Time to Get Fed Up

iStock_000015590176SmallGrowing up in the 60’s, I was very familiar with the movie “Mary Poppins” and the memorable song, “A Spoonful of Sugar”. The lyrics chimed that adding a spoonful of sugar would make medicine go down in the most delightful way. Ironically, a movie that I recently saw, “Fed Up,” takes a serious look at how the addition of hidden sugars to nearly every manufactured food product sold in stores over the past few decades has left millions of people world-wide suffering with obesity, diabetes and metabolic syndrome to name a few.

The movie details how it’s no coincidence that as food manufactures began to introduce low-fat and non-fat product options, they had to include more hidden sugars into these products to make them palatable enough to actually sell. As a result, people around the globe began to silently pack on excess pounds and suffer related diseases while hoping to be more health conscious. Currently, in the United States, 66% of adults and 33% of children are overweight or obese. Sadly we are reaching the point where more people are dying from complications of obesity, rather than hunger. How can this be?  Well, sugar is acidic and addictive.  In a study cited in the movie, 40 out of 43 cocaine-addicted lab rats chose sugar water over cocaine when given the option. Just like drugs, the foods we crave and become addicted to are the very foods that kill us!

Along with the realization that processed food and beverages are filled with sugars and chemicals, the movie reminds us that we have all been conditioned to think we just need to exercise more to be healthy or lose weight. There are gyms and exercise classes in every neighborhood, DVDs advertised day and night, and online videos simply a click away. However, people are still having a disconnect to the fact that good abs begin in the kitchen, not the gym. Millions of people continue to workout and focus on calorie intake, not realizing that many of those very calories are empty and provide no nutritional value whatsoever.

So what are the take aways from the movie? Become a label reader immediately! Understand what companies are putting into their products. Don’t fall victim to fancy advertising campaigns and marketing gimmicks. Choose to buy foods closest to how they appear on earth. This is a sure way to get more nutrition in every bite. Limit sugar intake and unlock better health right away. Numerous studies have proven that repeated insulin response from sugar and simple carbohydrates leads to the production of fat and inflammation internally.

To learn more, find Fed Up at a theater near you or contact me for wellness coaching that will help you learn how to improve your nutrient intake and break bad eating habits in a safe and proven method. My goal is to help you live the best version of yourself!

Be Well,

Traci Vincent, PT

 

 

 

 

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Diet Soda Deathtrap

Brown soda in a clear glassToday, I just happened to read an article by Dr. Mark Stengler, entitled “Diet Soda’s Death Risk” that sites new research confirming just how deadly diet drinks truly are and how damaging they are to the heart.  Women who drink two diet sodas per day are 30% more likely to suffer a heart attack or some other cardiovascular problem.  In addition, diet soda drinkers are 50% more likely to die than women who almost never drink diet drinks.  It’s frightening to think that this study was only about two diet sodas per day, and so many people drink much more than that given the size of cups at most restaurants.  It’s not unusual to see people ordering a 32 oz. drink and then get a refill!

Diet soda drinkers also have a higher risk of metabolic syndrome and diabetes, both of which make weight-loss virtually impossible and can lead to so many other chronic problems like neuropathy and even blindness.  Three bottles of diet soda per week, not per day, were actually linked to a 60% increase in the risk of the disease.  Additional findings show a link between diet drinks and heart problems and stroke, as well as mood disorders like depression.

So what is it in diet drinks that is causing all these health issues? According to Dr. Stengler’s article, the obvious suspect is the artificial sweetener, aspartame.  However, there are also several other dangerous chemicals like toxic preservatives and cancer-causing coloring agents.  Yes, if you are drinking diet soda you are pretty much drinking chemicals that rival formaldehyde, and perhaps it’s not a coincidence that the first three letters of “diet” are DIE.

All bad jokes aside, sodas are terrible for you regardless if they are regular or diet.

What should you be drinking if sodas are no longer on the go-to list? Drum roll please…Plain water…with truly zero calories and no fancy marketing campaign required. If you want a little flavor, infuse it with lemons, oranges, cucumber or mint. If you are missing the carbonation of soda, simply switch to seltzer water to get that fizz.

Missing the caffeine boost of soda? Try drinking green tea or white tea. Besides a small amount of caffeine, both are alkalizing and are loaded with anti-oxidants to fight free radicals. Herbal teas are great too, for those who want to avoid caffeine, ease stress and improve sleep.

Once upon a time, long, long ago, I was a naive consumer who fell for the marketing hype regarding diet soda. Headlines like, “no sugar and no calories” made me want to switch from regular soda, which is loaded with about 13 teaspoons of sugar per can to diet to help me stay “in shape”. Luckily, I found out sooner, rather than later, that artificial sweeteners are very toxic and unhealthy and I stopped drinking them all together years ago. Based on the timeliness of Dr. Stengler’s report today, it appears not enough people have heard this life-saving message amidst the bombardment of flashy advertisements for diet and regular soda on TV, magazines and billboards.

Can one person make a difference in the world? I sure hope so. I urge you to share this article with your friends and family. Let’s work together to educate them to avoid the diet soda death trap and improve their health and wellness starting today.

Be well!

Traci Vincent

 

 

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Protect Your Joints

iStock_000035306816SmallFor over 26 years I’ve been working with clients who suffer with joint pain often times due to the loss of cartilage that lines their joints. Cartilage is the flexible connective tissue found in many parts of the body, including the joints between bones, the rib cage, the ear, the nose, the bronchial tubes and the intervertebral discs. This loss of cartilage leaves them in constant pain and limited in their movements and activities, thereby lowering their quality of life.

So how do you protect your cartilage to insure that your joints stay painfree, supple and healthy? According to the INH Health Watch report on 5 Ways to Care for Cartilage:

  1. Eat foods that support elastin in the body. Elastin is a protein in connective tissue that allows it to stretch, and it partners alongside collagen. When you lack elastin, not only will you get wrinkles, you also weaken the cartilage in your joints. This reduces your mobility and function. Vitamin C is crucial, but remember foods like kale, kiwi, broccoli and red bell pepper have more Vitamin C per serving than an orange.
  2. Free radicals not only damage your eyes and skin, they also damage the cartilage in your joints. Powerful antioxidants are key to fighting oxidative stress. Astaxanthin an antioxidant that is naturally found in cold water fish, like salmon and some sea algae. It gives salmon its pink or red color. You can find this in supplement form, but check the labels closely to understand the purity and quality of this or any supplement for that matter.
  3. Strong healthy bones and a healthy immune system are built with Vitamin D3. In addition, Vitamin D3 is important in regulating your hormones as well as preserving your joint cartilage. Low levels of D3 advance osteoarthritis, where high levels slow it down. To increase your D3, spend a little time each day in the sun and eat eggs, mushrooms and wild salmon.
  4. Every joint and piece of cartilage in your body is covered in Hyaluronic acid where they bend. Hyaluronic acid allows nutrients to move into your cartilage while taking waste out. As you age, its not uncommon for your body to produce less of it. To help promote production, some vegetables like carrots and peas can be beneficial. Combining with a good Omega-3 source makes for better absorption as well. Caution, many Omega-3 supplements are high in DHA which makes them 95% unabsorbable. Choose one that is pure, safe and beneficial using more EPA.
  5. Proteins in the joint maintain their shape, function and structural strength with the help of Sulphur. Arthritic cartilage has 66% less sulphur than normal cartilage. Lack of sulphur can result in loss of flexibility, joint stiffness and muscle soreness. Foods rich in sulphur include kale, onions, garlic, asparagus and eggs.

Since nothing makes you look and feel older than cartilage damage in your joints, I encourage you to take the necessary steps to preserve and support your cartilage while you still have it and prevent osteoarthritis in the first place. Let safe organic foods as noted above, be your best medicine and use pure, safe and beneficial supplements as needed. Total wellness and peak health begin with the foods we put in our bodies, the products that get absorbed through our skin and the quality of thoughts that direct our actions.

If you have questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to contact me or use the comment boxes below. Live well, be well, do well.

Traci Vincent, PT, RYT

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Acid and Alkaline

Scientific or medical glassware

In 1863, Ludwig Feuerbach wrote, “Man is what he eats.” In my work in healthcare and wellness, I frequently find many people have some misunderstanding when it comes to acidic foods and alkaline foods and effects these have on overall health. Thinking back to your high school science class, you may have tested various substances with Litmus paper to see if the paper turned red or blue. pH as you may recall is a 0-14 scale that measures how acidic or basic a substance is. Zero being most acidic, neutral being 7 and 14 being most alkaline. A common description of an acidic substance would be something that tastes sour and thus turns the blue paper red. Of course lemon and grapefruit juice taste sour and are acidic substances, but many people often forget that tomato juice, coffee, tea and sour milk are acidic as well.  On the other hand, alkaline substances turn red litmus paper blue. When mixed together, acids and alkalines typically neutralize each other and create water and salt.

So what does this mean to you and your health? Generally speaking, the metabolic breakdown of foods from the vegetable/fruit category will turn an acidic substance to alkaline, and foods from the animal category change from alkaline to acidic during metabolism. All foods have a combination of both elements within them, but how the pH is effected during metabolism depends on which elements are dominant.

Remember, food is organic matter taken into the body. This matter is broken down into compounds like lipids, amino acids, monosaccharides and such. After metabolism takes place these compounds contain sulphur, phosphorus, chlorine, potassium, sodium, potassium, iron, magnesium, and calcium, each of which leave either an acidic or alkaline residue. This determines the acidity or alkalinity of the body. The first three noted above are acid forming and the rest are alkaline.

Most proteins contain sulphur and phosphorus. During metabolism, these substances are broken down into toxic sulphuric acid and phosphoric acid. In addition, uric acid is another by-product. Uric acid has been proven to have a major influence on the development of arthritis, particularly gout. Meats along with most grains and dairy products are high in protein and thus are acid-forming.

When looking at fruits and vegetables, the organic acids found are metabolized to carbon dioxide and water. This leaves potassium, calcium, magnesium and sodium behind. Therefore, although many fruits are acidic in nature, when broken down, the acids are rendered neutral and the alkaline elements noted above remain.

Why is this information so important? Since we consume various food that are alkaline and acidic, its imperative to consider the balance between the two. If we consume excessive amounts of acidic foods, the body has to tap into its alkaline reserves. This leaves many organs in the body, such as the kidneys, overworked and malfunctioning over time. Organ malfunction is more commonly referred to as “disease” in many forms and the underlying cause, acidosis, largely caused by faulty eating habits, is often never addressed.

So what let’s put aside all the physiology and technical jargon and get down to a blueprint for reducing “disease” and improving health and wellness.

Foods to eat: unroasted nuts and seeds, fresh fruits, uncooked vegetables.

Foods to avoid: animal foods, dairy products, vinegar/condiments, drugs (acidic and alkaline), refined and processed foods, fats in meat and dairy products, teas, coffee, cocoa and chocolate.

By following the guidelines and being more aware of your food choices, you will have a diet rich in essential proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. Your body will not deplete alkaline reserves and overwork the organs of the body. It’s a simple formula that your body can benefit from and maintain balance in health and well-being.

Here’s to your best health yet!

Traci Vincent, PT

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shoulder pain

What Pain Are You Shouldering?

I often work with clients who report repeated episodes of neck and shoulder pain. Sometimes these symptoms are also accompanied by frequent headaches and TMJ pain. It is not uncommon for these clients to enlist a series of pain medications, anti-inflammatories or muscle relaxers to manage their pain. Perhaps the symptoms may be temporarily minimized, but will this really address the true problem?

In our modern world, many things have improved with innovation. However, much of this innovation has left us assuming improper postural positions for extended periods of time as we commute to and from work, sit behind a desk or computer all day and then collapse on the sofa for hours of TV or perhaps gaming and social media on a hand held tablet. Overtime, your shoulders stay rounded forward and your neck becomes positioned out in front of your body. To even attempt to sit up in proper posture with your head in alignment with your body becomes an uncomfortable feat that is nearly impossible to attain.

Maybe you have read some of my other blog articles and are starting to think, “Why is this women always writing about posture?” I keep writing about it because I keep seeing the long term effects of it in my clients. Poor posture is just the visible part of much deeper issues. Decreased breath capacity and decreased oxygen intake; increased compression on nerves and blood vessels; increased pressure on the TMJ, vertebral joints and shoulder girdle; and adaptive shortening of numerous muscles, tendons, and connective tissues are just a few of the issues that cause underlying mayhem in your body.

For the purpose of this article, I am just going to address the shoulder and some of the problems that occur as a result of rounded posturing. The shoulder girdle is a complex area due to it’s need for stability as well as the need for mobility. Here is a test you can perform right now: Slump your posture forward and allow your back and shoulders to round. Now lift your arms overhead as high as your can. Do you feel tightness, pinching, or an inability to get your arms all the way up? Next, sit up straight with your ear aligned with your shoulder. Now lift your arms again. What feels different? Does it feel easier to lift? Is there less restriction and greater ease of movement? The answer should be yes, and that’s only one reason good posture is so important in regard to the long term impact on our bodies.

Of course our bodies are amazingly resourceful and adaptive, but let me be real here. There is no way around subtle damage occurring in the shoulder joint when you have the posture of rounded shoulders that leads to a skull that is mis-aligned way out  in front of the shoulder. Outside of forceful impact injuries, many shoulder problems are due to improper alignment and mechanics that slowly wreak havoc on the rotator cuff tendons and the tendon of the biceps. Perhaps you or someone you know has had a “bone spur” in their shoulder.

Now a spur is not something that occurs overnight. It is caused by years of inflammation due to faulty posturing and movement patterns. Just like your body forms scar tissue due to the inflammation response at a wound site, the inner body can do the same thing with repeated micro-wounds to the joints. As the fibrous tissues continue to lay down layer after layer, a bone-like protuberance forms and thereby creates a situation where the surrounding tissues such as muscles, tendons and cartilage are now subjected to greater friction and subtle trauma with every movement.

Overtime, the tendons weaken and when presented with a sudden movement or unexpected load on the joint, may possibly tear. Maybe you have heard the term, “torn rotator cuff”. Once this happens, the joint has now lost some important stability. Since the body tries its best to adapt and survive any circumstance, other muscles begin to accommodate and work outside their intended purpose to support the shoulder since the shoulder is the stabilizing joint that places our hand anywhere in space for the purpose to eat, work or perform hygiene tasks to name just a few. Pain often begins to spread to the neck, shoulder blade and down into the arm as more and more accommodation takes place. Now these other areas are being submitted to inflammation and subtle trauma. Soon the low back and hand get into the picture, and on and on the snowball grows.

So now that you know some of the shoulder problems that can stem from rounded posturing, what are 3 simple things you can do to improve your posture and prevent injury and chronic pain in your shoulder?

  • Take breaks periodically at work to sit up at the edge of your chair aligning the ear, shoulder and hip in a straight line. Take slow, deep belly breaths while maintaining this position for one minute.
  • Squeeze the shoulder blades together and clasp your hands behind your back. Breathe deeply, expanding through the chest for 30-60 seconds while squeezing the blades.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades down toward your back pockets prior to and during any overhead arm lifting. This helps to better position the bone in the socket, so to speak, and to minimize unnecessary stress on the soft tissues of the joint.

The old adage that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure is very true when it comes to shoulder pain. If you have questions or comments, please feel free to contact me or write in below. I am always happy to help you learn tools for better health and wellness that work.

Traci Vincent

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6 Steps to Increase Energy and Lose Weight

wightlossarticlePractically everyday there is a new fad diet or weight loss system being promoted on TV, radio and the internet. Many celebrities endorse products and programs, and it becomes very tempting to invest in yet another program in hopes of losing those extra pounds and finding energy and vitality again. Billions of dollars are spent by many who are desperate to find results. Unfortunately, people eat for many reasons other than hunger and survival. Sadness, boredom, anger, frustration, loneliness and anxiety are at the top of the list. In addition, modern living has left so many people living more frantic, yet more sedentary lifestyles full of commuting, desk jobs, and watching or using electronics like cell phones TV, video games, and the internet for several hours a day. Although the reasons can be complex, just these two mentioned here can play a significant role in weight gain and low energy for all of us.

Here are 6 steps that anyone can use to begin to unlock energy and shed unwanted pounds right away.

  1. Eliminate starchy foods from your diet immediately. Yes, that means bread, french fries, chips, crackers, white rice, potatoes, and corn just to name a few. In addition, if you find yourself binging on snack foods regularly, ask yourself why you are seeking these foods? Is it more of a stress reducer or emotional numbing agent? Pick plant-based foods rich in vital nutrients instead if you just have to snack on something.
  2. Consume a lean protein and vegetable at each meal. This could look like eggs and spinach, turkey avocado lettuce wraps, or perhaps tofu or salmon and vegetables for a couple of examples. This combination of protein and vegetables ignites your metabolic fire, thereby creating an internal environment ideal for weight loss.
  3. Drink more water each day. Quite often we are more dehydrated than hungry. When you get the urge to snack, drink a cup of water and wait 10-15 minutes and it’s likely that hunger feeling will subside. A well-hydrated body functions better in so many ways related to circulation, joint movement and overall cell health.
  4. Sleep 6-8 hours per day. Your body does its best repair work when you are sleeping. Lack of sleep minimizes the extent of this important function and commonly leaves the body harboring excess toxins, tension and stress hormones as well. And yes, you guessed it, all of these prevent you from losing weight and also keep you stuck in the cycle of needing caffeinated drinks or sugary foods for a boost of energy during the day.
  5. Breathe deeply. Speaking of stress, slow controlled breathing or deep breaths where the belly rises, are extremely important for reducing stress and tension and increasing energy. Place your hand at your navel and inhale. Feel the belly expand. Pause, then exhale completely drawing in the navel toward the spine. This technique is also handy when you feel the urge to eat unhealthy starchy snack foods. Utilizing this technique gives you a moment to observe what feelings are coming up that are prompting this sabotaging urge to eat something that will derail your weight loss goals. Through improving awareness, poor habits and behaviors can begin to be changed.
  6. Add interval training to your exercise program. This means adding short bursts of high intensity exercise in the midst of your program. An example might be incorporating 30 seconds of sprints or jumping jacks every 2-3 minutes when you are out walking or jogging in your neighborhood. If you are at the gym, one example would be to increase the resistance on the stationary bike for 30-60 seconds every few minutes. Interval training challenges your body and ramps up your heart rate and metabolism. You will see much better results versus just setting the cardio machine at a certain speed and going through the motions for hours on end.

By following these guidelines, you will begin to see improvements in your energy level and notice that your weight and waistline will soon be decreasing. As with any worthwhile goal, enlist a friend or partner to help you stay accountable. There will be moments when you need encouragement beyond what you can give yourself. Contact me if you have any questions or concerns. I’ll be happy to assist you on your journey to better health and wellness.

Traci Vincent, PT, RYT

 

 

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Kicking That Knee Pain

Knee pain - runner injurySometimes knee pain can happen as a result of impact trauma, but often it seems to occur simply after routine activities and workouts for no significantt reason. You might even notice swelling, tenderness, pain and difficulty with balancing or stabilizing on that leg.  Many people begin to focus on the thought that something is wrong inside their knee since that is where they feel the pain. However, this can delay the resolution of the pain because many times, the problem is a result of an unidentified dysfunction elsewhere in the leg or hip.  Dysfunction in the hip can lead to improper loading of the joints in the leg with every step you take. Dysfunction in the foot changes the force load that travels up your leg each time your foot strikes the ground.

Observe people around you today as they are walking. Do you see anyone who’s knee angles inward like the letter “L” as they step on that leg? They may even report knee discomfort and limitation intermittently, but the problem likely did not begin in the knee. The body is an amazing interconnection of tissues that support and stabilize our skeletal structure. Many of these muscles partner together to optimize everyday movements like walking, running or climbing stairs. For example, the posterior tibialis, vastus medialis oblique and the gluteus medius muscles partner dynamically to create stable alignment from the foot to the hip. Because of our often sedentary lifestyle due to long commutes, desk jobs, computer usage and hours spent watching TV, our bodies begin to weaken and de-condition. Frequently the hip flexors (muscles in the front of the hip) become tight as a result of all this sitting and the gluteals (muscles in the side of the hip and buttocks) steadily weaken. This imbalance changes the dynamic function of the hip when walking or running.  Over time, these abnormal forces effect the knee. Hence, the mysterious knee pain that shows up after exercise.

Perhaps when you are standing, you may notice that one foot has a lower arch than the other and that your feet are sore after prolonged walking or exercise. The same principle applies as mentioned earlier. Weakness or tightness in the foot and ankle can impact the alignment and how the forces travel up into the leg. Again the knee joint gets bombarded by abnormal forces coming up from the foot and ankle. Knee pain is frequently the result especially with repetitive use.

Traditionally, when you go to a medical clinic reporting knee pain, x-rays and possibly other tests will be done on the knee. Typically, no one will assess you in a standing position or address your hip or foot and ankle. All the focus will be on the knee since that is where you have pain. You may be prescribed medication for pain and inflammation. As you begin to take the medication, you might even start to feel better temporarily. If this basic treatment does not relieve your knee pain long term, you may find yourself contemplating injections or even knee surgery. Sadly though, the attention will likely remain focused on your symptoms and not neccessarily on the underlying problem.

If this scenario sounds familiar, ask to have a posture and gait analysis done before any decisions are made about surgery. You will be amazed at the reduction in knee pain and the improvement in function that you can have by simply addressing dynamic positioning and stabilization in the foot and hip with proper instruction from a qualified physical therapist or advanced exercise therapist. Their expertise can definitely assist you in kicking that knee pain.

If you have questions, feel free to comment below or contact me for an assessment.

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Yoga Wellness

iStock_000019230860XSmallIn most cities, yoga classes and yoga studios are something you see almost daily. Forty years ago, people who practiced yoga were typically outside the mainstream. Today, things have certainly changed and yoga is no longer in the fringes, but rather a valuable tool in the pursuit of wellness.

What is it about yoga that is so beneficial? Well the list is long, but I will give you a few of the primary benefits…

  • Yoga emphasizes diaphragmatic breathing and other therapeutic breathing techniques. Regardless if you are doing yoga poses or not, by connecting with your breath, you are practicing yoga. Diaphragmatic breathing results in greater oxygen intake, thus supplying each cell with much needed fuel for proper function. As you inhale, feel your belly rise. As you exhale, contract the abdominals to press the naval towards the spine.
  • Yoga poses facilitate lengthening in myofascial restrictions and connective tissues that link the limbs and the spine. Poses such as Reverse Warrior, Triangle, Pyramid and Bow, just to name a few, elongate through side, front and back restrictions. As restrictions are freed, posture, blood flow, and nerve conduction are improved. Pain, if present is reduced.
  • Yoga promotes dynamic strengthening. Yoga emphasizes core strength and stability as the upper and lower body moves. Many poses are performed engaging the root lock through the pelvic floor region. Poses incorporate the entire body, thus improving strength in the spine and limbs. Our bodies are meant for movement and yoga offers a great format to move mindfully and safely.
  • Yoga aids healthy digestion and detoxification of internal organs. Twisting poses like twisting chair, twisting lunge, revolved triangle, eagle, and spinal twist are just a few examples of rotational movements that squeeze and release the intestines, lymph system and other internal organs to stimulate digestive movement and detoxification.
  • Yoga incorporates balance poses. As we grow older,  injuries more often result from loss of balance. Frequently challenging our balance stimulates proprioception and healthy communication between the brain, nerves and muscles.
  • Yoga practice bolsters mental focus and also the ability to let go of barriers in our minds and bodies. Through the use of mindfulness, breathing techniques, restorative poses and attention to proper structural alignment during the practice, our mind and body begins to move and open in ways often unexpected by someone new to yoga. This ability to remain calm during poses that many initially feel uncomfortable translates to many life situations off the yoga mat where it is important to stay calm and focused during difficult or challenging circumstances.
  • Yoga encourages relaxation and release of stress. At the end of yoga practice, there is a time called final relaxation. It is the counter pose of all the earlier active movements and poses. It is a gift to give your mind and body the opportunity to simply unwind and be still for a few minutes in our hectic pace of life.

Of course there are many more benefits to improving your health and wellness by practicing yoga on a regular basis. If you are a beginner, set your ego aside and make sure you take a level 1 or beginner class to get a better understanding of the poses and proper alignment in order to avoid injury or frustration. It is important to remember that yoga is about honoring your body where you are in the present moment and not about letting your mind insist on competition, judgement or expectations. I’ve been in classes where the instructor was teaching very advanced poses with several first-timers in the class. This leaves new students often frustrated, defeated and sadly, with a possible chance for pain or injury. Make sure you ask what type of class you are entering beforehand. Yoga is a practice, not a perfection.

I encourage you to give yoga a try. Your mind and body will thank you. If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to reply.

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images

Frankincense-The Wise Men Were Truly Wise

imagesA few months back, I suffered a knee injury in jiujitsu. Initially I had the typical minor swelling, constant pain and inflammation. I began the rest, ice, elevation, gentle strengthening and movement routine that you may be familiar with if you have ever had an injury. Because I use certified pure therapeutic grade essential oils frequently at home, I began researching what oil could be beneficial for my pain and healing.

An interesting oil that began to learn more about during this research is Frankincense. It is derived from the resin of the Boswellia tree, which thrive in East Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and India. You might recognize Frankincense as one of the three gifts that the Bible states were given to baby Jesus by the Wise Men. For over 5,000 years people in East Africa and the Arabian peninsula have produced this resin and numerous Chinese, Greek, Latin and Sanskrit sources document is use historically for personal, religious and medicinal uses.

I discovered ancient traditions are confirmed by modern day research on the powerful benefits of Frankincense as an analgesic, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, anti-depressant, astringent, carminative (reduce gas), cicatrizant (wound healing), cytophylatic (cell regeneration), digestive, diuretic, expectorant, sedative, immune boosting tonic and anti-carcinogistic.

In addition, Frankincense has been shown to be the most valuable essential oil for slowing and deepening breathing and thus helping to reduce anxiety, stress and nervous tension. It is useful in treating colds, bronchitis, coughs, sore throats and asthma. The unique chemistry of Frankincense allows it to cross the blood brain barrier and facilitate oxygenation of cells. This is the optimal communication at the foundational cellular level. It has even been shown to be helpful to restore some tone to slack facial skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. It seems to help our cells, tissues, organs and body systems remember how to be perfect again at the deepest of cellular levels. Frankincense is good for almost everything apparently.

I am happy to report that after doing my research, I used Frankincense daily and I no longer have that nagging medial knee pain and my leg strength is good. If you would like more information on therapeutic grade essential oils, please contact me.

 

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body-pain

Pain Relief Now

I recently began studying the work of Pete Egoscue on chronic pain. This is important subject matter for me and my work as a physical therapist and yoga instructor, as I am always on the lookout for new ways of addressing this age-old problem. In his book Pain Free, he reviews common symptoms of many chronic issues such as plantar faciitis, bursitis, frozen shoulder, back pain and headaches. His work emphasizes the fact that many forms of generic muscular pain are the result of repeated use on misaligned joints.

Postural alignment is critical in how our bodies function in the present moment and over time. When joints are aligned, the forces that travel through the body encounter less impedance caused by restricted joint movements, muscles and connective tissues. The tissues interact as intended. However, when chronic pain is an issue, postural correction must be addressed by loading and unloading joints and soft tissues in safe and effective ways.

According to Egoscue, his “big 3” exercises for pain relief include:

  1. Static Back– laying on your back with your hips and knees at 90 degrees supported by a chair or cube for 5 minutes. 
  2. Supine Groin Progressive– laying on your back with one hip and knee supported in the 90/90 position, while the other leg is extended with foot in mid-line. This promotes elongation of the hip and groin muscles. This position is held for an extensive period up to 30 minutes.
  3. Airbench– stand against a wall with feet placed away from the wall. Slide down as if sitting in an invisible chair keeping the hips slightly above the knees and the ankles slightly ahead of your knees. Keep weight pressed into the heels, not the toes. Hands should be relaxed at your side while your back is flat on the wall. Hold this pose for 2 minutes.

This is just a brief highlight of the many exercises that can improve your posture, function and pain level. Remember, good posture and alignment is one secret to keeping your body injury free during repetitive activities and to finding pain relief now.

Traci Vincent, PT, RYT

 

 

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