The benefits of exercise are absolutely undeniable. Whether you are looking at studies that show the physical health benefits of exercise, the mental health benefits, or the emotional benefits, the results are clear: exercise in proper amounts is extremely good for you. There are a variety of focuses that people have when working out- some people focus on the physical shaping of their body, others on burning calories, others on increasing strength, etc. One focus that we should all bring into our workout regimen is proper alignment of the body.

When you strengthen your body's muscles and increase flexibility, it is important that you do so within the body's proper alignment. Just as it is important to stretch any muscles you bulk (otherwise you lose some of your range of motion), you should always make sure that you are promoting proper posture with your workout. If you slouch while you work out, you teach your body to hold that slouch. Incorporate exercises that remind you to stand up straight, inwardly engage your abdominals and keep your shoulders over your hips, your hips over your knees, and your knees over your toes.

Obviously, you can do this in any and all workouts that you already perform. Seeking out forms of exercise that teach proper posture, whether that is Tai Chi, Yoga, pilates, or another form of exercise, is a good way to incorporate your new focus and find new ways to strengthen your body. The stronger your muscles, the more easy it will be to maintain good body alignment, and the more you practice good alignment, the easier it will be to remember until it becomes second nature.
Want a healthy back? Use the following tips to keep your back strong and healthy:

Work Your Muscles. If you want a strong back, you have to exercise your entire body. All the muscles in the body are interconnected. Strong back muscles are important in keeping your spine safe and in the right place, as are strong ab muscles, leg muscles, arms, etc. Walking and yoga are two health practices that are greatly beneficial to back health.

Practice Good Alignment. Whether you are sleeping, standing, or sitting at your desk, you want to be properly aligned in your spine. Adjust pillows, computer screens and chairs to support your back's health. Take breaks from any position you hold for long amounts of time to stretch your spine and neck.

Lift Properly. When you pick something up, bend from the knees, not from the waist. When carrying any item over ten pounds, distribute the weight evenly from right to left. Avoid bags that place all the weight on one shoulder, or shift the weight from side to side frequently.

Get Regular Bodywork. Chiropractic and massage work are both important aspects of good back health. These two work together to encourage the muscles in the back to support proper alignment of the spine.

Respond Properly To Back Pain. Don't ignore back pain. Cease activities that aggravate your back unless you're sure they're not doing more harm than good. Use heat or ice applications as necessary, and visit your chiropractor or massage therapist to deal with back issues.

Chiropractic treatment is absolutely safe for children, and more valuable than most people realize. Children sometimes seem to be made out of elastic and rubber. Flexible and resilient, they don't suffer from the same physical aches and pains that adults do. It is true that their bones have not yet fused, which is what makes them seem impervious to falls and the like, but that also means it is even more important to encourage proper alignment in their bodies. If they learn improper posture or develop spinal or muscular misalignment early, it could negatively affect them for the rest of their lives.

Once a child enters school and begins to carry a backpack, the need for chiropractic on their bodies will increase tri-fold. These days, it is not unusual for children to carry a full one-third of their body weight on their backs, something that is decidedly unhealthy, especially when you consider how little support many children's book bags offer, and how frequently children carry them on just one shoulder (something especially common amongst older children).

When should you consider chiropractic treatment for your child? The answer is simple: as soon as you notice any spinal or muscular misalignments. Take the time to look at your child- are their shoulders and hips even? Do they hold their head up straight or at an angle? Are their legs the same length? Are they moving stiffly? Do they have a full range of movement in their neck, spine, shoulders, hips, etc? If your child takes a fall, has frequent headaches, or has any muscular or spinal conditions, they would benefit from a trip to the chiropractor.
Five ways to improve your mental acuity:

1. Exercise Your Brain: Games and puzzles are a great way to keep your brain in tip-top shape, form new neural pathways, and otherwise stay mentally sharp. Do a crossword puzzle, brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand, or break out the word games at your next party.

2. Get Plenty of Sleep: A good night's sleep will improve your memory, concentration span, focus, and hand-eye coordination. A lack of sleep will leave you sluggish, unfocused, and more likely to make mistakes.

3. Eat to Feed Your Brain:
Your brain needs nutrients too, so eat foods rich in omegas 3, 6, and 8, antioxidants, and vitamins to boost your brainpower. Keep healthy brain-food snacks such as walnuts around so that when the munchies hit, you'll actually be doing yourself good. Similarly, avoid processed food and sugars as these can slow the body down.

4. Think Positive: Amazingly enough, thinking nice thoughts that are positive, productive, and loving will actually get your brain going. The circuitry in your brain responds well to positivity, and you can form memories more easily when they are pleasant memories. Affirming that you can and will complete a project on time (or that you will come up with a solution for a problem, etc.) increases the likelihood of your success.

5. Exercise Your Body:
Exercise increases blood flow which does wonders for your mental powers. Creativity and focus are both improved after exercise. A strong healthy body will also be less susceptible to diseases that can affect mental function.



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Recovering From Whiplash
Whiplash is most commonly seen or recognized in those who have been in car accidents- specifically those who have been rear-ended. The impact forces the neck forward and then backward in a sudden and sometimes violent motion. Whiplash can occur anytime that an impact occurs, moving the neck rapidly or beyond its range of motion, which causes the neck muscles to essentially go into lockdown in order to prevent damage to the spine. This self-protective action is sometimes known as a stretch reflex.

Healing from whiplash can take time- mild cases may clear up in two weeks, while those with more soft tissue damage may experience pain and stiffness for up to three months. In some cases, whiplash can result in lingering pain and stiffness for much longer. The advice of a qualified practitioner should be adhered to in the case of whiplash, but if the case is very mild, it may be helped by ice (twenty minutes on, twenty minutes off) for the first few days, followed by heat (twenty minutes on, twenty minutes off) for the next few days, and very gentle exercises that take the neck through a comfortable range of motion.

Aromatherapy and Essential Oils for Healing
Aromatherapy isn't just something to indulge in at the spa, it is a powerful healing tool that you have at your fingertips whenever you need it! Aromatherapy through essential oils can treat a vast number of ailments, from emotional stress to digestion issues, from open wounds to allergies. All you need to do is know your plants and how their essential oils and aromas can help you heal.

There are many different plant essences that can heal through aroma and oils, but for the sake of time, let us focus on one plant only: lavender. Lavender can be used in aromatherapy by adding it to a bath, applying the oil to the skin, or by laying a lavender-filled eye pillow over one's eyes. The effect is immediately calming and restorative. Lavender is also useful when used on burns, rashes, and other skin irritations. It helps to reduce inflammation and redness. Keeping a spray bottle with water and a few drops of lavender oil can also make a wonderful, cooling facial mist for hot summer days. That is only the beginning of what lavender can do, and lavender is only one plant out of many. Imagine the possibilities!

Self-Massage For Hands
Hands carry more tension and take more abuse than most people ever stop to think about. That's why it's so important to take the time to give yourself hand massages. You don't need to set special time aside for this, although you certainly can, as self-massage for hands can be done anytime you don't have your hands full of something else.

To relieve stress and reduce tension in your hands:
Begin with sweeping strokes on the back of the hand, gliding from the wrist to the fingertips and back.

--Gently squeeze the hand between flat fingers and the palm of your other hand.

--Run your thumb between the tendons on the back of the hand, rubbing from the knuckles up to the back of the wrist.

--From the knuckles to the fingertips, gently squeeze each finger, rotating each joint with slight circling motions. Pull on each finger at the tip.

--Supporting the back of the hand with the fingers (of the other hand), use your thumb to massage the palm with circular motions, using firm pressure.

--Stroke the palm from fingertip to wrist, and continuing up the arm.
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