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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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.

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.

But What Happens After the Snow Day?

Happy Snow Day, NC peeps!

I thought I’d share some insight into what types of cases I see after a snow day. There are often troubles that come with the rare weather. Be on the look out as to not do any of the following to yourselves!

The first type of injury I see a good deal of after snow and/or ice: Falls. If balance is already an issue, adding the new medium beneath your feet can make it that much more tricky. The best thing to do after a fall – rest and ice the injured areas.

Skiing accidents can be another difficulty seen in the winter months. This is a common happening for the practiced skier and the newbie – just the same. Tumbles, run-ins, and simply the use of muscles in an uncommon way can all lead to discomfort. Often times, ski resorts have massage therapy available nearby. They obviously see the most common ski injuries almost daily, so they’re a great option for treatment.

Funny enough, I find that shivering because of cold can do just enough damage to my muscles for me to become uncomfortable. You’re tensing your body in an unusual way. Try to increase the number of stretch breaks you take during the cold days. Try to fit in a walk on a treadmill, in the mall, or around the office if you can to limber things up.

Sickness in the winter time – coughing, shivering, sleeping in uncomfortable positions all leave your body more than a little achey. Remember that time you had the flu? Your body is using all those movements (coughing, shivering, etc) to try to heal you. It’s also important to note where your lymph nodes are, as those nodes are in place to help drain the fluid filled with the nasties out of your body. Some lymph node locations – around the neck, in the arm pits, behind the knees – typically anywhere you feel achey when you’re ill. This is yet another reason to keep your body moving, even slightly when you’re fighting something. The movement allows your lymph to keep flowing and being filtered out of your body.

Can you think of any other common winter injuries? Something that makes you feel achey, tight, or throws your body out of alignment?

Until next time! Stay warm!!

B.