Common Posture Problems

I came across this wonderful link today. It goes over some common posture problem a lot (dare I say most) people experience in their day to day lives.

Common Posture Problems

The solutions offer some nice self-care. If your having problems on your own, sounds like a good time for a session. ūüėČ

Sitting is bad for you

But like you, I also do it too much. If you really want to know what it’s so bad: Sitting is Killing You.

Make sure you get and move periodically — your body will thank you.

2013-05-24 Edit: So the place that made the link apparently has some issues being a link farm, so their link is being removed. If you still want to see the article, just use your favorite search engine and search for “Sitting is Killing You” and it should still pop up.

Well this is one way to improve posture

Well, a good friend sent this picture to me awhile back.  Apparently, there is a store here in Portland selling this contraption.  It is definitely one way to help your child have better posture.

Of course, another way would be to engage your child in learning how to move properly (or quite frankly, in today’s sedentary society, move at all).¬† There are of course times when some health care treatments are needed, but many times, bigger problems down the road can be avoided by a little upfront work.¬† And hey, getting yourself moving with your kids isn’t a bad idea.

Stressful Times

There are a lot of stressful things going on in the world right now, with no real end in sight.¬† Modern society has a problem with stress.¬† Animals deal with stress immediately and show much less long term effects than humans.¬† It’s easy to stop being stressed when the tiger is no longing stressing you.¬† It’s a lot harder to stop being stressed over modern worries–money, jobs, homes, anonymous Wall St. bankers, etc.¬† There is no “real” threat to our bodies, so the stress just continues and so does the bodies response.¬† This leads to cortisol imbalances in the body, which over time, stresses the adrenal glands.

Since the body is basically stuck in a flight-or-flight response for essentially and never ending period of time, we just get worn out.  Our immune system is also on a state of alert this whole time looking for potential wounds and invaders to heal, which may or may not be there (no tiger bites, after all).  It will eventually run out of energy to be so vigilant and SOMETHING will slip through whether that be a cold, flu, or even something as challenging as cancer.

Now is the best time to do something for yourself and your body.¬† Go meditate, sing, take a walk, etc.¬† Do something that relaxes you and gets out of the daily grind to give your whole being a chance to relax.¬† For me, I know I’m most relaxes when I’m spending time in a nice, mossy forest.¬† The Columbia River Gorge is one my favorite places to be in the Portland area.¬† Of course, if you can’t manage a whole day out in nature, maybe just take a few minutes in your local park or just walk around the block.¬† Your body and immune system will thank you.

Your Sinus Health

Well, it’s that time of year—cold and flu season.¬† So, today’s post will be about your sinus health.

Anatomy lesson of the day: you have way more sinus space than you think you do. ¬† Most people just think that the sinuses are the space inside your nose.¬† That is true, but the bones also have air-filled spaces that are part of the sinus complex as well. ¬† Basically, you have sinuses in all of the bones that make up the front of your face and even some deeper bones.¬† The frontal (forehead), maxilla (cheeks by the nose), ethmoid (upper portion of the nose), and the sphenoid (central bone of the skull) bones ALL have sinuses in them–on both sides of your face.¬†¬† All of these sinuses drain into the nasal cavity at some point.¬† That congestion you feel could be coming from any of those points.

Rolfing also deals with sinuses a fair amount.  Because of the fascial connection, your sinuses are affected by the fascia and muscles in your nose, face, jaw, cranium, and neck.  Tightness in any of those places can end up causing some congestion.  As part of the 10-Series, those areas definitely get addressed.  However, work can also be done in the nasal cavity itself to help open up those passages and get things flowing again.

One self-care tip is to use a neti pot for some sinus irrigation.¬† If you haven’t heard of them, basically, it’s a little pot you put some lukewarm salt water in and pour it into one nostril….until it runs out of the other nostril.¬† Yep, you read that right.¬† It derives out of Ayurvedic medicine.¬† Basically, it helps to flush nasal irritants out and clean out those sinuses.

Tips for the wise–if you use a neti pot, make sure you use the recommended salt level.¬† Too much or too little salt can cause a burning sensation.¬† Also, you want to use lukewarm water.¬† If it is too hot, you can scald yourself and your sinus linings (not fun, I’m sure), and if it is too cold, it won’t be comfortable.

I just recently starting using a neti pot to work on some deep congestion issues I’ve been having.¬† It sort of feels like I’m drowning a bit, and feels a bit uncomfortable.¬† This is mainly because I hate breathing through my mouth.¬† But, I can definitely tell that it helps to clean out a lot of mucus from the nooks and crannies up there.

Holiday Time and your body

The holidays can be a challending time for people.¬† I’m not going to lecture anyone about overeating and underexercising.

What I will talk about is your body usage patterns.¬† In time of stress, people tend to revert back to their original/familiar movement patterns.¬† This is why when we get back around family or friends we don’t often see, everyone slips back into familiar roles, even if everyone is different away from that setting.¬† We feel safe in those old habits and unconsciously know that.

So, remember if you are being stressed around family and suddenly notice old body issues you thought you had dealt with coming back, take a second and take stock.¬† Go through any new routines you’ve learned about getting into your body, and when you are alone again (even if just at night), take those few minutes and work your way from your old patterns to your new patterns.¬† Your body will thank you.

Rolfing is about learning how to communicate with you body and being aware of how you use it.  Even noticing slipping that you are slipping into old habits furthers that goal.

Invest in yourself

The financial times sure are tumultuous right now.¬† And many people are wondering about what’s a good investment, or how to deal with the stress of the times.

If you wondering about something to invest in, invest in yourself.  The return on that investment is always positive.  Not a great time to make sure your body is functioning well and free from restrictions.

Put some time, energy, and money into yourself.¬† Exercise is a great way to fend of the effects of stress.¬† Plus, we live in an information saturated world.¬† This breathing time–quite literally breathing time–lets our brains unplug and reset.¬† Go out and take a walk, play with your kids or pets, read a good fiction book.

Basically, any time you spend on yourself can only benefit you in the end.

Olympics-How not to walk

If you watched any of the Olympic Race Walking, please don’t take your walking lessons from them.¬† While they may be able to walk fast, they are not walking with whole body wellness in mind.¬† They do have some great hip mobility, but most of the motion is restricted to side-to-side movement, and not in all three planes of motion.¬† Their knees all seem to be buckling, and almost every single one of them was only using the outside part of the feet.

However, the biggest tell-tale that their walking styles are not free flowing, natural, easy walks is their torsos.¬† You may ask yourself, who cares about the torso in walking?¬† Well, quite frankly, you should.¬† Your spine should be able to respond to your walking by compressing and lengthening pike a spiralled spring.¬† This action allows the stress of walking to transmit through your body, and it also activates all of the various pairing of muscles to allow efficient walking.¬† If you spine can’t or isn’t allowed to handle the motion, other parts of the body have to take over.¬† That is why most of the race walkers were pumping their arms like no tomorrow and their heads were sliding side to side.¬† Plus, from the Rolfing perspective, it seemed like most of their motion was coming from their sleeve and not from their core–lots of motion with not so much stability.

If you see any of the race walking events, just watch the participant’s torso.¬† If you look around at about their sternum or breast bone, if there any motion there, or it just seem like a quiet place with everything else in their body moving around it?

I think it would also be interesting to see these athletes walking around normally.¬† Do they still have traces of the “race walking” gait, or it entirely just a motion they do for events.¬† I’d guess that they at least bear the trace of their race walking in their everyday walking as well.

Is that fat on those Olympians?

Well, the 2008 Olympics have been going on for awhile now.¬† If you haven’t watched, then you’re missing out on some prime examples of functional bodies and motions.

Primarily, if you watch the gymnasts and swimmers warming up.¬† If you see them swinging their arms around, you might notice that there is a LOT of motion in their arms.¬† You might even think it looks like fatty tissue moving around–which seems odd since you don’t normally see any fat on the atheletes’ bodies.

Well, what you’re looking at is relaxed muscle tissue.¬† When muscles and the associated fascia are at a properly lengthened and toned state, they should feel like a gel and you should be able to gently press though the entire muscle belly to the tissue/bone beneath it.¬† It is tight, restricted muscles that get the “hard muscle” feel that many associate with strength.¬† Actually, the relaxed muscles will be stronger.¬† When you contract that muscle, the gel turns into that “hard muscle” that you expect.¬† If the muscle is always in that state, it’s wasting energy by being partially contracted (or resisting being pulled apart) all the time.

So, if you feel like you have these tight muscles and not the gel like ones, what can you do?  Well, a great idea is to stretch.  Yes, it is always said, but who actually does enough?  Frankly, EVERYONE can benefit from some more stretching.  Animals do it instinctively when they get up after sleeping or laying down for awhile.  Take a few minutes and stretch when you wake up in the morning or after getting up from sitting for a long time.

For those with Restless Leg Symdrome, some leg strecthing before going to bed can be beneficial as well.  While not as direct as doing Rolfing, it does provide some benefit.  And stretching is a excellent adjust to furthering your Rolfing progress as well.

And most importantly, after doing anything “athletic” (even if you define that as house work), take those few minutes and give your body some breathing room.

Water, water everywhere

Make sure you get a drop to drink.¬† It’s hot out there in Portland and the surrounding area right now.¬† Make sure you stay hydrated.

Water is one of the most important building blocks of life.¬† The human body is essentially a mobile bag of salt water.¬† If you don’t have enough water in you, the basic processes of life are limited and you just won’t function as well.¬† Plus, chronic dehydration can set up the situation for your body to create fascial adhesions easier.¬† These adhesions can be thought of simply as dehydrated laters of fascia that end up sticking together and then limiting motion.

So….get those glasses of water in.¬† A helpful tip to drink more water can be to add some flavoring.¬† Add a nice lemon wedge or something similar.¬† Just that little bit of flavor encourages us to drink more just “plain, boring” water does.