Thursday, January 14, 2021

How do you really WANT to FEEL??

WE MADE IT!! Here we are, settling into 2021. What a crazy year we all had in 2020, but the important thing is that we made it through!! Every year, many people like to reflect on the previous year and then look ahead to the new year as a fresh start.  Many people set resolutions as in "This year, I'm going to stop snacking after dinner," or "I'm going to start walking every day," or after 2020, a resolution might be "I'm going to stop finishing a bottle of wine every night!" Many people make resolutions involving something that they want to stop doing or start doing, and often these resolutions have something to do with improving health. Often times, a few weeks or even a month or two will go by with the best of intentions, but then the efforts toward the resolutions fade out or stop all together. I know this because this often happens to me! This year, I did something different and it has already impacted my life so much in two weeks that I HAD to share it with you! 

My childhood friend, Kristen Finch, is a Life Coach and the hostess of the Podcast "Show Up and Love." She has a podcast episode about setting "Re-SOUL-utions" and she offers a simple yet very effective way to actually make positive changes in your life. Give it a listen HERE. Instead of focusing on stopping or starting something, she recommends you focus on how you want to FEEL about 9 categories in your life: Body, Mind, Work, Marriage/Relationship, Family, Home, Money, Soul, and Life. Once you have the feelings identified, you make a list of all of the activities you can do to help you get to the feeling place for each category. By being focused on how you want to feel in these various areas, you will be more likely to make choices that will lead you to the feeling place. I re-read my "Re-SOUL-utions" daily and sometimes re-write them and I can already feel a difference in most of those categories! Sometimes simple things make the biggest difference. 

I started thinking about how I can use this concept to improve my client sessions. Most clients I see have some sort of "not-so-good" sensations in their body, such as pain, tightness, or stiffness. Or, they have some "not-so-good" movements that restrict their ability to perform their daily tasks or fully enjoy their life. Up until now, I've always started the sessions asking "How are you feeling?" Then, my clients report where their aches and pains are located, or which movements are limited. As a PT, I've always taken responsibility for trying to help get rid of those "not-so-good" sensations. Many clients feel better in their bodies after moving through our treatment sessions with the therapies and exercises used to help their body's efficiency improve. But one session is not a cure-all and often doesn't help to fully resolve the undesired sensations, especially if those sensations have lingered for a long time. Sometimes I would feel unsuccessful if I wasn't able to take someone's pain away in a session or even throughout a series of treatments, which would then turn into feelings of negativity, sadness, disappointment with myself, and lack of confidence in my abilities as a therapist. After listening to the podcast and doing the work to identify the way I WANT to feel in my life, it made me realize that I have been focused on the wrong sensations with my clients. Now, instead of just asking where the "not-so-good" sensations are located, I have started asking clients "How do you WANT to FEEL in your body?" The answers have been simple, yet profound sometimes. So far, clients have shared that they want to feel "relaxed," "free," "flexible," "youthful," "vibrant," and "energized." By spinning the focus to something so much more positive and desirable  the level of satisfaction with our sessions has improved, both from the client perspective and from mine as the providing therapist. What a relief! And what a simple way to  make such a huge difference! 

So, how is it that YOU want to FEEL in your life? In your Body? What do you want to be able to DO more easily? What happens as you start to focus in on those feelings and activities? Is there something you can do to make yourself feel just a little bit better? Is there something I can do to help you feel just a little bit better? 

I'd love to hear how this process is beneficial for YOU as you begin the fresh start of this new year! My hope is that you find ways to feel relaxed, free, flexible, youthful, vibrant, energized or any other way that YOU want to feel EVERY day this year! 



Monday, December 21, 2020

3 Holiday Must-Haves for 2020

Happy holidays free stock photos - StockFreeImages
3 Holiday Must-Haves for 2020

I think we can all agree...2020 has been one doozy of a year!! As challenging as it has been to live through a global pandemic, I am reminded every day that not everyone has lived through it! So many tragic deaths have occurred, our world and how we live in it has changed so much in such a little time, and so many businesses have closed. Even with all of the losses this year, we still live in such abundant times. Here's my take on what we ALL need this year, and it is NOT more "stuff!" 

1. Positive Attitude

No one likes a grumpy pants. Sure, we've all had bad attitudes from time to time, myself included!! Being negative about all of the craziness going on right now doesn't help any of us. I just spoke with one of my dear clients on the phone today. She is the primary caregiver for her beloved husband, who has ALS, also known as Lou-Gehrig's disease. They are not spending their retirement at all like they had dreamed. It is heart wrenching to watch someone you love lose their body's capacities and have to help them perform what are some of the easiest of functions for most of us, that we often take for granted. Even though she is doing this for him, she is getting through this difficult time by staying positive and focusing on the good things in life! What an inspiration she has been and can be for all of us. We may not be able to spend the holidays with our family members or friends like we have in the past, but thankfully we can have a Zoom Chat, or do a FaceTime call. For some, it may actually be a blessing that they can't get together with family, as they can trigger painful emotions! It's all in how we look at what we are given. The number "1" in 1212 Bodyworks represents staying positive, so of course, this is Number 1 on my list of must-haves! 

2. Faith

Christmas is the celebration of Jesus' birth! What a blessing it is to celebrate Him and the gift of eternal life every year!  The commercialization of Christmas has taken many people away from the true meaning of this time of year, but each year we have the opportunity to refocus on the gift of His life and what it means for us who believe in Him! :) Even if you are not a Christian, having FAITH in something greater than us can be so helpful to get through challenging times, especially this year! Our body was created with all of the abilities to heal itself, and help us to overcome painful sensations, injuries, and fully recover to our prior level of function, which is nothing short of a miracle!! If you are still struggling with pain in your body, I'm here to help you restore your faith in your body's ability to heal by helping you move better! The number "2" in 1212 Bodyworks represents "Keep the Faith" so of course this one had to be Number 2! :) 

3. Flexibility

I know, I know...you're thinking, "But Emily, you told us we are not supposed to stretch...." LOL! You've been listening well (and if you don't know what I'm referring to here, stay tuned for future blog post topics about why I DON'T recommend stretching)! Being flexible is not about stretching. It's about staying "open" and being able to roll with the punches of what life brings to us. We can't be rigid in our thoughts or bodies, as this only limits us further or can even end up hurting us. Being flexible is about having strength and balance at our end limits. With our body movements, we want to be able to reach to great lengths with a core and limbs that will support us and not let us fall, or tear apart, as we reach to our end ranges of motion. It has been wonderful to help my clients this year become the best versions of their physical selves with improved strength, balance and flexibility in their bodies. With our thoughts, we have to be strong in our will to change, as what we once thought was right or true may suddenly be shown to be or proven wrong or false. None of us could have expected what was to come at us in 2020, but we all had to learn to be flexible to adapt to the changes that are now more accepted and just a part of life now. 

So there it is. Simple right? Luckily these holiday must-haves are all FREE! (You've probably spent enough money this season already! :) This year, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and hope that 2021 brings even more healing for your life! May you be filled with Positivity, Faith, and Flexibility for years to come! 

Thursday, November 19, 2020

COVID Rates are so High and What to Do About It!

Here in the United States, especially the Midwest states, we are seeing sky-high numbers of COVID-19 cases. Most of us know of someone personally who has tested positive or even died because of the effects of this virus. This virus attacks people of all ages, races, and levels of health, and luckily, a great majority of the people who test positive will recover, although there may be some long lasting after-effects. 
 
One reason that the numbers are so high is because this is an airborne virus, which makes it difficult to see and know if and when exactly you've been exposed, whether or not you've been wearing a mask. Because many people are asymptomatic carriers and the virus has a few day incubation period, others may be exposed for several days before someone exhibits symptoms and goes for testing, then it may take a few days to find out results of the test, all the while, the virus is floating along in the air affecting more and more people. As time goes on, the virus keeps spreading despite our best efforts to practice social distancing, wash our hands, minimize contacts, and wear masks. 

Supplement for Better Health 
The best things we can do at this time are to try to boost our immunity in any way that we can! Certain Vitamins and Supplements have been recommended for their powerful immune boosting properties, such as Vitamin C, Zinc, and Vitamin D. Unfortunately, Midwesterners are known for having lower Vitamin D levels as the sun exposure is typically less in the colder months, although it has been very sunny this year so far, thankfully!! Foods containing these vitamins are helpful, but actually supplementing with these is important since we can't get enough of the daily recommendations from food alone. 

Conquer Inflammation
Minimizing Inflammation is imperative at this time. The COVID-19 Virus sets off a severe inflammatory response in the body. If your levels of inflammation are already high, from poor diet, high stress levels, inactivity, or unresolved injuries, this puts you at risk for even more severe symptoms if you do contact this or any other virus. Check out the previous blog "Best Baby Boomer Immune Boosters" for a list of anti-inflammatory foods, as well as other suggestions to minimize negative health risks. Taking deep nasal breaths and practicing stress-management techniques can also be helpful to minimize inflammation. Being sure to find resolution for long-lasting injuries will help your body work more efficiently and in a better balanced way to reduce joint specific inflammation, which ultimately affects your overall health and vitality. 

Focus On Gut Health
Many people don't recognize the connection between good gut health and digestion to our immune health. If your body and organs are busy trying to digest unhealthy or non-nutrient dense foods, this takes energy away from building your immunity. Also, more inflammation can be caused by not being able to break down certain foods in your gut. The "gut" starts in our mouth, by the way. Chewing each bite of food for at least 20 seconds will break down the food particles into smaller, more manageable size. In addition, the chewing process allows the good bacteria in our mouths to start to digest the food. I listened to a podcast episode where the Doctor being interviewed suggested this, and also suggested that we NOT use Antiseptic Mouthwashes, as these not only kill the bad bacteria in our mouths, but they also kill the GOOD bacteria needed for digestion. He also said that taking Anti-acids (Tums, Pepsid, etc) are doing further damage to our digestion as they further reduce the (often already reduced) levels of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, which digests our food. Taking Digestive Enzymes and Probiotics will both help the body to break down and digest food, ultimately making our digestive and immune health improve.

Get Pumping!!
Our heart muscle pumps the blood the Circulatory System throughout our entire body. The Lymphatic System, part of our Immune system which pumps waste products OUT of our body, does not have it's own pump mechanism built in. Instead, the Lymphatic System relies on the contraction of our muscles to pump the waste materials throughout and OUT of our body. Regular exercise and daily movement are both imperative for a fully functioning immune system, which is not usually the first thing people think of when it comes to the benefits of exercise. There are many lymphatic ducts in the neck, shoulders, armpits, and hips. So many of my clients experience pain and dysfunction in these joints, but when we treat those areas, not only are the muscles able to move and support their joints better, but their immune health is also boosted! Staying active, mobile and flexible will give your body the best fighting chance to overcome any illness that comes your way! 

Let me know if you have any questions. I'd love to help support you during this Pandemic in any way that I possibly can! Stay healthy, keep moving, and take care of yourself and each other. 





Thursday, October 22, 2020

Is Your Head on Straight?

 

Is Your Head On Straight?  


How many of you have heard me say "We need to get your head back on straight?" Sure, it sounds kind of silly, but SOOO many of my Physical Therapy clients benefit from this simple reset.

My client Stacy came for help to resolve chronic shoulder and elbow pain, which was making it difficult to perform her work as a Professional Photographer. Her camera was heavy with all of its attachments, and she was having trouble making it through an entire shoot without needing many breaks. Then, while sitting at her computer to edit the photos, a feeling of tightness settled into her upper back. She was seeing a Massage Therapist to try to "untie the knots" in her neck and shoulders but wasn't having lasting results. She was frustrated that despite going to the gym regularly, doing all sorts of stretches, and using pain-relieving essential oils, she couldn't find relief. 

When we first met for her Full Body Assessment, her posture caught my attention. Stacy's head position was slightly tilted and rotated to the right. Her left shoulder was higher than her right, her pelvis was also rotated, and one of her foot arches was much flatter than the other side. This alignment is very common, especially with clients who are Right hand dominant.

As we worked together, Stacy performed corrective exercises at home for her shoulder and arm. She noticed very little pain while doing her exercises but then felt some discomfort later in the day. She adjusted her computer workstation to take pressure off of her arms, but that only helped a little bit too.

When we treated Stacy's neck, she could immediately feel an improvement in her shoulder mobility, tightness and pain!  Stacy was surprised to learn that so many of her neck muscles were "asleep!" She asked, "How have I even been holding my head upright with all of this weakness?"  We laughed, and I told her she was compensating for the weakness by holding tension in surrounding areas. It is not an efficient long-term solution to weakness, but that is what our body does! Since the head houses the brain, which is responsible for ALL of the nerve signals traveling throughout the entire body, it is important to "get it on straight!" Just this week, Stacy told me that her Massage Therapist even noticed how much better things are for her now! She's happy she is finally finding relief! 



Stacy's pain and tightness was located relatively close to her neck, but getting your head back on straight can even help client's who are suffering from Lower Back Pain, Sciatica, Knee pain and even Foot pain! It's amazing how everything is connected. 

If you or someone you love have been dealing with chronic pain or tightness that doesn't seem to lessen with exercise or other therapies, there is hope!! You too can find freedom from the pain once and for all! 

Jane's Freedom after Decades of Pain

 


My client Jane, an active 69 year old, loves taking care of her grandkids, along with her husband of almost 50 years, Bob. Recently, keeping up with the kiddos has been more and more challenging as Jane's hip was giving her constant grief.

Jane was in a car accident 40 years ago and needed surgery on her knee. She said she has "never been the same since." Recovery was slow because her kids were young at the time and her rehab was put on the back burner. She worked as a Surgical Tech and was on her feet for long hours. Even though she was able to push through it, she experienced pain daily. First it started in her knee, then she got Plantar Fasciitis in her foot. A few years later, the symptoms crept up into her hip where the pain has stayed for the past 30 years. 


Now, Jane's hip pain wakes her up at night and she feels it with every step she takes. Jane has to ride in the cart along with Bob instead of golfing with him. She is only able to stand long enough to make meals but not to clean up afterward, as she had been able to do for years (Bob does not like dish duty!). Jane even loses sleep over the thought of not being able to dance with Bob at their 50th Anniversary celebration coming up at the end of October. 

Over the years, Jane tried traditional PT, Chiropractic, and Water Exercise classes with only a bit of relief. She was tired from not sleeping well, frustrated, and sad that she was starting to miss out on activities she loves best with her husband and grandkids. 

Jane came to see me in May after her neighbor referred her.  She told Jane, "Emily does things differently. I don't know how she does it, but it works!!" Jane and Bob came in for the Complimentary Consultation together. I was confident that I could help her feel like herself again. 

Within 2 months, she had relief! Jane was able to get down and up from the floor again with her grandkids, and she and Bob had even played a few rounds of 9 holes with little pain.

Jane admitted she was most surprised by something she thought would never change. She was shocked that her knee could straighten all the way in such a short period of time. Jane and Bob invited me to their Anniversary celebration at the end of October and I am looking forward to watching them dance together. 

Jane's story is typical for people who are committed to their appointments and home exercises.  If you or someone you love have been dealing with chronic pain or tightness that doesn't seem to lessen with exercise or other therapies, there is hope for you. You can find freedom from the pain once and for all! 

(Written September 2020)

5 Daily Habits of Healthy, Independent Seniors

 


Last week, a sweet 98 year old woman really impressed me!! I was called by her son, a long term client of mine, to do a home visit and assess her back pain due to a recent fall. Mary was amazing!! She still lives by herself and doesn't take ANY medication!! She's able to maintain some independence and has caregivers come into her home to help her with hygiene, dressing, and home care activities. I was impressed at how well she is still moving around with her walker, despite having some intermittent back pain. This experience got me thinking about what types of daily habits it takes to live a long, healthy and independent life. Keep reading if you are a senior, know one, or plan to be one someday!! 

Movement is Medicine
When I asked Mary if we could do some "exercises" to help alleviate her back pain she said "I don't like exercise." When I rephrased it and asked, "Can we try some "movements" together?" she smiled right away and said "YES!" Even I don't LOVE the idea of exercising, per say. But "Movement" seems like a less intense activity and less challenging than lifting weights, doing squats, and lunges. (Those are great movements, but not necessarily appropriate for a senior who doesn't love exercise.) We kept things basic and performed some gentle body movements while seated and standing. Her daughter-in-law and I moved her dining room table slightly so she can do laps around the table with her walker when her caregivers are present. She enjoyed moving and it actually made her back feel better. 

Daily movement habits could include practicing yoga, walking, biking, swimming, weight lifting, taking exercise classes, gardening, or doing laps around your dining room table. Movement helps to get our blood pumping to bring oxygen to our tissues and organs, as well as pumping our lymphatic system to remove waste materials out of our body. Movement is some of the best natural medicine available to keep your body healthy for decades!! Be sure to get your daily dose. 

Balance is Key
Unfortunately, the reason for Mary's home visit is that she took a fall, which is a common occurrence among the elderly population. She took this fall like a champ, but that is not always the case with seniors. Sometimes a fall can be the "beginning of the end," especially if someone breaks a hip, as it is difficult to make a full recovery. Balance reactions decline as we age, so it is important to incorporate daily activities to maintain or improve our balance. Doing simple activities like calf raises (rising up onto your toes), standing on one leg, performing side steps, and marching in place can challenge your balance. These are all easy to do while standing behind a dining room chair or near a counter so you can use your hands for support. These can also be performed without holding on if your balance allows. Just be sure to keep yourself safe! By incorporating balance activities into your daily routine, you too can maintain your health and independence as long as possible. 

Hydrate for Health
Water is the elixir of life! All of our cells and organs require these essential molecules (hydrogen and oxygen) to perform their many functions to keep us alive and well throughout our lifetime. Water not only helps to keep skin soft and supple, but it also helps to digest our food and move our bowels, which is a function that can become sluggish as we age. Healthy water intake is recommended as "twice your body weight in ounces per day." A slice of cucumber, lemon, or orange in your glass or water bottle could be just the simple addition you need to make drinking water more palatable. It's like having a little party in your water, and the nutrients in fruit can help you absorb and assimilate the water molecules even better! When your cells and whole body function and move at their optimal levels, your health and independence will follow! 

Don't Wait
As much as our bodies are amazing and capable of healing themselves even in our senior years, some issues are better left up to the professionals! Mary's son contacted me soon after her fall because of her back pain complaints rather than waiting weeks and weeks to see if things got better on their own. By being proactive with your health maintenance and any concerns that arise, it is much easier to overcome injuries or imbalances than if you wait until you are miserable to seek professional help. My senior clients who are in the "Maintenance" Mode of their care plan with me are committed to their regular monthly "tune-up" sessions as they feel the benefit of each session and how they all contribute to keeping their mobility at its best. Sure, we can always schedule a session when pain issues are acute or flared up, but I'm not gonna lie...it is much easier to keep people functioning well than it is to do "damage control" therapy. By staying in-tune with your movement abilities and body sensations on a daily basis, you are sure to maintain your health and independence much more easily! 

 


Laughter is the Best Medicine
"One minute of anger can weaken the immune system for 4-5 hours. One minute of laughter can BOOST the immune system for 24 hours!" This quote recently came across my internet feed and although it shocked me initially, it actually makes sense. One of the most enjoyable aspects of Mary's home visit was the laughter we shared. She was pleasant the whole time, despite having some pain when she transferred from standing to sitting, but we shared some good laughs together. I'm confident that her positive attitude and sense of humor are 2 of the main reasons she has made it to 98 years old and is still going strong, despite all the ups and downs that each decade can bring. Smiling and laughing do so much good for our heart, soul, immune system and our mental health state. Be sure to prioritize reading, watching programs, and sharing time with the people in your life who fill your spirit, make you smile and laugh, and warm your heart! Keeping your sense of humor is sure to help you stay healthy and vibrant for years to come. 

As always, I'm here to help keep your body functioning efficiently to stay healthy and independent for as long as I possibly can!


(Written June 2020)

From Active Seniors to Weekend Warriors AND Professional Athletes, Word is Getting Out about how MAT can help you Move & Feel your best!!

 

Radio Interview on WUWM 

More and more people are learning to take their health in their own hands, be proactive, and hire their own personal Muscle Specialist to keep them moving and feeling their best!! Thank you to all of you who tuned in to listen to the radio interview I was invited to do back in November. If you missed it, you can listen to it   (Link provided below) or read the great article written to accompany the interview. It was a really fun experience to have the producer of WUWM's "Fit For You" segment on Lake Effect, Audrey Nowakowski, and her professional photographer, Lauren Sigfusson, come to my office to experience MAT, take photos and record the interview. The Interview was received really well and I was delighted to have 2 people call me even before it was finished airing for the first time! 
 
 
Checking Audrey's Hip Range of Motion
 
Late last month, MAT was featured again on The Golf Channel's "Golf Pass" with Chris Como. Here he interviewed Greg Roskopf, the founder of MAT, at the MAT Headquarters in Denver, CO. He's been working with professional Golfer Bryson DeChambeau who has seen excellent results in muscle building and golf swing efficiency. It's another great interview and it's filmed right in the room where I go each year to do my training courses. So happy that more and more people are learning about how this amazing modality can help pick up the pieces where other traditional approaches have fallen short. 
 

MAT Founder Greg Roskopf & Bryson DeChambeau

Click Here for the WUWM Radio Interview and Article
Click Here for the Golf Channel's "Golf Pass" with Chris Como & Bryson DeChambeau Segment

Let me know what you think! Feel free to pass this along to someone you believe would benefit from this information and would like to move and feel better themselves.

(Written February 2020)