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Phuket Health: Back to the bare basics

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket Health: Back to the bare basics | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Dr Thomas Walton is the newest member of the team at Thanyapura’s Integrated Health Clinic in Thalang. In addition to being a Chiropractic Sports Physician, Dr Walton, a native of Buffalo, New York, is also a US-licensed Massage Therapist and National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) certified Personal Exercise Trainer, with some 25 years experience in the chiropractic profession.

The Phuket Gazette‘s Steven Layne recently had a rejuvenating consultation with Dr Walton, who took the opportunity to shed some light on chiropractic therapy and its purpose and benefits.

PG: Why would visiting a chiropractor be more advisable than say, going for a cheap massage?


TW: Many masseuses are trained to follow the ‘cook book’, meaning they learn and study a certain massage procedure which they will apply to everyone. Even as a trained and licensed massage therapist myself, I cannot stress enough that every patient and condition are not the same, and there is never one universal treatment or procedure that can be applied across the board.

As a chiropractor, I first assess the patient and problem thoroughly before making a diagnosis and before doing any adjustments or giving treatments, which are fully individualized.

What is the purpose, aim and function of chiropractic adjustments?


The first thing we do is identify whether the joints are moving correctly – too much or too little. Chiropractic treatment is most effective when a joint is not moving enough, or what we call a fixation. When we identify where a fixation is, we can make a chiropractic adjustment to restore the proper motion to the joint. When the joint is moving properly, it can heal since there is no longer increased pressure on the joint which causes the irritation, which causes the pain. So, the purpose is to get the joint to move properly, so that it can heal.

What also happens when we make an adjustment, is it normalizes communication from the joint to your central nervous system, which in effect normalizes messages from your brain and spinal cord back down to the joint and to surrounding areas, whether it be muscular or organ systems. In summary, the adjustment restores proper communication in the nervous system so nerve messages are more efficiently transmitted.

When you make an adjustment, what causes that ‘cracking’ sound?


We generally don’t like the term ‘cracking’. For some reason, it’s a sensitive note for chiropractors [laughs]… When we make adjustments, what we’re doing is gaping the joint by making more space where the joint is, reducing pressure inside the joint capsule, which contains fluid that acts as nourishment and lubrication for the joint. Inside the fluids are dissolved gases, and when we gap the joint and reduce the pressure inside the joint capsule, it allows gases to be released from the fluid, which is what causes that ‘popping’ sound [snaps his fingers]. It is similar to the effect when you open a bottle of carbonated soda.

How quick can one expect results? Is there such a thing as an instant result?


This will depend on various factors, including the patient’s injury or condition, history and age, among other things. I always stress that it is the patient’s body that heals itself, not the doctor doing the healing. We just help to restore normal function. Through adjustments or treatments, the restored communication function can be realized instantly.

For example, if someone had interference in nerve flow [signal transmission] to a weak muscle that is caused by a fixation in the joint, I can do an adjustment that frees the joint and the muscle would become instantly stronger. However, there are many reasons why a muscle can be weak, so we have to take into account the entire picture. Another important factor about healing is time. Even after normal communication function has been restored, the body generally needs a few days to heal itself, much like after being sore after a good work out.

We often hear about good, perfect or normal posture. What does that mean?


I don’t know if ‘normal’ is a good way to describe it. Everyone has certain postures – sitting, standing and lying-down postures. The ideal posture is where the whole structure of your body is balanced – from left to right, and front to back, there’s balance. Unfortunately our bodies aren’t symmetrical, meaning there are very few people with ‘perfect’ posture.

The reason posture is important is that gravity is pulling your own body weight through your posture, to the earth. If you have poor posture, where you have these big imbalances – say you slouch when you’re sitting – then gravity is pulling your own body weight through that slouch posture and putting more physical stress on those areas where there’s poor posture.

This physical stress causes muscles to tighten up, which causes joints to become fixated, increasing wear and tear on the joints, muscles and altering nervous system communication.

What age is considered too young or too old for a chiropractic consultation?

There isn’t any such thing. Everything is geared toward the individual person. We have techniques that are very, very gentle and painless which we can use on infant babies.

For example, we can make safe and painless adjustments, using a mechanical device called an ‘Activator’ on babies as young as six months, or an older, fragile person with osteoporosis, for example. I’ve treated people in their 90s.

With each person, we find out their health history to see if there are any risks or dangers; then we do an examination. Based upon that, we have a diagnosis and can continue with a treatment.

Some people may be scared or intimidated to visit a chiropractor for the first time. Do you have any advice?

As human beings, we’re always cautious with new things; we want to make sure we’re safe. As a chiropractic doctor taught in the US with 25 years experience, I was trained as a primary care physician so I’m sufficiently knowledgeable to diagnose problems. If the problem is not chiropractic related, then I refer the patient out to an appropriate person; if it’s something I can help them with, I will treat them.

I like to treat as gently as possible and be effective at the same time. I explain everything that I’m doing and make sure the patient is relaxed and comfortable.

For further information, contact the Thanyapura Integrated Health Centre on 076 336 000, ext. 5080.

— Steven Layne

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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Property

Guaranteed rental returns – Are they real?

The Thaiger

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Guaranteed rental returns – Are they real? | The Thaiger

If you’re looking to invest in overseas property, search the market and it’s not unusual to find condos for sale with guaranteed rental returns of 40%, and some even higher. Yes, it DOES seems too good to be true, but the offers are out there and the packages often come with free legal fees and other such benefits. Clearly, before diving in, you need to seek some expert and professional advice.

So, what is the debate about? And what questions should you ask prior to investing?

Guaranteed rental returns are obviously enticing for investors and purchasers alike, with standard net returns usually being advertised below the 10% mark.

In the opinion of many, this is not a cheap marketing trick. Yes, it does have ‘marketing power’ and it might just be the additional financial package that helps developers and agents clinch the deal. But for the investors, they genuinely are guaranteed a minimum return on their investment. Surely that’s positive. It eases the concerns of investors and keeps the market buoyant. And why wouldn’t buyers prefer to go with the property that guarantees this return, over the property that does not?

Other experts are not so sure. While acknowledging that a rental guarantee clearly offers agents and developers an advantage in marketing and selling, there are voices within the industry that urge caution. There’s a suspicion that developments that come with a guarantee may be overpriced and that the developers may have factored the cost of the guarantee into the actual price of the property that is being offered.

Those that hold this negative opinion about guarantees suggest that a better strategy for any investor might be to really understand the market in which the property is being offered, aim to get the lowest price possible, do the deal and then organise the letting independently.

Other cautious voices wonder if investors aren’t being tantalised with a vision of unrealistic long-term returns. The question that is asked is what happens when the guaranteed period ends? It’s not unknown for the guaranteed period to expire, and for the investor to suddenly realise that the true rental value of the property is much lower than they believed. Rental incomes suddenly drop, and they suddenly realise that they have overpaid into the wrong investment.

But still, many deny that developers overprice properties when offering guarantees. And no matter what, it’s clear that a rental guarantee is important for certain investors who need the security that it offers. And genuinely, it appears that there are some good guarantees out there on the market. So what to do?

The trick is to apply common sense and due diligence to the situation and examine the legal, commercial and financial strength of the guarantee and the market in which it is being offered. Here are some questions worth considering:

Legally, how is the guarantee structured?

Is it underwritten with a contract in which legal recourse is an option, should you not receive the income that is guaranteed? This is clearly important.

Commercially, is the guaranteed rental figure in-line with the rental market in which the property is situated? Basically, are the developers offering you more rental income than is actually achievable in the current market? If they are offering you more, then once the guaranteed period expires, you’ll probably see your returns on investment drop.

Financially, how does the guarantee work?

Is the guaranteed return dependent upon the commercial success of the project?

Some guarantees are based on projected annual revenues and are subject to these revenues being achieved. In other words, if the expected revenues aren’t achieved, the full guaranteed amounts might not be paid to the purchaser.

In addition to this, some guarantees may also come with the proviso that the amount being ‘guaranteed’ is ‘subject to the competency of’ the management of the complex. This may seem vague, but it’s possible that if the expected revenues aren’t achieved, then the blame for this failure is going to be put solely on the management company.

The vagueness of such a ‘competency’ proviso might also be used to cover all manner of issues. For example, is it possible that forecasted rental revenues might fail to materialise, not because of the bad management of a complex, but because the original forecasts were set too high? It might be easy to blame all manner of poor results on the incompetence of how an apartment complex is managed and to do this with no liability.

With this in mind, once again, it’s very important to look at the rental market in which the property is located, and then ask: are the projected annual revenues realistic in the current market? And of course, you will have to do some research on the developers.

Do the developers have a track record of successfully managing properties, renting them out and ensuring that incomes are generated?

If the answer to this is ‘no’, how then will they be able to generate the income that they are guaranteeing? This may be a sign that the property price has been ‘artificially’ increased to cover any foreseen shortfall in future income.

All-in-all, there’s a lot to consider. Guaranteed rental returns do offer investors a level of security, and it is natural for people to feel compelled to buy into them, and yes, there are some good offers on the market. But it’s worth remembering that in the right location, you’ll always be able to rent out a property.

As we always recommend at The Thaiger, do your homework!

To find thousands of available rental properties in Thailand, click HERE.

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News

30 dolphins greet visitors to Similan Islands

Greeley Pulitzer

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30 dolphins greet visitors to Similan Islands | The Thaiger

Tourists were treated to the sight of a school of dolphins in the Similan Islands off the Phang Nga coast on Sunday.

Tour organisers said that around 30 dolphins swam close to the boat six or seven miles offshore, creating excitement for passengers. It was the first time dolphins had been seen in the vicinity since October 15.

The Similan Islands National Park director said they were bottlenose dolphins and were among several species now returning to the area following a five-year closure of the park for environmental rehabilitation. Food is again plentiful there for them, he said.

Tourists are forbidden to feed wildlife lest the free handouts alter the animals’ natural behaviour, and the park’s waters are also very sensitive to contamination from human disease and marine debris, according to the director.

SOURCE: nationthailand.com

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Business

500 people own 36% of equity in Thai companies

Greeley Pulitzer

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500 people own 36% of equity in Thai companies | The Thaiger

Roughly 36% of Thailand’s corporate equity is held by just 500 people, highlighting wealth inequality in the Kingdom, according to a study released by the Bank of Thailand’s research institute.

Each of these 500 amass some 3.1 billion baht (102 million USD) per year in company profits, according to the report from the Puey Ungphakorn Institute for Economic Research. In contrast, average yearly household income in Thailand is around 10,000 USD.

A report out this week from the Economic and Business Research Centre for Reform at Thailand’s Rangsit University also pointed to divisive and polarised politics being another root cause of the economic divide.

Thailand’s private sector is dominated by tycoons running sprawling conglomerates. According to the World Bank, the gap between the mega-wealthy and the rest of the Thai population of 69 million is among the many economic challenges for Thailand. According to Bloomberg, the perception of a divide, exacerbated by an economic slowdown, is a major political fault line.

“Magnates arise in Thailand from institutional factors that privilege certain businesses,” said the executive director of PIER, author of the study.

The institute said Thailand needs to promote competitiveness to reduce profits from monopoly power and bolster entrepreneurship to create a more equitable distribution of corporate wealth.

The research is based on analysis of 2017 Commerce Ministry data on the 2.1 million shareholders in Thai firms, and was funded by the University of California San Diego.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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