Posted by: charleenesfitness | March 20, 2017

SLEEP

Sleep

By Charleene O’Connor

What if someone had a magic pill that could make you feel calmer and more energized; something that could combat depression, shrink your waistline, improve your focus and productivity, regulate your hormones and boost your immune system? And what if I told you that magic pill is called sleep? Sufficient, quality sleep gives you all of these things and more. In fact, at Nimble Fitness we know that sleep could be the most important missing ingredient in your health program.

Over 40 million people in the US suffer sleep disorders. And all of us just lost an additional hour of sleep a week ago! A tired brain isn’t able to communicate its needs properly, which can lead to health imbalances and increase unhealthy habits. A sleep-deprived brain will also have a slower reaction time to any type of stimulus. You can take all the vitamins and drink all the caffeine you want, but sleep deprivation is sleep deprivation. And don’t count on recovery methods to contradict bad sleep (or a poor diet). Adults should sleep 7 or more hours per night on a regular basis to promote optimal health. Less than five or six hours of sleep will negatively impact human performance, mental health, cardiovascular health, immune function, pain tolerance and general health. More than 8 hours a night can improve all of the above! Lack of sleep can also result in weight gain. Woman who sleep five hours a night were 15 percent more likely to be obese than those who slept seven hours. Being sleep deprived hurts metabolic function, contributes to weight gain and makes weight loss more difficult.

Perhaps the most critical element of sleep for adults is recovery–sleep enables the body to heal itself.  Sleep is actually not a passive activity; studies show during some sleep phases, parts of the brain are more active then they are when you are awake. As you rest, your body and brain are preparing and rebuilding themselves. Growth hormones, which promote cell reproduction and regeneration, are released into the bloodstream and the production of certain types of immune cells peaks. Sleep recovery also aids motivation, recovery of muscle strength, speed work and sprints, muscle glycogen (stored energy in the muscles), and helps stress regulation through balancing cortisol levels.

As we age, we sleep less and spend less time in slow-wave sleep. Amyloid beta, a key component of brain health, is cleared from the brain during slow-wave sleep. People who sleep less, or sleep badly, start to accumulate amyloid deposits over time, which can eventually lead to early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Sleep slows your heart rate and breathing, and causes your blood pressure to drop. It also changes the frequency of your brainwaves. Delta waves, the slowest frequency brainwaves, are linked to deep healing and only occur during the deepest part of your sleep cycle.  These are the same brainwaves experienced in a meditative state.

So, if sleep is so important, how do we actually improve our sleep? Here are some Nimble tips for instantly improving your sleep:

Blackout curtains for your bedroom, the darker the room the better.

2.  Keep your bedroom decor simple, calm and clutter free. Put your work papers out of sight!

3. Consider blue walls or adding blue to your bedroom. Gentle blue tones are widely believed to have a calming effect. 

4. Keep a notepad by your bed so you don’t have to worry about forgetting something; just write it down and go back to sleep.

5. Try pre-sleep meditation, or calming music. Imagine a tranquil natural scene. This visualization could help you relax. Studies at Oxford University showed that those who used this technique would fall asleep twenty minutes sooner than those who did not picture the tranquil scene.  Avoid counting sheep!  This actually took people longer to fall asleep. 

6. Tech curfew! The light radiating from TV, phones, computers and iPads can disrupt your circadian rhythm. Our circadian clocks regulate our sleep, so using bright-screen technology near bedtime interrupts our natural circadian rhythms and will negatively impact sleep. Furthermore, A study at Harvard University Medical School found that particular frequencies of light disrupt sleep. Here’s a not-so-fun fact: The top 25% of social media users were 2-3 times more likely to have disturbed sleep than those in the bottom 25%! Turn off all your devices at least an hour before bedtime.

7. If you consume alcohol, you’ll fall asleep more quickly but your quality of sleep will be poor. REM sleep is also decreased.

8. Exercise regularly, just not right before bed. That can have the opposite effect!

“Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes” Carl Jung

Sweet Dreams!

Posted by: charleenesfitness | January 19, 2017

Clean eating and living 2017

Clean Eating (and Living) in 2017
by Charleene O’Connor

Consumers today will pay a premium for organic, wholesome products. People want to live as naturally as they can, so the environment is ripe for companies and marketers to emphasize all the “clean” benefits of the their products. We all need to be careful, however, about what we’re buying. Packaging can vary from just confusing to actually lying about what is in the product.

Let’s start with what we eat—specifically fish and produce. Ideally, our healthiest choice is fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids and low in mercury.  Pregnant woman, children and people who eat seafood frequently must limit mercury consumption by avoiding seafood that is known to be high in mercury; variety is key when it comes to fish and shellfish. The fish that are highest in Omega-3 and lowest in mercury are Salmon (wild caught if possible), Sardines, Muscles and Rainbow Trout. Seafood that you might want to cut down on/eat rarely are Sea Bass, Albacore Tuna and Lobster.

Another food choice that requires more careful consideration is store-bought produce. Did you know that two-thirds of the produce that was sampled in recent government testing had pesticide residues? The food labeled “conventional” at your grocery carries a lot of pesticide residue, which helps preserve the produce longer on the shelf. Foods labeled “Organic” have been grown in different soil and do not carry the same pesticides, so look for the organic label. The foods known as the dirty dozen usually have the greatest amount of hazardous pesticides: Strawberries, Apples, Nectarines, Peaches, Celery, Grapes, Cherries, Spinach, Tomatoes, Sweet Bell Peppers, Cherry Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Hot Peppers, Kale, and Collards. The clean fifteen are the foods know to have the lowest amount of pesticides: Avocados, Sweet Corn, Pineapples, Cabbage, Sweet Peas, Frozen Onions, Asparagus, Mangos, Papayas, Kiwis, Eggplants, Honeydew Melons, Grapefruit, Cantaloupe, and Cauliflower.

And the next time you’re food shopping, take a quick look at the little sticker on your fruits and veggies—it can tell you a lot! Here’s a quick primer: First, you’ll notice that the stickers on fruits and veggies will have a 4 or 5 digit code. If your produce has 4 digits, it means that it was “conventionally grown, but not organic”. If it has 5 digits, and begins with a 9, it means that the produce was organically grown. A 5 digit code that begins with an 8, however, indicates that the produce was genetically modified. [happyhealthylife.com]

Finally, household cleaning products are not required to disclose ingredients on product labels, so many don’t. This makes it incredibly difficult for consumers to choose safe products. Don’t blindly trust marketing claims that are printed on the pretty bottles! Here are some basic ideas of what to avoid in cleaning products: antibacterial cleaners, air fresheners, and drain cleaners. And personal care products you should be cautious about using are: chemical hair straighteners; dark permanent hair dyes; loose powders (possible inhalation damage); perfumes/fragrances that may cause allergies; and skin lighteners (skin irritation and damage). There are perfectly safe, natural cleaning alternatives like: white vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, and washing soda. Lemons are pretty amazing for tough stains, grease and general cleaning.  White Vinegar is also an amazingly versatile cleaner to have in your home.

All of the bad marketing, unhealthy ingredients and confusion lead me to create my own brand of organic, toxic free skin and home care products called TRUTH. If you’re interested in natural alternatives, feel free to contact me and try some samples of TRUTH or get your complimentary Aromatherapy consultation.

Charleene O’Connor

Posted by: charleenesfitness | November 16, 2016

Balanced hormones

Balanced hormones makes life better

I am not a doctor, I am a biomechanics specialist and aromatherapist. I often choose to use alternative medicine when I see fit. I believe in traditional medicine and grateful for all that it is. I have studied over 700 hours of aromatherapy and have created my own line of Organic based skin and home care products called TRUTH. I believe in the mind body connection and that the body works as a whole.
Maintaining hormone balance is a lifelong process.
Hormone functions have tremendous impact on other areas of health. Natural alternatives including lifestyle modification, consistent use of Organic ONLY essential oils, and nutritional supplementation, can help manage symptoms associated with hormone dysfunction or abnormalities.
Exercise, meditation, and a healthy diet is a good start to balancing your hormones or keeping them balanced. Hormone balance could help with maintaining healthy weight, improved metabolism, reduced stress, healthy immune response, and improved energy.

Hormonal balance is one of the most important aspects of a properly functioning body. Hormones, such as estrogen and insulin, are chemical messengers that affect many aspects of your health as they travel in your bloodstream throughout your entire body. Some of the most common side effects of hormone imbalance include:
Infertility
Weight gain
Depression
Fatigue
Insomnia
Low libido
Hair loss and hair thinning

Cortisol, the “stress hormone” is produced by the adrenal glands and regulates your body’s response to stress. It works on a schedule — good sleep, starting at 10 pm, maximizes adrenal hormone function.

Out of balance cortisol levels can lead to:
feeling exhausted upon waking even after a long night’s sleep
high energy late in the evening or waking up at 2 or 3 in the morning
an inability to calmly deal with stress
food cravings
brain fog

Your adrenal glands are responsible for how you cope with stress. The key to adrenal balance is to allow yourself more restorative relaxation time and sleep. Improve the quality of your sleep with lavender aromatherapy for example, meditation, and exercise.

Both men and women can be low in progesterone, and low progesterone levels have been linked with infertility and depression as well as other imbalanced hormones within the body.
Hormones, stress and thyroid function are all directly linked.
Out of balance thyroid function symptoms include:
Depression
Uncontrollable weight gain or loss
Dry hair and skin
Cold or heat fluctuations
Insomnia

While menstruation and menopause are natural processes, some of the side effects are not. The ovaries produce the hormones estrogen and progesterone, which when imbalanced, lead to several symptoms including:
PMS
infertility
difficult or irregular menstrual cycles
lowered libido
difficult menopausal symptoms like sweats and hot flashes

Keeping your liver healthy is key. The liver regulates the sex hormones, primarily estrogen. A liver detox is a good idea.

Synthetic treatments, such as hormone replacement therapy, can make you dependent on prescription drugs, mask symptoms while developing diseases in other parts of the body and often causing serious side effects.

Aromatherapy for anxiety is very popular because our sense of smell triggers powerful emotional responses. We process so much information through our sense of smell, in an area of the brain adjacent to the limbic region.

When the scent of an essential oil is inhaled, molecules enter the nasal cavities and stimulate a firing of mental response in the limbic system of the brain. These stimulants regulate stress or calming responses, such as heart rate, breathing patterns, production of hormones and blood pressure. Aromatherapy can be by used in a bath, direct inhalations, diffuser blends , in skin care, home cleaning supplies, perfume and cologne. I make all of this TRUTH for your individual needs.

I hope everyone is feeling wonderful, if so keep up to the great work. If you have any of these symptoms consult a doctor, make sure your workout plan is right for you , and or give me a call to help you with your aromatherapy choices to make you feel and look amazing.

http://www.charleenesfitness.com
646-284-0858

Posted by: charleenesfitness | March 1, 2016

The Truth about Sunblock

The Truth about Sunblock

 

More than two million Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer every year. In the 1990’s four different studies indicated that a higher risk of malignant melanoma were with those who used the most sunscreen! Sunscreen is often toxic. I am certainly not telling you to not wear sunscreen! I have designed a Non Toxic Skin and home care product line called Truth. I continue to study Aromatherapy and have made safe and effective products that have no toxins.

The EWG Environmental Working Group published in 2014 a review of over 2000 sunscreens. They found over 75% of sunscreens contained toxic chemicals that can increase your risk of cancer and other health issues.

According to research with EWG some sunscreen ingredients absorb into the blood, have toxic effects, release skin damaging free radicals in sunlight, act like estrogen/disrupt hormones, and can cause allergic reactions and skin irritation.

The FDA has not established rigorous safety standards for sunscreen ingredients.

 

A recent study published in Environmental Science Technology has also shown the common sunscreen ingredients oxybenzone, methoxycinnamate, and PABA are estrogenic chemicals linked to cancer.

 

Here is a list of some of the unsafe toxic chemicals often found in sunscreen:

Para amino benzoic acid

Oxtyl salicyclate

Oxybenzone

Cinoxate

Dioxybenzone

Phenylbenzimidazole

Homosalate

Menthy anthranilate

Ocotcrylene

Methoxycinnamate

Parabens

 

Most of the active chemical ingredients in sunscreen contain potent endocrine disruptors, which can be linked to accelerated skin again.

Many of them also use omega-6 rich oils such as soy and sunflower/safflower, which may disturb the health balance of fats most likely to resist oxidation.

 

Respect the sun, but you should not be afraid of it. I don’t recommend you burning or getting too much sun, but we need the sun. It is the best source of D3. If you have any sunblock on you don’t get any D3. D3 helps boost the immune system, help fight cancer and improve mood. The skin around your eyes and face is much thinner and will not add much to D production so you might as well keep it covered in the sun with a cap or safe sunblock.

 

The Truth brand sunscreen I use a variety of ingredients based on a clients individual needs such as Organic Almont Oil SPF 5 Organic Coconut oil SPF 2-8, Organic Avocado oil SPF 4-15, Organic Olive Oil SPF 2-8, non nano zinc, Carrot Seed oil SPF 38-40, Organic Jojoba Oil SPF 4 Organic, Shea Butter, SPF 3-6, Wheatgerm oil SPF 20, and essential oils of my choosing designed specifically for you.

 

Another thing you need to be aware of is SPF 100 blocks 99 percent of UVB rays, SPF 50 blocks 98 percent, SPF 30 blocks 96.7 percent, and SPF 15 blocks 93 percent.

 

If you cannot get sun the best foods and supplements to protect your skin is a diet high in anti- oxidants:

Resveratrol (red wine, blueberries, and red grapes)

Omega 3 fatty acids (salmon and fish oils)

Catechins (great and white tea)

Vitamin E (pumpkin seeds, almonds, and asparagus)

Beta Carotene (carrots and red bell peppers)

 

Some of the brands with the most oxybenzone are:

Coppertone

CVS

Bahama Bo’s

Biore

Headblade

L’Occitane

 

 

I have worked in the Golf Fitness world for ten years and I see client after client from the PGA tour to your average Country Club Golfers come to me with patches on their face, ear, arm, leg due to skin cancer being removed. Last year I got skin cancer on my leg and it is my mission to inform others and hopefully prevent cancer as much as possible.

 

For more information on Truth products contact me:

Charleene O’Connor 646-284-0858 or check out

http://www.charleenesfitness.com/truth–non-toxic-products.html

 

 

 

 

Posted by: charleenesfitness | February 10, 2016

Posture and Optimal Function

Posture and Optimal Function

by Charleene O’Connor

There’s a lot more to posture than just sitting up straight. Our bodies contain twelve organ systems, and each one is subject to stimulation, reaction, and response from poor posture. If our major muscle groups are not engaged because we’ve been sitting or slouching for extended periods, it’s going to affect all of our organ systems—especially the metabolic process.

 

Metabolism, as you may know, is the way the body provides fuel to its cells. Muscles play an important role in almost everything we do, but one of the most important muscular functions is being a major metabolic consumer. If our deep stabilizing muscles–the ones closest to the bones and joints–disengage, our metabolism will slow down. Our bodies sense there are fewer cellular mouths to feed, and then reduces the feeding. Our other organ systems subsequently lose the benefit of a revved up, efficient, fully functional metabolism. The net effect is that the energy we need to carry out basic functions, usually fueled by the metabolic process, is no longer abundant. So, poor posture actually reduces energy and puts a strain on every organ in the body, plus the roughly 75 trillion metabolically dependent individual cells!

 

Fortunately, the opposite is also true. Yes, better posture and better musculoskeletal function will lead to an active, healthy metabolism, improved energy, better strength and balance, increased resilience, a pumped up immune system, enhanced athletic performance and a heightened sex drive, among other benefits. Sounds good? And perhaps the greatest benefit from better posture: reduced stress levels.

Posted by: charleenesfitness | February 10, 2016

Raise your toxin awareness

By Charleene O’Connor

 

Processed foods, air pollution, pesticides, refined sugar, minerals like mercury, crude oil products, disinfectants, sprays, petrochemicals—our surroundings and yes, our food and water are often filled with toxins. There are so many changes going on with our environment that the natural defense systems that humans, animals and plants possess have yet to evolve to effectively protect us.

 

Toxins are poisons, basically, and they occur on two levels, external (Exogenous) and internal (Endogenous). Unless your health is severely compromised, your body is well equipped to eliminate the endogenous, or internal, toxins from your system. Over time, however, if you eat a lot of refined foods, have poor eating habits (like not chewing enough), or retain a lot of stress, these factors can lead to an overload of bacteria in your digestive system.

 

At Nimble Fitness, we know that a strong body usually equals a strong immune system. The body is designed to detoxify itself. However, when external or exogenous, sources of toxicity are added to the mix, your normal detox functions can become overwhelmed. An overwhelmed immune system will have some strange—and very unhealthy—reactions to external toxins. And when our bodies cannot keep up with the toxin load, we’ll produce fat cells to hide these harmful toxins away! Dr. Theron Randolph, writes that “many toxic chemicals are fat-soluble and are stored in body fat, capable of remaining in the body for years, and as a result, chemical exposures can have a cumulative effect.”

 

To keep healthy, you should limit your environmental toxins as much as possible and follow these simple rules: 1) Get regular exercise, 2) Stay hydrated, 3) Eat fiber, fruits and vegetables, 4) Reduce stress. People who frequently work up a sweat through exercise, for example, can have amazing looking skin; the impurities and toxins are constantly being released from the body via their skin and breath.

 

Speaking of the skin, it’s the largest organ in your body—so it plays a key role in the absorption and elimination of toxins. Don’t you think we need to be very careful in what we are putting on it? If you can’t ingest it, you probably should not put it on your body!!! Your skin literally absorbs whatever you put on it. People that only eat organic foods will frequently not think twice about putting highly toxic materials on their skin. It is time to rethink that sweet-smelling lotion you use or that pretty, glossy make-up. Raise your awareness to the toxins around you, and see if you can make strides in eliminating your exogenous toxins. It’s a big part of your health picture!

 

If you have further questions about improving your health, skin condition, or eliminating toxins from your lifestyle, please contact me at charleenemat@gmail.com If you’re interested in organic, non-toxic skin products, please check out the Truth products http://www.charleenesfitness.com/truth–non-toxic-products.html

Posted by: charleenesfitness | March 22, 2013

The in’s and outs of stretching

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Stretching May Be Bad?

 

“…there is no research which proves categorically that there is any need for separate stretching sessions, phases or exercises to be conducted to improve performance or safety.” Dr. Mel Siff,  Supertraining

This may sound like a crazy person rant on the subway but science has shown that stretching does not improve performance (it can diminish it), warm you up, prevent soreness or most injuries for that matter and does not make you taller.  So why then do so many people stretch?  One guy once actually admitted “so I can impress the girls in Yoga class.” Obviously, he couldn’t be helped.  The fitness industry is fraught with many conflicting ideas concerning stretching.  Depending on your goals, it might not be a problem if you are ‘tight’.  Sometimes tightness actually helps people in sports and (tight hamstrings can make you more economical and a better runner- according to a Nebraska Wesleyan study) in daily activities by protecting against injury. Contrary to popular thinking, inflexibility isn’t always due to simple disuse or a lack of stretching.  There’s often a functional and genetic basis for tightness and stretching may not solve the ‘problem’.  In a thinly veiled ego boosting effort I’d like to compare myself to the world class Kenyan runners…like them, I don’t participate in flexibility programs.  The costs and time outweigh any of the dubious benefits.  

There are many kinds of stretches.  All stretches fall under these two categories:

  1. Static – it’s held in a challenging but comfortable position for a period of time usually 10-60 seconds  – Includes: Passive, Static active and Isometric
  2. Dynamic– done by moving through a challenging but comfortable range of motion repeatedly, usually 10 to 12 times and holding for no longer than 2 seconds and incorporates muscle contractions – Includes: Active, PNF and Ballistic- there are more compelling reasons to perform these stretches than static ones.
 

A goal of stretching a tight muscle is to push it into a position it was not capable of before.  But why is the muscle tight to begin with?  Are you addressing the symptom and not the cause? All your muscles work in pairs and have opposing/antagonist muscles.  When one muscle is tight the opposite muscle is many times over stretched and possibly weak.  By addressing the antagonist muscle you may relieve the tightness without spending one minute stretching!  Moreover, new research actually shows stretching does not increase the length of muscles. The greater degrees of flexibility garnered with stretching are likely the result of boosted tolerance to the pain of stretching, not actual lengthening of tissue.  In other words you get used to the pain and can go farther in the stretch.  

“…researchers…found that when athletes did static stretches, performance often suffered. Many couldn’t jump as high, sprint as fast or swing a tennis racquet or golf club as powerfully as they could before they stretched. Static stretching appeared to cause the nervous system to react and tighten, not loosen, the stretched muscle, the research showed.” -NY Times  

Another major concern of flexibility training is stretching past the point of what you can control. If you can not control the range of motion there is little reason to go there.  Let me show you what I mean.  Take a look at the photo below.  Even though,  I’m not crazy about this ‘quad stretch’ it serves as a good example.  Please stand up and try it.  I’ll wait.  Were you able to get your heel to your butt? Ok, now tighten your hamstring, remove your hand and try to keep your heel up.  Did your foot drop?  This is called your flexibility/strength window: the distance between your passive flexibility and your active range of motion.  

Why would you stretch past the point of where you can control?  Many times these flexibility/strength windows are so big it contributes to injury.  It is not uncommon to slip and be flexible enough to fall into a certain position but not strong enough to hold it, so you tear some soft tissue.  The next time you stretch try powering your limb/joint into the stretch position using only the strength of the opposing muscle.  Hold it there for a prescribed amount of time and then attempt to bring it a little farther into the range of motion.  You may find it useful to have a friend or trainer act as a barrier that holds your position.  Do not have the person “push” you into a range of motion you can’t control. 

If you are going to stretch here are some rules:

 
  1. Get an evaluation and find out what muscles and joints are tight and why.  You may not need to stretch. 
  2. Flexibility is largely genetic and increasing your flexibility takes a long time – re-evaluate why you are stretching and if your time might be better spent elsewhere. 
  3. Only static stretch after your warm up, not before.   Do the activity you are warming up for, but slowly at first.   
  4. It may be good to lightly stretch at night before bed, many people report it helps them sleep. 
  5. No static stretching prior to an event or activity – this will inhibit the muscles from contracting fully during your movements.
  6. Don’t over stretch!  At best, you will lose stability in your joints and at worse your will tear a tendon (which shouldn’t be stretched to begin with) and forever have a looser joint (which will open you for future injuries).  
  7. Don’t stretch loose joints, it will only make them more unstable.  
A big bugaboo of mine is watching people stretch all their muscles, including the loose ones.  Think of your body like a out of tune guitar.  When you tune an instrument, would you stretch all the strings the same, or just the out of tune ones?  Stretch all the joints and muscles the same and you’ll be a looser and more unstable version of your asymmetrical self.  If you insist on a flexibility program find out what is tight and why and then stretch only those muscles that need improved range of motion. 

The one uncontroversial truth about stretching is that it does increase flexibility…albeit after a long and dedicated effort.  Now you are more flexible so you can show off in yoga class, join the circus or be better at doing splits. Simply participating in a smart exercise program will actively move all your joints thorough their normal safe range of motion; this may be enough.  Ask yourself and search your soul, is independent flexibility training worth the gym time even though most of its benefits are unconvincing?   

Full Disclosure:
Before you discredit this whole article because you think I have a confirmation bias about stretching please know I used to be a huge advocate of flexibility training.  If truth be told, I taught other trainers about its efficacy and how to properly integrate it into one’s routine – and many of them are still doing it today. The fact of the matter is that the damned science caught up and got in the way which pushed me to reevaluate my flexibility protocols.  That being said, sometimes I do stretch because it feels good, maybe I’m just a masochist? 

Sources:

1. Mel Siff, Facts and Fallacies of Fitness, Denver, M. Siff,  pp 121-122; 2002.
2. NYTimes: Right reasons to Stretch
3. NY Times: To Stretch or Not to Stretch
4. Shrier. Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine. 1999. This paper and Herbert are literature reviews:  contradictions in existing research, and conclude that there is no convincing evidence that stretching is useful
5. British Journal Of Sports Med: Stretching Before Exercise 
6. PT Journal: Stretching Does Not Increase Muscle Length  
7. C. O’Connor : Muscle Activation Techniques  

Posted by: charleenesfitness | January 30, 2013

Power of the tower – thanks for sharing Egoscueportland

The Power of the Tower

9 Votes

 

When clients first see the Egoscue Multi-Positioning Tower and are told it is going to be in their new menu their response is typically one of these two:

1. Wow! I’ve heard so much about this and have been wondering when you’d have me do it. My friend said the Tower helped her so much!

or

2. I don’t feel anything. How is this helping me? Why do I have to lie here so long?

I thought I would take a minute an explain a little about how the Tower works, why it works, why it can take a long time, why you might not feel anything during it, and what postural imbalances it can have a positive effect on. Whether you have done the Tower before or not, hopefully this will help you get a better understanding of this powerful E-cise and encourage you to try it for the first time or continue to commit to it if you are already doing it.

The Supine Groin Progressive is the most common E-cise that the Egoscue Tower is used for and Pete Egoscue in Pain Free describes that “This E-cise is designed to allow flexion and extension of the leg, rather than rotation through adduction and abduction (side-to-side movement).”

Let’s break this down to a very simple terms that you will understand and then explain why it can take an hour (or longer) for that to happen. In Pain Free, Pete first introduces the Progressive Supine Groin in the knee pain chapter when talking about “external rotation”. External rotation of the femur can be seen when looking at your knees in a mirror from the front and the knee caps are pointing outward (instead of straight ahead).

The femur is being rotated out by strong tight muscles in the hip (psoas, iliacus, etc) that usually are also holding the pelvis in extension (anterior pelvic tilt).

What is happening in the body in this situation is described in the P3 (Posture, Pain, and Performance Workshop material):

Keep in mind that the body is a unit and that the body is linked functionally from head to toe. The anterior tilt of the pelvis is caused by the strong, tight hip flexor muscles and puts excessive arching into the low back. The more a person walks with the tight hip flexors, the more they pull down on the spine and exacerbate the problem. To relieve the tension on the spine, the upper back rounds – taking the shoulders forward – and the head tilts downward. To relieve the tension in the hips, the femurs externally rotate, taking the knees and feet outward. This is a formula for pain up and down the body.

Going back to the knee chapter of Pain Free, Pete talks about how this constant rotational torque coming from the hip is transferred into the knee joint. The knee is a hinge joint (think door hinge) and is designed to flex and extend (the door opening and closing) not rotate. That rotational torque is what can cause knee pain. The Tower is designed to unlock the tight hip flexors which will allow the pelvis to return to neutral, the spine to come out of lordosis and return to normal and the femur to return to neutral and point straight again. This will cause a chain reaction up the body allowing upper back to come out of excessive spinal flexion, the shoulders to move back into position and the head to center itself over the torso once again. The Tower also helps to reconnect the kinetic chain from your ankle to knee to hip and get them functioning as a unit once again.

(BTW just because I’m talking about knee pain here, that doesn’t mean that’s the only thing the Tower addresses. The Tower will help with: low back pain, shoulder pain, neck pain, sprained ankle, degenerative knee pain, degenerative hip pain, degenerative disc disease, spondylolisthesis, spondylosis, herniated discs, carpal tunnel, plantar fasciitis, and many other problems. I’ll outline how the Tower effects some of these in future posts – stay tuned.)

Watch this video to learn how to do the Tower:


How long it takes each person to do the Tower will depend on their unique postural imbalances but for most people it takes around an hour. As the video explains, you start with your leg in the top level and stay there until your low back releases completely to the floor (typically 5 minutes). At that point you can lower your leg one notch and then wait for your back to release to the floor again. Since there are six levels of the Tower it will take on average 30 minutes per leg or 1 hour for both legs.

If you are in chronic pain and have tried everything, but not the Tower, it is worth a try. This is the one e-cise that is easy to do and will make a huge impact on your posture and pain. Stop by your nearest Egoscue clinic to come try it for free. We’ll explain what is going on in your body and why the Tower will help you. 

To learn how the Egoscue Tower helps eliminate chronic lower back pain  watch this video.

Posted by: charleenesfitness | May 5, 2012

Pain free Golf seminar

Pain free Golf seminar

Join me for a two hour fitness seminar where you will learn the necessary movements for the golf swing. The proper mobility, stability, and strength required to play pain free and powerful golf.

Posted by: charleenesfitness | April 10, 2012

Would you like to be pain free? improve your game? life?

http://www.charleenesfitness.com

Older Posts »

Categories