Archive for January 2012

Are you ready to play?

January 28, 2012

When Pete Egoscue was doing his weekly radio show, one of my favorite questions he would ask callers was “What are you going to do for fun today?”

And it was really interesting to hear the comments. Some people had a ready response and you could hear the joy in their voice as they answered the question. Others were almost stunned, as if they had no idea what fun was or how to have it. Why do you think Pete asked that question?

From my perspective, it’s really important to find things in life that bring you joy, that help transport you into that place where time and “stress” doesn’t exist. Think back to the last thing you did that you would consider “playful”. Maybe it was playing with your kids or grandkids, maybe it was playing golf or tennis or basketball, or maybe going for a hike or a run around a beautiful lake or on a scenic trail. Maybe it was going into the backyard and playing with your dog. How did you feel? If you have some kind of pain issue you are working on, how did your pain feel when you were playing? I’ll bet you barely noticed it, or that at least it was diminished. How quickly did time pass by? Did it drag on, or fly? I’ll bet it flew for you.

Research shows that when we are playful, it doesn’t just help our mental health, it helps our physical health. Play triggers a series of biochemical responses that nourishes our adrenals, strengthens our immune system, lowers cortisol levels in the body, reduces inflammatory markers, and generates a host of other changes.

Now, a question. When you play, do you really play or do you use play as another opportunity to “grind”? I used to play golf regularly, but I realized I was never actually “playing” golf, I was “doing” golf, just grinding away, experiencing some satisfaction with good shots, and experiencing a lot of frustration on not so good shots. It never felt like play to me, so I laid it down and picked back up the game I really love, tennis. Most of the time, tennis DOES feel like play to me. But I need to be careful, especially when playing matches. The weight of expectation can lay heavy on my shoulders and sometimes I find myself getting tense and frustrated. “How could you hit THAT shot in that situation, are you an idiot?” Great self talk, huh? Sure sounds like playfulness, doesn’t it? Not!

So I found the advice in the email newsletter I got this morning to be right on point and I wanted to share it with you. I’m going to try out the techniques listed below and I encourage you to try them as well. Let’s put the fun back into our play. Now, what are YOU going to do to have fun today? Go play!


Welcome to Health Sparks
When was the last time you played playfully?

“Played what?” you might ask. “Tennis, cards, the guitar, a good crossword puzzle?”

Could be. It’s also possible to embody the spirit of playfulness while doing your job.

But when you’re playing with a grim determination to excel, you’re not being playful.

Playful: “liking play; prone to play, like a child or kitten; experimental; frolicsome,” says the dictionary. “Lighthearted, in the now, letting go of judgment, gently poking fun at oneself,” adds the spiritual master.

Experts agree that playfulness makes life better:

It is a sign of health among animals. Scientists say the healthier and safer the herd feels, the more they play.

Playfulness is one of the signs of a marriage that is likely to last, according to relationship researcher Dr. John Gottman. It can ease tension during times of stress.

“Playfulness motivates people to learn mathematics and makes them more likely to own what they learn,” says the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics.

People who practice “laughter yoga” reduce their blood pressure as well as the stress they feel.

Finally, playfulness made the short list of the 24 most important human strengths identified by researchers in the Positive Psychology movement.
Are you ready to play?

Try these exercises from our Euphoria! personal learning course to move you into the safe, lighthearted space where playfulness thrives.

1) Take a deep breath and raise your shoulders up to your ears. As you exhale, drop your shoulders and make the sound “Ahhhhhhhh.”
Do it one more time. Feel as if you’ve let go of a large burden. You’re free. Let that feeling flow down through your body to the soles of your feet and out. Ahhhhhhhh.

2) Now gently smile, remember some experience that gave you great satisfaction, and make the sound “Hmmmm,” the sound we make when something is absolutely delicious.

Notice the breath deep in your belly. Put that smile in the corners of your eyes and the corners of your mouth, and make that happy hum again.
Feel the breath flowing in, through every part of your body, into your belly, expanding your lower abdomen. Then exhale, Hmmmmm, and feel the breath flowing out through every part of you, expanding your field of vision and your sense of possibility.

Now, ask yourself, “What’s the right way for me to add a dash of playfulness to my life right now?”

The answer is inside you.

Have fun!

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School lunches from around the world

January 18, 2012

Wow, check this out. Most of the rest of the world feeds their kids actual food. Look at the photos of school lunches from a variety of different countries. The USA is last.

We have to do better!

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Do cortisone shots make things worse?

January 16, 2012

I believe they do.

I’ve told clients before, inflammation is not the problem. What is causing the inflammation is the problem. Focusing on inflammation is like focusing on the red warning light on your dashboard telling you to check your engine oil. Well, how much sense would it make to put a piece of tape over the warning light so you couldn’t see it, thus declaring victory of the problem because now you can’t see that pesky warning light? Well the answer is obvious, it wouldn’t make much sense at all. You have done nothing to address the actual problem, right? The same holds true with inflammation. Let’s say you have tennis elbow, or maybe hip pain. From our perspective, you have those pains because your body has lost postural balance so those joints are incurring unacceptable amounts of ongoing friction as you use them. And guess what happens with you present a joint with constant, excessive friction? That’s right: inflammation. So now guess what happens if you inject the joint and chemically suppress the body’s ability to inflame the joint? Well, you’ll probably feel better for a short time, but the pain will almost invariably return, and when it does, it is often worse than it was before. Why? Because the joint IS worse! The friction was still present but you couldn’t feel it, so you did all those things that caused it to hurt before but now you didn’t get the pain signal that told you to stop running or playing tennis and the joint began to structurally degrade. Now the chemical wears off and, put simply, you’re screwed.

Now a new study has come out talking about the impact of cortisone on the healing process and guess what they’re finding? Those who get cortisone injections get to a point of complete recovery MUCH more slowly than those who do not get the injections. It would appear that cortisone actually impairs the body’s ability to repair and regenerate. You can read the study here.

Folks, if you hurt, stop chasing symptoms. Give us a call and allow us to help you figure out the core reason why you hurt, then let’s map out a plan to give your body precisely what it’s asking for so that it can heal itself and you can get back to doing all those things you love to do!

Don’t settle for a life of pain and limitation. 2012 can be a great year for you. It’s time to step up and get your body right! We look forward to partnering with you to help you become pain free in 2012!

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