Those Trapping Traps..

Oh how I love word play!

Let’s get right into it – the traps. The full name is Trapezius, but that makes it sound more like a contraption used in the circus.

Where are the traps? What do they do that I need to know about? Allow me to explain…

The traps cover a larger area than most of you may realize (please see the picture below). I’ve also inserted an image from the 4th edition flashcards by Trail Guide to the Body to help you identify where these muscles attach and what actions they’re responsible for.

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Times you may notice these boogers? When you’re holding your cell between your shoulder and ear. Also when you’re tilting your head back in attempt to show your feeling of boredom.

The traps are one of the “hot spots” for where people think their tension resides. What is actually happening is this: when you’re stressed because of the traffic you’re stuck in or the fact that you’re going to miss a presentation because you’ve missed your flight, your body is displaying that stress. Your body physically displays all your emotions. When your body contorts itself to display those emotions, there are muscles contracting to put you in those positions. When the muscles are contracting like that for a lot of time on end, it’s like you’re giving those muscles a workout you didn’t intend to. They’re getting stronger and those tight spots are getting tighter. Eventually leading to reduced ROM (or range of motion) and often times pain.

So what can you do to help yourself if you have issues with your traps?

  • Static stretching of the Neck and Scapula. Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 12.06.04 AM(http://www.health.harvard.edu/shoulders/stretching-exercises-frozen-shoulder)Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 12.08.18 AM.png(http://precisionfitpb.com/stretching-for-strength-training/)
  • Self myofascial release such as foam rolling. These are some of my favorite tools for the traps: tennis balls, lacrosse balls, and foam balls. Recently I’ve become a huge fan of using dimple balls for the traps and any other muscle with really solid muscle spasms.
  • Take breaks! If you work at a desk, taking breaks can be hugely beneficial. It might not seem like much, but even looking up for a minute or two or standing up for 30 seconds could help break the constant muscle contraction.
  • Hydration! As always – drink 1/2 your bodyweight in ounces per day to keep you on track to not dehydrate. Your muscles are thirsty! Also – this is a great way to get those breaks in.

Until next time!

B.

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Studio News.

Hello all!

I’ve been trickling out this information for a little while now, but next week is the arrival of something big!

I’ll be booking massages full-time!

Eep! Can you believe it?! More hours to choose from.

Keep in mind the January special – any massage booked and paid for* in January for a first-time client is $60 (regular $75).

Looking forward to seeing you all soon!

B.

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* If the massage happens in February, but is paid for and scheduled in January, the special rate applies.

Frozen Days…

Chances are – if you’re local – you saw lots of sleet, freezing rain, and like 4 snow flakes the last few days. (I wish there had been more snow!)

If your days were anything like mine they involved some or all of the following: sitting, eating, restricted exercising (if any), TV, movies, Netflix, walk the dog, run back to house with dog, laundry, Facebook, emails, sledding, random dance parties in the house, sleeping on the couch – I think you’ve got the idea. Our lives were very different these last few days. No working, no driving, but lots of being sedentary.

How does all that affect our muscles?

Muscles are designed to move. When we’re spending more time not working the muscles and then we do something like sledding or walking on ice, it’s pretty startling to the body. We end up holding our bodies in awkward positions. From tensing when we are walking on ice, to bracing for impact at the bottom of a hill we are sledding down, to shivering – our muscles are tense.

Add to that a poor diet (because who is really watching what they eat when they’re stuck inside a house all day) and technology – iPads, computers, cell phones – and you have the perfect storm.

Now to the important information – why am I taking the time to mention this?

Winter happens. Being sedentary and involved in technology and losing track of good eating habits happens. However, there are ways to avoid being too lax when these frozen days hit.

  1. Try to keep more fresh foods in the house. By not keeping the bad stuff around, you’re much less likely to eat it. (Especially on a snow day when you’re stuck in the house with no transportation.)
  2. Keep moving! I’ll be the first to admit that exercising yourself and your dog in the house is a real thing – it does help to have dog on the smaller side. Take time to stay in motion when you’re in the house. You can keep up with chores, call friends and walk around your home (I’d suggest the pacing then the cleaning), or do what I did and run suicide drills in the hallway with your dog. Note to readers: the dog always wins. Every time.
  3. Water! Hydrate people, hydrate! If nothing else this ensures you’re getting up to walk to the bathroom frequently – thus helping with the 2nd bullet point!
  4. Bolster yourself. If you are going to spend a good amount of time watching Netflix, football, or reading it’s worth it to sit in positions where your body is more relaxed and supported. This helps tremendously with muscle tension – even on a normal day.
  5. Take a yoga class with Jaclyn Groff before you have snow and ice expected! The soreness stays with you the entirety of the storm. (Thanks, Jaclyn!)

Here’s to some sun-shiny days this week!

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B.

April = Stress Awareness Month

Did you happen to know that April is Stress Awareness Month?

We are already aware of our stress and stressors of course, but this month is more about getting into those channels of how to manage our stress.

I’d love to know what some of your favorite methods of stress-reduction are!

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I’d like to share a few ideas – maybe it will inspire some of you to try new things!

… Yoga
Do you ever just feel like you need to go to that yoga class that you can just barely make it to?! I’ve done that on a few occasions. This month, try to make it to a class or two. Yoga does wonders for your mind-body connection. This is great for leaving everything that’s bothering you outside the studio doors and focusing on you for a bit.

… Exercise
Yes I separated this from yoga. Why? Because I’m saying exercise in more of the sense of “I need to go sweat this out, get worked up, get my heart rate elevated.” Maybe this means a room of punching bags, a wide open trail to run through, a block to kick in half, or those good old weights to lift overhead. I support and encourage everyone to get out there and do something positive that gets you moving. This physical movement is a great way to get you to mentally move through anything that is stressing you.

… Writing
For some, writing is a great way to express and work out any issues they’re having. Being able to write what is bothering you, why, and how it could be fixed is very therapeutic. This isn’t even something that needs to be shared. Write for yourself!

… Driving
Seems strange, but I’ve often found driving around the Triangle to be therapeutic. I feel like this is because I can give myself time to think through things. I’m also physically getting away from anything that’s been stressful.

… Arts & Crafts
Create stuff!
That’s all I have to say about that.

What’s the point here..?

Find something you’re able to do and get a stress release. Do something fun, playful, serious and thoughtful, or random. Dance your socks off or jump in puddles when it rains! Make April your month to try new ways of working through stress.

Cheers!

B.