The 6 Basic Things We Do that We Need to Unlearn

I always write something on my birthday, and this year, I plan to become a better person. With that, I’d like to write about 7 things we do with our bodies that we need to change. Being a soon-to-be health professional, I’ve come to acquire a great respect for the body, and how it becomes a crazy ex if you do otherwise.

1. Breathing

Something as basic as breathing shouldn’t be something we do wrong. If you’re still alive, you have been breathing, so what’s the problem? It’s the technique.

When we’re born, we breathe using the diaphragmatic technique. In lay man’s terms, that’s when our belly rises with every breath we inhale, and lowers with every breath we exhale. Over time, we become “lazy” and breathe using the thoracic technique, or in lay man’s terms, chest out, chest in. This technique, in my opinion, approximates the breathing of people with respiratory problems, so it’s no wonder how using it would be detrimental to our overall health.

Breathing the abdominal way has been shown to reduce the incidence of chronic headaches. The reason for this is that the brain receives adequate amounts of oxygen than the technique we have grown used to. Try it. You’ll see that breathing using your chest draws in less air than breathing using your abdomen.

So yes, let’s try to breathe better this year! How should we do abdominal breathing? It’s really simple: breathe in such a way that your belly rises and falls with every inspiration and expiration, just like this guy:

If you’re like me, at this point, you’re finding it hard to sustain this. Does your abdomen feel like it’s being crushed by the weight of your body? Well, you can’t breathe this way correctly if you’re wrong with…

2. Sitting

Chances are, you’re reading this on your laptop, slouching as you do so. You know this is wrong in that tiny corner of your couch potato heart, but it just feels sooo good, so why bother changing it?

According to OrthoInfo, sitting improperly causes musculoskeletal problems such as stiff neck and back pain, and may also lead to repetitive strain injuries. Sitting improperly causes some muscles to be in a constant state of hell, while making the muscles that should do the work lazy. In other words, your abs are lazy. If you want to develop those sweet core muscles, sit properly. ‘Nuff said.

So how should we do it? First, you need a good chair, particularly one that supports your lower back. Second, you need to sit ergonomically, as this picture shows:

But the scourge of back pain doesn’t end with sitting like our elementary teachers made us do, God bless them. We also need to learn…

3. Picking Up/Lifting Stuff

In my days as a student-nurse, I’ve had the job of turning my unconscious clients every now and then. (It’s every TWO HOURS to my professors out there who are reading this, I have not forgotten thy teachings). I’ve had patients who were light as a feather, and others who I turned using the power of my unconditional love. Oh, how love makes one powerful indeed.

I’ve learnt from school that you’ll get backache lifting or picking up things using the technique we are used to, that is, bending at the the waist. According to Dr. de Castro et. al. (2007) (Yeah, academic style) in her article “Occupational Health and Safety Issues Among Nurses in the Philippines”, 80% of Filipino nurses surveyed reported back pain. While the cause was not surveyed, poor lifting techniques may have been used, which caused this problem to occur.

Aside from back pain, bending at the waist to pick up stuff leads to feelings of nausea. I think this is due to the pooling of blood in the dependent portion of our body, thus reducing blood supply to the brain. In other words, our blood doesn’t supply our brain with the needed oxygen since it’s trapped at our legs. Don’t quote me on that just yet though.

So, how do we do it? Just bend your legs at the knees. Intro picture:

Or you can just ask for someone to pick up stuff for you. Like that remote you dropped just now and are asking someone from downstairs to trudge up and pick up for us. Yeah, we all know someone like that.

At this point, we’d love to give a good…

4. Punching

When people say: “You punch like a giiiiiheheherrllllll!” in that snotty bully style, give them a good smack, after reading this post. Hehe, nah, I’m a peaceful guy. YOU give them hell tiger.

That statement’s sexist! I know women who can break my nerdy, *cough*sexy*cough*  jaw with their fists of fury. The reason for this is not the rage associated with pissing those women off, but by their graceful and elegant use of the proper stance and the proper delivery of the coup d’ grace. Ah, such beauty, when you’re the one watching and not at the other end.

So why should we learn how to punch correctly? Besides protecting us from injuries…

… the proper technique also allows us to generate a buckload (is that even a word?) of force as Oppenheimer succinctly put it: “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”

So how do we do it? Too lazy, see link, see picture:

Important things I’d like to emphasize: When you punch, don’t wrap your fingers around your thumbs, position your punch in such a way that the fleshy front part of your fist, not your knuckles, smack that jerk, and keep your wrists straight! These will prevent you becoming a sitting duck if ever your fists fail. Or you can resort to Tae Kwon Do. (Plugging!)

Once victory is yours, you need to fight another enemy: those microorganisms that can’t be beaten with your doomsday fists! So we need to do some personal hygiene, which involves…

5. Cleaning Your Ears

I’ve had clients before who had ear infections due to poor hygiene. Then again, I’ve had clients who had ear problems due to too much ear hygiene. Which brings me to the first point: too much, or too little of something is bad.

Regardless of whether you clean too much or clean too little, the question is: how do you clean? The traditional method, or the method that I’ve grown up to over the years, is to put a cotton bud into your ear and get that good feeling. Seriously, it feels good. But it’s wrong! The practice can lead to infections (things placed in the ear can cause trauma to the ear canal, which can be entry points for microorganisms), cerumen impaction (or earwax impaction, which, ironically, can be caused by the Q-tip pushing earwax deeper into the ears, making it difficult to expel), eardrum perforation, and even to permanent loss of hearing if you’re not careful enough.

How do we then? We should just follow one rule of thumb: Don’t place anything inside your ears. If you really want to clean your ears, you can just clean the outside, that is, the parts that you see.

Despite your valiant efforts to resist, you come down with a cold. Awww. You feel you have a runny nose, and you start…

6. Blowing Your Nose

Yup, even that we’re doing wrong. At least some of us are. Yeah, I’m guilty.

I’ve have clients who had middle ear infections. Most of them started from a cold. “Hey, health professional dude, how does that happen?” You may ask. The reason for this is the wrong technique of blowing one’s nose. From my clients who had middle ear infections, I found out how they would close one nostril, then blow. The reason that we (Yeah, I’m guilty) do this is that it generates a stronger force to expel mucus. But according to Newton’s Third Law, every action has an equal an opposite reaction:

While we do expel a buckload (is this even a word?) of mucus, we also create an opposite force that drives mucus into other body areas. As you can see from the picture above, the eustachian tube connects the middle ear to the nasopharynx, or where mucus can be found. The result is a pool of muck sitting inside your ears, batting “come hither” looks at those germs.

So, next time, don’t cover your nostrils when blowing. Yup, told that to some of my clients, and they’re now leading healthy, ear-infection free lives. And as with all the things I’ve listed here, I do hope that these help in getting people to have healthier lives.

Oops, found myself slouching again, hehehe.

* I’m not an MD (yet) so if you find problems that persist, do consult your physician. Come to me in 10 years’ time. I’ll be happy to take care of you. 

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  1. kbugal

     /  May 27, 2012

    Waaaaah! Jian! Important thing I’d like to comment about: knuckles first when punching. Mababalian ka if otherwise. :O

    • jian5

       /  May 27, 2012

      OHHH! Hehehe. Nahihirapan kasi akong idescribe yung form e. I meant that you should hit with your whole front fist, not the knuckles alone. :))

      • kara

         /  May 27, 2012

        Watchaaa! happy birthday! <:D

        • jian5

           /  May 27, 2012

          Hehehe, I hope nobody punches anyone else after reading the entry though. Thanks Kara!


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