The Structural System
The best answer is false. There is a lot that we can do to prevent osteoporosis.
This refers to a common condition in which the internal organs of the abdomen and pelvis "drop" to a lower position due to the effects of gravity. This is caused by multiple factors including poor nutrition, being overweight and out of shape, and especially from poor colon health. The colon is often the most involved organ, due to the accumulations of heavy waste material from a diet that does not contain sufficient fiber. Secondary problems can occur as the weight of the organs compresses structures in the pelvic region, particularly the uterus in women and the prostate in men. Many problems, such as a "tilted uterus" are caused or aggravated by this condition. Exercises on a slant board, where the feet are elevated slightly higher than the rest of the body, are helpful, but the most important thing that can be done for this condition is cleansing and colon health maintenance. Another name for ptosis of organs is a "Prolapsed Colon." (See lesson on the intestinal system.)
Ptosis of Organs
The teeth are actually accessory organs of the digestive system, but we mention them here because they can also be considered part of the skeletal system; and the teeth, like the bones, are made up mostly of the minerals calcium and phosphorous.
Teeth and Gums
The health of the teeth is closely related to the health of the gums. A common condition of the gums is gingivitis [gingiva, gums + -itis, inflammation], a condition in which the gums become inflamed, red, swollen and bleeding, often as a result of poor mouth care, but also resulting from other conditions including pregnancy. Gingivitis can result from the buildup of bacterial plaque on the teeth. It may also be a sign of a vitamin deficiency. Gingivitis can result from or be aggravated by osteoporosis, in which bone loss occurs around the teeth allowing bacteria to enter causing further damage and bone loss. Gingivitis is the first sign of periodontal disease [peri-, around + odont, teeth], which is the major reason adults lose their teeth.
The health of the teeth and gums is closely related to the diet. It is important to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables every day, including some "crunchy" vegetables to stimulate strong bone formation around the roots of the teeth. Refined foods, such as sugar and enriched flour products, are detrimental because they produce an acid environment in the mouth and feed the bacteria that is associated with plaque and gingivitis.
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Posture is an important yet often overlooked component of health. Good posture allows adequate room for the organs to function properly. It also allows normal nerve and blood flow and lymphatic drainageall essential for health maintenance.
Our muscles will shorten or lengthen to accommodate our posture, creating muscle imbalances (discussed on the following page.) Chronically poor posture, through the process of bone remodeling which we discussed in a previous section, will also result in actual changes to the shape of the skeleton. This is one reason why poor posture is such a difficult habit to break. As if that wasn't enough, conditions like osteoporosis can cause further deterioration to our posture.
Our posture is closely related to our attitude. In fact, your posture can be thought of as your attitude incarnate. Are you under stress? Do you feel like you carry the worries of the world on your shoulders? If so, your posture probably reflects it. Tall people, especially young girls, sometimes have poor posture as an unconscious attempt to appear the same height as their friends. The good news is it works both waysnot only does our posture reflect our attitude, but our attitude also reflects our posture. So one way you can improve your attitude is to work on your posture.
Our posture is also a reflection of our health in general. To correct poor posture it is therefore advisable to work on all five of the Fundamentals of Health, including rest, exercise, attitude and nutrition. Good nutrition for the skeletal system is important, as this is the system responsible for maintaining our form. Stretching exercises designed to correct muscle imbalances are helpful to lengthen the muscles that have become shortened to accommodate poor posture. Breathing exercises, like the ones taught in Yoga classes, are extremely important. I also recommend cardiovascular exercises like walking, and chiropractic care to restore normal motion to fixated or "stuck" joints. Your chiropractic doctor may also be able to recommend specific exercises to help you strengthen weak muscles related to your posture and to stretch shortened muscles correcting muscle imbalances. But just like your health in general, the primary responsibility for good posture lies with you.
Surya-Namaskar, illustrated at right, is a Yoga exercise consisting of a series of Yoga Asanas (or postures) which, when combined with appropriate breathing exercises and a healthy diet, can help one improve one's posture. Check for a Yoga class in your area or invest in a good teaching videotape on the subject. For online instruction in doing the Surya-Namaskar click here.
"Fitness and Oneness combined together in a beautiful match. Yoga, Chakras, Love, and body/mind/spirit awakenings are the riches of ones being." From the Astrology Junction
"Salutation to the Sun"
Breathing, The Master Key to Self Healing
"If I had to limit my advice on healthier living to just one tip, it would be simply to learn how to breathe correctly."
Dr. Andrew Weil
Breathing exercises are also a means to better posture and attitude. I highly recommend this audio CD set (also available on audiocassette tapes) in which Dr. Weil teaches eight breathing exercises that he uses in his own life and has prescribed to hundreds of patients. Dr. Weil reports that these breathing exercises get more favorable responses from patients than anything else he teaches.
True or False: Posture is often a reflection of our attitude, and our attitude can often be improved by improving our posture.
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