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Myofascial Release Benefits
Rachele DeCrescenzo is a physical therapist practicing the John Barnes Myofascial Release. She’s been a PT for 17 years now, and in the last four to five years, she focused on studying, schooling, and practicing on Myofascial Release.
Rachele shares how one person’s condition can improve by leading a healthy lifestyle, listening to your body, and with the help of Myofascial release.
A lot of people say “I have shoulder pain, I have back pain, I have knee pain, and foot pain" but that's never just the issue. It goes so much deeper than that for almost everybody, especially if it's a chronic issue. Looking at the whole person: body, mind, and spirit, there's so much that goes into a healthy lifestyle.
It is important to lead a healthy lifestyle. Many of our diseases are preventable by:
- Eating well
- Having healthy relationships
Most people have heard that we have a muscular system, skeletal system, and circulatory system. But we also have a system in our body called the fascial system. It's a three-dimensional connective tissue web that runs continuously from head to toe in our bodies. When you think of all the other systems, our skeletal system, our muscular system, they are not in there floating around. In order for it to stay in place, the fascial system connects and holds it all together. Therefore, the fascial system is really one of the most important systems in the body because it has an effect on every other system and it extends all the way down to the cellular level.
Myofascial Release Therapy
Imagine a Hoberman sphere is the fascial system and it's a web and glide system. It should glide and move freely as we move. When we raise our arms and turn our heads, the fascial system should move. And if we think of this ball as the web and then we can imagine that through that web is our blood vessels, our bones, our nerves, and all those other things kind of go in there, they should all move and glide together as we move.
However, when there's a restriction in that fascial web, the whole system does not glide as freely as it should. So when someone has shoulder pain, and they only look at the shoulder, they could very well be missing where the restrictions are in other places in their body.
You can do Myofascial work on yourself at home. Any stretch can turn into a Myofascial stretch. If we just stretch our neck, our neck feels tight. Pull and stretch your neck over and holding it for 30 seconds or even a minute doesn't do very much. Gently let your head drop. Close your eyes and feel into your own body. Now as that restriction or the tension starts to release, your head might drop more to the side. It might feel like it needs to rotate a little to pull into whatever restrictions you have.
You can turn any stretch into a Myofascial stretch just by holding it a little bit longer, ideally for at least three to five minutes. Feel out your body what feels tight, be a little bit more mindful with them. When you're pulling your arm across, pull it across, then feel that stretch in the back of your shoulder and feel into it a little bit more, hold it and give your body time to respond.
By listening to your body a little bit more, being a little bit more mindful thinking in, and quieting your mind to see what your body needs, really can open up your fascial system. And if it can glide better and move better. Since it affects everything else your overall health can really improve.
Healthy Lifestyle Choices Helps Prevent Chronic Conditions
Karen Sammer is a certified nutrition and health coach. She works with women who live with or are at risk for developing chronic illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, or anything that can be managed through lifestyle and nutrition.
Karen shares more about her journey on how she went from being critically ill to becoming a Woman Heart Champion community educator and creating awareness on how chronic conditions are preventable.
“October is breast cancer awareness month and I am a breast cancer survivor. Twelve years ago I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer and my life was not in a good way, I was on a downward spiral to no place good. What I wanted to do after having gone through the pretty grueling treatment for a year of treatment. I decided that I wanted to do something to remediate any possibility or any probability of recurrence.
So I lost 135 pounds and I really got my life in order. I started to change things in my lifestyle and in my eating patterns and that really got me started on this path. Then in 2017, I had a heart attack that was unrelated to heart disease as we would particularly know. I had this anomaly in my body that caused it to happen. My cardiologist thought that I would be a good candidate to become a Woman Heart Champion. She sent me to the Mayo clinic to be trained to be a Woman Heart Champion community educator. Now I go out and I talk about women in heart health and that is the area that I focus on now: preventable chronic conditions in women's bodies.
Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle
It is important to maintain a lifestyle and a nutritional program that supports a good healthy body, mind, and spirit. Like Rachele was talking about, you need to treat the whole person. Allopathic medicine, western medicine, as good as and effective as it is, typically is a symptom-based treatment protocol. If you go to an orthopedic doctor and tell them you have shoulder pain, they're going to focus on your shoulder pain. They're going to do things to alleviate that shoulder pain but like Rachele was talking about, that shoulder pain may be related to your other hip or something or your foot or something unrelated to that particular shoulder.
5 Different areas to focus on to have a healthy lifestyle:
If we don't get our mindset in order, we're going to continue on that roller coaster all the time. You're gonna do well for a while then something's gonna happen to derail you and you're gonna go off the reels. Get your mindset rock solid about your health and your well-being to maintain it in the long term. When things are not going well or when there's stress, you keep your eye on the prize.
Lifestyle includes stress management, exercise, sleep hygiene, and a good quality restorative sleep every single night. One night of sleep deprivation can have a significant negative impact on your health. A couple of hours short of sleep could have an impact on your mental health, your physical health, and your dietary choice. Your hunger hormones get all worked out because if you don't get enough sleep you don't know if you're full. You don't know if you're hungry. You want sweets, refined carbohydrates that are going to give you quick energy but they're also going to have a negative impact.
Emotional health is not to be understated when your body has gone through significant changes. Losing too much weight because of an illness will have a significant impact on your emotional health. You can feel much smaller in the world and have much less significance.
As women, we are typically not good self-care providers. We are caregivers to everyone else, our spouse or partner, and young people. We always give to other people and don't save enough for ourselves. You can't pour from an empty cup. If you don't replenish your own reserves, then eventually you're just going to burn out and you're not going to be good for yourself or anyone else. Put yourself at the top of that priority list. It sounds selfish but it is actually the most selfless thing that you can do because you are providing the resources to give to other people.
It's very important but it is not the only important aspect of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. We get a lot of conflicting information about what is good versus bad in food choices. It's really about making choices that are going to best serve your body and provide the information to your body that it needs to perform optimally.
Making Healthy Food Choices
Over the long term, the consequences of our food choices end up being heart disease or high cholesterol or high blood pressure or diabetes, or cancer. All these conditions have been exacerbated by the choices that we've been making over these many years in fast food and refined carbohydrates in food-like substances that our bodies don't know what to do with.
They’re not really food, they're chemical replicas of natural food. Our bodies were not designed for that. It's the ramifications of eating these chemically laden, preservative-full, boxed foods that looks like a toxin in our body and it is stored in our adipose tissue or our fat cells. Not only that it holds those toxins in our body, but then it doesn't allow those cells to release and shrink. This is what really happens when you lose weight. Those fat cells shrink, they never go away.
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