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Positive Steps toward Healthy Habits!

Take some positive steps toward a practice of healthy habits to keep your immune system working for you!  During this slower time of isolation and reflection, here are ten (10) healthy habits to incorporate in your daily routine.

1. “Let food be they medicine” as Hippocrates said in the 5th century BC and choose to eat food that is more colorful and rich in vitamins and minerals – like real fruit and vegetables – organic when possible not manufactured.

2. And, don’t forget to Hydrate, too!

3. Avoid processed foods, processed sugar, sugary drinks (even alcohol) and any foods that cause your body to inflame.

4. Get outside and soak in some Vitamin D from the sunshine. Get out in the morning when the rays are less apt to burn your skin.

5. While you are outside, Move more! Sweat a bit! Go for a walk, find a new place to hike, go for a bike ride or find a nice spot to relax near a lake or river afterward!

6. Get good sleep and rest. Unplug at least an hour before going to bed and don’t take your devices to bed with you!

7. Focus on your breathe! Take nice cleansing deep breathes in and out – use your diaphragm!

8. Quiet your mind – focus on your breathe and allow your body to relax. Meditate 15-20 minutes a day.

9. Find more things to appreciate in your life right now. Write them down!

10. Encourage yourself with positive talk and repeat each of these healthy habits daily. Keep a journal of your progress!

LESS STRESS IS THE BEST!

No Pain is Your Gain!

 

No Pain is Your Gain is a quote from the first sports massage therapy class that I took 21 years ago.  It was taught by Dr Myk Hungerford who brought sports massage to the Iron Man competition in Hawaii.  That line has stuck with me over the years.  And, it prompts me to ask myself which methods work best with someone without creating undo pain and stress on the muscle?

Much like the unruly teenagers with whom I worked in my earlier career, you have to find different ways to finesse the muscle for it to relax.  Brute force is not an option when working as an adolescent counselor and, similarly, pressing deep and hard on the muscle will only make the muscle react and recoil into further spasm.  The skilled therapist must utilize methods to coax the muscle to release and relax (or for the teenager to comply).

What methods might work best for hypertonic muscle spasm?  We all are familiar with the advice of trainers, physical therapists, yoga instructors, chiropractors or doctors and massage therapists who tell you to find a lacrosse ball or get a roller and “roll out” the painful or tight area.  We all have been trained to ask for deep tissue when going for a massage or ask the therapist to dig in further.  Unfortunately, if you think about that advice, it makes no sense, when you learn that a muscle that is contracted in chronic spasm is over functioning and it is not advantageous to over power the muscle. It is not the muscle that is the root of the problem but, actually, the feedback nerves in the muscle going to the brain that are weakened and malfunctioning.  Therefore, doesn’t it make more sense to focus on the strength of that broadcasting signal from muscle to brain?  Smashing the muscle with excess force will choke the muscle with more lactic acid and cause more muscle spasm.  We may not feel this happening because our body protects us with a dose of endorphin which dulls the pain created by this excess force – so there is a temporary sense of relief with this internal morphine released by the pituitary gland.

One method that I learned at the beginning of my career as a massage therapist called NeuroSoma focuses on restoring the feedback nerves of the muscle spindle without activating the anulospiral nerves that control the stretch reflex of the muscle.   This delicate fingertip method, if done correctly, will relax the muscle, allow the blood vessels to open further and, the initial irritant that sickened the feedback nerve, lactic acid, will be carried away to the liver.  The muscle will feel so much more expanded and healthier after this type of treatment.  You will not have a feeling of being mauled or run over by a mack truck.  This treatment method focuses on the root of the problem, therefore, after a number of treatments you will feel improvement and restoration of the muscle.  With a new understanding and respect for your muscles and the use of the NeuroSoma technique, you will find that you can retire your foam roller and lacrosse balls!  Work with your muscles instead of against them!. #nopainisyourgain

 

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