Thursday, March 18, 2021

Celebrating "Women's History Month" in a Unique Way

Mothers, grandmothers, wives, sisters, family, friends, child-bearers, caretakers, cooks, educators, entrepreneurs,  and more...women are some of the greatest Superheroes we know!! It is amazing to see how far women have come and how they have shaped our world throughout "Her-story." It is great to have a whole month to celebrate all of the amazing women in our lives, especially those who brought us into the world! Of course, most great women have tons of support from great men in their lives (thanks fellas!), as it takes all of us to make the world go around! So, if you are reading this and you are a woman, or have women that you love in your life, please read on!! 

One of the greatest concerns that women face is caring for their bodies so they can continue to care for and nurture others. October is "Breast Cancer Awareness" month, but I like to refer to it as "Breast Health Awareness" month. We're ALL aware of the rates of all sorts of cancers, so instead, I like to switch the focus to "What can we do to prevent breast cancer or holistically treat it?" I'm bringing it back for National Women's Month as breast health is so important yet often goes overlooked until there seems to be a problem. A lot of people don't realize that movement is key in preventing and treating breast cancer. 

Breast tissue is imbedded with many lymphatic ducts and channels, which are part of our immune system and allow for waste removal. Gravity pulls us forward naturally, but the increased use of computers, cell phones, and other hand-held devices keeps us flexed forward even more, putting added stress on our neck and shoulders, and limiting the flow of the lymphatic fluid throughout our neck, chest, and armpits. That is NOT good, as this can lead to cystic and cancerous tissues to form. 

For the rest of March, I'm offering a "Breast Wellness Check" as part of each treatment session to assess mobility and tissue health for the muscles of the neck, shoulders, chest and armpits. It's amazing how easy it is to locate compromised tissue areas with some simple movements, and these specific movements can really help to keep tissues healthy and fluids flowing naturally to boost your wellness. Instead of only having your monthly breast self-exam to do, you'll leave your session with some customized and super easy movement exercises to add into your daily routine to help keep you healthy!! 

Call, text (414-405-3956), or email (1212bodyworks@gmail.com) today to schedule your "Breast Wellness Check" appointment. I'm happy to help keep women as healthy and happy as I possibly can so that they can continue their work as Superheroes and continue to shape "Her-story" for YEARS to come!!

Keep Moving Well! 

Friday, February 12, 2021

A MOVE that your Valentine will NEVER forget!


The candles are glowing. The sweet, vibrant fragrance from the vase of red roses in the center of the table has filled the room. The table is elegantly set with your fancy dishes, and that bottle of wine that you've been saving for a special occasion is chilling, waiting for you and your love to enjoy together. The clean, soft sheets and pillowcases comfortably adorn the bed.  The anticipation of the most romantic night of the year has been rising and you're getting excited!  

The only snag in your anxiously awaited special date night plan is that nagging lower back pain, which started as a little, annoying "niggle," and has gradually become a nuisance with every squat, bend and step. You're frustrated because you went through PT for several weeks and the exercises haven't gotten rid of the pain completely. Your Chiropractor gets your pelvis re-aligned, only to have it go "out" again within a few days.  You DON'T want this night to be ruined by this nagging issue!! 

The key missing piece of the puzzle that is likely at the bottom of your unresolved back pain is...likely at the bottom of your pelvis. 

A sore "back" is usually located somewhere near the spine, pelvis, or tailbone. Sometimes it is on one side, and other times it goes across both sides of your body. None of this is fun, and frankly, this pain can really get in the way of your everyday functioning, not to mention take away enjoyment of intimate times with your love. 

What if the root of your nagging lower back pain comes from even lower than you think? 

It is really common to find weakness in the hips and "pelvic floor." Just for a quick reference, this area is located between your pubic bone and tailbone, the area that makes contact with a bicycle seat. You use these important tissues to support your internal organs and stop the flow of urine (now the story is getting really sexy, huh?). Well, as you can imagine, if anything is out of balance in the lower back, front or bottom of the pelvis, other areas have to compensate and tighten up, creating abnormal movement and pain. Sometimes the pain in the "back" of your body is a messenger trying to tell you that something else down below is not working well! The first step in discovering weakness is testing to see if your tissues are doing what they are supposed to be doing. (Don't worry, in my office, there are no gloves involved with pelvic floor testing!) In fact, it's so simple, you probably wouldn't believe me if I told you how I test for this!!  

What if the answer to the issues in your tissues was a simple little squeeze? 
The old-school "Kegel" exercise, otherwise known as squeezing the pelvic floor, is helpful, but it's not the best way to help your weak tissues. Just like the song says "The Hip Bone's connected to the Pelvic Bone..." our body parts truly are all connected! By using your hips strategically (with some simple, yet specific positions) at the same time as performing a Kegel exercise, you can help resolve your back pain, AND you can also help boost the stamina and sensitivity of your most intimate tissues! These Specific Pelvic Activation & Contraction Exercises (SPACE) are so simple to learn! You and your partner will thank me once you learn how easy they really are--in fact, you'll wonder why no one has taught you this before!! 

What if you don't even HAVE back pain? Can this still be helpful for you??
Absolutely!! As a back pain prevention activity, or to simply boost your body's ability to support itself, both inside and out, these SPACE techniques are a game changer! According to this article from the Pelvic Floor First website, activating and strengthening the pelvic floor can "improve bladder and bowel control, reduce the risk of prolapse, enhance recovery from childbirth or gynecological surgery, improve recovery from prostate surgery, increase sexual sensation and orgasmic potential, and increase social confidence and quality of life." Sounds pretty nice and helpful, huh??

Don't let your nagging issues get in the way of your body's enjoyment of everyday activities and special Valentine's Day or Date night (or day, or morning...) plans! Get to the root of the issues in your tissues once and for all!! It might be a lot simpler than you think. 

Are you ready to help Valentine's Day last all year? Now offering a "Pelvic Wellness Check," complete with an alignment test, functional analysis (no gloves involved!!), and instruction in your own unique "SPACE" techniques to improve your health, both in and out of the bedroom. 

Simply call, text [(414) 405-3956] or email [1212bodyworks@gmail.com] to schedule your next session.
**The first 3 people who mention this blog post when scheduling will receive a free gift!**  
Looking forward to serving you soon. 

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)