HEALTHY HAPPENINGS May 2017
Pain Relief Through Posture Alignment
By Jessica Kisiel
Do you have joint or muscle pain? Although it is easy to blame age, genetics, the sports you play, or the activities you did when you were young, the truth is, it may be your posture. Besides, if pain is an inevitable part of growing older, wouldn't we all have the same aches? Or, wouldn't both sides of your body, which are the same age, hurt equally, not just the right ankle or left shoulder?
Aligned posture has all eight load-bearing joints—shoulders, hips, knees and ankles--at 90-degree angles to each other, as seen from both the front and side views. The spine is in its natural curves; the feet and knees point straight forward; and body weight is evenly distributed right to left and across the feet. Stand up and take a look: are your shoulders symmetrical, hips level, spine appropriately curved and feet straight? If not, these postural deviations could be contributing to your discomfort.
Muscles move bones, and soft tissue creates our posture. Structural alignment forms the foundation upon which we move. If we are misaligned while sedentary, these imbalances will be amplified when we are in motion. The stresses generated throughout the body in response to gravity and ground-reaction forces will be directed into these deviated areas of the body, causing breakdown, inflammation and pain.
Using a personal example, both of my knees point inward, the left more so than the right. When I play sports, my left knee has a greater risk of pain and injury because of its faulty position. The forces generated through movement are damaging instead of strengthening my joint when in this unbalanced position. Consequently, I have had three surgeries on my left knee due to cartilage degeneration and meniscus tears.
When the skeleton is asymmetrical and the soft tissues are imbalanced, dysfunctions and compensations can result. Dysfunctions are when the body's musculoskeletal system loses the ability to perform everyday movements for which it is designed. This can lead to compensations, where surrounding muscles and joints begin engaging in actions and movements for which they are not intended. This often occurs near the compromised area of the body. In my case, dysfunction in my left knee lead to compensation in my left hip, which then became injured.
Realigning the body can reverse this downward trend! Muscles and soft tissue can be re-trained, bones can be moved, and destructive forces can be alleviated. The Egoscue Method® is one approach to achieving this result. To return the body to postural balance, Egoscue® uses a personalized program of corrective exercises to re-establish correct muscle biomechanics and proper position. As a result of doing posture therapy, my pain has subsided. Plus, I’ve gained strength, move easier, enjoy more activities and feel younger. The same can be true for you!
So, the next time you experience pain, instead of accusing mom and dad, cycling, or the number on your driver’s license, take a good look in the mirror and check the alignment of your bones.
Jessica Kisiel, MS, CSCS, PRT, is a local wellness professional specializing in injury recovery and pain management through alignment. She is certified by the Postural Restoration Institute® and Egoscue University®. Learn more by signing up for her newsletter, http://www.thepfathlete.com/subscribe.
Where The Mind, Body, And Spirit Meet To Heal
What if the pain in your back is connected in some way to the your stressful job, which is connected to a sense of meaninglessness you experience in your life, which is connected to how much salt, fat, and sugar laden comfort food you eat, which is connected to your lack of motivation to exercise like you know you need to, and that the anxiety all of this creates disrupts you from getting a good night’s sleep regularly, so you pump yourself up with caffeine in the morning to get you going through the next day of……and the cycle continues? Or maybe your story is about your unhappy job, not having enough like- minded friends, multiple symptoms from an illness, or feeling spiritually disconnected.
What if the story about your anxious mood or your high stress lifestyle or your ongoing pain or your physical complaints were about more than just a list of symptoms to be dealt with in isolation of each other? What if health involved connecting all these dots and healing happened when you embraced the whole context of your life and addressed what it takes to bring your body into harmony with the emotional, mental, relational, and spiritual parts of your life?
Such is the INTEGRATED way to health and wellness – a healing oriented process that encompasses all aspects of the individual – their body, mind, spirit, lifestyle. With increasing amounts of research that reveal evidence linking the mind and body, practitioners with skills in lifestyle and behavioral change, bodywork and movement practices, and supportive, compassionate communication skills can partner with individuals to create a unique, individualized strategy for healing. An integrated model of health and wellness:
• Is a partnership between practitioner and client
• Focuses on health promotion and disease prevention
• Honors and facilitates the body’s innate healing capacity
• Encompasses all seemingly subtle health factors like managing stress, the adequacy and restorative nature of sleep, the quality of all relationships and support systems, sexual health, the presence or absence of a sense of purpose in one’s life
• Expands the concept of dis•ease to show the relationship between how our bodies reveal our experiences, feelings, and thoughts through physical symptoms, posture, movement, energy and vitality
• Seeks information not usually touched upon for its potential insight to link to the root of the existing problems
• Teaches mind/body skills to empower the client for their own self care plan
As a counselor and bodywork practitioner for 38 years, I have used an integrated, holistic approach to help people heal. In a course of consultations, you can expect:
• Guidance for healing yourself with diet, exercise, stress management, and sleep
• GENTLE bodywork to soothe the nervous system, help address somaticized pain, relieve pain and movement problems, increase energy, and connect with the body’s innate ability to “right” itself
• Relief from depression and anxiety that accompanies lifestyle changes and health challenges
• To learn how to dissolve the fears that impact your healing
• Learn movement practices that can shift your mood, ground you when anxious, and influence your structure
• Develop a personalized practice for quieting your mind
• To develop a deeper connection with your inner wisdom to guide decisions and actions
• My steady support, encouragement, and affirmation in your ability to heal. You are not alone on this journey!
As a culture, we are all doing more, causing us to be constantly in “doing” mode as opposed to “being” mode. This model urges individuals to value practices that help them become more whole, balanced, and resilient. Wellness is a journey – a series of action strategies that help you move closer to health in the midst of an everyday, busy life.
To schedule an individual consultation or to find out more information, call Christina at 937-284-2190. ALSO attend my presentations this month where I teach about some of the principles described above.
FOOD FIGHT – HOW TO END THE BATTLE
WITH SALT, FAT, AND SUGAR
May 22 at 5:30 PM at Moab Regional Hospital
MOVEMENT AS MEDICINE
May 18 from 6:30-8:30 PM
at the MARC
The Freedom That Yoga Can Bring
By Meagan Coy
I will never forget the feeling that I experienced at the end of about my 4th yoga class I had ever attended. I was sitting in a cross-legged position after coming out of our final relaxation, called Savasana, and I had the most peaceful feeling in my mind and my body. I felt very present and in the moment, and a very serene feeling washed over me. I wanted to sit there and feel that for as long as I could. When I went out into the rest of my day, I wanted to experience that feeling again, and I knew that practicing yoga was a way to achieve it. That moment in my early 20’s awoke within me a realization that yoga was a much deeper practice than just going through the poses. Yoga was a way to bring a sense of freedom into my life that I had no idea was possible.
In the Sanskrit language, the word “yoga” is used to signify any form of connection or union. Yoga is both a state of connection and a body of techniques that allow us to connect to ourselves and anything else we experience more deeply and with more awareness. It is about cultivating a conscious connection that brings on a joyful, blissful, and fulfilling experience. In a yoga class, the teacher is providing a space and guidance for the participant to try and practice techniques that have been proven to help bring conscious connection. The intention is that you take away from a yoga class some “tools” that you can do on your own that will help deepen your connection day-to-day, hour-to-hour, and eventually moment-to moment.
Yoga practices include poses, breathing, control of subtle forces through hand positions called mudras and body energy locks called bandhas, visualizations, chanting of mantras, and many forms of meditation. Through these practices, which all go hand -in-hand with one another, we start to experience shifts in our awareness. This is when these moments of freedom start to arise. You may suddenly start to realize through your yoga practice a pattern that you’ve been holding on to in your body, such as leaning into one hip, and you start to correct the posture imbalance throughout your day. Or you may notice that you tend to breathe shallow, and yoga helps you bring awareness into breathing more fully and getting the most out of your breath.
A consistent yoga practice can start to shed layers that we hold in our bodies, such as build-up of emotional layers from past trauma or unhealthy relationships, or layers of tension from past injuries that have become stuck in our bodies. You start to learn and become more aware of how to move out stagnant energy that is no longer serving you, and allowing space for new energy and vitality to take its place. Consistency in practice also brings a connection that everything we do throughout our day can become a form of yoga when it is done with awareness. Awareness is the key to discovering all the mysteries of who we truly are, revealing the authentic intelligence and the beauty that lies within us.
By practicing yoga, you start a process of self-discovery, which leads us to free ourselves from whatever past situations, relationships, and doubts have clouded our true potential to be who we are supposed to be in this lifetime. I have encountered that blissful feeling that I described earlier many times throughout the years. But I’ve come to learn that it isn’t about becoming attached to wanting to have that experience randomly, it’s about continuing to do the practice, and to keep facing what’s holding me back over and over again. Also, to move through my practice and my day with a sense of gracefulness, no matter how much of a struggle it may seem at times. Through the consistency, awareness and struggle comes the union, peacefulness, awareness and freedom.
Meagan Coy teaches an All-Levels Class Wednesday Mornings at 9am at the Moab Yoga Studio. Moab Yoga offers a variety of classes for you to practice, whether you are brand new to your yoga practice or already have a practice established. Please check out the schedule and visit, we would love to meet you!
Mental Health, Myths, and More
May is national Mental Health Month. Mental health is extremely important to overall wellbeing and Moab Regional Hospital is helping to raise awareness and address mental health issues in Moab. Call (435) 719-5550 to make an appointment with our Clinical Mental Health Counselor, Antje Rath.
Here are 5 Myths about Mental Illness:
1. Mental health doesn’t affect you.
Mental health issues are far reaching. In fact, 1 in 5 American adults have experienced a mental health issue. 1 in 10 young people have experienced a period of major depression. If you have not experienced mental health issues, chances are someone close to you has.
2. A pill will fix everything.
Everyone’s experience with mental illness is different because we all come from different backgrounds. Combinations of different types of therapies and lots of hard work can lead to the best outcomes. One specific pill may not be the answer for everyone’s struggle.
3. It is impossible to prevent a mental illness because people are born with them.
Mental illness is caused by a range of genetic catalysts and environmental stressors. Prevention and preparedness can aid in alleviating certain mental issues, especially in young people.
4. You can’t do anything to help someone with a mental illness.
A professional should be providing treatment, but being understanding, non-judgmental, and listening can go a long way to make someone suffering with mental health issues feel supported.
5. If you feel better, you are cured.
If you are feeling better, that means that the treatment is working! However, that does not mean that you should cut treatment short. Long term treatments are meant to provide sustainable tools for dealing with all kinds of mental stressors.
For more information, visit www.mentalhealth.gov
On May 22nd, Moab Regional Hospital will be holding an education titled Food Fight! How to Make Peace with Salt, Fat, and Sugar. The presentation will be facilitated by Clinical Mental Health Counselor, Christina Myers. Eating a balanced diet is difficult enough, with all of the tempting pressures to eat junk food. On top of all the pressures, brains are wired to crave these foods. In fact, salt, fat, and sugar utilize the same mechanisms in the brain as any other addiction. Food can also become a strategy for dealing with unhappiness, loneliness, anger, boredom, and many more stressors, away from its role of nutrition and sustenance to sustain life. Even after making an effort to make positive changes, sometimes willpower is not enough. It is much easier to reach for food that is quick, convenient, and requires little effort or thought, especially when stressed. Christina Myers will discuss the mental challenges that go along with trying to adopt a healthier diet and how to embrace them.
The event will take place on Monday, May 22nd at 5:30PM. If you are interested in attending Food Fight! How to Make Peace with Fat, Salt, and Sugar, please RSVP by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or call (435) 719-5580. This event is free and open to the public and dinner will be provided!