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Welcome to The Center For Physical Health on the web. Our experts in physical health are here to partner with you on your journey to wellness. Nothing is more important to us than helping you live the life you love. Read what our professionals have to say about getting out of pain, achieving your performance goals, calming your mind and healing your body. Ask us questions and share your experiences with other readers. We are so happy to have you as part of The Center For Physical Health community. For more information on our physical therapy center in Los Angeles, visit: www.physical health.com
with Cathy Kandalec-Sweetman, Certified Pilates Instructor
In this segment of our Better Breathing Series, I'd like to introduce you to a special breathing technique used in Pilates called POSTERIOR/LATERAL (BACK/SIDES) RIB BREATHING. This style of breathing is a basic foundation for all Pilates based exercises and is well worth the time and practice to learn. This technique has a dual purpose in that it allows us to keep the abdominal muscles pulled in deeply, so they can act like a protective corset for the spine throughout each exercise, and at the same time expand the ribs creating space and length throughout the spine.
Pilates Breathing Sequence - Standing/Sitting
1. Wrap band/scarf around the lower part of your rib cage, full width, cross the ends in front of your body, elbows at your sides, palms up.
2. Keeping your shoulders relaxed, pull the ends of the band gently forward to create pressure against your ribs.
3. Inhale, let your breath travel down your spine, expanding your ribs into your back & sides and sense the pressure of your ribs against the scarf by your inhale (breath moves the band, not your whole body shifting weight).
4. Exhale, draw your abs in and up as your ribs close gently together (arms will pull slightly forward).
5. Repeat for 8-10 breath cycles.
6. Note: If you find yourself without a band or scarf, hug yourself, crossing your arms in front of yourself and have your hands touching the sides of your lower ribs (fingers point behind yourself).
Pilates Breathing Sequence - Child's Pose/Rest Position
1. Come onto your hands and knees (only if knees OK), sit your buttocks back towards your heels (can put a pillow between your buttocks and heels), round forward, resting your head on top of your hands or on the floor.
2. Inhale, breathing into your back, expanding your back ribs towards the ceiling and wide to the sides of the room.
3. Exhale and pull your abs in and up while gently closing the ribs that expanded with your inhale.
4. Repeat for 8-10 breath cycles.
5. Note: This style of breathing may not feel natural at first, but with daily practice you'll re-train your body and re-establish habits for better health.
by Bridget Quebodeaux, GCFP
Science has proven that lung capacity, wellness, and life-span are dependent on optimal breathing.
Many adults have developed patterns of moving and breathing that negatively impact their breath and the ideal balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the body, leading to symptoms ranging from pain to mental sluggishness or organ dysfunction.
The Feldenkrais Method® offers a simple, easy Awareness Through Movement® lesson to help you improve the way you breathe. Click the image below to listen to staff Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner® Bridget Quebodeaux lead you through the sequence. For those unable to access the audio, the sequence is printed below.
Call 310.475.6038 today to schedule an appointment with one of our staff Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioners® for assistance with improving the way you breathe.
1. Lie on your back on a firm but comfortable surface (a carpeted floor or hard floor with a blanket is ideal).
2. Bend your knees and stand your feet on the floor hip distance apart and at a distance from your butt that allows your legs to feel securely supported.
3. Attend to your breathing. Which parts of your body are active as you inhale (where do you feel movement as you breathe in)? Which parts of you are you aware of as you breathe out? If you had to describe your breathing as physical sensations alone, what might you say (i.e. I can feel my back press against the floor as I inhale, I can feel my belly tighten as I exhale, feel my throat open as I breathe in...)? What is the depth, ease, satisfaction of your breathing?
4. Gently protrude your belly---as if you were inflating a balloon in your lower abdomen.
5. Allow your belly muscles to relax back to their normal resting position. Repeat this movement several times. Don't rock your pelvis as you push and release your belly. Think of your belly expanding in all directions---front, sides, back. As you expand your belly, your diaphragm is moving downward.
6. Do the opposite movement---pull your belly in and puff out your chest. Relax and repeat this movement several times. When you do this movement, your diaphragm is moving upward.
7. Take a breath and hold it. While holding your breath alternate pushing out your belly and pulling in your belly while inflating your chest. When you do this movement you are moving your diaphragm down and up. Exhale when you need to , and repeat: breathe in, hold your breath and alternate pushing out your belly and pulling in your belly/expanding your chest. Think of a long balloon ½ filled with air. Its as if you are pushing the air from one end of the balloon the other. Some people use the image of a see-saw to describe this movement. Make sure you rest and breathe when you need to, and return to the movement when you are ready. Repeat the see-saw movement for 5 breaths.
8. Rest for a moment with your legs extended long (if this is comfortable), and just notice your breathing---which parts of you are you aware of as you breathe in and out. How much of yourself are you aware of being involved in breathing now? What's the depth, ease, satisfaction of your breathing now?
9. Roll onto your belly with your head turned to the right. Your right arm is resting on the floor so that your elbow is bent and your hand is near your face, and your left arm down along your side. Breathe in, hold your breath and make the same "see-saw" movement. As you push belly out, your lower back rises and as you expand your chest, your upper back rises. Repeat several times, breathing and resting when you need to.
10. Turn your head the opposite way and switch your arms so your left hand is near your face and your right arm is down along your side. Continue "see-saw breathing."
11. Roll onto your back and rest for a moment, and one last time just notice your breathing---which parts of you are you aware of as you breathe in and out? How much of yourself are you aware of being involved in breathing now? What's the depth, ease, satisfaction of your breathing now? How would you describe the function of breathing in terms of physical sensations now?
Jessica Zarins was featured this past Sunday in KABC's "Eye on LA" segment on going healthy.
Human beings have oxygen-hungry brains and bodies. We can live for days without food or water, but only minutes without taking a breath.
Most individuals are familiar with the thought of rehabilitation after surgery, but not the idea of pre-surgical rehabilitation (pre-hab).
The Feldenkrais Method® is an approach to movement re-education that re-awakens the body's awareness of what is healthy.
By Physical Therapist, John Dillon
Everyone can benefit from improved balance. The ability to stand and walk upright on two legs requires a great amount of balance. It also requires the coordination of many systems in the body working together to keep you upright and prevent falling. Injury to one or more of these systems may result in loss of balance. Aging, disease, cognitive impairment and some medications may also cause them to work less efficiently.
Falls are the leading cause of hospital admissions for trauma among older adults. A fall can lead to a fear of falling again, which frequently leads to inactivity and functional decline.
But just 90 seconds a day of balance training can help increase independence, improve coordination, efficiency, posture, sports skills, reaction time and joint stabilization.
Here are 3 safe and effective home strategies that can be done daily to improve your balance. Remember to stand in front of a stable surface, such as the kitchen counter, for safety and assistance. Notice the tiny adjustments your feet and ankle muscles are making while your brain is making new connections about what works and doesn’t work.
1. Bring your feet together, release your hands and balance for 30 seconds. If this is easy, make it more challenging by closing your eyes.
2. Stand with one foot in front of the other, heel to toe. If this is difficult, separate your feet like you’re taking a short step. Balance for 30 seconds.
3. Repeat #2 with the opposite foot in front of the other. Balance for 30 seconds.
Do this every day and you will notice an improvement in as little as a week. Pick a time of day that is consistent and make it a habit. I balance every morning while waiting for my instant oatmeal to microwave.
Soon you will need more of a challenge, so try closing your eyes, rotating your head or body, reaching behind or standing on a soft surface like a folded towel. Be creative like kids are; they challenge their balance constantly, such as walking on sidewalk cracks or avoiding them.
by Cathy Kandalec-Sweetman
Exercise is one of the best ways to strengthen bones and prevent osteoporosis. If you've already been diagnosed with osteoporosis, appropriate exercise can help maintain your present bone mass.
It is well known that exercise builds muscle, stamina and endurance, but it also builds and maintains the amount and thickness of bone (bone mass and density). Stronger bones help to reduce the risk of fractures.
Below are the four types of exercise that health professionals recommend for building and maintaining bone health.
1) WEIGHT BEARING exercises encourage your body to rebuild bone by putting your skeleton under stress so it will get stronger. It's as simple as including some combination of walking, hiking, stair climbing or dancing into your daily life. To be effective, experts recommend at least a half hour (doesn't have to be at one go) of moderate to vigorous exercise 5 times/week and as little as 3-5 miles/week.
You'd be amazed at how easy it is to accumulate that mileage. Instead of getting frustrated by driving around and around the parking lot to get the nearest space, try one of the furthest spots and walk. If you're shopping, you'll be carrying and/or pushing your cart of goods back to the car, building bone while you do it. Whenever you can, choose to take the stairs instead of the elevator/escalator. If your job keeps you sitting at a desk most of your day, get up each hour, walk around, do some chair squats, heel raises or wall push-ups. Are you in the habit of sitting and eating at your desk for lunch? How about taking a walk or seeking out some stairs? Your mind and body will thank you for it.
2) RESISTANCE EXERCISE includes any activity where you work against the weight of another object. This includes using free weights, machines (Pilates, Gyrotonics, TRX), stretchy bands or tubes as well as exercising in water. For best results perform any combination of the above 2-3 times/week. Give your muscles a chance to recover by taking a day or two off in between workouts and engaging varying muscle groups on a daily basis.
3) CORE STRENGTHENING is also critical for overall bone health. This includes exercises to strengthen your abdominals, low back, hips, buttocks and other muscles that support your spine (most common fractures are of the spine). Pilates, Yoga and TRX are highly effective core strengthening exercises and as an added bonus, they help improve balance, thus reducing the risk of falling.
4) FLEXIBILTY is important to help maintain a healthy range of motion in your joints and ensure freedom of movement. Daily stretches will help prevent injury and keep you limber, mobile and resilient to the stresses of life.