More effortless movement is possible, freeing us from daily aches and pains. Discomfort is not normal; it is a message from your body that it is time for support and treatment!
Creating health is not always about how hard we push ourselves. Our bodies also require gentleness. Staying active is important, but so is giving the body opportunities to reconnect, to recover, and to retrain old patterns. Gentle therapies speak to the body in important ways that high energy activities cannot.
Using the interconnection between mind and body, Mind Body Therapy uses daily practice of simple, gentle techniques to effectively treat specific mental and physical health concerns.
Mind Body Therapy is a therapeutic somatic or yoga practice, specifically designed to address your personal health goals. It can be compared to a cross between physical therapy, yoga, and meditation.
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 practice is a proven way to offer the body and mind opportunities for deep rest. This rest then turns the complex systems of the body away from stress, creating space for deep healing and rebalancing.
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.
Therapy balls address and support the body, helping to reduce pain, release tension, nourish tissues, and address structural issues. They are helpful for regular self-care practice, to address chronic tension areas, and as a supplement to other integrative care.
A therapy ball can be rolled along a tight muscle or pressed into a trigger point, addressing the tissue in a way that is similar to bodywork. Because of its shape, the ball is able to stretch the muscle fibers in all three directions, working efficiently to release tension. With the right positioning, you can control how deep you are working with the ball in order to find what works best for you.
Therapy balls can also be used to support the release of deep tension in the structure of the body. When partially deflated, they are able to provide a unique support to complex structures, like the sacrum or diaphragm. This kind of supportive stimulation allows stabilizers to release and engage in new ways, and can help connective tissue adjust in order to create space and improve range of motion.
Balls are also able to stimulate blood, lymph, and nutrient flow in order to nourish tissues. A lot of muscle and nerve pain is related to restricted blood flow, usually because muscle tension is blocking circulation to those tissues. The pressure of a therapy ball squeezes older fluids out of the tissue so that a fresh supply of blood, oxygen, and other nutrients can flow back in.
Therapy balls are an effective component of integrative care. They are easy to use at home to address tension, muscle pain, and achy joints. Balls are also effective for prolonging and supporting the benefits of bodywork sessions, and are often incorporated in more complex ways into somatics classes.
Mindful rest and conscious relaxation creates a cascade of health benefits in the body. This is because our bodies and minds function best when they have a chance to reset themselves. Crucial processes for maintaining health engage best when we allow our bodies and minds to come into deep rest.
From a stress perspective, our biology is designed to experience stress as a response to an immediate threat. When that immediate threat passes, our stress response ramps back down and the body returns to a calmer, more relaxed state. However, modern stress involves few immediate threats and a lot of ongoing, low-level threats, which means that we don’t usually complete the stress cycle and return to the relaxed state.
This is why mindful rest is such a powerful practice. Our mind is one of our main means of assessing threats, and we can redirect that mental energy toward rest instead. Not only does it help turn off a driver of escalating stress responses, but helps to actively counter those responses with feelings of rest, relaxation, and safety.
When we consciously turn our attention to resting and releasing tension from the mind and body, it helps reset the nervous system. The heart rate slows, breath deepens, and blood pressure lowers. Tension begins to drain out of the diaphragm, the pelvis, and the neck and shoulders. As muscles relax, nutrients, oxygen, and blood are able to circulate more freely to nourish and repair tissue. When tension releases along the spine, vertebra are able to make subtle adjustments toward alignment. The nervous system is also able to turn down the volume on pain signals to the brain and improve regulation of body systems like digestion, circulation, and sleep.
The more we practice mindfully resting, the better we are able to teach ourselves how to relax. We are using neuroplasticity, or the brain’s ability to learn and change, in order to cultivate stronger paths to relaxation in the nervous system. Over time, this changes our habits and patterns of stress and tension, allowing us to return to a restful state more easily.
Mindful rest and conscious relaxation is a practice, which means that it is most effective when done regularly and on purpose. By peeling away layers of stress and unwinding tension, we are able to support the natural biological processes that support and create health.