The lungs – not just about breathing

The first session in a 10-series of structural integration has a focus on increasing “vital capacity.” One element of that is working with the ribs and lungs to allow a person to lungs-37824__340breath more fully and freely.

Recent research has revealed another key role played by the lungs. Scientists at the University of San Francisco, using a new kind of imaging, found that the lungs of mice are a significant partner in producing components of blood. They learned that the lungs produced over half the platelets circulating in the mice’s blood. Platelets help the blood clot when you have a cut. Additionally, the lungs of the mice had a store of blood stem cells. The same could very well be true for people. Take care of your lungs so they stay strong and healthy, not just for strong breathing but maybe also for your blood.

UCSF News Release

Focus on the Process for Success

Wanting to achieve a goal can be useful to get us motivated. However, “keeping your eye on the prize” does not give any clues about how to get to that goal. Whether it’s completing all 10 sessions of structural integration, walking 10,000 steps per day, or accomplishing results on a project, the path to success is often a more gradual process rather than one eureka moment.

Making a plan is an effective way to get to the eventual goal. Identifying stepforward-1276286__340s needed to get to the goal and some milestones along the way is a good start. Thinking ahead about how to get around roadblocks that might come up and establishing routines for your project can be really helpful.

Obviously, things will occasionally come up that put us off track. No need to give up, just return to the process. Some advice I received is to follow the plan 80% of the time and ask for support or assistance when needed. I try to keep that in mind, be patient, and enjoy the moments on my way to the eventual goal.

 

Moroccan Chickpea Chili

At my office job, we have an annual chili cook-off. A colleague in my group won this year with Moroccan Chickpea Chili. That sent me off to the web to find a version to try at home. Cooking Light came through. I really like this recipe, plus it is quick and easy! Don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients – many are spices. I had cooked black beans in the freezer so I used them instead of canned.

My slightly modified version of Moroccan Chickpea Chili
Yield 4 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups)

Ingredient list

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 stalk chopped celery
  • 1 chopped carrot
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons no-salt-added tomato paste
  • 1 (15 1/2-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

How to Make It – Get the instructions here

 

 

The skin and brain

A client asked recently about people unexpectedly experiencing strong emotions while receiving bodywork.

Why would strong emotions occur during a session of bodywork? One explanation is because of how your skin and brain are connected. When an embryo nih-braindevelops, it has three layers. The skin, brain and nerves all develop from the same layer – the ectoderm. These systems remain interconnected throughout life. Manual therapy such as SI affects your neuromuscular system. Nerves in your skin, muscles and connective tissue carry information to your brain. The limbic system in your brain contains the structures that regulate your emotions and form memories. It’s a back-and-forth conversation in the body.

In addition to manual therapy such as SI, exercise like running, yoga or lifting weights can also trigger such emotional releases. Ideas on why emotional releases occur during exercise include how brain chemicals like brain-derived neurotrophic factor are affected  by a workout, or how amino acids called peptides flow through your body.

To learn more:
The Endless Web: Fascial Anatomy and Physical Reality by R. Louis Schultz and Rosemary Feitis

Experience Life article: Laugh, Cry Lift

Water quality – upper Mississippi River

Those of us who live or work in Minneapolis get our drinking water from the Mississippi River. The city has an extensive water treatment system before the water goes to your home or business. A recent report from the MPCA documents how the quality of the Mississippi River’s water changes from the headwaters to the greater Metro-St. Cloud area. Governor Dayton has declared this the year of water action, and this report illustrates some of the reasons why we all need to pay attention to clean water.

  • The study finds the Mississippi to be a largely healthy river in its northern reaches, owing largely to forested and wetland landscapes it flows through.

  • It then acquires significant problems south of St. Cloud, where tributaries from agricultural and more developed landscapes begin to flow into the Mississippi.

See a summary of the report or look at more details about the watershed.

 

The path of the Mississippi River, from its headwaters to Minneapolis, noting good river health for most of this stretch, and encountering pollution issues beginning downstream of St. Cloud.

 

 

What makes Structural Integration different from other bodywork?

With many types of bodywork, the therapist puts their hands on tissue and does something to it. What makes the Rolf Method of Structural Integration (SI) different from various kinds of massage therapies? Ida Rolf thought SI worked directly on the body’s fascia. Modern research indicates that the action is more indirect – changes in the body from manual therapy like SI are from its interaction with the neuro-muscular system.

SI works with the nervous system and connective tissue to modify the nervous system’s  outputs to reset tension allow muscles to soften and lengthen. Additionally, the process of SI considers how you use your body in your daily activities and how the patterns developed over time affect tension and movement. SI works with the body’s whole structure. The 10-series covers all the major body segments so that the interconnected system of fascia is fully addressed.

 

 

 

Emmett on Structural Integration

I recently received a news update from my school, The Guild for Structural Integration. A quotation in the message was from one of the founders, Emmett Hutchins. Emmett was also a primary teacher for my SI image002training. I thought his words were a good reminder and inspiration for the new year:

Structural Integration is about the whole person.
It is about fascia and feeling.
The sensation of moving from weakness into strength,
the exhilaration of owning a new part of oneself,
the immediate and simultaneous reeducation of one’s being and action,
the joy of self-empowerment,
waking up:
these are the experiences of Structural Integration.