Health & Wellness Blog

    

5 Benefits of Barefoot Running

More and more runners are going shoeless and embracing the barefoot running culture. Although barefoot running is not new, it has recently came in to spotlight after lot of research and exploration on the concept.

According to a study on barefoot running by Daniel E. Lieberman, a Harvard Professor, it was found that people wearing running shoes are more prone to strike the ground with their heel first. This results in tremendous impact on knee and ankle joints. Whereas in barefoot runners, they are more prone to strike the ground with mid-foot or front foot, which avoids forceful impacts on the joints.

Check out Lieberman's video on the science of barefoot running below:

Shoes a Modern Day Menace to Runners?

With the invention of running shoes, millions of heel strikers have evolved. This has lead to a high potential of getting injured from running.

In barefoot running, strides not only become more efficient (and less impactful), but barefoot runners tend to use tiny muscles of the legs and feet, which helps in keeping critical running muscles well-toned and well-shaped.

Advantages of Barefoot Running

For those considering making the switch from sneakers to barefoot running, there are many advantages that can be gained. Below are 5 benefits of barefoot running.

Increase running efficiency

Research has shown that running efficiency is increased by 4% when you run barefoot. This is due to the unrestricted function of the foot without wearing supportive footwear. Running barefoot allows you to expand your foot and toes naturally, making your foot a strong base that can sustain all of your movements.

Today's modern running shoes consist of thick, padded base that cause a unnatural stride resulting in heel strike movement. Barefoot running shoes are available that can help you in running barefoot.

Minimize the chances of injury

While you are running without your shoes, you have greater awareness of your foot position on the ground and increased leverage, which reduces the risk of getting ankle sprains and injuries. For example, while you are running barefoot on hard surfaces, your feet automatically give the response of plantar-flexing, which gives a softer landing. This helps in preventing shin splints. It also reduces the risk of getting bunions that occur when the big toe is trapped in tight, padded shoes.

Improve stability and balance

Barefoot running improves balance and coordination by activating smaller muscles in your ankles, feet and legs. You can feel the texture, the irregularities and the temperature of the ground and your feet suits itself to the circumstances, which makes them strong and agile.

Strengthen muscles, ligaments and tendons

Running bare foot will stretch and strengthen the calf muscle and Achilles tendon, which further reduces the risk of Achilles tendonitis and calf pulls.

Feel free and primitive

Apart from the physical health benefits that you get by running barefoot, you can also experience the fun and feel of every step you make on the ground. You can feel dew, sand, asphalt on your feet and enjoy the nature in its best form. 

Nowadays, many shoe companies are manufacturing barefoot style running shoes that enable the function and experience of running barefoot, while also protect your feet from outside harmful elements. It is a new alternative for those who want to avoid high impact injuries.

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Somatic Education and Sensory-Motor Amnesia

Somatic education is a means of learning how to properly function and coordinate one's body through sensory motor awareness.

While the term "Somatic" refers to an individual's ability to sense his or her inner processes, education in this practice reflects the learning and increased ability to sense oneself from within. The underlying connection to Somatic Education is mind-body integration, which in turn enhances natural control of the body's muscular system. This can provide more efficiency as well as flow of energy through improved physiological functioning.

The video above is from Somatics.com. It was created by Lawrence Gold, a Hanna Somatic practitioner.

In numerous cases the Somatic education approach has been useful in overcoming chronic pain, as well as improving physical performance. One of the chronic conditions alleviated through this approach is the Sensory-Motor Amnesia (SMA).

What is Sensory-Motor Amnesia?

Sensory-motor amnesia is a state under which we lose our sense of muscular activity and control due to habituated movements. The amnesia occurs as certain muscles take more control of others, causing the inactive muscle to be less effective, and often times tight and sometimes painful.

With Sensory-Motor Amnesia, one is left with a sensation of pain and stiffness in a part of the body without the sense of the action of the muscles causing it. The remedy to this condition is to learn how to sense the muscular actions causing the pain and consequently learning how to control those muscular actions.

Prevalence of Sensory-Motor Amnesia

It is not uncommon for an individual during his or her lifetime to lose a certain degree of awareness in certain muscles. This is often times because we subconsciously hold muscles tight, without being fully aware of it.

However what we are aware of is the pain or soreness, as well as skewed bodily movement. Somatics seeks to overcome that unawareness, and train our minds to recognize those muscles that are being held tight. 

Role of Somatic Education for SMA

Somatics is essentially a method of mind-body training that aids in overcoming common health difficulties that would otherwise be remedied through physical therapy, chiropractic, osteopathy, massage therapy among other treatments.

In the case of Sensory-Motor Amnesia, Somatic education supersedes the traditional physical therapy approaches of stretching and strengthening of muscles to alleviate muscular spasticity. Unlike the standard physical therapies that accentuate strength and flexibility, Somatic education puts an emphasis on control and release of muscular tension.

In addition, while most therapies will use stretching, Somatic education helps one learn to relax which translates to longer lasting and greater freedom of movement.

Practicing Somatics

There are many techniques that have been proven for Somatic education. Body-mind centering is a Somatic approach that relies on experiential anatomy, breathing, use of movement, and our perceptions. Many techniques of somatic education focus to train people on how to make habit changes while using your body with more ease and freedom.

A process of learn-by-doing making various techniques based on movement and sensation is employed during Somatic training. This enhances a sense of awareness to the body parts to feel more intensely thus encouraging a more clearly defined and voluntary control of the muscles. The results of Somatic training is actually self-perpetuating and improves with continuous practice.

Somatics greatly depends on an individual's self-awareness and thus ability to better control his or her muscular control. To learn more about Somatic education, visit Somatics.com.

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First Aid Tips for Broken Bones

First Aid Broken BoneBroken bones and fractures are injuries requiring immediate medical attention. They are dangerous enough as it is because of the nature of the fractures themselves, but they are often accompanied by other symptoms depending on how severe the injury is. This is a simple first aid list of what you can do to ease the pain of whoever is suffering, whether its you or someone else until help arrives.

1. The first thing you need to keep in mind is the severity of the situation. In case you are dealing with injuries on someone else pay attention to the following symptoms that may give insight. Regardless of the symptoms it would be wise to call for emergency help if you're dealing with anything larger than a minor fracture like a broken finger.

• Victim is unconscious with no heartbeat or not breathing. You will need to check the throat and nasal passages for any visible obstructions and then give CPR.

• If the victim is pale, confused, breathing in shallow breaths and covered in cold sweat it is a clear symptom of shock.

• Injuries to the head, neck, pelvis, back, hips or the upper legs.

• Severe bleeding.

• The extremities of the injured limb is blue or numb at the tip. This indicates the blood flow is obstructed in some way which may lead to further damage.

• Any movement or light pressure causes extreme pain.

• The limb is deformed in an unnatural position.

2. In any case you need to stop the bleeding right away if that is possible. Use a clean and if possible sterile material with enough absorbency to apply gentle pressure to the wound. Avoid touching the broken point as this will cause great pain. If there is an object penetrating the wound or a bone sticking out do not remove or touch it as it may be clotting the wound. Touching it may open it, leading to further blood loss.

3. Immobilize the broken limb to the best of your abilities but avoid moving it to its original position unless the circulation of blood is cut off in some way.

• Never move a person with hip or pelvis fractures. If you absolutely have to move them and their life is in danger you need to tie their legs together with a blanket between them or something similar, then place them very gently on a large board for mobility.

• You can splint an broken bone by tying it to a strong, straight object such as a stick or a board. Use whatever soft padding you can find to make it more comfortable and fasten it in any way you can. Avoid placing anything directly over the fracture as this will be unbearable. If the limb is a broken leg you must secure the leg to a flat and strong object underneath, such as a board. If you're dealing with a broken finger you can gently tie it up to the neighboring fingers with a bit of padding in between.

• If you're dealing with a broken arm you should tie it to the body at heart level if possible. Anything can work from a shirt to a rope or a belt.

• Remove any watches, bracelets, rings and the like from a broken finger or wrist. The extremity will swell and they will be literally impossible to move after that.

• Check for proper blood circulation by pressing your fingers somewhere after the breaking point. If the skin doesn't return its usual color within about two seconds you may have a problem.

• Use ice to reduce swelling. Do not apply it directly to the skin as you will cause frostbite. Use a piece of clothing and place the ice in a plastic bag if possible to contain it.

• Give the person painkillers to alleviate the pain and cover them with a blanket if the injuries allow it. Elevate their feet if that is possible at about 12 inches above their head. This will help them deal with the shock of what happened.

Article written for Eco Friendly Removals

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3 Approaches to Chiropractic Care That Work

Bloomington ChiropracticChiropractic care is a combination of treatment techniques meant to relieve joint, muscular and bone problems by manipulating the spine. This helps the body heal itself and makes the nervous system more efficient. There is usually no surgical procedure or medication involved.

There are numerous strategies for adjusting and manipulating the spine and related tissues. They are used based on the health condition of the patient, their age; among other factors.

Learn more about some of these chiropractic techniques, which include the following:

Activator Technique

This involves the rectification or alignment using a special tool. The tool uses gentle impulse on the spine as well as light to do this. It is a moderate procedure that does not cause the patient to feel any pain. The device used is easy to hold and the force exerted is perfect for remedy without resulting to an injury.

The treatment needs one to be in a horizontal position for the diagnosis of the exact problem to be made. This is by assessing the length of the functional leg. Different types of analysis are done particularly on the muscles to determine in which vertebrae the problem is located.

The therapy is then conducted in an upward direction from the feet. This is a method used throughout the world but its success rate is not known in detail.

The Gonstead Technique

What sets this method aside from others is that; it is specific and accurate. This means that only sections with subluxtation will be treated. The adjustments are chosen carefully depending on how they cause discomfort.

This adjustment is also related to the spine’s configuration. Most importantly, a gonstead chiropractor will have to do a series of analysis to determine where the vertebral subluxtation problem is located. Some of these strategies include palpating the spine while it is stationary or when it is on the move, the use of x -ray or the use of different instruments such as a nervoscope.

The chiropractor will then compare the results of all methods and they are qualified to determine the exact cause of the problem.

The Palmer Method

This is one of the most popular methods of chiropractic care named after Doctor Daniel David Palmer. The palmer technique involves returning the entire vertebrae into its natural state by manipulation of the atlas. Located under the skull, the atlas is believed to be deep-rooted in the body and it represents the first vertebra. According to the palmer method, the atlas not being in position is the root cause of spine misalignments.

There are different ways used to manipulate the atlas one of them being manual. The chiropractor may use their hand to exert pressure on the atlas or try to make the skull revolve.

The position of the atlas may also be determined using an x- ray and then symmetrically moved to attain its proper position. This is referred to as the hole-in-one approach.

Some of these chiropractic techniques will be provided with a combination of other treatments such as meditation, dietary counseling, exercise and advice on lifestyle change.

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5 Tips for Rapid Injury Recovery

Injury Recovery RunnerFor sport enthusiasts and athletes something tragic can happen at the worst possible moment, tearing a muscle, breaking a bone, or spraining an ankle. You may be out on the trail, on the squat rack, or just walking down the street.

A wide range of injuries are possible - everything is just hunky-dory when out of the blue, something tragic happens. Maybe you pull/tear a muscle, sprain an ankle or break a bone. You may be on the squat rack, out on the trail or just jogging in the park.

There is a wide range of injuries that can happen to active people and each of them takes different amounts of rest to heal. However, there are some things you can do to help it healing faster. We will discuss here 5 tips for rapid injury recovery.

Adjust Your Diet

Even if your ability to train is impaired by your injury for a while, you can still maintain a great body shape and also help heal faster with the proper nutrition. In case that your injury doesn’t totally prevent you to continue your regular workout then you need to maintain your current intake of nutrients. However, if your injury is likely to make you miss most of your workouts, you need to reduce a little your food intake. Just adjust your diet to your level of physical activity.

Some macronutrients can help you heal your injury faster. Good nutrition will increase the supply of nutrients carried by the blood flow to the area of the injury. Some foods accelerate healing and have anti-inflammatory proprieties. Avoid foods that promote inflammation such as eggplant, fried foods, cayenne, processed white flour, potatoes, tomatoes, and hot peppers.

Consume instead foods that can accelerate the healing of your injury, such as fresh juice made from raw, fresh and organic vegetables, fresh ginger, foods high in omega 3 fatty acids, radishes, garlic, and beets. These foods are high in important nutrients that accelerate healing: manganese, zinc, silica, calcium, multivitamin, glucosamine sulfate, essential fatty acids, and BCAA’s.

Deep Tissue Massage

Professional massage for athletes includes the deep tissue massage therapy that is proved to relieve severe muscle tension, decrease pain and accelerate healing of the injured area. This form of massage treatment is recommended to athletes dealing with injury, people involved in accidents, and those who experience consistent pain.

Deep tissue massage therapy can accelerate healing in personal injury recovery, sports injury recovery, chronic muscle pain relief, and car accident recovery.

Chiropractic Care

Injury Recovery ChiropracticThe Active Release Technique (ART) is used in chiropractic care for treating nerves, tendons, muscles, ligaments, and as soft tissue injuries. This chiropractic technique is a non-invasive hands-on therapy for professional and amateur athletes who need help with rapid injury recovery.

In fact many chiropractors are starting to adopt ART and other forms of treatment like acupuncture and massage. One of the Bloomington chiropractors at Bly-Hillman Chiropractic specializes in ART as supplemental therapy for injury relief. This is just one example of how chiropractic care is become more integrated.

Yoga, Stretching, & Mobility Exercises

After an injury is not recommended to cease all sports activity, but rather continue with yoga, mobility exercises, stretching, and easy “injury prevention” style workouts. This will help your muscles recover faster from an injury and prevent in the same time muscular atrophy that is a significant strength loss which can install after just three weeks of inactivity.

Epson Salts Compress with Heat

Heat promotes relaxation in tissues and muscles. Epsom salts baths and Epson salt compresses with heat can enhance relaxation, help decreasing muscle soreness, and displace the calcium ions that accumulate in muscle tissue during workouts. Epsom salts deliver magnesium sulfate, an active compound that work well for injury recovery.

Magnesium is a mineral essential for over 300 reactions in your body, including protein formation, muscle contraction and relaxation, nerve and cardiac function, and synthesis of ATP-based energy.

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