduction in Neuro-Structural Shift allows a natural reduction in pain, improved healing of injuries and re-balance to a higher level of function. Whether new or chronic conditions, they are both a secondary result of the Neuro-Structural Shift.

You’ll also notice more energy and clarity without all those rocks to carry around. Athletes, enjoy increased recovery, which can lead to greater performance returns.

A clear efficient nervous system, and a structure that self-corrects for life’s bumpy road provides an opportunity to be the better you and enjoy a better life.


Learn more…

What are those rocks in your backpack?


I look forward to seeing you soon.

Kind Regards,

Dr Andrew Maher

Move to More – New Collaroy Chiropractor


This is an update on some BIG news that many have been waiting to hear…

But first, some History: The word ‘Chiropractic’ loosely translates as meaning ‘Done by hand’.

The term originates from the Greek words ‘cheir’ meaning ‘hand’, and ‘praxis’ meaning ‘to practice’ or ‘to do’…


Chiropractic is my second career. With a previous 16 years in Engineering which culminated in running my own engineering consultancy. That consultancy did well enough to provide an opportunity to invest in something bigger.

Instead of taking the usual path and invest to build my personal wealth, I decided to invest in the enrichment of humanity .

This led to selling my house, going back to university again for another Bachelor and a Masters degree, and finish a year long internship to become a registered Doctor of Chiropractic. That was back in 2005.


Why Chiropractic?

The original intent of Chiropractic, can be stated in today’s language as ‘Removing interference to the full expression of life, and reuniting people with the best version of themselves’.

That intent carries with it an implicit two-fold understanding…
1) Something more exists for everyone
2) The ‘more’ is to be found within our selves

…Perfect for the enrichment of humanity.

Also, as an engineer, the latest science showing the mechanisms by which this occurs in our bodies was captivating.


Since that time I have focused all my resources on developing and building a service that provides the original intent in a scientifically valid, safe and enjoyable manner.

Over a 5 week period, every spare moment and ounce of passion was poured into building the most beautiful practice I can for the Northern Beaches by renovating a portion of the old Collaroy Bank building to showcase the elegance of its 90 year old architecture.

I did it all by hand, with a lot of love, and I did it for you.


foundation collaroy chiropractor


A space where you can discover more. Where you can be more.

Located in the heart of the Northern Beaches. Come and see what we’ve created. Become a part of something more.

Foundation Neuro-Structural Chiropractic,
your new Collaroy Chiropractor.


Foundation Neuro-Structural Chiropractic is now located at:
1121 Pittwater Rd, Collaroy Beach.
(Enter through Aroma Ki Day Spa, corner of Pittwater Rd and Collaroy St).

Phone 9982 2446 to book an appointment.


See you soon,
Dr Andrew Maher.