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Ten Easy Ways to Check Your Posture Alignment August 20, 2013

Posted by jeffrooney in Egoscue Method, Posture, Posture Alignment Therapy, The Human Body.
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You may be new to this idea but it is quite likely that if you have muscle or joint pain the ultimate cause is your posture alignment. This is the first in a series of posts I will make about this subject. My idea here is to help to facilitate your ability to become the driving force in evaluating posture and knowing the steps to be taken to change it and hence resolve the source of your pains or physical limitations.

So first things first. You get to  use your own eyes, and perhaps those of a friend or partner to help. So often when people come to see me for a first appointment for posture alignment therapy they are surprised to see from the evaluation pictures things they could see by  looking in a full length mirror! Knowing what to look for really helps. What I am looking for are asymmetries and distortions from the common standing anatomical posture of the human form(see below). We are not talking brain surgery here. Two eyeballs and a reasonably functioning brain will suffice.

Freddie

So slip off your shoes, wear a pair of shorts and a tank top (guys can slip off your shirt, females can use a sports bra if you like).  Lets walk through ten easy steps at determining your posture. Take a piece of paper and jot down your findings.

1 – So just stand up, gently march in place. Stop and look down at your feet. What are they doing? Are they both pointing in the same direction, is one off to the side, etc.? Does one foot seem more forward than the other

2 – Still in the same standing position. Close your eyes and take note which foot bears more weight. Secondly, where in each foot do you feel the weight, at the forefoot or heel. Don’t think about it just jot down your immediate impression.

3 – Next take a look at your knees. Are you bowl legged or knock kneed? Are the knee caps pointing in the same direction (imagine your cars headlamps – they should be pointing straight ahead like that). When looking down does one knee look more forward than the other?

4 – Now take your thumbs and place them both on the very front edge of your “hip bones” the boney protrusions at the very front of your pelvis. You may have to dig around for them but I am talking about the very front not the top edge. In any case it is like you are hugging your hips with thumbs facing forward. Now look gently down. Do you see one side of the pelvis going more forward than the other? Now look in the mirror. Is one hip higher? If you have sciatica this could be a big part of the reason.

5 – Now look at your hands. Do you see the back of the hands forward, are they different from side to side? This is a major indicator of shoulder position. Is one hand more forward and also is one lower than the other when you look in the mirror?

6 – Now looking at the shoulders, are they level? Is one more forward relative to the other? Are you able to lift the arms up toward the ears easily and evenly from side to side? If not is it less easy on the side that is more rounded forward?

7 – You still with me?! Now if you noted that you felt more weight on one side at your feet versus the other now take a look at your upper body. Is the upper body leaning more to that side? If you have foot, ankle, knee or hip problems a big component of the solution is getting the upper body more symmetrical so that the load bearing is more even to the lower extremities.

8 – Now lets note what the head is doing. Most of us in our culture have a distinct forward head that is not our birthright. To check this have your friend view you from the side or simply stand with your heels, butt and shoulders to the wall. Now take note of what effort it takes to position the back of the head to the wall. If when you do that the head seems to point your eyes upward your head is significantly more forward.

9 – Next pull out a chair and gently get yourself on the floor. Put both legs up on the chair with knees hip width apart. Scoot your butt right up to the edge of the chair so that your hips and knees are at 90 degrees. Here we can clue into a number of things. One, what is your immediate feel to your backside, is it even on the floor or different from side to side? If you noted earlier that one side of the pelvis was more forward than the other side does this correlate. Next, is your low back or lumbar spine have an arch or is it flat? This will likely tell you that your pelvis is either tipping too far forward or tipping back and is not in its neutral position. This deviation can be at the root of many problems.

10 – Lastly, lets get you up and walking. When you walk are the feet doing the same thing? Just walk your normal pace, taking note of your sense of balance. Now take your hands and put behind your neck and pull your elbows back. Walk again. Any difference in how you feel. Is it easier or harder, better or worse balance? If it seems to give you more balance, why do think that might be?

Well there you have it folks. You just went through some of the paces I use to evaluate clients posture in a session. I do more than this but I want you to see that it is straight forward and common sense oriented. Any asymmetries noted (and they may surely add up and have consequence) are part of the big picture of your body’s stature and the framework for how your body functions or doesn’t function. They will tell the story of your body and why things are going awry. At bottom this could well be the explanation for hard to treat conditions that have been illusive to the medical and even alternative medical community. It may be hard to fathom nowadays but in many ways taking note of what a persons knee cap is doing is a window into the status of a hip joint dysfunction, without X-rays and MRIs.

Let me know what your findings are and if this helps to connect the dots between whatever your pain condition is and what your body is doing. Now if it looks pretty disturbing don’t jump off a cliff, just get ready to do some work to change it! Muscles move the bones. So if they are putting them in the wrong place the right physical input can put them in the right place, if not ideally, at least to the point of giving you the best possible functioning body so that you can enjoy your life.

Stay tuned for more on posture as the source of many common pain conditions, limitations and effects on athletic performance.

Things Centenarians Have In Common August 16, 2013

Posted by jeffrooney in Aging.
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My friend Alexandra recently sent me notes from the studies of Mario Martinez about centenarians. This is a quick sketch of his research based on many interviews in different parts of the world. If you google him you will find his many resources. Below is a youtube interview with him that is about 20 minutes in length. An area I am presently exploring is the difference between simply aging and elderhood. There are many emerging resources on this topic that are encouraging. Let me know what you think when you look these over!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WnMdrzoHqLc

MYTHS ABOUT LIVING TO A VERY OLD AGE:

 (None of these holds true)

Genetics determine longevity

Vegans live longer (there are NO vegan centenarians)

Vegetarians live longer (there are only a few)

Alzheimer’s is inevitable

Teetotalers and non-smokers live longer (find moderate use of alcohol and tobacco)

Anger should be avoided (expression of emotions rather than bottling up is better)

You’ll die of cancer if you live long enough (most don’t die of prolonged illness)

Aging means a deteriorating mind (mind and brain are quite different and you can stay sharp even if your brain wouldn’t hold up well under an autopsy)

Socio-economic factors determine lifespan

Failing capacities are inevitable

PROBLEMATIC BEHAVIORS/CONDITIONS:

Withholding joy

Obesity

Fear-based assumptions

Atheism (there are no atheists – vs. a belief in something transcendent — a benign spirit; they tend to be spiritual more than religious)

Lamenting and complaining

Your belief in cultural attitudes will kill you before your  genes do

HELPFUL BEHAVIORS:

Consciousness, awareness and ceremony or personal rituals vs. addictive and avoidant behaviors are more effective and immunologically effective

Negotiate rather than have blind faith in authorities; most don’t see doctors and outlive their docs

An absence of envy

Not future-oriented

Optimistic about future and plans – based in joy

Ageless identification and self-regulation; at peace with themselves

Forgiveness at mind-body level

Feel in control of their lives and are committed to their community

Feel they have something to offer: connection brings meaning

Fearless about challenges

Expect to be loved

Self-determined (where do you put the control)

Self-esteem, confidence, valuing the self

Centenarians are rebellious

Balance vs. obsessions

GENERAL NOTES:

Most don’t go to doctors

We become what we believe

Illness is the cultural belief, disease is the attack on the body/mind; often the cultural belief determines the outcome; culture shapes, biology follows. Even with clogging of arteries, etc.

Buying into the cultural belief system is bad idea; Cultural portals where you might examine your beliefs:  youth, middle-age, retirement, senior citizenship — what do you believe about these?

Lynn Andler is a Centenarians researcher

Not about genetics or food

Rituals such as eating meals together

Sense of belonging

Resilience, optimism are good stress buffers; it isn’t stress but how one responds

 

Mark Sisson’s Recent Post About Workout Recovery August 15, 2013

Posted by jeffrooney in Athletic training, Exercise, Fitness, Movement, Nutrition, Posture.
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Mark Sisson’s Recent Post About Workout Recovery

As usual a pretty informed piece from Mark Sisson on the constituents of “recovery” with any exercise program. Use his 7 point recovery evaluation for your own exercise efforts and take stock of what is deficient. Then make some effort on this aspect and take note of the changes in how you feel.

Oh, and by the way, don’t forget the posture component of your workouts. One point that is a little different on the posture component is that in many ways muscles that function to align our body are meant to be “on” basically all the time. So this means that they need some daily input. Thinking in terms of the Paleo paradigm one could say that our ancestors always got the postural input by virtue of daily activity. Now we don’t – we have to basically supplement our lives with meaningful physical activity that serves our whole body’s needs and requirements. That’s the conundrum of our culture. More on that later…

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