Vagus Nerve Hack | Valsalva Maneuver

Let’s discuss another vagus nerve hack that you can incorporate into your day to decrease your heart rate and regulate your nervous system. This one is a little unique; it’s different than our standard slow, deep breathing. The Valsalva maneuver is great for anyone that’s experiencing super ventricular tachycardia (SVT), which is an increase in your heart rate. In essence, it will slow the heart rate down and create a relaxation response.

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Anatomy

Now let’s talk a little bit about anatomy. The vagus nerve is leaving the brainstem and branches off to innervate muscles of the face, ears, throat, heart, digestive tract, and elimination tract. As it relates to the heart, specifically for this maneuver, the vagus nerve innervates the SA node of the heart. So, by creating pressure in the chest, it signals the SA node to signal the AV node to decrease the heart rate. In essence, the Valsalva will slow the signaling down in the lower chamber of the heart, which decreases the heart rate.

Precautions

Before we get into how you’re going to perform the technique, I do want to remind you who should not perform this technique. Anyone that has a known heart condition, congenital heart disease, coronary artery disease, or heart disease, should not perform this, and/or check with your medical doctor. There is a temporary increase in blood pressure so it can place you at higher risk. If you do not fall into one of those categories, please feel free to give this a try.

How to Perform the Technique:

  • Inhale normally, pinch your nostrils, and begin to exhale.
  • Hold it for 10 seconds. You’re exhaling through the nose while you are pinching your nasal valves, thereby creating pressure in your chest.

Initially evaluate how you feel, and then you could repeat this several times. It should have a slowing of the heartbeat and relaxation response. A great thing to do is to take your pulse before and after the maneuver to see if it has lowered your heart rate. You can use your radial or carotid pulse, whatever is easiest for you. Just make sure not to use your thumb when taking your pulse. The Valsalva maneuver can be a great addition to your life and your health.

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Is your anxiety or depression coming from your gut?

Is your anxiety and/or depression coming from your gut? So many people are suffering from anxiety and/or depression, so it’s important to look at the connections between the gut and the brain, and the gut’s influence on mood and behavior. This is an important aspect of looking at mental health and addressing some underlying physical causes. 

The gut-brain connection is fascinating, and it is essentially our bidirectional communication between our gut and brain. It has multiple pathways, including the hormonal, immune system, and nervous systems. For the purpose of today, let’s focus on two aspects: the hormonal and nervous systems.

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The hormonal connection is based on neurotransmitters which are essentially chemical messengers; we also refer to them as hormones. They are signaling from the gut to the brain and the brain to the gut. We have 90% of our serotonin, which is our hormone that provides feelings of happiness, located in our gut. 50% is the dopamine in our gut, which is our feel-good hormone. We also have GABA, gamma amino butyric acid, which decreases feelings of stress and anxiety. All of these are located in our gut! Therefore, gut issues, infections, inflammatory diets can influence our mood and behavior. 

Our gut bacteria form these neurotransmitters, so different strains of bacteria will influence these different neurotransmitters. For example, Streptococcus and Enterococcus produce serotonin. Escherichia produces norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin. Bacillus species also produce norepinephrine and dopamine. Bifidobacterium produces GABA. Lactobacillus species influence our acetylcholine, which is important for relaxation response, and GABA. 

The nervous system pathways of the gut-brain connection, on the other hand,  primarily exist through the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve originates from the brainstem; it’s the 10th cranial nerve, and it’s actually a pair of nerves. It innervates muscles of the face, throat, heart, respiration, digestion, and our entire elimination track. It is one of the most important nerves of our digestive system. Therefore, we are influencing this gut-to-brain connection when we are either stimulating the gut from a viscera and/or probiotics or vagus nerve stimulation exercises such as breathing. 

It is imperative that we begin to look more closely at these powerful connections and that we look beyond the genetic and environmental components to see why someone may be experiencing anxiety and depression or other mental health issues. Things such as leaky gut, SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), systemic inflammation, inflammatory foods, and the standard American diet will undoubtedly influence these neurotransmitters and the vagus nerve. This attributes to changes in our serotonin, dopamine, and GABA levels, thereby impacting our mood and behavior. 

What can you do about it? Find a functional medicine provider to help you navigate the physical causes of anxiety and depression. You could also start with testing: leaky gut, SIBO, stool testing to look at your microbiome. 

You can also start by making small changes. Focus on eating an anti-inflammatory diet, optimizing your sleep, and working on stress reduction connections.

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8 causes of LOW BACK PAIN that isn’t a weak core

Do you have low back pain, and you’ve been told that it’s from a weak core? Here are eight reasons why it may not be coming from your core.

One in four people experience low back pain in their lifetime, and it is also one of the number one causes of the opioid epidemic. Most people that are seeking pain medication are coming in initially for low back pain.

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One of the things that is important to recognize with acute low back pain is that it can be treated very easily. However, because of the nature of our medical system, we tend to go to our primary care, get a muscle relaxer and pain medication, and get referred potentially for an X-ray. The X-ray doesn’t show anything, but you still continue to have low back pain. Now you are referred for an MRI but still don’t show anything except for some degeneration, which everyone after the age of 35 is going to have. You still don’t have any answers, so you get an injection. Then three months after this acute low back pain episode, you’re still having pain. Now you are in a chronic pain state. 

Chronic pain is much different than acute pain. It is defined by having pain greater than three months and is referred to as central sensitization. Our nervous system becomes sensitized. We have no tissue damage, however, the brain is still interpreting that there is pain in, let’s say, for example, the low back.

Here are eight root causes of your low back pain, that isn’t simply a weak core. All these can also contribute to acute and/or chronic low back pain.

1) Poor Breathing

Our breath should be a diaphragmatic breath. We breathe 20 to 25,000 times a day. If we are not breathing from our diaphragm, then that means that the sequencing of our entire abdomen is affected. It also creates a stress response.  

2) Movement Compensations

When we think of how pain or injury ultimately happens, think it’s when anatomy meets opportunity. If you have an ankle sprain, let’s say three months ago, and although it’s getting better, there’s still some stiffness in the ankle. Now every time you are walking and striking the ground in dynamic movement, there is asymmetry. You have different forces that are being transferred up through your body.  That means that now you’re going to begin to compensate. You’ll change how my foot strikes the ground; how your pelvis is moving. This can be an example of how any movement-compensation, especially over a period of time, can ultimately lead to pain and or injury.

3) Stress

This can not be emphasized enough and how it’s one of the biggest factors in low back pain. Not only can we hold tension in our abdomen and our pelvic floor, but it also shifts our breathing to an upper chest breathing pattern. Additionally, stress is linked to inflammation. Without a doubt, I’ve seen in my clinical practice that this is one of the biggest driving factors of low back pain, especially chronic low back pain.

4) Poor Sleep

Inadequate or interrupted sleep is actually one of the biggest drivers of low back pain. Poor sleep also shuts down the release of our growth hormone, which is needed for repair and healing.

5) Chronic Inflammation

Ninety percent of all health conditions are linked to excessive or persistent inflammation; from eczema to anxiety, depression, and even Alzheimer’s. Now, when we think about inflammation as it relates to our musculoskeletal system or nervous system, inflammation will contribute to pain, joint stiffness, joint inflammation, osteoarthritis, and more. This can also consistent with chronic low back pain.

6) Sedentary Lifestyles

This can be one of the biggest drivers of recurring low back pain, per some of the research. We are meant to move; our bodies crave movement. We do not want to be in one position all day long. As you’re thinking about your day, think of it from a ‘movement mindset’. It doesn’t have to be exercising 30 to 60 minutes; you need to be moving all day long.

7) Poor Gut Health

Your gut is your second brain, and we have an entire nervous system located right there. If there are gut issues, that means there are inflammatory issues. Without a doubt, because we have 70 percent of our immune system in our gut, and we have this nervous system, when we are having visceral pain, this will influence the sequencing, timing, and coordination of all of our muscles and our abdomen and pelvis. It is definitely something that can contribute to low back pain, especially in the case of bloating and constipation. 

8) Lack of Movement Variability

As I mentioned earlier, our bodies crave movement. When we are in sustained postures all day long like sitting at a desk or crossing our legs in one direction, not changing positions consistently throughout the day, then our fascial tissue, our three-dimensional network, or ectoskeleton can get sticky. It is meant to be elastic, create tension, and transfer force efficiently. If we are sitting in sustained postures throughout the day and not changing positions, like getting down to the floor and getting back up, this can, unfortunately, contribute to low back pain.

There you have it; eight different root causes of why you might have low back pain. There are, of course, other things like pelvic pain and other medical conditions, but hopefully, you can appreciate that it is not necessarily because you have a weak core that you are having low back pain, and if you strengthen your core it’s going to get better. You want to look well beyond that. 

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The benefits of GROUNDING | Earthing

Grounding, otherwise known as earthing, is one of the most powerful and simplest things you can do to improve your health. As Aristotle once said, “In nature, there is something marvelous.” This conductive contact of the human body with the surface of the earth can have intriguing benefits on our physiology. Let’s discuss this simple and powerful technique, its benefits, and of course, how you can do it.

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What is grounding?

Essentially, it is the direct contact of the skin on the hands or our bare feet on the surface of the earth. Or it can be done via a grounding system. The amazing thing about grounding is that people all over the world in diverse cultures have talked about the benefits and how to improve their health and well-being from being barefoot on the earth for thousands and thousands of years. Although this may seem new to some, it is really prevalent in other cultures.

Benefits of Grounding

Let’s get into the evidence-based benefits of grounding

1) Reduces inflammation

We know that ninety percent of all of our chronic health conditions are linked to excessive or persistent inflammation. Grounding is one of the simplest ways to address that.

2) Decreases pain

3) Decreases stress response

It can help shift us from our sympathetic state to our parasympathetic state in our autonomic nervous system

4) Increases heart rate variability

The higher our heart rate variability is, the interbeat between the heartbeats, the better the function of our autonomic nervous system. This can be associated with better recovery, better emotional resilience, and overall well-being.

5) Improves sleep

6) Improves cortisol rhythm

Cortisol is one of our key stress hormones.

7) Improves wound healing

Grounding can be a great thing to include in an integrative approach to healing.

8) Reduces blood viscosity

This can be one of the best things you can do for reducing your cardiovascular risk.

So, how can you include grounding in your life?

The easiest way is to just get outside barefoot. You could spend as little as 10 minutes to see some benefits up to an hour.  Stand or sit in a chair and place your feet on the ground. You can put your hands in the grass but be sure to make sure it is consistent time outdoors. This is the simplest way to include grounding, but if that’s not realistic for you, you can use a grounding system. That can come in the form of a sheet, mat, patches, wristbands, and ankle bands, and connect to a grounded outlet. By connecting to this grounded outlet, you’re connecting to mother earth.

Why does this work?

One of the theories is that our skin contact with the earth allows electrons to spread into the skin as well as the body, which thereby impacts immune markers.

As I mentioned, grounding has been around forever. Now, through research, we are seeing the potential health benefits.  Think barefoot is a way of life. When you stimulate the small nerves in the bottom of your feet, you can connect to the earth’s surface and bring your body back into a state of balance; reducing inflammation and driving parasympathetic nervous system response.

Reach out for a 15-minute FREE discovery session to see how we can help you on your journey.

For more content, make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel here.

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Vagus Nerve Hack | Auricular Ear Release

Let’s talk about another vagus nerve hack, which is the auricular release, also known as an ear release, that you can do anytime anywhere to continually improve your emotional, mental, and physical well-being. Please make sure to check out our other videos on how to assess your vagus nerve, the polyvagal theory, as well as many other vagus nerve hacks that you can incorporate into your life.

The fascinating thing about the auricular release is the external ear is one of the only places in the body that the vagus nerve is sending this peripheral branch to. In fact, the auricular branch surfaces as the afferent auricular vagus nerve, which means that the information from the periphery is going to the brain. Thereby, we are stimulating the ear from the periphery and signaling back to our nervous system to create this sense of calm.

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Anatomy

As the vagus nerve exits the medulla oblongata in the brainstem, it comes down into the jugular foramen. As it leaves the cervical vagus nerve, it branches out into this auricular branch of the vagus nerve. It also connects to the facial nerve, and therefore can promote relaxation of the facial muscles as well. It is also referred to as either the aldermen nerve or the Arnolds nerve.

How to Assess

Pull each ear slightly out to the side at the ear lobe, the middle of the ear, and the top of the ear. Assess to see which one feels more tense and/or which side feels more painful.  Does it feel elastic or restricted?

How to Perform the Auricular Release

Place your finger right under the ridge inside of your ear. You want to think about pressing backward. Gently move your finger in slow, small circles. There shouldn’t be any pain or discomfort, although it may feel a little different side to side. Sometimes this will trigger a sigh, swallow, or yawn. That is a sign of relaxation of the nervous system. You should likely feel a sense of calm.

The second technique would be to come down almost as if you’re going to go into the eardrum with your finger. Gently press backward toward the back of your head, and perform slow, gentle circles. This could be done for one minute or as long as you feel like it is helping and it’s comfortable.

The third technique is performed by placing your finger on the skin behind your ear. You will gently pull the skin up towards the direction of your head, moving the skin over the tissue. This is a myofascial release. Hold until you feel a release. This could feel like your finger can move easier and the skin feels more elastic. It could also trigger a relaxation response. You can hold this for one minuet or longer if you find it to be beneficial.

The last technique is just gently pulling down on the ear lobe. This is considered a craniosacral technique, so it can have benefits for dizziness, headaches, and other neurological type symptoms. So, this is powerful for many different reasons, not just stimulating the vagus nerve.

After you finish one side then you would switch to the other, then reassess to see if it feels more elastic and not as irritated. 

The great thing about these vagus nerve hacks is that it gives you control over your own nervous system. You can incorporate these throughout your day since they only take seconds to minutes to perform. This will help to bring you back to that state of rest and digest and a state of social engagement where you can be joyful, mindful, grounded, and compassionate.

Reach out for a 15-minute FREE discovery session to see how we can help you on your journey.

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THE TRUTH ABOUT COLLAGEN | What does the research say?

The collagen industry has blown up over the past few years. In 2018 sales were up to $47 million, and collagen has been added to many different dietary supplements, bars, foods, and so on. Let’s talk about what collagen is and its role in your body. Also, are collagen supplements beneficial, and what is the current research?

What is collagen?

It is a protein, and it represents 30% of our total body protein. It is found in the connective tissue, which is essentially the glue that holds us together. This is found primarily in the tendons and skin, but also in the bones, ligaments, even some internal organs, blood vessels, and our lymphatic system. Collagen is everywhere in our bodies.

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There have been about 29 different collagens that have been identified. Types I, II, and III are typically found in the human body. Type I is most commonly found in our bones, ligaments, and skin, which represents our skin elasticity and strength. Type II is typically found in cartilage, while Type III is typically always found with type I. You’ll see that in your skin as well as blood vessels and internal organs, in addition to the others I mentioned.

All collagen has 19 different amino acids but it’s particularly high in hydroxyproline, glycine, and proline. This is unique because your hydroxyproline is not found in other proteins. However, collagen is lacking tryptophan which is one of our essential amino acids. This means it is required from the diet. Of course, there are some pros and cons to this, but it has been shown that the combination of hydroxyproline with glycine can be promising to increase human growth hormone.

Collagen cannot be absorbed in its whole form so it has to be broken down into smaller peptides. Hydrolyzed collagen peptides are typically what you see in many of the supplement forms. They will be broken down into two or three peptides that we can absorb in the gastrointestinal tract.

At the most basic level, when we are consuming collagen peptides, they serve as building blocks for other proteins or collagen production. This can stimulate fibroblasts activity, which can therefore influence a lot of the different benefits that we may see from collagen. It’s important to recognize that when you are consuming collagen, you can’t determine where that is going to go in your body. As we ingest it, it’s going to go into an amino acid pool, and our bodies are intelligent enough to determine where that needs to go. For example, if there is wound healing that needs to take place, then that amino acid pool is going to go towards healing the body. If it is skin elasticity or joint health, then it’s going to go where it needs to go. That means that people can experience different benefits.

Sources of Collagen

Now let’s talk about the sources of collagen. One of the most common sources of collagen you might have heard of is bone broth. The difference with bone broth versus stock is it’s typically simmered for over 24 hours, so you’re getting more vitamins and minerals.

Another source is supplementation. It’s important to remember we cannot consume collagen in its full form, and it needs to be broken down into these collagen peptides, so it is more easily absorbed and can contribute to protein synthesis. As it relates to supplementation, bovine hides are more helpful for type I and III collagen; so hair, skin, and nails. Collagen source from fish is helpful for your type I collagen fibers. Supplements containing chicken are going to be helpful for your type II,  which is more joint health and cartilage. However, the research still isn’t super clear on that. Although the research is growing, and we are continuing to see some potential benefits of collagen intake, we do want to remember it’s not completely clear, and there are a lot of bias studies. Some studies have been done by collagen supplement companies themselves.

Benefits of Collagen

Let’s look at the research for the benefits of collagen.

1) Joint Health

We want to recognize some of the trials in the studies have been very small, meaning a low subject sample. However, there are some promising things to show; there has been a decrease in pain associated with joint-related arthritis, as well as joint pain related to activity. In conclusion, collagen supplementation can potentially help, however, further research is really necessary to determine if this is a beneficial result. 

2) Skin Health

This is where the research has been promising in showing an improvement in the elasticity of the skin, the dryness of the skin, even clearness and complexity, and decreasing wrinkles. It also has impacted cellulite. There have been some larger double-blind placebo-based studies and some smaller trials. Again, we always want to remember some of these studies have been biased because they’ve been conducted by the supplement company. However, there’s definitely promising evidence here, too.

3) Muscle Growth

This is something that has been claimed by some. However, collagen does not improve muscle growth. Collagen is not a complete amino acid profile as we mentioned; it’s missing the essential amino acid tryptophan. However, collagen is a protein source and if someone is low in protein, this can be a beneficial clean protein supplement. 

4) Gut Health

This is something that is claimed by some supplementation companies, but there is no evidence at this point to support collagen supplementation will improve gut health. 

It could potentially help with bone health, too. However, the research is very minimal at this point but it’s something we can continue to pay attention to as research develops. 

What’s the take-home of collagen?

It is something that is throughout our entire body forming the connective tissue that is the glue holding us together. It is something that can be beneficial through supplementation, but we do want to look at that with a careful eye. Benefits it may have are helping with skin and joint health, but not so much with gut health. Not only do we want to look at it from a clear evidence-based perspective, but we also want to realize the collagen we’re consuming could go to different places in your body. It’s going to go where your body needs it most. So one person may have benefits of specifically skin health, where someone else might have more joint health-related improvements.

It shows promising results but we want to understand there are pros and cons with everything. You do want to make sure it is in conjunction with a healthy protein-based diet. You want to get your protein sources from food throughout the day that have complete amino acid profiles. So, if you are using collagen as an adjunct then it can be very helpful.

Reach out for a 15-minute FREE discovery session to see how we can help you on your journey.

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Vagus Nerve Hack | Neck Release

Not only can you consciously tap into the power of your vagus nerve; you should.

Known as the “wandering nerve” in Latin, it begins in the brainstem and innervates the muscles of the throat, circulation, respiration, digestion and elimination tracks. It accounts for 80 percent of our parasympathetic, or “rest and digest,” nervous system.

Healthy vagal activity is associated with better physical and mental well-being. Otherwise, it can cause issues such as inflammation, heart disease, and strokes.

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In other blogs, we have covered some of the best vagus nerve hacks. Today’s neck release will not only target some of the key muscles that are involved in stress breathing, but also the carotid artery which moves into the carotid sinus, innervated by the vagus nerve.

So just like all the other vagus nerve hacks, this will induce a relaxation response. We are doing this through stimulation of the vagus nerve via the carotid sinus.

How To Perform This Exercise

To perform this exercise, use a small to medium-sized ball, preferably soft, and gently place it on the left side of the upper neck right under your ear. You will compress, shear, and lengthen, by placing some pressure into the tissue and then gently twisting the ball across the neck. You want to be gentle with your twist and you want to move your head in the opposite direction as you are doing this. Once you get to the center of your neck, you’ll want to be more cautious because you have your hyoid bone, larynx, pharynx, and esophagus there, which will be a little more sensitive. Then, continue to rotate the ball to the other side of your neck while naturally rotating your head in the opposite direction.

So what are some things that you may experience after performing this exercise?

1) You may feel like your face and neck feel much more relaxed or softened.

2) You may feel a sigh, swallow, or yawn which is a sign of relaxation of the nervous system.

3) You may feel warmth in your face.

4) You may feel like you can see, hear, or speak more clearly. This is due to the stimulation of the vagus nerve, and some of the other facial and cranial nerves.

The great thing about these simple vagus nerve hacks is that you can do them anytime and anywhere during the day. It can bring you back to this parasympathetic state, the state of social engagement, where you are connected, mindful, and joyful.

Reach out for a 15-minute FREE discovery session to see how we can help you on your journey.

For more content, make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel here.

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STOP rolling your IT Band!

Do you have IT band syndrome, and you have been foam rolling like crazy and there’s no improvement? In fact, it’s so painful when you do it, you can barely tolerate it. The IT band, short for illiotibial band is a thick band of fascia that runs along the lateral side of the leg. Think of our fascia as our ectoskeleton; it’s the glue that holds us together and is our force transmission system. An interesting fact about fascia is that it has seven times as many sensory nerves than muscle, which is why it feels so painful to roll your IT band. That is why foam rolling is not the most beneficial way to treat it. It is important to get to the root of the issue.

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What are the muscles that the fascia attaches to? One is the TFL, tensor fascia latae, which is on the side of the hip, and the other is the glute max. Those are the two muscles that should be targeted through soft tissue release with IT band syndrome.

It is important to try to find the root cause. Just because we have pain near the outside of the knee does not mean that it is the source of the problem. Oftentimes there is a loss of deep hip stability or foot stability that is contributing to IT band syndrome. If there is a loss of stability in the hip, the TFL can become overactive and will pull the hip joint forward. Even the hamstrings can become overactive and push the hip forward. We then lose what we refer to as joint centration, which means that the hip is shifting forward and up. Therefore, soft tissue work, stabilizing the hip, and integrating the feet and the ground into movement are essential. Here are some ways to incorporate all of those things. Make sure to check out the video on how to perform these exercises HERE.

1) Soft Tissue Release

The first is the TFL release. You can use a lacrosse ball or tennis ball. Place the ball right on the outside of the hip and lie down on it. The bottom leg will be extended and the top leg can be bent. The leg will naturally rotate in and you can stabilize yourself with your elbows on the floor.

You would hold this for roughly two minutes. You’re goal is to completely relax. When you get to that painful point it might feel like it is taking your breath away, so if it doesn’t feel like that you can adjust the ball to a spot that does. 

The second one is the glute release. For this one, bring the ball underneath the buttocks. Let the hip naturally rotate out. Once again you can hold it there for about two minutes. After you’ve done your soft tissue releases, now you want to move that tissue in its new range. 

2) Hip 90/90 Stretch 

Starting with your feet outside hip-width apart while sitting on the ground, you can drop your legs down to the side. This will be your 90/90 position. Bring your arms behind you and stabilize yourself in that position. Try to hold this here for a period of time. Following that, move to the back hip. You want to think of hinging from your hips, not just rounding your spine, over the front hip. You can make it active by pressing into the ground with your hands and breathing into that position.

3) Dynamic Movement

Now we want to integrate that into dynamic movement, specifically working in lateral and rotational planes. This can include various lunges and single leg balance activities.

You want to remember that IT band syndrome is a symptom, not a diagnosis. So think beyond rolling your IT band and look at a way to integrate all of this into more proper movement. 

Reach out for a 15-minute FREE discovery session to see how we can help you on your journey.

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Why you should consider eliminating gluten and dairy | Elimination Diet

If you haven’t considered eliminating gluten and dairy and you have health concerns, then read on. They may be contributing to your emotional, mental, and/or physical health issues. I’m sure you’ve heard a friend or family member say they’ve gone gluten-free or dairy-free, and they feel much better. Well, you simply don’t know if that will be the same for you until you eliminate it for yourself. And, doing a full or modified elimination diet versus doing a food sensitivity test can be way more valuable. Let’s discuss the different categories of adverse food reactions that you can have and how you could properly eliminate and reintroduce gluten and/or dairy.

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Food triggers are one of the most overlooked things that can be a major contributor to many different health concerns that you may be experiencing. Some common symptoms of gluten and/or dairy can be things like puffiness, bloating, digestive issues, joint pain, dark circles under the eyes, and general inflammation. Of course, these could be associated with other things, but this would be why you’d want to explore if them to see if they’re an issue for you. There are three adverse food reactions. 

1) Food Allergy

This is something you most likely would know that you had. This would be an immune reaction that could be mild to severe and it would happen immediately after you’ve consumed the food.

2) Food Intolerance

This could be something like lactose intolerance, for example, where it’s a non-immune reaction, but it means that your body does not have sufficient enzymes to be able to break down the food. 

3) Food Sensitivity    

This can happen from hours to days after you’ve consumed food that you might be sensitive to. This is where the GI system then impacts the immune system, causing all kinds of issues in your body from pain, sleep disturbances, puffiness, and so on.

How to do an Elimination

Foods stay in your system for different periods of time. Dairy stays in your system for approximately two weeks. Gluten stays in your system for approximately three weeks. So, the best way to do a modified elimination diet of gluten and dairy is to eliminate them both for three full weeks. That means not even a bite of bread or a beer or creamer in the coffee; zero of each of those foods for the entire three weeks.

How to Reintroduce

Then you will begin the reintroduction process which is the most important part. This is the part that most people forget, and it should be very intentional and be very structured. You would start with introducing one food at a time. Say for example you are going to reintroduce gluten, you would have a piece of bread in the morning and a piece of bread in the afternoon. Make sure to keep the ingredients very simple so it’s a clean source of whatever you’re reintroducing. Now you’ve had that twice on your first day, you’re going to wait an additional three days without having any more gluten. You will track all of your symptoms for the next three days; everything from digestive issues to pain and inflammation to sleep to mental and emotional health, and urinary complaints. That is going to tell you if you are sensitive to gluten or not.

If you have any kind of reaction, then you know that your body’s having a low level of immune response to that particular food. After you have finished that, then you would move to dairy. You would have it twice in one day, wait the three days, and determine if it is appropriate for you.

By doing this experiment of one, you are finding out the information yourself and know if these things are an issue for you. I think assessing food triggers is one of the most fundamental things that we should all do as part of evaluating what we’re putting in our body and how it’s impacting our health.

Reach out for a 15-minute FREE discovery session to see how we can help you on your journey.

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5-Minute Golf Fitness Screen

Are you a golfer who wants to improve their distance or accuracy this season, or perhaps you have low back, shoulder, or elbow pain every time you golf? Are you looking to not only improve it, but prevent it from getting any worse?

Read on for your golf-specific screen that you could do to assess how your physical body and perhaps, limitations, are impacting your swing efficiency and performance.

Rather watch or listen than read?

1) Pelvic Tilt Test

At address position, we should be in a neutral spine. “S” posture, refers to an extended posture and a ”C” posture refers to a rounded posture.  Both limit your ability to rotate in your backswing. And of course, the backswing is what dictates the transition, or downswing.

From your address position, we want to see if you can move through a clean range of motion, extending and rounding the spine without any shaking and or difficulties. Are you able to move through it in its full range of motion? That’s what we want you to be able to do in your golf swing.

2) Torso Mobility Test

This test looks at the concept of disassociation. In the entire golf swing, we have to be able to disassociate our torso from our pelvis. To do the torso mobility test, we are in our address position, crossing the arms over the chest, and from there, rotate just the torso back and forth while keeping the hips stable. If you’re able to keep the hips stable and move your arms, that means you have good disassociation between the torso and the pelvis. Now, we do want to look if it is a more lateral motion or rotational, and if the pelvis moves side to side or rotates as we’re trying to separate the two.

3) Pelvic Mobility Test

Here, we’re going to get into address position, crossing the hands over the chest. From there, move the pelvis back and forth in that rotational plane while keeping the upper body stable. If you attempt to move your pelvis and your torso is moving as well, then that’s indicative that you don’t have good disassociation. Also, you want to make sure that it’s not a lateral motion and it is in fact, rotational.

4) Toe Touch Test

Being able to touch your toes from standing shows that you have a proper weight shift in the pelvis. The pelvis needs to shift backwards for us to be able to get into a proper address position.  Our address position is the foundation of our entire swing. So that is, in fact, where we need to be the whole time. As you transition, you’re starting from a hip hinge position and mostly stay in there as you come through impact. So, are you able to touch your toes, have a nice uniform curve in your spine, and be able to get that natural weight shift in the pelvis?

5) Single Leg Stance

Are you able to stand on one leg with the other leg in a 90 degree angle at hip level, holding that position for at least 25 to 30 seconds without any increased effort? Is this a relaxed position for you or does it require a lot of effort? If this is fairly easy, then you can attempt to close your eyes. Why is this so important? In your golf swing, you are shifting your weight from one side to the other. You must have really good stability on your trail leg to load the backswing and as you come through to impact, you have to be able to have a great stability on your lead leg to load into it. It seems very basic, but it’s really imperative for a great golf swing.

6) 90/90 Test

We want to think about our shoulder mobility and our shoulder mobility as it relates to our golf posture. If we start from a position, with our elbows at 90 degree angle, and rotate them back as far as we can, we should be able to get to at least 90 degree angles, preferably a little bit farther here. Now move into your address position and perform the same test. Are you able to get into the same position? Have you lost a lot of motion? In your swing, you have to be able to have that proper external rotation while you’re in your address position. So, it is really important to optimize shoulder mobility, and this is a great way to test it.

7) Seated Thoracic Rotation

First, grab your club and bring it right over your shoulders. Start by rotating to the right, back to center and then to rotate to the left. See if there’s a restriction on either side. Now, you’re going to take the club above your shoulders, keeping the shoulder blades out of the equation, which means you can’t use them or compensate with them. Now rotate to the right and rotate to the left. See if there’s any asymmetry, and if you are able to get to about 45 degrees.

8) Total Rotation

Have your feet together, arms to the side, and rotate to the right. Are you able to get your shoulders in line? Then, rotate to the left and you should be able to see the wall behind you. If someone is standing behind you, they should be able to see both shoulders. That is going to be indicative of proper neck, ankle, thoracic, and hip mobility. In order to have a great backswing and get into a properly loaded position, we have to have enough internal rotation in the hip, for example. Just as when we come down through our downswing, we need to have enough mobility to be able to rotate into it. If not, you’ll start to see a sway and slide.

It is important to understand how your physical limitations can impact your swing efficiency and injury risk. So, take five minutes and see how you move. Need help? Reach out for a golf rehab or performance assessment.

Reach out for a 15-minute FREE discovery session to see how we can help you on your journey.

For more content, make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel here.

Other things that may interest you:

Understanding Your Pain

What Should You Eat For Chronic Pain? | Nutrition for Chronic Pain

How to Burn More Calories During Your Day | NEAT