If you want to restore optimal body function, reduce stiffness and decreased mobility, you may want to try Block Therapy.
According to its founder Deanna Hansen, Block Therapy is a self-care version of fluid isometrics– a body work practice she developed aimed at reducing restrictions in tissues by increasing blood and energy flow to various affected areas. The technique involves lying on a cedar wooden block known as a Block Buddy. Placement of the Block Buddy is specific to key areas of the body. Each pose is held for approximately 3 minutes and during that time, the participant practices diaphragmatic breathing. Just as with a deep tissue massage, it is not uncommon to experience some pain – but you are in control and can back off on the intensity. This practice is contraindicated if you have a surgical mesh or have had a spinal fusion.
If you are pregnant, any of the belly positions are contraindicated. (Anyone with any serious health concerns would be wise to seek medical advise before starting any new practice.)
Some of the benefits of Block Therapy include improved posture, increased energy, increased flexibility and increased metabolism. It is an excellent compliment to any exercise practice and is like exercise, meditation and therapy all in one.
Block Buddy classes are being offered at various fitness facilities and are an excellent way to introduce yourself to this type of therapy. For more information check out www.blocktherapy.com
Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT)
Chronic back pain? Migraines? Arthritis? Panic Attacks?
If so, this may be a treatment worth pursuing.
Otherwise known as cold laser therapy, LLLT utilizes red and near infra-red light for a variety of conditions. LLLT differs from those used by physicians in surgery or cosmetic applications as it is less intense and has no heating effect. LLLT is used to treat injuries, reduce inflammation, enhance healing of wounds and provide relief in both acute and chronic pain conditions.
Soft tissue injuries, frozen shoulders, sciatica have been effectively treated with LLLT, as well as tennis elbow, tendonitis, and plantar fasciitis. LLLT also being used for smoking cessation, stress, insomnia and even weight loss.
The treatment is painless and non-invasive. No needles, no intense heat, no side effects. Costs vary so it’s wise to call around. Ideally the practitioner should have a health care background such as physiotherapy or nursing.
Whether it is chronic pain, an acute tissue injury or anxiety that you would like to treat without the use of drugs, laser therapy is an option to consider discussing with your physician.
There’s nothing worse than coming home from the gym and feeling the ache of muscles that are strained or worse – in spasm. Whether its as a result of a too-quick warm-up, or a new program targeting less used muscles, the effect can cause a great deal of discomfort. My traditional go to people are the chiropractor and massage therapist, but another option (thanks to the recommendation of a good friend) is seeing an Osteopath.
According to the Canadian College of Osteopathy, this alternative natural medicine bases its beliefs on the body’s natural ability to heal itself. Osteopaths take a holistic approach in restoring function to the body by addressing position, mobility and quality of tissues.
With palpitation the Osteopath gently touches tissues and systems and can detect minute modifications in the quality of tissues that will gear treatment. This may result in firm but gentle manipulation of tissues so that they are able to relax. As a result, increased circulation to the problem area occurs. Often this approach can result in the body returning to correct alignment. This effect can be similar to the manipulation done by a chiropractor, but without physically moving the bones.
Osteopaths also deal with fascial release of membranes or connecting tissues. And once again the approach used achieves release without the application of force.
So if you are sore, strained, in spasm, seeing an Osteopath may be a great option to consider. Unfortunately, as in the case of many alternative treatments, not all health care coverage includes visits to an Osteopath. But sometimes self care necessitates splurging on what ever helps you feel well.
A Gentler Sort of Detox
Those who advocate engaging in detox diets cite a number of benefits such as cleansing the body of toxins, giving major organs like the liver, kidney and intestines a much needed rest, as well as providing a boost in energy levels. Sounds like an excellent way to provide some good self care for our bodies.
While I am all for giving my body a boost, I have yet to find one that is even remotely enticing. Just the thought of detox brings back memories of endless meals of cabbage soup, or drinks with cayenne pepper or apple cider vinegar in them. Headaches, hunger pangs and low blood sugars inevitably have me cutting those regimens short.
If you are like me, and like the idea of detox but not the process, trying a day of eating raw foods may be a gentler, people friendly way to give your body a bit of a break.
The concept around a raw diet is simple. Eat foods that you don’t need to cook, are not processed and are mostly organic if possible. With farmer’s markets in full swing there is no shortage of enticing fruits and vegetables to keep taste, variety and ease in preparation a possibility. Instead of proteins in the form of meats, utilize seeds and nuts. Avocado and pomegranates are a few of the high protein fruits, and leafy greens such as kale can also pack a protein punch.
Eating a raw food diet for a day or two has another benefit that may help encourage healthier eating in the long run. Not only do you get a break from cooking, but it doesn’t take long to experience eating as a means to fuel your body rather than a way to satisfy cravings. And with farm fresh ingredients so readily available this time of year, you can use a little creativity to whip up a few dishes that will have even the most sceptical veggie eater intrigued.
Taking a Do Nothing Day (DND)
We all lead busy lives. Responsibilities, commitments and deadlines are constantly pulling us in different directions. On any given day, our to do lists can look long and daunting, and by bedtime we can only hope that a few of the items can be crossed off. We’ve long given up on getting them all done.
But what would happen if you gave yourself permission to take a DND?
Waking up on DND, you realize you still feel groggy, so instead of dragging yourself out of bed like you normally would, you roll over, snuggle back into your covers and catch a few more z’s. When at last you finally feel good and rested, you get up and rather than fixing your quick, grab and go breakfast, you cook up a delightful spread of things you’ve been craving. A plate of blueberry pancakes with crispy bacon, an omelette stuffed full of your favourite fillings. A new smoothie recipe chock full of delectable ingredients.
Taking your cup of java on the back porch, you delight in the weather – no matter what that may be and decide whether you will forgo your usual shower and opt instead to lay around in your P.J’s watching a bunch of shows you have taped on your PVR, finishing off that book that has you intrigued or calling a friend and catching up.
The day is yours to spend as you please. The only rule, if you want to call it that, is that anything you do on DND is because you WANT to, and not because you HAVE to. Picnic lunch at the park? A mini day trip to a local town? A long and leisurely look at the new exhibits at the art museum? Doesn’t matter what it is as long as it’s all about you, and your interests.
And as night falls, and DND comes to an end there will be a smile of contentment on your face. One that recognizes that you didn’t take a day and do nothing with it, you took a day for yourself, because you are worth it and you deserve it. And as you head off to bed you will know you are ready to face tomorrow, and the day after that with a renewed sense of vitality.