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Tag Archives: Left

Guess what I did this past weekend.  You may have gone skiing.  Or snuggled up in front of a fire with a good book and a cup of tea.  Or done keg stands and sung karaoke.  And while those would have been lovely activities for this weekend, what I did was cooler.  I promise.  Well, at least from my point of view; but I’m kinda weird.  I went to a four-day workshop on visceral manipulation!  That’s right.  Four full days of moving abdominal organs around.  Awesome.  Just like I said.  (Though maybe not cooler than keg stands and karaoke, I’ll admit.)

I spent four days with 21 other students ranging from nurses and physical therapists to Rolfers, acupuncturists, and massage therapists.  We drew our livers, stomachs, sphincters and secums (with eyeliner) so we could see where they are and just how huge our livers are.  5.5 pounds for the average liver, people.  Ginormous!  We learned all about listening to those organs (and others) to see if they are functioning optimally.  We learned to release restrictions and to reset normal motility to encourage ideal functioning.  We learned how to drain the gallbladder!  What?!?  Craziness.

More importantly, we learned why we might want to do all of those things.  I mean, obviously, you want your digestive system to work well.  And obviously having a restriction in your small intestine might be problematic.  But did you realize that a restriction in your liver can cause right shoulder pain?  Did you know that a restriction in the ligaments supporting your stomach can cause your neck to hurt on the left side?  Or that appendix or right ovary irritation can make your right knee unstable?  A restricted small intestine can exacerbate scoliosis.  Who knew?!?  Certainly not me.  Not until this past weekend, at least.

But now?  Now I know.  And I’m so excited to share these techniques (as it’s appropriate) with you!  So get ready to have your viscera manipulated.  I promise it won’t hurt.

 

Announcements:

Demo Day is Friday March 15th.  $10 for a 30-minute teaser session.  New clients only.

YIAW (Yoga Instructor Appreciation Week) is March 11th-17th.  $60 sessions for any yoga teachers.  Spread the word!

First, and foremost, I’ve decided on a name for the new service.  After many wonderful suggestions from the likes of you, as well as a fairly involved, slightly intoxicated debate with a bunch of people who had never been Rolfed, I’m happy to announcing the brand new Kick-Ass Rub!  Thanks for all of the suggestions, input, and slightly inappropriate comments (you know who you are).  I’m excited about the new session and now I’m excited about the name as well.  Yay!

Speaking of excitement, Demo Day is tomorrow.  Love those things.  If you have someone in your life who’s been wanting to check out this Rolfing/SourcePoint thing as well as this Theresa Zordan person, this is the way to go.  I still have a couple after-work appointments open, so have them give me a call (303-261-2568) or shoot me an email (t.zordan@gmail.com) to set up their 30 minute trial session for $10.

Okay, on to the learning bit.  Let’s talk about Left-Right Balance (and Imbalance).  I capitalized it to make it look important, but that’s just what I call it.  Ideally, your body has this whole communication thing going on between your right side and your left side.  Your two sides work together.  Sometimes they work a little too well together, such as when you hurt your left shoulder and a little while later your right shoulder starts hurting as well.  Really?  Come on.  Not cool, Body.  But what’s more common in my office is a complete breakdown of communication between the two sides of the body.  And I can spot it in the first 5 minutes of the first session.  Now I’m going to teach you how to spot it as well.

In the first 5 minutes of a session, I ask people for their body history.  Falls, accidents, surgeries, broken bones, problem areas, etc.  The conversation, when there’s a significant lack of communication between the left side and the right side of the body (and therefore the brain), goes a little something like this.

Me:  Which foot did you break?
Superstar Client:  My right one, when I was 7.
Me:  Oh, and your shoulder surgery in 2005, which shoulder was that?
SC:  My right shoulder.
Me:  Cool.  And you have carpal tunnel in both wrists?
SC:  No, just my right wrist.
Me:   Oh, and you have TMJ?
SC:  Yeah, my jaw pops on the right side.

You get the picture, right?

So, why does this sort of thing happen?  Well, we have a chicken and the egg sort of situation here, and I certainly can’t tell you which came first.  It’s possible that with the original injury to your right side, such as the broken foot when you were seven, you learned subconsciously, not to trust your right side.  And since then, you’ve been paying a little less attention to that right side of yours.  Therefore, you’re a little more accident prone on your right side.  And the next time you get a bump or a bruise on your right side, it just reinforces your belief that you can’t trust your right side.  So you put things you don’t like there, such as tension and stress and anger, all the while ignoring it a little more and a little more.  Poor right side.  It didn’t want to have a broken foot any more than you did, except for the cool cast for all your friends to sign.

The other option for how it all started is a bit more woo-woo and out there.  But you know me, I’m a bit out there (not to mention woo-woo), so this is the one I like more.  In this option, we look at why it was that you broke your right foot, and not your left, in the first place.  Which brings us to theories about what the right side of your body means, and what the left side of your body means.  Typically, the right side (of the body and left side of the brain) is associated with things like masculine energy, logical and rational thought, and generally a German way of operating (I’m German, I can say stuff like this).  Get stuff done.  Do step one, then step two, then step three.  Dominate.  Dictate.  On the other hand (literally, ha!) the left side of the body (and right side of the brain) is generally associated with feminine energy, intuition, creativity, listening, and an Italian way of operating (I’m Italian, I can say this too).  Go with your gut, listen to the universe, pay attention to signs and omens.  Dance, draw, light a candle not for light or warmth, but for the beauty of it.

With this second, woo-woo option the interpretation can be a bit messy.  For instance, are all of your injuries on the right side because you don’t trust the masculine forces in your life or in yourself?  Are you uncomfortable operating from a place of logic as opposed to intuition?  Or do you over-identify with the right side, relying on it too heavily, so that it can’t get the support it needs from the left?  Don’t look at me.  I don’t have any idea.  But chances are, you do.  And if you’re one of those people who suffers from Left-Right Imbalance (there, I did it again, doesn’t it look important?) maybe you could take a minute or two to think about your relationship with logic and intuition.  Masculine and feminine.  Talking versus listening.  ‘Cause the thing is you need both.  They were designed to work together.  That’s why you have two hands, two eyes, and two legs.  Just one would make things a little more difficult and a lot more unbalanced.  Just a thought.

We don’t often think about standing.  We just do it.  But there are an awful lot of muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, nerves, and fascia that all have to get on board before this simple thing can happen.  And once we’re upright, lots of things need to work to keep us there.  Let’s do a little exercise.  Go ahead, stand up with your feet about hip width apart.  Give it a few seconds.  Now, check in with your feet.  What do you notice?  Is there more weight on the outsides of your feet?  The insides?  Are you resting more on your heels or your toes?  Go ahead and gently rock forward and back and see if you can find the middle.  Is it comfortable to be there?  Do you stand more on your left or your right?  Go ahead and stand on one foot.  Now stand on the other.  Which one is easier?  Does it feel stronger?  More stable?  More balanced?  So many questions; so many things to consider; and we rarely think about any of them!  (You can sit down now, but I’m just going to make you stand back up in a minute.)

Ideally, when we stand, our weight should be balanced: front to back, side to side, inside to outside.  When we stand, everything that happens in our feet is reflected in our pelvis.  So if you’re just on the outsides of your feet, the central corridor of your pelvic floor (where all that important stuff like excretion happens) isn’t turning on.  And speaking of turning on, if all your weight is in your heels when you stand up, the front half of your pelvic floor isn’t being stimulated (and who doesn’t want the front half of their pelvic floor stimulated?).  If you’re noticing a drastic difference in any of these areas, it might be something to talk about with your favorite Rolfer (also known as Theresa).

Also, we’re not really supposed to ‘stand still.’  As you stand there should be a subtle weight transfer through your feet and subsequently through your pelvic floor.  Weight on the outside of the left heel moves to the left big toe.  From there, weight moves to the outside of the right heel and then to the right big toe, and back to the left heel.  Go ahead and stand up again (told you) and give it a try.  Exaggerate it until you can really feel what’s happening in your pelvis as you shift your weight on your feet.  There’s a figure-eight quality to it, yes?

Keep that motion going and shift your attention from your feet to your pelvis.  As your weight moves through your feet, muscles in your pelvic floor should tense and relax in a very smooth pattern, like a wave.  Are there spikes in your wave?  Is it harder to shift to the right or the left?  Maybe going forward on one side is more difficult than the other.  Do you notice any ‘dead spots’ where you just don’t feel anything in your pelvis?  Is your figure-eight smooth or choppy?  You can continue to make your weight shifting more and more dramatic to really feel into your pelvic floor.  Again, any big imbalances may be something to discuss with your favorite Rolfer.

And, since everything’s connected, what happens in your pelvic floor is reflected in your shoulders and your head.  So if you’re noticing a not-so-smooth figure-eight in your feet and your pelvis, it may be causing neck and shoulder pain or headaches and TMJ.  What?!  It’s crazy, I know.  Thinking about neck pain coming from your feet is hard to get your head around, but it happens all the time.  Just something to think about while you’re standing there rocking from side to side.  You can sit down now.