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Tag Archives: fall

I don’t know about you, but for me, summer is non-stop, and I absolutely love it.  There are just so many opportunities for movement that I don’t feel like I need to “work-out.”  It just happens.  Volleyball in the park, riding my bike instead of driving, a hike with friends, camping, dancing at weddings, long walks with ice cream on a warm night, the list goes on and on.  And as a general rule, I know I feel better when I move more (serious injury not withstanding).  More activity equals more joy.

I also love the fall, but as the temperatures drop, the hours of daylight lessen, and that myriad of movement opportunities seems to disappear just as quickly.  Volleyball leagues end, my bike seems like a chore because of all the layers I need to wear, hiking seems more tedious for the same reason, it’s too cold to camp, wedding season is over, and ice cream doesn’t hold the same appeal if I need to put on a coat first.  It sounds like a much better idea to cozy up on the couch with that book I’ve been dying to read and a blanket on my lap.

So this is when I really need to be careful that I’m still getting all the movement my body needs and wants.  In an effort to make sure I don’t lose my summer-time happiness, or, for that matter, my summer-time muscles, I’m trying to consciously up my movement wherever and whenever I can.  And I really mean wherever and whenever.  I’m trying to wiggle my toes and shift my weight from side to side while I wait in line at the grocery store.  I’m trying to do squats and calf raises at my office while I wait for clients (don’t laugh too hard if you catch me in the middle of a squat when you come in).  I’m trying to walk while I make phone calls instead of sitting on the couch or the bed.  I’m trying to dance while I fold laundry.  Can I do 5 push-ups while I wait for the water to get hot in the shower?  As I write this, I’m lying on the floor, kicking my feet behind me, just to try a different position from sitting.  I’m looking for races in the winter and spring to keep me motivated through the desire to hibernate.  I just listened to a Katy Bowman podcast where she mentioned building obstacle courses through her house, just to keep things interesting.  The cats will love me forever when I finally do that.  Maybe this is the excuse I’ve been looking for to jump on the bed to my heart’s content.  Just like I’m always trying to sneak more vegetables into everything I cook, I’m now trying to sneak more movement into my day.

What about you?  Do you have a plan to keep you moving through the fall and winter?  Got any tips or tricks you want to send my way?  I’ll take all the help I can get.

Happy moving and happy fall!

So, a few months ago, I wrote about how common and normal and not-at-all-a-problem it is for people to fall asleep during sessions with me.  And that’s still true.  But what about if you don’t fall asleep when you get Rolfed?  What about the times when the healing trance isn’t forcing your eyes to close and your breathing to slow?  Should you just think about your grocery list and that email you still have to send and what time yoga class starts tomorrow?  Well, obviously, you can think about whatever you’d like during a session.  But if I had my druthers, you would leave all those thoughts outside the office, to be picked up again on your way out, if you so choose.  And instead of thinking about what happened before your session, or what will happen after your session, maybe you could choose to focus on what is happening, right now, during your session.

I like to think of it as meeting me from the inside.  Wherever I’m working, bring your awareness there.  For some people, that means bringing your breath to that place.  Trying to breathe air and space into the tissues I’m working on.  For others, imagining light coming into those muscles or tendons is a better image.  I know some of my clients like to picture everything getting super juicy and extra-hydrated, like the tissues are water balloons, slowly being filled up.  For me, I literally imagine a piece of my brain breaking off (don’t worry, it doesn’t hurt) and traveling down to my leg or my abdomen or wherever to bring its wisdom to that area.  I’m sure there are a gazillion different ways to meet me from the inside, but whatever image works best for you, go with that one.

The thing is Sassypants, you and me, we work better as a team.  There’s only so much I can do on my own.  And while I don’t mind if you think about your grocery list, your session will be more effective if you’re working toward the same goals I am during your sessions.  If I’m pressing on your quads, asking for length, and you’re also asking on the inside for your quads to lengthen, chances are, your quads are going to lengthen; and it’s not going to take as long, or hurt as much, as it would have if I’d done it all myself.  So if for no other reason than to avoid pain, next time you’re in, try to meet me from the inside.  See how it goes!

What up, Sassy Pants?  Enjoying the heat?  I know I am.  It feels like summer, for the reals.

So, let’s talk about your adrenal glands.  Or, if that makes you uncomfortable, let’s talk about my adrenal glands.  Potayto, potahto.  See here?  I found a drawing of adrenal glands on the interweb.  Aren’t they cute, those adorable glands, sitting there like dunce caps on their little kidneys?  Interesting factoid:  your kidneys are the only abdominal organs not located within the peritoneum, which is a bag of fascia that holds all the others, like your stomach and your spleen and your liver and such.  Yep, your kidneys are behind all of those, just in front of and below your lowest ribs, if you’re coming in from the front.  Which means your adrenals are back there too, right up under your ribs.  Which is cool and all, until they get worn out.

Now, I can’t prove this, but I see it a lot in my practice and I experienced it myself for years.  I think your adrenal glands help to physically hold your lower ribs in place.  When your adrenal glands get worn out, your lower ribs suffer.  By suffer I mean they struggle to stay where they should, politely attached to your vertebrae, and instead tend to just sorta fall out of place.  And as anyone who’s ever had a rib out of place can attest, when your ribs suffer, nothing much matters except getting your hands on more vicodin.  And that’s just not a happy place to live from.  Trust me.  Under each rib head (the end that attaches to your spine) is a nerve ganglion, which is like a nerve hub.  Drop a rib on that and the whole area lights up like the 4th of July.  Fun times for all!  Unless you wanted to sleep, or breathe, or bend over, or anything silly like that.

So, how do your adrenals get worn out in the first place?  Well, adrenal glands, oddly enough, produce something called adrenaline.  Ever heard of it?  Just kidding.  We use adrenaline for all sorts of things.  Like escaping super-scary situations.  A moose sneaks up on you in the woods and you get scared and you get a huge adrenaline dump and all of a sudden you can run faster than you’ve ever run in your life.  Hooray!  Adrenaline just saved your life!  But the thing is, you also get a huge adrenaline dump when your alarm clock scares you.  Or a scary movie.  Or a super-loud crack of thunder.  But by the time you can explain to your adrenal glands that there’s nothing to be afraid of because zombies aren’t real (unless bath salts are involved) and it’s just a movie, it’s too late.  That adrenaline’s flowing through your veins and your heart is pumping hard so you can run away.

Your body asks for adrenaline at other times, too.  Like when we’re stressed out about that deadline for work.  Or if you have three shots of espresso.  Or if your body is worn down because you have the flu.  Or if your blood sugar goes up and down like it lives at Six Flags because you’re not careful about eating balanced meals and snacks at regular intervals.  Which is fine.  That’s what it’s for.  Adrenaline gets you through the rough patches.

But when it’s not so much a rough patch as it is your life, we run into trouble.  If you never take care to maintain a steady blood sugar, you’re getting adrenaline dumps all day.  If you never get enough sleep, so your alarm clock scares you every morning, that’s another rush, every day.  Then, you have two cups of coffee, to make matters worse.  If you hate your boss and work is stressful all day, every day, you’re burning through adrenaline like it’s going out of style.  If this is your life and then you get the flu, chances are you’ve just drained the last drop of adrenaline your body had to offer.  And now, your adrenal glands are pissed.  Or they would be if they weren’t so tired.  At this point, your adrenal glands feel like parents of newborn triplets.  They’ve given all they had to give and they need a nap.  A very, very long nap.  So when your ribs turn around and say, “Hey, can we get a boost?” your adrenal glands just give them a sleepy, incredulous look and go back to sleep.  And your ribs fall out of place.  And where did I put that vicodin?

Obviously, this is a situation that we should try to avoid.  But life happens.  And we all tend to go through rough patches that last longer than a few weeks.  So, you come to me and I do my best to get your ribs back into place so you can breathe and move and sleep again.  The thing is, that once you’ve drained your adrenals, it’ll take a while to get them back up to snuff.  Like months.  And that’s if you’re able to do everything you can to help them out, which you probably can’t, or you’d already be doing it.  So, your ribs may continue to thwart your desire for a pain-free existence.  Still, if your adrenals are drained you should try to get them rested and replenished.  Sleep, as much as you can.  Eat before you’re famished, and make sure you eat proteins and fats so your blood sugar stays as level as possible.  Avoid sugars (including alcohol) and caffeine as much as possible.  Try and reduce any mental and emotional stress.  Stop doing things you don’t have to.  Schedule a ‘me’ day once a week if you can, or take a weekend ‘staycation’ where you just don’t answer your phone.  Use your vacation days at work and stay in bed the whole time, or go for a leisurely walk.  Do all the things you’d want to do if you were the parent of newborn triplets.  And if at all possible, don’t let yourself get into this situation again.  It’s just not worth it.

I get the same question all the time.  And it’s about time I just laid it out for you, Sassy Pants, plain and simple, once and for all.  The question is not, “How do you do that magic that you do!?” or “How did you get into Rolfing in the first place?” although that’s a common one.  Maybe next week’s post can get into that.  Unfortunately for both you and me, the most common question is not “Can I schedule ten more sessions right now?”  Wanna know what the most popular question of all time (in my practice) is?  Well, of course you do, so here it is:  Does anybody ever fall asleep during a session?

And the answer, of course, is yes.  Yes; a million times over, yes.  People fall asleep during sessions all the time and it’s perfectly normal and acceptable and nothing to be embarrassed about.  In fact, of the close to 50 Rolfing sessions I’ve received in the last four years since I first tried it out, I’ve probably stayed awake through three of them.  Possibly.  Maybe it was only the two.  I lost count with all the sleeping I was doing in between.

The thing is, I want you to be engaged during your sessions with me.  I want you to show up ready to meet me halfway.  I can only change what you’ve allowed me to change.  And you can do more from the inside than I can do from the outside.  Part of the whole point of this work is embodiment, meaning that your consciousness is in and related to your body.  If you’re hungover from a rough night, disassociation (the opposite of embodiment)  may be the most comfortable option for you, and that’s no good for me.  So, yes, I want you to be present and participating in the work we do together.  But, that doesn’t mean you can’t fall asleep.

Huh?

Well, first of all, my goal is to bring about health.  And if you’re sleep deprived, like most people in this country today, then sleep may be the quickest way to bring about health.  So go for it.  More power to you.

Secondly, I don’t think it always has to do with sleep deprivation when you (or I) fall asleep on the table.  I still fall asleep during sessions and I use an alarm to wake up about four times a year, so I don’t think I’m sleep deprived.  I still fall asleep while getting Rolfed immediately after a large cup of coffee and I’m so sensitive to caffeine I usually don’t sleep well at midnight if I had black tea at 8am.  So I think there’s more to it than tiredness.  I think sometimes (often) with a good session of bodywork, big shifts can happen not only in the structure, but on the emotional, spiritual, mental, and energetic side of things as well.  And as we let go of certain traumas and blockages, the ego may try to get in the way, claiming it needs to hold onto that issue for whatever reason.  “I have a bad back” may be part of your story.  And if we shift things so that’s no longer true, your ego may feel a little frantic, wondering how you’ll define yourself in the future.  “I was abused” may be true, but if we let go of the painful trauma around that, will you still be you?  Your ego might not think so.  And so, when your body is making big shifts in the direction of health, it might be helpful to get your ego out of the way.  And so, you “fall asleep” or go into what some people call a healing trance.  You’re still conscious enough to stretch your right arm out, or roll over onto your stomach if I ask you to.  But you’re not conscious enough to fight what your body needs.

At least, that’s how I justify all the sleeping I do during sessions.  You can come up with your own excuses, if you’d prefer.  Regardless, know that, yes, plenty of people fall asleep during sessions, and I don’t mind if you snore.

As I was walking through the snow last night, I almost slipped and fell a few times on hidden ice.  Which reminded me of a bad fall I took 8 years ago on some icy steps, which resulted in a hip that ‘pops’ very loudly on a fairly regular basis.  Maybe you’ve had the pleasure of hearing it yourself.  And, because I think about these things, I started thinking about the sacrum, which is the topic of today’s blog post!

So, what is a sacrum?  At the bottom of your spine, right after your lumbar vertebrae end, but before your coccyx begins, there are 5 more vertebrae that start fusing together when you’re around 16 years old and end up becoming one bone around the time you turn 26.  That one bone is your sacrum.  Isn’t it cool that your body is still changing at 26?  5 bones become one!  Voilà!  (Your clavicles aren’t fully calcified until you’re about 40!)  But this isn’t the only reason your sacrum is so awesome.  The sacrum is the geometric center of the body, which is pretty important, it turns out.  Also, the sacrum is considered part of the spine AND part of the pelvis.  What?!?  This puppy moves like the spine and moves like the pelvis, which means it’s the only bone in the body to rotate on three (count ‘em, three!) axes.

And while that’s cool and all, why would you care about the sacrum?  Let’s be honest here, you probably won’t care about the sacrum, even after reading this.  But the thing is, what with the sacrum being the geometric center of the body, it really is connected to everything else.  And so when the sacrum isn’t happy and free to move on all three of those axes, you tend to get other problems popping up all over the place.  Also, in a funny twist, it seems to be the injury that people most often forget to mention in my office.  They remember getting their tonsils out and breaking their arm and the bad ankle sprain and the minor concussion.  But that fall on their butt that left them struggling to walk for the next month?  Conveniently slipped their minds.  I’m just as guilty of this, having received almost 30 Rolfing sessions before I remembered my awesome fall down those icy steps.

But if that shoulder, or knee, or neck thing just won’t go away, I’ll probably take a look at your sacrum.  Luckily, I do those fancy scans that will tell me if the problem is in the sacrum, even if you won’t.  There’s even a special energetic tracing pattern just for the sacrum.  That’s how big of a deal the sacrum is.  And if you’ve had a bad fall that’s now affecting your shoulder, or knee, or neck, I’ll probably do that energetic tracing on your sacrum, so there.  If you think this is something you could benefit from, just say the word during your next session and we’ll take care of it.  I’ve got your back.  Literally.  That’s all I’ll say on the sacrum.  For now.

On a completely unrelated note, happy Winter Solstice! And Merry Christmas, and happy whatever it is that you celebrate this time of year!  I hope you’re staying warm and enjoying all the warmth and light (at least inside our homes) of the season!  Thanks for being awesome!  I’m glad you’re a part of my life!