Got neck pain? Get a FREE neck pain relief video now!
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.
Meditation and mindfulness are quickly becoming the hot new trend – you can hardly get out of the grocery store without someone or something suggesting you try mindfulness. But meditation is hardly new – people have been practicing mindfulness for thousands of years!
I imagine it was a lot easier to be mindful when you had only a few things to focus on each day – getting food, staying safe, and getting a good night’s rest as soon as the sun went down. We now have to handle notifications from everything with a battery and many of us, myself included, find it’s a lot hard to focus on a singular task.
Improving focus and serenity is one of the draws of meditation – we all want to calm our mind instead of having the attention span of a gnat, but what really happens to your brain when you meditate? read more…
I’ll be upfront and honest – I have never tried hot yoga. It’s been on my radar for some time, and since a new studio popped up in my neighborhood, I’m seriously considering checking it out.
But I’ve always wondered what the effect of heat and humidity is on the body. There’s a reason we don’t like to go outside to do anything when it’s 98˚ and 40% humidity. It feels extra hard on your body when you’re expending energy not only to complete a task but also sweating like crazy and trying to regulate body temperature.
I remember fighting naps when I was a kid. I never wanted to go lay down in the middle of the afternoon for fear that all the fun stuff would happen while I was catching Z’s. Fast forward 25 years and now I look forward to naps and can’t wait to get one!
We are one of the only mammals who do not nap on a regular basis and most of us are underslept on a regular basis. Even if you have convinced yourself that you can function off of 5 hours of sleep a night, the average adult needs between 7-9 hours of sleep. If you are “under sleeping” each night, you accumulate what is known as sleep debt.
When it comes to hip, knee and low back pain, the major muscles present (and blamed for issues) are the quadriceps and hamstrings. This makes sense as the rectus femoris, one of the 4 quadriceps muscles, crosses at the hip and assists with hip flexion and the hamstrings (biceps femoris, semitendinosus, and semimembranosus) anchor to the pelvis and assist with hip extension.
Because of the position in relationship to one another, the quadriceps and hamstrings work in opposition, known in the body as an agonist/antagonist relationship. When the quadriceps contract, the hamstrings must relax through a process called reciprocal inhibition. Reciprocal inhibition is a reflex that happens simultaneously – your central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) tell one muscle to contract and the muscle on the opposite side of the joint to relax to allow for movement and prevent injury.
The quadriceps and hamstrings are also greatly affected by the position we tend to put them in most often during the day – sitting. The average person sits 14 hours a day. While this may seem like an insanely high number, when you consider time spent at your desk, sitting during your commute, sitting at home at the dinner table or couch, 14 hours doesn’t seem that outlandish. read more…
What if I told you that the secret to avoiding scars is fat and hair? Scar tissue, as we’ve discussed before (read: The Problem with Scar Tissue), is not regular tissue and can impact your ability to move once it’s developed. While there are things we can do to improve the movement and hydration of scar tissues once they have formed, once you have a scar you are pretty much stuck with it.
A multi-year study recently completed at UC Irvine and the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania found that they could induce skin regeneration in mice when hair follicles were introduced into the wound.