Plantar Fasciitis

Posted February 1, 2016 by Rick
Categories: Egoscue

Tags: , , ,

Do you or someone you know suffer from plantar fasciitis? If so, then you know how debilitating that kind of pain can be. On the surface of it, what is happening is the muscles and fascia on the bottom of the foot have gotten tight and inflamed and it can REALLY hurt.  The typical medical treatments include trying to stretch the tissue, ice it, use anti-inflammatory medication to reduce the inflammation, and my ‘favorite’ (sarcasm alert), the use of orthotics to restrict the ability of the foot to, well, be a foot.

The problem is that none of those things address WHY the tissue has become tight and inflamed.  In every single case I’ve see of plantar fascitis in our clinic, there is a postural imbalance in the body that is causing one or both feet to dysfunctionally interact with the ground. I’ve never once seen a proper, normal, healthy and functional foot strike in someone with plantar fascitis. Not once.  Until you address why the foot is being put into a dysfunctional position, the problem will persist. Put a bit differently, in almost every case I’ve seen, the foot is not the culprit, it’s the victim. 

To start making this better, we need to get the foot, ankle, knee and hip talking to each other again and we need to restore both strength and mobility to the foot itself. This video will show you 3 simple ecises to start that process. If your feet are hurting, give them a try!

A tremendous gift from a client

Posted December 19, 2015 by Rick
Categories: Egoscue, Testimonials

I’ve got a client, Peg. She started working with us over a year ago, came in with a variety of pain issues. Then her husband, Jim, started having some very serious health challenges and she needed to cancel her next appointments so she could stay with him in the hospital. After a brief time, he passed away.  It had been probably a year or so since we’d last seen her smiling face in our clinic, and then this last week she came walking in. She looked terrific, strong, healthy and happy, a very vibrant woman. I went up to the waiting area up front and gave her a hug and asked what was up. She said she’d written a card to send to me but decided she wanted to hand deliver it, and if it was ok, to read it to me in person. I invited her back to my office and she read me her note. 

Wow.  To say I was moved would be an understatement. What she wrote blessed and honored me, it touched me deeply. And with her permission I’m sharing it below.

We who do Egoscue therapy do it to make a living, no doubt. Everyone’s gotta pay their bills, right? But it’s a beautiful thing when you truly love what you do, and when what you do can make a positive difference in people’s lives. Pete started doing this therapy decades ago because in it he found a way to be of profound service to people who genuinely needed it. Those of us who carry on that work do it for the same reason. Whether you work with us at the Austin clinic, or you go to one of the other terrific Egoscue clinics around the US, or in Japan or Mexico, you are working with people who love what they do and are deeply, genuinely committed to your well being, to helping YOU get your life back. 

Please, don’t settle for a life of pain and limitation. It can be better. It should be better, and we’d sincerely love to help you in that journey.  And now, here’s Peg:

 

Dear Rick, It’s a few days before Christmas and I was thinking about people to whom I’d like to give a special thanks, and you came to mind. I am going to hand deliver this so you can see the difference in my body and my life that you made. Because of you and Egoscue, I have my life back. Because you helped me so much by focusing on my specific, individual issues (bad posture, overcompensating, doing the wrong exercises, etc.), I learned how to realign, strengthen and adjust, which got me back to my gym. In the past few years I dance more, do cardio and have improved my physical and emotional state. My resting heart rate is 55. My blood pressure is lower, my cholesterol much improved. I feel great. I have lost 30 lbs. I have more energy.

The last few years with Jim were the best, and part of that has to do with physical well being. Six weeks before he died we hiked the Lost Mine Trail in Big Bend and I am so glad we could do that. Without Egoscue, I could not have managed. Because of my physical strength (which enhances emotional well-being) I was strong enough to manage lost sleep and endure physical rigors of his hospital care. We were able to be fully present to one another, to say every word that needed to be said, to even do a last “hand dance.” You were a part of all of this and I wanted you to know how you improved our quality of life. Thank you, Peg

Survey on the effects of chronic pain

Posted September 14, 2015 by Rick
Categories: About Our Clinic, Egoscue

 

Thanks to Beth, our office manager, for forwarding me this article. And wow, the results of the survey are indeed staggering.

https://www.yahoo.com/health/survey-findings-highlight-the-staggering-toll-of-128057394882.html

Chronic pain exacts a tremendous toll both on the individuals experiencing it and society as a whole. Far too many people are struggling to find a way out, a way to get their lives back. This was me many years ago when I started as a client with Egoscue. You can read my story here.

If you are living with constant, chronic pain that is keeping you from leading the life you want to live, I urge you to give our clinic (or the Egoscue clinic nearest you) a call. Tell us your story, let us know what’s going on and ask us if we think we can help you. If we don’t, we’ll tell you and we’ll give you some suggestions on whom we think might be able to help. This is what we do, and over the years we’ve developed relationships with a lot of different practitioners of many different modalities. We have zero interest in being the sole means by which someone gets out of pain. If we can help, it’s our privilege to do it. If the problem isn’t something we think we can help with, then we will help you find someone who can help.  Our goal isn’t to get you into the clinic. Our goal is to help you get your life back.

You can email us at austin@egoscue.com, or call the clinic at 512.527.0030.  We’d genuinely love to connect with you.

Friends don’t let friends wear sandals

Posted September 7, 2015 by Rick
Categories: Egoscue, General, Uncategorized


Note: this excellent post was created by Katie Phillips, one of the terrific therapists in our clinic. And a special shout out to her husband for helping with the photos and videos!


At Egoscue Austin, we’ve been thinking a lot about your feet.  No, not about your nail polish or the length of your toenails–we’re thinking about foot function and position.  Twenty-five percent of the bones of the human body are in the foot.  The foot is capable of the same amount of mobility as the hand, it’s just that most of us don’t utilize all this potential.  


Look for more posts in the future on feet, like getting the most out of your Foot Circles & Point/Flexes, and additional footwear tips.  For today, we will talk about sandals or flip-flops.  

Flip-flops are the go-to shoe for many Austinites.  They are comfortable, relatively inexpensive, and convenient.  However, they can wreak havoc on the body.  Why?  To keep the thing from flip-flopping right off your foot you have to use all kinds of accessory muscles and joints.  There are the two main problems.  First, the toes have to clench and grab to hold the flip flop on.  This toe grabbing can cause symptoms like plantar fasciitis and hammertoes.   The second problem is that if the back leg is not pushing off with the toes, it is also not extending at the hip joint.  Hip joint extension is where we get to utilize our powerful glute muscles to help stabilize the pelvis and drive the leg forward into the next step.  Without proper hip extension power, the low back, hip, knees, ankles, and feet have to twist and rotate to swing the back leg around to the front.  The torque at the back, hip, and all the joints below leads to pain in these areas.

While walking, it is important for the toes to spread apart and push off, helping to extend the hip, which propels the leg forward into the next step.  Think about this the next time you walk.  And if you aren’t already, make walking a part of your daily activity intake.   


Take a look at this video of walking in flip flops.  Notice how the back leg never gets fully extended because that would cause the shoe to fall of.  This person can not generate power from their glutes and hamstrings to push off and move the body forward effectively.  They are essentially falling forward onto their front leg.  It’s not hard to imagine how this could lead to joint pain.

 

 

By contrast, wearing minimal shoes that fasten around the heel allow for greater extension and power generation at the hip joint.  Also, the toes can spread and create an even, stable base to push off the ground and drive the leg forward into the next step. 


So what to wear when you walk?  Where it is safe, barefoot is best.  If you want to protect your feet but be as bare as possible, choose shoes with a flat, thin, and flexible sole that also has backing on the heel.  The binding on the heel will keep the shoe on your foot and free the toes to fulfill their important push-off function.  The ability to get good toe push-off and hip extension equals happy feet, ankles, knees, hips and back.


In the photo below, look at how the toes have to grab to keep the flip flop on the foot.  

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And here, look at the toe spread. This is a happy foot!


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If you would like specific recommendations for footwear please feel free to contact us here at the clinic 512-527-0030 or austin@egoscue.com.  Happy walking!

Some new pics!

Posted December 27, 2014 by Rick
Categories: About Our Clinic, Egoscue

Hey guys, we just had a photographer into the clinic to do some updated shots. I’ll post a few pics below of our team. We’re blessed, over the years we’ve had a lot of great people work with us. The team we have now, though, is the best we’ve ever had. It’s a great thing to love what you do, and even better to love the people you get to do it with!  My wife Theresa and I are thrilled to have Beth, Annie and Katie in the clinic with us. If you’ve never been to our clinic or worked with us via Skype, we’d love to meet you!

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The Power of your Heart

Posted September 27, 2014 by Rick
Categories: General

I’ve passed along the newsletters from Learning Strategies Corporation from time to time. I’m a fan of their work. This showed up in my inbox this morning from their “Health Sparks” newsletter and the message really resonated with me to the point I wanted to share it with you all.

One advantage I have over the average person is sample size. Because I work with people in pain for a living, I see patterns that an individual dealing with their own issues might not see. And here’s one pattern I see repeated in our clinic every week: someone is in severe, chronic pain but at the core of their issue is an emotional wound they will not allow to heal. That emotional wound then bleeds into their physical reality and creates wounds at that level. They can do all the Egoscue routines they want, but until they heal at an emotional/spiritual level, their pain will persist.

I want to be clear, that’s NOT everybody. For a lot of people, that knee pain is simply the product of a mispositioned knee and once we apply the right corrective exercises, things immediately get better. But I see a number of clients where their posture and function is improving but their symptom persists. And I’ve seen such cases where the person had a breakthrough of some kind, where they realized they were holding a grudge or harboring a resentment that had festered over the years, and when they laid it down they were amazed at how quickly they felt better, physically.

So, here you go. I’d encourage you to ask yourself, are you holding any resentments? Is there someone in your life you need to forgive? If so, follow the advice below and see what happens. I’ll bet life gets a lot better on a number of levels.

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Welcome to Health Sparks
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Every day your heart, a muscle roughly the size of a fist, pumps about 2,000 gallons of oxygen-rich blood to cells throughout your body to keep you alive. As amazing as the physiology of it is, this primary organ of the circulatory system does so much more.
“The heart is the miracle maker,” says teacher, healer, and Qigong master Chunyi Lin. “The heart accounts for 90 percent of our body’s energy, the mind only 10 percent.”
In fact, research at the Institute of HeartMath has revealed:
  • The heart generates the largest electromagnetic field in the body, as measured in an electrocardiogram, and it’s about 100 times greater in amplitude than the brain waves recorded in an electroencephalogram.
  • The heart’s electromagnetic energy can be detected and measured several feet away from a person’s body, and between two people in close proximity.
  • Information transferred from the heart’s electromagnetic field changes based on the emotions experienced.
HeartMath studies “heart coherence,” a state in which the heart, mind, and emotions are in harmonious alignment, and the impact of this state on health and human performance.
“The heart connects us to the infinite and universal source of energy and serves as a keen advisor,” says Chunyi, creator of Spring Forest Qigong. “When we surrender to its advice, it is very powerful.”
Chunyi’s own experience is a clear example. During the Cultural Revolution in China, his childhood turned terrifying when his parents were arrested and he and his siblings were driven from their home in wintertime.
They were forced to live in the streets with no food, as bullets and bombs exploded near their hiding places. Family members even suffered torture. Chunyi lived in fear and was full of anger, which he carried for many years.
As a young man, Chunyi was depressed and suicidal. Injuries left him with severe arthritis in his knees and bone spurs in his back and neck. He could barely walk.
Chunyi had practiced Qigong, and he wanted to heal. One day he joined 15,000 people who gathered in a soccer stadium with a powerful Qigong master for a day of meditation and healing.
“He told us if you want to heal faster and more completely, open your heart. Forgive in your heart those people who hurt you,” Chunyi recalled. “And I said, ‘No way! Those people with a gun to our heads wanted to kill us. How could I ever forgive them?'”
If forgiveness seemed impossible, the Qigong master instructed, “Then just pretend to forgive them.” So Chunyi did.
“I imagined inviting each person to stand before me and telling them, ‘At this moment, I just pretend I love and forgive you.’ I repeated it over and over. ‘I pretend I love and forgive you.’ Later on there was a gigantic opening in my heart. The long forgotten love, kindness, and forgiveness came flooding back to me. It was a great warmth, like a current of energy, starting from my heart and washing like a river down my back and over my knees.”
When the workshop ended that evening, Chunyi stood up with a sudden realization. “A miracle had happened! My knee pain was almost gone. I ran and jumped about the soccer field like a kid — I was so happy. My arthritis was healed, my bone spurs in my back and neck were gone, and my suicidal depression went away. All the people I had hated before, I now loved from my heart. Now I live in peace and joy every day, every minute.”
Forgiveness is love in action. Forgiveness allows you to release anger, the number one cause of serious energy blockages that can lead to all sorts of illness and disease. “Just from a selfish perspective, you are the one to benefit,” Chunyi says.
And when you forgive someone, you give that person a chance to become a better person. “Your blessing is powerful. At the universal level, it is not between you and another person; it is between you and your god. At the universal level, everything is energy. We are all equal. That is why forgiveness is so powerful.”
On a larger scale, forgiveness brings more joy to your community. As Chunyi likes to say, “You become a ‘love radiator.’ You carry this healing love energy in your heart wherever you go, and because of you, other people feel better.”
When you assess your own life, do you find anger or resentment within? Are you willing and able to open your heart and extend forgiveness to others? If not now, then follow the master’s advice — just pretend — and experience how the warmth of love fills your being!
 

Stand up for mental health!

Posted August 4, 2014 by Rick
Categories: Egoscue, General, Nutrition and Health

i subscribe to an email newsletter from The Learning Strategies Corporation and i thought i’d share something they sent me a few weeks ago. Here’s their newsletter, then i’ll conclude with a comment below it:

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Welcome to Health Sparks
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
How many hours did you spend sitting yesterday? Consider your drive to work, time spent at your desk, an afternoon meeting, gathering around the dinner table, and catching the nightly news.
For many, it adds up quickly. And it could be taking a toll on your mental and emotional wellbeing.
Your brain’s functioning depends on blood flow, which is decreased by prolonged sitting, says Linda Wasmer Andrews, author of the Encyclopedia of Depression, in an article published in Psychology Today. Andrews sites three recent studies that have assessed the psychological effects of sitting:
  1. In a study of over 3,000 government employees in Tasmania, Australia, those who sat over six hours each workday scored higher on the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale, which measures anxiety and depression experienced in the past four weeks, than those who sat less than six hours per day. The results were consistent, regardless of the participants’ activity levels outside of work.
  2. The American Journal of Preventive Medicine studied 9,000 women in their fifties and found those who sat seven hours or more per day and were otherwise physically inactive were three times more likely to suffer from depression than those who sat fewer than four hours per day. “The relationship between sitting and depression may be a two-way street,” says Andrews. Depression decreases a person’s energy and motivation, and prolonged sitting is likely to make it worse.
  3. Researchers from the Society of Behavior Medicine studied men and women to determine if time spent sitting outside of work—watching TV, using a computer, riding in a vehicle, and socializing—impacted mental wellbeing. For women, non-work hours spent sitting, regardless of which activity, had a negative effect. For men, only non-work hours spent on a computer had significant negative impact.
“Consider how you spend your free time: It’s important to make time for the gym or a regular run. But don’t count on even a daily half-hour of exercise to completely cancel out the unhealthy, unhappy effects of 11 hours in a chair,” says Andrews. “If you have a desk job, seek opportunities to add more activity breaks to your day.”
Even breaks as short as a minute can help.

*********************************************

The more we learn about sitting, folks, the more we find how damaging it is to our health, and this study talks about its impact on our spirits. One thing i love about this is where it says “even breaks as short as a minute can help.  If you’re a client of an Egoscue clinic and you sit a lot for whatever reason, ask your therapist to give you a short menu to help counteract your sitting time. if i have a client, for example, who has a deskjob i’ll give them an “office menu” where i give them very short things they can do during their day to break up and counteract the limited motion patterns of extended sitting. Your therapist will be happy to give you one if they haven’t already.

 

So now that you’ve read this blog post, get up and move!


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