A Modern Look at Pain

December 18th, 2013

A Modern Look at Pain


The Vagus Nerve

November 9th, 2013
The vagus nerve is the nerve that comes from the brain and controls the parasympathetic nervous system, which controls your relaxation response. This nervous system uses the neurotransmitter, acetylcholine. If your brain cannot communicate with your diaphragm via the release of acetylcholine from the vagus nerve (for example, impaired by botulinum toxin), then you will stop breathing and die.

Acetylcholine is responsible for learning and memory. It is also calming and relaxing, which is used by vagus nerve to send messages of peace and relaxation throughout your body. New research has found that acetylcholine is a major brake through on inflammation in the body. In other words, stimulating your vagus nerve sends acetylcholine throughout your body, not only relaxing you but also turning down the fires of inflammation which is related to the negative effects from stress.

As you get older, your immune system produces more inflammatory molecules, and your nervous system turns on the stress response, promoting system breakdown and aging.

You immune system is also controlled by the vagus nerve. By activating the vagus nerve, you can control your immune cells, reduce inflammation, and even prevent disease. Activate the vagus nerve, and you can switch on the genes that help control inflammation. Inflammation is one of the central factors of disease and aging.

Another interesting fact is that stems cells are directly related to the vagus nerve. Activating the vagus nerve can stimulate stem cells to produce new cells and repair and rebuild your own organs. A state of calm, peace, and stillness – can activate the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve, in turn, activates your stem cells to regenerate and renew your tissues and organs.

Activating the Vagus Nerve:

* Reduce inflammation

* Help regenerate your organs and cells by activating stem cells

* Increase your heart rate variability

* Thicken your brain (which normally shrinks with aging).

* Boost immune function

* Modulate your nervous system

* Reduce depression and stress

* Enhance performance

* Improve your quality of life


How am I supposed to Run?

October 21st, 2013

Here is a recent article from the New York Times:

Heel strike or toe strike?

With the fall marathon-training season in full stride, it is time once again to argue about running form. How a runner’s foot should strike the ground incites passionate debate among athletes and coaches, despite scant persuasive evidence to support either position.

But a noteworthy new study may help to quell the squabbling, by suggesting that each style of running has advantages and drawbacks, and the right way to run almost certainly depends on what kind of runner you already are.

For the new study, published in June in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, researchers at the Tampere Research Center of Sports Medicine in Tampere, Finland, began by using motion capture technology to determine the running form of 286 young adults from the area who played team sports. None competed in distance running. All wore their normal running shoes during testing.

The testing showed that 19 of the women and 4 of the men struck first with their forefeet while striding.

These small numbers tally with other reports, most of which have found that an overwhelming majority of modern runners, whether male or female, slow or swift, are heel strikers. In a telling study published in May in The International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, almost 2,000 runners participating in a recent Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon were filmed midway through the event and their form analyzed. About 94 percent proved to be heel strikers, including quite a few of the fastest runners.

Similarly, when researchers in New Hampshire studied middle-of-the-pack runners during a marathon there, they found that almost 90 percent were heel-strikers according to filming conducted six miles into the event. Interestingly, of the remaining 10 percent, most had shifted to a heel-strike form when filmed again near the race’s end, as they tired.

Regardless, some running coaches and other experts question the wisdom of heel striking, noting that when runners don’t wear shoes, presumably the most natural way for humans to run, many, although not all, adopt a forefoot-strike running style. This suggests, enthusiasts say, that forefoot striking is the inherently right way for humans to run.

If so, however, forefoot striking should lessen the odds of a running-related injury. And it was that possibility that the Finnish researchers hoped to explore.

So they next matched the 19 forefoot-striking female runners with an equal number of female heel strikers of similar age, height, weight, and running pace. (There were too few forefoot-striking men to include them.)

The women were fitted with additional motion-capture sensors and filmed again while running. They also underwent measurements of leg and hip strength.

Plugging the resulting data into formulas validated in other experiments, the researchers determined just how much force the women were creating with each stride and, of greater interest, where that force was hitting hardest.

In general, the knees, ankles and Achilles’ tendons are the sites of most running-related injuries, previous studies have found. And in this experiment, many of the women runners jarred their knees, especially when they landed on their heels. That running form resulted in about 16 percent more force moving through the knee joint than when women landed near their forefeet. The elevated forces were particularly evident along the heel strikers’ kneecaps and the medial or inside portion of their knees, where the joint is known to be particularly vulnerable to overuse injuries.

But the forefoot strikers’ legs were not immune from force. They simply absorbed it differently, with almost 20 percent more force moving through their ankles and Achilles’ tendons than among the women who hit with their heels.

In essence, the findings show that you can’t escape the cumulative impact of running, however you stride, said Juha-Pekka Kulmala, a Ph.D. student, now at the University of Jyvaskyla, who led the study. Hit with your heels and you stress your knee, possibly leading to conditions such as patellofemoral stress syndrome. Strike near the ball of your foot and you’ll jolt your ankle and Achilles’ tendon, potentially increasing the risk of such injuries as Achilles’ tendinopathy, plantar fasciitis, and stress fractures of the foot.

There is, in other words, no one invariably right and painless way to run.

However, Mr. Kulmala said, the results also indicate that strategically altering how you land could be advisable for some runners. “People suffering from knee problems can benefit from forefoot striking,” Mr. Kulmala said. “Those who have Achilles’ tendon complaints can benefit from rearfoot striking.”

Switching form is not simple, though, as countless runners who have tried will attest. “I think that experienced runners are able to change stride pattern” relatively easily, Mr. Kulmala said. “But nonexperienced runners find it more difficult.” Consider contacting a local coach for advice, and have an obliging friend or spouse film you running, so you can document how your foot hits the ground. Incorporate any changes slowly, Mr. Kulmala cautioned.

And if you have little experience with injury and are comfortable with your stride, then by all means, stick with it, as is. The best running form, Mr. Kulmala said, is any that keeps you moving regularly.


The Shoulder

August 13th, 2013

This is a great video on the shoulder:




Closed/Open Torque

May 2nd, 2013

This is a concept that I am constantly stressing with the high school swimmers I work with on The Bellingham Bay Swim Team.


Want Happy Hips?

April 13th, 2013

Give this a shot:


Rolfing in the News

April 11th, 2013

Here is a nice article about a Rolfer in the Midwest:

If it wasn’t for Michael Waller and “rolfing,” former Major League Baseball player Sean Casey never might have been able to play in the World Series.

Now a broadcaster and commentator for the MLB Network, Casey said rolfing, a form of bodywork that reorganizes the connective tissues, helped him recover after several injuries.

While playing first base for the Pittsburgh Pirates during the second week of the season in 2006, Casey fractured his spine after a Chicago Cubs base runner collided with him.

Casey was in the hospital for 11 days, and Pirates team doctors said he would be out for at least four months. A friend suggested he contact Waller and try rolfing.

“I had to be helped up onto the table by my wife. He worked on me for three hours the first time, and after that, I didn’t have any pain,” he said.

Waller, who was born and raised in Sewickley, treated Casey eight times in four weeks, and six weeks after his injury, he was back in the game.

That same year, while Casey was playing with the Detroit Tigers, he injured his leg. Doctors told him he wouldn’t be able to play for at least three weeks. Until that point, Casey had been playing well and his team was headed to the playoffs.

After Waller “rolfed” him again, Casey played in the World Series and earned a .432 batting average and hit two home runs, although Detroit didn’t win, Waller said.

Although Casey retired at the end of the 2008 season, he said when Waller is in town, he always makes an appointment for a rolfing session for himself; his wife, Mandy; and their children to keep their bodies in alignment.

He said he has referred many friends and family members to Waller, and they avoided surgery, physical therapy, doctors and drugs.

“I tell them to let Michael work on them one time and it will change their lives,” Casey said.

Named after its founder, the late Dr. Ida P. Rolf, Rolfing Structural Integration is practiced in 38 countries.

Rolf theorized that “bound-up” fasciae ­­— connective tissues that Waller compares to the white coating on raw chicken ­— often restrict opposing muscles from functioning in concert. She aimed to separate the fibers of bound-up fasciae manually to loosen them and allow effective movement.

Manipulation is believed to yield therapeutic benefits, including helping clients to stand straighter, gain height and move better through the correction of soft-tissue fixations.

Waller, a 1977 Sewickley Academy graduate, said the technique helps to break up holding patterns where the muscles get stuck or bunched up.

He said it can release traumas that people have held in their bodies for years after an injury.

His only equipment is a portable table. There are no electric stimulators.

Waller, who lives in Columbus, Ohio, frequently travels to provide rolfing treatments in 17 different cities, including areas of New York, Maryland, West Virginia and Ohio.

He often comes to the Sewickley area, where he previously had an office in the former Open Mind bookstore to treat clients throughout the Pittsburgh area, such as Cat Capuli, 51, of Moon Township.

Capuli said Waller has helped her after skiing injuries and she now can hike, do yoga and exercise on the elliptical machine.

Waller, son of the late Carole Taylor and Edward Waller of Sewickley, said he knows what it’s like “to live in a body that doesn’t work.”

He said he got relief from rolfing from his own injuries playing hockey and lacrosse in high school and college.

Over 24 years, he said, he has treated about 40,000 patients and has put in about 50,000 hours of practice.

He charges from $125 to $150 per session depending on the amount of travel, and sessions last from 90 minutes to two hours.

Rolfers often prescribe to a sequence of 10 to 12 sessions.

Waller said in addition to Casey, he has worked on several other MLB baseball players, including Gary Sheffield, Mike Lowell and J.D. Drew, and other professional athletes.

Waller said he had never heard of rolfing until he met Carol Walsh, who owns a practice in Pittsburgh’s Shadyside neighborhood and treated him for his injuries.

He then became her apprentice and became a certified rolfer in 1999 and a certified advanced rolfer in 2009 from the Rolf Institute in Colorado.

Read more: http://triblive.com/neighborhoods/yoursewickley/yoursewickleymore/3768710-74/waller-casey-rolfing#ixzz2QBLL5YGd
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About Rolfing

About Rolfing

Rolfing® is a system of bodywork based on structural integration, developed by Ida Rolf...

About Brad

About Brad

Based in Bellingham, Rolfing practitioner Brad Jones has an office conveniently located in downtown Bellingham ...



"Brad Jones is a healer! He goes above and beyond to help his clients achieve their health and performance goals.”