I just found this little gem, an embodiment/movement practice in app and book form put together by fellow Guild graduate Ruthie Fraser. I have downloaded the app and am itching to explore!
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
― Martin Luther King Jr., A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches
This amazing story has been on my mind in recent weeks. It tells the personal experience of a man confronted with hateful threats and turning the situation around to truly change someone’s heart. An excellent listen.
Awhile back I had a whole rash of people coming in with the same kind of rotator cuff issues. It inspired me to look for something they could do themselves to help with what is clearly a common problem.
These “most famous on the internet” physical therapists have some basic tests for you to see if you are dealing with an Impingement issue here. If you ARE, then you can do these exercises for making space around the impingement, and these for strengthening and stabilizing.
It is my experience that doing nothing and hoping that a persistent rotator cuff issue will just go away on its own is not likely to work. Massage/bodywork can sometimes help get things back on track, but truly doing something about it on the regular– like, really really regular–has a tendency to help. I have a funky shoulder that pretty much needs me to do a set of simple exercises three times a week on an ongoing basis to be happy. It helps! Not doing them makes my shoulder hurt again after not too long.
I recommend that people with sharp pains in their shoulder joints get themselves a good PT and then do what they are told!
A client just asked me if there was something he could do to help his chronically stiff and achey neck on his own. Of course! I made a short playlist of YouTube videos to help this goal.
First, my Somatic Experiencing training tells me that orienting is hugely important for the neck, as the desire to point our most-used information-gathering tools at objects and scenes of interest is crucial to our sense of safety, and that desire can help unlock movement potential.
Next, from Mary Bond, a Rolfing Movement teacher, some physical cues to help ease the subtle movements at the top of the spine.
Finally, if you are looking for a slightly longer exploration, a short neck-releasing Awareness Through Movement class by David Zemach-Bersin of the Feldenkrais Institute.
Movement is life! When it comes to the neck, the more subtle the release, the more powerful– if you can get the strong muscular ribbons on all sides of your spine to let go, even just a little bit, the big movers will have more freedom to let go, too.
I’m putting this here so that I know where to find it when I need a refresher!
The Polyvagal theory as described by Dr. Stephen Porges helps us to understand our physiological responses to stress. Knowing why our bodies do what they do can be SUCH A RELIEF for our minds, which love to find meaning for the states we find ourselves in, even when those states don’t match the current environment. This is particularly useful information for people with trauma histories, whose bodies might be telling stories from times past that make the present difficult to fully enjoy.
To purchase a gift certificate go to the “Book Now” button in the right sidebar, where you will find options for purchase below the service menu. Thanks!
Released Jan 26, 2016 Fresh Air with Terry Gross interviews Jo Marchant on topics that may be relevant to your interests. They certainly were to mine, pinging especially my trauma training and the physiology of PTSD.
“The mind has the ability to directly affect our health, from pain and depression to heart disease. Science writer Jo Marchant describes how things like mindfulness, virtual reality and the placebo effect are being harnessed in medical treatments.”
Here are some resources for those of you wanting to submit claims to your insurance companies for out-of-network reimbursement:
You will need a billing statement from me to submit along with the form from your insurance company, and many times they will want me to put the ICD-10 code from your prescription on my statement.
I just did this nice little self-care ritual of Mary Bond’s. I spend a lot of time in my bare or socked feet at work, but as she points out, that flat surface isn’t particularly interesting to my feet, and just threading my fingers through the toes as she suggests was a revelation.
This past weekend I was up by the Hamma Hamma river on the Olympic Peninsula and was walking barefoot on the sun-warmed river rocks, massaging my feet on the old logs, and allowing the forest floor to stimulate all of the receptors on the bottoms of my feet. So good! It makes me appreciate how my son Huck has toughened up his feet with a mostly barefoot summer and now his steps don’t have to be so tender and tentative when he walks the earth that way.
One of the common questions I get about my work is “What is the difference between massage and Structural Integration?” The primary difference is intention and the systems we are working with: massage therapy is great for stress reduction and getting the blood and lymphatic systems moving, Structural Integration is aiming more for engaging long-term patterns in the connective tissue of the body. This connective tissue system is something we call fascia.
For a long time fascia was just the stuff the anatomists cut through to get to what they were studying, but over the past decade or two there has been more interest in the material itself. Several years ago I attended the very first Fascia Research Congress at Harvard University, where researchers and clinicians gathered for the first time to share their findings with one another. The fourth Fascia Research Congress was held just last month. I’m not a research wonk, but I did find the scientific process fascinating– ask a question, create a test, isolate the variables, collect the data, present your conclusions.
Last time I checked in with the wonks, there was no consensus on the exact mechanism of change for fascia– i.e., why does it respond to Structural Integration, what is the physiology, what is the best way to get a response? The answer I got was that they only knew it was not strictly applied pressure. To create connective tissue change with pressure you have to load one spot with a tremendous amount of it, a force so great even the most heavy-handed Rolfers are not capable of doing it.
The search continues, of course, and my curiosity lies with what they might find out about the nerve fibers and contractile tissue in the fascial matrix. There seems to be a place in connective tissue where the person (or the nervous system) is engaged, sometimes over-engaged, and if they can be met there and convinced that the grasp on that tissue can be loosened without dire consequences… well, it’s probably another post entirely to go into that, but let’s just say I’m interested to hear what the researchers find out.
Here is a lovely, graphically detailed and illustrated description of fascia with Robert Schleip, a Rolfer® and researcher in Germany (subtitled in English):