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 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)

Best Baby Boomer Immune Boosters

 "Wash your hands. Cough and sneeze into your elbow. Don't touch your face. Use Hand Sanitizer with 60% alcohol. Sanitize and disinfect frequently touched places. Wear gloves. Wear a mask. Avoid handshakes. Maintain a 6 foot distance between others. Avoid crowds. Stay home."

So many recommendations are being offered about how to avoid exposure to this new virus, however, not much has been shared about how to boost your immune system to protect yourself if your body does come into contact with unwanted pathogens. According to the CDC website, "8 out of 10 deaths (related to COVID19) reported in the U.S. have been in adults 65 years old and older." Those statistics are downright scary!! As Baby Boomers, it is especially important to not only do what you can do to limit your risk of exposure, but also boost the resiliency of your immune system to overcome this or any other health threat that may come your way. Here are some key tips for seniors to consider to keep your body working as efficiently as it can.

Stay Hydrated
Water is essential for many body functions, including immune responses.  Drinking 1/2 of your body weight in ounces of water per day is a common recommendation for adults. If your urine is clear, you're doing well. If it's gold or yellow, keep drinking. Remember to get those ounces in before 6pm otherwise it may interfere with your ability to sleep through the night without awakening for a trip to the bathroom. 

Choose Anti-Inflammatory Foods
According to this "Very Well Health" article (Click Here), we should choose from these foods high in anti-oxidants:

  • Berries (such as blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries)
  • Cherries
  • Apples
  • Artichokes
  • Avocados
  • Dark green leafy vegetables (such as kale, spinach, and collard greens)
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Nuts (such as walnuts, almonds, pecans, and hazelnuts)
  • Beans (such as red beans, pinto beans, and black beans)
  • Whole grains (such as oats and brown rice)
  • Dark chocolate (at least 70 percent cocoa)
  • Oily fish (such as salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines, and anchovies)
  • Flaxseed

There's also some evidence that certain culinary herbs and spices, such as ginger, turmeric, and garlic, can help alleviate inflammation."

Avoid Virus-loving Foods
Viruses feed off of eggs, gluten, dairy, corn, soy, pork and Canola oil, according to Anthony William, author of the "Medical Medium" book series. By limiting or avoiding intake of these foods, there will be less fuel to feed the viral cells and therefore less inflammatory response. 

Supplement Wisely

Vitamin C, Zinc and Glutathione are some of the most commonly discussed supplements to keep our immune system functioning well, especially for Baby Boomers and seniors, as their levels of Glutathione, a vital antioxidant, are typically lower. Vitamins D and B are also helpful to combat the effects fo the increased stress level this time in history has created for many of us. To find the correct dosage of supplementation for you, contact your primary care, functional medicine, or alternative health care practitioner. You can also find helpful information on Dr. Mercola's website (Click here). You can choose to sign up to receive his natural newsletter focused on holistic nutrition and fitness strategies to stay up to date with current recommendations for seniors.  

Keep Moving

Movement and regular exercise are especially important for Baby Boomers to boost immune health. The muscular system serves as a pump for lymphatic fluid, which carries out the body's waste products, so the vitality of the immune system is dependent upon moving on a regular basis. Unfortunately, many older individuals are not as active as they were in younger years due to reduced energy levels, limited mobility, chronic pain from stress or previous injuries, or fear of hurting themselves. Now that most gyms and health clubs are closed, it is important to maintain a daily movement or exercise program at home and outdoors if possible. Walking, gentle, progressive body weight resistance exercises or band exercises can be helpful for getting your muscles pumping to help your lymphatic fluid and waste products to move OUT of your system. Being sure that your body is working as efficiently as possible from head to toe is crucial to your immune system's vitality.

By following the recommendations above, Baby Boomers will be in the best shape possible to ward off whatever pathogens may come your way. Attending your regularly scheduled appointments at 1212 Bodyworks will ensure that you keep all your muscles firing and your immune system vibrant, and that you have the tools and techniques to use at home to keep you moving well! 

Looking forward to helping you keep your whole body and immune system in optimal condition. Be safe, stay healthy, and take good care of yourselves!

(Written June 2020)

How a 72 Year Old Ditched Her Cane, and Her Pain

 How A 72-Year-Old Ditched Her Cane—And Her Pain 

Mary felt like an “old lady." An active retiree, she found she was no longer able to participate in her chosen daily activities. Embarrassed that she walked with a limp and needed a cane to get around, she began turning down social invitations. She was frustrated with how stiff and tight her body was during any movement.

Most aging adults would gladly take a drink from the fountain of youth if it were ever offered to them. They would give anything to be able to get out of bed easily each morning and move freely throughout the day; to do all of the things they could do in their youth without pain, such as play with their grandchildren, go on vacations, exercise, participate in recreational activities and enjoy sex with their partners—and to look and feel fit, toned and attractive. Unfortunately, being able to move freely to enjoy life’s pleasures can become more difficult as time goes by. Arthritis, scar tissue from previous injuries or surgeries, old traumas and cumulative stress all wreak havoc on the human body. Although pain, tightness, and progressive difficulty performing everyday activities are often considered a “normal” part of the aging process, it’s not normal at all.

For the past 20 years, people suffering with pain, tightness and limited movements have been able to find relief and resolution of acute and chronic issues through a unique assessment and treatment approach called Muscle Activation Techniques, also known as MAT. The sports world is more familiar with MAT due to its successes in aiding athletes. In a 2016 Sports Illustrated article, U.S. Women’s National Team and Seattle Reign goalkeeper Hope Solo and her strength-and-conditioning coach discussed how they’re using MAT to improve Solo’s balance in order to fine-tune her athletic performance. In 2015, numerous professional athletes were interviewed by The Washington Times about how effective this treatment approach has been in helping them recover faster and “resolve injuries that cannot be healed through conventional rehabilitation.” As with athletes, MAT provides hope and healing to aging adults who have been told that surgery wasn’t an option, that nothing could be done to help them, and that they have to learn to live with the pain. 

Mary’s sister referred her to a local MAT specialist to help resolve her chronic lower back and foot pain. Over the years, Mary had already been through a few rounds of traditional physical therapy, and had also tried chiropractic, acupuncture and other alternative treatments, but she was still left wanting more relief. 

Through the holistic Muscle Activation Techniques approach, a key missing piece of the healing puzzle is discovered and resolved. Instead of releasing tightness, or “knots”, in muscles to alleviate uncomfortable sensations, MAT specifically targets the root of the problem: muscle weakness. Muscle weakness, which is caused by stress, trauma, or overuse, is the inability of a muscle to contract efficiently to support the body. Instead, the body uses “compensations” to keep moving forward despite weakness, but these movement compensations are not as efficient, and eventually lead to unstable posture and alignment, bone degeneration, dysfunctional movement patterns and energy drains on the body—all symptoms that most people equate with the normal aging process. By activating weak muscles, MAT resolves the need for movement compensations and restores muscle activity required for healthy movement, allowing full healing to occur. 

Mary’s MAT specialist discovered that Mary’s hip mobility was locked up. By using hands-on techniques and gentle exercises to activate a few muscles associated with the limited movement, Mary’s hip range-of-motion improved significantly. After her treatment, she stood up and noticed a huge reduction in both her back and foot pain. By activating her hip muscles, Mary’s pelvis was in a more balanced alignment, which took pressure off her lower back. By being able to use her hip muscles more efficiently, the weight-bearing forces were distributed evenly throughout her legs, taking pressure off of her sore foot. Within a few weeks, Mary no longer walked with a cane and she had resumed her favorite activities again. 

MAT may not be able to “turn back the clock”, but by simply improving the way the muscles work to support the body, aging adults can become stronger, feel more flexible and fluid with their everyday movements, and return to the activities they enjoy. Life should be lived to the fullest, and MAT can help this happen naturally. 

Physical Therapist Emily Yenor is Mary’s MAT specialist, and the owner of 1212 Bodyworks in Brookfield, WI. She offers a complimentary consultation to those interested in discovering how to help their body move and feel its best. To learn more, call 414-405-3956, email, or visit To read referenced articles, visit and

(Article published in Natural Awakenings magazine September 2019. Click here for full article and magazine edition)

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

"How are you feeling?" This time I'm answering my own question.

"How are you feeling?" This question has been asked hundreds of times during treatment sessions over the past 2 decades I've practiced as a Physical Therapist. It is important to understand how my clients are feeling to be able to help them feel better. Well, today I am going to answer my own question. What is happening right now with the global pandemic has hit us all like a ton of bricks! Our world changed so much in a matter of days. I'm feeling sad, mad, isolated, torn, uncertain, and I'm feeling scared. It feels good to get that all out!  

I'm sad for how much I took our previous way of life for granted! I'm sad for all of the people who have suffered and died because of this virus, and for those that still will. I'm sad that elderly people are even more isolated than normally during this time, as they are more at risk. I'm sad to think of domestic violence victims who are stuck at home with their perpetrators. I'm sad (and mad) that Spring Breakers kept partying despite the urging from the authorities to stay home. I'm sad as I wanted to take the road trip to Colorado we'd been planning for months with 2 other families, but we all stayed home.  I'm sad that our only-child is all by himself at home, only able to see few friends outside for short periods of time, maintaining his 6 foot distance. I'm sad that he had to see his mom cry several nights (and part of some days) as I took all of this in. Finally, I'm sad because I'm not able to do the work I have grown to love over the years! 

As a small business owner, my world has been turned upside down. I'm feeling torn right now with how to navigate these uncertain times and transition my independent in-person business into one that offers virtual services. I'm having a very difficult time doing this. As a PT, I touch people for a living. I use my hands to determine where my clients have weakness or poor quality contractions in their muscular system. I also use my hands to apply forces to my clients limbs and trunk muscles to help restore efficient and higher quality muscle contractions so they can move and hold their body's positions better. I touch hands, faces, and feet on a regular basis. I also hug my clients from time to time. That is not happening these days. 

Humans are social creatures, some of us more than others. I fall into the "more than others" category. Physical touch can be so healing, and is essential to living a high quality of life as humans. Again, some of us need more physical touch in our lives, myself included. Being with others fills my cup, especially my clients. As much as I love spending time with my family, it has taken some time to adjust to our "safer at home" situation. Luckily, my husband was already working from home 3 days/week so his transition to 5 was relatively easy for him. However, we have the new added responsibility of home-schooling our 8 year old son while we both work. Right now I'm thankful that he is an only child as I can't even imagine what families with multiple children are feeling right now! Even though we are together, I feel isolated from our extended family, friends and neighbors. The 6 foot distance between people even feels isolating at the grocery stores. I get it completely, it's temporary and intended to keep us all healthy and safe. 

It is important to express all that we are feeling during this challenging time. I'm trying to stay positive and keep the faith, which is what "1212" represents in 1212 Bodyworks. My hope is that you are doing the same and that we all get through this together. 

(Writtten 3/30/2020)