Optimising your Recovery

There is more than just exercise that is associated with recovery. A hard day warrants a long rest. A special occasion of celebration, with party food and alcohol, is sensibly followed with plenty of water, and hopefully a sleep in to allow extra hours for the mind to replenish and the detoxifying organs to neutralise the alcohol… There is ebb and flow with a myriad of things of nature, and in our social and professional lives. Recovery is even geared into our psyche, hence why we place head to pillows collectively and repair for 7-10 hours.

For now, in the context of muscle recovery after stress such as exercise, recovery models which aid the healing process and get us back to being optimal – are the big 4! 

Number 1. Cold Water Immersion. CWE has been given much awareness from people such as Paul Chek, Stig Severinsen, Wim Hof and our very own, Australian Nam Baldwin. I have experienced the teachings of Paul and Stig, and soon I’ll learn from Nam. Wim’s teachings has a stronger correlation to cold and ice exposure, yet all gentleman demonstrate breathing techniques and breath holds, which still are administered in many situations, to buffer or regulate and match the body to the environment.

If you choose to expose yourself to this contrast therapy, start easy! Try a temperature regulated shower and wet the limbs first, then the the torso which is a graduation. A client of mine once completely doused herself in a cold shower and it was lucky she did not faint! I

remarked that the cold will constrict blood vessels, whereas heat or warmth will dilate. What happened for her, was that the blood left her periphery and headed straight for the organs and gut. I will share more on contrast therapies / exposure on the next blog.

Understanding the effects of treatments such as cold water immersion and active recovery on inflammation within skeletal muscle after exercise is important. Cold water immersion is a

widespread practice among various sports, and a growing body of evidence suggests that this strategy may affect muscle recovery from strenuous exercise. Repair of skeletal muscle tissue following injury is complex.

That brings us to Number 2. Massage! In 2018, Frontiers in Physiology, a leading research organisation in the field published a meta-analysis study* (multiple studies addressing the same subject / question) was performed evaluating the impact of recovery techniques on delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), perceived fatigue, muscle damage, and inflammatory markers after physical exercise. We have all felt this right! I also check in with new clients after their initial session, as this can be the same for Remedial Therapy. The muscle fibres ‘micro-tear’ which is a by-product rather than an intention from my perspective when I treat, allow for blood, oxygen and water to nourish these once hypoxic or adhered tissue, thus generating a healing response and building the muscles back more resilient. The study found – Active recovery, massage, compression garments, immersion, contrast water therapy, and cryotherapy

induced a small to large decrease (−2.26 < g < −0.40) in the magnitude of DOMS, while there was no change for the other methods. Massage was found to be the most powerful

technique for recovering from DOMS and fatigue. In terms of muscle damage and inflammatory markers, we observed an overall moderate decrease in creatine kinase [SMD (95% CI) = −0.37

(−0.58 to −0.16), I2 = 40.15%] and overall small decreases in interleukin-6 [SMD (95% CI) = −0.36 (−0.60 to −0.12), I2 = 0%] and C-reactive protein [SMD (95% CI) = −0.38 (−0.59 to−0.14), I2 =

39%]. All molecules and active properties that constitute muscle growth and repair.

In summary – the most powerful techniques for reducing inflammation were massage and cold exposure. I have many clients that book, immediately after an event, at the conclusion of a training cycle, whether weekly or biweekly, or on a Monday post weekend shenanigans, or and ultimately conducive in nature, as a resilience method to prepare their bodies or life! Optimal Balance and Optimal Recovery are now modern day needs. Wellness is the precursor to Fitness, and this can be evident when our bodies are dictated by time constraints or an unawareness of what is needed for our health. Please seek a Remedial Therapist or allied practitioner and learn or share your

personal insights. Numbers 3 and 4 next blog!

Not Sleeping? Here’s what our Naturopath has to say.

Sleep disturbance and insomnia are becoming more prevalent in our society and we are seeing an increasing number of patients in clinic suffering from sleep disorders. During the sleep phase, the body is subject to significant restorative activity which nurtures the nervous system, the cardiovascular system, the digestive system and the respiratory system.

If individuals are not getting enough sleep or if they are not entering all the different phases of sleep including the different stages of REM (rapid eye movement) and NREM (non-rapid eye movement), they will not be getting the therapeutic benefits that restorative sleep brings to those body systems.

Sleep disorders may relate to one of the following conditions:

•Sleep onset insomnia (difficulty falling asleep at night)

•Sleep maintenance insomnia (waking during the night or continuous awakening early in the morning)

•Non-restorative sleep (adequate quantity of sleep but poor quality of sleep)

Ongoing sleep disturbance can impact our lives in many ways:-

•Stress, irritability and nervous tension / anxiety

•Poor memory and impaired cognitive function

•Low mood and depression

•Gut dysbiosis

•Immune dysfunction

•Weight gain or loss

•Hormonal imbalance

•Headaches and migraine


•Muscular aches and pains

Chronic sleep disorders can be caused by numerous factors so it is important to find out what is causing the sleep disturbance and treat the condition with a holistic approach.

Insomnia can present as a symptom of an underlying issue that won’t resolve until the underlying issue is addressed. In the interim though, here are some tips to help you sleep a little easier and a little more soundly:

1) Keep a regular sleep pattern – go to bed at the same time each night and wake around

the same time each morning. This can be difficult for some whose routine involves shift work or new parents but keeping a regular pattern can help with sleep issues. Napping can also cause sleep disturbance so unless you can no longer keep your eyes open, try skipping that afternoon nap.

2) Avoid screen time for at least 30-60 minutes prior to bed time. All screens including phones, laptops, iPads, television and other electronic devices are stimulating to the brain and can switch our brain over from winding down to gearing up.

3) Ensure you are getting enough protein and essential fatty acids in your diet as these nutrients promote restful sleep by regulating hormones such as serotonin and melatonin and support the nervous system.

4) Avoid stimulating food and drinks including caffeine, alcohol and sugar. These stimulants are known to wreak havoc with sleep and reduce the quality of sleep. Recreational drugs can also cause disturbance to the natural sleep pattern and reduce the quality of sleep.

5) Drink calming, sedating herbal teas in the evening such as chamomile, passionflower, lemon balm or lavender. These teas contain sedative properties that help induce sleep and improve the quality of sleep.

6) Regular exercise has been shown to reduce the occurrence of insomnia and promote restorative sleep. It is important, however, not to exercise too close to bed time as this can be stimulating to the body and impair the sleep onset stage.

7) Winding down before bed time by having a warm bath, turning down the lights and turning off electronic devices or doing some relaxation exercises or meditation can help to calm the nervous system, relax the body and induce sound sleep.

8) Ensure your bed and bedroom are set at a suitable temperature. Overheating or being too cool during the night will cause disruption to sleep. Try to find and maintain a comfortable temperature to facilitate restful sleep.

If you are experiencing sleep disturbance and would like to resolve the problem, consider natural medicine which takes a holistic approach to treatment and may include herbal medicine formulas, nutritional medicine and/or supplementation and dietary recommendations, lifestyle modifications and other natural therapies. Belle is a Naturopath at Northern Beaches Integrative Practitioners and can help you to sleep soundly again.

To book a consultation with Belle please phone 8406 0679 or book online at http://www.nbip.com.au