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Postural Alignment: Boost Energy and Health

The Hips.

They are a core part of our posture and support the spine, as well as being lifted by the legs.  Here is where our journey begins.

Hips can become misaligned due to a fall, being overworked with running or climbing stairs, or just twist in response to the myriad of muscles surrounding them.  The sacrum is the fulcrum of the hips, much like the Keystone of an arch holds the weight of all the stones that make up the archway.  From a Naprapathic standpoint it is the key to realignment and better health of the legs, but this is just the beginning.

What started the cascade of events that led to pelvic rotation?

We think of two types of pelvic rotations: Posterior or Classic Pelvic Rotation, and Anterior Pelvic Rotation.  Get out your protractor!  In Myofascial Release we can see these relationships when we go to the side of the person and look straight at the trochanter; the side protuberance of the bone of the leg that is on the side of the hip. Using that as the horizontal axis we are going to use our pointers and place one fingertip on the inferior border of Anterior Iliac Spine (ASIS) and the other on the Posterior Iliac Spine (PSIS).  Aim your fingers toward each other and you will have an angle in relation to the horizontal axis.  Measure the angle in degrees:

Women: Typically should have no more than a 10 – 15 degree angle,

Men:  Typically should have around a 5 degree angle.

Anything outside those ranges is abnormal.  If the angle has increased, indicating a pelvic tilt that is anterior, we will have lumbar compression and the muscles associated with that stress.  If the angle is decreased, indicating a pelvic tilt that is posterior, we will have sacral shear and the muscles pulling the pelvis in a posterior fashion along with loss of a lumbar curve. These landmarks are easily seen from the side view.

Along with supporting the spine, the pelvis has many ligaments and muscles attached in order to help us move our legs, sit down, turn to look to the side, and control most of our body movements.  We use the term “syndrome” in most of our diagnostic evaluations because so much is going on here; and we use orthopedic tests to tell us more about that.

Deerfield Motion Reflex is the most important orthopedic test in our diagnostic tool bag.  Dr. Deerfield discovered a surprising and accurate relationship between the lower legs and knee flexion and the corresponding tensions of the pelvis and lumbar spine; in fact that tension can also be felt all the way up into the neck.

Here is just an overview of what Deerfield Motion Reflex orthopedic test tells us:  Have the patient lie on their stomach with arms relaxed and face looking nose down into the face cradle.  Standing at the end of the table, preferably a low chiropractic exam table if possible, look down at the heels and flex the feet slightly.  Compare the heels or malleolus, and determine which one is superior.  Make a mental note and flex the knees.  Which event happens: does the superior malleolus stay inferior when flexed, or does it go long?  If the superior malleolus stays inferior with knee flexion we have now witnessed what Deerfield calls a Posterior Pelvic Rotation.  The muscles of the thigh have contracted and the leg on the side of posteriority is shorter in contrast to the other leg. More on that in a moment.  If, however, the malleolus was superior in the straight leg, but goes long or the leg appears to grow longer with knee flexion, this would indicate the tension is in the lumbar spine.

Posterior Pelvic Rotation.

The findings for a Classical Pelvic Rotation are easy to predict: When the bone of the pelvis, just one side you understand, goes into a posterior tilt it causes the muscles of the hamstring to become tight and shorten, and the anterior muscles such as the rectus femoris to become weak and lengthened.  The sacrum gets literally pulled toward the posterior pelvis and the opposite side PSIS ligaments are pulled causing the pain fibers to fire.  A patient will say, “I feel pain here,” as they point to one side PSIS.  When they are standing, that posterior side will be visible with the Ilium higher on that side.  That can be explained in multiple scenarios related to the rotation and the pull on the ligaments from the ilium that attach to the lumbar spine.  Either the lumbar vertebraes will be pulled toward the posterior ilium in response as the ligaments shorten, or the lumbar vertebraes will be rotated toward the opposite side as the psoas pulls on the vertebraes on the side of posteriority causing the vertebral rotation.  Either way we have to treat the entire syndrome as it appears: treat according to findings.

Anterior Pelvic Tilt.

The other side of the ilium is going to tilt in an anterior rotation because it has to; no choice.  It will never not rotate.  Remember that everything in the body is connected in one way or another; nature has designed everything in the body to communicate this way.  Amazing, I know, but we also need to educate ourselves in order to know what to do in order to resolve the problem.  It is a problem: patients will complain about hip pain, low back pain, lower abdominal pulling, weakness of legs, digestive disorders, or neck pain, knee pain, ankle pain, and so on.  Where is it all coming from, and what do we treat first?  Treat according to findings and START at the Pelvis which is our center of gravity.

Begin with creating a strong foundation for the spine; treat the anterior pelvic rotation first, then move to the posterior side, and after that the lumbar spine will follow: IN THAT ORDER.  Why? It works, that’s why.  No kidding.  If you treat the OUTCOME of pelvic rotation — the posteriority — without first treating the cause — the anteriority — you will just have to repeat your steps.  I for one am all in favor of treatments that are concise and easy on the body.  Believe me your patient will thank you, and say things like, “that feels good.”  Not, “ouch, that hurts!”

Just a word of advice here: you will have to have them come back for treatments at least weekly if you want this problem to resolve.  The ligaments that attach everywhere around this huge complex do not receive much oxygen because they are not vascularized; no blood vessels here so no oxygen.  They need encouragement and repeated stretching, but it must stay below the plastic range so they don’t get damaged and it takes time for the body to respond to stretching.  Anyone who stretches with their workouts will have first hand experience about how difficult it can be to stretch and how long it takes to get results.  Please tell me you stretch with your workouts!  If not, ask me how.

Naprapathic treatments are just that; stretching routines.  We lengthen tissues, apply techniques to massage away tension and trigger points, and use various means to relieve pain and regain alignment.  They are very very very gentle and if they do cause pain, we stop!  I get a lot of myofascial release into the tissues long before I ever do any stretching, especially in the cervical area.  But when I finally do go to the spine and do adjustments, they are going to hold longer and there should not be any pain or discomfort; I want to hear, “Doc, I feel so much better!  Look at how far I can turn my head now!”  Makes my day.

Postural Alignment

I conduct a visual inspection of the patient before they lie down on a table.  I look at them from the front, the sides and from the back.  Topographical cues tell me what is going on and I explain what I am seeing to the patient, sometimes mimicking their posture so they see what I am seeing.  Rather comical if you ask me, and a little laughter never hurt, especially when you are worried because you have been in pain and your legs are numb!

I look for horizontal lines that tell me about the spine.  Shoulders should be in a straight line and natural curves of the spine should be there also.  Too far in one way or another, whether tilting or leaning, or too much curvature tells me a lot about what is pulling on the spine.

Next I have them lie face down.  Gravity is now removed from the equation and I can get a better picture about how the body is holding itself together.  Some of the distortions that are seen standing will be absent when gravity is no longer a factor.

I know Oakley Smith would not like me now, but I am going to work on the superficial tissue first.  Dr. Smith created the science of Naprapathy and he thought we needed to do our initial evaluations without interfering with the superficial structures.  I do not agree; these are after all superficial findings and do not in any way give us a true picture of underlying causation.  I get it out of the way, and I used to be chastised in clinic because I spent too much time on each patient.  Guess what? I did it anyway.  I know more than most people coming in to this profession and myofascial release is good for everyone, including infants.  The problem is not resolved, but I can certainly see it more clearly now.

I use my orthopedic test to determine where I will begin the treatment: pelvis or lumbar spine.  Then I treat above the pelvis at the waistline, below the pelvis with the knees and ankles, and finally the cervical spine.

Following these simple steps in order will insure a lasting result, and patients will heal.  As long as they don’t fall on the ice or constantly overwork their muscles everything going on will resolve.  Pain goes away, muscles become strong, brain fog disappears and patients can return to their work schedule, their workout, and enjoy their lives.

Follow-up care is very important.  I cannot stress enough how getting evaluated on a regular basis can insure the health of the spine and entire body and brain.  Once a month is awesome, but that may happen after a few months of regular weekly treatments.  Here is my protocol.

Initial visit to evaluate the spine and begin proper care.

Weekly visits until symptoms resolve and the patient is comfortable in their own skin, as it were.

Bi-weekly visits continue until the pelvic rotation is resolved and the tissues “stay” in alignment.

Then the patient graduates to monthly treatments.  Missing a month every so often is going to be okay, as long as it does not extend beyond eight weeks.

Point in case: a patient was coming to me weekly, fell on the ice, or sneezed the wrong way and threw her back out; the lumbar spine was insulted by the extreme trauma.  After just two treatments the problem was resolved and we were back to weekly treatments.  She followed with regular care for about 6 more months and was released.

Another patient was coming in twice a month, but experienced an automobile accident.  I encouraged her to come in just hours after the accident and began with a very gentle treatment working on the muscles mostly and very gentle stretching of the neck.  Just two weeks and she had no residual symptoms and certainly no whip lash injury; we had avoided the possible build up of lactic acid by relaxing the pain fibers and keeping the blood supply to the area that was traumatized by the impact.  See how this works?

In yoga class I can look at someone and give them verbal cues to help lengthen the psoas, prescribe yoga postures that will help lengthen the posterior muscles of the spine and relaxation that will gently stretch ligaments.  I’m just awesome like that.  You should come to one of my yoga classes!

In massage school they erroneously tell massage therapists not to treat anyone immediately after an auto accident or a serious fall.  WRONG!  That is the most crucial time to go in there and calm everything down.  Avoid any surgeries or broken bones, but everything else needs touch!

Okay, I am off my soap box and encourage you to see spines differently.  If you see someone who is hunched over, twisting in a weird way, or complaining about their knee pain they probably have a posterior pelvic rotation and need to see a bodywork professional.  Tell them to see a Naprapath, and if one is not near them, seek help from a Myofascial Therapist.  They will thank you.

Yours in Health, Naturally

Dr. Wanona

 

Mind Body Medicine

From a very early age I saw evidence that the body reacted to the emotions and our thoughts could dictate our state of health, or disease.  I saw it first hand with my mother who had a mental illness that went misdiagnosed for decades.  I lived in a dysfunctional household where she would be fine and smiling one day, and the next day she would be a terror.  I did NOT want to live in that family with that household, but I knew there was absolutely no way to leave there; I was eight years old.

So when Deepak explains the science that has developed around Mind Body Medicine and how our bodies react to our thoughts and experiences I am in total agreement.  Here is what so called Western Medicine has decided to ignore; that our body reacts in a chemical way to our surroundings.  We understand very little really about what to do with this fact.

Trauma is an extreme example, and one that I would like to address because I think it is an experience that we have all been faced with at one time or another.  I understand how the pain nerve fibers react from an automobile accident even when there are no broken bones, torn skin or loss of limb.  But why do the pain fibers continue to fire when we seem to be fully recovered?  And what about the trauma of someone who angers you or scares you? How does our body process these emotional upsets that in turn signal chemical changes in our bodies?  I want to know how we can deal with all types of trauma, and I want to know in what ways can we get back to normal?

I think touch is the answer.  As a health practitioner and bodyworker I see patients who are in pain from no particular incident other than they “moved the wrong way” and now they are in pain.  I also see patients who went the normal route of medication for pain and muscle tension, a practice that is far too prevalent in the emergency room, and went to physical therapy and were told they would never be their old self again.  I treated that same patient with tender care, evaluating where the tension was affecting their body, the musculoskeletal system, and more importantly their emotions.  How is it that after a year of the “standard of care” they made no recovery, but with my skilled hands and gentle heart, they were able to return to their “pre-accident” state within six weeks?

When we think of Mind Body Medicine, there is another component that is not ever discussed; the healing quality of touch from another.  In the book, Psychology of Yoga, they discuss how simple touch can have many physiological benefits as well as emotional benefits.  A young woman with seizures that are not well controlled with medication saw dramatic results in just a few weeks of gentle massage. I saw a young child who having been born addicted to heroine was finally able to relax spastic muscles after just a few minutes of CranioSacral Still Point.

If we are to speak of Mind Body Medicine, then we should also include in this discussion the idea that energy is also shared between people especially if the intent is to share compassion and love for another human being.  I think there is agreement among providers that trauma victims lose sight of their self.  Being able to reconnect to their true self is difficult, but when we experience the touch of another compassionate soul there can be a shift.  Healing Touch has been taught to nurses and other bodyworkers as a non-invasive modality to help bring energy back to the body, mind and spirit of anyone willing to receive.

Trauma-sensitive yoga therapy is very aware of the disconnection between the body and the mind and uses yoga postures to guide the individual back into the awareness state of the body; to speak to the Inner Physician that Dr. Upledger identifies when working with the body. The dialogue between the tissues and the subconscious mind happens between the individual and their inner self to reconnect their body and their mind in a more healthy relationship.

Being consciously aware of our body is the first step to enlightenment.  How many of us are aware? Our jobs seem to be so much more important than our bodies and we neglect the basic needs like drinking water, exercise or relaxation. That is how our American society is expected to act; do your job and your day is about getting the work done and who cares about what your body needs.  A difficult dance, I admit, but it is a sad state of affair.  I once was fired from a job because the owner caught me reading a book on Grieving that I used to keep me calm after my mother died.  He did not ask me what I was reading or what it was for, just that I was taking time at my desk to read something not work related.  That was really dumb and stupid on his part and I was happy to leave.  I never went back to another “job” after that and have remained self-employed; thank God.

Listen to the video with Deepak Chopra and the scientific search for Body Mind Medicine:

 

My own idea about trauma goes deeper than most.  I have experienced many life-altering traumatic experiences; drowning, automobile crash, loss of loved one, emotional trauma, and even disease which can also be traumatic. I think we have forgotten or may not even be aware of how connected our thoughts are to our body and how powerful they can be if we use them as the vehicle to change the chemical process that our body undergoes; change your thought and change your life. Not really hard to understand for some, but very foreign to many.

In What a Plant Knows: A Field Guide to the Senses, Daniel Chamovitz talks about the chemical messengers in plants that help it thrive and survive.  Even messengers that are spread from plant to plant through space, they emit chemicals that warn other plants of predators making them less appealing.  We all know how wonderful a green salad can be, but did you also know that the anti-oxidant properties are enhanced when you tear the lettuce?  This is the plant’s automatic healing process; to emit chemicals to begin the wound repair and thanks to them we can eat the anti-oxidants they produce to help our own bodies heal.

When I first got into Mind Body Medicine as a massage therapist and nutritionist, I used hair analysis.  I could not work with a lab back then, and the hair is really accurate in showing how our bodies are using the food we eat or reacting to the drugs we take.  Hair has become a gold standard in determining if someone is a drug user; it is registered and stored in the hair shaft and stays there until you cut it off.  We used the first inch from the scalp as a sample for the lab to test.  The lab I worked with would send me back a report on the metabolic markers so that I could then determine what imbalances in their diet needed to be corrected.  It was the only lab that would also tell me their metabolic type: slow, mixed, or fast.  I think this is similar to the Dosha type in Ayurvedic Medicine: Vata, Pita, or Kapha.  Our goal in either case is always to locate the cause of the imbalance, treat it temporarily to reduce symptoms, but inevitably to find the missing link, remove the underlying cause, and regain our health.

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Reflexology; Anti-Aging and Stress Relieving

Reflexology is a time-honored therapy that existed thousands of years ago.  The Egyptian Method that I teach has its’ roots in the Egyptian Pyramids of Giza; the Physician’s Tomb.  Many cultures have held high regard for the healing power of applying gentle pressure to reflex points that ‘reflect’ back to the specific body part or organ.

Dr. Wanona giving a gentle head rub during a Facial Reflexology session

Facial Reflexology

Dr. Wanona giving a gentle head rub during a session

 

I have enjoyed teaching the Egyptian Method since 1995 when I was first introduced to this gentle technique.  In my style of teaching I also add techniques to relax the giver such as stretches for the forearms, headache points, and aromatherapy.  Giving a session in reflexology should be just as beneficial to the giver as it is to the receiver.  I also add the concept of acupressure making the Egyptian Reflexology Method more about the perception of the receiver; are they relaxed, or are they feeling pain and signs of stress?

Pain is not the goal of Egyptian Method Reflexology and should never be accepted by the receiver.  Certainly some points are going to feel much more tender to the touch, but I have always taught my students to get off of the painful spot as quickly as possible.  The giver can once again return to the spot to see how it feels after working in a circle around the tender area or “Circling the Dragon.” I learned this term and concept from my acupuncture training.   Using a concept we call ‘point discrimination’ the body can send the information to release tension to the painful spot making our treatments much more comfortable and beneficial.

However, after all these years I discovered that the FACE also holds reflex points.  In actuality there are thousands of reflex points on our body, hence Body Reflexology, but the face is so easy to work on and there are tremendous results.

First, we know that the face has reflex points, lines of energy and also lines of physical stress we call wrinkles.  The neck is also considered part of the face in my treatments, so we start with some gentle neck massage, and work our way up to the face; it also includes the head and the lines of energy that surround the head.

Facial Reflexology could also be called Facial Acupressure.  Applying gentle pressure on acupressure points helps stimulate energy, but it also helps bring fresh blood to the tissues of the face, head and neck; the skin begins to tone and the receiver will actually begin to look younger!

I am very excited about the benefits of Facial Reflexology, and hope you will be too.  I am looking for some volunteers to receive regular weekly treatments that will be documented and photographed to prove that Facial Reflexology actually makes you look younger!  I have seen it work, but I want you to experience it for yourself.

I am taking just six volunteers who will receive Free weekly sessions; either in Naperville, Illinois at my office there, or at Spring Creek Holistic in northwest Illinois where I live and work.  Contact me as soon as you can so we can start the new year out with some exciting results of your regular sessions.

Here is what is required in order to be accepted into the study: Attend three or four sessions a month of Facial Reflexology. Drink lots of water during the entire trial. Agree to be photographed the first day, at 3 months and at 6 months.  The final results will be published in my book, so I will need permission to use your photograph. There will be paperwork and some questionnaires to fill out, but it should be simple enough.

After the study, I will also publish it in a journal to help other health professionals see the benefits of the treatments.  All participants will be able to continue receiving treatments either by myself or one of our trained reflexologists at the regular treatment price.  I encourage everyone (not just the study participants) to receive about two or three treatments every month; some patients really love the weekly sessions and rarely miss their appointment.

Please refer this information to your massage therapist or other bodywork professional; if they are trained in Facial Reflexology you can be sure you will be able to continue with regular treatments and everyone will be happier!

Check the Events Calendar for the next class, and direct any questions to me directly at doc2wah@gmail.com or my cell phone at 847-312-6143

Namaste,

Doc Wah