Have you every felt TIGHT as can be after getting on a plane? Or wonder JUST HOW to get ready for your next flight? Well we have too - so here is a quick way to loosen things up before you get packed in like a sardine to your "seat" on the next flight. Featuring Mitch Starkman, Physiotherapist
PLEASE CONSIDER SUBSCRIBING: http://bit.ly/1pAQeVQ About Movement Mondays: New videos every Monday! We take a look at common orthopedic and musculoskeletal injuries, insufficiencies, self-treatment exercises and most importantly, real life examples so you can truly Move Like You MEAN IT! About The Movement Centre: The Movement Centre strives to explore, assess, and correct human movement by providing customized self-administered treatments that anyone can use through the guidance of a movement physiotherapist. We use real cases to identify, reveal, and treat movement dysfunctions as they relate to common orthopedic issues. The aim is to help you overcome your limiting factors, whether that is pain, performance, or both. Ultimately, we want to help you achieve your goals. *************************************** Connect with The Movement Centre: Check The Movement Centre THE CHANNEL: http://bit.ly/25edQAn Follow The Movement Centre on INSTAGRAM: http://bit.ly/1Uf7QE9 Follow The Movement Centre on FACEBOOK: http://bit.ly/1Vx371c *************************************** When in doubt, it is always a good idea to get assessed by your healthcare practitioner so you can truly Move Like You Mean It!

The popularity of meditation is increasing as more people discover its benefits.
Meditation is a habitual process of training your mind to focus and redirect your thoughts.
You can use it to increase awareness of yourself and your surroundings. Many people think of it as a way to reduce stress and develop concentration.
People also use the practice to develop other beneficial habits and feelings, such as a positive mood and outlook, self-discipline, healthy sleep patterns and even increased pain tolerance.
This article reviews 12 health benefits of meditation.

1. Reduces Stress

Stress reduction is one of the most common reasons people try meditation.
One study including over 3,500 adults showed that it lives up to its reputation for stress reduction (1).
Normally, mental and physical stress cause increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This produces many of the harmful effects of stress, such as the release of inflammation-promoting chemicals called cytokines.
These effects can disrupt sleep, promote depression and anxiety, increase blood pressure and contribute to fatigue and cloudy thinking.
In an eight-week study, a meditation style called “mindfulness meditation” reduced the inflammation response caused by stress (2).
Another study in nearly 1,300 adults demonstrated that meditation may decrease stress. Notably, this effect was strongest in individuals with the highest levels of stress (3).
Research has shown that meditation may also improve symptoms of stress-related conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder and fibromyalgia (45678).
Summary: Many styles of meditation can help reduce stress. Meditation can also reduce symptoms in people with stress-triggered medical conditions.

2. Controls Anxiety

Less stress translates to less anxiety.
For example, an eight-week study of mindfulness meditation helped participants reduce their anxiety.
It also reduced symptoms of anxiety disorders, such as phobias, social anxiety, paranoid thoughts, obsessive-compulsive behaviors and panic attacks (9).
Another study followed up with 18 volunteers three years after they had completed an eight-week meditation program. Most volunteers had continued practicing regular meditation and maintained lower anxiety levels over the long term (10).
A larger study in 2,466 participants also showed that a variety of different meditation strategies may reduce anxiety levels (11).
For example, yoga has been shown to help people reduce anxiety. This is likely due to benefits from both meditative practice and physical activity (12).
Meditation may also help control job-related anxiety in high-pressure work environments. One study found that a meditation program reduced anxiety in a group of nurses (13).
Summary: Habitual meditation helps reduce anxiety and anxiety-related mental health issues like social anxiety, phobias and obsessive-compulsive behaviors.

3. Promotes Emotional Health

Happy Woman Meditating
Some forms of meditation can also lead to an improved self-image and more positive outlook on life.
Two studies of mindfulness meditation found decreased depression in over 4,600 adults (114).
One study followed 18 volunteers as they practiced meditation over three years. The study found that participants experienced long-term decreases in depression (10).
Inflammatory chemicals called cytokines, which are released in response to stress, can affect mood, leading to depression. A review of several studies suggests meditation may reduce depression by decreasing these inflammatory chemicals (15).
Another controlled study compared electrical activity between the brains of people who practiced mindfulness meditation and the brains of others who did not.
Those who meditated showed measurable changes in activity in areas related to positive thinking and optimism (16).
Summary: Some forms of meditation can improve depression and create a more positive outlook on life. Research shows that maintaining an ongoing habit of meditation may help you maintain these benefits long term.

4. Enhances Self-Awareness

Some forms of meditation may help you develop a stronger understanding of yourself, helping you grow into your best self.
For example, self-inquiry meditation explicitly aims to help you develop a greater understanding of yourself and how you relate to those around you.
Other forms teach you to recognize thoughts that may be harmful or self-defeating. The idea is that as you gain greater awareness of your thought habits, you can steer them toward more constructive patterns (171819).
A study of 21 women fighting breast cancer found that when they took part in a tai chi program, their self-esteem improved more than it did than in those who received social support sessions (20).
In another study, 40 senior men and women who took a mindfulness meditation program experienced reduced feelings of loneliness, compared to a control group that had been placed on a wait list for the program (21).
Also, experience in meditation may cultivate more creative problem solving (22).
Summary: Self-inquiry and related styles of meditation can help you “know yourself.” This can be a starting point for making other positive changes.

5. Lengthens Attention Span

Focused-attention meditation is like weight lifting for your attention span. It helps increase the strength and endurance of your attention.
For example, a study looked at the effects of an eight-week mindfulness meditation course and found it improved participants’ ability to reorient and maintain their attention (23).
A similar study showed that human resource workers who regularly practiced mindfulness meditation stayed focused on a task for longer.
These workers also remembered details of their tasks better than their peers who did not practice meditation (24).
Moreover, one review concluded that meditation may even reverse patterns in the brain that contribute to mind-wandering, worrying and poor attention (25).
Even meditating for a short period may benefit you. One study found that four days of practicing meditation may be enough to increase attention span (26).
Summary: Several types of meditation may build your ability to redirect and maintain attention. As little as four days of meditation may have an effect.

6. May Reduce Age-Related Memory Loss

Improvements in attention and clarity of thinking may help keep your mind young.
Kirtan Kriya is a method of meditation that combines a mantra or chant with repetitive motion of the fingers to focus thoughts. It improved participants’ ability to perform memory tasks in multiple studies of age-related memory loss (27).
Furthermore, a review of 12 studies found that multiple meditation styles increased attention, memory and mental quickness in older volunteers (28).
In addition to fighting normal age-related memory loss, meditation can at least partially improve memory in patients with dementia. It can also help control stress and improve coping in those caring for family members with dementia (2729).
Summary: The improved focus you can gain through regular meditation may increase memory and mental clarity. These benefits can help fight age-related memory loss and dementia.

7. Can Generate Kindness

Hands Touching Hands
Some types of meditation may particularly increase positive feelings and actions toward yourself and others.
Metta, a type of meditation also known as loving-kindness meditation, begins with developing kind thoughts and feelings toward yourself.
Through practice, people learn to extend this kindness and forgiveness externally, first to friends, then acquaintances and ultimately enemies.
Twenty-two studies of this form of meditation have demonstrated its ability to increase peoples’ compassion toward themselves and others (30).
One study of 100 adults randomly assigned to a program that included loving-kindness meditation found that these benefits were dose-dependent.
In other words, the more effort people put into Metta meditation, the more positive feelings they experienced (31).
Another group of studies showed the positive feelings people develop through Metta meditation can improve social anxiety, reduce marriage conflict and help anger management (32).
These benefits also appear to accumulate over time with the practice of loving-kindness meditation (33).
Summary: Metta, or loving-kindness meditation, is a practice of developing positive feelings, first toward yourself and then toward others. Metta increases positivity, empathy and compassionate behavior toward others.

8. May Help Fight Addictions

The mental discipline you can develop through meditation may help you break dependencies by increasing your self-control and awareness of triggers for addictive behaviors (34).
Research has shown that meditation may help people learn to redirect their attention, increase their willpower, control their emotions and impulses and increase their understanding of the causes behind their addictive behaviors (3536).
One study that taught 19 recovering alcoholics how to meditate found that participants who received the training got better at controlling their cravings and craving-related stress (37).
Meditation may also help you control food cravings. A review of 14 studies found mindfulness meditation helped participants reduce emotional and binge eating (38).
Summary: Meditation develops mental discipline and willpower and can help you avoid triggers for unwanted impulses. This can help you recover from addiction, lose weight and redirect other unwanted habits.

9. Improves Sleep

Nearly half the population will struggle with insomnia at some point.
One study compared two mindfulness-based meditation programs by randomly assigning participants to one of two groups. One group practiced meditation, while the other didn’t.
Participants who meditated fell asleep sooner and stayed asleep longer, compared to those who didn’t meditate (39).
Becoming skilled in meditation may help you control or redirect the racing or “runaway” thoughts that often lead to insomnia.
Additionally, it can help relax your body, releasing tension and placing you in a peaceful state in which you’re more likely to fall asleep.
Summary: A variety of meditation techniques can help you relax and control the “runaway” thoughts that can interfere with sleep. This can shorten the time it takes to fall asleep and increase sleep quality.

10. Helps Control Pain

Woman Meditating at Home
Your perception of pain is connected to your state of mind, and it can be elevated in stressful conditions.
For example, one study used functional MRI techniques to observe brain activity as participants experienced a painful stimulus. Some participants had gone through four days of mindfulness meditation training, while others had not.
The meditating patients showed increased activity in the brain centers known to control pain. They also reported less sensitivity to pain (40).
One larger study looked at the effects of habitual meditation in 3,500 participants. It found that meditation was associated with decreased complaints of chronic or intermittent pain (1).
An additional study of meditation in patients with terminal diseases found meditation may help mitigate chronic pain at the end of life (4).
In each of these scenarios, meditators and non-meditators experienced the same causes of pain, but meditators showed a greater ability to cope with pain and even experienced a reduced sensation of pain.
Summary: Meditation can diminish the perception of pain in the brain. This may help treat chronic pain when used as a supplement to medical care or physical therapy.

11. Can Decrease Blood Pressure

Meditation can also improve physical health by reducing strain on the heart.
Over time, high blood pressure makes the heart work harder to pump blood, which can lead to poor heart function.
High blood pressure also contributes to atherosclerosis, or narrowing of the arteries, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
A study of 996 volunteers found that when they meditated by concentrating on a “silent mantra” — a repeated, non-vocalized word — reduced blood pressure by about five points, on average.
This was more effective among older volunteers and those who had higher blood pressure prior to the study (41).
A review concluded that several types of meditation produced similar improvements in blood pressure (42).
In part, meditation appears to control blood pressure by relaxing the nerve signals that coordinate heart function, tension in blood vessels and the “fight-or-flight” response that increases alertness in stressful situations (43).
Summary: Blood pressure decreases not only during meditation, but also over time in individuals who meditate regularly. This can reduce strain on the heart and arteries, helping prevent heart disease.

12. You Can Meditate Anywhere

People practice many different forms of meditation, most of which don’t require specialized equipment or space. You can practice with just a few minutes daily.
If you want to start meditating, try choosing a form of meditation based on what you want to get out of it.
There are two major styles of meditation:
  • Focused-attention meditation: Concentrates attention on a single object, thought, sound or visualization. It emphasizes ridding your mind of attention and distraction. Meditation may focus on breathing, a mantra or a calming sound.
  • Open-monitoring meditation: Encourages broadened awareness of all aspects of your environment, train of thought and sense of self. It may include becoming aware of thoughts, feelings or impulses that you might normally try to suppress.
To find out which styles you like best, check out the variety of free, guided meditation exercises offered by UCLA and Head in the Clouds. They’re an excellent way to try different styles and find one that suits you.
If your regular work and home environments do not allow for consistent, quiet alone time, consider participating in a class. This can also improve your chances of success by providing a supportive community.
Alternatively, consider setting your alarm a few minutes early to take advantage of quiet time in the morning. This may help you develop a consistent habit and allow you to start the day positively.
Summary: If you’re interested in incorporating meditation into your routine, try a few different styles and consider guided exercises to get started with one that suits you.

The Bottom Line

Meditation is something everyone can do to improve their mental and emotional health.
You can do it anywhere, without special equipment or memberships.
Alternatively, meditation courses and support groups are widely available.
There’s a great variety of styles too, each with different strengths and benefits.
Trying out a style of mediation suited to your goals is a great way to improve your quality of life, even if you only have a few minutes to do it each day.
Ever wonder how to treat your ankle sprain? A sprain doesn't always have to be painful at the ANKLE joint, sometimes it can be higher, hence the "high ankle sprain."
Featuring Mitch Starkman, Physiotherapist

PLEASE CONSIDER SUBSCRIBING: http://bit.ly/1pAQeVQ About Movement Mondays: New videos every Monday! We take a look at common orthopedic and musculoskeletal injuries, insufficiencies, self-treatment exercises and most importantly, real life examples so you can truly Move Like You MEAN IT! About The Movement Centre: The Movement Centre strives to explore, assess, and correct human movement by providing customized self-administered treatments that anyone can use through the guidance of a movement physiotherapist. We use real cases to identify, reveal, and treat movement dysfunctions as they relate to common orthopedic issues. The aim is to help you overcome your limiting factors, whether that is pain, performance, or both. Ultimately, we want to help you achieve your goals. *************************************** Connect with The Movement Centre: Check The Movement Centre THE CHANNEL: http://bit.ly/25edQAn Follow The Movement Centre on INSTAGRAM: http://bit.ly/1Uf7QE9 Follow The Movement Centre on FACEBOOK: http://bit.ly/1Vx371c *************************************** When in doubt, it is always a good idea to get assessed by your healthcare practitioner so you can truly Move Like You Mean It!

Food intolerances and sensitivities are extremely common. In fact, it’s estimated that between 2–20% of people worldwide may suffer from a food intolerance (1).
Elimination diets are the gold standard for identifying food intolerances, sensitivities and allergies through diet.
They remove certain foods known to cause uncomfortable symptoms and reintroduce them at a later time while testing for symptoms.
Allergists and registered dietitians have been using elimination diets for decades to help people rule out foods that are not tolerated well.

What Is an Elimination Diet?

An elimination diet involves removing foods from your diet that you suspect your body can’t tolerate well. The foods are later reintroduced, one at a time, while you look for symptoms that show a reaction.
It only lasts 5–6 weeks and is used to help those with a sensitive gut, food intolerance or food allergy identify which foods are contributing to their symptoms (23).
In that way, an elimination diet may alleviate symptoms like bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation and nausea.
Once you have successfully identified a food your body can’t tolerate well, you can remove it from your diet to prevent any uncomfortable symptoms in the future.
There are many types of elimination diets, which all involve eating or removing certain types of foods.
However, if you have a known or suspected food allergy, then you should only try an elimination diet under the supervision of a medical professional. Reintroducing a food allergen may trigger a dangerous condition called anaphylaxis (45).
If you suspect you have a food allergy, check with your doctor before starting an elimination diet. Symptoms of an allergy include rashes, hives, swelling and difficulty breathing (6).
Summary: An elimination diet is a short-term diet that helps identify foods your body can’t tolerate well and removes them from your diet.

How Does It Work?

Cut Oranges
An elimination diet is divided into two phases: elimination and reintroduction.

The Elimination Phase

The elimination phase involves removing foods you suspect trigger your symptoms for a short period of time, typically 2–3 weeks.
Eliminate foods that you think your body can’t tolerate, as well as foods that are notorious for causing uncomfortable symptoms.
Some of these foods include nuts, corn, soy, dairy, citrus fruits, nightshade vegetables, wheat, foods containing gluten, pork, eggs and seafood (7).
During this phase, you can determine if your symptoms are due to foods or something else. If your symptoms still remain after removing the foods for 2–3 weeks, it is best to notify your doctor.

The Reintroduction Phase

The next phase is the reintroduction phase, in which you slowly bring eliminated foods back into your diet.
Each food group should be introduced individually, over 2–3 days, while looking for symptoms. Some symptoms to watch for include:
  • Rashes and skin changes
  • Joint pain
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Changes in breathing
  • Bloating
  • Stomach pain or cramps
  • Changes in bowel habits
If you experience no symptoms during the period where you reintroduce a food group, you can assume that it is fine to eat and move on to the next food group.
However, if you experience negative symptoms like those mentioned above, then you have successfully identified a trigger food and should remove it from your diet.
The entire process, including elimination, takes roughly 5–6 weeks.
If you plan to eliminate many food groups, seek advice from your doctor or a dietitian. Eliminating too many food groups may cause a nutritional deficiency.
Summary: An elimination diet works by removing foods you think cause discomfort. It then reintroduces them individually to check for symptoms.

What Can’t You Eat on an Elimination Diet?

Heap of Almonds
The best elimination diets are the most restricting.
The more foods you remove during the elimination phase, the more likely it is that you will discover which foods trigger uncomfortable symptoms.
Foods that are commonly removed during the elimination phase include:
  • Citrus fruits: Avoid citrus fruits, such as oranges and grapefruits.
  • Nightshade vegetables: Avoid nightshades, including tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, white potatoes, cayenne pepper and paprika.
  • Nuts and seeds: Eliminate all nuts and seeds.
  • Legumes: Eliminate all legumes, such as beans, lentils, peas and soy-based products.
  • Starchy foods: Avoid wheat, barley, corn, spelt, rye, oats and bread. Also avoid any other gluten-containing foods.
  • Meat and fish: Avoid processed meats, cold cuts, beef, chicken, pork, eggs and shellfish.
  • Dairy products: Eliminate all dairy, including milk, cheese, yogurt and ice cream.
  • Fats: Avoid butter, margarine, hydrogenated oils, mayonnaise and spreads.
  • Beverages: Avoid alcohol, coffee, black tea, soda and other sources of caffeine.
  • Spices and condiments: Avoid sauces, relish and mustard.
  • Sugar and sweets: Avoid sugar (white and brown), honey, maple syrup, corn syrup and high-fructose corn syrup, agave nectar, desserts and chocolate.
If you suspect that other foods not on this list make you feel uncomfortable, it is highly recommended to remove them as well.
Summary: A good elimination diet is very restricting, which helps you identify as many trigger foods as possible.

What Can You Eat on an Elimination Diet?

Bunch of Bananas
Although an elimination diet is very restricting, there is still enough variety to make healthy and delicious meals.
Some foods you can eat include:
  • Fruits: Most fruits, excluding citrus fruits.
  • Vegetables: Most vegetables, excluding nightshades.
  • Grains: Including rice and buckwheat.
  • Meat and fish: Including turkey, lamb, wild game and cold-water fish like salmon.
  • Dairy substitutes: Including coconut milk and unsweetened rice milk.
  • Fats: Including cold-pressed olive oil, flaxseed oil and coconut oil.
  • Beverages: Water and herbal teas.
  • Spices, condiments and others: Including black pepper, fresh herbs and spices (excluding cayenne pepper and paprika) and apple cider vinegar.
To stay motivated during this restrictive phase, try designing new recipes and experimenting with herbs and spices to add delicious flavor to your dishes.
Summary: Although elimination diets are restricting, there are still plenty of food options to make healthy and delicious meals.

Other Types of Elimination Diets

Besides the traditional elimination diet described above, there are several other types of elimination diets.
Here are a few different types of elimination diets:
  • Low-FODMAPs diet: Removes FODMAPs, which are short-chain carbohydrates that some people can’t digest.
  • Few foods elimination diet: Involves eating a combination of foods that you don’t eat regularly. One example is the lamb and pears diet, which is popular in the US, where lamb and pears are not commonly eaten.
  • Rare foods elimination diet: Similar to a few foods diet, but you can only eat foods that you rarely ever eat, as they are less likely to trigger your symptoms. Common foods on a rare food diet include yams, buckwheat and starfruit.
  • Fasting elimination diet: Involves strictly drinking water for up to five days, then reintroducing food groups. This type of diet should only be done with permission from your doctor, as it can be dangerous to your health.
  • Other elimination diets: These include lactose-free, sugar-free, gluten-free and wheat-free diets, among others.
Summary: There are many different types of elimination diets, including the low-FODMAPs diet, the few foods diet, the rare foods diet, fasting and more.

Benefits of an Elimination Diet

Dairy Products
Elimination diets help you discover which foods cause uncomfortable symptoms so you can remove them from your diet.
However, an elimination diet has many other benefits, including:

1. It May Reduce Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a very common gut disorder that affects between 10–15% of people worldwide (8).
Many people find that an elimination diet improves IBS symptoms like bloating, stomach cramps and gas.
In one study, 150 people with IBS followed either an elimination diet that excluded trigger foods or a fake elimination diet that excluded the same number of foods but not ones linked with uncomfortable symptoms.
People who followed the actual elimination diet reduced their symptoms by 10%, and those who best stuck to the diet reduced symptoms by up to 26% (9).

2. It May Help People With Eosinophilic Esophagitis

Eosinophilic esophagitis (EE) is a chronic condition where allergies trigger inflammation of the esophagus, the tube that delivers food from mouth to stomach.
People with EE have difficulty swallowing foods that are dry and dense, increasing their risk of choking.
Many studies have shown that elimination diets are effective for improving symptoms of EE (101112).
In one study of 146 patients with EE, over 75% of all patients experienced significantly fewer symptoms and less inflammation through an elimination diet (12).

3. It May Reduce Symptoms of ADHD

ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) is a behavioral disorder that affects 3–5% of all children and adults.
Studies have shown elimination diets may reduce symptoms of ADHD (131415).
One analysis looked at 20 studies that restricted certain foods to improve ADHD symptoms. Researchers found that elimination diets helped reduce ADHD symptoms among children who were sensitive to foods (15).
However, children should not follow an elimination diet unless supervised by a medical professional.
Elimination diets restrict many essential nutrients that are important for growing children, and long-term restriction could stunt their growth.

4. It May Improve Skin Conditions Like Eczema

Eczema is a group of skin conditions that appear as red, itchy, cracked and inflamed skin.
There are many different causes of eczema, but many people find that eating certain foods can worsen their symptoms.
Several studies have found that elimination diets may reduce symptoms of eczema (161718).
In one study of 15 participants with eczema, 14 found that an elimination diet reduced their symptoms and helped identify their trigger foods (18).

5. It May Reduce Chronic Migraines

Roughly 2–3 million people in the US alone suffer from chronic migraines (19).
The causes of migraines are still unclear, but studies have shown that inflammation could be a trigger (20).
An elimination diet removes foods that cause inflammation and has been shown to reduce chronic migraines (2122).
In one study, 28 women and two men with frequent migraines followed an elimination diet for six weeks, which helped reduce the number of headache attacks during that time from nine to six (22).
Summary: An elimination diet may benefit people with IBS, ADHD, migraines, eosinophilic esophagitis and skin conditions like eczema.

Risks of an Elimination Diet

Warning Sign
Although elimination diets are a great way to discover which foods cause you problems, they also come with a few risks.
For starters, elimination diets should only be followed for a short period of time, or between four and eight weeks.
Following an elimination diet for longer is not recommended, as it could cause nutrient deficiencies as a result of eliminating certain food groups.
Additionally, children and people with known or suspected allergies should only do an elimination diet under the supervision of a doctor.
Because elimination diets are restricting, taking away certain food groups for even a short period of time could stunt a child’s growth (23).
Children are also more prone to severe reactions, like anaphylaxis, when reintroducing a food group. This is because their bodies can become extra sensitive to foods after avoiding them (24).
Summary: Elimination diets can reduce the intake of important nutrients if followed for too long. Children and people with known or suspected allergies should not follow an elimination diet unless supervised by their doctor.

The Bottom Line

Elimination diets can help you determine which foods your body can’t tolerate well.
If you’re experiencing symptoms that you think may be related to your diet, then an elimination diet could help you discover which foods are causing them.
However, elimination diets are not for everyone. Children should not try an elimination diet unless supervised by a doctor or dietitian.
Likewise, people with known or suspected allergies should only try an elimination diet the under the supervision of a doctor.
Finally, it’s important to note that elimination diets should only be done short-term, as long-term restrictions may cause nutritional deficiencies.