How do you hold yourself?
Have a great day!
|The Gibbons School of Massage Therapy||
Whether your upper body posture causes the foot to change or vice versa, pain here is enevitable. Remember your spine and foot will match in an attempt to create a balance.
How do you hold yourself?
Have a great day!
Last week we talked about the reflex points on the bottom of the foot, more specifically the inside arch, matching specific points on the spine. This does not just count when we are walking but also when we are sitting, standing, or just about anytime we are not horizontal. It doesn't matter what type of shoes you are wearing; it is all about how your foot is in contact with the floor, ground, or whatever it is in contact with.
This past Saturday I filled in for Jarvis teaching the morning Fundamental Movement Therapy(SM) classes. To further show the students the importance of the foot I altered many of the movements to emphasize the foot and to enhance the ability of the body to move fully through its range of motion. One of the students has scoliosis, primarily of the upper spine; while I had her sitting on the Gyrotonic Expansion System and using the wheels I had her emphasize pressing her foot down into a Yoga block. By using this exercise she was using her lower back- by the bottom ribs, and creating movement of the musculature there. The stretch sensation she was experiencing was to the Fascia at that level that had become rigid and unresponsive; once we had that at a higher level of use and response I moved the Yoga blocks to just before the ball of the foot behind the great toe. She was amazed that by her applying pressure there she was able to access the part of her spine that gives her trouble and is a constant source of aggravation. Another young lady was having trouble rotating on the disc while performing AB pull downs. Experimenting a little with a tennis ball we were able to activate a part of her back that has been "stuck" for a period of time. It looked like she was wearing a high heel on her left foot. I did this with everyone, and to one and all's delight we were able to help each and every one with the dilemma that they arrived with.
I tell you this for two reasons- the first is to point out just how important our feet are and secondly to invite all to attend our Fundamental Movement Therapy(SM) classes to learn and re-pattern improper movement patterns...the only thing you have to lose is your pain.
Lets look at how important our feet are when seated! When you are sitting down at the dinner table, on a chair in your living room, or at your computer desk, how are your feet? Are they crossed one over the other? Are you rolling one to the outside and maybe one to the inside? Are they comfortable just laying flat on the floor? How many times do you reposition them to be comfortable? Does your back hurt when you get out of your car? These are all symptoms how your feet are not functioning at a high level. Every so often one must reassess the compressive forces on their spine and make sure that your feet are flat on an even pressure is being distributed through the inside arch, from big toe through the heel. When driving do you just use your toes and pivot the heel, or do you place the whole foot on the gas pedal and then move the foot to the brake? That could be one reason your back hurts, by holding the heel in one place you could be over stimulating those reflex points enough- that the low back and tailbone area are staying compressed, and holding the muscles in a shortened position which in turn places pressure on the low back nerves.
In Muscle Release Therapy, MRTh(R) we look at the configuration of the tarsals, metarsals, and phalanges (toes). The practitioner assesses and treats the individual joints to ensure movement is free and also to make sure the structures are in the right position. This is accomplished by regulating the tension on the individual ligaments and allowing the skeleton to reach a positive tension. It must begin by manipulating the sesamoid bones behind the knuckle of the great toe so that the flexor tendon is able to function. One must assess the other metatarsals to ensure that the foot is resting on the "ball" of the foot. There are reasons that they are rounded and will help form a better "footing" for the foot, and allow a cleaner roll through as the foot articulates.
In Fundamental Movement Therapy(SM) the student should be made aware of the proper foot position whenever there is "foot contact" during movement. Too often in exercise classes, the student(s) use many forms of accommodation that will compromise the spine because of improper foot positoning. I often use the visual of the space shuttle prior to take off, as the tether is released from the unit you will notice a slight descent of the rocket booster as the engines are fired up, this creates a spring board for the booster, and with the power of the ignition of the fuel will aide in launching the shuttle. The same holds true for movement, as the foot is properly compressed it too will act as a spring board and help the spine elongate.
Foot health is important, if you have any questions please let us know. Please feel free to contact me directly, or leave a comment in the blog section.
Thanks and remember, there is a Reason to HOPE!
I would like to take this opportunity to not only thank the 20+ people that attended our class on the mechanics of walking but also to the following who made it happen. Marge, Kathy, Dennis, Emily and the panel of speakers, Josh, Lydia, and Terry. Also present was our resident essential oil expert Stacy Abbé who was present with her Zyto machine.
The information gave the participants a new outlook on not only on the proper way to walk but what muscles would be key to strengthen, some yoga exercises to help not only loosen the foot but help in keeping it healthy, and some tips on how to stimulate the reflex points.
My next blog will continue on the importance of how the foot keeps us in balance. I hope it is as informative and fun for you as it has been for me. I am always amazed at the interest in self care that is shown in topics such as these.
Thank you to all who read and comment on the blogs as you also inspire to continue them.
As we approach our class on walking I just wanted to break down some of the aspects of walking, along with some of the myths that I have encountered over the past 25 years treating individuals. Recenty I had a gentleman who was becoming discouraged by a continually groin pain; he was diligent with his Fundamental Movement Therapy(sm). Yoga, Muscle Release Therapy-MRTh(R), and weekly relaxation massages. He approached me after one of his classes and was showing me his discomfort; I immediately saw the problem and asked him "have you been doing anything that causes you to twist your upper body?", his answer was "yes, I take my two dogs for a walk daily, well one of the dogs walks but the other I need to pull in a wagon because he can't walk". He demonstrated how he walked, as he talked about it and there twist I saw in the rib cage became his posture. About a week later he once again approached me and said he was more aware of what he was doing and altered his pattern and the pain has subsided...now I wish every case was so simple.
This is an example of how walking will sometimes force the body to alter its posture to accommodate what we need to do to accomplish the task at hand. Another myth of walking that normally causes issues is the "POWER WALK" that so many individuals attempt to do to help burn more calories. Without getting into the calorie discussion I will address the notion of "POWER walking". As with any form of exercise the individual needs to build up to a certain performance level- watching a tape or infomercial does not qualify or quantify the build up. If you attempt to force the body to perform at a high level it will but often compromise itself in the process...
What happens here is the foot mechanics become short circuited and will force the body to alter its mechanics enough to please the thought but create a stress point. It is these stress points that will ultimately cause pain and even long term issues that will force the individual to stop what they are doing. So whether you are lifting weights, performing a movement exercise, doing cardio, or just plain walking the individual has to develop the proper strength to do it.
When talking of the proper foot mechanics I have discussed over the last few weeks how the foot relates to the spine and movement, how the foot will affect a person's posture both good and bad. So what does the foot need to do when walking? As we stride forward our foot needs to heel strike and roll to the ball of the foot so all 26 bones are able to articulate or move. It is this movement of the bones that triggers the necessary sensory and motor nerves and sends to the proper messages to the brain. Looking back at last weeks blog I talked about the relationship with the spine. It is this relationship that notify's the different areas of the spine if there is an inordinate force that might be affecting the spine. When this message is ascertained by the brain the proper accommodation or compensation factors are determined.
It is important to re-focus our thoughts here for a moment. I have mentioned in previous blogs that for the body to override the effects of gravity on the body we need to expand and contract in a vertical position. It is no different at conception when the cells start their splitting process. In a bellow type movement the expansion and contraction generates the split. In movement our spine needs to use all of the joints and articulations to move in a sequential pattern so that as we breath our rib cage will also be able to fully move and allow the body to take in the maximum amount of oxygen. As we strengthen our body we need to also strengthen our breathing patterns as they work in harmony. More often than not most individuals hold their breath when they start to create more exertion in the body. What this does is minimize the amount of movement in the spine and therefore limits the amount of overall body participation, and will limit the amount of recruitment of other muscle fibers.
How does all of this work? I will try to explain without going over the edge with it because it is not a simple explanation. The body has many reflex points that act as our GPS and truly points us in the right direction. Movement as we know needs to be what is called motile or spontaneous. For this to happen the body has many sensory organs located throughout the body that signal the brain to its surroundings. These are know as reflex points and is what I referred to in both last and this weeks blog post. Reflex points are what reflexology is based on and through early eastern medicine where traced to not only the foot but the hands and ears. These reflex points are also the communicators between different areas of the body and are controlled by the subconscious part of our nervous system. When we minimize the amount of these reflex points we also minimize the amount of resources our brain has to function fully.
With this information the individual will better understand why we will tell them to move slow and stay within the boundaries your body has set. As you continue to progress through the process, these boundaries will expand and that is what creates strengthening. As we walk the reflex points on the bottom of your foot will notify the brain as to how it needs to proceed. If we inhibit these movements the brain will inhibit its responses. As these responses are inhibited so is the progress our body will make, and more often than not injury will be the result.
In conclusion for this week it is important that we condition not only the muscles of the body but its ability to respond to the reflex messages that are given. In walking the brain receives its original messages from the feet and engages the proper muscles accordingly. As we start to incorporate more and more musculature the reflex points indicate the need for more blood and oxygen to the area that needs it. This will help us in recruiting the proper muscle fibers and in time aide us in developing the strength and yes "speed" we desire.
I will continue this discussion next week, until then always remember there is a Reason to HOPE!
Just finished this weeks blog. Two items I wanted to share, the first is we added a new speaker to our walking class, Terry Carine will be there to talk about Foot Reflexology and give some pointers on self help and the need to keep those reflex points open. This will be an informative evening.
Secondly, as I have gotten more into the relationship of the feet and the brain. We will be discussing reflex points and other items. I do realize that sometimes it does get somewhat overwhelming and because of that I encourage questions.
Please feel free to send in your questions and concerns. Thanks again for you taking the time to read and share these blogs.
I would like to thank all of the individual's that have taken the time to read this blog. I am finding it very enjoyable to write it. Remember there is always - a Reason to HOPE!
Last night Marge and I saw The Most Exotic Marigold Hotel and it's message was there is always HOPE if we can accept change in our life and not be afraid.
Have a good day!
The middle image of the foot shows the co-ordinate reflex points of the foot in relationship to the spine. These are also able to be used as assessment points for the Muscle Release Therapy, MRTh® practitioner in assessing imbalances along the vertebral column.
An example of this would be someone who comes in with low back pain, or what some describe as Sciatica. Two items would be checked in the foot, first I would palpate along the ridge of the heel to locate the approximate spot on the back that is triggering the reflex point, and secondly the balance of the foot so that there is foundational stability.
In foot reflexology the spine is traced along the medial arch with direct reflex points to the individual vertebrae. The foot as previously stated is structured to be able to absorb compressive forces of walking and standing. Most know that the disc material between the vertebrae is also designed to absorb shock. The disc material permits the vertebrae to move up and down and rotate. The spine has the most joints and articulations in the human skeleton and is what generates the majority of movement, from breathing capability to walking.
If one was to look at the foot, the inside arch is formed much like the spine. The big toe has both an outward and inward curve just like the head and neck. The bunion region has an outward curve similar to the upper part of the back and makes a sweeping inward curve similar to the mid and low back. Finally the heel has the outward curve, the same as the tail bone area. What does this all mean to the average person? As we stand and/or walk this region, the inside arch of the foot is meant to receive and distribute the dynamics that are being placed on the skeleton and joints. When the foot is inoperative, that force is transferred to the spine and will normally result in some form of discomfort.
As mentioned in last weeks blog we talked about all of the interconnections of the tissue that connects all of the structures inside the body. Remember that the Fascia starts in the upper part of the skull and continues throughout till it reaches the end of your toes. It restructures itself in many different formats to allow for many forms of compensation. When you hear of someone with Plantar Faciitis this is the tissue that becomes inflamed. It is a common ailment with the symptoms of heel pain when first getting up from either a lying or seated position. It goes away after a few steps but the longer the symptoms are present the longer and more painful each step is. It is also a great indicator that the foot is dysfunctional and not performing its day to day duties. As that inflammation and pain continues the foot becomes more distorted in its attempt to find a proper pattern of movement.
As this dysfunction continues the body needs to adapt to this new pattern of movement and places an unusual stress to the joints superior to the foot, primarily in the beginning, which are the ankle, knee and hip joints. Since this foot pain starts out as a minor inconvenience rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medication abates the problem. Although there is an attempt to fool the brain, there are two items taking place simultaneously, first the medication is overriding the pain sensation and secondly, the brain is figuring out how to compensate for the dysfunction. What normally causes this problem is a malfunction to the posture's tensegrity. Somewhere in the beginning of this problem the weight shift to the posture was transferred from the heel to the ball or front of the foot. In the body's attempt to re-create proper posture it forced the Fascia to stretch and tried to balance the tension of the lower calf muscle to develop a proper pull on the bones of the leg. This constant stretching and attempted restructuring caused multiple micro tears and this is what causes the resultant inflammation. The posture never rebalances itself but eventually places abnormal stresses on other areas. This is when we normally see the individual in our office for treatment.
As balance is returned to the foot the brains complex restructuring takes place and offers the body relief in another location. This compensatory pattern will continue until the brain has run out of options. This is normally what generates the office visit and the reversing process begins. One of the primary areas the therapist should consider is the regions were compressible forces have been reduced. The principle reason here is that without having an ability to compress the body will make skeletal changes to accommodate this pattern and will normally result in some form of radical difference in how the structure's tension is facilitated.
A primary point of balance is the great or big toe. Underneath this landmark, at the ball of the foot, there are two small bones (sesamoid) that act as a guide for a long tendon that manipulates the toe itself. Some people refer to one of the bones, when it has been displaced for a period of time, as a bunion. The other little bone receives little recognition but is the principle factor in pushing that first metatarsal bone (or the bone leading to the big toe), outward and creating the environment for the previous two bones to calcify and form the bunion. These bones will alter or compensate for postural distortion by what some individuals refer to as pronation of the foot. Balancing these two structures will allow the therapist to completely balance the foot and allow for a better hold and will help stabilize the foundation.
The ball of foot and rotation of the bones that make up that part of the anatomy is also very critical. These bones are truly the structural footers that allow for proper articulation of the foot while walking. These points are what allow for us to keep our balance when walking on uneven ground and help in stabilizing the ankle joint, especially in side to side movement. As we walk or stand, the round little points should be allowing for minor alterations on what is underneath us. In the majority of individuals with back or hip pain these bones will have an unusual torque that will offset that rounded point and that tension needs to be balanced for a long term effect.
As we continue our journey through the foot and its relationship to the body, these points should give us a all a better understanding of why we have pain. This journey should also give us truly a Reason to HOPE that much of our discomfort is able to be addressed and eventually changed. A class that the Wellness Center and The Gibbons School of Massage Therapy and Integrated Medicine is co-sponsoring will be held on July 17th at 6:30 PM in the Wellness Center. Besides myself there will be two other presenters, Josh Trentine, owner and developer of Overload Fitness, and Lydia Williams who is certified to teach both Fundamental Movement Therapy(sm) and Restorative Yoga. The student will learn the mechanics, strengthen movements, and simple exercises that will help keep the feet healthy. For information call 216-364-0152 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Till next week, remember there is always
a Reason to HOPE!
Just a reminder that on July 17, 2012 at 6:30 PM we will hold a class on walking. Many come to our facility complaining of neck, back, hip, knee, and foot pain and don't realize why they continue to aggravate the problem. The discussion wil include some of the myths of walking, how and what to properly strengthen and some simple Yoga exercises to keep loose. Along with myself there will also be Josh Trentine, owner and developer of Overload Fitness who will discuss the strength training aspect. Also, Lydia Williams who is one of our certified Fundamental Movement Therapy(SM) instructors and a certified Rehabilitive Yoga instructor, will show you some interesting tips on staying mobile. Call Chagrin Valley Wellness Center at 216-364-0152 and sign up today as space is limited. You can also email us at email@example.com.
See you there
In this weeks blog we will be discussing the correlation of the foot to the spine. In its design the foot resembles the spine in both shape and function. During the development of Muscle Release Therapy, MRTh® the engineering design of the foot often showed weaknesses in other areas of the Tensegrity of the body. The unique shape of the foot will allow it to offset much of the compressive trauma experienced by the body.
Many times individuals will tell me they have falt feet or need to wear orthotics because of pain elsewhere. When physical possible the restructuring of the foot will redevelop the lost arch. It is fun to watch their expression when they stand and experience the sensation,
If you have questions or comments please feel free to leave them here or call the office to talk to one of our therapist.
Have a safe and wonderful Fourth of July
With the hot weather make sure we are drinking enough water. Dehydration will cause muscle cramping. Remember alcohol and caffeine will aide in dehydrating you. When cramping and dehydration occurs the body's balance system is compromised. Hope this reminder helps, any questions you may comment on this page.
25901 Emery Rd, Suite 103