Oh yeah, you know me, especially if you are pretty active. Runners and cyclists usually know me, but most the time we’re not very good friends.
I am tough and well connected. I like to keep things under control and monitor all the action, so treat me nice. If you just rub the outside of your thigh you’ll find me. If that is uncomfortable, then you haven’t been taking care of me.
Let me tell you a little about myself…
I am not muscle, but a tough fibrous fascia. I am that thicker part of the thin tissue that encircles all the muscles of the thigh. A good friend of mine, the Tensor Fascia Latae is a small muscle that is attached on top of me and to the hip crest. We are very close. From there, I am on my own, down the outside of the thigh and connect to just under your knee cap on the outside of the calf. You know it by the tenderness you usually find when you rub right there.
I like running, walks on the beach, cycling, hiking and just about anything that is active. I’m not a big fan of just sitting around and if any of my surrounding neighborhood pals get out of balance, I can be a real pain. I told you about my friend, Tensor Fascia Latae, but there is also Gluteaus Maximus, who can be an ass sometimes, but we all love him. I am neighbors with Vastus Lateralis and we work together too.
I’m the one that gets everybody working together. I help these guys with lifting your leg away from the body (abduction), rotating your leg, flex your thighs and stabilize your knees. In other words, if I’m not happy, you’re not happy and I can make your life miserable.
I’m usually easy going, but you’ll know I’m unhappy if you feel pain on the inside of you knee, tightness on the outside of your leg or discomfort with extending your leg forward or sideways.
A good way to keep me happy is to stretch using the long muscles of the body and yoga. Using a foam roller only smashes me into my buddy, Vastus Lateralis and doesn’t really do much good, so don’t use a foam roller on me. A good massage using fascia release will work too.
So the next time you go for a walk, run, bike ride or any activity where you use your legs, do some stretching AFTER and you’ll keep the whole body, not to mention the muscles in the leg neighborhood, much happier!
No doubt about it we are living in interesting times. The length of time you’ve been on this earth probably reflects your level of disappointment in the direction humanity seems to be heading. Being middle-aged, I am not only concerned for my future but my son and granddaughter’s too.
Reading social media posts and talking to people, I get a sense of apathy, frustration, feelings of helplessness and hopelessness that there is any hope of making a difference. It is easy to believe that we have no power for change, so why bother. It seems only big changes will help and being just one person…well, how can that do anything?
Actually you do have power, lots of it. You can make a difference in your life, every day and in the lives of those around you. Morro Bay is a small town, if a few people take this attitude, it can have a benefit to our community. Even in big cities, this can be powerful.
For example, last night I was in the checkout line at the grocery store and the guy in front of me was ready to pay and grabbed a lighter off the “impulse buy” shelf and put it on the conveyor belt. The clerk rang him up and it turns out he was a dollar short to pay for everything. I offered to pay the dollar and the guy was more than grateful. Now was the lighter for cigarettes and I could have lengthened his life by not buying the lighter? I don’t know. He was scruffily dressed and could have been without shelter or limited shelter and that lighter might have helped keep him warm. It was not my place to judge, but to do something nice. A dollar isn’t much, but who knows how much it was worth to that guy. I ended up feeling pretty good about that gesture and even though it was so little, it might have been huge for him.
You never know how a smile, a kind word, an unexpected gift of food or service might make a difference to someone. At the Morro Bay Community dinner last month it was amazing to hear how grateful people were for the food and sharing with others. I was just the “mashed potatoe” girl and Kim was the “veggie” girl, but we sure saw a lot of smiling and happy faces. Many of them were people that are homeless or shut-ins that don’t go out much. It was so wonderful to see the room full of anyone and everyone sharing a meal regardless of circumstances.
With current circumstances in the world, we need more kindness and where better to make a difference than in your own community and with those you share it with. Look for the stranger; the young over-whelmed mother, the senior that needs their trash put out, the person walking in the cold, the down and out person that could use a dollar to eat.
1 – Expose yourself to something inspirational; walk, music, books
2 – Sit in a quiet place
3 – Breath
Notice I used the word, “improve”. These are some simple things to improve what might be a terrible day or just make a good one better.
1 – It has been proved that connecting to nature in the form of a walk, working in the garden or just sitting and admiring the view can help calm anxiety, lower stress and release the feel good hormone, serotonin.
Music is another source of raising your vibration. In fact, it is reported that listening to classical music will increase your IQ by 15%. Is it true? I don’t know, but when I was a teacher, I used music to quiet down my students in the class after lunch and saw a huge difference in behavior and temperaments.
Reading something inspirational is somthing I do almost every day. Some of my favorites are “Peace Is Every Step” by Tich Nhat Hanh, “The Game of Life and How to Play It” by Florence Scovel Shinn, “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle. Some people find reading the bible or other spiritual writings to be soothing. Find something that raises your spirit and just read a chapter or so in the beginning of your day or when things spiral out of control and you will find it helps reset your attitude.
2 – Removing yourself from chaos or negative spaces and/or people has an immediate effect on how you feel. Finding a quiet place can really help remove distractions that knock us off balance. Go to a place that you find attractive; a well decorated room, art gallery or a place outside. Sit or walk and admire the surrounding beauty. By letting your mind focus on something beautiful instead of where you were, you will find the effect calming and balancing.
3 – Breath can be the simplest and most effective calming tool. No matter where you are or what is going on, you can simply change your focus to the sensation of the air flowing in and out of your nostrils and lungs. Feel the chest expanding and contracting with each breath. Really concentrate on the feel and movement of the body as it breaths. Breath is the basis of most meditation exercises and yoga. It is a very powerful way to transform your energy and mind.
Don't use the excuse you don't have time because everyone has 1-3 minutes in their day to take time out and your breath anyway so what if you put a little calm intention behind it?
Did you see the movie, "Cake"?This movie stars Jennifer Aniston as a woman suffering from chronic pain due to a horrific accident. It is not an easy movie to watch due to the amount of pain she is in emotionally and physically and how she punishes the world around her as a way to cope.
As a massage therapist and someone that has "been there, done that", I thought this movie was right on in depicting the mind/body connection. In the end she is able to accept her life and how to work with the pain. If you get a chance, see it. It didn't get the best reviews because this was such a different role for Aniston, but I think she nailed the role and the script was good too.
Why am I telling you about this movie? Her thoughts are full of anger, rage, grief and frustration. Yes, she was severely injured, but the pain her body is in goes deeper than just the physical. There is emotion buried in there too. Shame, guilt, fear and internal conflict are emotions that can be conscious or unconscious feelings no one wants to acknowledge. As a result, our unconscious mind creates distraction in the form of pain to avoid the discomfort of these kinds of feelings. The body then has a physiological response; lack of blood flow to an area, accumulation of waste product which creates pain and trigger points.
So now let's talk about those thoughts in your head. Thoughts are energy, positive or negative, they create an outcome in the body. Whether you create the thoughts yourself or someone directs negative words at you, you will feel a drop in energy and might even feel a twinge of discomfort in some area of your body.
As a child I witnessed this in an older couple. The husband was upset with his wife and let her know it in front of several people and he had no problem continuing to embarrass her. Not long after his tongue lashing, she started to experience chest pain and needed to take some medication and go home to rest.
At some time maybe you have experienced a negative situation and felt your body respond. Or maybe you experienced something positive when you felt low and it made a change for the better. Either way, this is reinforcement that thoughts are energy and have an effect.
So many times when someone comes in for bodywork because of discomfort and pain it has an emotional component. I am not talking about injury. I am talking about pain that comes and goes or is always there, sometimes worse, sometimes less.
Dr. John Sarno wrote a great book, "The Mindbody Prescription" that talks about unconscious emotions and the effects on the body and how to make changes. Meditation and mindfulness have made big differences for me and are part of many chronic pain programs. Not any one thing will solve everyone's issues, so it takes some exploring to find what works for you, but I encourage you to make the effort.
Are you missing out?
Almost every day I go for a walk on the beach with my four dogs and we explore, run around and contemplate the adventure called "life". This week I had a great reminder about paying attention to what is around me instead of being locked in my own little life and dramas.
In the middle of the week, I saw a pod of dolphin off shore about 150 yards, just beyond the breaking waves. There was a good size group of them splashing, frolicking and jumping out of the water. It was really quite the show. I looked around to see if anyone else was enjoying this and saw a family of mom, dad and two kids, all with cellphones in hand and the daughter had an iPad. Not one of them was looking around. They were all too focused on their electronic devices. It was sad to see.
Today when I was enjoying our walk, the dolphins were putting on a show again, only this time I wasn't the only spectator. Several people had stopped to watch and were taking photos or video. A couple of bike riders on the highway were stopped and watching too. The experience seemed richer just by the fact that so many had taken the time to enjoy the fun and beauty of these creatures.
Are dolphins important? Maybe not, but I think that family missed out on something special.
Life moves fast and if you aren't plugged into technology in some form or another, you can feel left behind. I am not gonna lie, I am VERY plugged into my computer and phone. They are necessary for my business and a source of education and entertainment. I really work to stay balanced in my use of them and not let them take control of my attention and life.
Some things can not be replaced by the fast pace put on us by technology and the computer culture we all live in. Having a face to face conversation instead of "facetime" on the screen, a hand written note of thanks instead of a text or email. Spending time and our attention on those we care about feeds something deeper within us. We all need connection and to be seen and heard by others. I don't think that need will ever be replaced and I am determined to stay connected in real ways.
Being a bodyworker, it is important for me to pay attention and listen to what is "ujnder my hands". So much of what a person experiences is held in the body. Interesting too, that I could tell two different clients were pregnant before they knew or told me...I am always amazed by the messages of bodies!
So take a moment to really see what is around you. Look for ways to connect on a real human level. You might experience things in ways you never thought possible!
What to do when you hurt...This is a problem I hear from clients all the time and a lot of the information is confusing or not good. Depending on how the pain started will determine what is the best choice, but let's review a few basics:
Ice - stops swelling, inflammation and bruising. It is the best choice to use if you have acute pain or have been injured; sprained ankle, bumped your shin, twisted your knee or wrist. Think INJURY when it comes to ice.
Heat - relaxes muscles after inflammation is gone, soothes the body and increases circulation. This is the best choice if you have done too much weeding and strained your back, have an "achy" place.
Moist Heat - this reduces swelling, pain, and increases range of motion. This is an excellent choice for arthritis flare ups or after using ice for a couple of days an injury and to help get circulation going into the area.
I could go on and on, but I usually find someone smarter than me and I found this excellent link that is very informative about what to use and when...just click on it to check it out! Great and easy to read chart.
In the case of muscle spasm, I now have Electrical Muscle Stimulation available prior to your massage. Yesterday I used it on a client with severe back pain and she left feeling much better and reported improvement today too. ( I love what I do! )
First a story...
I am writing in response to your request for additional information in Block #3 of the accident reporting form. I put "Poor Planning" as the cause of my accident. You asked for a fuller explanation and I trust the following details will be sufficient.
I am a bricklayer by trade. On the day of the accident, I was working alone on the roof of a new six-story building. When I completed my work, I found I had some bricks left over which when weighed later were found to weigh 240 lbs. Rather than carry the bricks down by hand, I decided to lower them in a barrel by using a pulley which was attached to the side of the building at the sixth floor.
Securing the rope at ground level, I went up to the roof, swung the barrel out and loaded the bricks into it. Then I went down and untied the rope, holding it tightly to insure a slow descent of the 240 lbs of bricks. You will note on the accident reporting form that my weight is 135 lbs.
Due to my surprise at being jerked off the ground so suddenly, I lost my presence of mind and forgot to let go of the rope. Needless to say, I proceeded at a rapid rate up the side of the building.
In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel which was now proceeding downward at an equally impressive speed. This explains the fractured skull, minor abrasions and the broken collarbone, as listed in Section 3, accident reporting form.
Slowed only slightly, I continued my rapid ascent, not stopping until the fingers of my right hand were two knuckles deep into the pulley which I mentioned in Paragraph 2 of this correspondence. Fortunately by this time I had regained my presence of mind and was able to hold the rope, in spite of the excruciating pain I was now beginning to experience.
At approximately the same time, however, the barrel of bricks hit the ground-and the bottom fell out of the barrel. Now devoid of the weight of the bricks, the barrel weighed approximately 50 lbs.
I refer you again to my weight. As you might imagine, I began a rapid descent down the side of the building.
In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel coming up. This accounts for the two fractured ankles, broken tooth and severe lacerations of my legs and lower body.
Here my luck began to change slightly. The encounter with the barrel seemed to slow me enough to lessen my injuries when I fell into the pile of bricks and fortunately only three vertebrae were cracked.
I am sorry to report, however, as I lay there on the pile of bricks, in pain, unable to move and watching the empty barrel six stories above me, I again lost my composure and presence of mind and let go of the rope.
As funny as this story is, the lesson is a man that is not attached to the injuries but sees his mistakes and the consequences of his choices. He will probably heal and move on in life with no attachment to what happened.
Many times we suffer injury, disease, accidents and traumatic life experiences and are not able to let go of the story. We play it over and over in our heads and repeat it to anyone that asks and hear the doctors, therapists, family and friends tell others how much we have suffered as a result of ______________. We feel a sense of betrayal or injustice and keep asking, "Why me?"
As harmless as it sounds, it is actually causing your body to react physically and chemically to the trauma again, again and again. This means there is emotion, stress hormones, increase in heart rate and mild shock responses that you go through each time your relive the experience.
People that have had cancer do not want to be called victims because that paints a picture or weakness when a fight against this disease takes warrior spirit and being called a survivor is much more empowering. Reliving trauma causes you and others to start seeing yourself as a victim instead of someone that has over come a challenge.
Begin to see pain, accident, disease, trauma as an opportunity and you will increase your chances of healing. Sound crazy? No. This is an opportunity to give your body what it needs; rest, change in environment, better nutrition, more exercise, etc. Dr. Bernie S. Siegel, M.D., realized this when he was working with cancer patients and wrote an amazing book about his experiences. "Love, Medicine & Miracles"
From my own experience, I have seen clients that seem to suffer more than most with injuries, health problems and disease. As I listen to their story, I see and feel their body respond to what they are saying. Muscles tighten, faces pale, tears well up, pain increases...they can't heal because the problem keeps being relived over and over. They are stuck in the past and can't move out of their suffering.
The more we think about something, the bigger chance of attracting that into our lives and if you continually thing of yourself as your injury, disease, pain or trauma, you will attract more into your life. This I see more times than not. One injury or pain becomes another and another until they believe "this is my nature", or "I am my mother's cancer", or "I deserve this", etc.
So, while the story was funny, life can be tough and full of hurt. Be a warrior. Fight. Look for the opportunity to heal and listen to your body. No one can do that for you because only you truly know what you need. Don't buy into the labels that family, friends or the medical community wants to put you into. You are an amazing and beautiful person that is temporarily having a solvable problem and just need the time and resources to do that.
I love what I do and feel I am doing what I was born to do. There was a lot of pain and suffering involved in my learning that, but I refuse to be judged by my past and continue to learn how to realign my future with my reason for being. Without the pain and suffering I wouldn't be who I am or know what I know, so for that I am grateful. I am here to facilitate your healing and even though I can't do the hard work for you, I here to help.
Want to know how to relieve stress and anxiety? Only concentrate on one thing right NOW.
What does that mean? Do you have a big event coming up? Debts, health concerns, big trip or family gathering and you are feeling overwhelmed by all the things you have to do to get ready and prepare? STOP!
Break it down into one thing at a time and stop thinking about the whole big mess. Right now, do one thing that is part of what you need to do. Need to clean the house but don't have all day to do it? Clean the bathroom. It is the smallest and quickest to clean. Tomorrow clean another room and only worry about that. Want to lose 30 pounds? Work on just what you can do today for 10 minutes; go for a walk, eat less at one meal or eliminate one thing from your diet.
We lose momentum and increase our rate of failure because too many times we make the big picture SO BIG and HUGE, that it just seems too much and too hard to accomplish. By just focusing on the next step, right now, you make it smaller, easier and begin to see that you CAN do it.
Want to begin a stretching program? Awesome! Do 5 minutes when you wake up and it is done for the day and you will notice a difference in your day. Here are stretching videos to help you, just click on the link:
I am reading a great book that talks about this problem and easy solutions, "Excuses Be Gone!" by Dr. Wayne Dyer. I highly recommend it.
Do you feel more like flesh or stone?
Pain is a messenger, motivator and dictator. It is a signal to your brain to stop what causes the pain. It will motivate you to do something to get rid of the pain and it will dictate what you can and cannot do. This is when most people will seek help for their pain.
It is my personal belief that pain and rigidity is part physical and part a physiological response to influences and emotions that affect you on a conscious and subconscious level. ("Heal Your Back Pain", by John E. Sarno, MD)
Most of what we do in this world is sitting and forward bending of the shoulders, thoracic spine and head. This causes shortening of muscles in the front of the body and over-stretching and tightening of muscles in the back of the body, hence the pain in the neck, upper back and lower back and/or hips.
In discussion with clients about what was happening in their life when the pain started, I hear stories of all kinds, but it usually boils down to anxiety, anger, lack of sleep and frustration. These are not emotions that we culturally deem "appropriate" so they are buried and we politely agree to take on more than we can do and stay healthy. Then, you bend and pick up something, get out of bed or move a certain way that causes a spasm and that becomes the event we tack onto the message of pain, instead of the root of the problem.
I am not talking about falls or injury, this is something so simple, like picking up a bag of groceries or getting out of the car.
The best thing for any body is stretching and strengthening. Age is not a reason to stop moving. I have clients in their 70's and 80's that do yoga, briskly walk 2-5 miles and speed along on road bikes. There are 94 year old marathoners, so age is no excuse!
Bodies were built to work and move. What are you doing with yours?
Simple techniques to unwind mentally, emotionally, physically:
- MOVE...go for a walk, run, bike ride or dance, yoga, light weights
- Schedule at least 5 minutes of quiet time each day
- "No", is a complete sentence, say it more then reward yourself for taking care of you!
- Stretch at least 10 minutes every day
"Fill your bowl to the brim
and it will spill.
Keep sharpening your knife
and it will blunt.
Chase after money and security
and your heart will never unclench.
Care about people's approval
and you will be their prisoner.
Do your work, then step back.
The only path to serenity."
- excerpt from "tao te ching", english translation by Stephen Mitchell
Don't lose today because it is all you really have.
I was listening to someone today that was so upset about several things going on and none of it was "hers" or "today". There was emotional upheaval attached to things in the past, worry and anxiety about the future...all of it about other people. She was not in a place to hear me gently tell her this, but it was a good reminder for me.
How many times do we get all upset and twisted emotionally about past, future or people? The past can't be changed and the future isn't here yet and neither one can be controlled no matter how hard you try. You really only have control of right now, this moment. People are going to do what they are going to do, regardless of what you say or do..
When the mind starts winding itself into knots, the body follows. Many times when I ask clients what is going on in their life, they are really telling me all the reasons their body is uncomfortable. What better way to get your attention than PAIN!?! The body uses several ways to get your attention; anxiety, rapid pulse, high blood pressure, headache, stomach or bowel problems, anger, sadness, and the list goes on...
Eckhart Tolle wrote a book, "The Power of Now", that I tried to read several years ago but at that time it didn't make any sense to me and I set it aside. Two years ago, I picked it up and the message resonated. I was in a place to understand his words and incorporated it into my meditation practice by reading and contemplating each idea prior to meditating.
At the time I began reading this book I had a lot of anger and sadness and was reliving past events that only kept the cycle of pain and anger going. Being able to stand back and realize what I was doing was the first step in healing the pattern and letting it go. I have this posted in my kitchen where I can see it from almost anywhere in my house (I have a tiny house):
"Accept what is,
Let go of what was,
Have faith in what will be."
Reading that every day has helped me focus on the present and step off the carousel of reliving old hurts or creating negative futures.
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