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An Easy Way to Relax from Head to Toe

muscle tension relax

Muscle tension is a byproduct of stress

While your brain is on fire, your body feels tight and this feeling perpetuates itself: the tightness and potential pain add further to the stress. This situation necessitates an equally comprehensive response, taking deep breaths while addressing the muscle tension. 

When it comes to beating stress, progressive muscle relaxation is a tactic that is too easy to ignore.

  • Close your eyes to block out extra-sensory stimulation 
  • Start inhaling and exhaling evenly, four seconds at a time. 
  • With each inhale, flex a single muscle group.
  • With each exhale, relax that muscle group. 
  • Start with toes and work your way up to shoulders. 

This translates to immediate values, including a lowering of blood pressure, more fluid blood circulation and the relief of muscle tension. Focus the entirety of your attention on the rhythm of breathing above all else and you should start to feel less overwhelmed. When you open your eyes again, you can return to the task at hand with a refreshed perspective.

While stress encourages us to work harder, it does not necessarily make us work better. Taking as few as 60 seconds to de-tense your muscles is a powerful way to improve productivity while keeping your sanity intact! 

Dr. Raymond Espinosa, D.C. 

Balanced Breathing: A Beginner's Guide

deep breathing equal breathing

The concept is simple: balanced breathing means you breathe in and breathe out for equal amounts of time.

But the upside is amazing: there is no quicker way to calm your nervous system, sharpen the mind and reduce stress than by breathing well. Unfortunately, many of us seem to forget how to breathe as we get older, leading to shallow breath patterns that leave us short on oxygen. 

Begin by breathing deeply

Diaphragmatic breathing, also known as deep breathing, begins by contracting the diaphragm, inhaling through the nose and filling your lungs with air. In this way the abdomen, and not the chest, will expand outward as you saturate all the cells of your body with the oxygen they need to respire. To step it up just a notch further, and turn this basic activity into more of a relaxant, try "equal breathing."

Practice breathing in through the nose for four seconds and out through the nose four seconds and linking the breaths together so that your breathing feels like one continuous cycle. The rhythm will help calm your mind during moments of stress. You can use this technique before bed, during a stressful commute, or during a free minute at work. At Espinosa Family Chiropractic, we believe in the power of breathing and we want to help you breathe your best. See how we can improve the function of your diaphragm and its accessory muscles by calling our office and scheduling an appointment today. 

Dr. Raymond Espinosa, D.C.

Mood Swings: A Balancing Act

mood swings

Your emotional state is reflective of your lifestyle.

Changes in temperament are reasonable and to be expected when you consider the pressures of adulthood but mood swings are more erratic and disruptive to your well-being. Our lifestyles are a balancing act between genetic predispositions and more tangible lifestyle factors including diet, level of activity and stress. When stress levels are up and activity is down, our body's attempt at homeostasis often becomes jeopardized.

Mood swings can be regulated by controlling the factors within your power! 

So your workload is higher than usual, you aren't exercising as much and you're diet has fallen by the wayside. This is a great recipe for leaving your body and mind in a compromised state that leaves you vulnerable to unpredictable mood swings. Here's a little insight on how healthy lifestyle decisions impact your emotional state:

  • Diet: Skipping breakfast? Relying on coffee and sugar to get you through a hectic work day? Caffeine is a veritable malfactor when it comes to homeostasis and sugar can leave blood sugar levels low after an initial spike. Diet should be a stabilizing influence, not a wave-creator!

  • Activity: We need to move to keep our circulation fresh, endorphins rushing and our body in a state of constant renewal. Staying sedentary is the quickest way to watch your body and mind deteriorate. 

  • Stress: stress management requires near constant dedication! Optimizing your home and workplace to keep stress at bay set the tone for a clearer mind and a healthier outlook. 

How does chiropractic help with mood swings?

By correcting subluxation and regulating the nervous system, which is the main mode of communication between brain and body. Removing pressure and subsequently interference from the nervous system helps the systems of the body work more fluidly, which is an essential component of homeostasis! For help creating an action plan to naturally account for changes in temperament and mood swings, give our office in Sacramento a call to schedule an appointment today! 

Dr. Raymond Espinosa, D.C. 

Microexercise: Moving in Small Doses

microexercise

And by small, we mean really small: 10 minutes or less at a time with microexercises 

Imagine that all you needed to do each day was get your heart rate up for 30 minutes, but the pressures of your job, your commute and home life prevented you from doing even that. For many of us, this is a blatant reality. The solution is to think smaller- what is the largest continuous block of time you can squeeze in to your schedule for exercise? Because even 60 seconds is good enough!

Microexercises are made for the busiest of lifestyles

Because everything we need in life is seemingly within reach of our fingertips, we are moving less and less. With a new year upon us, there is no better time than now to take back the little moments to give ourselves emotional and physical boost. Studies show that the health benefits to be reaped by 30 minutes of continuous exercise (calorie burning, cholesterol levels and blood pressure) can also be gained by people who exercise in smaller doses, albeit more frequently. 

Some ideas for microexercises: 

  • Take to the stairs at work 

  • Try out a 5 minute yoga routine

  • Plank for 30 seconds or as long as you can handle it

  • Keep a set of dumbbells and a jump rope stored under your desk. 

  • Jumping jacks, sit-ups, push-ups

  • Simply take a walk

Besides getting your heart rate up and strengthening muscles, you are removing muscles from their constant state of contraction which is so prevalent in the office. This will help you feel less stiff at the end of the day. Choose what makes you happiest and dedicate yourself to doing it as often as you can for as long as you can. For help getting motivated, or healing injuries that are holding you back, give our office in Sacramento a call to schedule an appointment today!

Dr. Raymond Espinosa, D.C. 

 

A Diet Rich in Energy

feeling great

Dieting for energy is about balance

To be more precise, a diet that gives you energy would see you equally distribute calories throughout all your meals and observe a ratio high complex carbohydrates: medium protein: low (but not no) fat. Too many of us are skipping breakfast and wondering why we don't function later in the day; furthermore, this leads us to gorge ourselves because we feel starved by the middle of the afternoon. 

Candy, soda and coffee are not a recipe for energy

Fitting our diet into our busy daily schedules often means that we are eating on the go- grabbing for candy bars and coffee to waylay hunger. Sugar is a simple carbohydrate that is quickly processed by the body; this is why you might experience a surge in energy right away, but once it is is processed you are left with low blood sugar and low energy. Complex carbohydrates (think grains) are the fuel that really keeps you going.

Eating for high energy: 

  • Balance carbs, proteins, fats (avoid saturated fats)
  • Fruit and vegetables to provide you with natural sugar and all the micronutrients you need to feel your best. 
  • Iron: a crucial mineral that helps red blood cells allocate oxygen to allow our systems to function optimally. 
  • Vitamin D: is less plentiful during winter, which is unfortunate because it helps to keep mood swings at bay. Cold water fish, mushrooms and fortified dairy products are great places to add in more D.

Our role in keeping you energized

At Espinosa Family Chiropractic, we know that diet is the first place people can start making changes when accounting for fatigue. But keeping your body and, in particular, your nervous system, in top shape is also essential to feeling your best all the time. Chiropractic keeps you energized by removing interference from the nervous system; your brain will feel clearer and your body will function more effectively. Give our office in Sacramento a call to schedule an appointment today. 

Dr. Raymond Espinosa, D.C.