Bone & Joint Health - by Dr Andrew Goldberg OBE

Dr Andrew Goldberg

Our body has hundreds of joints which enable us to be mobile and agile. Most of them are called synovial joints in which two ends of the bone are lined by shock absorbing cartilage and a drop of fluid that helps them glide smoothly and last a lifetime but is there anything you can do to look after them better?

By doing simple things like choosing the right shoes, not carrying too much at one time and moving regularly, you are already minimising your chances of getting joint pain and problems. In sports such as tennis and netball, where you are constantly changing direction at speed, it’s important to choose a shoe that is supportive enough to prevent your foot arches from collapsing or your ankles from turning. 

As you age, your joints become more vulnerable to wear, tear and injury as the shock absorbing cartilage surrounding them may soften or wear down - consequently reducing the joint mobility. Movement and exercise are essential to allow the joint lubricating fluid to reduce friction and keep the cartilage healthy. 

In addition keeping your muscles active is really important as weak muscles are associated with old age and weakness and brittleness of bones, and so daily walking or carrying out some household chores, decreases the chances of suffering with joint pain as you age.

Does exercise damage your joints?

There is great evidence that exercise improves not just heart and lung health but also keeps your joints active and mobile. Poor training methods or injury however can lead to serious problems and are best addressed by seeking expert advice sooner rather than later, to keep you mobile for years to come. 

Mr Goldberg is a consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at the Wellington Hospital in St Johns Wood and Elstree, Hertfordshire. He specialises in Foot & Ankle issues and deals with patients of all ages and from all around the world, including children with flat feet to elite sportsmen with sports injuries. He runs the London Ankle & Arthritis Centre, which is one of the highest volume centres for ankle replacements in the UK.

Lights

What light bulbs do you have in your home? In your bedroom, lounge, kitchen? What are your intentions with your light bulbs in each particular room? How bright are your screens? (Laptop, TV, computer). 

There is a lot of research on the internet, regarding light bulbs and their uses, it might be worth a read. (In daytime!) 

“The hamsters exposed to red light at night had significantly less evidence of depressive-like symptoms and changes in the brain linked to depression, compared to those that experienced blue or white light. However, total darkness at bedtime is still best for sleep” 

“Blue light is a stimulant that actually boosts attention and reaction times. These are not “benefits” that you want as you are falling sleep. White night lights also fall under the blue light category. The best colour for night lights is red or orange”

“Research has found that exposure to blue light suppresses the production of the sleep hormone melatonin more than any other type of light. Fluorescent bulbs and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) have taken over lighting because they are more energy efficient and can provide better lighting than incandescent bulbs.”

“Use dim red lights for night lights. Red light has the least power to shift circadian rhythm and suppress melatonin. Avoid looking at bright screens beginning two to three hours before bed”

Sleep

Tips for a good sleep

Scientists have discovered a revolutionary new treatment that makes you live longer. It enhances your memory and makes you more creative. It makes you look more attractive. It keeps you slim and lowers food cravings. It protects you from cancer and dementia. It wards off colds and the flu. It lowers your risk of heart attacks and stroke, not to mention diabetes. You’ll even feel happier, less depressed, and less anxious. Are you interested? – Matthew Walker

SLEEP for a healthy BRAIN – a healthy HEART, for short-and long-term MEMORY. Sleep to obtain a healthy WEIGHT and optimum PERFORMANCE levels. Sleep so that you can be KIND and TOLERANT to others. Sleep so that you can EXERCISE safely and feel CONFIDENT about yourself and your decisions. 

Tips for good sleeping

  • If I have to wake-up with an alarm, the alarm will only go off once. I will not snooze. 

  • Room temperature: 18.3 degrees

  • Black-out curtains or blinds

  • Do not fall asleep on the couch

  • Stop eating at least 2 hours before going to bed. 

“Sleep is the third pillar of good health, alongside diet and exercise.” I have changed my tune. Sleep is more than a pillar; it is the foundation on which the other two health bastions sit.
— Mathew Walker

Water

Water
What is mine to do with the life I’ve been given?
— Edith Eger

Water is necessary for the utilisation of nutrients.Blood = Water. Blood (water) is the way to get nutrients to your cells. Good cells = Good Health.

How do you get rid of inflammation and toxins? Through Fluid; stools, sweat (skin), mucus membranes. 65% of the body is water. When there is a lack of water, toxins (waste products) cannot get out of your body (system). Nutrients cannot get in either. This is a Disaster. Your body gets polluted by toxins, your healthy cells diminish -You end up Sick. (Arthritis, inflammation, allergies, headaches, discomfort, pain).

What do we see in clinics today?

The average person in the street is 60-65% hydrated. The average person today has 33% body fat. Body fat contains ZERO water.

What is your fat %? How much water do you take daily? What do you think your hydration % is?

1% drop in hydration leads directly to 5% drop in cognitive function! How well do we cognitively function in our society? I wonder how much water the decision makers in your company drink/day.

Digestive issues are now up to 90% in any given group! What is going on?

How do we hydrate? Water alone is not enough. What food do you put into your mouth? How much dry food? How much salt?

What happens to a wafer biscuit, a piece of bread, a crisp etc. when you eat it? Does it come out wet or dry on the other side?

Interview with Neil Smith

Neil Smith

When and why did you attend SF Studios? 

SF Studios were recommended to me to help overcome chronic back pain. I’ve been coming for almost 2 years now as part of a proactive preventive programme.  In the last few months the team have also been helping me recover from a torn knee ligament. 

What do you find beneficial about the service provided?

First and foremost I now live the vast majority of my life pain free and no longer have to take prescription pain relief.  I’m fitter than I have been for years, am enjoying a much more active life with my 2 young children as when my back was at its worst, I couldn’t even pick them up!  My emotional wellbeing is much improved and because I’ve lost a fair bit of weight, I’ve been able to get myself some swish new clothes too!

How has Seb helped you in your time with SF Studios?

Seb has been fantastic right from the initial rehabilitation time to the conditioning work we are now able to do.  Even when I have suffered set-backs, like my knee injury, Seb has been able to adapt our programme so we can continue the good work. I’m able to do things now I never thought possible. But it’s much more than just the physical recovery; Seb has encouraged me to adopt a more healthy diet and been always encouraging of ways to manage a hectic life that includes lots of work related travel and 2 young and energetic children at home!

How would you describe SF Studios to friends and colleagues?

A simply amazing place!  Centre of physical recovery, emotional wellbeing and conditioning all based around a core principle of movement.  I genuinely think they can help anyone and produce the best possible results - I say this as a person who spent 20 years with physios, personal trainers and osteopaths!  It is a really welcoming place too – the whole team are great and no matter what your start point or target, they can help.

How has SF Studios helped you since your first visit? 

They have genuinely had a positive impact on my life.  Without their help, I faced a life of pain management and high risk operations on my back.  Now I am able to move freely and can even keep up with my young children most of the time!

Let’s talk about incontinence! - Karin Goldschmidt

Pelvic Floor Exercises

Pelvic Floor Exercises

Yes that’s right... It may not be perceived as the most glamourous subject and sadly many choose to suffer in silence due to the stigma attached to bladder leakage. However, we do need to speak about it – loud and clear. In the UK today there are around six million people who experience symptoms of incontinence. Do a quick Google search on the subject and you will find an array of companies selling incontinence products. As amazing as it is that these products are available for those who really are in need and as a short term solution, it also poses the risk of people thinking that incontinence is “just something one has to live with and accept”, without actually being proactive in taking steps to become continent.

Incontinence may be very common, however it is NOT normal, meaning it’s is NOT something you have to live with. The symptoms can often be treated, either with professional help or on your own by doing a combination of specific Pelvic floor exercises and by implementing lifestyle changes.

Although the incidence of incontinence and bladder weakness does increase with age, surveys show that 6% of women aged 15-44 have the condition so it is far more common, than one might think.

Urinary incontinence is often considered a female problem, but this is only partly true. Although in younger age groups, more women than men do experience this condition, the differences are equalized around the age of 70, so in later life, almost as many men as women suffer from incontinence. However, we should not view as part of normal aging- it is never too late to seek help.

There are two main types of urinary incontinence – Stress Incontinence and Urge Incontinence. 

Stress incontinence: Leaking of urine with coughing, sneezing, sex, or impact exercise, like running and jumping.This is related to damaged and/or weak pelvic floor muscles, and is common in younger women who have given birth vaginally.

Urge incontinence: Sudden and unpredictable overwhelming urge to urinate, with leaking of small to large amounts of urine. This sometimes also goes along with needing to go often that can occur day and night. It is more common in people who are overweight, or have diabetes or other neurological issues such as dementia or stroke. The problem is thought to be due to spasms of the bladder. A lot of things can aggravate symptoms, such as caffeine, diuretics (“water pills” used for high blood pressure), drinking too much fluid, and bladder infections.

The most common form of incontinence, called “mixed”, has symptoms of both of these categories. But the kind of incontinence really doesn’t matter. What people need to know is that there are solutions.

So what are the ways of treating incontinence?

First of all, you need to be assessed thoroughly by your health professional to understand the cause of your problem. In the case of this being done by a Pelvic floor Physio, they may observe your breathing, posture and how your muscles are functioning. You will be asked about your lifestyle choices such as hydration, nutrition, exercise and stress levels.

Specific Pelvic floor exercises (often prescribed by a Pelvic health professional) are in many cases the simplest and best way to start with, often leading to good results. These should be done in conjunction with implementing the necessary adaptions to your lifestyle. The importance of treating the patient with an holistic view is something we learned about in the last 25 years — before then, most doctors believed that most stress incontinence required surgery.

Your health professional may also ask you to keep a “bladder diary,” in which you record two days and nights of activity.

Finally, were there events that triggered it? Laughing? Coughing? Sex? Drinking coffee? This can help with diagnosis and treatment, especially for people who have to go frequently during the day or have to get up several times a night to urinate (a problem called nocturia).

For otherwise healthy people, the next step is to look at your lifestyle choices. If you are overweight, losing weight is essential. Stop smoking (for this and many other reasons). Limit your caffeine. If you have trouble with nocturia, avoid drinking liquids after 7 p.m. If constipation is a problem, treat it.

Another treatment method is behavioural therapy, which means a combination of two techniques, bladder and pelvic muscle exercises and bladder training. Strengthening or down training the muscles of your pelvic floor (these are called Kegel exercises, often recommended to pregnant women).

For those with urge problems, the strategy is slightly different. Bladder training involves going on a regular schedule and learning how to retrain the central nervous system to control strong urges (“mind over bladder”).

Instead of running to the bathroom as quickly as possible, be still. Do pelvic muscle exercises and focus on feeling the urgency to wane (like a decreasing wave). Hopefully the urgency will lessen so you can get to the bathroom in  time.

Urinary Incontinence

Interview with Ana Seymenska - Physiotherapist and Thai Yoga Masseuse

How would you describe yourself and the way you work to some-one that has never meet you before?

Thai Yoga Massage - Stretching

I am a qualified physiotherapist who specialized in Thai Yoga Massage, which is an ancient form of therapy from East Asia involving acupressure and applied Yoga-like stretching. Through my therapy sessions, I hope to remind others,  “There’s more to life than increasing its speed.” as Mahatma Gandhi said, encourage them to allow themselves to slow down and stop more often, and to practice less doing and more allowing. My aim is to help people to feel more comfortable and well in their bodies.

What exactly is a Thai Massage?

Thai Yoga Massage is a unique and powerful massage therapy that combines acupressure and gentle applied yoga-like stretching. Traditional Thai massage also called “Ancient Massage” in Thailand, can look back at the long history of therapeutic healing, the earliest roots of which lie in Northern India dating back 2,500 years ago. 

What is the difference from a deep tissue, Swedish or from an aromatherapy massage?

Traditionally Thai massage is done on the floor on a mat and not on a table like in the other forms of massage; the receiver is wearing comfortable stretchy clothes and no oils are used. 

The theoretical principles behind Thai massage and the approach to the body are also different. While in the West the treatment is based mostly on anatomy and physiology knowledge, in Thai massage (as well as other East Asian practices) the practitioner is concerned mainly with balancing the energy system of the body by working on energy lines and points; that approach allows the practitioner to develop a way of work that is more intuitive, mindful and centred. 

What are the benefits from a Thai Massage?

Thai Yoga Massage Positions

Some of the benefits of Thai Yoga massage include - encouraging healing and recovery through the stillness of the body and mind. Increased one’s own body awareness, calm or invigorate the Central nervous system. Quieten and calm the mind. Increase general and local circulation. Improve the flexibility of the muscles and joints. Stimulate the work of the internal organs. Improve breathing and help the body to detoxify.

Thai Yoga massage, as a complementary therapy, is invaluable for promoting health and well-being and is recommended in combination with nutritious food and physical activity as part of a balanced healthy lifestyle.

Is a Thai Massage appropriate for any age?

There is no age limit for receiving Thai massage. Although there is no minimum age as such, it is recommended that anyone under 16 should receive consent from an adult who has parental rights and have them to attend the session.

What can I expect to feel after my Thai Massage?

There are several reactions one can expect after receiving a massage. Most common are - being tired or energized, both of which are associated with the energy balancing effects of the massage. Other common effects reported after Thai massage are - a feeling of relaxation, tranquillity, lightness, freshness, calmness, peace, centeredness. After a Thai Yoga Massage I personally feel more relaxed physically and in my thoughts about things and at the same time I notice myself more alert; I am more tuned in to myself and to the outside world.

Gratitude

Gratitude - Quote

Don’t entertain negative thoughts – there is a psychology that a negative thought creates a neural pathway and each time you think about something destructive the neural pathway gets stronger until it’s carved its way into a strong legitimate force.

On the other hand, if you have positive thoughts, which are promoted by feelings of gratitude for what you are blessed with, then these create a happier mindset and the focus is on positivity. Being around positivity also creates positivity – that’s why we are so attracted to positive people. - Rhonda Byrne

Interview with Ipek

"SFS is for people with positive attitude and patience. And also for people who care about their own well-being in the long term."

Tell us about yourself. Your age, career, hobbies, one thing you can’t stand.

I am 51 years old. I am a housewife. I don’t have any specific hobbies. I love watching movies and TV series while cooking.

Oh dear, I cannot stand a lot of things (I was a lot worse though!) - first thing that comes to my mind is either too many excuses or even worse a "so what" attitude.

Why did you come to SF Studios?

I came to SFS because of the pain around my left hip and lower back. My GP told me to see a physiotherapist. And my friend Joel had strongly recommended Suz. 

What did you expect when you scheduled your first appointment?

Only talking and focusing on the pain, maybe some stretching and massage together with some specific strengthening exercises, & some exercises to do at home.

What did you think/find when you walked through our doors?

I really liked it. It was very welcoming and felt quite relaxing.

What was the biggest lesson you took away from your first appointment. Any insights / surprises?

I was expecting to focus only about the painful area. It was a big surprise that the first visit was not only about the pain but also about myself, and how to create time and space to feel better. The card to myself was a brilliant idea :-)  The facts about the brainwaves were impressive and the advice to lower them before entering SFS does make a difference.

How did you feel when you left our Studio after the first time?

I felt very relaxed and energetic. I wanted to go back again very soon - and I did. 

Briefly tell us about your journey from your first time to now.

After my first visit I started to join various Movement, Strength and Pilates lessons. They all felt very good. I’m trying to do 3 lessons a week. During the classes Suz makes you work really hard with empathy :-) and gives you brilliant tips to correct the movements in a way that you would understand. To my surprise in every lesson she asks you to do something different which makes each lesson very interesting. 

I also very much enjoy the Pilates sessions with Karen on Saturdays. These sessions are very calming and relaxing, makes me feel energized afterwards which is a great way to start the weekends. 

What is SF Studios to you?

SFS is a place where you feel positive energy. It’s full of feel good elements for me. Everything seems in good order and very clean which in my opinion reflects the discipline at SFS. Everyone here has positive and understanding attitude, which is great.

I usually have lessons with Suz. Her full attention and eagerness during the lessons makes me want to come more often, work harder and better. 

For who is SF Studios?

SFS is for people with positive attitude and patience. And also for people who care about their own well-being in the long term. 

What should we always maintain? 

The calmness, cleanliness and positive energy. No phones is just brilliant. And of course the ginger roots by the sink. (No need to write about how wonderful it is to have ginger tea during the lessons) 

Anything else you would wish to add?

I would love to have a small daily exercise plan to start and end the day. 

I love the videos that Suz sends - they are very very helpful. Together with these videos, I would love to have the description of some exercises, so that it may take less time to go over them while doing it at home. Might be easier to remember. 

Sean White - London Pain Service

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What is pain and how would you describe it in layman’s terms?

The International Association for the Study of Pain define pain as……. ‘an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage.’

This means that pain is the mixture of nerve signals to the brain indicating that something is damaged, broken or inflamed. The messages change our behaviour, such as removing the splinter from our finger. There is an emotional response that is part of the NORMAL response to pain; anger, frustration, sadness or depression. This is part of a learning experience and also modifies our future behaviour and sends messages to other people around us.

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Are there different types of pain? If yes, how can we differentiate?

The experience of pain outlined in the definition is the same regardless of the cause. However, there are broad categories of pain defined by the cause and duration of the process stimulating the nerve. There are nerves in the layers under the skin with specialised nerve endings, to tell us about the environment, stimulated by heat, cold, pressure etc. Some of these nerve endings are called ‘nociceptors’ and fire messages off to the spinal cord and brain when an unpleasant sensation is applied to the skin. This may be a sudden impact to the body, no matter how small, that damages cells, releasing chemicals that then stimulate the nociceptor. This may be very transient. However, if the stimulus is repeated or the damage/trauma caused is great, then the pain will persist and evolve.

Inflammation / trauma. White blood cells migrate to the area of tissue damage and release chemicals that have a number of functions, one of which is to make nociceptors even more sensitive.

Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome Type I (CRPS) also called Reflex sympathetic dystrophy. Poorly understood and no obvious or apparent nerve damage with what would appear to be disproportionately severe pain.

CRPS Type II also known as Causalgia. This involves obvious nerve damage. Examples would be severing a nerve in an accident. Damaging the small nerves in the skin of the hands and feet such as by poor circulation or diabetes

What does ‘good’ pain management look like?

Good pain management. The same rules apply to all pain. First, try and identify the cause:

  1. Take the history of the problem. What were the events and factors that resulted in the pain? What provokes the pain now? What limitations, e.g. sleep deprivation, does the pain bring?

  2. Examine the patient for signs of trauma, limitation of movement etc.;

  3. Organise investigations, such as X-rays, MRI scans etc.;

Then deal with what I call the ‘building blocks’:

  1. Explain the problem, reassure the patient and give advice;

  2. If there is an obvious avoidable cause for the pain, then avoid it, at least temporarily;

  3. If overweight then modify the diet;

  4. If not moving/exercising, then start, ideally with supervision;

  5. If stressed/distressed, whether emotional, financial, or psychological address it;

This in itself may solve the pain problem. If exercise /movement cannot commence or advance because of the pain then to control the pain there are, in order:

  1. Therapy strategies; physio, osteopathy, massage etc.;

  2. Medications;

  3. Injections;

  4. Operations;

  5. Disease-modifying interventions: Humira for Rheumatoid arthritis etc.;

Have you noticed a change in the number of chronic pain patients you see?

(transition from acute to chronic. brain fog, headaches for 5 years, scans clear, however, I still have pain. Gut issues and gut pain).

I have seen an increase in the number of chronic patients year on year since I started working in Pan medicine over 25 years ago. I feel that this is a reflection of the increased longevity of the population and the ever increasing expectations regarding quality of life. As people age, the potential for mechanical degeneration and other painful medical conditions to develop becomes all the greater. Often there is no ‘cure’ for these conditions, and so chronicity ensues.

‘Brain fog’ and all that goes with it; a headache, fatigue, de-motivation seem to be on the increase. I have more patients complaining of a non-specific headache-related symptoms and expressing concerns that they may have a sinister pathology. They all want an MRI scan of their brains to find out what is the cause and reassurance. The scan is reassuring in terms of excluding major illness but is always incapable of explaining the multitude of symptoms.

Often the symptoms seem likely to be driven by stress. We live increasingly stressful lives again with high expectations, often unrealistic, of what our lives should be like. Striving to achieve our goals and failing, brings another layer of stress.

Functional gut pain is an area of great concern to me. Often young women presenting with non-specific abdominal pain. Before an adequate diagnosis is made, the patient is given weak opioid pain-killers like Codeine, and before long this has escalated to Morphine strength drugs. These medications have very negative effects on gut function and can turn a drama into a crisis. A gut that is already not functioning well can stop working altogether in these circumstances, sometimes permanently. Other more holistic approaches to abdominal pain must be used, whilst investigations are performed, a diagnosis made and specific treatment administered. If no diagnosis is made, then coping strategies are the best option.

The London Pain Service

116 Harley Street, London  W1G 7JL

Pelvic floor and Postnatal recovery

If we have “poor” posture or spend a lot of time sitting our transverse abdominus muscles will weaken. This, in turn, can be linked to pelvic floor problems. For example, if we collapse our chest while sitting, we end up with a “C-curve” in the spine. This makes it challenging to take a deep breath, and as a consequence, the muscles of the pelvic floor don’t receive the gentle ‘exercise’ they need, stretching and contracting with every breath in and out.

Schroth Method Therapy - Marco Litto, Schroth Therapist

Schroth Method Therapy - Marco Litto, Schroth Therapist

Scoliosis is a three-dimensional deformity of the spine that causes structural changes on all anatomical planes. 80-90% of all scolioses are “idiopathic”, which means that, to date, cause and pathogenesis have yet to be fully explained. A scoliotic curve is defined “functional” if it can be compensated and improved, or “structural” if it cannot be compensated.

Benefits of Light Therapy

Light Therapy – The Basics

There are many articles and discussions about the use of LED Light Therapy (also known as photobiology). The scientific based benefits are far reaching. The question is how can a red, or near-infrared LED bulb bring such benefits to the human body?!

The red and near-infrared light spectrums have scientific evidence that they have a biological impact on our bodies. The red spectrums of light can penetrate the skin deeper than other light spectrums, reaching the hypodermis. These photons can enter the blood stream and be passed throughout your body as well.

Why LEDs?

LEDs have the ability to be programmed to emit light in very specific wavelengths, without emitting almost any heat. These are proven to have therapeutic benefits on the human body. On the other hand incandescent and halogen bulbs including heat lamps exhibit too much heat to be considered for light therapy of this nature, and long exposure times.

The Main Benefits of LED Light Therapy

·        Healing wounds

·        Enhancing blood circulation

·        Increasing muscle recovery and collagen production

·        Decreasing pain

·        Anti-inflammatory effects

·        Reducing wrinkles and fine lines

·        Enhancing fertility and increasing testosterone

With regular dosing, these health benefits can be seen and felt in no time at all.

In the last Olympics, you might have noticed more and more athletes using light therapy devices around the Olympic Village and stadium. You can get huge benefits from putting red and near-infrared light on your muscles.

There are 2 main ways athletes can benefit from Photobiomodulation (Red Light Therapy) devices, in particular red and near-infrared wavelengths. The first is through preconditioning before an event. It has been proven that time to exhaustion is extended with such light therapy. Secondly there is after an event, or training session, as Red Light Therapy helps assist recovery and delayed onset of muscle soreness (or the dreaded DOMS as you might know it).

For anyone who loves the gymthe benefits allow improved recovery, getting you back ready for the next session quicker and safer than most alternatives. These benefits are through the stimulation of stem cells, increased muscle blood flow plus reducing scarring, and increased speed of regeneration in ligaments and tendons. What are you waiting for!

 

Celluma Wavelengths

Red Light Therapy – Uses for Health:

Infrared light therapy for the prevention of symptoms of Alzheimers?

Alzheimer's disease is a devastating condition. Both for the sufferer and for the family and friends that are left behind.

Alzheimer's is a type of dementia (a general term for memory loss and a decline in other cognitive abilities) serious enough that it causes problems with memory, thinking and behaviour. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks.  It is the most common form of dementia.

Alzheimer's is not a normal part of aging. The greatest known risk factor is increasing age and the majority of people with Alzheimer's are 65 and older however Alzheimer's is not just a disease of old age. It is a progressive disease, where dementia symptoms gradually worsen over a number of years. In its early stages, memory loss is mild, but with late-stage Alzheimer's, individuals lose the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to their environment. Alzheimer's is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. 

In the UK the numbers are shocking. There are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, with numbers set to rise to over 1 million by 2025. This will soar to 2 million by 2051. 225,000 will develop dementia this year – that’s one every three minutes.

There are over 40,000 people under 65 with dementia in the UK.

In Alzheimer’s, there are changes in the brain beyond those associated with normal ageing. Among the most prominent are the build-up of two proteins, called amyloid-beta and tau. Research suggests that both of these are involved in the disease process, and is revealing more about the sequence of events. As the disease progresses, more and more nerve cells in the brain become damaged. This damage leads to the symptoms of Alzheimer’s

A study suggests that there may be reason to believe that infrared light therapy directed on to the head may lead to a decrease in the symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease. The details of a study from a US University in Scientific Reports (an online journal published by Nature Research) shows a significant reduction in the harmful effects in the brain related to Alzheimers after a period of treatment with infrared light on the heads of mice. Researchers at the university found that a certain type of protein can become toxic at the point of connection between brain cells where information gets passed along. This break down between brain cells is known to be a sign of the onset of the disease. Infrared light has been shown to reduce the occurrence of this protein which suggests that infrared light can be used therapeutically to treat the disease.

Infrared induced neuro-protections are not entirely clear, although they appear to operate on at least two different biological levels.

First, infrared acts at a cellular level, activating intracellular cascades that ultimately contribute to the survival of the target, and possibly neighbouring cells and/or stimulating neurogenesis (formation of new neurons). 

Secondly, infrared light appears capable of triggering systemic protective mechanisms; this presumably involves as yet unidentified circulating cellular or humoral factors that can transduce protective effects to the brain.

 In short, what is being suggested is that infrared light is a low-level stressor of cells which leads to an increase in ATP production (cellular energy) and a burst in low levels of reactive oxygen species (free radicals). The latter process can be likened to that of a vaccine, introducing a small amount of an illness in order to stimulate improved immunity by the body. This modulation of multiple molecular systems appears capable of both conditioning neurons to resist future damage and accelerating repair of neurons damaged by a previous or continuing insult. 

Infrared light therapy has the potential to develop into a safe and effective neuroprotective treatment for patients with Alzheimer's disease (and presumably other neurodegenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). Consequently, over time, the greater neuronal survival would lessen the clinical signs and symptoms. Further, infrared light therapy—because of its lack of side-effects and neuroprotective potential—is amenable to use in conjunction with other treatments. 

There is much to do in further developing this treatment, but the therapeutic possibilities are many and the potential outcomes are very exciting. We await the outcomes of major clinical trials using infrared light therapy on these patients with much anticipation.

Red Light for Hair Loss

Good news for the men (and women) out there who may be experiencing baldness or thinning of the hair.

There are studies that purport that treatment with red light therapy can encourage better regrowth of hair. These studies used both men and women who showed symptoms of hair thinning to a various degree).  They shaved a small spot of hair on their heads and then took photos of these shave spots and the various stages throughout the treatments. Some of the subjects were treated with the real devices while others were treated with a 'fake' red light device (a placebo) that was a plain red coloured light device.

How Red Light Therapy works for hair growth:

·       Red Light Therapy causes a number of reactions within the cells mitochondria which leads to increased ATP production (cellular energy) and with this increase in energy comes the increase in function of the hair follicles and associated cells.

·       Red Light Therapy prolongs the growing phase and can even re-establish the growing phase, even after the hair follicle itself has entered into the resting stage, which in turn cause the shedding phase to be pushed back further.

Your hair grows for a longer period of time before being shed, which is a natural part of the process, allowing new hair to grow back. The conclusion of the tests found that the subjects in the experiments, the ones that got treated with the actual red light device (and not the placebo) showed a significant increase in hair regrowth speed as well as an increase in hair count over the treated area! Improvement is reported after 12 to 26 weeks of use, with reduced hair fall and noticeable hair growth.

It should also be noted, that as of writing this, no ill side effects were reported, nor have any been reported in any experiments with red and infrared light therapy!