SELF-MASSAGE 101 WORKSHOP

OCTOBER 15th
1-2:30pm

It’s finally here! The workshop designed to show you how to help yourself. Using tools you probably already have scattered around your house, this workshop will give you a step-by-step guide to self-massage. You will understand what causes muscle tension, learn useful tips on how to create good self-care habits, and leave with a better range of motion and more pliable muscles.

For the class you’ll need: 2 tennis balls, a lacrosse ball, and a foam roller. Cost for the class is either $30 (bring your own balls and roller), or $45 (balls and roller provided). You’re encouraged to bring any other self-massage tools you have.

Sign up here!

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DOUBLE TROUBLE WORKSHOP {9.17.16}

All teams/pairs/couples/duos. Do you dread when someone asks you to massage their neck and shoulders? Thoughts of breaking your wife, injuring your mom, or wearing out your own fingers suddenly flood your mind. Would you like to learn how to give a better massage? Then this workshop is for you (and a partner)!

This workshop will give you the basic tools to feel more comfortable giving mini massages to loved ones and friends. You’ll leave feeling informed about how to help someone with a sore neck, tight shoulders, or dull headache. There will be time for a Q&A session, hands-on practice, and a brief anatomy lesson. All you need to bring is yourself and a side-kick. This class will have limited space, so reserve your spot now!

SEPTEMBER 17th — 1-2:30pm — $30/person
Sign up at CaryFlowYoga.com

Anatomy Moment: Iliopsoas

What is your iliopsoas? Where is it? And why should you care?

In the most basic description, the iliopsoas is part of the “Hip Flexor” group. The iliopsoas muscle is actually a duo consisting of the Iliacus and Psoas Major muscles.

They’re the strongest for the job they do – flex the hip. But to get to know each muscle more intimately, see below..

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ILIACUS
Actions: Flex the hip, Laterally rotate the hip, Flex the torso toward the thigh, Tilt the pelvis anteriorly.
Attaching: at the top of the hip bone to below the hip joint. You could think of it as where you’d put your hands on your hips. Your iliacus rests under where your fingertips land.

PSOAS MAJOR
Action: The same as above plus assist to laterally flex the lumbar (lower) spine.
Attaching: from the lower spinal vertebrae to below the hip joint. It extends diagonally from your lower spine to the front of your hip.

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When would you use these beauties? Standing, walking, and perhaps while doing sit-ups – to name a few examples. If you’ve taken [especially] a yoga class, you may have heard the cue to not fire from the hip flexors.

Often times – because of the job they do – it is easier for us as humans to engage the hip flexors instead of our abdominal muscles. If you find yourself becoming too familiar with your hip flexors (over-using them), then you might want to remind yourself where your abs are. 😉

Another common way to anger your iliopsoas is to sit for long periods of time without taking breaks. You see, the flexors do want to work and be useful, but they don’t want to be over-worked. They also don’t want to remain in a scrunched up position while you sit all day….. [This has been a paid-for advertisement from your iliopsoas.]

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Please allow me to now give you plenty of options to apologize to your iliopsoas.
1) Drink water. This will actually solve two problems – keeping the muscles hydrated to keep fresh blood and nutrients pumping, as well as to get you up and walking to the bathroom. Thumbs up for hydration!
2) Selfmassage. (If you’re already a client of mine, I feel your smiles through the internet.) I have found that using a dimple softball for this area works best. It’s wider than a tennis or lacrosse ball so it really enables you to get to the muscle belly. You could also use a tennis or lacrosse ball on top of a foam block or a couple books.
SET UP: (for your right iliopsoas) Lay flat on the floor on your back. Using your fingers find your belly button, go right about 3″ and down 1″. Place the ball here. Roll to your belly (keeping the ball in place). At this point, just breathe with your body resting and the ball pressing into your iliopsoas. Let your breathing and gravity do the job.


3) Stretch. My favorite stretch is a simple one you can do on your bed (morning and/or night).
SET UP: (for your left side) Lay flat on your back in a bed or on a couch with your left leg draped off the surface. The end. …Seriously, that is it. Stay here for as long as it feels good. (Numbness and tingling mean you’ve gone too long.)

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What I detailed was a brief summation of the iliopsoas. If you’d like to geek out over some fun anatomy terms and visuals, check out this helpful video. An added note.. the plural of  “psoas” is “psoe or psoi”.

B.

**Thanks to Trail Guide to the Body Flashcards by Andrew Biel for the iliopsoas actions and attachments bit.

Coming Soon!

Hi guys!

Plans are in the works for me to soon offer a few workshops.

One will be geared to teams/pairs/couples/duos/moving buddies. The goal of this workshop is to give you guys the basic tools to feel more comfortable in giving mini massages to loved ones and friends! This has been such a topic of interest for many of my clients and people I meet. I’m very excited to be able to help you guys help each other!

Another workshop is going to be (hopefully) held more frequently. This workshop is going to show you how you can help yourself. With this class, I’ll be guiding you on how to work some of the most common tension areas. We will work from head-to-toe using several self-massage tools, including foam rollers, tennis balls, and lacrosse balls. I’m a huge proponent of finding ways to help prolong the benefits of massage between sessions.

I’d love to hear your thoughts! If you attended classes such as these, what would you want to learn? 

B.

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.

Top Three Tips for Runners

Today was the day of the Boston Marathon 2015! Awesome job to all the runners!

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I’ve had many runners visit me this April. It seemed like the temps went above 50 and all of the sudden, I met lots of runners seeking help! (Thank you, April!)

My runners typically have busy lives,  intense schedules, and some rock-solid goals in mind. I want to break down my plethora of tips for you guys! I’ll keep it short, sweet, and simple.

TIP #1
STRETCH
Please. Just do the stretches. After you’ve worked out is typically the best time to stretch. Why? You’re muscles are warmer and more pliable, and it’s also a nice way to cool down and help things settle after you’ve jostled them for a long time. Dynamic stretching is my preferred way to warm up prior to running. This includes things like: leg swings, arm swings, & side bends. This was a great resource I found.

TIP #2
FOAM ROLLER/TENNIS BALL/LACROSSE BALL
These tools provide you with so much therapy! As a runner, you should not be without at least one of the above. Massages are great, chiropractic adjustments are wonderful, and going for other types of workouts outside of running are all great ways to increase flexibility, strength, and endurance. But, typically, these types of professionals do not live in your home. When that happens my friends, your life is complete! In all seriousness, having one or more of these self-massage tools is helpful because it gives you great insight into what’s happening in your body. You become more familiar with postures that aggravate your body, you know where your range of motion is limited, and you learn how you can help yourself.

TIP #3
REST
I did it. I said it. By “rest” I mean everything from proper sleep at night, to taking naps if you need them, to backing off workouts if you need to. Injuries happen. But rehab also needs to take place. It’s important to let your body heal. And yes, sometimes that means backing off. This does not mean you’re lazy or that you’re failing! This means that you care enough about yourself and your body to give it the time it needs to recoup so you can come back stronger!

Let me know if you have any other great tips that have worked for you or a runner in your life!

Until next time…
here’s to hoping your running shoes don’t end up looking like mine (above)!

B.

Top Tips for Headaches

It’s the end of the beginning of the week! Hooray! Hopefully you’ve gotten to enjoy a wonderful weekend and your work week is off to a fun start.

I want to hit a hot topic in many of our lives – headaches. Those nasty buggers that can pop up for no reason, the ones that linger for days, or the ones that just started happening to you later in life. Whatever the circumstances of the headache or the accompanying symptoms – they’re no fun! I’ve come up with my top tips for preventing and managing headaches.

Self-Massage
This is my top go-to for obvious reasons. I am so thankful to have had schooling in kinesiology. Why? Because I know what nasty trigger points can cause. More importantly, I know how to stop them. Many major headache trigger points lie in muscles including: SCM, scalenes, and the traps. There are easy ways to work these muscles on your own to help with or to keep headaches at bay. There are videos available as well as literature, but I always encourage asking a professional for a demo.

Sleep
It’s overrated, right? Wrong! Sleep is severely lacking in the US. We all know that. Yet we all continue with poor sleep habits: staying up late, playing on electronics too late, eating too late, not eating the right foods, etc. If we can get our sleep habits tightened up, we would be doing our bodies a huge favor.

Hydration
Everyone is always talking about this! There’s a reason – staying hydrated can often times prevent many headaches from even beginning. Not only does it ward of headaches, it’s good for your whole body! When you’re staying hydrated, you’re keeping good stuff flowing in and flushing the bad stuff out.

Relaxation
Making sure your stress is low and you take time for you can play a key role. Meditation of the masses has been on the rise the last few years – and with good reason. There’s more and more research coming out about just how helpful meditation can be. Even if you’re not into that or don’t feel you have the time, just taking a few minutes out of your day for a breathing exercise can work wonders for the mind and body.

Headaches are unique to each individual. They can be daily or extremely random, intense or just annoying. Everyone has his or her own individual experience with these painful events. I encourage you to try improving or adding some of the above tips.

Go forth and have no headaches!

B.