June 26, 2012

Tight Calves? Tight Hamstrings? Sore feet? Roll Your Feet

Posted in Anatomy, Back, Choices, Ergonomics, Hips, Injuries, Knees, Living Vibrantly, Thai Yoga Massage, Yoga at 1:34 pm by SuzanneMAndrew

Roll Your Feet with a Ball

Whether you struggle with tight hamstrings, suffer with plantar fasciitis, get leg cramps or just have tightness in the back of your body; try this simple trick for loosening up the entire back of the body from your heels to the top of your head.

The human body has one long, continuous line of connective tissue that runs from the sole of the foot, up around the ankle, up the leg, around the knee, up the thigh, over the sitting bone, up the back all the way to the top of the head ending just over your eyebrows. Tightness in any part of that chain can cause tension anywhere else along the back body. When you find yourself with tightness, tension or pain in any of those areas; start with loosening up the tissues on the soles of the feet and see how much better the entire body feels.

Simply roll the sole of your foot over a ball for 5 minutes daily. Use a tennis ball, a physical therapy ball, or when you’ve built up some tolerance, a golf ball. Begin by rolling the ball under the toes, then along the outside edge of the foot. Roll it around the arch area and back & forth across the heel making sure to treat all areas of the surface of the foot. Spend 2-3 minutes rolling each foot.

You’ll be amazed immediately at how good your feel!  Opening up all the tissues on the bottoms of the feet will cause your entire back body to loosen and relax; your feet will feel lively,  your leg muscles more open, you may even get a bit of relief from back pain or a headache.   Resist the urge to overdo this exercise, limit yourself to once or twice a day; but make sure to do it daily.   This is such a simple way to immediately feel better in your body; give it a try and let me know how you feel.

Suzanne Andrew is a Thai Yoga Massage Therapist, Reiki Master, Yoga Instructor and General Health Zealot.  Contact her directly to schedule a session:  727-641-6941 or www.TryThaiYogaMassage.com

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August 26, 2011

5 Simple Tricks to Add Stretching and Strengthening to Your Day

Posted in Back, Choices, Ergonomics, Hips, Knees, Living Vibrantly, Neck/Shoulders, Uncategorized at 8:50 pm by SuzanneMAndrew

No time for a regular workout today?  Try these  5 simple tricks to add more strengthening, stretching, balance and breath into your day-to-day living. While working out daily is great, it can be just as important to build a daily routne of adding little bitsof exercise into droutine activities.

1.  Stand while working on your computer.  If you’re not lucky enough to have an adjusting desk, work at a bar-height table, or make your own work platform by using books, overturned trash cans or milk crates to create the height needed for your computer. Standing while working on the computer helps strengthen the legs, back and torso, increase blood flow thruout the body and create a better posture for deeper breathing.

2. Balance on one foot while folding laundry.  Laundry folding has to be one of the most boring chores in the world; use it as a great opportunity to work on building balance and strength in the lower legs.  Switch from leg to leg every few minutes, and make this boring chore at least useful for your physical body conditioning.

3.   Go backless while driving.  Spend a short drive with the seat back reclined so far that you have to use your core muscles for strength to sit up instead of leaning on the structure of the seat back.

4.  Sweep and shovel instead of leaf-blowing or snow-blowing.  Sweeping and shoveling are excellent aerobic exercises that also strengthen the arms and upper torso muscles.   Sweeping and shoveling just might give you a great opportunity to focus on some deep breathing techniques, too.

5.  Sit on the floor and stretch to watch TV.  As tempting as it is to just sink down into the couch to watch TV after a long day; try sitting in the middle of the floor instead.  Stretch your body in a variety of ways, work the kinks out of your neck and back, make circles with your wrists and ankles, and practice some long, slow breaths.

Feeling better in our bodies isn’t something that needs to be put on hold while we do our chores or work; we can integrate movement and breath into all our routine activities, and do them in such a way they yield maximum benefit. Ahhhh…..

Suzanne Andrew is a Thai Yoga Massage Therapist and Health Consultant based in St. Petersburg, Florida, who at this very minute is walking home with her groceries in a backpack to add a little extra exercise into the shopping chore.  Contact her to schedule your customized session today: www.TryThaiYogaMassage.com or 727-641-6941.

August 16, 2011

Who Needs a Kneeling Chair?

Posted in Anatomy, Back, Choices, Ergonomics, Knees, Living Vibrantly, Uncategorized at 6:13 pm by SuzanneMAndrew

Originally designed by a surgeon to help his patients recover well from lower back surgery; the kneeling chair is a great solution for many of us with lower back pain.

What the kneeling chair does is allow you to sit at a desk with the hips open at 110 degree angle, versus the 80-90 degree angle of a standard chair.  This position puts less strain on the muscles of the lower back; and actually encourages use of the abdominal muscles for torso support.  In this position, your body more easily finds it natural line keeping the ear in line with the shoulder, with the hips; reducing postural strain in the neck & shoulders, low back & hips.

When the torso is in alignment and supported using core muscles; breathing is deeper and easier, which relaxes the nervous system and helps both the blood and lymph circulate more freely through the body.

Finally, because the torso is more forward than in a regular chair; it is easier to keep the elbows tucked into the body while working at a computer or writing at a desk; which will decrease strain in the shoulders, elbows and wrists.

A kneeling chair takes a few days to get used to using; expect a few days with some slightly sore muscles in the legs and a few days to train the core muscles to hold your torso correctly.

I’ve used a kneeling chair at my desk for over 8 years; and recently when my old kneeling chair finally broke I tried out a variety of different desk chairs including a standard square, flat desk chair and a balance ball chair.  After trying so many different seating arrangements; the kneeling chair is without a doubt, the best ergonomic chair for my body while working at a desk.  I encourage you to try one, especially if you’re prone to low-back pain, to see if it works for you.

Link to buy one on Amazon

Kneeling Office Chair with Wood Fram…

Flash Furniture

Best Price $71.50
or Buy New $80.99

Suzanne Andrew is a Thai Yoga Massage Therapist and Wellness Coach in St. Petersburg, Fl.  Contact her directly to schedule a customized thai yoga massage, reiki or bodywork session or program to help you live healthier and happier in your body.  Suzanne@TryThaiYogaMassage.com, www.TryThaiYogaMassage.com or 727-641-6941

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March 3, 2010

Ease your Knees – Engage your Feet!

Posted in Anatomy, Knees at 7:46 pm by SuzanneMAndrew

Knee problems are prevalent in humans.  With the design of our hips, plus our  heavy and relatively straight torsos, and our propensity for sitting too many hours per day; our knees end up being the shock absorbers of our bodies.  Torn minicuses and ligaments are prevalent, not just in athletes.  It seems we all either are, or know someone who is, suffering from stiffness, soreness, pain or strain in our knees.

One of the easiest ways to help our knees stay strong is to engage the bottoms of our feet!  Really!  Curl your toes under,  rotate your ankles, rock your feet from side to side; when you stand, grip the floor with the soles of your feet.  Gradually, you will strengthen all the muscles around the ankles and up the calf.  As the lower leg muscles get stronger, they are better able to provide support and assistance to the knees.

So kick off those grouchy shoes, curl your toes under, grip the floor tight, rock back and forth, enjoy the feel of the floor or ground under your toes; and help your knees!

For more information: www.TryThaiYogaMassage.com – Feel better now in body, mind and spirit! Namaste~