IAmA New Therapist

Hola My Peeps!

Being a new therapist, I have lots of questions. LOTS of questions. Fortunately I am surrounded by brilliant minds who generously want to share their guidance and experience.

I’ve been doing 30 minute(ish) video conferences with therapist I admire, and we discuss a variety of topics of interest to new therapists – how to build a business, how to network effectively, how to take care of your body, etc.

You can find all these videos on my YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLu1NZIuFEBw1rMAut7cADbuCQGxYi1fPP.

Let me know if you have any questions you want me to chase down!

You are What You Think

Exciting News!! Tune Up Fitness gave me an outlet to write about a subject that has been fascinating me lately – the power of our thoughts. I’m tempted to write a whole dissertation on why I find this topic so interesting, but I want you to have time to read the article! So I’ll let you go for now.

Let me know if you have any questions, comments, insights after reading the article!

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Can Negative Thoughts Make You Sick? The Science of How Thinking Affects Your Body

I learned something new – Rock Pods!

Well, I’ve been practicing neurosomatic therapy for about 3 months now. I’ve learned a lot. And I have A LOT to still learn! One thing I’ve noticed is how important it is to be mindful of my body while treating patients. I’ve been using my thumbs too much, which is a habit I need to break ASAP.

So, in an effort to get some relief for my poor pollicis, I took a Rock Pods course yesterday! Rock Pods are a silicon cupping option offered by the company Rock Tape. On Instagram I saw a Rock Tape instructor demoing how to use the pods to mobilize a scar, and it immediately caught my interest. How handy to be able to essentially attach handles to the skin and pick it up and move it!!

The class was great – for the price of tuition I got 6 hours of education, a Rock Pod set, and a RockBand Flex (a stretching band). The pods are super easy to apply and have a variety of benefits and uses:

  1. They create space between the layers of the skin, superficial fascia, deep fascia, and muscle, allowing more room for fluid to move through the layers (creating more slide and glide between the layers).
  2. They decrease “corticol smudging” which means that they improve the sensory map in the brain, which decreases pain and improves motor control. Basically, using the pods helps the brain understand what is happening in the body more clearly, which can down-regulate pain.
  3. The feeling of touch (which can be provided by the pods) promotes the release of nerve growth factor, again improving proprioception and motor control.
  4. This one I need to study more – the pods encourage the body to release heme oxygenate, which is an enzyme that breaks down heme (described as “blood garbage” by our instructor). When heme is not broken down, it leads to oxidative stress and inflammation, tissue injury, fibrosis, and excessive scar formation. When the heme oxygenase breaks down the heme, it release carbon monoxide (among other things), which modulates pain in the spinal cord.
  5. Cupping can also stimulate the immune response and decrease inflammation.
  6. The cups can also be used as a visual and tactile (aka haptic) tool to cue movement.

I am excited to start using this option with patients! I’ll just need to remember to forewarn them about the visual effects of the pods (and prepare them for lots of questions from curious strangers). ūüôā As you can see below, the marks are VERY noticeable, at least on me.

This first picture was taken right after class:

This picture was taken today:

Hit me up if you want to play/experiment with these fun tools!

Hope you have a fabulous Sunday!!

Welcome to my Mindpage

I’ve been trying to succinctly describe what this website and blog is for and about. And I keep coming back to, it’s about all the things I find interesting and want to write about. ūüôā I’m on a journey of discovery to figure out life, the universe and everything. I’m 42, so I guess that’s appropriate.

ANYWAY, I have to get ready for worky-poo, so I can’t write much, but it’s been AGES since I’ve written, and I had to break the seal on that, so that the words can start flowing again. So, more to come shortly.

Happy Friday and go do something fun that makes you laugh and move in a way you haven’t in the past week or month! Here is a picture of my brothers and me that you can use as inspiration. Put a measuring cup on your head as a hat, and see how it makes you feel. ūüėõ


Hlo Heaven

Today’s post will be brief, as I’ve been procrastinating (watching Great British Baking Show, cooking food, looking at Facebook, you know ūüôā ), and I still have lots of studying to do, and Tim and I are supposed to play Jaipur too!

ANYWAY, ¬†I wanted to let you know about an exciting development. ¬†We are bringing The Roll Model¬ģ Method Teacher Trainings to the Center for Neurosomatic Studies! I cannot convey how excited I am about this. ¬†The whole reason I found out about neurosomatic therapy is because a Yoga Tune Up¬ģ teacher took her son to an NST therapist and was blown away by the treatment. She commented on it ¬†on the YTU Teachers Facebook page. I was in the middle of trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life (I wanted to help people in the health/wellness arena, but did not want to go back to school for 6 more years and spend $100,000 on tuition). Her post sparked my interest, and upon Googling, I found ¬†my school. ¬†And here we are, about 2 years later, and I am on the cusp of graduating from CNS!

Anyway, back to my original point, in school we are taught how invaluable it is to give patients “homework.” It’s vital to help remodel their bodies, and it also helps them realize they have an internal locus of control. Their therapist/doctor is not responsible for their health, the patient himself/herself is! ¬†The self-massage that is taught in Yoga Tune Up¬ģ is a perfect compliment to the work we do in NST. ¬†This has become abundantly clear to me as I’ve progressed through the program, so much so, that I thought, “We HAVE to bring a YTU training to this school!”

I talked to my teacher, mentor, and school-owner, Randy, and he readily agreed. ¬†And my dream is coming to fruition! ¬†In March, we will offer both of The Roll Model¬ģ Method Trainings at CNS! ¬†One of my teachers from my Yoga Tune Up ¬ģ Level 1 training is going to teach the class. ¬†She ¬†made a huge impact on me during the Level 1. I remember telling her, “I’m just a part-time yoga teacher. I just do this on the side…” ¬†And she called me out on minimizing myself and my skills, and it solidly hit home! ¬†The fact that this super-talented, intelligent, gifted woman thought I had something real to offer to people gave me a whole new perspective on what was possible! ¬†And she is the person who will be teaching this class. ¬†ūüôā

Here are the links to the classes:

The Roll Model¬ģ Method – The Science of Rolling

The Roll Model¬ģ Method – Ball Sequencing & Innovation

If you are at all interested in learning some easy-to-use self-massage techniques for yourself or your clients/patients, I cannot recommend this training highly enough. I would so love to see you there!

Hope you are having a great Sunday!

 

 



 

 

The Fabulous, Fantastic, Fearless Foot

I now know ALL the muscles in the body. ¬†Ha! I wish. ¬†I mean, I think I’ve probably learned about all the muscles in the body, but I don’t remember them all. ¬†Yet. ¬†We just finished up learning about the lower body, all the way down to the feet. ¬†I had no idea that feet are so complicated!! ¬†As we learned in class, the complex nature of the feet makes them capable of amazing feets/feats (get it!!), but it also makes them prone to a variety of issues. ¬†How many people do you know that have bunions or plantar fasciitis or heel spurs or hammer toes? ¬†A lot of these issues are caused by misuse/abuse of the feet. ¬†I’m going to try to provide a very high level overview of the feet and then show you what you can do to bring relief and increased awareness to the feet. ¬†And before I forget to mention it, if you have any of these issues, neurosomatic therapy can help!! ¬†I graduate in February, so come see me!!

Ok. ¬†First of all. ¬†Let’s look at the boney structure of the foot. ¬†You have the big heel bone (aka calcaneus), on top of which sits the talus, which fits into an arch (aka mortise) made by your shin bone (aka tibia) and fibula (the bone that’s on the outside of your lower leg). ¬†This forms the joint of the ankle. ¬†Next you have an assortment of oddly shaped bones that fit together like puzzle pieces – the navicular, cuboid, and cuneiforms. ¬†Next you have the long skinny bones of your foot, the metatarsals, which connect to your toes, which are made up of phalanges. ¬†Here is a picture to give you an overview:

These bones are held together by tons of ligaments (very strong connective tissue), and connecting with these bones are all the muscles of your lower leg and foot.  These ligaments and muscles maintain the two arches of your foot. Yes! There are two arches down there!  There is the longitudinal arch, which forms your instep.  And then there is the transverse arch, which goes horizontally across your foot.  These two arches work together to absorb force from the ground and transmit it up the body.

Man, I’m just getting started. ¬†I really wanted to discuss the the muscles IN the foot too. ¬†Did you know there are TWELVE of them (depending on how you count them) and FOUR separate layers of muscles? ¬†Just bonkers. But we’ll have to discuss the bonkeriness in another post because this one is already getting too long.

Let’s get to the really fun stuff. What can you do if you have foot pain? ¬†One easy thing to do is to get a small, soft ball (I recommend a Yoga Tune Up¬ģ ball, due to its squishy, pliable nature) and step on it. ¬†Yep. ¬†Just stepping on the ball will increase your awareness of your feet and start to dissolve tension between all those tiny joints. ¬†Here is a video that will guide you through an eye-opening foot roll.

https://vimeo.com/211185607

You can also increase awareness of your feet (and help bring energy down from that monkey mind into your feet, which is very grounding) by meditating on your feet.  Here is a 10 minute meditation that will guide you through that.

Hopefully you have a better understanding of your amazing feet now!  I hope you find some time to give your feet some love today.  Let me know what you think of the video and or meditation.

Have a great Sunday!

 

 

Study Tips for Going Back to School as a 40-Something Adult

A friend of mine recently asked what apps I use for school and how I keep myself organized. ¬†As I typed up a massive text to her, I was realized this kind of info is better relayed via blog post where I can be my typical wordy self. ūüôā

A little bit of background on where I am coming from.  When I turned 40, I decided to move to Florida (with my long-suffering husband) and go to school for massage therapy.  But not just any massage therapy РI chose to attend a neurosomatic therapy training program that consists of an intense 18-month course where you learn about all the organs, muscles, and systems of the body and how to treat  all of them.

My BA in Accounting and MBA did not quite prepare me for this program.  Also, being out of school for years and years also did not adequately prepare me for this program.  Also, being 40-years-old and accustomed to nice things like organic food, eating out, and cars that do not break down every week meant that I wanted to continue working while going to school, which meant I would not have a ton of time to study.  So I was on the struggle bus when I first started!

Here is how I managed to make it through 3/5 of the program whilst working 26 hours/week: organization and apps!

  1. Pomodoro Blocks. ¬†I was introduced to this concept while listening to this book. ¬†The pomodoro technique involves working for 25 minutes (completely focused) and then taking a short 3-5 minute break. ¬†After completing 2 or 3 pomodoro blocks and breaks, you take a longer break of 30 minutes. ¬†This approach was invaluable to me. I would tell myself, “Heather, just 25 minutes. ¬†Just do 25 minutes of studying. ¬†Then you can look at Facebook or Instagram or eat some chocolate and almond butter. ¬†Just get in your 25 minutes.” ¬†And I did! ¬†Breaking up work into small chunks like this made it more manageable and helped reduce my severe procrastinative tendencies.
  2. An adjunct to the pomodoro block is my Brainwave binaural rhythms app.  This is an app that shoots frequencies into your ears (via headphones) to sync your brainwaves to a specific goal.  I would set the app to Memory Boost, set the timer to 25 minutes, and start studying.
  3. Essential Anatomy.  This app is so helpful for getting a 3 dimensional view of muscles and understanding the layers of muscles.
  4. Voice Record Pro. ¬†For my first 1.5 semesters I used Voice Memos to record the anatomy lectures. ¬†Then one of my fellow students told me about this program, and it CHANGED MY LIFE. ¬†Ok, maybe a little dramatic there. ¬†But this really is an awesome app for recording lectures. ¬†You can easily skip forward or back 10 seconds, you can speed up playback, you can set bookmarks. ¬†HUGELY useful!! ¬†We learn in school that you need to hear something 7 times to remember it. ¬†So hearing the info in class, writing up flashcards on the material, and then listening to the lectures again (while walking outside each morning), means I’m about 1/2 way there.
  5. Flashcards brings me to the next point: ¬†Quizlet. ¬†I personally prefer to use paper flashcards, because I learn better when I write and draw out things versus typing them. ¬†But for people who like electronic flashcards, I’ve heard great things about Quizlet.
  6. Bullet Journal. ¬†I have experimented with a few other planners – the Passion Planner, Panda Planner, etc. ¬†But I couldn’t find one that had the flexibility I wanted. ¬†So I created a Bullet Journal. ¬†This is my second iteration of it, and I really like how it works. ¬†I set up one page with the whole month listed on it, and then each day gets 1/2 a page. ¬†I separate each day into two vertical columns. The larger column on the left is where I put the list of things I want to get done. ¬†Completed items get a line through them, and items that need to be moved to the next day get a <. ¬†In the right-hand column, I put my major goals for the day (e.g. meditation, study, reminders to slow down, etc.). I also recently started a section where I track the “language of the world” as I understand it from The Alchemist. ¬†These are numbers, creatures, synchronicities I see in the world that make me feel as if I am on the right path. ¬†This structure gives me flexibility, ¬†and all the blank pages in the back give me lots of room to track the other random stuff I need t0: ¬†meanings of numbers, ideas for workshops, goals, reminders on how to build confidence, trainings I want to take, things I want to draw, etc. ¬†It’s a good brain dump location. ¬†Here are some pics:

I have about 2.5 months left of school, so hopefully these tools see me successfully through to the end.  Let me know if you have any helpful study tips! Do you use a Bullet Journal?  If so, what helpful hints do you have?  What study/memory tricks work well for you?

Thanks for reading, and chat with ya’ next week!!

 

The Electricity of Touch

I’ve long been fascinated with science fiction. ¬†I grew up watching Dr. Who, Star Wars, Star ¬†Trek, Misfits of Science. ¬†I loved Madelaine L’Engle’s books, as well as The Girl With Silver Eyes, Dune, anything by Ursula K Le Guin, Lord of the Rings. ¬†I was so hopeful that there was magic in the world, that we are not just flesh, bone, and blood. ¬†I wanted powers.

And as I get older and find some moments of quiet and observation, I realize that I DO have powers. ¬†The world really does not operate in a linear, A+B = C function. ¬†It’s wiley and impressionable and moldable and multifaceted. ¬†With every interaction, there are innumerable forces at play, most of which cannot be seen, felt, or heard. ¬†Or maybe they can be, but we’ve lost the art of reliably, consciously doing so.

And what is truly fascinating, is that now there are studies that prove that that as humans, we are energetically entangled with each other. ¬†You can read one of the studies¬†here. ¬†The gist of it is, there is an exchange of electromagnetic energy when people touch (especially with the right hand) or are close together (within 18 inches). ¬†If a person consciously adopts a “sincere caring attitude,” it could positively affect the heart rhythm of people within their proximity!!

Here is a quote from the study that I find really intriguing, “…when individuals focus their attention in the area of the heart and consciously generate a positive emotion, the heart rate variability patterns become more orderly and coherent,” and “…individuals who intentionally increase their cardiac coherence by maintaining a focused state of sincere love or appreciation can induce changes in the structure of water and the conformational state of DNA.” ¬†The study goes on to imply that a therapeutic technique could become more effective by the practitioner adopting a “sincere caring attitude.”

This gives me so much hope! ¬†I have learned so much in the past 14 months, but I know I still know NOTHING! ¬†But at least, now I know, if I really care about my patients, my touch will be beneficial to them – even if I’m not treating the exact muscle that needs to be treated. ¬†My touch, generated from a place of compassion and positive intent, can be a “magic” power that helps my patients feel better!

What do you think of this article?  Do you notice effects in your body when you are around a positive person versus a negative person?  Do you think you can affect people solely with your positive atttidue?  I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments. <3

 

Adding Adductors to your Body Body of Knowledge

Yes. ¬†I purposefully tried to make the title of this blog as confusing as possible. ¬†Why? ¬†Does it mean I’m not a good writer? ¬†Does it mean I don’t care about the edification of my readers? ¬†Does it mean my brain finds pleasure in confusing word play that takes a couple of moments to figure out? ¬†Because, No, No, and Yes. ūüôā

So, Adductors. ¬†If you are like me, you probably have only ever heard of adductors as a glump of muscles that get “stretched” in wide-legged yoga poses like prasarita padattonasana (wide-legged forward fold). Before starting school at the Center for Neurosomatic Studies (CNS), I had only a vague notion of some muscles in my inner thigh that were super tight, and which did not allow me to do wide-legged poses without getting a cramp in my butt. ¬†Thank you, CNS, for helping me understand with specificity what these muscles are.

Your adductors are made up of several different muscles that connect from the lower portion of your pelvis to the back side of the long bone of your thigh (the femur).  I realize the pelvis can be a bit of mystery as well, so here is brief overview of the points we need to know about.  The pubis is the bone on the front of your pelvis.  If you are like me, you often accidentally ram this into countertops/tables, and it hurts like a mother.

Directly underneath the pubis is the ischium. ¬†Sit on your hands. ¬†Go ahead – it’s okay. ¬†Sit on your hands. ¬†You feel those bones pressing into your hands? ¬†Those are your ischiums (commonly called “sit bones”). ¬†The pubis and the ischium are the superior (aka “upper” or “northern”) attachment points for the adductors, as you can see in the drawing below (which is a view of the pelvis from the front). ¬†Disclaimer: ¬†these are drawings I did quickly for my own personal study aids, so they are not 100% accurate. ¬†They’ll give you a gist of the anatomy, however. You can click on the pictures to make them bigger.

The adductors are made up of the Pectineus, Adductor Longus, Gracilis, Adductor Brevis, and Adductor Magnus muscles.  You can see the specific attachment points in the illustration below. (Please note that my anatomy text led me astray in regards to the attachments of Gracilis and Adductor Longus.  They should actually be flipped).


From the pelvis, the adductors travel at an angle to connect to the back of the femur, as you can see in the illustration below.  I used to think that the back of the thigh was made up of just the hamstrings.  But there is a lot going on back there! All the adductors connect there, as well as many of the quadriceps.


Why are the adductors important?  For SO many reasons!  They have trigger points that can present as pain in the front and inside of the thigh and in the genitals and rectum.  They can cause the sacrum to tilt, which forms an uneven base for the spine, resulting in a functional scoliosis.  Also, the adductor magnus can pinch the greater saphenous nerve, causing the knee to collapse while walking.

At CNS we learn how to treat the adductors, which can relieve the symptoms described above. ¬†But sometimes releasing a muscle is not what it needs. Sometimes it needs to be stronger. ¬†Weak muscles can contribute to pain, just like over-active muscles can. ¬†I love the Adductor Slides Yoga Tune Up¬ģ pose; it helps you tune in to your adductors and strengthen them in a fun and slightly excruciating way. ¬†Here is a demo from Trina Altman.

Well, I hope you learned a little something about your body today. If you try the adductors slides, let me know what you think.

Thanks for reading today!

 

 

 

 

Butt Stuff

Yep. ¬†Are you like Troy Barnes? ¬†Do you love Butt Stuff? ¬†¬†Well then you’re in luck! ¬†We covered Butt Stuff this week. ¬†And by “Butt Stuff” I mean all that meat that covers your backside. ¬†Did you know that there are actually 3 different gluteal muscles that make up “the glutes”? ¬†Yes! It’s true.

The gluteus maximus is the big boy, as the name implies. ¬†It runs from the lateral edge of your sacrum all the way out to your femur (the long bone in the top of your leg). ¬†The top part of the muscle merges into the IT band on the outside of the leg, and the lower portion attaches to the back of your femur. ¬†But underneath that are two more glute muscles! ¬†The gluteus medius lies underneath the maximus, and underneath THAT lies yet another muscle – the gluteus minimus. ¬†Please see my quick sketch below to get an idea of how these muscles lie in relation to each other. ¬†And yes, I forgot the “l” in gluteus minimus and had to go back in and squeeze it in later. Thank you, Tim, for the .388mm pens. ūüôā

Underneath all of these layers are the deep rotators of the hip, but I’ll have to save those for another blog post, or this will get too massively long, and I have a test to study for! ¬†And a bike ride and brunch to do!

So, your glutes. ¬†Why are they important? ¬†Well, glute max is the largest muscle in the body and can be up to 2 to 3 inches thick! Consequently, it can have a huge impact on postural distortions. ¬†The glute group can cause pelvic extension (a “tucked” tail), pelvic projection (where the hips are thrust forward of the feet and knees), a pelvic tilt (where one side of the pelvis is higher than the other), external rotation of the femur (“duck feet”), and low back pain. ¬†These muscles can also mimic sciatic pain – sending trigger point referrals into the buttocks and down the back and side of the leg.

Issues with the glutes are quite common, considering we are supposed to use them to MOVE all day long, but we generally just use them to SIT all day long instead. As a result, many people have difficulties activating their “sleepy” glutes. ¬†This became really evident to me when I took a Yoga Tune Up¬ģ workshop where we went through the following guided practice:

  1. Lay on the floor, legs straight out (aka savasana).
  2. Try to squeeze your right butt check.  Try the left. Do you know notice any difference in power/contraction?  How far did your hips lift off the floor with each squeeze?
  3. Take a massage therapy ball (a Yoga Tune Up ball, a tennis ball, etc.) and place it under the thickest part of just the right butt cheek.
  4. Contract the right butt cheek for 20 seconds, as you release the contraction, the ball will sink deeper into the glutes.  Repeat 2-3 times, sinking deeper each time.
  5. You can rock your body slowly side to side over the ball.
  6. Without sitting up, reach under your glute and remove the ball.
  7. Let your awareness settle back into the glutes.  Does the right side feel any different than the left?  Any changes in temperature?  sensation?
  8. Contract the right butt cheek. Then the left.
  9. Do you notice any difference in power/activation/sensation in the right side?

If you were like me, you were like, “OMG. ¬†My right side has so much more power now!!!” ¬†You just woke up your butt!!

The YTU balls are great for increasing proprioception and awareness of these muscles, and with regular use, you can keep these muscles active and reduce the chronic tension that is held there.  At the Center for Neurosomatic Studies, we are trained to treat this group of muscles VERY specifically.  In addition to treating the muscle belly (which is what you contact with the balls), we get into the attachments and different layers of tissue, and we can even get into that trough on the medial aspect of the greater trochanter.  The combination of self-massage and bodywork is super helpful for this powerhouse.

Let me know if you have any questions or comments.  If you try the exercise described above, let me know how it feels for you.  I personally store a lot of tension in my glutes, so when I get them treated or I roll them out, I feel super relaxed and down-regulated afterwards.  Good luck waking up your butt!