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Hi, I'm Alexandra Ellis, an anatomy loving body-nerd who enjoys breaking down complicated body concepts to help you maximize your performance for pain-free living.
Read my entire story here.
Got rounded shoulders?
After years of hunching over a desk, chances are that your shoulders have snuck around your ribcage, leaving you with perpetually slouchy and rounded shoulders.
A simple check to see where your shoulders hang is to look at where your hands land on your thighs when in standing. If they are more towards the front of your thighs then it’s very likely that the rest of your shoulder has slouched forward as well.
Our body and tissues are incredibly smart and adaptive – if you are not using something, be it range of motion or strength, the body will no longer exert the energy to maintain it.
Does the phrase “Use it or lose it” sound familiar?
I’m all for simplicity, but sometimes, the simple tool you find around the house is not the best tool for self-massage.
And while it seems like there’s a new fancy (and more expensive!) massage tool unveiled every day, more $$ ≠ better.
It comes down to purpose – what are you actually trying to achieve with your self-massage? If your goal is to increase tissue hydration, muscle relaxation, and improve movement, a harder tool might not be your best option.
We live in a world where time feels extremely limited. There are only 24 hours in a day, yet you can’t survive on 2 hours of sleep, and you still have to go to the grocery store, drop off (and then pick up) the kids at dance/music/SCUBA lessons and somewhere, in the midst of the scramble, find time for yourself.
And while many of us, myself included, may understand that mindfulness-based stress relief and meditation can be extremely beneficial, it can be really hard to make the time for it on a regular basis.
So I went digging to find if there was a minimum “dose” of mindfulness needed to be effective, and good news for us all, there is!
NPR recently did a story on how the art of the hip hinge has been lost on Americans and is probably why so many of us suffer from back pain.
The hip hinge, if you are not familiar, is a movement that involves bending at only the hips (not the waist) and requires the muscles on the back of your hips and legs (specifically, the glutes and hamstrings) to do the work.
In countries where squatting and bending happen regularly as part of daily life, people tend to bend more like a “table top”, maintaining the positioning of their spine as they fold forward.
The hip hinge requires that your core muscles do the work of supporting your spine, rather than folding at your spine and letting the smaller muscles of your low back bear the weight of your heavy head and upper body.
Will learning proper spinal bracing and core stabilization help with back pain? Sure.
But is it the only thing you need to do for the rest of time? Not at all!
When you get a massage is the therapist or therapy ball actually busting, blasting or melting fascia? Have you ever wondered what actually happens when you get a massage, whether it’s from a therapist or massage tool?
Massage is nothing new, in fact, evidence of it has been found in European cave paintings from as far back as 15,000 BC. So, what’s responsible for how amazing you feel as you float back into your day after a massage?