Tag Archives: health

Mindfulness without meditation

Mindfulness has benefits like reducing stress and increasing contentment. Often, meditation is the recommended way to learn to be more mindful during the rest of your day. But what if meditation just isn’t your thing? There are ways to experience the benefits through other mechanisms. Here are a few ideas:

  • Notice new things; look for growth – by actively noticing new things, the familiar becomes interesting again.
  • Reframe negatives – that person is “stable” rather than “rigid” or maybe “spontaneous” instead of “impulsive.”
  • Be responsive not reactive – take a moment to be still and notice an event or remark before you respond to it.

For more details:
On Being interview with Dr. Ellen Langer
The Langer Mindfulness Institute

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Gardening for pollinators

The bees and butterflies definitely prefer some plants in the garden over others. I am happy toIMG_20170907_141238312 see them in the yard. While I have some native plants, I have not specifically focused on pollinators. As I ponder how to revamp a couple perennial beds, I plan to incorporate more choices for these charming and useful little critters.

Gardening, whether vegetables or plants, has benefits as exercise. Structural Integration can help keep you in good condition to enjoy this activity!

Another benefit of dietary fiber

Knee pain from osteoarthritis (OA) is a fairly common complaint. Cartilage damage can occur from a variety of factors including injuries, aging, and certain illnesses. Keeping the muscles around the knee strong and managing weight are two of the typical strategies to reduce pain.

A recent analysis of data from two large studies of patients with arthritis revealed another potential tool to help keep pain in check. Patients who ate more fiber had fewer  symptoms and less likelihood of knee pain becoming worse over time. This result is a correlation and not a definite cause and effect. However, I think it is another good reminder to eat well and get enough fiber in our diets.

From a Berkeley Wellness Newsletter Article, here are the numbers and this link is their List of Best Foods for Fiber.

People who consumed the most fiber—21 grams a day on average in the Osteoarthritis Initiative, and 26 grams in the Framingham study— had a 30 and 61 percent lower risk of OA symptoms, respectively, compared with people who ate the least. Higher fiber intake also reduced the likelihood of knee pain worsening among participants who had that symptom at the start of the studies.

 

 

More on Structural Integration

I learned my trade at the Guild for Structural Integration. I chose the Guild for several reasons. One reason was simply that it was where my practitioner had studied. Another was that the faculty included the first two teachers whom Ida Rolf chose to provide training on her method.

The Guild recently revamped its website. Updated sections on the “about us” tab include a summary of Dr. Rolf’s career. Here is a nugget from the page about the process of structural integration that I hope you will also find a useful reminder about the work we do together.

While Structural Integration is primarily concerned with physical changes in the body, it affects the whole person. We are made up of emotions, attitudes, belief systems and behavior patterns as well as the physical being. All are related. Align the physical structure and it will open up the individual’s potential.

The suboccipital muscles

Several recent clients have been surprised by how tender the muscles at the base of their skull felt when we workhead-982908__340ed there. I also noticed this part of my anatomy on the last few miles of a recent ride on my road bike. I started feeling my neck getting stiff.

The muscles in question are the suboccipitals. There are four of them and they connect your skull to the spine and are also connected to your eyes. They help tip your head toward your shoulder, among other actions. When the suboccipitals are tight, you could experience headaches, neck tightness, or even back pain.

Common posture habits can contribute to issues with the suboccipitals. Typical culprits are forward head posture or habitually tipping your chin up (to look through bifocals or at a computer monitor).

road-bike-2263202__340

Note how this rider’s head is tipped up to see the road.

To reduce tightness in the suboccipitals, some options to try include these easy things.

  • Pay attention to your posture (Rolf Line) – if your head is forward, bring it back into alignment.
  • Confirm that your computer monitor is at an ergonomic height. Usually, this means the top of the screen is at or below eye level.
  • Notice if you tend to tip your chin up and bring it back to level.
  • Make sure your glasses are properly adjusted.
  • Avoid holding your phone between your head and shoulder.

For more relief, you can also use 2 tennis balls in a sock to massage the base of your skull. For instructions and photos, refer to this post by Strength on Demand.

5 exercises for your core

A strong set of core muscles in your torso helps keep your back happy and allows you to do the movements and chores of daily living. I’ve written before about the importance of the transversus abdominus muscle as a key to your core support.

Many people can benefit from core work – such as office workers, nbackpain-1944329__340ew moms, and athletes. For example, I discovered that I could do certain yoga poses better after I took up Pilates. I thought I wasn’t flexible enough but it turns out I wasn’t strong enough.

This set of exercises recommended by coach Timothy Bell will help build your foundation for balanced core support and strength.

5 Fundamental Core and Abdominal Exercises for Beginners

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