Tuesday, October 25, 2016

8 Key Elements to a Well Balanced Life: "C" is for...

To live a well-balanced life, it is important for all of the cells throughout our body receive efficient oxygen, hormones and nutrients to successfully carry out our daily activities, properly digest food, eliminate toxins, and maintain homeostasis. Since October is Breast Health Awareness Month, it is fitting to highlight the importance of circulation throughout our breast tissue and also throughout our body. Breast Cancer CAN affect both males and females, so it is equally important for both sexes to stay proactive, maximize your circulatory health, and reduce your risk of disease. 

The Circulatory System is divided into 2 separate systems, the Cardiovascular System which distributes blood, and the Lymphatic System which distributes lymph. According to Wikipedia, "Blood is a fluid consisting of plasmared blood cellswhite blood cells, and platelets that is circulated by the heart through the vertebrate vascular system, carrying oxygen and nutrients to and waste materials away from all body tissues. Lymph is essentially recycled excess blood plasma after it has been filtered from the interstitial fluid (between cells) and returned to the lymphatic system. The cardiovascular (from Latin words meaning "heart" and "vessel") system comprises the blood, heart, and blood vessels.[3] The lymph, lymph nodes, and lymph vessels form the lymphatic system, which returns filtered blood plasma from the interstitial fluid (between cells) as lymph."

As our culture has gotten more sedentary, the incidence of many diseases has increased. Our homes and workplaces have become very convenient in terms of how we have things placed around us for easy access and long durations of reduced mobility. Our upper body, including our head, neck, shoulders, elbows, hands and ribcage can function within a limited range of motion directly in front of our body throughout an entire day unless we make an effort to extend these limits with intentional mobility activities. Our body has a "use it or lose it" mentality, and when our end ranges of motion are not frequently challenged and practiced each day, we get tight, stiff, and sore, and our fluid systems of the body become stagnant. I've quoted it before and I'll quote it again: "Sitting is the new smoking." This position can wreak havoc on the circulatory system especially throughout the legs and lower body. The hips are compressed as they support the weight of the trunk and upper body, which challenges the ability of the circulatory system to flow efficiently. When the legs hang down, the blood vessels have to work against gravity to return the flow of blood and lymph back up to the center of our body which can lead to swelling, numbness and tingling, and leg muscle weakness. 

Luckily, there is a solution to maximizing your circulation every day. MOVEMENT!! Movement of the body is the most efficient way for our Cardiovascular and Lymph systems to circulate blood and lymph. Our muscle contractions serve as a pump around our blood and lymph vessels to help keep the fluids traveling where they need to go for proper function of the organs and cells. Daily movement practices such as walking and exercise can improve and maintain your circulatory health. Be sure to move your body through as much of your maximal range of motion throughout your head, neck, arms, torso, spine, pelvis, hips and legs to maximize your circulation. 

It doesn't have to take long to move as many different ways as you can to mobilize your blood and lymph fluids. Here are my favorite 12 whole body movement activities for you to try. (# 1-6 are especially helpful for healthy breast and chest tissue)  I recommend 5-10 repetitions of the following movements: 

1. Look up, down, side to side, and turn your head and neck each way. 
2. Reach your arms all the way up, reach out to the sides, and behind your back. 
3. Spread your hands and fingers then squeeze them into fists. 
4. Draw circles with your arms at your shoulder joints, forward, backward, make figure 8's across your chest. 
5. Turn your torso each way and bend it sideways. 
6. Flex your spine all the way forward then extend all the way back. 
7. Move your hips in circles, forward, back and sideways. 
8. Rotate your hips in and out. 
9. Bend and extend your knees. 
10. Point and flex your feet and ankles.
11. Draw circles with your ankle, foot and toes.  
12. Spread and squeeze your toes. 

See, that didn't take so long. Imagine if you committed to doing this at least once per day. How do you think it would make you feel? 

The Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT) system utilizes whole body movement activities to determine the location of potential muscular weakness. Each time you receive an MAT treatment, you maximize the circulation throughout all of your muscles as you move through full range of motion of all of your joints. One of my clients recently commented that she loves coming for treatments because she feels warm and tingly all over as circulation flows to more areas of her body than she notices during her daily activities and exercises. I told her that MAT is like a "Fluid Flush" as well as a "Re-Boot" for the whole body. By maximizing neurological communication signals throughout the muscular system, we improve muscle contractile efficiency and the ability to pump fluids to optimize circulation. Muscle Activation Techniques is an important part of a pro-active health plan to keep us moving and grooving from head to toe. 

Looking forward to seeing you for your next "Fluid Flush and Re-Boot!" 

Keep Moving Well!