Notes From an 1884 Medical Text: Part I

Notes From an 1884 Medical Text: Part I

 

“Madam, you cannot have health without exercise and pure air”. Robb, R.L.

 

A couple of weeks ago whilst cleaning out the house, my mum found a Medical textbook from 1884;

‘Robb’s Family Physician: Being a concise and comprehensive treatise on diseases, as they occur in everyday life – showing the causes, explaining the symptoms and treatment and demonstrating the cure of the various ill’s humanity is subject to. Sold by subscription only’.

Half-interested at first, thinking I’ll take a quick look over it and see if it’s worth keeping, I flicked through it. Surprised by how intuitive the content is, and also how similar it is to the concepts taught in Naturopathy, for which I am qualified, I am now reading it cover to cover and decided to share my thoughts with you here.

I also tracked down a copy for sale of the 1882 version, which is priced at $480. Wow!

So, this is Part 1 of my 1884 medical textbook adventure…

I have heard from highly experienced naturopaths that naturopathy it is not ‘alternative medicine’, but in fact the original medicine. Now I know exactly what they meant.

As of late there have been drastic moves by the government to deem natural therapies useless, so their allopathic form can take over. Given that modern medicine does not have a handle on most diseases, I believe there is a place for all kinds of medicine and that looking into the past to see where we have gone wrong is a powerful thing.

 

THE BOOK STARTS OFF WITH A RATHER IMPACTFUL STATEMENT;

“It is a matter of great importance how far it is proper to interfere with the management of diseases”. Meaning, man is not God nor should he play God, especially in the arena for which he or she doesn’t know what is really going on.

One of the most contrasting elements of natural vs allopathic (drug-based) medicine is in the founding concept; natural medicine believes that the body is powerful and can heal itself, merely needing some steering in the right direction. That ‘steering’ is managed through the prescription of natural remedies be it plants, nutrients, emotional factors or energetics, and lifestyle change, so either the cause is removed, or the body is supported where this can’t happen.

As a contrast to that, allopathic medicine aims to find the problem, and then either remove, block, suppress, or re-direct that problem, in most cases doing not much more outside of suppressing the symptoms of that condition. The problem with this approach (in my opinion), is that we are not machines running on man made parts. The outcomes of certain actions within the body are totally unpredictable just like the onset of most diseases themselves are.

Back to the book contents… 

 

TO TREAT THE PATIENT, THERE ARE 8 ‘GENERAL RULES’;  

  1. The removal of the cause upon which the disease depends, is amongst the most important; ie, identify the cause of the disease – whether it be by climate, living conditions, previous history, constitution, electric, or caused by food or famine, etc
  2. The exact seat of the disease should be ascertained; ie, find out if the condition is in the blood and if not, where is it?
  3. It must be stated, as a general law, that diseases are rarely stationary; ie, find out if it’s coming, going, on a break, improving, or worsening.
  4. The use of remedies is also governed by the stage of the disease; ie, ensure you know what stage it is at, before you treat it.
  5. The condition of the system; ie, how was the person doing when it started? Where they strong, unhealthy, old, young? What habits did they have?
  6. Co-existing influences modify greatly the disease results of particular causes; ie, without attending to these underlying influences that modify disease – and I’ll quote the book here because it’s great – “the treatment will be liable to attend with fatal blunders.”
  7. The pointing of nature, as shown by the expression of wants by the patient should not be disregarded, but should be watched for, and cautiously gratified, even if they are opposed by the dictates of our own reason, or even to the whole course of our own reason; ie, deny the patient the typed of foods, drinks, and lifestyle demands made whilst unwell, if it is believed that it will hinder the healing process, so for example drinking alcohol or mcdonalds when unwell is not helpful to the healing process
  8. In the treatment of disease, it is a good general rule to attend to the state of the functions (secretions and excretions) and to correct any disorder there, even if they are not directly connected to the disease; ie, ensure the elimination channels are functioning properly including the kidneys/urine, bowel, skin, as without proper elimination of waste, a healthy state cannot be achieved!

Note that the italics are the beautifully constructed words from the book, and the ‘ie’ that follows is my explanation in regard to what that rule is all about.

To put these concepts into practice, let’s take for example rule 1; you need to find the cause of the disease, and remove it. Say for example your disease is caused by your lifestyle, taking a pill will merely protect you from dying sooner, from that condition. A change in lifestyle however, aka removal of the cause, will likely help you heal.

Rule 8 is one of the most important in naturopathy, for if the body can’t eliminate waste, it can’t heal either. When is the last time the doctor checked your elimination? What about rule 6, where it states that without addressing underling issues, or pre-existing conditions, you may give the wrong treatment and kill the patient? This happens in modern medicine so often that it has a name – iatrogenesis.

 

IN SPECIAL CONSIDERATION OF WOMEN…

“Women are more susceptible to men and should be treated more delicately.”

Despite what modern feminists believe, men and women aren’t the same. Women have more fragile constitutions, and a different purpose to men, physiologically. Men thrive under stress but for women it’s considered a threat to child baring. When did we lose touch with this?

Most medicinal and nutritional protocol are tested on young, military aged men. Women are excluded because our hormones fluctuate too much, and menstrual cycles mess with data consistency. When data is inconsistent, drugs can’t be approved.

This book recommends special treatment for women, which makes sense to me. I obviously believe women are awesome, but I do accept the very real fact that our bodies aren’t as resilient as men’s. Accepting this fact is one of the primary things that brought about the success of my coaching business. I treat women like women, I don’t push them like men.

He goes on to specify that during the menstrual cycle, many treatments should be stopped as this is not a time for healing.

That concludes Part 1 of my 1884 medical textbook reflections.

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?

Please send me any feedback or thoughts on this? And let me know if this is a topic of interest for you so I can include more like it!

Jen x

 

Women Need a Strong Posterior Chain – Here is Why, and How to Strengthen it

Women Need a Strong Posterior Chain – Here is Why, and How to Strengthen it

The posterior chain is a group of muscles that make up the back (posterior) portion of the body structure. They include the back, glute, and hamstring muscles. The abdominals (mostly the inner portion) tie this chain together into one functional unit.

Most people, and especially women, have a weak posterior chain, and these are the muscles you need to strengthen when you want to improve performance, body composition, health and posture. They are also extremely helpful in pregnancy as your weight will be pulled forwards with the baby, so maintaining strength through the posterior makes child-bearing less uncomfortable.

Exercises that require a strong posterior chain in order to do them well include the squat, lunge, bench press, push up, pull-up, and deadlift. Interestingly, these are the movements most people seem to want to start on. I never program these exercises until a client has a strong enough posterior chain to handle them well.

Personally, I have never met a woman who doesn’t have ‘symptoms’ of weakness in these areas, and who isn’t experiencing issues with their hips, knees, or lower back when they start training with me.

IDENTIFYING IF YOUR POSTERIOR CHAIN IS WEAK

In posture, you can identify it through forward-rounded shoulders (palms tend to face backwards when relaxed), kyphosis (the upper spine is over-rounded and hard to extend), lordosis (where the lower back arches inwards creating what you may call a ‘duck butt’), and/or collapsed feet, which usually come with inwardly rotated knees. You may have one, or all of these imbalances.

When you train, weakness can be noticed if performing weight training causes upper body discomfort including your lower back or upper traps (top of your shoulders), or lower body discomfort such as painful knees, hips, or tight hip flexors.

When squatting or lunging, if your glutes and hamstrings are weak your knees will want to rotate inwards, and you will want to push back up with your toes. You may over-arch your lower back in order to press back up to the beginning of the movement. You may feel like you never get the ‘burn’ through your glutes that you are aiming for.

When pressing or rowing, you may find that you never feel your back muscles the way you want, or your upper traps and neck might feel painful and inflamed the next day. Shrugging your shoulders when performing upper body movements is a sure-fire sign that your posterior chain is weak

Abdominally, you may find your lower back hurts, or your hips and thighs take more weight, and ‘burn’ more, than your abs do when you’re trying to strengthen them

Essentially, if too train on a weak posterior chain, although you may get stronger at first you will find that eventually you will stall in progression, as your body isn’t in it’s ideal position, and the larger, stronger, supporting muscles whose job it is to perform those movements, are hindered or inactive.

IMPROVING THE STRENGTH OF YOUR POSTERIOR CHAIN

Strengthening the posterior chain is simple but can take a bit of messing around depending on how out of line your posture is, and how tight you are in the ‘wrong’ places. Below are the steps you would take, and that I take with my clients, to get their posterior chain working efficiently;

  1. Learn how the movement is supposed to look and where you are supposed to feel it, for any exercises involving the glutes, hamstrings, abdominals, or back
  2. Choose a weight that is light when you are learning. Leave your ego at the door. It is also a good idea to keep your learning to machine-based exercises until you get the basic principles, and move on to things like squatting and deadlifting later on when you’re ready. If you are re-learning, then you will need to lower your weight compared to where you were at before, if you aren’t feeling it in the right muscle groups.
  3. Note where you are feeling the exercises, if it’s your back, glutes and/or hamstrings, this is correct. If it is your neck, upper traps (shoulders), lower back, knees, or hip flexors, this is incorrect.
  4. Use stretching and activation exercises for the muscles that aren’t ‘switching on’ for you. This includes band exercises, bodyweight exercises, ball or foam rolling, static and dynamic stretching, and some basic/light strengthening movements.
  5. Continue this process until you ‘feel’ the muscles you’re aiming to feel. Once you feel them on basic exercises, then move on to harder ones such as squats, deadlifts, lunges, or other full-body movements.
Keep in mind, results won’t come unless you take the time to master this

Remember that results, whether you are seeking a muscular look, posture correction, enhanced performance, or any other objective, come when you do the movements well, regardless of how heavy the weight is. I have had women come in and see me who are squatting 80kg+, but in order to get their glutes ‘working’ and supporting the movement, we have had to drop the weight down to 30kg and, much to their shock, they find this harder

When your posterior chain is ‘activated’ and functioning as it should, your nervous system will become more resilient and powerful, as will your body in general.

Heavy weights should only be lifted once technique is perfect, as building more muscle on unsupported foundations creates more work in the long run to correct it, and trust me when I say this, at some point, you will have to correct it.

Hope this helps you to accelerate your results in the gym 😉

Jen x

Highlights from 2020

Highlights from 2020

2020 was a weird year – no one can dispute that. I felt a little bit like this picture at first, as I went through all of the emotions and experiences – stress, unpredictability, shock, awakened, relieved, free – all at the same time.

I would say 2020 tested our resilience, compassion, trust, and stability, more than ever before. Most people I know actually embraced the changes – extra time, less pressure at work, more time with their loved ones.

Travel restrictions, lockdowns and business closures made the world seem like a much smaller place. It made us appreciate what we have right in front of us. I found myself grateful for the house I own, the friends I have, and the clientele I allowed into my business as this then became a business I run from home and I mean, completely from home.

So thanks to the events of 2020, I will be going into 2021 with some really great realisations, and this post is dedicated to what I learned

1: SOCIAL MEDIA HIATUS

I took a three-month break from social media – all platforms, apart from messenger. Highlight, you ask? Hell yes! Social media is not my jam. I hate it, actually. I think it’s filled with lies, absurd competition, and fakery, and I have wasted a lot of time over the years trying to work out who is honest, and who is not. I think there are better ways to occupy our time.

When the lockdowns started, I really felt the pull to go inwards. There was literally nothing else being spoken about online but you-know-what, it was all very negative, and fear-based. This is not how I like to live, nor can I do my best work or live my best life in this environment.

So I decided this was my opportunity, I had always wondered whether it was necessary to post on social media for my particular business. My client spots have been full since 2013, and I don’t think any of them told me they found me on social media. So, this was my big chance!

I deleted it, and instead filled this time (now that my brain wasn’t filled with everyone else’s ideas and perspectives), with re-connecting with my goals. At first I found myself scrolling Pinterest, but then deleted that too. The habit is hard to break, eh? I then got stuck into work. It was great.

Whilst not on social, I learned of how it changes your brain (not for the better), I learned of its political bias, how it supports particular messages and not others, and got some real evidence that reinforced to me why I never liked it.

Once I was done with my three months, I didn’t care about it at all. It didn’t effect my business. Now I just post what I think my clients would love to read, and I don’t worry about anyone else. So that’s made the social world a little more fun. I am sure there are many out there who always saw it this way, but it took me a while to get there! So, that was highlight number 1.

2: GRATITUDE

Despite it being a stressful year, I realised that I have everything I need right here, right now.

If I was to never acquire anything else, I would be one happy woman.

I realised that my business isn’t going anywhere, and no lock down is going to dull the flames that fuel the drive in my clientele. I would say about 95% of them cruised through the year, didn’t quit, stayed on track, and smashed their goals – some had babies, lots of bodies and minds were transformed, a few ladies competed (Robina turned PRO!).

They actually inspired me!

Because growing up I experienced a lot of stress, there has always been a part of me that clings really hard to what I have. I work non-stop fearing that I am not doing enough, not being enough, and that with the slightest ‘bump’ I could lose everything I have worked so hard for. I feel like the penny is going to drop an any minute.

2020 was the year in which I realised that will never happen. I built my business with integrity and it is here to stay. I feel so much calmer since having this realisation, as I didn’t realise I was still operating with this underlying fear playing in the background.

If anything, my business has been busier than ever. I am working from home now, still considering whether I will return to a gym or open up my own, but for now I am content. Which brings me to highlight number three…

3: I WORKED ON A LONG TERM DREAM

With no travel, no social media distractions, and a few less clients in the first month of lockdown, I found myself feeling really energised with this extra time. Even though it was only 10 hours or so, it felt like a lot of time to spend on me.

I made a connection with a long-term friend and client, to assist me in a work project which will be revealed very soon – a few months time in fact! It’s how I always wanted my business to be, but with health issues and such a consistently heavy client load I was never quite able to piece it together.

Anyways, I can’t reveal too much. In the meantime, enjoy browsing my new Website! This is part one of the change we have been working on during this time.

4: IT WAS THE HEALTHIEST YEAR OF MY LIFE

Health is the greatest wealth. I would always read this, whilst battling health issues, but never really understood it’s full meaning. In the past all my money and focus was on healing my body – I wanted to be completely healthy so I could live my life to the fullest.

Although it did take me years to achieve, 2020 was the first year I was able to reap the rewards of all that hard work. I was able to save money as I didn’t spend it all on health care. I experienced no mental health interference, consistent sleep, no break in training, no fatigue outside the normal kind, I branched out and ate various foods that I haven’t been able to eat for years and lost another 6kg.

I had the time and mental space to read up on, and learn about topics outside of the health field, which included studies on surveillance, gender identity issues, social media toxicity, political memoirs, and other topics. (yes, heavy, i love this kind of thing!) But I love to learn and grow so it was great to be able to focus my attention in this way.

5: I FOUND OTHERS WHO WERE EMBARKING ON A SIMILAR HEALING JOURNEY TO ME

Healing yourself from illness is not something that the larger population understand, and I always found this isolating. When you want to bypass medical recommendation and unwind your health problem, there is no one to talk to but the specialist groups you find on social media, or the professionals you are paying for this support.

Even now I am healed, I still struggle to find others that understand my journey, but one event stood out to me in 2020, and that was a conversation I had with others who were working on healing their bipolar disorder (this is one of the things I healed in myself). They found themselves in such a similar place to where I was in the past, and were seeking answers to missing pieces, or things they could add to their efforts, as they were so close but not quite over that line. I contributed mine which brought me much joy! Might I add this was on Facebook – so that’s another thing that it is good for 😉

When you find people who understand all of you and what you have experienced, it is a very freeing thing.

6: UNCOVERED SOME INSPIRATIONAL WOMEN TO CARRY ME THROUGH 2021

Again with the fact that my attention wasn’t on my health, and I was researching new areas from politics to history, I found myself super focussed in on women who speak their minds and aren’t afraid of what other people think of them

In a healing journey, much of what you need to do is reclaim what you lost in your childhood – what you were shamed for, isolated for, and disliked for. One of those things for me, was honesty. I always told it like it was, didn’t like being told what to do, but was convinced that this was a bad thing that I needed to ‘stop’. The next piece of my healing journey is to reclaim that part of me.

In my research I found women who can inspire me into 2021, and with their strength and wisdom backing me, I don’t see anything getting in my way. I don’t believe any of us can achieve what we want without modelling off the courage of someone who has already done what we wish to do.

So, that’s it. In summary it has been an amazing year, one of great transformation, realisation, gratitude, and joy.

 

What was your favourite memory of 2020??

High Protein, Low Carb Smoothie Bowl

High Protein, Low Carb Smoothie Bowl

Smoothie bowls are the most delicious, refreshing sugar hit, perfect for a summer breakfast or snack. But are they good for you?

Despite smoothie bowls being packed with healthful ingredients – fruit, greens, honey, seeds – it is an extremely high carbohydrate meal option.

Carbohydrates (particularly sugar) in high amounts can be problematic for some individuals, for example those with diabetes, excess weight, high stress levels, fatigue, or hormonal issues such as PMS and PCOS. In all of these scenarios lies an issue with the hormone insulin – it doesn’t function as well is it should, mopping up excess carbohydrates and burning them for fuel.

A typical smoothie bowl (or smoothie) comes with 100gms+ carbs, mostly in the form of sugar. In addition, they don’t contain enough protein to balance this sugar spike out.

When you have issues with blood sugar regulation, one of the easiest ways to take care of yourself nutritionally is to avoid sugar, particular that sugar which does not come packed with fibre, or which comes in high on the glycemic index scale.

The solution? A high protein, Casein Custard smoothie bowl! All you need to make it is chopped fruit, protein custard, water, and chia seeds. This protein smoothie bowl is higher in protein than it is in carbs, so it will digest well, whilst tasting delicious at the same time

Ingredients:

  • Choose 250gms any fruit. Keep in mind that apples, pears, berries are the lowest on the glycemic index. I choose 150gms from these fruits (usually berries) and 100gms from other – generally banana, mango, pineapple or pink dragonfruit (of a combo!)
  • Add 15gms chia seeds
  • 45gms Muscle Nation Protein Custard – I use vanilla flavour, but you can use banana or strawberry too to compliment the fruit flavour

Instructions:

  • Chop up all the fruit, add in the chia seeds, and 3/4 cup water. Soak this for 20-30mins while the chia seeds expand
  • Add the protein custard
  • Blend with a blender or bullet
  • Empty out into a bowl and top with anything you want (not included in the macros below).

Why is it so low in carbs? Generally you need quite bit of fruit in order to get the thick consistency, but because the custard thickens up in water (can be eaten as a protein custard snack), it makes it thicker without you needed to add heaps of fruit!

Macros (without topping):

  • Protein: 38gm
  • Carbs: 38gm
  • Fats: 8gm
  • Calories: 376

As I am tracking calories at the moment and having this as a snack, I just topped it with some puffed multigrain, which is virtually calorie-free, and a few of the frozen berries from the fruit allowance. You can top it with anything you like though! Micronutrients include fibre, vitamin C, folate, potassium, vitamin A, calcium and iron.

Hope you enjoy 🙂

Finding a Silver Lining in Times of Adversity

Finding a Silver Lining in Times of Adversity

I’m kind of stating the obvious here by saying that these are trying times for many of us; things are going a little crazy out there, and there is contradictory, confusing and confronting information being spilled out of every media outlet in sight.

As much as I love to express my opinion on global issues, I like to stay in my lane when it comes to expressing them publicly unless they are directly related to something I know well, and practice often. Given the fact that I am in the health and wellness sphere, I will focus my attention on supporting you all in finding positivity, within crisis, as that is something I am particularly skilled at!

Finding silver linings to seemingly negative and hopeless situations is one of my favourite things to do, and something I have done hundreds (if not thousands) of times throughout my life whilst dealing with depression and anxiety growing up. It is really all about attitude, resilience, and where you choose to direct your attention.

When facing stress, or feeling blue, you need to do two things;  the first is to change your state, meaning, you need to snap your body out of whatever funky energy it is ‘sitting’ in. The second is to find a silver lining, something that brings positive opportunity to a negative situation, so you can move forward.

So in the spirit of contributing something to this weird and stressful time, I’ve compiled a few of my favourite ways to uncover that silver lining, change your perspective, and your physical state, so you can continue on thriving in times of stress.

 

PERSPECTIVE SHIFT

Perspective shifts are all about flipping a negative into a positive, moving from self-defeating mindset to a constructive one. It’s not an easy task, and sometimes you need to keep yourself accountable and snap out of victim mode in order to make it happen. It all depends on how ‘stuck’ you are.

STEP 1: Write down a list of all the benefits to your situation

You probably rolled your eyes when you read that. What positives!? In order to do this, you need to dig deep, as when you’re not in a good place these things don’t just jump to the surface. If you lost your job, did you actually like it? If you have no money, were you out of control with your spending? If you just went through a breakup, was that relationship really serving your highest good? Think outside the box a little and answer with honesty.

STEP 2: Write down a plan as to how you will make the most of the situation

A plan is where you take that benefitfrom the stressful situation that you uncovered in the previous point, and write down actionable steps to make something happen. This may be something like;

  • The problem might be; I lost my job, but I didn’t like it anyways. The actionable step might be; reflect on what I would actually want to do. Apply for jobs in a more desirable field. Seek out further education to bridge the gap between what I can do, and what I want to do.
  • The problem might be; I have no money, but I was overspending before. The actionable step might be; Make a budget; what can you afford, what do you need in your life, and what can go? When you do have money again, how are you going to hold onto it? What better way to reel in your spending when you actually have no money to spend anyways?

There is always a silver lining, you just need to look for it. Resilience comes along with stronger foundations after every ‘fall’, as when approached constructively, you climb out stronger than before.

STEP 3: Write down everything you have, that you are grateful for

Write a list and stick it on your fridge if you have to. When the coronavirus shutdown first occurred, I was pretty angry as gyms closed so now I am working from home, my income down, my business in limbo and to be honest I was feeling pretty apathetic for a day or two. Then a quote popped up in my feed, which I reposted, that put things way back into perspective;

“Ok, but honestly, how privileged are so many of us that during a global pandemic, we can just stay warm at home, reading, working, still being educated, creating, talking to our loved ones, with little worries and a fridge stocked with food?”

I have no idea who wrote the quote but what a reality check for us westerners who are complaining about lack of toilet paper and (these next two were me) closed gyms and the fact that it took me three hours and 4 grocery shops to find and purchase meat to fit my specific macro requirements??

Reality check. There is always something to be grateful for.

 

CHANGING YOUR PHYSICAL STATE

 Sometimes, this one needs to come before the first if you can’t seem to get past your negative thinking cycle, or victimhood. We’ve all been there, where we have a problem and are not even slightly open to solutions to those problems, whether being offered by friends, family, coworkers, psychologists, etc.

When you’re stuck, you need to do something to change your state before you go ahead trying to be grateful. And fun fact, you probably won’t want to change your state, because you don’t feel like it. Oftentimes, in order to surpass out limited selves, we have to do things we don’t feel like doing. So to change your state, here are some of my favourite suggestions;

Create a go-to playlist, with all those songs that light you up

I mean lights you up, from the inside. You know those songs you hear that bring you such joy and make you just want to dance around like a crazy person? I have a playlist of those; it’s called ‘Wake-up/Inspirational’. I put it on when I feel crappy and eventually, you get back to feeling good

Get out into nature

Nature changes your state, something to do with the negative ions and the sounds it makes. Whether your jam is the beach, rainforest, up on a hill somewhere, or the local lake, force yourself to get out there and sit still, in your fave place, until you change your state.

Express yourself through whichever means possible

Whether it be dancing around the house like a crazy person, singing at the top of your lungs, playing an instrument, drawing, reading, writing, do something that brings your soul to the surface. You don’t need to be skilled or talented at it, you just need an outlet. Having a go-to outlet is an easy way to change your state. Mine is singing, as I find it relaxing, or I have tribal music that I love to play loudly while dancing around in the lounge room. Weird, I know.

Meditate

If you know how, this is a good one. Breathing, mindfulness, sound mediation, or walking meditation are all ways of changing your state and bringing about inner stillness.

Exercise

Physical movement is crucial for releasing stored energy and reinvigorating your body. Whether for you this is running, walking, cycling, going to the gym, and whether or not you feel like doing it, just get it done. This will change your state.

So there you have it, I hope you find these suggestions useful! Once you change your state, you can return back to your original task of finding a silver lining to your challenging situation. There is one there, always, you just need to dig down a little deeper, and find it.

Note that I have steered away from focusing on more obvious things such as eating a healthful diet, getting plenty of sleep, avoiding the narratives of the mainstream media, though it is my belief that these things are crucial for physical and emotional resilience as well.

Happy digging!

Jen x

 

 

 

 

 

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