Neck Tension And Self Care

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I’m a huge fan of Eric Franklin and The Franklin Method.  I don’t spend near enough time using his simple techniques at home.  However, this morning when I woke up with a stiff neck there it was, the latest blog post from The Franklin Method about easing neck tension.  I have to say it really helped!

Check out the video here.  It’s not very long but it is very useful.

The Psychological Importance Of Wasting Time

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This article is so relevant to our culture of work and busyness these days.  As a self employed person I can completely relate to feeling like I need to always be working – if it’s not one on one with my clients it’s research, studying, tackling the many lists of to do’s I have, and on and on…

Even weekends have slid into a mix of catching up on administration tasks and then some non-work activity.  I love what I do so I can find it challenging to pull away and take time off just for me.

This winter however, I had time to reflect on, and put into practice, the importance of wasting time.  Earlier this year I sustained a concussion and had no other choice but to wast time.  I can tell you tho, it did not come easy.  In the first few weeks of my concussion I fought the fact that I was injured.  I was resting yes, but I was still trying to work and keep busy.  My first thought was, well if I can’t physically be with clients I can catch up on reading and studying and research.  I’ve got my endless list of to do’s.  Well, I got shut down.  My body said, “No!!!  We can’t do this right now!”  I had to listen.  What a blessing it was.

I slowly learned how to let go of the “to do” and just “Be”.  I went for walks with no agenda, I sat and looked out my window on rainy days and just stared into the distance, I watched movies and let my mind wonder.  I actually learned how to day dream!

What a wake up call.  Prior to my concussion I was noticing a feeling of burn out and taking time off helped, but not totally.  During my recovery period I began to realize that I never really stop.  Sure I take time off and have weekends but I wasn’t unplugging.  Not even for half a day.

“Wasting time is about recharging your battery and de-cluttering,” he says. Taking time to be totally, gloriously, proudly unproductive will ultimately make you better at your job, says Guttridge. But it’s also fulfilling in and of itself.”

So, I am learning.  I’m now back to work and putting into practice the skill of wasting time.  I have to say, unplugging like this really does seem to cleanse my brain and make space so that when I come back to my tasks I feel ready to go.  My suggestion – give yourself permission to wast time!

FDA Issues Final Rule On Safety And Effectiveness Of Antibacterial Soaps

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Consumers don’t need to use antibacterial soaps, and some of them may even be dangerous, the Food and Drug Administration says. In 2013 the FDA issued a proposed rule that required companies to to provide data on products’ safety and effectiveness. Antibacterial hand and body wash manufacturers did not provide the necessary data to establish safety and effectiveness for the 19 active ingredients addressed in this final rulemaking.

For complete information on this new ruling check out the FDA web page

And also a short read from NPR

A Great Stretch For Forward Head Posture

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In my last post I talked about forward head posture or texting neck. The latest phrase I’ve heard is devise-itis. Whatever you call it, it’s definitely affecting a lot of people. In this post I want to share a neck stretch with you that I show all of my clients with FHP. Rather than describe it, I thought I’d find a video and post it here so you can watch it.

The video is from Yoga Tune up and is pretty much the same stretch I teach in my CranioSacral practice. This stretch is great for anyone who has a forward head posture, has had whiplash, general neck and shoulder tension, TMJ and even symptoms from carpel tunnel and repetitive stress issues of the arms and hands.

I give this stretch to my clients as part of their home care program. It’s a very effective stretch and a great way to help yourself between sessions. Check it out and if you have any questions feel free to contact me. Remember, posture is important for a healthy functioning body. Give some attention to your posture now. Watch the video, try the stretch and enjoy the freedom of movement you’ll get from this stretch.

Neck stretch for forward head posture

Forward Head Posture

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These days my CranioSacral Therapy practice is filled with kids and adults experiencing a variety of symptoms related to forward head posture (FHP).  These symptoms can include headaches, head pain, tired or strained eyes, suboccipital spasm and shoulder pain/arm pain.

What is forward head posture?  FHP happens as our head moves further out over our shoulders and chest as we peer down at our digital devices.  The problem with this new posture is that the weight of our head increases the further we bend our head forward, putting more strain on the muscles, ligaments and fascia responsible for supporting the weight.

In neutral spine the weight of the head is about 12 pounds.  For every inch the head moves forward from its ideal gravitational center, it feels as if it weights an additional 10 pounds.  So if the head moves an inch forward, the brain perceives the weight of the head to now be 32 pounds.  If our head moves two inches forward, we then have a 42 pound ball to balance on top of our spine.  Three inches forward, 52 pounds.  You get the idea.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long for this amount of weight to change the structure of our spine.  The wear and tear on the soft tissue, as well as the spine itself, makes it increasingly difficult for our body to stabilize our head and spine.  This can then cause potentially damaging issues like bone spurring, facet sticking, nerve impingement and disc degeneration.

The good news is that if treated early enough we can undo the posture and the reverse the damage.  And for those who come in long after they’ve been experiencing symptoms, I can still help.  My advice for those who work on computers or spend hours a day looking down at devices, be as conscious as you can about good posture now.  Set an alarm if you have to to take a break from the computer and check your posture.  Get an ergonomic evaluation.  Instead of bending your head to look down at your device, bring the device up to eye level.  My final piece of advice is to not ignore symptoms!  They are our bodies alert system telling us that something is out of balance.  Find a good practitioner, I’m partial to craniosacral therapy (CST) and get on it early.  The sooner I can see someone the easier and faster it is to correct the situation.

You’re in good health,


Nasal Irrigation Found to Increase Sinus Infections

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If you are a regular neti pot user you might want to give this article a read.   Talal M. Nsouli, MD, director of the Watergate and Burke Allergy & Asthma Centers in Washington, DC conducted a 12 month study to find out if regular nasal irrigation was helpful or hurtful.  In his study he found that patients who stopped nasal irrigation for one year had a 62% reduction in sinus infections from the previous year — and got half as many infections when not using sinus irrigation as those in the control group.

According to Dr. Nsouli, mucus contains aggressive antimicrobial agents that have antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral activity. One called lactoferrin, an immune system stimulator, has been shown to be effective against infection, including cold-causing viruses (rhinovirus) and, I was surprised to learn, even the HIV virus. Irrigating the nose regularly washes away the mucus and with it a valuable defense mechanism. When study participants stopped their nasal irrigation routine, they were astounded at how much better they felt and how quickly — even though it takes two to six weeks to fully restore the natural condition of the nasal passages.

Doctor Nsouli emphasizes that he is not completely against nasal irrigation, but in his opinion it should only be used when specifically needed and for a short time.   To neti or not?  It’s a good question.

Hit The Reset Button On Your Brain

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My husband and I recently took a Monday off and headed to West Marin.   It’s one of our favorite places to get away because there are few people out there, amazing coast and there is little to no wifi.  As we walked on the beach picking up seashells, watching seagulls fly over head, listening to the waves crash on the shore, I found myself taking deep breathes.  The longer we walked and listened and watched, the more I found myself decompressing from the week.  The more my brain stopped churning and thinking and doing…

It was very nice 🙂

We spent the entire day out on the coast and into the evening.  No computer, no phone calls, no text messages, no news papers, no Facebook.  It was truly a day off.  By the end of it my head felt clearer, like there was room to “take in” again.  There is so much stimulus in our world today and often I feel saturated.  And I know that when I feel saturated there is not much room for anything new or for creative ideas/solutions to come forth.  Tasks seem bigger and more demanding than they really are.  I’m noticing that I get LESS done when I’m like this, when I haven’t taken the time to reset my brain/nervous system/self.

This short article speaks to much of what I noticed on the beach that day.  My task-positive and task-negative networks have been out of balance.  All that influx of stimulus and multitasking has me feeling tired and drained.  In his article Levitin points out that if you want to be more productive and creative, and have more energy, we need to look at our balance of doing tasks and having time to daydream.  We need to truly give ourselves a break from the technology stimulus that pulls our attention in so many ways every minute of the day.

Here’s a link to the article.  I think it is well worth the read.