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Elite athletes are increasingly using chiropractic care to enhance their performance levels and New Zealand research is leading the way in uncovering the mechanisms involved according to the New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association [NZCA].Dr Greg Oke, chiropractor and chairman NZCA Sports Council explains: `We have known for a long time that chiropractic is really good for drug free injury management and regaining peak function, with benefits for neuro-musculoskeletal problems not just spinal disorders.
‘What a growing body of basic science research now suggests is that there are lasting neurophysiological effects when we adjust spinal dysfunction. This neural plasticity or the brain’s ability to adapt is highly important for sports performance and injury prevention and we’re very excited about the implications.
‘A recent New Zealand study demonstrated that when the neck is adjusted there is an improvement in elbow joint position sense in a group with sub-clinical neck pain. This means the subjects were more aware of exactly where their elbow joint was after they had their necks adjusted which suggests an improvement in proprioceptive function. This would obviously be good for sport performance as it improves body awareness and control.
`Another benefit being researched is that chiropractic adjustments may improve feed-forward activation of the core abdominal muscles. Being unable to feed-forward activate is now known to be predictive of developing low back pain. This has particular benefits as properly functioning core abdominal muscles are vital for sports performance.’
Greg Oke attended the last two Olympic Games and the last two Commonwealth Games and performed many treatments on our athletes at each event. He explains that chiropractic provides a valuable, conservative, non-drug approach that meets Olympic participation requirements and keeps athletes competing at their peak skill level.
`If you are performing at 98 per cent effectiveness we can help get that last bit of performance in a competition by making a high performance body perform higher. In the last week alone I have had three Iron Man competitors come through and these are guys and women who are at the top end and they are making sure that what is working well can work better. With winter approaching chiropractors will be seeing a number of rugby players looking to perform at their best.
For further information on the New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association visit www.chiropractic.org.nz.
 Exploring the Neuromodulatory Effects of the Vertebral Subluxation and Chiropractic Care, Heidi Haavik Taylor, Kelly Holt and Bernadette Murphy, Chiropr J Aust 2010; 40:37-44
 SUBCLINICAL NECK PAIN AND THE EFFECTS OF CERVICAL MANIPULATION ON ELBOW JOINT POSITION SENSE, Heidi Haavik, PhD, BSc (Chiro), and Bernadette Murphy, PhD, DCb, Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics Volume 34, Number 2
 The effect of Sacroiliac Joint Manipulation on Feed-Forward Activation Times of the Deep Abdominal Musculature, Paul Marshall, PGDipSci and Bernadette Murphy DC PhD, Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics Volume 29, Number 3
According to Business Mentors New Zealand (BMNZ), the nation’s only not-for-profit mentoring organisation, demand for business mentoring is high and with many older companies seeking help for the first time chiropractors are starting to recognise the benefits of assessing the health of their businesses.
Hamish MacMillan began practising chiropractic in Tauranga in 2003 after seven years of study. After a two year associateship he opened Oceanside Family Chiropractic in Papamoa. In May 2010 he opened a second practice in Cherrywood, Otumoetai. He recently welcomed two more chiropractors to the team and a marketing assistant. He got his Business Mentor in early 2009.
`I needed general business advice to get the business growing. It had stayed on a level for quite a few years. I looked around and most of the chiropractic businesses seemed to be operating in a similar way. I thought it was time to start asking some different questions. I rang the Chamber of Commerce who put me in touch with my Business Mentor, Ian. He’s been working with us for two years now. He has helped me take a new look at how we work, the sort of hours we open and the location of the clinics. He helps me to focus on the business from a productivity perspective rather than a chiropractic point of view.
‘For example, I’d always understood that people didn’t want to see a chiropractor during the day so we opened mornings and evenings. Ian got me to think differently and when we opened more hours, more people came and we have been nice and busy. It’s enabled me to take on new chiropractors and other new staff and increase capacity.
`It’s now got to the stage where I don’t have to be working for the business to be open. We catch up every couple of months or if I have a new idea I want to discuss with him. He is always very free with his time and very sympathetic. He is very much my sounding board and motivator. He tends to ask the questions and let me find my own answers. Whatever your professional service is it’s only part of what you do. The business half needs to be right so you can continue to provide a quality service. Independent advice frees you up to do what you are good at.
`We have seen a huge jump in turnover since having a Business Mentor, in fact it has almost doubled, at a time when many businesses are going backwards. More than anything my mentor has given me the confidence that my ideas are good and worth taking a chance on. I will have opened three more practices by the end of 2016 and be providing chiropractic care for people of all ages and stages of health.’
BMNZ chief executive Ray Schofield explains: `We are seeing increases in demand for our services in many parts of the country well up on last year. Older businesses are now being affected, some who have been trading for 20 years or more who are being affected by cash flow and collection difficulties and the domino effect of economic disturbances which are running right through the SME sector. Small business just doesn’t have the resources to carry that sort of burden indefinitely. It can be a vicious circle as jobs drop off it gets harder for the remaining companies.'
Business Mentors provides access to 1,700 volunteer mentors (who provide their experience, skill and knowledge free of charge). The focus of the organisation is on developing capability, profitability, and employment generation. Since the organisation was established in 1991, Business Mentors has assisted over 60,000 small to medium businesses. It is funded largely by patrons from the private sector, with additional support from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise. It provides a mentoring service to any businesses that are trading with evidence of accounts.
There is no limit on the amount of mentoring sessions. The term of the relationship with a mentor depends on the objectives and goals both client and mentor jointly agrees upon. They can also contact their co-ordinator at any point for further assistance
For more information on Business Mentors New Zealand, visit www.businessmentors.org.nz