Shape Shifters

Three wellness experts show how they can help you with your body's various ailments so as to stay in tip-top condition

Tay Suan Chiang
Published Thu, May 3, 2018 · 09:50 PM
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SUFEN PAPHASSARANG Advanced certified BodyTalk practitioner |

WITH A GENTLE SQUEEZE of your arm, Sufen Paphassarang can give you insights into your body that you may not be aware of. For instance, you think your tight hips are a result of poor training. But the cause could be something deeper, perhaps a hormonal imbalance.

Ms Paphassarang practises BodyTalk, a healthcare system that looks at the state of the body and mind. "From our posture, how each muscle tenses, to the symptoms, pain and diseases, what goes on in the mind is reflected in the physical body," says Ms Paphassarang, who is one of two advanced BodyTalk practitioners in Singapore. "In BodyTalk we also look at thoughts, beliefs and emotions because these have more influence on our health than we think."

The BodyTalk system was founded in 1995 by Dr John Veltheim, an osteopath, chiropractor and traditional acupuncturist. BodyTalk incorporates the principles and benefits of traditional acupuncture, osteopathy, ayurvedic medicine, kinesiology, physiotherapy and chiropractic.

Ms Paphassarang was introduced to BodyTalk after being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. Doctors said it was an irreversible illness and told her she would need medication for life, which she could not accept. BodyTalk identified the physical, emotional and past experiences that predisposed her to thyroid illness, and after nine monthly sessions, she completely recovered without any medication or supplementation. Her clean bill of health was validated by blood tests at the endocrinologist.

A BodyTalk session is done with the client fully clothed and begins with a health history discussion. The 45-minute session begins with Ms Paphassarang establishing neuromuscular biofeedback between herself and the client. She gently presses the client's arm, which is similar to applied kinesiology, to establish a "yes, no" communication.

Ms Paphassarang then identifies the priority areas of health that need to be addressed, which is communicated back to her via neuromuscular biofeedback. "Health issues occur when there is a breakdown in the internal lines of communication in the body due to stress," says Ms Paphassarang. "When communication within the body breaks down, symptoms of poor health start to appear."

After identifying the broken lines of communication, Ms Paphassarang does a series of tapping to re-establish the communication and changes to be made in the body. Tapping on the head activates the brain to re-evaluate the state of health and mind. Tapping on the heart allows the heart to synthesise and store the new changes, which are then pumped around every cell in the body. Tapping on the abdomen or gut gets the changes assimilated in the entire body.

Ms Paphassarang sees adults, children and babies. She treats at her own clinic and also at the fitness and wellness co-working space, Core Collective, where a first session costs S$200.

JESSE TIMM Founder of Central Chiropractic |

CHRONIC BACKACHES and having difficulty falling asleep sound like issues that many working professionals face, but it could reveal a more serious problem.

"Just because these issues are common doesn't mean they are normal," says chiropractor Jesse Timm, founder of Central Chiropractic. "It could be a sign that your spine is structurally unbalanced."

Dr Timm - he is a doctor of chiropractic in the US - focuses on the correction of a primary condition known as a neuro-structural shift - a shifting of the spine away from normal alignment, that in turn affects the spinal nerves and spinal cord associated with those structures.

A neuro-structural shift could be the result of a simple fall, being involved in a motor vehicle accident, or most commonly, chronic repetitive stress from sitting in an office all day with a poor sitting position. This neuro-structural shift can cause secondary conditions such as headaches, shoulder stiffness, lower back pain, and many more.

He uses several methods to analyse any neuro-structural shift. One of them is a photo posture analysis, which involves standing in front of a grid and taking pictures of the spine from all angles. A 3D posture and motion analysis helps him see physical evidence of a neuro-structural shift, the most common of which is the head shifting forward from the shoulders.

Another method he uses is surface electromyography, a technique where sensors measure tension patterns in the back muscles. These muscles should be balanced on each side of the spine and if they are not, it can indicate signs of neuro-structural shift.

Once the problem is identified, Dr Timm follows up with chiropractic adjustments, which are done manually. He also provides complementary recommendations to support the structural spine adjustments, such as therapeutic exercises, ergonomic recommendations, and consultations on sleep patterns.

"A healthy spine is one that is as close to optimal alignment as possible and moves consistently through normal ranges of motion," says Dr Timm.

Most people think of going to a chiropractor only when there is a severe problem. "Chiropractic treatment is useful for wellness, to prevent problems from getting out of hand," he says.

He offers a free consultation to determine the necessary treatment. A neuro-structural examination costs S$200 and the fee for an adjustment is S$85.

NATALIE DAU Founder and CEO of The Daily Escape |

DOES LIFE HAVE to go downhill after 40? Not if you are Natalie Dau, founder and CEO of fitness website, The Daily Escape.

Ms Dau, who recently turned 46, says she is the healthiest and fittest that she has ever been in her life. "Regularly beating people half my age at races and competitions is proof," she says.

The certified personal trainer offers several fitness programmes through her website. Among them is The 40's Project, created for anyone aged 40 and above who is keen to improve their fitness level or change their usual routine.

But why a programme specifically for those 40 and above? "Being older, we have the advantage of knowing what we enjoy, the ability to choose what we want to do and being mentally tough enough to get through it," says Ms Dau. "There was nothing in the market that catered for this demographic, which is too often forgotten when it comes to fitness, and yet is one group that will invest money to improve their health."

Participants pay S$39.95 for the 28-day workout programme, which they can access via the website or the Rockstar Fit app.

There are daily workouts with video and written instructions. The workouts don't require equipment and are bodyweight focused, such as dips, push-ups and wall sits. They are either time- or repetition-based. "The programme is varied so you are never bored during the 28 days, and they can be done anywhere," says

Ms Dau. Each exercise comes in two variations for different fitness levels.

The 40's Project also focuses on helping clients make small changes that will become long term healthy habits. Recipes are provided and they can be a healthier version of a favourite food, such as a recipe for fried rice that uses cauliflower in place of white rice. There are also smoothie and healthy snack recipes.

"Being 40 is not too late to start on your fitness, it can actually be your peak," says Ms Dau.

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