Archive for Back Care
2 weeks of Back Hope
Discover all the many ways we can free ourself from chronic back pain.
Over 20+ experts will offer a number of alternatives to relieve and reduce back pain and discomforts.
For 10 consecutive days you can listen and learn about:
The Active Release Technique, the Alexander Technique, Bowen Therapy, CranioSacral Therapy, Emotional Freedom Technique, the Krane Training Method, Longevity, Nutrition, Osteopathy, Orthapedic Sports Medicine, Polarity, QiGong, the Satori Method, Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises, Transformational Energy Therapy Techniques, Theta Healing, Trigger Point Therapy, Yoga and more.
The list of doctors, therapists, authors, healers and experts can be found here.
You’ll be able to use their practical information right away as you listen in on up to 2 calls per day. Each of the calls will be available for a 24 hour period.
Back Hope Telesummit Starts Soon
The Back Hope Telesummit begins on Monday April 29th. See you there.
The Cat Stretch is what Thomas Hanna called the daily maintenance somatics exercise program in his book, Somatics.
The cat stretch is a misnomer even though we often see our furry felines appearing to stretch.
Cat Stretch is not Stretching
When a cat stretches, it is actually tightening or contracting a series of muscles. We’ve come to find out this is called a pandiculation. When we do this entire act, our muscles lengthen and become more relaxed.
Our clever cat uses its brain’s motor cortex to initiate a movement, which at first glance looks like a stretch. You’ve seen a cat round its back. It’s not stretching the back, it’s pulling the belly in and using the abdominal muscles to pull back.
Then… it’ll release itself. The abs are reset and ready to be used. Healthy vertebrate animals naturally reset their muscles and movement system periodically throughout the day. No wonder they rest so well. If only we could do the same.
Cat Stretch – 7 Simple Movements
Fortunately, some 300 years after we learned about pandiculations. This very act brings muscles to rest. The system of somatics exercises teaches us how to go cortical and re-establish length and comfort in our movement system. Watch the fast version of the cat stretch below.
Here is what the 7 simple movements of the cat stretch address.
1. The first movement wakes up the brain, spine and hips.
2. The second movement helps to release tightness in our front side, such as the abdomen. This will allow the back to further lengthen.
3. This movement relaxes the muscles of the back, from the neck all the way down to the foot.
4. The fourth move releases held tension levels in the hips and chest. If we’re locked-in from too much sitting or hard work, this is a go to release.
5. Most everyone’s favorite movement, this delicious move lengthens the spine, frees up the hips and shoulders… and is enough to purr along.
6. A 3 part lower body sequence to free up the feet and ankles and connect up to the hips, back and head. This helps to straighten out the legs for better walking and balance in running.
7. The final movement of the cat stretch addresses the neck, back rotation and hip mobility in a delightful seated manner. You may not need the car mirrors anymore after this.
Cat Stretch Audio Recording
Healthy animals do a number of morning resets. We can simply follow along with a morning routine of the cat stretch somatics exercises designed for the human animal. Once you learn the routine, it only takes minutes to remind the muscles of their natural length, while at the same improving the mobility we need for the day.
Just like a good cat stretch at night, we can drift off and sleep more easily too.
The Cat Stretch daily maintenance somatics exercises program is now available to download and enjoy in the comfort of your home – meow.
Certainly there are yoga poses where you turn the spine and pull back counter to the twist.
As one contemplates our breath and associated feelings, some people attempt to achieve greater length by trying to get more.
Twist and Shout Another Way and Lose the SMA
In Hanna Somatic Education, we use somatics exercises to engage the brain in order to affect a change of information the muscles receive.
Somatics exercises are unlike most approaches since we go at things from a brain based perspective where we use mindful movement rather than any static holding positions.
The brain, the one big muscle, can effectively reset the resting tension levels using a more delicate approach. Much like untying a knot, gently moving our tissues unlocks held tension and stiffness.
When we push a contracted area, the targeted muscles become shorter. They pull back to the known set levels. They have lost their way to neutral or rest with high tension levels. The term we use is sensory-motor amnesia (sma).
SMA, muscular stiffness, stress and high tension patterns are temporary yet ongoing phenomenons until we change things with a simple movement update using the brain’s cortex.
You are a self adjusting living organism and you can adjust the feel and sensitivity levels of your muscles so they remember their way back to neutral when you twist yourself about.
Birthright to Move Well – Twist and Shout
When I lived in the near 2 decades of chronic pain, I knew there was a way out. What I didn’t know was how to simply update the body’s movement software.
Using the brain and adjusting with what appears to be deceptively simple movement, I could live a comfortable life and take out any kinks, stiffness, stress, tension and recover from injury quickly.
Our birthright is to move well. When we get off track, we can use that space between our ears to get things back online, running smoothly once again. We can twist and shout for joy as often as we want.
Twist and Shout Class
The ability to twist our self in one direction and then another can be enhanced through conscious movement rather than arduous exercise or holding our self in position for any length of time.
If we find ourself sitting too much in a day, we can grow our spine to greater length by doing a few simple easy movements which may seem initially challenging until our brain remembers to inform the muscles to let go.
Surely they will… and you can twist and shout about it.
This week, I’ll be offering an online somatics exercise class where all you have to do is listen and follow along. You can join me live or get the replay.
You’ll learn one amazing somatics exercise pattern to counter what our back keeps encountering… its gradual decline and shortening.
In a few minutes, you can:
• feel taller, straighter and longer
• feel the back relaxing
• and have greater mobility so movement itself is freer
C’mon and twist and shout with us.
Are you a back whisperer? Can you take yourself or someone you know out of a back spasm fairly quickly?
Unless of course you’re a back whisperer.
While most adults have experienced back pain, some 14% of us will live with it for several days. 26% of us live with back pain for the entire day. That’s just wrong or so I say having had to endure back pains in my 20’s & 30’s.
The Back Whisperer and Back Spasms
Recently a client explained how he had helped a boy recover within 10 minutes from some back spasms.
“I was just at leadership camp and a kid went down with severe spinal spasms. I took a nod from you and moved him from completely rigid and incapacitated to walking around normally in under 10 minutes. Very cool.”
The kids who witnessed this now call him the back whisperer.
That is pretty cool since 39% of us live with back pain for a few hours. Are these people their own back whisperer or what is it that most of us do to overcome back pain?
Half, that’s 50% of the people pop pills. A good 1/4 use over the counter measures while 1/5 use prescriptions.
For the rest of us that are trying to do something about it, 34% do stretches some other type of exercises. Men outnumber women in terms of the percentages who are doing something.
Back Whisperer – Men or More Women
Does this mean women already do something right? Do they have less back pain? Do they know the way of the back whisperer?
In any case, the back whisperer secret is free for all of us to try. You can join our free mini-course and learn how to do the very maneuvers the back whisperer used on his young charge.
Hanna Somatic Educators know how fast back spams can resolve by carefully moving in simple, easy movement patterns when coupled with our awareness. By being aware of our movements, we resolve many holding tension patters and as a result, your body may say thank you.
Be Your Own Back Whisperer
No need for pain meds, no special equipment, and no arduous exercise involved. The secret of the back whisperer is awareness.
Instead of being yet another statistic, why not find out for yourself if you can be a back whisperer too.
Healthy adults can do kids stuff to remind our muscles how comfortable they can feel once again and again.
Pandiculation is kids stuff
Most of us began to pandiculate in the 7th week of our life. If we’re a healthy adult, we continue this very natural act to reset our muscles and movement system. This gives us comfortable movement.
If not, we can remind our nervous system of its former ability and bring it back to consciousness. This ability reminds us of our feelings of well-being.
The kids stuff we used to do fortunately has been systematized as somatics exercises which are gentle, easy reminders to self-adjust our muscles back to the comfort zone.
Kids stuff reboots our movement software
The systematic somatics exercises allows us to explore our internal terrain in novel ways which fosters the development of our brain’s motor cortex as well as re-eliciting our capacity in our sensory cortex to sense ourself at finer levels.
For instance, the simple act of breathing can be opened up merely by pandiculating ourself to improved health.
This type of kids stuff is relevant at all ages… and this type of kids stuff reboots our movement software towards better breathing and more comfort in our movement system.
Stiffness or stiff movements are learned over a lifetime and are replicated as a habit. Can we dissolve what seems like chronic or acute stiffness… you betcha we can. Remind ourself of the former kids stuff we used to do and we can feel the stiffness let go in our back, shoulders, and neck for example.
A healthy vertebrate animal moves with ease, grace, suppleness and in harmony since its movement system is coordinated and not bound up, down, sideways or held twisted.
Can we free ourself back to more harmonious states? Could some simple easy kids stuff be the ticket?
Paying attention to our internal state while we are moving allows us to recalibrate. Our body knows the way back to reset ourself to comfortable states. It’s simply a matter of kids stuff when you get right down to it.
In our earlier kids stuff moments we were highly engaged in a learning matter. Now, we can rekindle this relationship of movement, let go of it artfully, then we remember how we re-navigate our internal terrain towards ease in moving around.
Sometimes we can experience a flash from the past, we can bump into past difficulties and yet smooth things out. In any case, we are re-establishing a finer way to move and self-adjust our entire movement system.
The quality of a movement rather than the strength or force of a movement is what sets us free. The precision in which we can be aware of our internal arrangements is a path to greater ease and freeing up our muscles to regain mobility while restoring natural flexibility.
When we reacquaint ourself with the method or process of natural reorganization, we might keep doing this kids stuff for the rest of our comfortable life.
Kids Stuff Class for Adults
When we’re injured it might feel as if we’re beginning from scratch to move around. All the bracing, holding on and tensing may seem normal yet when we let go of our holding patterns more quickly, we reboot as we did as children.
You can join me for an online kids stuff somatics exercise class. All you have to do is listen and follow along to remind yourself of how easy, simple movements can unlock tight, stiff, holding patterns. The brain will take care of it in seconds.
You’ll get to free up the back, shoulders, neck and hips in our one hour+ kids stuff class where you can join us live or get the replay.
When our back is a little out of whack, one of the keys to restoring comfortable movement lies in the simple differentiation of a very simple movement pattern.
Listen and follow along to this simple movement.
Somatics exercises are generally done in such a lazy, easy manner and surprisingly the rewards are better mobility, a return to natural flexibility and we feel renewed and more comfortable.
Simple differentiation to wake up both the brain and body
An easy movement such as the one in the audio recording is enough of a simple differentiation to wake-up the brain’s cerebrospinal fluid as we arise in the morning.
Healthy vertebrate animals wake-up their body and brain with simple movements which serves as their warm-up. Before we begin to exercise, we can do an easy simple differentiation or number of them varying the same theme, then we’re good to go like Fido.
If you’re in the unfortunate position of having to sit all day long for instance in the car, working and then sitting down to eat (unless of course you dare to stand up and eat for a change). No matter if you exercise, that may not be enough to change the known ill counter effects of sitting for too long.
Standing up is a simple differentiation which can help
You may have to plan on standing up every 20 minutes or so. You see, when you sit for too long, those muscles below the belt go to sleep and begin to be trained to be useless. No wonder we don’t walk as well or as much as we need since we’re basically training ourself to have muscles which no longer respond in a healthy manner.
Good news… just get up and stand, stand on one leg or walk around for a minute or so. Then you can sit back down. Even as I type a blog post such as this, I too am mindful of how sitting undermines us. This is why I often stand or kneel or sit in a different position, then change it and vary it afterwards.
If you’re gonna keep sitting, then at least fidget around or be mindful of how you can shift your spine around. All that tension we keep taking on, can be remedied with simple mindful movements to disperse, renew and refresh us.
By refreshing the spine, we can continually renew our muscles throughout the day, especially when they get amped up with too much tension. At the same time, we improve the function of the brain by taking a mind-body break or giving ourself a full-brainer of movement done with awareness.
A class on simple differentiation
After all life is movement and movement becomes easier when we can do a simple differentiation with the central part of ourself, our spine.
Renewing a simple way to move our spine, refreshes our movement system from the inside out. Practicing this periodically throughout the course of the day will let us rest easier at night so we can get a good night’s sleep and not wake up stiff or aching.
Please join me this week for a simple differentiation class which can make all the difference to having a comfortable spine for life. Refresh that spine so it can be renewed and you’ll feel regenerated. All it takes is a simple differentiation.
Back Pain Relief 24/7 – Better than a Hot Tub
Simple, easy gentle movements change the brain. By changing the brain, we can directly change the comfort levels of our back muscles which many of us have experienced with great displeasure.
The constant, gnawing, seizing signals I lived with in my 20’s and 30’s didn’t give me any moments of significant back pain relief, it was just grief.
Watch the Video Below
“Learn to live it” was the motto I heard and bought into.
Whadya gonna do about back pain relief?
Like many people I tried a number of approaches… the hot tub “was” one of my favorites.
The heating pad, those ice packets and tens units didn’t get the job done. Nor did the pain meds either.
Well, what did I know. I had no idea I could use the brain to change those discomforting signals to finally feel the back pain relief I thought I deserved while having fibromyalgia to contend with.
Those recalcitrant and tight back muscles didn’t wanna seem to budge other than remaining taught with tension.
All the lathering of tiger balm, icy hot and other gels while soothing couldn’t shake the beast of living with chronic tightness.
Heck, even the stretching routines I had learned… would not solve the riddle. But what did I know. I had no idea that stretching was compounding the problem as today’s research points the fallacy of this method. Who knew the back pain relief I truly wanted was not to come by stretching.
Back Pain Relief Class
Shifting our internal state of discomfort can be remedied when use the brain’s ability to reset the resting levels of our muscles so we can truly feel the back pain relief we think is possible.
This is well within our natural ability. It’s a matter of getting back on track through a learning process which somatics exercises are the avenue for.
A systematic approach of un-doing muscular tension and un-locking tigthness, inflexibility and the rigiidty our back muscles have accumulated shifts with simple, easy movement done with a particular kind of awareness.
To experience this simplicity, you can join us for our online back pain relief class where you’ll learn 35 movements to free up both the lower back and the upper back.
Your brain is better and more effective than a hot tub. These natural sets of tools are available 24/7 for back pain relief.
Have you been hamstrung and tried all sorts of hamstring exercises lately?
Those muscles behind the back of the legs can be tight and stiff in spite of our attempts to loosen them by stretching.
Is it possible to release other muscles associated in a causal chain of movement which will allow the hamstrings to be more comfortable?
Somatics hamstring exercises focus on the brain’s ability to release chemicals of relaxation so the hammies are free to move about without all the stiffness or tightness we carry around with us.
Hamstring exercises and a tight back
Many times, a stiff back is what prevents hamstring exercises from being effective. You can actually tighten things without realizing it, if you push contracted muscles beyond their set limits.
Freeing up the back is often necessary for the hamstrings to function more effectively.
Not only that, we may need to free up the shoulders, which if left too contracted, can have adverse effects all the way down to those screaming hammies. Ouch!
Somatics hamstring exercises class
Instead of the usual hamstring exercises and approaches, somatics exercises work with the brain’s cortex to release held muscular contraction levels which frees up the hamstrings.
Having a more flexible back, looser shoulders, more functional abdominal muscles and a freer neck allows the hamstring to work in concert with certain patterns of movements.
Hamstring exercises while all well and good, may not provide the necessary connection towards freer movement overall.
Join us for our unique set of movements and hamstrings exercises which can surprise you in their effectiveness and ease of movement afterwards.
Somatics is often the reverse of most approaches out there since we use the brain to focus on freeing up movement rather than the brawn of exercise.
Easing hip and knee pain
Was that an easy move for your hips, knees and your back? To ease hip and knee pain, the back needs to be supple and flexible.
While some people will argue the case for strengthening the core, we can find ways to ensure the middle of our self is loose enough to have the requisite mobility to move easily.
Hip and knee pain can often be alleviated when our middle, the spine, begins to unwind itself from holding patterns which prevents us from moving our hips and knees comfortably.
Better mobility lessens hip and knee pain
Hip and knee pain sometimes go hand in hand when the hips have lost their mobility as well as the spine. Our knees may continue to get pounded in the same manner day in, day out when our mobility is less than optimal.
To move the knee around comfortably is to regain the ability and mobility we once had. Since movement is a memory, we can refoster those memories by going back to the well – of youthful movement in the artful ways in which somatics exercises remind us to move easily and with the least effort.
Natural flexibility allows hip and knee pain to abate
Instead of hard work or over zealous exercising, somatics exercises offers us a reverse way into the brain by slowing things downs so our hip and knee pain gives as we regain our natural flexibility once our mobility returns.
This week, you can join me for an online somatics exercise class where you’ve already seen the last movement. Now all we have to do is do the steps before that so the hip and knee pain abates when our movement software is updated.
We can learn to our way back to getting out of hip and knee pain by regaining the mobility we had and rediscovering our natural flexibility…otherwise you can kiss your knees hello!
Back rotation doesn’t have to be an arduous, straining event. We oughta be able to simply reach into the backseat of our car and grab those cookies when we want them.
The practice of somatics is most often s-l-o-w so the nervous system can foster the necessary changes allowing the brain to rewire itself for higher function and easier ambulation.
Back Rotation and Somatics
Somatics can be revved up a bit and done at a more exploratory level which mimics the practice of feldenkrais which is the predecessor to Hanna Somatic Education and the somatics exercises.
The difference lies mostly in the intent, yet both practices can produce wonderful outcomes such as:
• an easy sense of back rotation
• better hip mobility
• a freer neck
• and improved coordination between the shoulders and hips
Thus walking becomes smoother, more efficient and effortless.
Central to this is the function our spine.
When we tend to specialize with our muscles in a specific exercise, we forget that we are one piece, one “somewhat” integrated system of movement. We are generally doing exercise specific to a body part rather than paying more attention to our overall movement which is vital and maybe more fundamental to our well-being.
I say “somewhat”, because many of us live with compensation and substitution patterns which we may not be conscious of. Consequently, we are not as fully functional as we could be.
Easy, effortless back rotation and a fluid neck
By reminding our muscular system of its capacity to move as a whole, we can have the ability to have easy, effortless back rotation for instance.
The kind you need while driving a car so you can easily look back and not just rely on the mirrors.
Many times a pain in the neck happens because something else in the system of movement is compromised, so try as we may to move our aching neck further… it doesn’t or is strained by our efforts.
By freeing up our system of movement, easier back rotation, leads to a more fluid use of our neck.
Subsequently, coordinating the movements at the shoulder with the hips to create better cohesion with easier back rotation, again allows us to more fully appreciate how well we can freely move.
Improving back rotation with somatics exercises has delighted many people. One particular movement, generally called the dishrag or 4 way twist is often many people’s favorite movement and the one they do everyday.
Freeing our neck and improving our back rotation can be fostered when we not only pay attention to the upper back yet also taking the lower back into consideration and awareness of the movement of the entire spine.
While there are static stretches which purport to increase our range of motion.
The movement system is key, not a static system.
When will I ever need to stay twisted for any length of time. The ability to twist, rotate and bend in any number of degrees is far more satisfying.
Just watch how animals gracefully crane their necks by moving their backs and trunk around. You won’t see them hold a pose in order to gain range of motion, yet they can comfortably live with back rotation that is easy. They gain range of motion by using the movement system consciously.
For us, our back rotation problems, hip immobility, tight necks and stiff shoulders, can be solved when we include a finer sense of our mobility possibilities through gentle movement so our brain can relax the muscles by creating enough muscular output to tune down the tension so that the necessary chemicals of relaxation can bathe our muscles and remind them to let go.
Back Rotation Class
In this week’s class, I’ll be offering yet another form of somatics differentiation, where we’ll do the necessary s-l-o-w movements and also a quicker combination of integrated movement patterns so we can literally feel our way to self-improvement and greater efficiency.
As we age, we can continue a positive development by differing the way we even do our somatics exercises. While somatics are great ways to tune-up the body and ready it for the day, we can explore the possibilities of combinig the s-l-o-w way with a different speed while paying attention to the quality of the movement.
Moving quickly doesn’t mean that the range of motion has to be large either.
We just have to set our mind to noticing what we can at slightly a quicker tempo when we move well and notice in the following days how our upright movements change in response as the integration develops.
Pleas join me as I give a new class where your:
• hips will be freer
• your neck will receive a lot of attention
• your back rotation will increase with easy mobility
• and you’ll be able to coordinate the actions of the spine, trunk, hips and shoulders by doing most everyone’s favorite movement pattern in a way I haven’t taught before.
Join me live or get the recording of this back rotation class.