Breathing is something we do without thinking, it just happens, which is so amazing, but if we stop breathing we die, right so it is important and our amazing body will find any way to keep us breathing and alive.
Which means our body will create patterns of breath in the short term for our survival due to injuries or stress that become long term patterns, unfortunately means less oxygen and energy into our body long term, so creates more stress at a cellular level causing more pain and keeps us going downhill rather than recovering.
So how can breathing help relieve pain, well we have to become aware of how we breathe, what areas of our body moves on the in breath and out breath, what areas don’t move. So just take a few moments to do this for yourself right now, you can place your hands on chest or belly and see where your breath goes in your body. See how deep you can take it, how shallow it is, if it’s hard to focus or notice how you breathe, do you breathe in through your nose or is it easier through the mouth?
Just take some breaths in thought the nose and out through your mouth about 10 times and see if you can go deeper on each breath. Notice how you feel after.
There is no right or wrong in how you breathe, however there is a way to improve it that allows better function and more energy which can relive pain. When we have pain it’s a request for change, also if the breath doesn’t move the diaphragm downwards into the belly, creating expansion there (I know many of you are like got to keep my belly in and tight) then your organs are not gaining the movement they need to function, your digestive system, kidneys and liver are all supposed to be moved on in each breath in downwards with belly outwards and each breath out inwards and upwards 3-5 cm on every breath. Just like how babies breathe, until they learn to hold on to stress.
So most of you are going I can’t breathe like that, that’s hard work. I used to practice breathing like that and I agree it’s hard work and breathing isn’t supposed to be hard work or take any extra attention. Until I got my diaphragm unlocked, well that’s what it felt like. So how did that happen by using this technique I am going to share here, on part of it to help you right now.
You have your ribcage, think of it as an X, a curvy x, the edge of your lower ribs on each side are the bottom part of the x, in-between your pectorals, breasts the sternum is the middle part and then under the collar bones (clavicles) the top of the x. What you are going to do is rub very lightly with your fingers or pad of a finger, just moving the skin starting from the top edge of your ribs on either side, going up the middle of your chest, sternum and then along the collar bones, spend 30 seconds on each area. You can spend longer if you feel a tender spot, just be light and soft with your rubbing, no force.
After you’ve done that bring your awareness to your breath, see if it is any easier, deeper into your belly, then take 10 deep breaths into the belly only, nothing in your chest and exhale out through your mouth.
If nothing has changed in your breathing, try rubbing the sternum lightly as you breathe, or you can find your telly tubby point which is the crown of your head, draw a line up from the middle of your ears to the very top of your head-crown and place a finger lightly there and then breathe into your belly nothing in your chest and out through your mouth for 10 breaths getting deeper on each in breath.
Then notice how you feel, there should be some positive changes, mind quieter, easier to breathe, a decrease in pain, better digestion.
How does shifting your breath reduce the pain, the deeper breath provides more oxygen supply to your cells thus can reduce areas of tension that cause a pain signal, more oxygen to your nerves that carry the pain signals, creates less tension in your muscles, moves your breathing from stress to relaxation - sympathetic to parasympathetic which aids your digestion, helps your lymph to drain.
This is not the only area in the body to be stimulated by gentle touch that can help shift the breath to reduce pain. Our body creates compensations through stress, trauma, injury, comfortable habits which eventually hinders on our wellbeing and organ functions. If you would like to learn more on how to help yourself please do get in touch with me, Emily firstname.lastname@example.org or call me 07813798643, book me for treatments, talks -demos and workshops.
Breath is for life and the quality can make all the difference in pain and wellbeing.
I have organised a workshop for the 6th of February, 2016 in Derby, that will enhance your performance on the bike and also will aid you injury prevention more details below.
How to enhance your cycling performance through Injury prevention in 123
To register please send and email to Em at email@example.com.
This amazing injury prevention workshop is practical and hands on learning for cyclists. This workshop it has 3 main parts:
- 123 pattern. Discovering the 123 pattern, a simple way of discovering the ideal muscle firing pattern which also shows how you muscles are currently performing through muscle testing that highlights injury issues.
You will learn how to function from the ideal pattern which will give you more power when you need it. It is the ideal muscle firing pattern that gives you the most accessible power and performance output.
How our body affects our mindset and how our emotions affect our body.
- How to switch on your most powerful muscles - muscle activation (massaging on certain points, which are different from other massage points).
*Activating your diaphragm so breathing and belly breathing becomes easier, which improves your VO2 max output.
*Activating your hip flexors (psoas muscle) and glutes that will improve your power threshold output on the bike with less effort.
Em demonstrates whether that area is firing as it should be or if it is switched off and shows you how to switch it on and feel the difference, using before and after comparrison tests.
- Movement patterns/exercises to aid mobility and strengthen the core for improved performance on the bike and reduce injuries, aches and pains.
You will come away with a new technique, tools that you can use and a different feeling body that will enhance your cycling experience, be you a weekend warrior, slightly more competitive or even a pro rider, everyone will gain something from this workshop.
Under 16's can attend for free.
Only if you are registered by email I will account for you as attending.
If you want to;
- Breathe easier
- Know if your glutes and hip flexors are functioning
- Easily switch on glutes and hip flexors
- A stronger core
- More wattage
- Faster recovery from your rides
- Improve FTP
- Increase your VO2 max
- Less aches
- Reduced DOMs
- Better pedal stroke
- Improved cadence
- More connection to your body
- Understand how to gain more performance out of your body
- Gain more -Flexibility
Then this workshop is for you.
There will be tea breaks through out and an Hour for Lunch.
Morning - Introduction, base line postures/ exercises and movement tests for later comparrison, learning the 123 pattern through muscle testing and find out own body pattern which can give insight into injury history, getting diaphragm/ breathing to have more oxgyen intake through massaging certain areas.
Afternoon - Switching on Hip Flexors and glutes through massaging on certain points, going back over the morning postures and movement tests, learning more movements from the 123 pattern that will improve the new found mobility and how the breathing impacts exercises.
A short bike ride out out at end of day to feel the difference.
Em uses a technique called Be Activated taught by Douglas Heel and it is part of this system she will introduce to you on this workshop that will aid your performance on the bike. Along with the Be activated system she combines her knowledge of movement with the system so you can move better on and off the bike and have tools you can take away with to use at any time. She has worked with athletes and enhanced their performance and also works with stroke survivors and get them moving better than before they had the stroke and results happen quick through the use of the muscle activation points, muscle testing and movement practice.
There are several causes of knee pain on your bicycle
1. Cleat position. Your feet are not meant to be parallel and nor should your cleats be set parallel.
Check to see how your foot position is when stood relaxed and after you take a few steps.
Some of you will have one foot turned out more than the other, and some one foot more turned in than the other, your cleats should reflect your natural foot position.
Also where your cleats sit, in my opinion, you get more power if they are closer to your 1st metatarsal heads of your toes, the Ball of foot, as that is where you gain most power from, however others may conclude differently. However this depends on how your foot functions and the over compensation pattern your body runs into your feet, will affect what works for you.
2. SPDs size and width. To check if your SPDs are correct width for you either take shoe liner out if there is one and place your foot on top of it, or, place your foot on top of your SPD and look to see where your toes are.
If your toes fall outside of the shoe then it is too small and squashing your feet into said shoe reduces your power. Squished feet mean the ball of big toe can not function as intended and that inhibits it’s connection with your butt, glute muscles, which is the main powerhouse driver. This is a problem with most footwear and the big impact it can have on your body's performance.
3. Your knee is a weak point due to an over compensation 123 pattern running in your body.
See the picture:- Area 1 is the hips
Area 2 abdomen and thighs
Area 3 lower leg and upper body
We should fire outwards from area 1 first, then area 2 and 3. But our body has this inbuilt overcompensation capability so it can can protect itself in times of stress, fight or flight state which is a short term state, but somehow we create this to be our normal functioning state.
So majority of knee pain issues are running a 223 or 233 pattern, this is maybe not the case for everyone and this is just an example of how the body overcompensates not a diagnosis.
223 pattern is the area 2, thigh, doing area 1 job, hip flexion, and it’s own job of looking after the knee, area 2. This means the tendons and ligaments in the knee end up as vulnerable weak points due to the thigh muscle shortening, tightening and driving upwards as the hip flexor, area 1. When this area gets over tired then you start to notice the pain.
233 pattern is area 2 still doing area 1 job, thigh doing hip flexion, but the lower leg area 3 is looking after the knee function, which is an better overcompensating pattern than the other pattern but still inhibits your body’s performance as the muscles are still doing another function instead of or as well as their own, which they are still shortening, tightening and driving upwards instead of explosive power outwards.
Simple things to help the 123 pattern: - belly breathing,
- passive resting squat, best barefoot with either magazines or books under heels until you can get feet flat on the floor.
- Crawling on hands and knees and then try with knees off the ground, great core work out.
- Activating the diaphragm, hip flexors and glutes in area 1. You do this by by rubbing/massaging up and down lightly on your sternum, breast bone, feeling your skin move as you rub, this is for the diaphragm.
Hip flexors, rub your belly with flat hand just below belly button, then try poking/massage 2 inches out and 2 inches down from belly button and rub those 2 points, again moving skin around.
Glutes, rub/massage at base of skull, top of neck around into side of jaw.
Which may help area 1 to switch on and perform.
These are not the only patterns and causes, bike fit maybe another issue.
As you can see there has been 2 articles published on Martin and his story about stress and stroke, and, how I am helping him recover so he can easily achieve his goals he has set himself for this summer. To do a 5k run and a cycle, all for charity. Please click Derby Telegraph and the Birmingham Mercury to see pdf of each. Or go to articles page here.
So further on with our journey of discovering what is possible with Martin's body and to see if we can unlock the birth trauma from Spina Bifida that has impacted his posture and mobility throughout his life, which the stroke exacerbated the underlying issues in his body.
Here's the thing - what I consider small steps in progress when I am working on Martin are big leaps over deep crevasses for him. I am finding this really interesting. I can feel where and what his body is capable of, but then we have the emotional limits that affect what we are ready to let go of, and, we may find some of us can only cope with peeling back the layers, yet others are ready to cope with the band aid be ripped right off and allow the emotions to come up and out.
Although each session probably feels like a new fresh band aid is being ripped off for Martin as we work together, as his body lets the activations in and releases the years of stored mental/emotional and perceived trauma.
It would of been great, if, I took videos and photos from the very start of working with Martin, oh well that didn't happen, and, it hasn't been done every session either. So below you will find video's that are from April when Martin's body had a big breakthrough with the Activations and releasing, he found his 2nd real deep belly breath on the couch.
I have been focusing on his left arm during some of the treatments, using all of the activations the same way. As I noticed, when I watch him move, something would go through his mind or emotion come up, which Martin is not always aware of. I do ask him what is going on in his head, to which many times I get the reply nothing. I just go hmmm........ a pattern that locks in the left arm to function as hip flexor and glute, why?
The most recent answer is determination to walk/run/move better, before lately there wasn't an apparent reason.
I feel this pattern has possibly been run since his Spina Bifida removal at birth. The stroke happened to highlight the left arm over function to point of tiredness and weakness, well it would be tired if it has spent over 50 years being the hip flexor and glute. Just my theory and the length of time of course could be less and maybe my excuse for not quite un-ravelling the left arm over compensation yet. Smiles.
Martin has to be ready to let the pattern go and sometimes we have held that pattern for so long it feels safer with it than actually not running that pattern any more. We do like to hang on to things don't we?
The video sequence goes from left to right.
Below is 3 videos from the session on 7th of April, 2015. The activations got Martin's second real deep belly breath which made him feel like and physically be able to run. Then he wanted to try outside to see how that felt.
In the videos below you can find Martin walking after his activation session on 12th May, 19th of May and on the 2nd of June, 2015. I am looking at how his left arm is more relaxed and not driving the movement, as it likes to think it is the right hip flexor and glute. I decided to focus on the arm and see if we can get it to stop driving the hip flexion movement, as when it locks in this makes Martin tire easily and more wobbly when he walks.
You can see the difference in the 3 videos, maybe subtle to some and you can clearly see the difference between the right arm swinging freely and relaxed fingers and hand compared to the left side which swings with less ease. This is not muscle weakness, he has strength and relaxation when the left arm is being an left arm.
During the session on the 2nd of June, 2015, I decided to observe the connection whilst walking with his feet. As his left leg likes to shorten, tighten and drive upwards trying to be the left hip flexor. The left leg, hamstrings have length and so does the calf muscle and yet the default position is to shorten when over compensating during movement.
His left leg had an more exaggerated turned out position after the stroke. His left foot was never more parallel like his right foot before the stroke, however each time I work on the left leg being a left leg, it gets a little straighter.
I had the pleasure of meeting Carmel Warrillow on 2nd June, 2015.
I challenged Martin to see if he could run. Left foot you can see was still quite turned out, however left arm was nicely relaxed and moving with his stride.
Next 4 videos are from the 16th June, 2015.
Martin is walking with his left arm swinging freely, relaxed fingers. Left foot still turning out, yet it is not as exaggerated as it has been prior to the sessions with me. He then decided to run and he shares his thoughts of how it felt.
In another video, below left, he started to tense his left arm when running, so I got him to pause and activated to release the tension. He is turning around quite sprightly these days, which shows his body is getting more balanced with improved mobility.
Below right is Martin stepping up his running, he said he felt he could go faster, so I just say go ahead.
He still wants to run faster and gets concerned about how to do so, which actually makes him tense up. When the breathing kicks in more when he is stood up then the body will be able to perform much better. He has nice deep belly breathing when lying down, however this dynamic shifts when he stands up and walks and runs and I am not sure why it does, something I am still exploring with him.
The next set of videos are from the session on the 30th June, 2015. On the way to this session Martin told me what his dad had said to him, about the improvements since working with me. His dad lives in Spain and sees his son infrequently.
“My son Martin has been seeing Emily since January 2015, having had a stroke in December 2013. I live in Spain, so I only see Martin occasionally.
You can see the left arm swing is much more and more relaxed. His left leg no longer quite as rotated outward and felt much more inline with his body to him. It is important what it feels like to you, when I am working with you.
Martin told me he wanted to do more running and get better at it, so I took him outside on to the sports pitches, which were full of clover and bees.
This brought up some anxiety for Martin, one, he couldn't see where his feet would land and whether the ground was even under foot. Two, he was getting the clover stuck between his toes, which he didn't like to feel of. I just told him it's nature and get on with it, and I sometimes get clover in between my toes too. Again he forgets his breathing and arm tenses up due to concentration and we are still working to gain more awareness what his body is actually doing when he moves.
I then chose to run up and down with him to give him a little more confidence that running through clover is easy, then I let him run again by himself.
I noticed on the way over to the sports pitch, that, when he was walking up the steps this was rather awkward and saw room for improvement, which I knew was possible from his activated body.
Below left, is, how he normally gets up and down stairs. I suspect when Martin is out and about he uses his stick for support still. This is not a problem and I know he is trying to go out without it more and more.
Some people are taught by physios and other therapists to use strong leg to get up the stairs and weak leg to come down on. So I get Martin to change it up, use left leg going up and right leg going down, at first his body and mind did not like this change in pattern.
So I then I did the diaphragm activation point on Martin at the top of the steps, as he was going into fight or flight, and, it's much easier to learn and do things when you are not in that state and in a parasympathetic state.
The second video down on the left, I had Martin take each step individually with each foot, which again messed with his mind and body again, yet he did it. Great achievement.
I made Martin run inside again, for comparison to previous indoor footage and to see any difference on how it felt from running in the long clover laden grass.
I like where he tells me the left leg feels a little weak as we haven't strengthened it yet. His left leg is more parallel than it has been before when moving an stood still. So I just do the calf activation point and set him off again.
Nice relaxation with left hand and much better going round the corner with more speed.
If you see anything in Martin's posture or progress I haven't shared please do with me in the comments below.
If you are still wondering as more of an athlete how this could help you........ if this treatment can get Martin running and going up and down stairs more normally then just think how much more power this could give you, faster times, more strength and energy, higher VO2 max and FTP.
Or if you are not an athlete but business person, this could help you relax at the end of the day and perform better in your business, as when the body is performing from a parasympathetic state you can see and take much more information in and process much quicker and easier since the body will be under less stress and stress affects this ability which this treatment can give you much more resilience too.
I won a Instagram competition by Living Naturally, who were giving away their new rosemary & marshmallow soapnut shampoo and Cardamom & Lavender soapnut salve.
I have tried all sorts of organic natural shampoos over the years, generally giving up on them quite fast as they just made my hair suffer more with greasiness and be really lack luster and flat. So I turned to ayurvedic hair powders of various sorts, which gave my hair body and left it clean. But sometimes my hair would still feel a little caked with the powders even with thorough washing so I added some bicarbonate of soda and that worked even better and used diluted cider vinegar during and after and my hair would come out much cleaner.
I then discovered Living Naturally Ayurvedic Herbal Hair Mask which was already mixed and I found for me it works best with a teaspoon of bicarb in it with using the diluted cider vinegar during washing my hair. I leave it on for a few minutes in the shower and then rinse off, which leaves my hair full of body, clean, soft and mine goes wavy. Sometimes I use Moroccan Clay to wash by it's self or add to the herbal hair mask also.
When I received the soapnut shampoo I was intrigued to see the ingredients and how my hair would fair with a shampoo after all my other experiences. Now from using powders I don't really get why shampoos should foam, most shampoos that do are full of chemicals that are not really that good for you or the environment, if it's not good to eat then why put it on your skin, as the skin does absorb nutrients into the body, also those sorts of shampoos tend to coat the hair which feels horrible to me.
So this lathers a little and you don't need much just enough to cover your scalp, as I learned from using the powders you only need to do your roots as when you rinse it goes down the shaft of the hair to clean the rest. So you can use less, I get it into my roots and scalp and massage and use cooler water to rinse, it seems to clean my hair better than the powders, but not as much volume, however it is better at cleaning my hair than any other natural organic shampoo I have tried so far and there has been quite a few in my past.
So I now mix things up, washing my hair twice a week either with Herbal hair mask or the Soapnut shampoo, although if using the Ayurvedic methods I can wash my hair once a week, I do just use water the other days when I shower.
The Soapnut salve smells lovely as it has Cardamom and Lavender in it. This will make a great chamois cream for cycling. No nasties in this, naturally antibacterial which means it won't affect the good bacteria on your skin. I have already used it inbetween my legs, on seat bone points and around my labia to see how it is and it gets thumbs up from me.
I avoid using products with chemicals that are harmful to you or the environment on your skin, they maybe in deemed safe by some standards but your skin absorbs them into your bloodstream, I just prefer to use more simple natural products made with care, love and ethics .
The beginners/cat 4 race coaching at Curborough race circuit Staffordshire, set up by Lichfield CC, Elisa McDonagh and Huw Williams.
Huw got us to ride either on the hoods or drops, which I only tend to ride on the drops down hills as my 1975 Alan, well braking is a manual strength test at times compared to modern bikes, which I love and the bike bars are slightly to far for me from what I have been told, but I love the pezzani on the side and the original Coppi bar tape, so the handle bars are staying.
So being on the drops I could feel discomfort on the front pubic area and was thinking time to invest in some better cycling shorts- more in another post, shortly.
The coaching was really useful for me, I recommend it even if you do not want to race as if you come to cycling older and not learned how to ride close to others or in a peloton, it is a must to gain that confidence and no crashing here.
I found it very humbling as I thought I could keep up pace for longer, still a fair bit of fitness to gain, only been riding on my 1975 Alan since I bought it in October 2014 and only just recently upped my mileage and things are starting to get more out on the hillier areas.
The techniques that were taught after the warm up of gradually increasing pace and spinning, oh I can spin at a high cadence. Though I am training myself to do that through the harder gears so when it comes to climbing hills I don’t drop to the bottom gear straight away, I love riding my vintage bike and if I can get to the point on flying past those up hills with more gears than moi that would be awesome. Yes it’s easier on the body to spin at a higher cadence up hills, but there are those who used to climb up mountains and hills with just 3 gears, some still do.
We were made to ride in a group close together getting us to put a hand on the next rider’s shoulder and cycle at same speed was good, keeping our line and going round corners in a line, I kept ending up on the outside, which meant going a bit faster to hold the line.
Then it came to going round corners faster and getting confident at it and seeing a line, now cornering round to the left I found easier than the right it may have something to do with my 123 cheat pattern and stress makes me implode in on myself, as I tend to hide and get away from things emotionally as it is a trait I learned as a little girl to keep myself safe and I am still unlocking that emotional pattern. Emotions have a strong effect on how the body performs and what 123 pattern is run. So going round to the right, I got it, yay, oh no bollocks, I messed it up, ok that was better, nope I fucked it up that time, which was from over thinking it and not relaxing and breathing.
We then went on to puncture drills of soft pedalling and moving up through the peloton with enough time left to do a mini crit race, with the 2 young lasses leading the first 2 laps, well by the first lap I was out the back, however Elisa got those of us out the back to work together, to help each other out and then last lap a sprint to the finish line.
It was a very well organised and great day, I am not sure I will part take in any crits just yet as I prefer being out on the roads and my fitness and average needs to increase a lot, in my opinion, so more getting out on my bike then, especially more so doing hilly routes than the flat ones. Strava is my friend at letting me see how I progress and must admit love it when I get a QOM, though it would be nice when I can get nearer the lads up hills, well some women even as that is a weak point and well if I am going to do Eroica then hill work is a must.
I went to a networking meeting in Lichfield run by 4Networking in January and I ended up sat on the table opposite this man who had sticks and some sort of difficulties with his body. So we got talking. I mentioned what I do Stress Management, Pain and Injury Management by looking at the body’s 2 top priorities breathing and movement via hip flexion. He introduced himself as Martin Warrillow, a writer and now a blogger and speaker about surviving a Stroke, that happened to him in December 2013, whilst crossing a road whilst a bus was coming towards him.
Martin was interested in what I did and so we arranged the 10 minute session with each other, you get 3 x10 minute sessions with people of your choosing after your 60 second introduction that everyone does. He expressed an interest in trying a treatment, he was still seeing a physiotherapist, that he was referred to by the hospital. However he knew his breathing was an issue and so was the ongoing left side weakness, his speech was good for someone whom not long ago suffered a stroke, although I do not know many people whom have suffered a stroke in person. So I emailed him once I got back as I would like to work with him using the activations to see if we could get the left side to be stronger and improve upon his breathing.
I knew cost was an issue, however I wanted to see if I could help him, so we came to an arrangement since he is a writer and journalist, that he shares his experiences about working with me and helps me with future press releases. And if he could cover my basic costs, as he had to pay to come to Derby from Tamworth by train and I would pick him up from Derby Station and take him up and back to Broomfield College, where the physio treatment room I use is and it was agreed upon.
First session with me, we went through history of injuries, most recent of course was the stroke, which whilst having a stroke and a seeing a bus come towards you whilst not being able to do anything has got to be a very traumatic experience. I also discovered he had suffered epileptic fits whilst in his sleep, his wife, Mrs Warrillow, would discover him fitting during his sleep in 2006 and was put on steroid medication to stop the fits. Martin was also born with Spina Bifida, which was removed as a baby.
Just before Martin’s Stroke, 2 weeks before, he was told his job as a National Naturist Magazine Editor was not going to be renewed which he loved for 3 years and 9 months, albeit working crazy stressful hours, the last 3 months ended up being really stressful. When his epilepsy started in 2006 there was also a lot of stress in his life at that moment in time.
From hearing my Be Activated teacher’s stories about one young lad, who had been activated by a family member but was still struggling to play basket ball, he was tall and this you would of thought be super easy for him, yet there was something not quite right, not been able to put your finger on it so to say. So one time Doug, my activation teacher, was staying with the family and he asked about the lad’s birth if any complications and his mother said he was born with a 6th little finger that got removed as a baby, not even the lad knew about this, and now many things just linked together in Doug’s mind and he worked on the lad with activations relating to the trauma of loosing that little finger that was apart of the lad and all of a sudden everything became easy to the lad, he could move and play so much better. Which is quite amazing so I wondered if this could be the case for my client Martin.
Why do I wonder if this is the case for Martin, well he has said he has struggled with his breathing even as a child, he isn’t asthmatic. Martin also struggles to carry his head on top of his shoulders always looking down, that condition was there as long as he can remember and the same with his left leg being turned out as he walks, which the stroke has quite possibly exaggerated these weaknesses in his body, however they were there before the stroke and by having the Spina Bifida removed could of created a trauma in his body to shut down and protect itself, which means the body will sacrifice to survive, so the left leg could of rotated at this point, due to the removal causing the Lateral system (lateral sling, frontal plane) and Posterior system (posterior chain, transverse/rotational plane) to break down.
During the first session I found the 123 pattern Martin’s body is running through the use of the muscle flexibility and resistance tests. 333 Left arm and 333 left leg. 333 left arm is doing area 1’s function the hip flexion of the right hip and really over working and fatiguing much quick due to the affect the stroke has on the body. 333 left leg is doing the left hip flexion. I described everything I was doing in simple terms and more body technical terms of the neural pathways between muscle and brain.
I went on going through the activations and re-testing the corresponding muscle I had activated, I only got to the quad activation on the first session. When I got Martin up of the couch and stood up, he felt a difference in his legs and then I got him walking up and down the corridor without his sticks. I felt I had not done much as I knew that his diaphragm was not yet activated fully, he still was struggling to get the breath into his belly naturally, however he was impressed with what happened and how his body felt to him compared to when he came in.
This was the email I received later on that day;
Thought you might like to know I have just walked all the way from Tamworth railway station to our house (about a ten-minute walk for a 'normal' person) without my sticks - the first time I've done that since my stroke. Let me know an address and I'll send you a cheque for today's treatment. And don't forget to send me some info I can use for my blog and a feature.
I was amazed by this, that he was feeling that confident to do that and during the time before I saw him again he told me he walked several times with Mrs Warrillow’s help for 10 minutes without his sticks again, which is amazing.
The second visit I managed to do all the activation points on him, still seeking the belly breath to happen through the activations and still only a slight improvement with a little more breath reaching his belly, but still happening in the chest first. When the diaphragm is functioning well and we are not in fight or flight state then we should breathe in to our belly first that way we are getting more oxygen into our lungs and then body. Chest breathing means we limit the oxygen intake to only a third or less that gets into our body.
Some of the activation points were holding, some areas there was room for improvement, but we nearly got his leg touching his head so not too shabby from that activation point. I did some release work on his left leg as this time I got him to take off the brace he wears, which to me seems to constrict his ankle and foot with compression but not really give any benefit to the ankle or foot function, just adding to the squished compressed appearance of the left foot, which was like that before the stroke and the turned out appearance has possibly been there since childhood, the brace was trying to help that out. As his lower left leg that is driving the hip flexion and unless the hip flexors are fired up to do their job the lower leg is going to keep doing that function until the correct communication between muscle and brain along the neural pathways is switched back on and this is what the activations do along with affecting the breath into the belly which is a sign of a parasympathetic drop - rest and recover high performing state, which is where we should function from most of the time in our life.
After all the activations I got him standing up and then walking to feel the difference in his body, up and down the corridor, this time telling Martin to go faster, he was walking a lot more straight and upright, feeling more confident, he came in with 2 sticks this time and I mentioned to him, I prefer people to walk with 2 sticks from when a person walks with one they tend to lean on it too much and stoop on it, which creates a further problem with their posture, with 2 sticks you can be more upright in posture, like nordic walking.
On the third session with me Martin was now just walking with one stick and walking a little quicker. I always start the session looking at how area 1 is functioning, if the hip flexors are firing, observing the breath and doing the 123 tests to see what area is in charge and Martin still is 333 left arm and 333 left leg. Going through the activation points again, looking to get the parasympathetic drop shown via the belly breath. This time I went and did some work on his jaw on the inside to release the muscles as they were very tight, which he told me he had discovered a new level of pain. I work lightly, if I work too hard with the points I loose feel and effectiveness on the body. I opened him up to his own pain, the pain is yours that has been numbed out, forgotten it yet it still exists, which is shown when I go into these seemingly vulnerable areas. When I finish and re-test the muscles to show the effect of them being activated and ask how you feel after as during some are very good at letting me know I have the right point. Afterwards you know it is worth going through that suffering as things shift, release and start to function as they can.
A little more breath was happening in the belly, still chest first however more breath into the belly once again. This time when walking up and down the corridor I got him to go much faster in his walk, Martin was much straighter and upright, no wobble. Martin was now becoming much more aware of his body and feeling more through the activations and gaining more confidence in what his body could now do. I still knew there was still further improvement to come if I could get that big belly breath, as I knew there had to be a trigger for it, an emotional one.
On the Fourth session, Martin was walking much better with one stick. This time I went for the diaphragm activation point and I had Martin place himself mentally in the position of when he was having his stroke, with the bus coming towards him and not being able to do anything from the effects of the stroke taking over his body, whilst I focused on the diaphragm activation point and then it happened… the big belly breath. His area 1 then fired after the activations and area 2 and 3, he felt much more discomfort from the activations than ever before as he started to open up to feeling more in his body and also when we going into a place of stress then it can feel much more overwhelming and painful in the body.
When I got him to stand up and walk Martin mentioned his left leg felt normal like his right leg, that was good, no amazing, as the body was now getting it’s priorities met of the breath into the belly and area 1 hip flexion happening from the psoas (hip flexors).
So I tested the walking with him again, up and down the corridor, shouting faster, faster, come on faster, Martin was walking at a decent pace and straight, so I commanded faster he said ‘if I go any faster I will be running.’ So I said well run then, so he did up and down the corridor 6 times in total, with a brief pause as he mentioned his left ankle felt vulnerable and a tweak happened, so I stopped and activated him on some points and then got him to run again and he was good again. I then got him in the Butt Bunji to see how he would be and feel in it, as this is a great tool to feel and get the butt working.
Now Martin mentioned he wanted to do a sponsored run in the summer of 5K at the very first session or even cycle, which he thought was a pipe dream but he was aiming to do it, he just got a little closer to being able to make it happen easily.
Martin mentioned the Tamworth Herald was doing an article on him, which he was including me in and the Derby Telegraph was doing an article also. A Derby Telegraph photographer was supposed to of been booked for session 5, however they never showed up, which did not help Martin out whilst I was working on him. It seems to of been a miss communication with the editor forgetting to confirm and book the photographer for that day.
Session 5. I had the visual fields in mind to do with Martin, however he wanted me to take a closer look at his left shoulder that was in pain. The left arm is the one driving his right hip flexion. So I did the 123 pattern checks and area 1 the posts was not firing again…. hmm…. I don’t know maybe other things happening here. Breathing has improved massively a lot more belly breath, looks much easier when I am observing Martin lying on the table. So whilst waiting the photographer I went through the whole activation sequence with him to see if anything shifted, we got a better range but still pain. So I put his arm in overhead extension and then activating the lats/piriformis point, rotation and shoulder mobility points, superspinatus points also massaging tight areas on the left arm. I would then move his arm back to his side and overhead, and his arm would tense up as I moved it, constantly fighting to be relaxed, so I got Martin to focus on keeping the arm relaxed when I moved it, as soon as he fought the pain happened, when he relaxed and let me move the arm, much more movement and less painful. So there is something going on that means the arm still over works and fights when being moved overhead in extension or round the body to reach behind as if getting something out a cupboard low down, which was how he aggravated the left shoulder.
When I sat Martin up and got him to move the arm how he would when the pain triggered, there was a massive increase in the range, still some discomfort. When I got him to walk up and down the corridor this time we focused on getting the left arm to relax whilst walking, shaking his arm and fingers quickly, re-training them to stay switched off instead of tense up and constantly over work whilst he walks, hand goes into a tight fist or he carries something in the left so it can stay tight and drive the right hip flexion.
Martin was walking up and down without his glasses on, which was different, as I do make him move through the door which I hold open. Walking much straighter and upright, head still forward of being sat on top of his shoulders, could be a visual field issue. So just shaking the fingers whilst having balance when walking fast was enough of a challenge for that day. This time he did not wear his ankle brace as he was feeling it was not giving him any benefit , as I get him to walk barefoot up and down the corridor, so it is never on when I do that.
So we go to drop our passes off at Broomfield reception with the lovely, welcoming and knowledgable Vicky, Martin was keeping pace with me, easily and when leaving reception he held the door for me and he commented on it shortly after. He just did it automatically, now this was something major in my opinion, as his body language prior would be help me I don’t have the strength nor balance and I need someone to open it for me, which came from him suffering a stroke and the mental and physical issues that occured from that experience, as some of the doors in Broomfield look challenging, they are not, just appears so as they are large glass doors.
I just love seeing the immediate changes in Martin when I work with him, how he would avoid opening doors, wobble walk slowly with 2 sticks to an confident door opener, carrying one stick - just incase, whilst walking quite fast next to me. Sometimes we forget it can be the little things that can have a big impact on our lives.
I know there is more to happen with Martin, to see what could possibly happen with the visual field activations and if I can help release the trauma from his Spina Bifida and from discovering more about his conditions from his blog, he suffers with hydrocephalus which the more I think and feel about things all relates back to the trauma of removing the Spina Bifida as a baby, I could be wrong however this article popped up the other day which shows the effects of stress suffered in childhood affects the rest of our life www.iflscience.com/brainchildhood-trauma-alters-neural-responses-stress
In session 6 we will hopefully have the Derby Telegraph Photographer with us, which will add to the mix of things being interesting and quite likely more pain for Martin, however he is up for whatever is to come with all the massive improvements his body has had already by me helping it to meet it’s 2 main priorities of breathing and movement. In session 5 Martin mentioned he learned to hold his breath as a child from traumatic experiences and would pass out from it, which I was seeing a similar pattern on when I activated certain areas we would get the breathing into the belly something good happening, then when I stopped activating on a point and watched his breathing he would take a breath and hold, I would patiently wait to see when he would breathe again. Breath holding can because we don’t want to let go of something, we would rather suffer and even make a choice to die rather than live, as we most likely at an early age been taught it is a good thing to cause suffering to ourselves as then we are loved. Just a theory of mine.
The other day I went and cycled over to see my Grandma, as she is 96 and bed ridden at this moment in time and loosing the will to live as she is in so much discomfort with her tummy, other bodily aches and pains and piles (squatting on the toilet avoids piles when going to the loo. Squatting stools if you struggle, can help.)
Earlier in 2014 I managed to do the Be Activated treatment on her, I received her permission, she had not been able to get out of bed and unfortunately had a bad tummy a few days previous.
So I worked on her using the activations trying not to cause too much pain, got her breathing better……… next day my Dad get’s a call from his brother to tell him about their Mum sitting up in bed by herself and going on the commode and then back to bed all by herself! Wow that was amazing my Grandma did that after I worked on her, awesome!……… but alas when I saw her the other day I offered to work on her and she turned me down…….. I know this treatment can be uncomfortable or painful (it is your pain that you don’t know about!) I know if I could of got her to breathe into her belly she would of felt better, she isn’t sleeping well, scared to breathe in the belly of fear of needing the toilet……. stuck in this cycle of stress and fear just wanting it to stop, depressed and clearly wanting to die…….. I can help her but only if she will let me, however she doesn’t want my help at the moment so nothing more I can do for her until she changes her mind.
Do you know how stress affects you?
You might be aware of stress in your life and how it affects you from symptoms of stress, headaches, worrying, tiredness, lack of sleep, always getting the latest cold or flu/man-flu (yes it is real I have had it and I am a woman! ;) ) needing stimulants like coffee to make it through the day, alcohol or watching TV shows to help you wind down, waking up feeling like you never slept, tight shoulders, incontinence or needing the toilet frequently if you drink to much water, shoulder and neck pain, lower back pain, general aches and niggles. You might know that you don’t know how this stress is impacting on your body and life, you get bad shoulders or neck whilst at work sat at your desk all day and it stresses you out but you may not be aware that makes it harder for you to focus on your job or task at hand! Same with any bodily discomfort or emotional worries it ends up in the catch 22 situation!
Catch 22 you are stressed and then you worry about what’s stressing you, body discomfort, emotional discomfort, work issues which adds more stress into your day or evening when you try to relax. So it just ends up going in circles, to a point that stress is just normal in your life and is normalised!
So we don’t know how stressed out we really are and that becomes a “normal” level of tolerance, then more stress piles on top that becomes a “normal” level so our lives just keep piling it up and not knowing that there is a wonderful relaxation normal rest and recovery and high performing state we can live our life from!
Image shows in red the natural fluctuations at the beginning from the Sympathetic State - Stress Stated to the Parasympathetic State - Rest Recovery Relaxation and High Performance/Functioning State.
During our lives we stop dropping all the way back down into the parasympathetic state and just fluctuate in the sympathetic state which takes toll on our body physically and our state of mind! What we don’t know is that we can drop back down into the rest recovery relaxation and high performing state with the Be Activated treatments.
Some like the image shows drop down small step by small step, others make massive drops back down into the recovery state, we are all different and how we work together during a session has it affects on how much reduction of stress and pain we get, so some can take longer and others quicker. With my Grandma, that time, she dropped down a few steps which enabled her to do things that were previously impossible for her to do due to the pain and fear, which was shifted for a little while!
The only true stress release I have found is the Be Activated treatments, that get the parasympathetic drop, which allows the body to start functioning as it is supposed to do naturally from the 123 pattern. It has helped me massively in my life and continues to do so, always learning with it.
So if you would like to reduce your stress in life and get better performance at work and home, less pain, better sports performance then why don’t you book a free 30 minute consultation to see if we are right to work together and what goals you want to achieve then email me, Em at firstname.lastname@example.org
Coming soon blogs that explain the sympathetic and parasympathetic state, what the body needs, more safety in our shit, what you don't know you don't know, 123 movement, breathing, body is amazing........
The Butt (glutes) are our main powerhouse and driver that partner with the hip flexors (psoas). In the video above you can see how Donna's butt fails the muscle test, the glutes don't know how to function correctly. I then do the activation points for the glutes and re-test, as you can see a huge difference, with me making her hold that leg position and press down with power tells me the butt now knows to switch on and work easily.
The activations are like the muscle to brain communication gets re-plugged into the right socket for that muscle instead of another small muscle's socket. For the computer or tv you have corresponding sockets for cables, usb/ firewire/ ethernet/ power, well each muscle has it's own neural connection wire to the brain that gets plugged into another socket when a stress situation happens (injury, emotional trauma.)
The Video shows me doing a muscle test on the Psoas (hip flexor) on Donna to see how it is firing, if the leg can not hold it's self in that position then the Psoas is not doing it's own function.
When you have pain else where in the body and previous injuries, say to the lower leg/knees/back/shoulder/arm, I take it that your hip flexor (psoas) is not doing it's correct function of flexing the hip and another muscle has taken over it's job, which puts your body into a stress state.
When I have activated the Psoas it then holds strong in the muscle test, which takes far more effort from me than before, the hip flexor now is being taught to remember it can do the hip flexion job and keep doing so. You can see the big difference in the test and how simple it is to change the dynamics of the body.
The Psoas muscle is quite an important muscle to have functioning correctly in our bodies, we can not do anything without hip flexion happening in any form of movement. So the better it is performing the easier our movement can be from exploding outwards with power instead of the common pattern of implosion due to stressed out lives/jobs/injury trauma.
The hip flexors partner is the butt (glutes) both these muscles should be driving our movement and power outwards, when they are not functioning other muscles take on their jobs which other muscles are not designed to do and means the body starts to implode in on it's self, which means pain and stress in the body, survival mode instead of live and thrive mode.
Just my musings.....