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Wellness / Nutrition

Exercise and Breast Cancer

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Unfortunately, we have all probably had someone in our close circles of friends or family who have had breast cancer.

The Body Refinery believes that exercise is medicine and have had the privilege of being part of the care team for a number of clients who have endured the treatment of breast cancer by helping them regain confidence in their movement and using exercise as part of their treatment in the studio.

Medical studies point strongly to the use of exercise during the treatment of, and recovery from, breast cancer. There is also strong evidence that exercise can prevent the recurrences of breast cancer.

Regular exercise during and following breast cancer treatment has many benefits. It can improve physical and emotional wellbeing and improve quality of life. Exercise can help manage treatment-related and cancer-related side effects such as fatigue, pain, lymphoedema and lowered bone density. It can also improve mood, sleep, body weight, muscle strength, confidence, depression and anxiety.

 

Pilates is a very effective form of exercise to use during treatment of, and recovery from, breast cancer as it can:

  • relieve neck, shoulder and back pain which are common complications
  • reduce the risk of lymphoedema developing
  • prevent restrictive scar formation and shoulder stiffness
  • restore normal posture after surgery
  • improve general flexibility, strength, confidence and wellbeing
  • re-educate muscles to move efficiently
  • improve or maintain muscle tone for a faster recovery
  • work towards overall conditioning and improve general wellbeing
  • increase lung capacity after an operation/anaesthetic.

 

On Friday 22 October we are having a PINK DAY to raise money for the National Breast Cancer Foundation. On this day we encourage all our team and our clients to wear Pink! The Body Refinery will make a donation of $2 for every client that attends any service on the day. We will also have some great competitions for those that add to the donations and for the best pink outfits.

We look forward to seeing you on the day!  Early detection of breast cancer is so important – check out the NBCF website to find out more about detection and awareness: https://nbcf.org.au/about-breast-cancer/detection-and-awareness/

3 Ways to Support Wellness for Working Mums

3 Ways to Support Wellness for Working Mums

The lockdown has been difficult for everybody, but mums were especially challenged with juggling the responsibilities of motherhood and full-time work. Most of the household and childcare-related tasks associated with the shift caused by COVID-19 have fallen on women, as some surveys have shown (www.abc.net.au). As a result, work-life balance is more difficult to achieve. Fortunately, there are still some effective ways to support wellness for working mums. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your responsibilities at work, as a mother, and around the home, then here are three ways to promote wellness during this time:

Take the Time to Be Alone

With so much to do, taking a break might feel like a waste of precious time. However, working mums must remember that not taking the time to rest will eventually lead to a crash, one that is more difficult to recover from than a few minutes of alone time. Even if it’s just for five to 15 minutes at a time, try to find your own space to take a nap, browse through the internet, or simply let your mind wander (www.readersdigest.com.au). Whether you’re planning your children’s online learning modules or coming up with dinner ideas, it might do you more good to be alone first before getting back into the swing of things.

sitting

Mind Your Posture

Physical wellness goes beyond regular exercise. As most people work long hours at desks these days (mothers included), there is a greater risk of sitting with bad posture, which can lead to back and neck pain. (See our previous blog about: How should I set up my desk?) This can easily be avoided by being more mindful of the way you sit and move around. Investing in ergonomic items for your workspace is another good option, and you may want to start with something like a standing desk or an ergonomic chair. When choosing an ergonomic chair, there are a few key components you should look for. These include seat height range, backrest adjustment, and armrest adjustment (www.painfreeworking.com). Monitor mounts are also great additions to your workspace to keep your head level with your screen, thereby reducing neck strain and pain that often develops with desk work.

Exercise Once a Day

Getting enough exercise is important, even for busy mothers. The physical demands of full-time work, picking up after children, and keeping house can take its toll, so mums need to be in good physical health to keep up. Aside from that, exercise has proven to be beneficial for mental health (www.healthdirect.gov.au). It can improve one’s mood, stimulate brain activity that contributes to problem-solving and learning, and reduce the risk of other illnesses. Mums who are short on time can do moderate to high-intensity exercises for 10 to 15 minutes daily to get a boost of energy and keep fit to meet the challenges of their roles.

 

All mothers should receive the proper care and attention to promote wellness as they continue their roles as professionals and caregivers. New mums should especially take care before going back into physically strenuous activities by taking a woman’s health initial assessment (www.thebodyrefinery.com.au). By taking care of one’s physical and mental wellness in these ways, women can continue to be excellent at what they do while keeping their health in check.

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Written by Gretchen Bowman for thebodyrefinery.com.au

Look and Feel Your Absolute Best With These Pro Self-Care Tips

Over the last year, it has been easy to let some of our most important self-care habits slides. With COVID-19 restrictions keeping most of the country indoors, many have stopped dressing up, experimenting with fun new makeup looks, working out at the gym, and doing other things that make us feel good. Some of us have also started ordering out more and cooking less. When combined, this lack of healthy self-care habits can make us feel sluggish, stressed, and feeling as though we’ve let ourselves go.

If all these sound familiar, now is a fantastic time to begin turning these bad habits around. Whether you’re starting to participate in socially distant outings or still staying at home, here are some self-care tips that can help you look and feel your absolute best.

 

Refresh your space to remove stress.

Stress is a funny thing. You might think it primarily comes from things like world events, problems at work, or conflict in your relationships. While those things certainly can cause stress, you also might experience stress from your home environment. As Redfin explains, giving your space a refresher can help you break out of a funk and feel more positive about life. Try doing some decluttering, cleaning thoroughly, and opening some windows to let in some fresh air and sunshine. This sounds simple, because it is. And as a result, your whole household can feel happier and brighter!

 

Perfect your skincare routine.

When you haven’t been going out on a regular basis, it can be easy to forget to care for your skin. Since you’re not going to the office or out with friends nearly as much as you used to, you may be tempted to get by with the bare minimum skincare routine.

However, having healthy skin is important, no matter how often you go out. Take the opportunity to begin caring for your skin like never before. Learn more about the characteristics of your skin — from head to toe — and begin using products that provide balance and nourishment. Be sure to incorporate a facial wash, toner, moisturizer, and exfoliant that meet your individual needs.

healthy meal

Boost your meals with extra nutrients.

One of the most effective ways to care for both your physical health and your skin is to eat a nutrient-dense diet. This includes getting your fill of fruits, vegetables, and grains that are packed with vitamins and minerals.

If you’ve made getting delivery a habit, resolve to prepare well-balanced meals at home. Not keen on spending a fortune on new groceries? You likely won’t have to! You can often create an assortment of healthy dishes using foods and ingredients that you already have in your pantry. For example, SBS notes many of the ingredients for soup and sandwiches, skillet rice, and a satisfying stew may already be in your kitchen.

 

Refresh your wardrobe with clothes that make you feel incredible.

Due to the lack of work and social outings over the past year, there haven’t been many reasons to freshen up your wardrobe. As a result, you may be feeling the “blahs” by continuing to re-wear the same pieces over and over again.

To start feeling and looking your best, give yourself permission to buy new clothes. You don’t have to wait until life gets back to some version of normal to do this. Instead, browse your favourite internet retailers for comfortable clothes that don’t sacrifice fashion. Online shops like Bamboo Body, Stelly and Vigorella have affordable and attractive options for all sizes and shapes. Never underestimate the power that a brand new outfit can have on your overall well being, or even a new piece or two.

 

Move your body in a way that feels good to you.

Finally, don’t forget to get moving! If you don’t have a consistent workout routine, consider starting one that works for your current schedule, fitness level, and preferences. Doing something as simple as going for a 10-minute walk each day can transform your mood and help your body feel as good as it can.

Don’t wait another day to build a self-care routine that makes you feel wonderful. You are 100% worth the time, money, and effort it takes to keep you looking and feeling your absolute best.

 

The Body Refinery Online is dedicated to helping get fit from the comfort of home. For a free trial or for more information, connect today!

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written by Kim Thomas

Kim Thomas is on a mission to advocate for those suffering from chronic disease. She was inspired to create US Health Corps after her uncle was diagnosed with heart disease as a result of his lifelong struggle with obesity. When she is not writing about maintaining a healthy lifestyle, she can be found crafting, sewing and hiking with her husband and two sons.

What is Endometriosis? How can we help you?

ENDOMETRIOSIS AWARENESS MONTH

What is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a chronic inflammatory condition, affecting every 1 in 10 women.

When uterine tissue starts to grow in other areas outside the uterus along the abdominal wall, attaching to the fallopian tubes, ovaries, bladder and bowels.

This atypical growth of uterine cells causes scarring and plaque formation. When these tissues thicken and bleed as they would normally behave in the uterus, they can cause excessive pain and bleeding.

Symptoms can vary from;

  • Heavy bleeding
  • Pelvic pain
  • Bladder and bowel dysfunction (diarrhoea, constipation, frequency of urination)

Some women never experience pain with endometriosis. However, around 50% of diagnosed individuals have chronic pelvic pain and 70% of women will experience pain only during menstruation. Heavy periods and pain to follow are not always ‘normal’ responses to a menstrual cycle.

If you feel like your symptoms are atypical, listen to your body and speak to your GP or OBGYN about your symptoms.

Risk factors:

  • Increasing age
  • Alcohol use
  • Early menarche
  • Family history of endometriosis
  • Infertility
  • Low body weight
  • Prolonged menstrual cycle
  • Short menstrual cycle (Peterson et al., 2013

The average time frame for a diagnosis of endometriosis is  8.6 years (Bontempo & Mikesell, 2020). The longer endometriosis goes diagnosed, the longer accumulation of inflammation occurs and the potential severity of symptoms as the body attempts to manage the condition. The scarring of tissue can further perpetuate symptoms of infertility in patients diagnosed with endometriosis.

The alleviation symptoms (typically coinciding with a menstrual cycle) through exercise have been shown to drastically reduce the incidence of pain and heavy bleeding.

How?

Endometriosis is triggered by excessive inflammation in the body at a cellular level. A sedentary lifestyle places pressure on the vascular system of the body, reducing the body’s ability to circulate the blood effectively with the nutrients it needs to stimulate healing processes via endorphin release. Exercise actively decreases the number of inflammatory markers in the body by the reduction of adipose tissue.

Pain and discomfort are positively reinforced by the brain when muscles contract in an attempt to “guard” the area causing pain sensations. With the help of a trained exercise professional, we work to rewire the body systems to relax overactive muscle groups to interrupt the pain signals sent to the brain via muscle guarding.

Pelvic floor dysfunction is a common result of pain stemming from endometriosis. When the body is in pain around the pelvis, the musculature surrounding the tissue can become overactive or spasm. This further perpetuates chronic pelvic pain or pain during a menstrual cycle. Exercise has been proven to significantly decrease maladaptive postures stemming from endometriosis pain response, as well as significantly decrease the intensity of endometriosis pain after following a structured and consistent exercise program (Awad et al., 2017).

Exercise is one of the most effective courses of treatment to reduce symptomatic endometriosis, while increasing energy levels, boosting mood and building a stronger, more resilient body. 

At the Body Refinery, our women’s health Exercise Physiologist, Tori, will assist you in managing your diagnosis and symptoms of endometriosis.

Tori is available every Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday morning at our New Farm location.

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References:

Awad, E., Ahmed, H., Yousef, A., & Abbas, R. (2017). Efficacy of exercise on pelvic pain and posture associated with endometriosis: within subject design. Journal of physical therapy science, 29(12), 2112–2115. https://doi.org/10.1589/jpts.29.2112

Bontempo, A. C., & Mikesell, L. (2020). Patient perceptions of misdiagnosis of endometriosis: results from an online national survey. Diagnosis (Berlin, Germany), 7(2), 97–106. https://doi.org/10.1515/dx-2019-0020

Peterson, C. M., Johnstone, E. B., Hammoud, A. O., Stanford, J. B., Varner, M. W., Kennedy, A., Chen, Z., Sun, L., Fujimoto, V. Y., Hediger, M. L., Buck Louis, G. M., & ENDO Study Working Group (2013). Risk factors associated with endometriosis: importance of study population for characterizing disease in the ENDO Study. American journal of obstetrics and gynecology, 208(6), 451.e1–451.e4511. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajog.2013.02.040

5 Ways to Develop Healthy Eating Habits

5 Ways to Develop Healthy Eating Habits

The new year has already started, but it’s never too late to start developing healthy eating habits. As you already know, healthy eating comes with a wealth of benefits beyond weight loss — such as reducing risks of cancer and heart-related problems. As noted in Better Health, it also lifts your mood and decreases symptoms of anxiety. Indeed, there are several reasons to start eating better — but of course, it isn’t always easy to choose apples over potato chips. If this happens to be one of your new year’s resolutions, here are some tips to help you develop healthier eating habits.

Get enough sleep

Sleep regulates hormone levels. As such, lack of sleep causes higher levels of the hormone ghrelin, which is tied to feeling hungry. Not getting enough sleep affects how we think about food; we perceive it as a reward, and we become more prone to choosing unhealthy, high-calorie foods. Our 5 Helpful Tips to Improve Sleep article suggests avoiding caffeine after midday, as it is a stimulant that can stay with you for 8-14 hours. Also, aim to not use your devices an hour before you sleep, since they give off blue light that will make it hard for you to get shut-eye.

Practice mindfulness

Mindful eating is exactly what it sounds like: paying extra attention to the food and drinks that you consume. HelpGuide’s article on mindful eating explains how this can help you avoid overeating. After all, when you’re more focused on your meal, you can savour each bite even more and know exactly when you’re full. Often times, when we don’t eat mindfully, it becomes easy to get carried away. You might even be using eating as a coping mechanism when you’re stressed, instead of a way to nourish yourself when you’re hungry. Again, mindfulness is key.

Set healthy boundaries

Eating habits and health are personal, so you shouldn’t copy off anything you see on the internet without basis — whether it’s a new diet fad or trendy detox. Instead, consider consulting a nutritionist to determine what diet would be best for your lifestyle. Of course, you should be forgiving enough to allow yourself to be flexible; if you’re exhausted one day, let yourself eat more to help your body recover from the fatigue. There’s no need to deprive yourself of your favourite ice cream or cake completely — just know how to eat in moderation. This is better than avoiding them for a long time then ending up binge-eating because you can’t help yourself.

 

Enlist the help of vitamins and supplements

When your body lacks the necessary vitamins and minerals to function, this can lead to cravings and bad eating habits. Poor nutrition doesn’t automatically mean not eating a lot of food, it also stems from overeating the wrong kinds of food. While food is always the best source for vitamins, Pretty Me’s article on the Detoxi Slim Plus reveals that supplements are a convenient way to incorporate them into your lifestyle. Many of them contain nutrients like fibre, green tea extract, and psyllium husk, which you may not always easily find in food. However, take note that you still need to combine them with a healthy diet in order for them to work.

 

Fill up with fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are the safest bets for a healthy diet. For instance, leafy greens are low in calories, but they are very high in vitamins, minerals, and fibre. Spinach has high amounts of vitamin A, calcium, and an adult’s full daily requirement of vitamin K. Medical News Today also lists twelve “powerhouse” fruits that have low calories but high nutrient density. Lemons rank number one, as it’s loaded with vitamin C, potassium, and other antioxidants. You’ll never run out of healthy food options.
It might be difficult to start healthy eating habits. But once you manage to religiously follow them every day, they eventually become a natural part of your lifestyle — just remember to do it for yourself.

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Blog article written by Annie Robyn for thebodyrefinery.com.au

Exercise protects respiratory health

To minimise the transmission of COVID-19, social distancing, and meticulous hand washing hygiene are two preventative measures that are being encouraged by Governments and health authorities world-wide. But we can be empowered to do more to proactively protect our respiratory health during this pandemic, and the great news is that it has nothing to do with restrictions and everything to do with getting off the couch and/or stepping away from the desk.

We know that exercise is important for our health and wellbeing, and it is promoted for its protective benefits in the prevention and treatment of illness and disease for good reason. Recent medical research strongly supports the possibility that regular endurance exercise may prevent, or at least reduce, the severity of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), which can be one of the serious respiratory-related symptoms of COVID-19.

Through endurance exercise, skeletal muscle naturally produces a protective enzyme known as ‘extracellular superoxide dismutase’ (EcSOD). This potent antioxidant is redistributed to vital tissues, particularly the lungs. This enhanced EcSOD activity increases the first line of defence against oxidative damage in the lung tissue. By reducing oxidative stress in the lungs, EcSOD reduces the risk and severity of acute lung injury and ARDS. Thus, it is suggested that regular endurance exercise may be an effective therapeutic intervention for the prevention and treatment of numerous oxidative stress-related diseases, including some of the respiratory symptoms of COVID-19.

The great news is that endurance exercise can be as simple as a long walk, run, ride or swim.

Let this be the green light of encouragement to get out and get moving. Not only will it help clear the mind, increase endorphins, give you a change of scenery – and often perspective – but it will aid in the protection of your respiratory health. This is a great self-care activity you can do, starting today. If you would like support in your exercise journey, our caring health and movement professionals at The Body Refinery are here to help. We have a range of options available to you, including online classes, 1-on-1 exercise physiology sessions, 1-on-1 physio-led clinical rehabilitation sessions, and small group clinical rehab classes that are taken by a physiotherapist. Call, email or book online today.

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Written by Sarah Holloway, Myotherapist and Pilates Instructor 

The important 4th Trimester

4th trimester

With so much pressure on women to be back to normal after the birth of their baby, we are seeing an increase in the number of post-partum issues occurring in women. These include prolapse, incontinence and pain.

Having a baby via either vaginal delivery or c section should be treated more like major surgery instead of something we bounce back from in six weeks. This is not to say that women should not be exercising, but rather considering the tissue changes that occur in pregnancy and having a specific plan to return to the activities they wish to do.

Women are commonly told to do what they want after the birth of their child and feel the pressure to get their pre-baby body and fitness back immediately.  Currently, there are no clear guidelines or rules in place to help protect against damaging the pelvic floor returning to exercise. At The Body Refinery, we recommend a post-partum consultation with one of our women’s health physiotherapists to help you design a plan to return to exercise.

4th trimester

Here are some general tips that should also be considered when recovering from pregnancy and birth and returning to exercise

1: Rest

Let your body recover!  You have been growing a baby for 40 weeks, which has involved tissues stretching and organs moving.  Increased weight and the effect of relaxin have weakened your joints in your body. You have either laboured or had surgery.  Rest and sleep are the best things for you to recover. Treat the first 6-12 weeks as a recovery period- a fourth trimester. Sleep is more important than ironing or running or getting your pre-baby body back.

2: Nutrition and Hydration

If you’re breastfeeding, your body needs a few extra calories and you need extra nutrients. Ask your health care professional if you need to take any supplements such as iron or calcium. A good GP, women’s health physio and dietician combination are important.  Take care you yourself to be able to give the most to your new baby.  Hydration is essential for all new mums.  It helps with milk production but also helps with muscle a fascia recovery.  Good hydration also helps with sleep.

  1. Be Realistic

After all, your body has been through expecting to return to your pre-baby fitness levels and body shape in less than 9 months is unrealistic.  It took 9 months to change and it is likely to take 9 months to change back. After having a check-up with a women’s health physio to ensure all the bit are where they should start slow.  Set aside 30 mins a day for exercise. This may be a gentle walk initially just pushing the pram or some exercises that your physio gives you. Ask you physio to help you map out an exercise routine that will work around the care of your baby.

 

When you have a new baby to care for, you should take precautions to avoid being out-of-action due to injury.  Some new mums may be ready to return to their pre-pregnancy exercise routine sooner than others, and some new mums may need to avoid certain exercises for several months.  It’s important to remember that your body has experienced significant changes and that every mum’s pregnancy and birth experiences are unique to them, which is why it’s important to seek professional guidance during the 4th-trimester recovery phase.

Our physiotherapy appointments are in private rooms.  To book an appointment with one of our experienced Women’s Health Physiotherapists, call our friendly admin team on 3358 3915.

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Book today to experience the benefits of a personalised post-partum exercises plan through our App or on 07 3358 3915.

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Benefits of prenatal massage

pregnancy massage The Body Refinery New Farm Brisbane

Prenatal Massage is a combination of relaxation and remedial massage that is adapted to suit the many physical changes that can occur during pregnancy. Our Remedial Massage Therapists can effectively reduce your pain and discomfort and restore function to your muscles, nerves, fascia and other connective tissues.

What happens when you have a massage while pregnant here at The Body Refinery?

 

Benefits of prenatal massage can include:

  • Relax
  • Loosen muscle tightness
  • Reduced back pain
  • Reduced joint pain
  • Reduce muscle tension & headaches
  • Improved circulation – helps reduce edema/helps improve lymphatic flow flushing out toxins from your body and reduce swelling in ankles/feet & hands
  • Improved oxygenation of soft tissue and muscles
  • Better sleep
  • Massage can reduce stress hormones & anxiety
  • Decreased symptoms of depression

pregnancy massage The Body Refinery New Farm Brisbane

Our therapists will use various degrees of appropriate hands-on pressure during your prenatal massage and dependant on your trimester. This variety will improve the condition and function of your muscles, and your body as a whole. You will immediately begin to feel the positive and powerful changes in your body. Toward the end of the third trimester, you may wish to have a tailored induction massage, where the treatment focuses on acupressure points in the body to help relax the body before labour.

At The Body Refinery, your massage is all about you. For your comfort, you can enjoy your massage:

  • Side-lying
  • Lying face up with right side supported
  • Lying face down using our specially designed supportive pregnancy pillow.

Don’t hesitate, treat yourself with a prenatal massage. Did you know, remedial massage is claimable through private health! Book your remedial massage today and focus on your health and mind-body connection. Create your profile or book now!

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