Those two weeks in Japan passed quickly, and it seemed like we were always walking to or from a train station! This may be why the Japanese (like the French) stay slim. Stairs, stairs and more stairs. The Tokyo metro or subway is run by several companies, so a major interchange station on the map, in reality, is 3 separate stations linked by by tunnels and walkways. And stairs.
Friends warned me the weather was going to be hot, and it was! It was equivalent to January in Melbourne, with the hot burning sunshine at 9am, and you know the rest of the day is going to be a scorcher. Oh, and they don't have daylight savings, so it gets bright at about 4am. Definitely the land of the rising sun!
I was in Japan to do a biodynamics phase course and I was the only foreigner. Due to the language barrier, I found a real simplicity to the practical sessions – “okay?”, “good?” was pretty much all the feedback I got. Still, everyone was very friendly and it was a good chance to relax and experience rural Japan.
Oh, and the food is quite amazing anywhere you go. You have to go out of your way to find anything sub-standard here. I can't wait to eat my way through Japan again! Just maybe not in their summer :)
Come July, I will be off to Japan to do some learning - biodynamics phase 9 - as well as have a family holiday. While I am away, you will still be able to speak to the ever-helpful Stephanie at 0415281241 or make a booking online. If you need to get in touch with me personally, please send me an email instead but be mindful that it may take a while before I can get back to you. Arigato!
A reprint from our recent Winter Newsletter.
This is a chance to shine a spotlight on other health professionals osteopaths work closely with. First up is lactaction consultant Alicia Davidson. Professionally, osteopaths see babies who have trouble attaching and feeding. The first thing we check is if they can turn their head to both sides, and if they can open their jaw fully. Sometimes this is restricted due to a long labour or the baby not being free to move around in utero. We also look out for tongue ties and refer such cases to lactation consultants.
If there are no structural issues, breastfeeding can be like riding a bicycle - some women take to it more naturally, others (like me) wobble and struggle initially. It usually gets better with practice, although sometimes it is too much and you decide to use another means of transport. Alicia is better equipped to answer breastfeeding specific questions than me!
Q: What do you do?
A lactation consultant (LC or International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, IBCLC) is a health professional qualified in the clinical management of breastfeeding. Breastfeeding often goes well with early midwifery support but if this has been lacking or big challenges arise, this is where some specialist support can help. We are available antenatally (especially if a woman has an unsuccessful breastfeeding history) with newborns and right throughout a woman and baby’s breastfeeding "career". Positioning and attachment are important components of our work to ensure baby is comfortably on the breast and getting the most milk she can to ensure optimal growth, preserve milk supply and to encourage this to be a rewarding experience for mother and babe. We work in hospitals, with Maternal and Child Health services and in private practice.
Q:When should someone seek help?
An LC can be of use for reassurance about the basics of position and attachment, right through to more serious problems of blocked ducts/mastitis, painful feeding, damaged nipples, low milk supply, thrush or concerns about babe’s weight gain. Support in feeding twins (or more!) or assistance with inducing lactation for adoptive parents are also areas an IBCLC has expertise in.
Q:What do you enjoy most about your work?
A:My favourite aspect of this work for me is the the practical problem solving that we do every day! Nutting out an issue between an individual baby and mother brings much stress relief to a new parent. When you see that become enjoyment, and therefore a more empowered mother, this is hugely rewarding. Breastfeeding is the norm biologically for human babies but it is more than the provision of milk; it is deeply connecting for a mother and baby and a brilliant way to begin your relationship with your child.
You can find out more about Alicia at mumsmilk.com.au
A patient asked me the other day, what does it take to be a good osteopathic student? It's something I've thought about a fair bit and wanted to finally put it down on paper. It's what I wish someone had said to me while I was at uni.
1) Passion for what we do
If you really want to be an osteopath, you need to believe in the philosophy and understand which osteopathic technique to apply and when. You have to be convinced that we offer a different approach to other modalities out there and that is what gets us results. It is not a highly-paid job by any means; what you earn is limited by how many hours you can or want to work. If you want to make more, you will need to diversify your business or manage associates. That's not the same as putting your hands on someone and helping them get better!
2) Grit to get through five years of study - just to graduate - and an ongoing thirst for knowledge
Passion is not enough, you really need to be able to knuckle down and put in the hours. It's an intensive course, with considerably more face-to-face hours than an basic science or arts degree. In the first 3 years, we were at uni practically every day, put on top of that a couple of hours a week practicing in our own groups. Ask yourself, do you want a practitioner who studied at the last minute and has since forgotten their anatomy and physiology? Ongoing professional study is important too, to keep in touch with current research and to stop you from getting into a rut and burning out.
3) Being comfortable asking a complete stranger personal questions and then touching their body
Most of us are used to being in close contact with family and friends. It is a mental leap to extend this familiarity to a complete stranger. You also need to be okay with being poked and prodded as part of the uni course. This is a tough one, you do get better at it with practice but you have to be okay with it at a fundamental level.
4) A basic understanding of what being healthy is all about
We all have habits and different body types; nobody expects their osteopath to look like an Olympic athlete but there seems to be an unspoken assumption that you have some idea of health and what it means to you. This could be in regards to exercise, nutrition, mental well-being or spirituality. An acceptance of who you are, as well as a sense of humour, usually helps too!
Finally, someone has come up with a vegan version of bone broth. If you didn't know, bone broth is a fancy version of home-made stock, made with vegetables and meat bones, cooked for a long time to extract all the nutrients out of it. It is meant to be very nourishing for the gut and tasty as well! It turns out you can use seaweed and dried mushrooms instead of bones. They are also full of good minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc. The other good thing is that it is much quicker to prepare, taking only an hour as opposed to 3-6!
This recipie is from wallflowerkitchen.com and makes enough for 8. It also has other "super ingredients" like coconut oil and tumeric, but you can take them out if you want a plainer, less Asian-flavoured broth.
Add everything to a large pot. Pressure cook for an hour or simmer for 2 hours. You may need to skim the surface occasionally. Strain the liquid and serve, or freeze. I often make my broth unseasoned, so that I can adjust the salt depending on what it goes into.
High intensity interval training (H.I.I.T) is very popular these days, but is it really the best way to exercise?
Conventionally, if you do 20 minutes of running, cycling, aerobics, you do it at a constant speed. In interval training, you push yourself to exhaustion for a short duration, say 30 seconds, then rest for a set duration before repeating the cycle.
Personally, I found that it is a great way to boost your stamina, especially if you are training for an event. The problem comes when you are tired and focused on finishing the interval, so your form slips and this can result in injuries. My true story :(
Dr Martin Gibala, who has been researching interval training for 13 years, gave an interview to The New York Times.
Interestingly, he found no major difference between high intensity and normal workouts. However, because interval training is more time-efficient, it may be easier for people to fit it into their busy lives.
He said: "I do something physical every day, and it’s not all H.I.I.T. I play a weekly hockey game. But life is busy. My wife works and we have young kids. So most of the time, it’s intervals, sometimes on a stationary bike, sometimes on other equipment in my basement. I do high-speed pull-ups and push-ups. I’m like everyone else. I fit in as much exercise as I can, when I can, and that would be my advice to anyone."
You don't need an app or special training to practice mindfulness. Cancer Institute Australia has come up with a simple way to better appreciate the small things in life.
Hold the cup in both hands.
Focus your attention on the warmth and shape of the cup.
Bringing your face close to the cup, take a really deep breath. What can you smell?
Notice the sensation of the steam on your face.
Place your lip on the edge of the cup but don’t take a sip. How does the cup feel against your lip?
Now take a small sip, don’t swallow. Hold the liquid in your mouth for at least 30 seconds and focus on the taste - sweetness, bitterness and any sensations - smooth, creamy, hot and then cooling to the temperature of your mouth. Notice how the liquid moves around your mouth.
If you hurt yourself bouncing on the trampoline at Christmas, or carried too much shopping during the sales today, Songbird Osteopathy is open Wednesday (December 28) so that you can be right as rain for your New Year's Eve par-tay. We will be back to normal hours from Jan 18 2017. Take care and have fun!