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Crisis to Opportunity for Mona Vale ©

 

It’s been about twelve months since life as we knew it was pulled out from under our feet. We were told to retreat into our cocoons in an effort to create some sense of safety in this scary ‘new normal’..

 

Sure, cocoons might be safe, but the actual purpose of cocoons is transformation. And, anyhow if you see the cocoon’s purpose as only one of safety you’ll tend toward inaction, stagnation and paralysis. This leaves you stuck in the old ordinary, never to fully emerge. But by looking at that cocoon as a space for transformation, we can turn crisis into opportunity.

 

If you have been wanting to make changes in your life then you might find it’s more helpful think of ‘the new normal’ as being ‘not the old ordinary’. We can always make excuses for not changing the old ordinary… The anxiety of the upheaval, the effort of breaking the inertia of what was, or the unknowns of shifting out of your comfort zone.

 

However, you might have noticed over the last twelve months that many of those reasons to avoid making changes aren’t so real anymore. Upheavals are a given, the inertia of the what was no longer exists, and unknowns are a daily part of life.

 

Crisis causes fear. Fear can cause us to freeze up and this last year has thrown a lot at us. But did you know that the Greek root of the word ‘crisis’ actually means ‘a turning point to decide a different direction’. So a crisis is really the perfect opportunity to decide a different direction. To emerge from your cocoon, spread your wings and live the life you have imagined.

 

Crisis also brings uncertainty, so it’s understandable that even if you want change, you haven’t already decided which direction to take… We need a degree of certainty to be able to move forward constructively in life… Air, water, food, connection, freedom, health, a place to call home. Knowing these basics exist provide us with a little certainty to decide.

 

We also require certainty in something meaningful. It gives us a direction to to aim for, to move toward and invest ourselves into. This is actually more important than many of those basic needs. You can have more money, resources and freedoms than you know what to do with, but if you lack a sense of meaning and direction, your life can crumble in to an abysse of self destruction.

 

So what do we do in this current climate when the only thing certain is uncertainty? Easy… You make that inevitability of change as the thing you are certain about. Ironically, this gives you something very specific to focus on, because we all know the most important quality required to thrive in times of uncertainty and change… Adaptability.

 

“It is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives; but the species that survives is the one that is able best to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself.”

 

Adaptability is the single most important necessity to get through uncertain times. Your single greatest asset when is comes to adaptability is a clear nervous system. But, because of how the modern world confuses our nervous system, it’s highly likely you’re not as adaptable as you could be.

 

This is fairly simple situation to correct, once you know how. And it’s certainly worth investing in because, with a clear adaptable nervous system, you’ll be able to discover just how easy it to turn crisis into an opportunity.

 

…That’s why we are offering a series of presentations on adaptability and Building Certainty in a Time of Crisis. These are free for patients, and we encourage you to bring a friend who might also benefit.

Check out our newsletter, follow our facebook page, and talk to Andrew directly for more info.

 

With Love,
Andrew.

New Mona Vale Chiropractor

 

Great buildings have meaning built into their structure, often symbolising life and the human condition. Even if you don’t have an Engineers eye, you can feel it, and being in those spaces resonates with us deeply.

You also have meaning built into your own structure. It tells a story of where you’ve been, and the vast potential of how far you can go.

In looking for the new premises I wanted to step things up a notch and create something special for you. Build a space where you can take life to the next level.

We found that premises, but here was a problem. It was a big empty room. The structure needed a wall and it also needed meaning…

 

mona vale chiropractic bungan

 

Sitting alone in the new empty space, it became clear why I choose it. It was about the light, and a wall was going to disconnect us from that light. What we need is just enough separation to create a space for healing, while still being connected to that light. A glimpse of how good life is going to get on the other side. Encouraging us through to what’s possible…

 

mona vale chiropractor_

 

It’s a space where every time you enter, you’re going to be reunited with a part of yourself. A portal to a place like no other…

Your next level Foundation Neurostructural Chiropractic is ready. Designed and built by me, for you.

 

Dr Andrew Maher

 

We’ve stepped up, and done the hard work. All you need to do is step in.

Welcome to your next level at 7/11 Bungan, St Mona Vale.

 

With Love,
Andrew.

Chiropractic, My Summitless Mountain ©

This blog is a blast from the past.  It was written more than a decade ago, so re-reading it is a bit of a cringe.  It’s being posted for those of you who mentioned a recent contemplation of your journey, or the topic of connection.  This was a letter to myself, written at a time when the choice between climbing on or stepping off could have gone either way.  As such it is, at best, a semi-coherent ramble of monolithic proportions. A faded snapshot documenting a moment on the ascent from Engineer to Northern Beaches Chiropractor.

But it’s here now, for transparency, or maybe as something to hang on to. Inspired by a favourite quote from Thoreau, that I was reminded of long ago by a patient now passed. Don’t say you weren’t warned…

 

—-

 

It was early in the 2000’s, my tax accountant peered over his glasses from across the table and, with as much levity as becomes a tax accountant, smirked, “Your little engineering business is quite successful Andrew”.

 

Successful?

 

This didn’t really feel successful.  Sure the money was rolling in, but how many new shirts can a man wear?  Life is short, just an instant in eternity, and the jewels that adorn you adorn another in the passing of that instant.  So how does one define success?  ‘His little engineering business was quite successful’, isn’t an epitaph I aspired to.

I was still coming to terms with ‘success’, when he hit me with the accountant’s version of a left hook, “Now is a good time to set up some investments for your retirement.”
Whoa!  My life flashed before me.  So this is success?  Day after day same-ness while planning for the end by leasing increasingly more expensive European cars, in an effort to feel like I had bettered the taxman?

 

Wait a minute.  I had been here before…

 

Rock-climbing has been a passion for many years.  A vertical escape where an afternoon cheating gravity polarises the horizontal world; bringing pause and perspective to the machinations of modern life.  Bombarding the senses and unleashing endorphins; the gritty hard feel of the rock against your hands.  Perception focused into a fingertip contact as the smell of the eucalypts and the call of the bellbirds rise from the valley, far, far below.  The nature, the characters you meet and the experiences you share all make this a special pursuit.

Your very existence often distilled down to a single successful move on a two hundred metre rock face. The momentary acknowledgement that one mistake made here might mean game over.  Oh well, we all die.  But how many of us truly live?  Those moments allow both the demons of the past and the worries of the future to fall away.  Leaving nothing but the present.

 

Serenity and terror, all at once, in copious servings.

 

Repeat and stir, then finally we reach the summit… It is done.  And so begins the post-climb recounting.  Thee adrenaline fueled, semi-articulate jabbering in the company of fellow escapees extends into the evening. Grazed knuckles gripping a cheap bottle of red. Melting cheese-on-toast over an open fire whilst the setting sun casts alpenglow across vast sandstone cliff faces.

 

Ahhh yes.  ‘The summit buzz’.

 

But here’s the thing about summits.  After a while they all kinda look the same.   Be it a leafy ledge atop a towering cliff at the back of Blackheath or a coffee table sized pad of snow on a peak in the New Zealand Alps.

 

After the summit what is there?  You can’t stay up on the summit, so why bother?  Your first few are grand, but there’s a sameness about summits that eventually dulls the experience to the point where you could just walk away from the whole circus.  So if not for the summit, why do we climb?

 

Ask and the universe answers.

 

We were nearing the top of a day-long climb in the Blue Mountains.  The skies had previously dumped on us, as a storm ran across the Jamison valley, strafing us with lightning. Which is of considerable concern when you’re hanging high on a shear cliff face, dripping wet, with a bandolier of metallic climbing gear slung over your shoulder.  We were a little off-route and hence, mildly lost. Our only exit was up a long vertical open corner that, if dry, might have been fairly straightforward.

 

The storm passed as quickly as it arrived.  We were taking a little longer.  Late afternoon sun now peeking from behind the clouds, warming the side of my neck as I hung off the wall from two small anchors.  My climbing partner was far above, out of view, struggling slowly up the soggy corner as I payed out the rope for him.

Leaning back in my harness I swiveled around to take in the view when, from below, a large bird of prey floated up majestically on a thermal.  It paused weightlessly at eye level, only a few wingspans out from the cliff.  Time stopped and we just stared at each other, transfixed.

Satisfied I was no threat, nor much of a meal, it tilted its head and arced gracefully down into the yawning void, breaking the spell.  You couldn’t buy that moment with all the gold in the world, I couldn’t repeat it if I tried.

 

My focus was all wrong, the reason I climb isn’t the summit.

 

It’s somewhere between the base and the summit.  It’s the experiences we have along the way.  Not just the things we see around us but, more importantly, the glimpses of what lies within.

It’s in the doing; all the triumphs and trials that make it so worthwhile.  The journey is the juice of life, not the destination…

 

The perfect mountain has no summit. Climbing taught me this.

 

The accountant mentioned something about capital gains tax, but I wasn’t paying attention anymore. Everything was about to change.

Clarity is a gift. It releases the potential we possess within. Unleashing a resultant kinetic energy of amplitude too strong to ignore.  An unstoppable force had just been set in motion, no longer dormant.  Now seeking direction.

 

What can an unstoppable force achieve?

 

Chomalungma (Mt Everest) is the highest peak in that famous mountain range called the Himalaya.  But it wasn’t always so.  Once, long ago, no mountain existed, just an unstoppable force.  This force brought together portions of our world, compressing and allowing them to interact until they had nowhere to go but up.

This same force continued through the ages, pure in its intent. Pure force acting upon matter has resulted in a wonder of unequaled grandeur.

Some worship this mountain as a goddess, others go seeking challenge, or to find more of themselves.  Whatever the reasons, all who spend time there cannot help but come away changed.   A single force, pure in its intent can change the very face of the earth and inspire great acts.  To this day that unstoppable force continues and the mountain is still growing.

 

How best to direct my force?

 

No one knows what happens after our journey here comes to an end. It doesn’t really matter to me. Though I’m fairly sure you don’t take anything with you.  If our purpose here isn’t to take anything, it would seem apparent that our purpose here must be to give.

Time to discover the manner how I must express my purpose.  It certainly wasn’t an occupation where going through the motions, collecting possessions and planning to retire are the only things on offer.

The goal was an endeavour for which I could hold great passion and immerse myself into.  So the search began to find a task where the doing is the reward.  No retirement plans, no sunset clauses.

Being an engineer, mechanisms always held an interest and there is no more elegant machine in the universe than that of the human body mind.  In fact, you start out looking at it like a machine but you soon understand…

 

We’re not like a wristwatch. We’re more like the weather.

 

The search led me first to medicine, speaking with Doctors, observing at hospitals but walking away disappointed.  This wasn’t how I imagined a Doctor.  The engineering industry had shown what it means to be a small component in a big broken machine and the medical industry looked like more of the same.  It became apparent this was more of a search for me.

 

Dream another dream.

 

Time spent under the care of a Chiropractor for a previous motorsport induced spinal injury had brought about ‘miracle’ results.  ‘Miracle’ because previous medical opinion declared that pain and lack of mobility were normal for such an injury, and to expect worse in the future.

Of course, Chiropractors don’t create miracles, but they do hold a space where miracles are allowed to occur. After only three months of Chiropractic care my spine had more ease than in the last twenty years.

Not only that. Something else had changed. A new perception and an expanded emotional spectrum.  No longer did every experience receive the same shrug of the shoulders – joy and sadness were once again part of my somatic vocabulary.

 

As was the ability to act, not simply react.

 

We can only act on our current perception of the reality we think we are experiencing.  So, when you think about it, what is the world but the collective perceptions of all our current realities?

How do we perceive our reality, how do we act and create our reality?  Science tells us we perceive our surroundings via our senses and thereby through our nervous systems.

If a doctor focused on liberating forces within the nervous system, they would provide people with an opportunity to enjoy a clearer reality. and with it, an opportunity to improve their world.

 

Clarity is the catalyst of positive change.

 

After seeking counsel with numerous Chiropractors, reading books on the topic and meeting Chiropractic students.  I realised this was what I thought of when picturing a Doctor.  Chiropractic assists the individual to bring transcendence into their world.  A worthy pursuit and the start of a new journey.

 

I had found the perfect mountain.

 

It continues up far beyond our present visions.  It stands solid for all humanity and, whatever your perspective, you will find beauty.  Most importantly, this mountain has no summit.

We all climb upon it.  Remember the day you took your first step. Many climb for a while only to found themselves lost and exposed on a frightening expanse of mountain side.  If so, simply do as climbers have always done when lost high on the hill.  Head for one of the ridges.

Our mountain is a pyramid with a triangular base and 3 ridges, all leading up.  These apexes are known as Science, Art and Philosophy.  Follow one for a while, apply yourself and you’ll find yourself ascending with ease.

But climb with courage. The ridge may offer security, but always allow yourself to leave this comfort. Embrace the exposure and head out onto the face.  It’s only here in the open expanse that you may set your course and master your own journey.

 

Explore and discover all that this wonderful peak has to offer.

 

When on the mountain, climbers may use a rope to catch their fall.  We take it for granted, but there is sanctity to this simple piece of equipment.  At the beginning of a climb, as you and your partner tie-in to each end of the rope, you enter into an unspoken agreement.

This act is a sacred contract, a promise to help each other through anything that should lie ahead.  It’s a vow to work together, to inspire each other, to provide support or congratulate, ‘the marriage of the rope’.

If at times you feel there is no way up, if you are unable to find passage through difficult new terrain, do not think it is all over.  Just look around and see all the connections; the family, the colleagues, the patients, the teachers, the students.  We are here, partners sharing the experience of the mountain, ready with support until you regain your footing.  On this mountain we work as a team. All heading up.

 

What exists higher up on this mountain?

 

What has been seen by those who’ve climbed ahead of us?  If you’ve been privileged to meet with one and chanced to ask them, you may find they never mention a summit, nor of ever nearing one.  They only speak of higher ground and aspirations for ascent.

It’s the very act of climbing that builds our mountain, and because of this we are not on the mountain – we are that mountain.  The higher the individual climbs, the higher we can all set our sights.

 

May we meet again on higher ground… Climb well!

 

With love,
Andrew Maher.

 

“Advance confidently in the direction of your dreams. Endevour to live the life you have imagined, and you will meet with a success unexpected in common hours” – Thoreau.

Even Greater Generation ©

Searching on google to ascertain what ‘generation’ my 2 year old nephew would be assigned to, revealed lists of named ‘generations’ going back quite a way.

We all know about, Millennials,  Gen Y,  Gen X.  And we’ve had Late Baby Boomers, Early Baby Boomers and before them the Silent Generation…

Then we get to the Greatest Generation.

This group of people were said to be born into a world of rapid technological advances, soaring economy and increasing income inequality. Only to then suffer a massive stock market crash and the socio-economic struggles that followed.

Although our current situation hasn’t played out to a similar conclusion (yet?), does that sound eerily familiar?

The reason that generation were anointed as the Greatest is that, despite their privations, they were willing to leave their safe homes and lay down their lives for people they had never even met.

Two days ago, on ANZAC day, we stood for a minute in silence and remembered the actions of that generation with reverence.

If, in the future, my nephew ever has his own children, I’d like to think they will find cause to revere the manner in which we carry ourselves though this pandemic, and through any challenges that follow in its wake.

With Love,
Andrew

 

Prepare Your Temple Before the Storm ©

 

We’ve had a lot of information about how to react to the current health threat. Important official precautions including social distancing, closing community gathering spaces and increasing hygiene practices. These are all fantastic measures to flatten the curve. The idea of flattening the curve is to make sure the hospitals aren’t overwhelmed with serious cases as the the virus moves through the population. When it comes to reducing serious cases, you can also go above and beyond.

 

Be Proactive…

 

Many of the more serious symptoms of a viral infection, the ones that often lead to hospitalisation, are due to our body’s own immune response. To fight a pathogen like a virus, your immune response causes inflammation. The respiratory difficulty and lung damage seen in people who have contracted this current virus are largely a result of their own inflammatory response in their lung tissues.

Inflammation can be broken into 5 components: pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss (or change) of function. These can all be a necessary, and a helpful part of the healing process, when it is functioning in an optimal manner.

In a perfect world, your body targets a pathogen very precisely with exactly the correct type of inflammation, at the correct level, for the correct amount of time, in the correct location. The pathogen then is dealt with, the inflammation (and the symptoms caused by the inflammation) pass, and you return to health.

For some people, this is exactly how it happens with this virus. Their inflammatory response does its job well, and therefore their symptoms may be so slight that they didn’t even know they had the disease. We’ve already seen many reports of this.

Others people may have such an exaggerated inflammatory response that it cause require protracted intensive care in a hospital bed.

 

Same virus, but different outcome… How so?

 

There are many factors involved. One factor determining whether you hardly notice having the virus, or experience a long stay in hospital, is your body’s ability to optimise its inflammation response, without over-activation. The good news is you can take some actions to help with this.

This all comes back to a topic I have been talking about for more than a decade, and why I changed up my life to do what I currently do.

There’s already a large body of evidence showing that stress activates the inflammatory response. Inflammation can be a normal and healthy part of a short term stress response. However, when your body is dealing with an accumulation of retained stress responses (Physically Retained Stress), its ability to accurately switch inflammation on and off, to modulate this vital response in a helpful manner, is compromised.

Take the specific example of the life threatening respiratory disorders and lung damage we are seeing. This is due to what is called a ‘cytokine storm’. An over-release of inflammatory chemicals called cytokines.

During short term stress, certain stress hormones reduce these inflammatory cytokines. But, as or body accumulates Physically Retained Stress that’s past its use-by date, those same stress hormones can begin to up-regulate or increase the cytokines. In the case of our lungs this can occur to the point where it restricts our ability to breath and/or can leave your lungs damaged in the long term.

Being proactive doesn’t just help you with this current virus situation, it can also better prepare and protect you from any future health storms that inevitably appear on our horizon.

 

How can we be proactive?

 

Basically, improve your baseline of health by reducing your overall stress load.
Ok, but what does that look like?

Just remember that saying, ‘My body is my temple’…

 

Consider yourself a temple with 4 pillars.

 

These 4 pillars can be:

1) The way you Eat and drink. Your Nutrition, and the Chemical environment you live in.

2) The way you Move. Your activity levels and your Physical environment.

3) The way you Think. Your Mental-Emotional environment and mindset.

4) The way you Rest. Your sleep cycles, your ability to switch off, recover and recharge.

In each of these 4 areas ensure sufficiency of the things you need and reduce the things that stress your system.

 

For example, increase natural whole foods that are rich in micro nutrients but free from artificial additives and over-processing. Maintain necessary activity levels, avoid prolonged desk work. Find a reason to fall in love with every moment of life and eliminate negativity. Be disciplined with your ‘self talk’ and where you let your attention focus. Get a good night sleep, social media can wait, meditate etc…

Your temple has a roof to protect you from the fickle world. The roof can represent the guiding principles by which you live your life. The roof also reflects the meaning you assign to your life, yourself and the world you’re a part of. Attend to this part of your temple on a regular basis. Consider and digest big ideas, timeless ideals and the something that exists beyond the self. Some call it ‘spirituality’, some would say ‘meaning and connection’.

Supporting all of this is your Foundation… your foundation is a body free from Physically Retained Stress. An optimised expression of the self organising human system, adaptable and resilient under any load.

The Temple is just a metaphor, by which to remember that by reducing your overall stress load, your body can more appropriately modulate how it responds to challenges and therefore better protect you from this and future storms. You’ll also be doing your bit to reduce any potential load on the hospital system.

 

With Love,
Andrew Maher.
(Temple Janitor).

Reference:
Yun-Zi Liu , Yun-Xia Wang. Chun-Lei Jiang. Inflammation: The Common Pathway of Stress-Related Diseases. June 2017 doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2017.00316.
Geng Li et al. Coronavirus Infections and Immune Responses.  Jan 2020. Journal of Medical Virology, Vol 94, Issue 4.

Emotions, Immunity & Kindness in Covid ©

 

The basic purpose of your immune system is to fight.

Fight pathogens, poisons, and things that you don’t want in your body.  To perform this key purpose it must differentiate between self and non-self. The self is safe. The non-self, ‘the other’, is a potential threat. It’s a complex system to say the least. The extended immune function even goes so far as to effect emotions such as disgust.

 

Yes, expressing disgust is actually an unconscious physiological immune response. It creates nausea, sometimes vomiting, whilst also initiating the increase of disease fighting secretions in your mouth and upper respiratory tract. Your disgust sensitivity is heightened during immuno-compromised circumstances such as times of disease – or at just the perception such a threat.

 

The physiology of disgust has also been linked with many phobias and behaviours such as OCD.  The disgust response includes a powerful psychological mechanism that increases our tendency to polarise between oneself and ‘the other’, ‘us and them’. Unfortunately this can expand to drive a situation where there is an ‘ingroup’ of people versus ‘outgroup’ of people.

 

Feelings of disgust lead to our strongest tendencies towards the ability to dehumanise arbitrary ‘outgroups’ of other people.  Just last century, we saw political parties manipulate this aspect of our disgust response. Using the perception of a disease spreading ‘outgroup’ of people to assist with ushering in cruel totalitarian regimes.  Leading to some of humanities darkest times.

 

It’s no political secret that if you can get the population sufficiently disgusted, then their unconscious ‘self versus the other’ aspect of the extended immune function will turn kind people cruel. Suddenly, those ridiculous fights over toilet paper at the shopping centre begin to make unnerving sense. They also indicate how careful we must be with how we perceive situations and others when bombarded with self-serving sensationalist news.

 

How do we override a physiological survival mechanism that plays on our worst inclinations?

Think back, only two months prior to Covid, to another national emergency where we observed countless acts of nobility.  During the recent bushfires we went out of our way to help the vulnerable and those in need.  By behaving in a prudent, proactive and kind manner we banded together, making the best of a truly tough time and, in doing so, we able to meet with our better selves…  The very best of our selves.

 

The simple answer:  Be, like, that.

 

Be Prudent, be proactive, but above all be kind.

Never again let another group, nor a single individual, be classified as untouchable.

 

With Love,
Andrew.

Foundation Mona Vale Breath Workshop ©

 
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 there’s 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 synchronous rhythm, sending oscillations spiraling up and down my body.  I’m 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 hidden in 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 ordinary perception. The ‘shoulds’ and limiting stories of why ‘you can’t’ seemingly dissolve, blown away in a cleansing respiratory storm. Replaced by a new level of awareness, expanding the space in which we can 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.  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 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, to control physical movement.  Chemoreceptors buried in our larger arteries and brainstem provide feed back about 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 brainstem.

 

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 different 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 Neurostructural Optimisation care 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 Neurostructural 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 Mona Valepractice 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 via email and social media. To ensure personalised attention, numbers are strictly limited, so bookings are essential.  Connect with our facebook and Instagram pages to ensure you don’t miss out.

 

With Love,
Andrew

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..

 

Mona Vale 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 Neurostructural Chiropractic…

But no one knows what to say!

 

If I can share one thing with you, it’s that a course of Neurostructural Optimisation doesn’t add something you don’t already have.  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 liberate from within.

There are many ways to explain why Neurostructural Optimisation might obtain profound results, some quite complicated.  We can explain it through evolutionary biology, functional neurology and polyvagal theory.  We can also look at the neuro-matrix theories of the latest pain science.  Or even via Prigogine’s Nobel Prize winning work on complex self-organising living systems and chaos theory.  These are all valid and applicable, but let us start with a simple metaphor…

 

The past is a heavy load to keep carrying into the future.

 

Picture yourself traveling along the journey of life, wearing a backpack.  As you walk along your path of life you experience events. Sometimes the experiences are helpful and useful for moving forward.  Other experiences might not be so helpful.  Sometimes you successfully toss those physical, mental-emotional stresses over your shoulder and leave them behind, but often we don’t.  They get stuck, in the backpack, and weigh us down like rocks.  Of course, the backpack is just a metaphor, we really hold these past stresses, and traumas throughout our whole body.  Where they can show up as tension, pain, fatigue, even a just a sense of being ‘stuck’.

 

Your unresolved stresses from the past are like a backpack full of rocks weighing you down

 

You might not notice this at first, because the rocks can accumulate gradually your whole life, one here and one there.  Until you arrive where you’re at now.  Trying your best to put one foot in front of the other and get on with living life, but loaded down with a backpack full of rocks and not where you want to be. The real catch is that, up until this point, most of us don’t even know the rocks are there, so you think it’s normal for life to be such a struggle…

It isn’t. Life can be easier, it can be more rewarding, more meaningful, more like how you want it to be.

 

What if you could be free of  what’s weighing you down?

 

How different could your life be if it wasn’t held back by the past?  Lighter, less effort, more joy?  You can travel a lot further to along your journey when life is less effort and more joy.

This isn’t to say your future will be hurdle free.  But even if the path ahead does throw up challenges, you’ll find it easier to leap the hurdles when you’re not loaded down by a backpack full of rocks.

It could be said that Foundation Neurostructural Optimisation helps you ‘remove the rocks from your backpack’.

 

If removing the rocks from your backpack seems too simple a metaphor, try this…

 

Those ‘rocks in your backpack’ that weigh you down are a metaphor for unresolved stress.  The accumulation of Physically Retained Stress inhibits your nervous system’s ability to maintain the necessary level of health.  This shifts your body shifts out of balance, eventually leading to the secondary conditions like chronic tension, fatigue and pain that frustrate your life.

Conversely, the ease of breath and the light, floating relaxation you feel during a Neurostructural adjustment, are indicators your system is resolving the Physically Retained Stress (removing the rocks) and finding a new level of ease, alignment and health.

 

Neurostructural Optimisation and improved Quality of Life…

 

Neurobiologists at the Medical College of the University of California, followed more than 2800 patients from Australia, U.S.A, Canada and South America who received this gentle care for between three months and three years.  Their published research¹ associated this care with statistically significant improvements in:

Physical Well-Being
Stress Levels
Emotional and Psychological Well-Being
Life Enjoyment
Lifestyle Changes
Overall Quality of Life.

 

A nervous system free from Physically Retained Stress is your foundation for a better life.

 

Be kind to yourself, book your complimentary 15 minute introductory consult.  It’s a no obligation conversation to discuss where you’re at and discover if our solution might help you get back to living life.  I look forward to seeing you soon.

 

Kind Regards,

Dr Andrew Maher
Chiropractor

 

Learn more…  Physically Retained Stress, what are those rocks in your backpack?

 

Reference:

  1. A Retrospective Assessment of Network Care Using a Survey of Self-Rated Health, Wellness and Quality of Life.
    Robert H Blanks, Ph.D., Tonya L. Schuster, Ph.D., Marnie Dobson, MA Journal for Vertebral Subluxation Research Volume 1, Number 4 , 1997 p.15-31

This and other published research can be found here…

Move to More – New Collaroy Chiropractor

This is the BIG news* that many have been waiting to hear…

 

*Actually, this post is now OLD news, we’re now in a new,
even better Mona Vale Chiropractic space. That I also built.
But this blog post has been left here for history’s sake…
CLICK HERE for the new Mona Vale build.

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 that…

1) Something more exists for everyone

2) That the ‘more’ is to be found from within our selves

 

…Perfect for discovering the full potential of both the individual and humanity.

 

Also, as an engineer, the latest science showing the mechanisms by which this shift 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 rewarding manner.

Over a 5 week period, every spare moment and ounce of passion was poured into building the most beautiful practice I could 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 Neurostructural Chiropractic,
your new Collaroy (Mona Vale) Chiropractor.

 

Foundation Neurostructural Chiropractic is now located at:
7 / 11 Bungan St, Mona Vale.
(Above Three Wishes, enty next to Beach Optique).

Be kind to yourself, phone 7204 7722 to book an appointment.

 

With Love,
Dr Andrew Maher
Chiropractor