Body Movement

Is Your Walking a Benefit or a Harm?

 

Are you getting benefits from your walk or is your walk causing harm? Do you want to improve your walking?

You can learn an Ergonomic Walk that will prevent injury, increase energy and strength, and communicate a state of well-being, youth and self-confidence? Do you want to use walking to improve your brain and life?  OR… will you wait for wear and tear to show up as pain in joints and muscles, headaches or the old-age, bent-over, shuffle?  Walking can be a benefit or harm – it is up to you. 

How did you learn to walk?  Who did you imitate? Did you pick up their mistakes?  Do you recognize the following pains?  Could you be walking the wrong way? 

Here are five common mistakes which make a walk cause harm. There are many more.

1) Shoulders pulled back (which also pushes head forward), causes neck and upper back problems.  Long term, it can even cause the upper back to hump forward.

2) Walking with your weight too far back in the foot, causes problems with the lower back and shoulders.  It can also cause hip/ thigh pain.

3) Not allowing thighbone to move far enough back as you walk, causes hip and foot problems.

4) Not using your big toe correctly or on the outside of your feet as you walk causes problems with the hip, feet and knees.

5) Not allowing your hips or shoulders to move freely causes a myriad of problems, injury and pain.

You may not realize you are walking incorrectly, but it is important to know that walking can be a benefit or it may be harming you and causing pain.

Just think about the people you know who are older but still move well, walk well, and have that inner spark of life.  Ergonomic Walking is at the heart of youthfulness and well-being. It will improve all your physical endeavors including sports, dance, gardening, cooking, making speeches… and so much more.

Walking is one of the best ways to improve your brain, mind, and mood.  CORRECT walking can magnify all of these benefits, because it utilizes the power of the neuromuscular movement-mind link.  We were made to walk well! But….It is a skill that needs to be and should be developed. How about letting a person who has worked on creating an Ergonomic Walk for people for the past 30 years teach you how to walk for benefit and not harm?

Coordination Pattern™ Training and its simple exercises are just what you need. Join movement expert, Betsy Wetzig, at Twin Ponds Integrative Health Center for classes and her upcoming workshop. It is time for you to learn how to walk correctly to prevent pain or restore your body from abuse and pain.

 

The Feldenkrais Method ®


Reconnect with Your Natural Abilities to Move, Think, and Feel

Experiencing back, neck, shoulder, or knee pain? Having trouble focusing your attention? Not enjoying activities anymore? Gentle Feldenkrais lessons can help you reconnect with your overall well being.

Learning to move with less effort makes daily life easier. The Feldenkrais Method focuses on the relationship between movement and thought allowing Increased mental awareness and creativity to accompany the physical improvements. Everyone can benefit from the Feldenkrais Method because you will learn to fully use yourself and this self learning leads to full, dynamic living.

The Feldenkrais Method is a gentle and effective approach that helps with:
• Pain reduction and relief from chronic muscle, joint or headaches
• Recovery of lost movement abilities
• Recovery from surgery
• Neurological conditions such as MS or stroke, neuropathy, etc.
• Improved breathing and sleep
• The ability to shift habits of movement and holding – which may have begun as a response to your injury or condition and are now a source of pain or restriction in themselves
• A range of skills to help yourself recover function in your daily life

After attending Feldenkrais classes, one has the experience of the body feeling completely different – much more free and pleasant.

Positive change doesn’t come from using willpower, strength, or holding the body in certain ways to move. These behaviors and attitudes caused the problem in the first place.

The Feldenkrais Method teaches how to allow the body to do its own thing according to a natural flow principle. It is all about slowly repeating simple moves while intuitively searching for an easier way. This method of rehabilitation is designed to change movements of the body by re-training the nervous system.

Feldenkrais offers particular benefits for all kinds of people who move for a living or enjoyment: entertainers, athletes, movement teachers, & health care providers, etc.

Carol Siddiqi, a Guild Certified Feldenkrais practitioner has been teaching Feldenkrais since 1999 following a 4 year training program. Carol is also a certified instructor of Kripalu Yoga and Deepak Chopra’s Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga.

Myofascial Release, Structural Integration (Rolf Method)

FASCIA  IS WHAT?

Do you know what’s holding your body together!  Think again, it’s not your muscles or skin.  They weren’t made to do that job, but the “fascia” within your body was.  By now you’re thinking, “What in the world is the fascia?”

Well, the fascia is a structure of fibrous connective tissue distributed throughout the body that surrounds our muscles, organs, blood vessels, bones, and nerves.  Together, muscle and fascia make up what is called the myofascia system. The function of muscle fasciae is to reduce friction to minimize the reduction of muscular force.

Does it sound like a well tuned state-of-the-art mechanism to you? It is, but it can go wrong!  For various reasons, including disuse, not enough stretching, or injuries, the fascia and the underlying muscle tissue can become stuck together resulting in restricted muscle movement along with pain, soreness and reduced flexibility or range of motion.

Symptoms may be:

  • Back pain
  • Headaches
  • Pelvic
  • Pelvic pain
  • Neck pain
  • Sports injuries
  • Chronic pain
  • Disc problems
  • Neurological dysfunction
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Adhesions
  • Carpal tunnel
  • Jaw pain (TMJ)
  • Painful scars
  • Scoliosis
  • Sciatica
  • Women’s health issues
  • …and more

Fascia Care:       

Move it: First thing in the morning roll around in bed and really stretch out

Stay lubricated: Drink, drink, drink! It works better, moves better and feels better when it’s wet.

Stretch your muscles: Keep the muscles from getting chronically tight.

Stretch your fascia: To stretch the fascia, hold gentle stretches for three to five minutes – relaxing into a hold.

Relax: Fifteen to 20 minutes in a warm Epsom Salt bath can coax tight fascia to loosen up – follow up with 10 minutes of light activity.

Use a foam roller: Be gentle and slow in your movements, and when you find an area of tension, hold sustained pressure for three to five minutes.

Respect your body: Even after your injury is gone, you may maintain that same movement pattern. That’s a recipe for an injury cycle. It’s better to take some extra time, see a fascial specialist, and join a movement class.  Don’t set yourself up for long-term trouble.

See a fascial specialist: Myofascial Release or Structural Integration (Rolf Method) practitioner.

Join a movement education class: The Feldenkrais Method®, Coordination Pattern™ Training, Tai Chi, Pilates, and Yoga are highly recommended.

Structural Integration, the Rolf Method

I  Want to Dance Again!

Mary Beth was a middle aged woman who taught ball-room dancing when she was younger and now was complaining about neck and upper back pain.  It became chronic and she didn’t know what to do for it except take pills.

 

One night Mary Beth had a dream. A wonderful dream where she was back dancing across the ball room floor. When she awakened from the dream, she remembered how it felt.  Oh, she could feel it so clearly –

  • how energized she was,
  • centered inside and feeling balanced
  • moving with ease, pain free
  • so very fluid, graceful and present - floating across the dance floor

As she laid there remembering, she gradually came to the realization that there must be a way to get all that back.  She was determined!  She wanted to dance again, be her old self!  But, she knew that this positive change for herself had to be in a natural way. No more pills!

After doing some on-line research, Mary Beth learned about Structural Integration and felt hope for the first time in years that she could enjoy dancing again. These treatments, she learned, could bring her body into balance. She was committed and made an appointment.

For sure her injuries and lifelong habits disrupted the natural alignment of her body and prevented her from being able to move freely.  Pain and strain was her body’s way of telling her that it was out of balance.

The Structural Integration sessions focused on her body’s complex matrix of connective tissue in a way that brought all her body’s parts into more smoothly functioning relationships – it integrated her whole system.

Some months later, Mary Beth was back to dancing and as she floated across the ball room floor, she felt like she was back in her dream – gracefully dancing with ease, pain free. She was enjoying life again!

She realized that even at her age, it paid off to be open to change!

Andrei Kazlouski, Structural Integration (Rolf Method) Practitioner

 

 

 

 

Especially Athletes! and All Others!

Diligent practice of hip stretches—what in yoga we often call “hip openers,” as though they are key to unlocking thesecrets of the hips—can dramatically increase your flexibility and range of motion around the hip joints. If you are athletically minded, this can be a good thing. But as with many good things, too much can be overdoing it.

The key for athletes is to develop or maintain balance between stiffness and openness: a balance of strength and flexibility in the muscles around the hips.This balance can change depending on both the athlete’s body and on sport-specific needs.

Depending on your sport, too much flexibility can be detrimental to your sports performance, as it can reduce your snappiness. Consider, for example the stiffness a runner needs for efficient transfer of energy to the ground. A floppy runner, one whose hips sag with each step, will have to work harder than one who springs lightly over the ground. But you need enough flexibility to move fluidly through your stride, without a hitch that can lead to an overuse injury. Poses that mimic the running stride, like lunges, can help you stay flexible through the range of motion used to run, and hip stretches that target the external rotators can help avoid overuse injuries like Iliotibial Band Syndrome and Piriformis Syndrome.

On the other hand, athletes need vastly more flexibility in the hips for engaging in activities like rock climbing, curling, or playing positions like catcher in baseball or softball.  A yoga practice for athletes in these activities can look very different from a practice for athletes who require more springy stiffness in their bodies; athletes who need to take deep squats can enjoy the full range of hip stretches, including poses that move deep into flexibility.

Consider where you fall on this spectrum. There may be a very good reason hip openers frustrate you, or a good reason for you to love and enjoy them. Either way, the process gives you an opportunity to consider what you can change and what you can’t, and to practice focusing your energy on creating useful change and accepting the unchangeable.

For all those who would like to improve balance and flexibility, reduce pain, increase range and ease of movement, and reduce habits of tension, consider becoming a student of one of the following: Yoga, Coordination Pattern™ Breakthru Training, Feldenkrais Method® of Movement Education, Personal Fitness Training, Pilates, Tai chi or Qigong,

Spinal Cord Injuries and the Feldenkrais Method of Movement Education

Cindy Allison, a University of Canterbury, (UC) PhD student, is carrying out the world’s first research on spinal cord injuries using the Feldenkrais Method to provide people the chance to recover movement and stability.

In the 1940s, Israeli physicist, Dr Moshe Feldenkrais, combined his knowledge of martial arts, biomechanics, neurophysiology, anatomy, learning theory, child development, systems theory, physics and psychology to develop the Feldenkrais Method, a form of sensory motor education.

Research has provided evidence of benefits including reduced pain, fatigue, stress and medicalcosts; and improved mobility, stability, coordination and breathing. However there has been no research done with spinal cord injury.

Cindy was drawn to the Feldenkrais Method because of her own pain and loss of movement and sensation. For her PhD she is developing the first Feldenkrais program in the world for people with spinal cord injury.

Rather than isolating muscles and working hard in an attempt to restore movement, Feldenkrais encourages expanding body awareness, and paying attention to the quality of movement and the effect that the movement has on  the coordination of the whole body.

You stay within your comfort zone; it is process oriented and fun. The focus is also on learning how to learn. Clients grow to understand biomechanics and learning principles, they are eventually able to improve their movement independently of the practitioner.

“I was so impressed with the method that I began researching its potential for people with spinal cord injury. Some of the world’s top neuroscientists advocate the method. I have people around the world with spinal cord injury discovering significant
improvement using Feldenkrais principles despite negative prognoses.’’

Kevin Hitchcock, a former director of news and Channel Ten in Sydney was told he would be paralyzed from the neck down for the rest of his life, she said.

He has made an almost full recovery and written a book after improving via the Feldenkrais Method.

American Molly Hale, subject of a documentary film, broke her neck in 1995 and was told that she would be paralyzed from the shoulders down. Hale has made significant progress. In recent months she has walked unassisted for the first time since her accident.

Germany’s Irene Lober was able to ditch her wheelchair, ski, and climb hills despite being told she would need a wheelchair for the rest of her life. She documented her recovery in her Master’s thesis and then went on to train as a Feldenkrais practitioner.

Australian triathlete, Michael Forbes, describes on YouTube how he learned to walk again using Feldenkrais. More examples are on Allison’s website www.neuroplasticity.co.nz.

I suspect many more stories that haven’t been documented. Recovery is a gradual process but my clients have reported a number of benefits including reduced pain and spasm; and improved coordination and ease of movement, posture and breathing.

“Clients who had no sensation below their break are reporting that sensation and
movement are returning. I want to develop group programs that are accessible
and affordable for disabled people.’’

Voxy.co.nz

If you know anyone with paralysis from stroke, head injury, spinal cord injury or multiple sclerosis, please have them contact us concerning Feldenkrais Private Sessions and Classes. Visit our website for information about Feldenkrais and Carol Siddiqi, Feldenkrais Practitioner.

 

 

How many days a week do I need to exercise? How soon will I see results?

These are the two most common questions I hear during the first training session.   Unfortunately, almost no one likes my initial response…

Ideally you should exercise EVERYDAY!  A little exercise every day, along with a well-balanced diet will help you to lead a healthier, more energetic life.  This doesn’t mean you have to hit the weights or sprint on the treadmill for hours each day.  Find an outdoor activity you enjoy!  Everyday you can do something different.  One day you might choose to go for a walk outside.  If you’re feeling more ambitious, you might even try playing a sport.  Sports can be one of the best forms of exercise, mainly because you don’t have to think of it as an exercise.  You don’t have to worry about how many calories you’re burning an hour, or how many reps and sets you have to perform.  Just have some fun!

As for the next question: How soon will I see the results I am looking for?  Unfortunately there is no great answer for you.  Everyone is different and there are many factors that may affect one’s progress.  Just because one person reaches their goal in a set amount of time, does not mean the same will be true for you.  The best advice I can give is to KEEP WITH IT!  How long has your body taken to adjust to your current lifestyle?  So you can’t expect a change overnight.  This should, and can only be a lifestyle choice.  If you are having trouble getting started, one of the best things you can do is to seek out a certified professional.  They can put you on the right track and make sure you are not doing anything that may be harmful to your health.  After all, that is what is most important: your health!

Ian Finestein, NASM-CPT, Received his Certification from the National Academy of Sports  Medicine.

MY BODY IS STRAIGHT AND FREE!

The brochure says:  Imagine your body feeling relaxed and peaceful yet poised with energy.  Imagine having the ability to move with flexibility while enjoying maximum strength.  Imagine using your body free of pain, stiffness or chronic stress.  Well, I had heard of Structural Integration, the Rolf Method, and how years ago people said how painful it was. Then I decided that I needed to try it – my body was telling me it needed something.  I talked with Andrei Kazlouski about the pain level and he said that when it begins to get uncomfortable he wants to know and then he always lightens up on his touch. Treatments aren’t painful like they used to be years ago.  The technique has changed that way.

Sitting a lot, lack of good muscle strength, and scoliosis, had me pretty miserable, so I made an appointment to see what this alternative health modality called Structural Integration was all about. Many injuries and physical bad habits (moving incorrectly) changed the alignment of my body which made it hard for me to walk without pain.  I have learned that pain and strain is my body’s way of telling me it is out of balance. So, it was time for me to do something serious about it!

Andrei is a gentle soul who knows his stuff.  His ability to detect the origin of the tightness within my body causing the physical misalignment was fascinating.  As I laid on the table wearing my gym clothes, he began working on my feet and legs.  He explained that was necessary because if the bottom of the body is not in alignment, the top of the body will not hold the alignment.

It felt different from a massage.  Andrei used a range of techniques to lengthen and reposition the protective and supportive layer that surrounds each muscle and provides a matrix that supports every tissue in the body.  This is called fascia.  The amount of pressure he used varied.  Sometimes it was a slow, deep, stretching movement, and sometimes a constant applied pressure. And it wasn’t painful!

I was involved in the process.  Andrei at different times asked me to make continual small movements or take slow deep breaths while he worked.  This allowed him to access and work with the connective tissue.He worked in an unhurried and deliberate way and encouraged me to give him feedback so that I was always within my comfort level.

Andrea told me that people who experience Structural Integration usually feel a greaterawareness of body posture.  This was certainly true for me! After one of my first treatments, I walked into the reception area and the assistant director who was sitting there said, “Wow, look at you!”  I not only felt lighter, but I was walking much straighter and it really was so much easier to move. Not only that, but I had no pain – it was just so easy!