Sunny Sunday Strawberry Sparkler

Have you ever found yourself thirsty for something besides water on a warm, lazy Sunday afternoon? And maybe you’re avoiding alcohol and its commonly proffered alternatives of sugary soda or juice. It’s too hot for tea, and iced tea takes too long to brew/cool-down. So what do you do? You make a Sunny Sunday Strawberry Spritzer!

Here’s how you do it. I’m not going to Pin-it or make a fancy how-to video for it. Because like having trans-inclusive healthcare intake forms, it just shouldn’t be that hard 😉

Up until now I thought that this kind of thing was too Martha-Stewart-y to be worth my time. But with fresh strawberries in season and a lemon tree in my front yard, I’m coming around to finding alternative hydration methods to boring tap water.

Step One: Find a pitcher/humongous jar/some type of vessel that you REALLY like. You have to really like looking at this container for this magical drink to be worth your time. Mine is glass with pictures of lemons etched into it. Maybe you like ducks instead. Maybe you find a vintage purple-curved-handled (that is a VERY interesting handle, isn’t it?) glass pitcher at a flea market.

Or you can go all hipster-farm-to-table style and choose one of those humongous mason jars and drill your own spout. Decorate it with recycled paper drink labels while you’re at it, go ahead, knock yourself out! Or perhaps you already have a sensible glass pitcher at your house and that’s good enough.

Sounds good, on to the next step.

Step Two:

Put lots of ice in your pitcher. It will keep your drink cold. Plus the more solid objects you have floating in your water, the more fancy it will be!

Step Three:

Fill up your pitcher most of the way with water.

Step Four:

Now here’s where you start slicing up your lemons. You only need like one or two, unless you like to go overboard with things. In reality, you could just squeeze a whole lemon into your pitcher and the water would taste the same as if you dumped a handful of cut-up lemons into it without squeezing them. But then you’d lose points on the fancy-scale, so don’t skip this step.

Step Five:

Do you like herbs? Good, this is your chance to put in a few sprigs of rosemary or lavender or mint or basil. Do I like herbs? Heck yes I like herbs, but somehow I can’t even keep a mint plant alive. I know, its roots are supposed to propagate like crazy and it can grow anywhere, yeah yeah, I want to blame this on our two young kids and our pee-happy male dog, but the mint-plant destruction wasn’t their doing. #willneverhaveagreenthumb

#am I allowed to use hashtags on a blog where I make fun of hipsters? I don’t know the answer to that but I refuse to type this many words without any spaces in between.

Step Six:

So things are looking pretty good in that pitcher, but still a little plain, you say? Hmm, time to add more colorful things. Chop up some strawberries and whatever other fruit your heart desires. Except for maybe bananas. I don’t think those would taste very good soaked in water? That’s a little too hardcore for me. But like, oranges would be a good choice. Some people on the internet would tell you to “muddle” your fruit before you add it, but if you have to fancy-up a word like “mash” then that tips the scale into dangerous Pinterest territory in my opinion. Besides, if you were going to go to all that trouble, why wouldn’t you just mix in some protein powder and make yourself a smoothie.  Yummm smoothie…ooh that would be a good place for that banana!

Step Seven (Optional):

Add seltzer water. How much? I don’t know. I didn’t even add seltzer water when I made this for our family. But everyone is crazy for seltzer water these days, so add like, about a can, or so.  Let me know how much is too much. How could I create a drink name like “Sunny Sunday Strawberry Sparkler” without seltzer water? Then it would just sound like something to drink while watching fireworks! Just add seltzer to make it sensational! OK, seriously, make up your mind, do you like bubbly water or not?

Step Eight:

OK, this is kind of like the cheating step at the end. Everyone else on those inspiration board websites has spent all morning muddling their fruit and creating recycled paper drink labels, rendering them too tired and thirsty to even think about doing my step eight. Here it is *whispers* :

Add a tiny splash of sparkling soda. Not half the bottle, not even half a cup, just about a tablespoon or two. Your refreshing drink is already complete, this is just a bonus. It doesn’t really change the taste very much. But the secret is that is turns your water red! Think the color of your drink doesn’t matter? Then why is Starbucks Unicorn Sweet Stack Sensation (or whatever they call it) the number one selling drink this week?

I mean, yeah, I could drop food coloring in there, or wait all day for some muddled-berries to infuse the water. (D’oh, I swore I’d make it through this post without using the word “infuse”). But this is what I did and I will do it again. We don’t normally have this laying around, but we had purchased some for a party last weekend. And we had some left over. And I was desperate to make some kind of not-boring and actually kind of interesting hydrating concoction. So there you go, the secret eighth step. It really does trick your brain into thinking you are drinking something other than plain water. The one we used was Cost Plus Blackberry Pomegrante Soda. But there are lots of other options out there.

I didn’t take a picture of the final product, what am I, a food blogger? So you just have to take my word for it that it looked something like this, only with lemons and more amazing! When the pitcher gets low, just fill it up with water again. You don’t have to add more fruit, unless your toddler fishes it all out, and then it’s up to you whether to refill your fruit. You might have other things you want to get to later in the afternoon!

Let me know if you tried this and if helped bust some boredom!

Photo attributions: cc wiki and pixabay.

 

 

 

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Oakland Chiropractor Loves Aaptiv Fitness App

 

Oakland chiropractor headphones

Do you ever have trouble picking music that best reflects your fitness mood? You are all dressed to go for a long walk or run and you’re feeling inspired and energetic…but you just can’t figure out which song to play on your phone or what Pandora station to select that might match those feelings? Or maybe you’ve got your headphones on and you’re excited to go lift weights to burn off some steam at the end of your workday, but random Eminem and Beyonce songs just aren’t doing it for you (nice try online radio “Hip Hop mix”). Well I certainly relate to this frustration both in the fitness realm and in everyday life. And while I won’t be able to offer suggestions for how to match your music to your mood for a weekend afternoon sitting on the deck sipping on Sunny Sunday Strawberry Sparklers, I can certainly offer a hearty recommendation that can recharge your fitness fizz-out!

I think that you either have that ear for music, or you don’t. My four-year-old son describes the feeling that a certain song gives him by saying in a contemplative voice, “that makes me feel purple” or belting out “that song is so red!” and he can repeat most of the words of a song back after only hearing it one time. My spouse can also hear all the little parts of a song and identify what instruments are playing during each part, and they can craft a great playlist. I, on the other hand, have been known to answer, “oh, was there just music playing?” when asked whether I liked a certain song. I’m good at a lot of things, but choosing appropriate music isn’t one of them. The good news is…there is help!

Oakland chiropractor walk pic

Enter the Aaptiv app for your phone! It’s a service that curates music and matches it to ready-made workouts. Let’s say you want to go on a power walk…you choose how long you want to walk and what your fitness level is (you can browse all the available walking workouts or filter your preferences) and then you pick a workout. They have everything from “Mindful Body Scan” and “Compassionate Walk” to “Smooth Love Walk” and some other genres in between. When you select a workout, the trainer’s voice comes on telling you what the workout is going to be like, and then they give you guidance and tips throughout the workout. All the while, you get to hear great music that fits the speed of walk you have selected! They even tell you when you’re at the halfway-mark so that you can turn around and head for home if you’re walking outside. No more do I find myself checking my phone every five minutes to see when I’m halfway done or to fiddle with finding the next good song. I can just put it in my pocket and forget about it and I am guided through my walk!

oakland chiropractor spin bike

So that’s the deal for going on a walk. They also have similar sections for treadmill workouts, elliptical workouts, and spin bike workouts. Those are some of my favorites. I personally find that a 60 minute spinning class is too long for me, and I dislike leaving a group class early. So before Aaptiv, that left me alone on a spin bike during an off-time for classes, which is fine with me. I don’t mind exercising alone and I’m comfortable adjusting my own spin bike. But I would be constantly fiddling with my music and not really motivated by it. Plus, I technically have enough experience under my belt to create an interval workout and mix up standing and sitting etc, but when it came down to doing that every time, I found it mentally taxing and boring. Having the trainer’s voice guide me through a warm up and intervals and a cool down is so refreshing and there are enough workouts to choose from that I don’t get bored with the music playlists.

Oakland chiropractor lunges

Their strength training workouts are popular, from what I’ve observed in their online fitness community (a Facebook group), but I don’t find myself selecting them often. Of the workouts I tried, the music was great and got me energized, but it felt like a lot of squats and lunges. And the modifications for more advanced moves: you guessed it, more bodyweight squats and lunges. I guess that’s good every now and then, but my preference is for moving heavy weights. If I wasn’t exercising at a great gym in my community I might pick more of these workouts, but I feel pretty set in that department. One other note I have to add because I’m a chiropractor, I didn’t love their “abs” workouts. Too many crunches/situps/forward flexion type exercises. And as someone who currently has to modify their workouts while healing a diastasis recti, I need to avoid plank-position moves. Unfortunately, after the crunches and situps, here comes planks! I’m glad that planks are incorporated overall for the general population, they are a much healthier exercise for your low back than most sit-ups, but I personally felt that I couldn’t benefit much from doing their ab workouts. To be fair, this isn’t unique to Aaptiv trainers, lot’s of “core workouts” out there call for similar movements.

I saved the best section for last. YOGA!!!

Oakland chiropractor favorite fitness app

I can’t say enough positive things about their yoga and meditation sections. As a trained yoga teacher, I know the level of skill required to seamlessly guide a class through each step and each breath of a flow class. And that is when the class can see you demonstrate the moves as you go along! To teach a clear and not-confusing audio-only flow class requires mastery. They’ve found some top instructors such as Amanda Murdock for this task, and the result is some amazingly relaxing and transformative classes. Not all of the voices work for me, but they have enough variety that I can stick with my favorites and not get bored. I would honestly say that you could do 90% of the classes without any yoga experience, regardless of whether they are rated beginner, intermediate, or advanced. As long as you are willing to listen to your body and back-off any pose that feels painful, the verbal instructions are accurate and descriptive enough to guide you into most poses. Most of the classes have cool music soundscapes, and not just the “new aged flute music” you may think of when you hear the term “yoga music.”

If you are thinking of trying out Aaptiv.com, I believe they still have a free one-week trial. I jumped on a holiday special last December and got two subscriptions for the price of one and gifted one to my spouse, but I believe the subscriptions are now just under $10/month. (I’m not getting paid anything to blog about Aaptiv; it has improved my fitness life and I’m excited to share it with those who don’t already know about it!)

Do you use Aaptiv? Are you tempted to try it out? Let me know what you think of the service and what your favorite workouts are!

Picture attributions: shoes/headphones cc flikr, runner, lunges, and spin class cc wiki, yogi cc pixabay.

Posted in Cycling, Fitness, Lifting, running, Sports, Uncategorized, yoga Tagged with: , ,

Wrist Pain with Breastfeeding and Baby Holding

Do you struggle with wrist pain when breastfeeding or with baby holding? Maybe you’ve tried stretching or using a brace, but the pain keeps coming back? In this video I’m going to show you how you can fix your wrist pain so you can get back to breastfeeding and taking care of your baby more comfortably.

I will show you three simple ergonomic changes you can make in how you lift and hold your baby and three self-care muscle therapies you can do to help reduce your wrist pain with breastfeeding and baby holding. And I’ll explain what the next steps are if the issue has become chronic and isn’t responding to at-home care.

If you’d like to book your free consultation, please fill out the form below and we will contact you within 24 hours.

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Neck Pain with Breastfeeding

Do you struggle with neck pain when breastfeeding? Maybe you’ve tried heat and ice packs and ibuprofen and nothing seems to help? Eventually you start to dread sitting down for another nursing session because you know the pain will still be there. In this video I’m going to show you how you can fix your neck pain so you can get back to breastfeeding more comfortably.

I will show you three simple stretches and three self-care muscle therapies you can do to help reduce your neck pain with breastfeeding. And I’ll explain what the next steps are if the issue has become chronic and isn’t responding to at-home care.

If you’d like to book your free consultation, please fill out the form below and we will contact you within 24 hours.

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Diastasis Recti: What it is and how to treat it without surgery

Oakland chiropractor how to treat diastasis recti

 

Diastasis Recti is a condition in which your most superficial abdominal muscles (rectus abdominus) separate along the midline of the body. The left and right sides of the abs split apart and the connective tissue along the midline stretches and becomes weaker. It most commonly occurs during pregnancy or during childbirth, but many people, including some men, have a diastasis recti and just don’t know it! It has been said that even the founder of Pilates, Joseph Pilates, had a diastasis!

Other than the abdominal “pooch” appearance that can go along with a diastasis, there can also be functional deficits. These muscles are designed to help support your back and your organs, and if they are no longer in the proper location and holding the proper tension, they fail at these important jobs. Pelvic pain, incontinence, back pain, and poor joint mechanics can all occur when someone has a diastasis. The goal is to draw the muscles back towards the midline, so that they can start doing their job again, and that the connective tissue no longer has to work overtime to provide that support in their absence.

The main cause of a diastasis is continuous stretching or overuse of the rectus abdominus muscles.  Pregnancy or carrying a lot of excess weight in the abdomen is the primary cause of stretching of these muscles. Strangely enough, overtraining this set of muscles (overuse) in the quest for better looking abs, can actually cause a diastasis to occur, which allows for an abdominal protrusion, which causes the abs to look more “pooched-out”. So many fitness buffs create that vicious cycle because there is such a strong popular focus on crunches, bicycles, jackknives, and similar exercises that contract the rectus abdominus almost to the exclusion of the transverse abdominus (the deepest, most stabilizing layer of the core). If we can strike a balance between training the front of the abs, as well as the deepest layers of core support (deep low back muscles, transverse abs, diaphragm, and pelvic floor muscles), we can prevent a diastasis from occurring. And once a diastasis occurs, shifting the focus away from traditional abdominal exercises and towards more comprehensive core strengthening, can help decrease the severity of the condition and also increase the stability and function of the core.

Treatment of Diastasis Recti

***Exercises to do:

Transverse ab strengtheners (heel slides, modified dead bugs, core contractions/compressions)

Glut exercises (gluteal bridges, squats, single leg deadlift, squats)

Pelvic floor exercise (kegels with transverse ab contraction)

Diaphragm exercises (deep breathing relax on inhale, pull navel to spine on exhale)

***Exercises to avoid:

Forward flexion (Crunches, bicycles, rollups and rolldowns, jackknives, boat pose)

Forward loaded exercises (front plank, full pushup, bird-dog, burpees)

Extreme extension (ab exercises over exercise ball, full upward facing dog)

Auxiliary Care for Healing Diastasis Recti

It’s important for the pelvis to be well aligned and balance while you work to heal a diastasis. If the pelvic joints are restricted or out of alignment, it will be more difficult to maintain proper core stabilization during challenging exercises and everyday activities. Likewise if the any muscles that attach to the pelvis or core are overly tight, that can cause a pull on the bony structure of the pelvis and skeleton, resulting in pain, tightness, and lack of function. A major culprit that causes a whole cascade of dysfunction is the psoas muscle. Chiropractic adjustments and Active Release Techniques (ART) can help restore proper pelvic alignment and muscle balance.

If you think you may have a diastasis, or if you are suffering from any pain or tightness in your pelvis, hips, or glutes, please give us a call to see if and how we can help. 510-465-2342.

Image credit: wikipedia commons

Posted in Conditions, Uncategorized Tagged with: ,

Does Your Belly Always Feel Protruded? Check Your Psoas.

anterior pelvic tilt protruding belly psoas

It’s often thought that a protruding belly posture is due to weak abdominals. In terms of fixing that faulty posture, it seems logical that if you were to “pull” the belly in by strengthening the abdominals, you would no longer have that protruding belly posture. That’s understandable, and may even be the case with a condition such as diastasis recti, but before we assume we’ve found the cause of the postural issue, let’s look at one alternative viewpoint.

250px-Psoas_major_muscle11

It is tight psoas muscles, which lie behind the contents of the abdomen, that pull the spine forward and pull the pelvis into an anterior tilt (top of the pelvis rotates forward). They will also push the abdominal contents forward, creating the appearance of a protruded belly.

Have you ever noticed that your belly looks flatter in the morning (after you’ve been lying flat for 8 hours, your psoas muscles are more relaxed and lengthened) and looks more rounded or protruded later the day (after you’ve been sitting, driving, running, etc, your psoas muscles are chronically shortened and contracted). Of course there are confounding factors to this, timing of meals and digestion, etc. that can make a belly appear more or less rounded, but psoas muscle tightness is an important factor that contributes to a protruded belly posture. This is important not only for looks (not all of us want to constantly look like we’ve just eaten a big meal), but for function and comfort. Tight psoas muscles are a big contributor to low back pain, not to mention chronically tight psoas muscles can reciprocally inhibit the gluteal muscles, leaving us with dead butt syndrome.

So what should you do about tight psoas muscles? You could stretch them. And that will work great if this is a new tightness. But if the tightness has been going on for awhile, the muscle will have entered the cumulative injury cycle.

First line of defense is to try stretching your psoas muscles. Here’s how:

Stretch your hamstrings too, since tightness in the psoas and the hamstrings often occur together.

Any time a muscle is overworked (repetitive motions, repeated contractions) or acutely injured (fall or collision causing a tear or crush), it receives a decreased amount of bloodflow (read: oxygen flow).  If this condition continues, the hypoxia (lack or oxygen flow) causes adhesions to form in the muscles.  These are sticky areas, almost as if someone poured glue into the muscle, which limit range of motion, alter your biomechanics, and cause pain.  Adhesions remain until they are treated.  Rest, ice, stretching, and ibuprofen will not make them go away!  It’s like trying to stretch a rope that has a knot in it. You might get a bit of stretch on either end, but the knot in the middle will just become tighter. You may get some temporary relief with rest, ice, or stretching, but once you resume your activities, the issue will make itself known once again.

So what will work to resolve the muscle tightness? Active Release Techniques (ART) is a great option. ART will increase circulation to the muscles, decrease inflammation, and restore functional motion to the hips.  What this means, is that it will clear out adhesions through an entire range of movement.  ART protocols will typically require the sports chiropractor to shorten the involved muscles (to shorten the psoas muscle you would bring the knee towards the chest), take a thumb or hand contact with a specific direction of tension, and then maintain that tension while the client lengthens out the muscle (bringing the leg behind you in hip extension).  This breaks up the adhesions and allows for the restoration of full functional movement.

If you are suffering from low back pain, hip pain, or feeling like your belly is constantly being pulled forward, call us today to schedule an appointment to find out whether a tight psoas muscle is to blame. 510-465-2342.

Image credits: wiki commons

Posted in Uncategorized Tagged with: , ,

Treatment for Tendinitis and Tendinosis

oakland chiropractor tendinitis

 

A tendon is what connects a muscle to a bone, thus a lot of force gets transferred through a tendon during activity. There are two types of tendon pathologies aka tendinopathies:

Tendinitis: a symptomatic degeneration of a tendon with vascular disruption and inflammatory repair. There will often be a sharp and localized pain with activity, first thing in the morning, and after long periods of rest.

Tendinosis: a chronic tendon injury, having a focal area of noninflammatory degeneration that may be asymptomatic. A person will feel a fairly constant dull ache that is difficult to localize (it’s difficult to put your finger on exactly where the pain is).

The progression of a tendon injury is usually linear, and follows these states:

Nirschl’s stages of tendinopathy:

Stage 0 (Healthy): firm tendon with no pain or swelling, normal temperature of tissues.

Stage 1 (Acute tendinitis): acute swelling and pain, tenderness, warmth, dysfunction.

Stage 2 (Chronic tendinitis): ongoing pain with tenderness, more dysfunction, desire to take load off the area.

Stage 3 (Tendinosis): enlarged tendon, tissue swelling, increased dysfuntion with or without pain, tendon sheath may be swollen.

Stage 4 (Rupture): weak and painful when testing muscle against resistance, inability to move the affected joint.

Tendons get injured because of the “tendon paradox“.

paradox escher waterfallOxygen consumption is almost eight times lower in tendons and ligaments than skeletal muscle. In order to protect against situations involving serious decreases in blood supply, tendons have evolved to have a low metabolic rate and a low anaerobic generating capacity. This allows them to carry loads and maintain their tension over time.

The problem develops, however, once a tendon becomes injured. Due to it’s low metabolic rate, it is very slow to heal. This may explain why tendon injures take so long to treat, and why they often develop into chronic issues. If an athlete doesn’t allow their tendon a break from the aggravating activity, the tendon will be in a losing battle against it’s own poor blood supply.

What are the factors that can cause a tendon injury?  There are internal and external factors.

Internal factors
-Born with one longer leg
-“Knock knees”
-Q-angle
-Age
-Sex
-Flexibility
-Fatigue

External factors (overuse and training errors consisting of):
-Faulty equipment, uneven running/playing surfaces
-Shoe wear
-Too much/too soon
-Not enough recovery time
-Asymmetrical training

To rehabilitate a tendon injury, you can do either concentric exercises (loading the muscle and tendon while it is shortening eg. bicep curls) or eccentric exercises(loading the muscle and tendon while it is lengthening e.g. calf drops off a stair; using both legs to rise, and only the involved leg to lower).

You get more for your money doing eccentric exercises because:
-Less oxygen consumption
-More force production
-Less energy requirement

Our protocol is to start with eccentric exercises for tendon injuries. Once the athlete has no pain with walking and stair-climbing and other daily activities (not including running or playing sports), concentric exercises can be started. And once concentric exercises can be performed without pain, a gradual return to sport can happen.

Studies of Concentric vs. Eccentric Exercises:

Systematic literature reviews of tendon injuries in the lower body, found that eccentric exercises may reduce pain and improve strength, but it is not clear that this type of exercise is better than other types of rehabilitation. So exercise is just part of the picture in terms of rehabbing a tendon injury.

Other Treatments for Tendinitis and Tendinosis:

Manual therapy (ART for example, or Graston).
Adjust any fixations in involved joint and further out along the kinetic chain.

If you think you have a tendon issue, please call us at 510-465-2342 to get started on your path to healing.

 

Reference:
Eccentric Exercise Interventions for Tendinopathies
Daniel Lorenz, PT, DPT, ATC, CSCS, USAW
National Strength and Conditioning Association Vol 32 #2 April 2010.

Photo attributions:
Ankle: wiki commons.
“Escher Waterfall”. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Escher_Waterfall.jpg#/media/File:Escher_Waterfall.jpg

Posted in Conditions Tagged with: , ,

FOOT PRONATION: The Shock Absorber of the Body

shock absorber of the foot

When you think of shock absorption in a car, the above picture might be what you imagine.  A series of springs and rods that can take force from one direction and transfer it into another structure.  But what if I asked you to describe the shock absorber of the foot? Some people think of the cushion in running shoes, others picture the heel bone transferring the shock, and yet others think about insoles. While all of these things can contribute some shock absorption to the big picture, the biggest shock absorber of the body is actually FOOT PRONATION!

But Dr. Sandy, no…that can’t be right!  All I hear about is being careful not to pronate when I run or that some people need special shoes so they don’t pronate too much. Why would I want to pronate on purpose?!

Well, the answer to that lies in drawing a distinction between normal pronation and over-pronation. If the foot didn’t pronate at all, we would never be able to land our foot on the ground in preparation for pushing-off. We would all walk around with rigid levers on our feet… CLUNK, CLUNK, CLUNKETY-CLUNK like robots. We won’t get into the issue of over-pronation in this article, but let’s dive a bit further into the normal, healthy pronation of the foot.

robot pic

Shock is absorbed when the rapid pronation of the foot is controlled by the posterior tibialis muscle. This muscle functions in an eccentric contraction (slowing down the elongation of the muscle).  This careful control by the posterior tibialis allows the medial longitudinal arch of the foot to be gently lowered to the ground as opposed to letting it slap the ground.

Four common problems affecting pronation:

1. Joint fixation in the lumbar spine (the nerve flow to posterior tibialis comes from the nerve exiting the spine at L4/L5 in the low back).

2. Disc herniation in the lumbar spine, for the same reason as in #1.

3. Joint fixation between any of the 26 bones in the foot.

4. Adhesion in the tibialis posterior muscle itself, as a result of overuse of poor biomechanics.

Once we find out the problem that is limiting pronation, we can get started treating it through chiropractic adjustments, Active Release Techniques, or rehabilitation exercises.

If you are on your feet a lot and would like to make sure you’re achieving healthy shock absorption, please call us at 510-465-2342 to setup an appointment.

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Love your Food, Love your Body upcoming workshop

We have a special announcement to share!  A colleague of mine, a very thoughtful and skilled yoga therapist, is offering a new workshop this summer called Love your Food, Love your Body. It’s on 8/23/15 from 2-4pm at Leela Yoga in Alameda. Participants will learn techniques to re-establish a healthy relationship to food and body: manage stress, enhance body awareness, and practice joyful and intuitive eating. Jennifer has shared with us her story here, as well as one of the exercises that she will feature in her workshop.

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One day during savasana (the relaxation pose at the end of a yoga class) I basically ‘woke’ up. In that moment, I felt completely content, possibly for the first time in my life. I began to clearly see the suffering I was putting myself through in relationship to my body and eating.

It set me on a track towards wholeness…towards getting back in touch with my true self – that part deep within you that is always content, peaceful, unchanging and unaffected by societal pressures.

Once I learned how to extend my awareness and acceptance of myself off the mat and into my life, yoga helped me both become more aware of and heal my disordered eating habits and negative body image.

It essentially rewired my thoughts and, in turn, my habits. I had no idea this was even possible! I truly thought I was doomed to live in a body I disliked and feel like a failure for not being able to change it.

Yoga and mindfulness give us so many brilliant tools for improving our relationship to our bodies and the food we offer them. I’m thrilled to share with you some of the tools that have helped me learn to once again enjoy food and enjoy living in my body.

Here’s one you can try right now:

  1. Lie down in a comfortable position.

  2. Take 10 relaxing breaths focusing on releasing any tension in your body or mind.

  3. Pick two areas of your body that you appreciate and clearly state to yourself why…and really mean it! Stay with each thought and let it soak in for several moments.

For example:

1. I appreciate my feet because they carry me around all day without complaint.

2. I appreciate my arms because they allow me to embrace my loved ones.

“It is through your body that you realize you are a spark of divinity.”

— BKS Iyengar

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Jennifer Meek is a Certified Yoga Teacher (RYT 500) specializing in Yoga Therapy for common challenges such as diabetes, hypertension, back pain, stress, anxiety, body image and trauma.

Yoga transformed her relationship with food and body and she is passionate about sharing these tools with others. You can find her teaching private lessons, public group classes, as well as incarcerated youth in Alameda County. More info at www.jennifermeek.com.

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Did You Know That a Chiropractor Can Adjust a Jaw?

jaw pain helped by oakland chiropractor

Of all the areas of the body that I regularly adjust in my office, the jaw is the one that draws the most surprise from my patients. Many people don’t know that the jaw can get fixated, and that a chiropractic adjustment can restore the mechanics of the jaw.

The jaw has two joints (temporal-mandibular joints) each cushioned by a disc, and one or both can become problematic under the influence of stress, trauma, teeth grinding, poor head posture, or prolonged dental work. The issue is that the disc material can get entrapped either in front of or behind the hinge-like ends of the jaw bone (the condyles of the mandible). The clicking or catching feeling you may hear or feel is the condyle slipping past the trapped disc.

Jaw pain treated by Oakland chiropractor

The rounded condyles of the jaw are shown on the far right of this picture.

On a side note, during an extremity adjusting seminar we had the opportunity to watch videos of surgical procedures showing several types of TMJ surgery. One surgery was to scrape out scar tissue that had built up around the disc that was preventing proper motion. Another surgery was to remove an entire damaged disc! It was amazing to see the texture of the disc material. It was not at all what I had imagined it would be. It stretched quite a lot and looked extremely sticky.

According to Dr. Hearon, an expert on extremity adjusting, you must have three of the following twelve symptoms to have a diagnosis of Temporal Mandibular Syndrome (TMS). If you have fewer than three of this list, you have Temporal Mandibular Dysfunction (TMD). So basically, your treatment will look similar, but you get a less-fancy diagnosis.

12 Major Signs/Symptoms of TMJ:

  1. Pain at the TMJ
  2. Crepitus (a grating sound) at the TMJ
  3. Bruxism (grinding the teeth, especially at night)
  4. Inability to open mouth more than 3 stacked fingers)
  5. Inablitiy to close teeth together
  6. Headaches
  7. Neck pain
  8. Tinnitis (ringing in the ears)
  9. Tracking deviation (jaw veers to one side upon open/close)
  10. Chronic recurring neck subluxations
  11. Muscle weakness in jaw movements
  12. Occular dysfunction (eye movement issues)

Depending on which direction the disc has slipped, there are two main jaw adjustments that a chiropractor can do that restore the function of the TMJ joints in order to decrease a patient’s jaw pain and other symptoms.

Do you experience three or more of the symptoms on this list? Schedule an appointment with your Oakland chiropractor to find out whether you have TMS, and to get started on treating it.

Photo credits: wiki commons

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Riverstone Chiropractic is conveniently located on Grand Avenue in Oakland CA. We serve patients from Oakland, Berkeley, Albany, Richmond, Walnut Creek, El Cerrito, Emeryville, San Leandro, Alameda, and surrounding cities in the bay area. Riverstone sports chiropractor Dr. Sandy Baird uses her background in athletics and massage therapy to provide her patients with effective and personalized sports medicine treatments, which include Active Release Techniques, chiropractic treatment, deep tissue massage, and rehabilitation exercises. Riverstone Chiropractic - 3409 Grand Ave #5 Oakland California 94610 - (510) 465-2342
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