Low back pain treatments often address the structural issues caused by posture and movement dysfunctions, including sitting for long periods of time. Low back pain is one of the most common health issues, and integrative treatment is especially effective. 

Low back pain is especially common among people who spend a lot of time sitting down. Sitting tightens the hamstrings, which then pull the pelvis out of alignment, causing it to tilt. This tilt then puts extra stress on the structures of the low back and hips. Muscle tightens and fascia gets thicker and shorter, adapting in ways that seem to hold the shape of sitting down even when standing, walking, and running. 

Bodywork treats low back pain by releasing tension and lengthening fascia. Working with the hamstrings, hips, psoas, and other related structures, it addresses the imbalances that cause pain. It also helps nourish tissues, bringing blood and nutrient flow to oxygen starved nerves and muscles. 

Acupuncture treats low back pain by resetting the nervous system and correcting imbalances. This is especially helpful when the pain has become chronic, because the nervous system gets more and more sensitive to persistent problems, sending louder and louder pain signals to the brain. Acupuncture is effective for helping to turn these alarms back down, resetting the pain signalling to a lower level or helping turn it off entirely. 

Counseling also treats chronic low back pain. When pain has become chronic, it changes the way the brain works. Working through the resulting emotional dysregulation and learning mindfulness and awareness techniques helps clear the effects of long term pain on the brain and nervous system. It also works with other integrative treatments to boost effectiveness. 

Somatics treats low back pain, helping to address dysfunction and maintain positive results from other treatments. Somatics builds awareness of the body and how it moves, so that posture and alignment issues are able to be addressed. Classes and a regular practice are able to stretch and lengthen tight tissues, calm the nervous system and its pain signalling, and teach the body how to move in ways that are more sustainable for long term health. 

Low back pain treatments work with soft tissues and the nervous system to correct imbalances and address dysfunction. Bodywork, acupuncture, counseling, and somatics are all effective, and can be part of a comprehensive treatment plan to address the specific causes of your low back pain.

Restorative practices balance the effects of stress on the body. Stress serves an important role in keeping us alive through threatening circumstances, but it is also a complex biological response that is designed to be temporary and flushed out of the system when the threat has passed. Restorative practices are able to help with that after-stress reset.

Restorative practices use techniques that create space for deep rest in the body and mind. Often, the goal is to create conditions where tension can be released in layers, allowing the body to be held by gravity instead of internal force.

As physical tension releases, the heart rate begins to slow and the breath deepens. The nervous system begins to change modes away from stress and adrenaline responses. Digestion improves and the body sends more nourishment to tissues so that they can repair and heal. The more muscular tension releases, the more blood and oxygen is able to flow through the body.

Restorative practice also nourishes the mind. Deep rest resets the nervous system, which helps calm anxiety. Shifting the nervous system away from stress mode also decreases pain levels, as the nervous system is able to turn the volume down on the pain signals themselves.

Releasing stress and restoring the body and mind to a calm, nourishing state is a key to maintaining and creating health. Restorative practice can take many forms, including classes, bodywork, mindfulness, or other therapies. With enough restoration, we are able to prevent becoming locked into chronic stress patterns and the dysfunction they cause.

Fascia is connective tissue. It connects every part of the body with every other part, wrapping around muscles and holding organs in place. Addressing issues in the fascia can reduce pain, increase range of motion, and help nourish muscles and nerves.

Fascia does not stretch. It is made mostly of collagen fibers, and it responds to how we regularly use our bodies. When we do one thing most of the time, like sit at a desk, the fascia will respond by growing in ways that hold that shape. When we then stand or run or stretch, the adjusted shape of the fascia can make that difficult or painful.

We can change the shape of our fascia by lengthening it. Moving our bodies regularly, especially using our full range of motion, helps the fascia grow in ways that facilitate that movement. Bodywork is also very effective for lengthening fascia. Bodyworkers are able to address shortened tissues and thickened fascia, and ashiatsu (foot pressure) techniques are especially effective for lengthening.

Structural Integration is a form of bodywork that is specifically focused on working with fascia. It works to reorganize the connective tissues of the body. This helps restore range of motion, reduces chronic muscle tension, and can often resolve long standing pain issues.

Fascia can also be changed through hydration. The collagen fibers of fascia are bathed in fluid, mostly lymph. Therapy balls and foam rollers are able to move fluid through the fascia directly. Bodywork also moves it. Applying pressure to the skin pushes fluid through the fascia. This redistributes nutrients and helps hydrate the tissues. In this case, hydration is not about how much water you drink, but about how well that fluid is distributed in the body.

Fascia is a part of the body that literally connects us to ourselves. When it is too tight, too loose, or too thick, it can contribute to a lot of pain and dysfunction. There are proven integrative care techniques to treat fascia, helping to address issues and create health.

Sciatica is pain from the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lumbar spine, through the hip, and down the leg to the foot. The pain can be felt anywhere along the path of the nerve, and can range from minor to severe.

Treatment for sciatica involves working with the structures of the back and hip that may be impinging on the nerve. The piriformis muscle of the hip is the most famous cause of sciatic pain, but it is not the only cause. Our posture, the way we walk, how we sit, and other habitual body habits change how our muscles work together over time, and when those systems become imbalanced, the ways they compensate often cause pain.

Sciatica treatment focuses on releasing tension, freeing adhered tissue, and addressing the structure and range of motion around the sciatic nerve, as well as other related issues that are causing imbalance and stress in the body. Often, a combination of bodywork, acupuncture, and somatic movement can help reduce and often resolve sciatica.

Bodywork works with the tissues directly to free adhesions, restore range of motion, and reduce muscular tension that may be impinging on the nerve. It also increases blood and nutrient flow to the nerve, which helps reduce pain signaling. Bodywork is also able to address complex causes of sciatica, like neck or shoulder tension, that in turn is affecting the hips and low back and so contributing to the pain.

Acupuncture is proven to be effective for pain treatment, including sciatica. It helps tone the nervous system, turning down the volume on pain signals from the nerve to the brain. When the body has been in pain for a while, or the issue has become chronic, the pain signals can get caught in a feedback loop that gets worse over time. Acupuncture is able to safely reset this process, which helps the restore nervous system health.

Somatic movement, like yoga or feldenkrais, brings awareness to where and how the body moves in space. It helps reconnect the brain to movement patterns in the body, and to rejuvenate tissues through movement, stretching, and using a larger range of motion. This in turn reduces tension in the body and helps address dysfunctional movement patterns.

Sciatica can be persistent, painful, and frustrating. Effective treatment understands that it is the result of dysfunction in complex structures of the body and works to release tension, restore function, and rebalance the nervous system in order to manage the pain and create health.

If your feet hurt when you wake up in the morning, especially in the heel, then you probably have plantar fasciitis. It is a symptom of larger problems in how you walk, run, and stand. Though there are many ways to reduce the pain in the short term, effective treatment usually requires working with the structure of the body as a whole, especially the legs, pelvis, and back.

Plantar fasciitis refers to pain in a band of connective tissue along the bottom of the foot called the plantar fascia. It connects the heel to the toes and is an important part of maintaining the arch of the foot. The arch needs to have just the right tension, neither too tight nor too loose, in order to best absorb the impact of the foot on the ground with each step.

Biomechanical issues like imbalanced posture, how you walk, or even the shoes you wear, are usually the main contributors to plantar fasciitis. Your connective tissue (fascia) runs all the way from the bottom of the foot, along the back of the calf and thigh, and continues up the back and neck to the head. Tightness anywhere along this path can in turn tighten the plantar fascia and cause pain.

Bodywork and acupuncture are effective treatments for plantar fasciitis, usually as a series of bodywork sessions supported by acupuncture (depending on the severity of the pain). Treatment begins with releasing tension along the full fascial lines of the body that connect with the feet. This includes working with both muscle and connective tissue to free adhesions and restore function. Treatment also works to increase blood and fluid flow to the plantar fascia, helping to nourish the tissue and reduce the pain caused by blood restriction. Nerve signal regulation also helps to reduce pain sensations while structural issues are addressed.

Plantar Fasciitis is a symptom of larger structural issues in the body, and can be treated effectively through bodywork and acupuncture. By working with the body as a whole, we can understand plantar fasciitis as a symptom of tightness in the back of the body, rather than only a foot issue, and resolve the dysfunction accordingly.

 

Low back pain is a very common health issue, and it tends to be something that people deal with for long stretches of time, sometimes for years or even decades. The conversation around low back pain often sounds mechanical, as if certain body parts are malfunctioning. However, the low back is part of a system of movement, and walking correctly can help correct dysfunction and reduce pain.

In order to treat low back pain, the hips need to rotate when we walk. To do this, make sure your feet and knees are pointing straight ahead, and your legs are swinging straight with each step, not out to the side. A way to practice is to walk on a flat curb, or with your feet on either side of a line painted on the road. Rotating the hips engages the muscles of the low back with each step, and allows the muscles of the hip to release periodically instead of always staying tight. This improves the body mechanics of our entire spine and back, our pelvis, and our core musculature.

When the low back is engaged while walking, it does two things. First, it builds strength and stability in the soft tissue, which then supports and stabilizes the spine. A more supported lumbar spine is less likely to become compressed, pinch nerves, or go out of alignment. Low back engagement while walking also helps to release tension in those muscles. It brings in  blood flow and oxygen, stretching and moving the muscle fibers so that they are less likely to grow rigid or go into spasm.

Part of being able to walk correctly requires building body awareness, which is a skill that many people have not been taught how to have. Bodywork and Somatics classes both help the brain learn how to better sense where the body is in space and how it is moving. Once we can sense that, we can begin to adjust our movement patterns in order to better support our health.

Learning to walk correctly can effectively treat back pain because our bodies are made to move. When we move with correct alignment and muscle engagement, we free up our natural ability to function and heal. This in turn reduces pain and works to create health.

We are an integrative health clinic, with 5 Domains, or pillars, of care. All of our therapies are evidence-based, which means that they are proven to be effective. We are also a collaborative practice, which means that our therapists work together for your care. We communicate with each other, and with your doctors as needed, about your treatments. This helps each treatment build on the one before to be more effective and support your health goals.

Our 5 Domains are:

Bodywork at Ha.Lé is evidence-based massage treatment for health. It blends ashiatsu, neuromuscular, myofascial release, structural integration, cupping therapy, and sports massage techniques, which means we are able to specifically address what is happening in your body. It is not a spa treatment just for relaxation, but a way to reduce pain, increase range of motion, and address spine, joint, and posture issues.

Somatics are movement-based therapies, offered mostly as classes, series, and workshops at Ha.Lé. Using techniques from yoga, tai chi, qigong, Feldenkrais, and body rolling, Somatics addresses how the body moves. It increases awareness of where the body is in space and how it moves through space, and can make those movement patterns more effortless. It also improves the health of muscle and tissue to reduce pain and increase relaxation.  

Acupuncture stimulates points on the body to regulate systems and address dysfunction. It uses techniques including needling, cupping, tui na, and herbal supplement formulas to help rebalance the body. This helps regulate physiological systems like digestion, cardiovascular, and endocrine. It reduces pain levels, improves sleep, and increases relaxation.

Nutrition offers guidance on eating from an integrative perspective. It focuses not only on quantity, but the quality of food for nourishment, and what foods work best for your particular constitution. Based in Ayurvedic practices, it is Health at Every Size and Intuitive Eating compatible. It treats food allergies and intolerances and chronic illness like celiac, IBS, and heart disease. 

Counseling offers mental and emotional solutions that incorporate psychotherapy, mindfulness-based practices, and cognitive behavioral therapy. We see individuals, couples, and families of all ages to treat anxiety, depression, addiction, trauma, grief, and LGBTQ issues.

Our immune systems are crucial to staying healthy and feeling good, and they can be especially challenged when the weather changes. Bouncing temperatures and frequent rain can make us more vulnerable to viruses. Here are ways to support our immune systems to keep us healthy.

Treat Stress

When we feel high stress or chronic stress, it makes it hard to fend off viruses. Stress diverts resources away from immune function as the body decides that it needs to survive the immediate crisis that is causing stress first, and then it will worry about germs. Lowering cortisol and other stress hormone levels helps the immune system come back up to speed. Bodywork, acupuncture, and restorative classes are all great ways to reduce stress in the body.

Move Lymph

Our lymph system moves pathogens and other waste out of our bodies, and helps spread white blood cells throughout the system. Bodywork is especially helpful for moving lymph through the body, bringing new nutrients into tissues and supporting immune function. Movement classes and going for walks also help lymph circulate for healthy immune function.

Nourish Yourself

A lot of immune function is rooted in the gut and the digestive system. Using nutrients like vitamin C to boost the body in the moment can be helpful. It is also important to work on your digestive health overall, before you feel like your body is trying to fight something off. Acupuncture can help regulate digestive function, and nutrition counseling can help you address gut inflammation, dietary imbalances, and food issues.

When we support our immune systems so that they can function well, we are less likely to get sick from viruses. By managing our stress levels, keeping our lymph system flowing, and nourishing our digestive and other health, we can keep our immune system strong and balanced.  

Our bodies use pain to tell us there is a problem that needs to be addressed. Pain can come from things like repetitive motion, poor posture, highly active lifestyles, and accidental injuries. It can be a short term issue, or last for a while. The good news is that there are direct ways to treat and reduce pain levels through integrative care.

Injury: Recovering from an injury is sometimes a frustrating process that takes longer than we would like. Supporting the body through this process involves both gently working with the injury, and releasing tension from the other parts of the body that are compensating while the injury heals. Bodywork therapies can directly reduce inflammation, relieve tension, and nourish the injury with blood and nutrients. Classes help build awareness of new movement patterns and relieve tension, and Acupuncture can reduce pain signals and promote overall balance for affected systems of the body.

Athletic Performance: Highly active lifestyles like running, rock climbing, and kayaking push your body to higher levels of performance and fun. This means your body needs extra recovery in order to prevent injuries. Classes to support full relaxation, rebalancing, and core strength help the body recover and nourish itself. Bodywork and Cupping Therapy help improve recovery time and can increase athletic performance.

Aging: Small imbalances accumulate into aches and pains over time, which means that getting older often means increased pain from years of repetitive motions, posture habits, and old injuries. Bodywork can help treat and rebalance the causes of these various aches and pains. Acupuncture is effective for reducing pain levels overall, and addressing underlying dysfunctions. Classes reinvigorate and reactivate the body, improve muscle tone and balance, and help develop awareness of movement patterns.

Integrative care offers effective ways to treat pain from injuries, athletic performance, and aging. It supports the body’s own healing processes and increases your internal sense of wellbeing, partnering with you in your care in order to create health.

Our bodies have posture, which means that we resist the pull of gravity by holding our body in a certain shape. A healthy posture gives us ease and economy of motion, helps with coordination, and provides a balance between stability and mobility.

How we move can affect our posture. Think about typing at a keyboard all day, and how that can round the shoulders and move the head forward. These movements train our muscles into certain patterns, which changes our posture, and then our posture affects the shape of even more movements.

Over time, posture issues can get locked into chronic holding patterns in our muscles. This causes ongoing muscle tension and discomfort, from where we are holding ourselves in less than optimal ways. For example, our spine is designed to stack, vertebra by vertebra, to provide a structure that helps support our relatively heavy head. When we lean our head forward off that stack, the muscles in our neck and shoulders compensate. For every inch forward, it is as if the head is 10 pounds heavier!

There are several ways to address posture issues and retrain the body. Mindfulness is one of the most broadly practiced methods. This can be done through reminding yourself to notice your posture every so often throughout the day. It can also be practiced in movement class or during other activities. Notice which muscles you are using, and see if you can shift that movement so that it comes from the core instead of the extremity. Somatics and Feldenkrais also really help connect awareness to movement in order to correct imbalanced patterns.

In addition to mindfulness and therapeutic movement techniques, bodywork that addresses fascia can be very helpful for posture issues. Structural Integration and Myofascial Release techniques help adjust the connective tissues that hold the body in the shape it is used to, releasing old impingements and adhesions to free up range of motion.

Working on healthy posture is progressive. The more you can learn to engage the right muscles and release tension from less healthy patterns, the better your posture will be. It is often a process of cultivating awareness, and can have tremendous benefits for overall health and wellbeing.