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1st November 2020 – Second Lockdown – We Are Fully Open

& Booking Appointments

PM Johnson (2)

As you will be aware, we will shortly be entering a second national lockdown.

Within the government’s healthcare directive, chiropractic offices will remain open.

Rest assured that our office will continue to look after all clients and provide the safest possible care.

Inspired Chiropractic’s Covid-19 procedures remain largely unchanged since our reopening and can be found under the Covid section below.

5th October 2020 –  Update

Despite restrictions in areas across the UK we are continuing to operate with extreme vigilance in relation to our Covid-secure protocols.

The office has run at reduced capacity since June and will continue to do so for the longer term.

Please remember to bring your face covering when attending and schedule your appointment as far ahead as possible due to the reduced number of appointments available.

We thank you for your cooperation.

14th July 2020 – Please Wear a Face Covering When Attending

Face coveringsFollowing the Government’s instruction today that we must wear face coverings in all stores from 24th July, we are requesting that all clients wear a face covering when attending for an appointment.

This is in preparation for the Government’s announcement that all shielding, clinically vulnerable people in England and Wales will be able to venture out into shops and be amongst the public on or around Monday 3rd August. The wearing of face coverings already applies to public transport and NHS facilities.

Whilst some people will prefer not to wear masks in stores, we should remember that it is to protect others from the spread of infection and that extremely vulnerable people will soon be out and about more regularly. Some of us may feel that they offer little protection, but they could help others who are more vulnerable than ourselves.

Thank you for your understanding.

1st June 2020 – Welcome Back! Our Doors Are OpenUntitled1

As many of you have heard, health care practitioners are now able to begin resuming normal visits in England. The exact date varies, with many dentists opening 8th June and chiropractors 15th June.

We can book an appointment for you now. Please contact the office and we will be happy to reserve your June appointment.

Categories of Clients

Inspired Chiropractic have identified two categories. (The definitions for these categories are set out by Public Health England)

I. Non-Shielded

- Book Now

II. Shielded (Moderate and High Risk)

May choose to book now (An individual risk assessment will be undertaken)
May continue to self-isolate (We are here for you in an emergency and later on)

We will be undertaking individual risk assessments for every person in the shielded category. As a result, special measures will be undertaken as appropriate and these may vary from person to person to meet your needs and individual concerns.

Reducing The Risk of Covid 19

We ask for your co-operation with the changes we have made that protect us all.

• Anti-bacterial sanitiser for use on arrival and leaving the office
• Perspex screens (reception)
• No sign in procedure
• Check on arrival for CV19 symptoms
• We ask that you attend your appointment by yourself. Friends and relatives are asked to wait outside where possible
• We ask that you attend at the exact time of your appointment. We intend to take you directly to an adjusting room. This becomes difficult when clients arrive 15 minutes early or late
• Regular cleaning is undertaken throughout the day with antiviral and antibacterial products: door handles inside and out, bannisters, taps, toilet flush, chair arms, adjusting tables, communal surfaces
• Antibacterial soap and hot water are available
• Clinical waste, face tissues, nose tissues and used PPE are all considered ‘offensive waste’ and disposed of in (foot-pedal operated) clinical waste bins
• Use of PPE (detailed below)
• End of session sanitation procedures have been stepped up for adjusting rooms, reception and bathrooms
• Clients with a new persistent cough, temperature or a loss of taste or smell should telephone the office before attending

For Shielded Clients: Moderate and High Risk

The following additional measures are in place for your protection.

• Individual risk assessment for each client
• Temperature check for each client on arrival
• Special times reserved for shielded persons only
• Intensive cleaning between each client
• Different use of PPE for clients and staff

All the team are looking forward to seeing you again and welcoming you back.

27th May 2020 – Open For Care: Covid 19 Secure

Working Towards the ‘New Normal’

Covid Secure

The Prime Minister has announced that from 15th June 2020 all non-essential stores can open if they implement reasonable measures to protect customers against Covid 19.

This means that the office will be re-opening for regular chiropractic appointments and New Clients from 15 June 2020.

We have modified our facilities to allow all non-shielded clients to return to care under a type of ‘new normal’.

We are now able to make appointments for all clients in this category. Please call or email for your appointment.

Categories of Clients

Inspired Chiropractic – Our 2 Categories of Clients

I. Non-Shielded
II. Shielded (Those considered clinically vulnerable and extremely clinically vulnerable according to Public Health England definitions)

We have combined the two ‘shielded’ categories into one category as we will be undertaking individual risk assessments for every person in the shielded category. As a result, special measures will be undertaken as appropriate for each shielded individual.

Resuming Chiropractic Visits

Non-shielded clients are now able to return to normal care or rather the ‘New Normal’.

The New Normal

We have made extensive changes to how we run our office to reduce your risk of exposure to Covid 19.

These changes will be outlined when we make your regular appointment.

Can Shielded Clients Return to Regular Care?

Some shielded clients have requested visits and we are taking special measures to accommodate these requests. It is unclear if a broad return to chiropractic care for shielded clients is the best approach at this stage.

We are undertaking an individual risk assessment for each shielded client returning to care at this time, with the purpose of managing risk and ensuring that we are providing the safest possible facilities.

Best practice at this time requires that we discuss your needs in person and make an individual decision based on your circumstances.

21st May 2020 – Re-Opening For Care

We are in the process of re-opening the office for regular chiropractic care. Up until now we have been advised to close our office for regular care and only see those who are in urgent need.
Over the coming weeks, with changing government instruction, we will be expanding our service. If you are already a client and would like an appointment, please call or email now to discuss your needs.

For New Clients who are seeking an appointment, please call or email and we will be happy to discuss whether we can see you immediately (under ‘Covid-safe’ conditions). Each new client will be required to undertake a thorough Covid-19 risk assessment to determine suitability of care.

Please call us on 01603 764777 and we will be happy to guide you through the process. We look forward to seeing you soon.

15th May 2020 – I Have A Dream

‘I have a dream’ or rather, I had a dream. It was one of those ghastly visions where you wake not knowing if what you have dreamt is real or not.

Dream 1

Instead of easing the lockdown and allowing each family to meet another family, I dreamt that the government made everyone travel to the coast, line up 2 metres apart and stand looking out at the ocean.

I do not think that there is any specific meaning to this dream, however a psychoanalyst might offer an interesting interpretation. The recent change to lockdown rules has certainly left many unclear as to the way forward and common sense must to be applied to each of our unique circumstances.

How we go back to the ‘new normal’ is still unknown for many of us. Schools are an example of this. I saw a photograph this week of an asphalt playground with eight children in it, each playing in their own small square (2 metres by 2 metres) and each 2 metres apart. It was like a sci-fi horror movie with the grim difference that it might be our new reality.

The government has asked schools to prepare to return but some unions are recommending that teachers should ‘not engage’. I listened to one politician avoiding the question of how the looming debt crisis would be financed, whilst fiercely attacking the suggestion of any form of cutbacks. I was reminded of the frustration and conflict we all felt towards politics before the December election.

The national unity that consolidated us in the early stages of CV19 is now fracturing and as the weeks develop there will be vastly differing points of view on what should be happening. Some will want business as usual and others will be seeking to lock themselves away for a longer period. Bosses will want employees back to work and some will not feel safe to return.

My mind is drawn to a business course I attended in Sydney in the 1990s. I remember the speaker making the comment, “we must seek the ‘least bad’ option.” In a world where we are programmed to seek out the best, how do we make decisions when the ‘best’ does not exist?

The answer is simpler than it might seem. We need to do our ‘little best’ in our ‘little world’.

At the height of the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean I was listening to a radio interview. The interviewee was speaking about a charity he had set up to reduce the number of drowning migrants. He owned a company that made emergency lifeboats and life jackets.

He had concluded that there were many boats in the Med that could help. However they were often cargo ships with huge sloping sides designed to prevent people boarding them from the sea. So, he designed an inflatable life raft that would be carried on the deck of these vessels and when thrown overboard, would inflate automatically.

So far so good. The interviewer then asked him whether he thought it right that the migrants were trying to get into Europe. The man replied, “I don’t know about that. I manufacture life preservers.”

When the interviewer pushed, “You must have a position on this?” the man refused to be drawn. “I see things more simply than that. I make life preservers to save lives. If people are drowning, I want to save them. That’s what I do.”

I loved his answer and the simplicity with which he approached a very divisive subject. He knew what he should do and what he was good at. He aligned his skills to a simple vision and off he went.

Perhaps my dream of standing on the coast shows that in my mind the way forward is unclear. Perhaps the answer does not lie in the big picture just yet, but the small things that are right in front of us. As the weeks unfold from here, I suspect we will each see more clearly how to step out of the darkness and into the light. It will be different for us all, but therein lies the strength of the group. We are not all skilled in every area, nor do we all have the capacity for the hard tasks. However somewhere in the group will be those who can deal with the robust challenges. Now is not the time for the ‘big hero’ but rather for each of us to do the things we are capable of. It is the time for each of us to shine in our own way.

Wishing you and your families all the best during this time of change.

We will be contacting you shortly to discuss the next stage of reopening the office and I look forward to seeing you again soon. Karley, Jodi and Amanda join me in sending their love and best wishes.

8th May 2020 – Peace, Courage & Wisdom

3 Possibilities

VE Day

Have you been in a situation where you have found yourself stressed or worried about things outside your control? Perhaps a situation that was not of your making, of which the solution was not within your power or ability? We can make changes to some problems and move forward; other problems take longer and progress may be curtailed by our loved ones. Resolving other problems will be outside our ability.

We have all found ourselves in such a situation as the latter over the past several weeks. The Corona Virus pandemic has stressed us all to a greater or lesser extent.

Over the next few weeks many of us will be asked to return to work, travel more and move out of our protected environments. We will be exposing ourselves to greater risk, even if it is just a small increase in risk.

This means that there are three possibilities.

  1. Some will welcome these changes
  2. Others will fear or oppose these changes
  3. 50:50 (Agree with parts, disagree with other parts and be openly cautious). Many might fit into this category.

This fear of public exposure is huge and some people have a genuine fear of what might happen to them.

I have wondered what I would do if asked to go somewhere I thought was unsafe. This is what essential workers have been asked to do from the beginning. Shortly the government will be leading us through a series of gradual changes, including increasing our social contact and reopening businesses.

It is likely that we will be requested to take continued precautions such as in Italy where citizens have been asked to wear masks in public. These measures might help somewhat to reduce fear and worry, but they will not eradicate it completely.

A Modern Example of Understanding What We Can Control and What we Cannot

What comes to mind is the ‘Acceptance Prayer’ made famous by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA). It is said at the beginning and end of each meeting to acknowledge the need to accept the core message before any improvement over dependence can begin.

It says:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference.”

Quoted from Church Minister Reinhold Niebuhr

Whilst those who attend AA (or NA) are not told they must believe in God, they are encouraged to see that there are powers at work that are bigger than themselves and have influence over their lives.

As we experience life through interactions with our families, friends, social networks and work settings, the thoughts, demands and actions of others result in a situation where no one ultimately is in complete control of their lives.

Whilst this is a great prayer for us at the time of the Corona Pandemic, its roots and relevance for today hold greater interest.

The prayer originates from the time of the Great Depression of the 1920’s and 1930’s and becomes fully illuminated when considered in the context of what people were experiencing at the time.

Rev Reinhold Niebuhr was a German immigrant to the United States. He largely served the poor farm workers during a time which had catastrophic impact on his congregation. His work centred around the practical help he could offer to the people in his area, alongside his spiritual work.

At a time with little government support, no modern facilities and no transport, the poor were really without anything. Rev Niebuhr encouraged the people to focus on the practical things that they could do, the things that they did have power over and acceptance of the many things they did not. Whilst this didn’t change their situation overnight, as it doesn’t with those using AA of NA today, it does give a focus to moving forward in little ways rather than sitting in a cycle of trouble and waiting for the next event to overtake them.

Modern Stoicism

The acceptance prayer is taken directly from the teachings of the school of stoicism. Stoicism is an ancient school of thought which I discovered through the writing of Emperor Marcus Aurelius. It began 300 years BC with the Greeks and continued for more than 700 years after.

In the UK being stoic has wrongly come to be understood as being the same as the ‘British Stiff Upper Lip’. As language has changed, we have lost a unique way to view the world. Stoicism has now come to mean that you just carry on emotionless, despite how hard things have become. This is not true stoicism at all.

This modern meaning of being stoic loses the important teachings of this ancient school of thought. Holding true to its original meaning, stoicism is a way of finding meaning in the world as well as enduring difficult times.

Real Stoicism

According to the teachings of stoicism the path to happiness is found in accepting the moment as it presents itself; not allowing yourself to be controlled by the desire, pleasure, fear or pain but by using one’s mind to understand the world and then do one’s part to work in conjunction with nature’s plan. To work together and treat others fairly and justly.

The Greek and Roman world was full of disease and death. Life was far more tenuous than we experience today and if you were a slave or servant you had little or no say over your life or future.

Stoicism seems at first glance to indicate there is a certain amount of fatalism here. ‘What will be, will be.’ This stands directly in opposition to the thoughts of both those who believe they control their own destiny and those who believe in any spiritual world or God.

If you are one of those people who believe that you are the maker of your own destiny, life has a peculiar and often comical way of putting us back in our place. If for no other reason than to make a point, ‘karma’ I suppose.

For those with spiritual beliefs it is easier to accept stoicism in the same way as believing that a deity has a say over your world, will interact with you, and will make changes to your life with or without your agreement. Therefore by definition you have to accept that there are things you can change and things that you cannot. After all, there is no way to fight the Big Boss.

As an Australian I don’t think that there is such a conflict between stoicism and faith. In fact, the two work very well together.

The Aboriginal people of Australia have always seen the two as being part of the same. As a very spiritual people who lived in a very harsh environment, they knew that both understanding nature and working in tune with nature was the only way to survive. They also held firm beliefs in the spirit world; a belief that forces beyond their control had a huge effect on their daily lives and overall survival.

Their ‘dream time stories’ were laced with talk of the spiritual world and contained, almost hidden within, the secrets of preparing poisonous plants to eat, when to cross deserts and other practical information. A great way of passing ancient knowledge from one generation to the next when you do not have a written language.

Chiropractic and Stoicism

In normal times I am asked every day if I can fix the back or neck etc. As a chiropractor I know that there are things we can improve and things we cannot.

Most spinal complaints can be improved, many can be repaired, whilst some involve permanent damage. This is easy to understand.

What is harder to accept is that people endure injuries that could be repaired if they were willing to make the necessary changes.

This is often manifested with the question, “what exercises can help this?” I know that exercises have been given in the past, the client told to sit less, walk more, yet they have not made the changes they need to.

If there is a chiropractic prayer out there, it must be the ‘Acceptance Prayer’ by Reinhold Niebuhr.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”

The Weeks Ahead

We must accept that the future, as Churchill said, “Is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

We will live in a weird world for many months to come and ride the uncertainties that it brings.

We could all do with peace (state of serenity) to accept the things we cannot do anything about. We also need courage to face the things we fear. Knowing how to best look after ourselves and our families during this season is the wisdom.

It is good to keep in contact with many of you and hear positive reports about your daily activities and ‘mind occupying’ endeavours. Please call or email us if you would like to discuss anything about which we might be of assistance. Whilst we have not yet returned to being open, we have arranged some visits for those who are in difficulty. These visits are under special conditions to reduce the chance of Covid infection as much as possible. We may be able to offer a wider range of appointments over the coming weeks.

Looking forward to seeing you again soon.

4th May 2020 – Back To The Future

As we await news about whether there will be further lockdown in the UK, or more accurately what measures might be lifted and when, we hear noise that Germany has seen a rise in the ‘R’ number which might indicate that they are having a second spike. Inevitable really.

We have all heard variations of the saying, “There is light at the end of the tunnel.” I guess the mischievous part of me likes the saying, “Beware of the light at the end of the tunnel, it could be an oncoming train!”

The most apt for us at present could be, “It’s not that there isn’t light at the end of the tunnel, it’s just that the tunnel isn’t straight.”

The coming weeks and months are uncomfortably opaque. We cannot get our teeth into anything and are unable to make headway on many aspects of life. Those of us with children are having significant difficulties as children need clarity, certainty and direction to be calm and productive. In many ways the current climate is not conducive to such learning.

I have been productive in some areas and completely unproductive in others. An area I have enjoyed is completing the reading of several books, most of which I reached the mid-way point and abandoned.
One example is ‘Schott’s Original Miscellany’ by Ben Schott. It is a collection of various random pieces of information, many of which I have found surprising and fascinating.

He writes, “It is perhaps possible to live one’s life without Schott’s Original Miscellany, but it seems a curious and brave thing to attempt.”

The following excerpt is from this book.

Slang

‘Schott’s Original Miscellany”, Ben Schott, 2003 Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 0-7475-6320-9

I have been pondering how cockney rhyming slang holds an interesting parallel to our current situation. The whole basis of rhyming slang was to create a tight, closed world where locals could speak without always being understood by those outside the group. It was a type of protection from the law, the ‘Sweeney Todd’, but also a sign that if you knew the lingo you must be trustworthy, to a certain degree at least.

You would be less likely to tell ‘porky pies’ or be full of ‘pony and trap’ if you had been around long enough to see others make a ‘kyher pass’ of themselves.

Just for fun you can hear some Aussie rhyming slang about CV-19 on YouTube if you want a small giggle: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFbcAu1IGd4

Cockney slang has come to be cool, funny, hip and perhaps even quaint. It is universally recognised if not always understood. More than just a euphemism, what it really does is create the certainty of ‘belonging’ and provides an insular protected world with the presumption that others who share this world will protect and look after you.

For some this protection might have been very real but for others I am sure it was just an illusion. This shares many similarities with the current situation we find ourselves in. We are creating an insular trusted community to protect ourselves from the outside world. There is suspicion of those outside the group and for some more than others, a strong instinct to keep the outside out. This week I observed a woman screaming hysterically at someone for walking the wrong way round an aisle – socially awkward to say the least.

We know what we must do, but as time goes by the willingness to comply with lockdown will wane and a small, measured scepticism will grow. Perhaps the weeks ahead, as we await to see restrictions eased, will be unclear. The tunnel might very well not be straight and even if it is, perhaps it will be crowded with others also trying to find the light. This is what the politicians and journalists might now refer to as “the new normal”.

Another phase now emerging is, “Build Back Better”. Build back better

Companies are looking to renew and reinvent themselves in a new world, where they suffered in the old one. The business world calls this ‘reframing'; changing the rules of the game to make themselves more relevant.

The oil and gas industry is a clear example of this. The cost per barrel at present is so low that the fracking industry looks like it will become extinct. Whether this is good or bad, you must decide. They say they want to lead the way in the world of renewables at a time when scepticism is rising that renewable energy is not as green as we would like. Michael Moore has just released his new movie, ‘The Planet of Humans’, which launches a huge and ultra-sceptical attack on the renewable energy industry. He is attempting to raise inconsistencies about the industry but fails to make the point that in a new movement nothing is perfect (and sometimes a half-way house is better than no house at all).

I am sure that as we watch the build up to the US elections in November we will see this topic hotly debated.

I was encouraged by listening to ‘Thought for the Day’ by Reverend Sam Wells on 22nd April 2020. He is vicar of St Martin-in-the-Field in London, which provides practical support to the poor, homeless and drug affected of London. This gives Rev Wells somewhat of a clearer filter through which he can see the world.

He made the following statement:
“Before the lock-in we were consumed with concerns about other things, “Troubled by inequality, anxious about climate change, confused by migration, there was lament, division and anger…..those simpler, happier times. Perhaps normal wasn’t all that great but that is only half the issue. The problem really is with the work ‘back’, even if things were perfect 6 weeks ago you can never really go back…. The only thing we really know about the future is that is not going to be the same as the past.

…. We may feel bewildered and confused but we will never get a better opportunity to create a future bigger than the past. If all we aspire to after months of lockdown is to go back to normal we will have squandered a once in a century invitation to imagine something richer, truer, deeper than normal ever was.
After the war, people didn’t aspire to go back to the hungry thirties; they wanted to build a land fit for heroes to live in. This isn’t a time for looking back, it’s a time to imagine a new future and to live that future now.”

You can listen to the whole broadcast here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p08b57ly

Another podcast with a similar theme is by John Bell of the Iona Community, broadcast on the 27th April 2020.

He says:

“I’ve always been attracted to prophetic figures, whether they be ancient, such as Isaiah, or contemporary such as Martin Luther King or Nelson Mandela. If you look at the content of what they actually say you can discern three strands:

1. They analyse the present predicament
2. They offer empathy and solace to the despairing
3. They re-imagine the future

At present we have much analysis and we may indeed be suffering from analysis paralysis. There has been good support and encouragement for many, from people close to us and from programmes in the media.

Picture frameWhat about re-imagining the future. … Some people just want to get back to normal. I desperately hope we don’t. That would mean essential workers, particularly in private care homes, returning to underpaid oblivion.

It would mean business, transport and industry re-contributing to high levels of pollution. It would mean a return to under-funded health and social services where experts are only listened to in times of crisis (rather than dialoguing about preventing crisis). It would be a devaluing of the importance of the arts and of open spaces being considered essential for public well-being.

Maybe some of the things we are experiencing now hold clues to the ‘new normal’ we might aspire to. It is time to talk at length rather than in sound bites; the enjoyment of showing consideration for others, neighbourhoods taking initiatives, awareness of how (unless we help the poor of the world to get through this time) the virus may return to us with vengeance. Ecology is the partner rather than the servant of economics. Such things are not for political manifestos to determine but are for us all to discuss and discover.”

You can listen to the whole podcast here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p08blt8d

What both broadcasts describe is the huge amount of work that is required physically, politically, environmentally, socially and spiritually. We need to ‘Build Back Better’ not in a business survival mindset but in a new social way.

Perhaps the environmental industry is not all it is cracked up to be, but until we find a new way to replace oil, coal and gas it is here for the foreseeable future and we must try to find a way forward.
Who will look after us when we are old if the care industry is not held in higher esteem and paid respectfully? This industry needs quality employees and must pay them fairly. We must not expect poor countries to provide workers to fill our lowly paid roles if we are not willing to make changes ourselves. It is not time to go back to the past. It is time to go back to the future. I wonder what this future will hold.

As always, Karley, Jodi and Amanda join me in sending their best wishes to you and your families.

27th April 2020 – Pleasure And Pain

Keys To Self-Improvem7ent

Yes, it has finally happened. I have resorted to reading motivational self-help books to cope with this lockdown.

The quote below is from Tony Robbins: Success Pic

In essence I think that this summarises the lock-in principle. There is plenty of low-level pain and limited simple pleasures. It is the combination of the two that can be toxic.

Those of us familiar with the work of Robbins know he is a master of redefining pain and pleasure.

For example, we all recognise that there are certain foods that we enjoy eating. Robbins helps us to understand that in small quantities these are fine however if the pleasure gets out of control or is applied wrongly, then problems occur.

Food is a great example of this. If you have worked physically hard in the garden, expended much energy and completed that gargantuan task that has been plaguing you for years, then you are very justified in rewarding yourself. You might have a sweet high calorie drink, a large glass of wine, beer or perhaps an ice cream. As you do this it is easy to find that the reward is easier to justify next time. “I cut the lawn so I can have a beer”, your internal voice might say.

This internal dialogue develops further to become, “I know I should cut the lawn but I’m tired and it’s already 3 o’clock, a little late, so I’ll have a beer.”

This journey isn’t too long before food becomes both a reward and a way to give us a boost if we are upset, scared or disappointed. At this point food becomes an everyday ritual. Many of us can begin using food for a multitude of reasons; pleasure, warding off emotional pain, a coping mechanism for dealing with difficulty or suppressing disappointment.

This is a gradual process, dare we say a ‘salami tactic’, that gradually creeps in until we can consume just about any quantity of anything. If you are not a foodie then perhaps your substitute may be too much sleep, a cigarette, alcohol, coffee or even over exercising.

Just as with pleasure, pain can become misplaced. Not all pain is bad. For those who play rugby, practice martial arts, competitive cycling, gym work, mountain climbing and other sports, pain is part of the entry to the game. Knowing what pain to push through and when to stop is key to success. It can become addictive and whilst enjoying pain as a motivator is positive, too much can become obsessive and this can create damage to our minds and bodies.

We need to check, analyse and redefine what is healthy pleasure/pain and what is destructive pleasure/pain. We need to control and understand these processes so that we have a tool we can use to conquer some of the longer-term problems that we face.
This lockdown gives us sharp focus to shine the bright light of circumspect on what pleasure and pain is because these concepts shift with use. Repeated pleasure can easily become mundane and needs to be modified if it is to maintain itself as a positive force.

Pain can also change, lose its sting and not be the negative experience it once was. When this occurs it can be a powerful and positive experience for us.

Just like physical exercise can increase muscle strength and energy levels, we can adjust pain or pleasure to help us lose weight, get fitter, desensitise ourselves to fear, alter sleep patterns and modify our fear of social situations.

Some simple first steps:

  1. Start writing. This can be bubble diagrams or longer text about unhealthy pleasures and pain that we experience. Writing is key here because it forces us to use the tool as a distillation process, refining our ideas, purifying and simplifying them, until the core of the fear, pain or inappropriate pleasure becomes clear. To write about something forces us to use words to describe what can have been a foggy, scary emotional cloud – when we name it and describe it, it will lose its power and we will see it more clearly for what it is.
  2. Start dreaming. Our minds and imaginations can be the thing that shape our future. If we let our future develop by chance, circumstance or the will of others, we will never really arrive at the destination we desire. What would your perfect life look like? Would you be stronger, fitter, have educational qualifications, have a new role at work? Dream your dreams and again write them down so you are clear about what you desire.
  3. Make a list of what is stopping you. Unlike a list of people or tasks, this is a list of the things that you do, perhaps bad habits, sloppy application of good things, negative people you hang out with, positive people you don’t hang out with. It might contain things you eat that you need to stop eating or the framework of a better diet. Perhaps it is learning to cook to a better level. Someone recently shared that they had learnt to cook differently and enjoy different foods by using home delivery boxes. They pointed out that this gave them access to herbs and spices they would not normally have purchased. The process didn’t just teach them how to prepare the food but additionally what was needed on a weekly basis and what to keep in the stock cupboard. They had not learned the basics of shopping, storage, portion size, cooking or preparation. Miss any of these steps and you will not be master of the kitchen.
  4. Prioritise the list. What do you need to do first? Identify one thing that is easy to do that will kick start the process. You will need to collaborate with your household and friends. Introduce the project as a fun, ‘locked-in’ activity. Start with something you know you can do and understand; you cannot do everything at once and you will achieve little without the help of others.
  5. Make a timeline. Write down the ‘when’. Understand that losing weight takes time and you can set a reasonable goal for 6 weeks. If you want to lose half a stone over 6 weeks, this is a little over 1 lb per week – this part-way marker is known as a ‘tension line’. If you want to reach your goal, a small weekly improvement needs to be about 1 lb but be realistic; some weeks it will be more and some weeks you might put weight on. It might be that in 1 month you want to be able to run 5 miles in 30 minutes and this means timing yourself, making notes and doing home stretches, exercises and warmups.
  6. Role play. Learn from children. They constantly role play pretending to be fast, strong, dynamic, confident; they are ‘trying out’ situations and rehearsing responses. This is how we learn to conquer difficult social situations, by practicing exposure to what we fear. The office bully is predicable; when you know what they will say, learn to make it difficult or socially expensive for them to pick on you. Practice how to ask for help or what to say in the interview. Role play is key to knowing how to express yourself instead of fearing what will happen. Practice when you are alone so that when a situation occurs you can react quickly.

This time of lockdown is hard but perhaps we can use it to trigger the process of self-improvement and change the emerging world in the months ahead. On Wednesday 22 April 2020 England’s chief medical officer, Prof Chris Whitty, said that some form of lockdown measures will remain in place for a year. Whilst it is likely that things will change in several weeks’ time, we face a new way of living for a long time to come.

We are all getting a little fractious, but this too will pass. We need to actively embrace calmness, positivity and a productive, cooperative attitude. I hope you enjoy the following material that might help raise a smile this week.

I hope you enjoy planning some small self-improvement ideas and as always, please contact the office if you would like a chat or if we can support you in any other capacity. Karley, Jodi and Amanda join me in sending love and best wishes to you and your families.

20th April 2020 – The Naughty Bag

KeyThe Good and The Bad

Although we probably realised last week that we would be locked down for another 3 weeks, the government has now formally announced it. The conclusions that we can draw from all the facts are far more interesting.

Fearing the worst the government has built temporary ‘Nightingale’ hospitals across the country in preparation for the worst case scenario. The Excel was built with maximum capacity for 4,000 beds but only about half have been built, with the rest to be added later if required.

Over the Easter Bank Holiday only 19 patients were admitted to this new facility. This is great news and although a huge amount of money has been spent on the facility, we would like it not to be needed.

At present the number of deaths looks less than had been initially feared and that is very good. The huge cost of accommodating this worst-case scenario is bad. I guess it is a case of the Good and the Bad.

This week I found myself waiting in the office for a client wearing PPE which included a sweaty, claustrophobic, restrictive and impersonal mask. It was an odd, surreal time of contemplation. Perhaps you too have had such a moment? Maybe you have waited patiently, 2 metres behind someone at a supermarket, in a queue which snaked several hundred metres around the car park.

The Strange Contradiction

I was contemplating the strange contradiction. This lock down has both separated us from others and has forced us into the personal space of others. My sister is a great example.

She has health issues. A good diet is key and it is regularly reviewed by her specialists. She is supposed to be in complete isolation and should not be leaving the house. It has been arranged that her son will purchase her groceries and deliver them. Her panic seemed irrational.

“He won’t get it right”, “he will buy the wrong things” and “I won’t get what I need”, she sobbed on the phone. Earlier the same day I had had this very same conversation with a client who was also a ‘buyer’ and he disclosed the idea of the ‘naughty bag’.

What is obvious in retrospect is that my sister will not really starve but she is accustomed to buying and eating many things she should not. She has established perfectly rational ‘reasons'; hypo attacks, ‘I haven’t tried the new apple and cinnamon ones yet’, ‘they have reduced the fat content and I need to see how they are’, ‘do you remember we ate these as kids? Let’s try one’, ‘they are 2 for 1′, and my personal favourite, ‘they are on sale, let’s get a large supply while they are half price’.

In truth the lockdown makes our ‘naughty’ habits more visible to others: the sneaky chocolate bar, ‘I only smoke 5 cigarettes a day (really 25)’, ‘I was sure we had 3 bottles of wine’, the more acceptable but no less funny, ‘we are going through twice the amount of food shopping a week! Are you really hungry and do you need to have macaroni and cheese at 11 o’clock at night?’

We are all in the same boat one way or another. Our lives have been laid bare under the microscope of external examination and we all have areas for improvement. We all need the ‘naughty bag‘; a comment free, judgement free zone where we store the little breaches of the strict code of the perfect diet.

Whilst this is contrary to the chiropractic principle of Eat Well, Think Well and Exercise Well, we cannot live in such a rigid environment that we go insane. We need to be doing the right thing for most of the time and then make allowances to indulge occasionally. For some this will be 90:10, others 80:20 or 70:30. You will know what works for you.

None of us are perfect and we need to embrace the imperfections of others, especially at this time, knowing that they might not reach our own standards of acceptability.

My sister was significantly less stressed when told about the concept of the naughty bag, the contents of which is strictly beyond the comment of others. At this point she revealed the likelihood of requiring two naughty bags – the naughty hole can never be filled!

Niyamas – Your Relationship With Yourself

In my spare time I have been reading some self-improvement books and currently am contemplating the yogic (yoga) system of self-improvement. These ways of seeing the world have been around for thousands of years and come from the Indian school of thought. They have broken down our relationship with things in many ways; your relationship with the outside world as well as your relationship with yourself, something they call ‘niyamas’.

Within niyamas (your relationship to yourself) there are 5 areas of consideration and I found one particularly powerful. It is called ‘tapas’ (or austerity). It is essentially a type of self-control, calling us to have restraint on our minds and our senses.

It has the twin elements of instructing your mind to do things you don’t want to do and taking control so that you do not do things that you shouldn’t. As the yogis say, just like a muscle, your abilities will grow with practice.

Coming from a Christian, western background I was well and truly up on trying not to do the things I shouldn’t, but I had not considered the idea that there are many things we don’t do that we need to explore.

Exercise, hard work and making time for certain important chores all fit here. In a time where we have forced time, this is an important thought.

The book I am reading asks, “What do you need to do that you are not doing? What gives us control of our minds to find a path forward?”

The idea is rooted in understanding the weakness you have in your mind and trying to overcome it by practice. Examples given in the book I was reading:

  • Talking less if you talk too much or speaking up if you are too quiet
  • Eating less if you over-eat, or eating better and more if you do not eat enough
  • Being compassionate if you are judgemental

The idea of ‘tapas’ is to build a non-violent, inner zeal with a steadfast attitude to being compassionate and forgiving towards others.

When reading these thoughts, I realised how important they are for now and how we can use them to help encourage, love and forgive others, even if this means using a ‘naughty bag’.
What will happen in the weeks ahead?

The government has difficult decisions ahead. On one hand the quicker everything reopens, the less damage is done to the economy and the happier we will be. The counter argument to this is that people are dying and will continue to die. The smaller the initial lockdown, the greater the chance of mass infection straining NHS resources and the worse the health outcome.

The UK government is likely to take a middle road, the Goldilocks Zone, which means that in another three weeks when faced again with the decision to relax measures, they have a much greater chance of reducing some restrictions. If they do, what type and by how much is unsure but it is helpful to look at their tools.

The main tools seem to be:

  • Schools and educational institutions
  • Increased service of non-essential healthcare, dentists, regular chiropractic visits (emergency visits are still permitted under specified conditions)
  • Restaurants, pubs and bars
  • Gyms, public pools and places of entertainment such as cinemas, theatres and outdoor facilities such as seafronts, beaches, parks and caravan parks
  • Non-essential shopping

The government will seek to protect the vulnerable until a vaccine has been approved (likely to be more than a year) but they will have to relax some restrictions at some point. It is likely that they will relax some restrictions in 3 weeks but that there will be restrictions for many months to come.

In 3 weeks’ time it is likely that some of the current restrictions will ease and we will start to see a new way of life emerging. We do not yet know what lies ahead but we do know that the new world will be different from the old.

Lockdown in Norfolk

We are enjoying some beautiful weather in Norfolk and this has certainly helped over the past 3 weeks. Continuing what we have been doing seems to be the best way forward; being kind to each other, washing our hands, following the ‘stay at home’ ruling and making the most of these extraordinary circumstances. We continue to enjoy our ‘check in’ phone calls with many of you and have been greatly encouraged to hear about your exploits and endeavours.

Until next time, I hope you and your loved ones are all well and staying safe, perhaps enjoying the odd ‘naughty bag’ indulgence here and there.

13th April 2020 – Happy Norfolk Easter

We’re Staying In! LH

Over this ‘locked in’ Easter weekend I find myself thinking of past Easter breaks. I vividly remember that Easter holidays as a young boy would invariably entail a trip to my grandparents’ farm. We lived in Sydney and they lived in rural Queensland, a round trip of some 2000 km (1200 miles).

What never ceased to amaze me was that from our garage to my grandparents’ concrete driveway there existed a continuous hard road.

It was preposterous and utterly implausible to think that someone had marked out the road, laid the foundations, poured concrete or bitumen, smoothed the surface and of course paid for it all. I really found this an impossible concept, but there it was in front of me. I guess that only a young boy would ponder such things. I realised that I wouldn’t know where to start in the planning of something so large scale and complex, compounded by the knowledge that we could use it for free.

It took us to school, to the shops, to the beach – that fantastic road took us everywhere we needed to travel. If it deteriorated or suffered damage, someone came and repaired it and it was as good as new.

What I had failed to clearly grasp at the time is that our lives are made infinitely better by our forebearers. Those nameless, faceless ancestors whom we will never know have changed our experience of life forever; driving trucks, organising offices, calculating loads, designing clothes, dreaming up simple but astonishing inventions like toilet paper (you only miss it when it is gone) and countless more.

At present we are being asked to help in small ways, staying indoors, maintaining social distancing and complying with other minor requests in supermarkets. Some of us are making deliveries to the vulnerable, shopping for the elderly, calling the lonely and colouring rainbows for our front windows. These tasks may feel small in themselves but they are hugely significant overall. We must not underestimate the importance of each of our roles in society; the minor jobs become very important when they are not undertaken and life can quickly unravel.

In the Christian calendar Easter plays out the most powerful celebration of all; the time Jesus died, was buried and came back to life having defeated death – a time when sacrifice brings us new life. Somehow we have made this celebration about chocolate eggs?! (I can’t really understand this bit but I enjoy a chocolate egg so wouldn’t argue too much!!)

Perhaps it is a time for us all to think about the sacrifices others have made for us, not just the big ones but the small ones too. On our £2 coin it is written, “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants.” This is a salute to the great people who have gone before us. Covid-19 is teaching us something equally symbolic, “Standing on the Shoulders of Each and Every One of Us.”

We all know that our world will be different when this period of Covid-19 has passed. My hope is that one legacy will endure; we will all appreciate the value of society a little more and hold in high esteem those who serve by doing the lowly, meagre tasks.

Yesterday brought reports that there is little chance that current Covid-19 restrictions will be lifted. This means a minimum of a further 3 weeks of lockdown after next week (the first review is 16th April 2020). The government is working in blocks of 3 weeks before each formal review.

Reading between the lines it is expected that this cannot continue for more than 3 months for most of us. The reason behind this is that the government has promised support for employed and self-employed and has budgeted for 3 months. If they exceed this period, borrowing limits will multiply and this will be an unattractive proposition.

From a health point of view, take your daily exercise, eat well and work hard on maintaining (or resurrecting) the ‘happy home’. Time alone is a vital component in all our lives at this time and one which might need to be planned into your daily schedule if you live in a busy household.

We remain fully committed to making regular contact with those who live alone, the elderly in our communities and those who have special needs. If you would like us to make regular contact for any reason at all, it would be our pleasure. Please contact the office and we will make the arrangements. We miss you all and look forward to the day when we can meet again.

6th April 2020 – Team Work Makes The Dream Work

As we begin the second week of our ‘new normal’, most of us have formed new routines, put a sign on the fridge to say, “You are not hungry, you are bored!”, had a few arguments, lost and found the TV remote, have gone a little insane or completed the full journey to insanity.

The great news is that the weather should be warmer and brighter over the coming days and this will certainly help us all feel better. If you are able to go out to exercise, make the most of this time to walk, run or cycle as much as you are permitted. The government is likely to become more regimented in this respect over the Easter period as it is feared that too many people are not isolating enough. Make hay while the sun shines!

Whilst we are only able to see those who are not self-isolating and are experiencing physical emergency, I am aware that many of you are stiff, uncomfortable and in moderate discomfort. You can find a number of useful resources and great exercises on our website Home Help Page.

Whilst these will not restore your spine, neck and pelvis to full function, they will help to keep you more supple and more comfortable in the short term until we are back in action.
We have not produced a normal newsletter this month, but I was going to include a saying that one of our clients, Anne, told me.

“It takes team work to make the dream work.”

This is a difficult time for most of us; lost income, boredom, confined spaces and an inability to get on with the jobs we need to do. Someone told me that the worst thing is that everyone sees what they eat. They can’t have a sneaky bar of chocolate and a packet of crisps and the wine supply seems to be dwindling faster that the government recommend allowance – very strange indeed.

Covid-19 affects more people than it infects.

For each of us to survive this period and emerge as unscathed as possible, we need to be kind to each other, be more forgiving, more considerate and resist the feeling that everything needs to be done right and right now.

Whether we want to or not we must create our own world at this time and if our dream is to be calm, relaxed and get the most out of this forced break, then it really does take team work and caring for the team to reach this goal. “It takes team work to make the dream work.”

From us all at Inspired, we are thinking of you and hope you are doing well and staying healthy. Do get in touch if you have any special needs or any concerns at this time.

30th March 2020 – We Are Standing With You

At the end of the UKs first week in isolation I want to let you know that we are all feeling the shockwaves of our heavily restricted existence. Aspects of our daily lives which we take for granted have been removed and many of you have been in touch to say how challenging you are finding this time.

To the elderly and those who are vulnerable and in long term isolation, we miss you and are thinking of you. To everyone else across our villages, towns and cities, we hope you are keeping your minds occupied and your bodies active. To all parents, we wish you grace, wisdom and patience. To children and young adults who are missing friends and the daily school routine, we are thinking of you. To my incredibly gifted team who are working hard to keep in touch with you, I salute you. In time, this will pass.

Keep safe and remember to check in regularly with your friends and neighbours. We are at the start of a long road which will inevitably place a huge strain on our mental health and emotional wellbeing. We will continue to support you in whatever ways we can. Please call or email the office if you are lonely or need help. Until next time, my thoughts are with you all.

23rd March 2020 – Clinic Closure – All But the Most Urgent Cases

In the absence of advice, instruction, direction or orders from the government or General Chiropractic Council, we are following advice from the British Chiropractic ACV19 Picssociation to only see those who are in urgent need. The BCA have written, “It is now time to stop all routine, non-urgent consultations with our patients….”

There will be clients who may need to come because of the severity of their pain or psychological distress. (N.B. This must fulfil the spirit of the above statement as being an urgent need for care.) We CANNOT see anyone who has to self-isolate as a result of symptoms and if you suspect that you are infected, could be infected or have come into contact with someone who you suspect might be infected, please telephone us to reschedule. The risk of increased exposure to the public on your journey here, as well as being in the practice, must be weighed against the benefit of the chiropractic care.

If you feel that you fit into the above category and need to be seen, we have taken further steps to ensure that your visit to the office is as safe as possible.

• We will take your temperature on arrival.
• We ask everyone to observe social distancing as set out in government advice.
• There will be special appointment times in the week to limit contact with others and to meet the reduced demand for our service. These times will change day to day and week to week.
• Increased precautionary measures are being taken for these visits. Staff wear face masks and the chiropractor utilises mask and gloves.
• An adjusting room will be allocated immediately on arrival and you will not be required to enter reception. Please assist us in this matter by arriving promptly for your visit but not too early.
• Hand sanitiser will be provided for use before and after your adjustment
• All clients and staff will have a daily temperature reading to ensure a safe environment
• Thorough sanitation of the adjusting room will take place immediately prior to these visits.

In view of new guidelines we are asking you to contact the office by either email at reception@inspiredchiropractic.com or phone on 01603 764777 to let us know if you wish to continue with your appointment. It may be necessary to change your appointment day and time.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank my amazing team who, during a period of great uncertainty, have committed to providing a safe and supportive environment to our loyal clients.
We will continue to be in touch over the coming weeks. Please look after yourselves, your loved ones and your communities during this difficult time.

18th March 2020 – Rigorous New Procedures In Place

This CV19 event is going to be here for a while and we must make provision to look after ourselves and our health over what is likely to be an extended period. We are committed to looking after all our clients and are confident in the substantial protection measures that we have put in place. To allow us to meet these needs we are strictly adhering to new procedures.
Significant Steps to Protect You

We are rigorously following sanitation advice from Public Health England to ensure that your visit to our office is safe. The following precautions are now in place for all appointments.

• We are treating all visits in ‘isolation’ as far as possible and minimising your contact with others.
• Staff have face masks available and the chiropractor is utilising mask and gloves or hand sanitiser as required.
• We are aiming to allocate adjusting rooms on arrival. Please assist us in this matter by arriving promptly for your visit but not too early.
• Hand sanitiser is provided.
• All staff have a daily temperature reading to ensure our environment is safe.

Please don’t hesitate to let us know if we can assist you further. I would like to express my thanks to the entire team who are working tirelessly to support you and keep you safe during this time.

16th March 2020 – Our Priority Is Keeping You Safe

Since our last policy on the Corona Virus (CV19) much has changed throughout the world and it looks like we are going to be dealing with CV19 for several months.

In some ways Norfolk has had the advantage of seeing what is happening elsewhere in the UK and Europe and we would be wise to heed the Prime Minister’s advice of not getting too fatigu

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