A neck exercise that really works

Are you performing aggressive chin tucks due to your neck stiffness or neck pain with no results? Well, instead, try out this very simple and effective technique that works wonders.

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As a physical therapist for the past 12 years and being in the movement industry for my entire career, I’ve realized that chin tucks are prescribed so often, aggressively. As always, it is important to address root causes of why forward head posture is happening in the first place.  

In our previous videos and blogs, I’ve gone into more depth about forward head posture, and we have to think beyond just the mechanics of it. Is there an airway restriction? Is there emotional and nervous system dysregulation that’s contributing to poor posture? Aside from that, we want to also think about what forward head posture is doing to our nervous system.

What forward head posture does to the nervous system

Poor forward head posture can affect our vagus nerve (and other cranial nerves) and create more dysregulation in our nervous system. It can compress some of our spinal nerves as well as our cranial nerves, which have very important functions.

With that said, we have to think beyond just chin tucks and respect the nervous system.

One of my favorite basic techniques, which is a myofascial technique, stimulates the vagus nerve. It can ultimately help bring us into a better mechanical position and begin to reinforce optimal mobility in the spine.

How to perform

To perform this exercise, think about where the vagus nerve exits right behind the ear. Take both hands and place them right behind the earlobe. Traction that tissue up in the direction of the ear.

Place your hand on the tissue, move the tissue over, tractioning it up very gently, and you will almost immediately or shortly thereafter feel a sense of relaxation that could come in the form of a sigh, a swallow, or a yawn — it could just feel like a simple sense of relaxation.

You should feel like you’re actually placing the neck in a more neutral position, creating a natural lengthening of the spine.

Once you assume that position, from there, move through a gentle range of motion — forward bending, backward bending, rotation, and even side bending. What that will do is give good feedback to the nervous system because you’re actually stimulating the receptors in the joints and signaling to the brain that this is a good position. This feels safe. This feels pain-free.

Begin to incorporate this exercise frequently throughout the day. It’s easy, only about a minute, and can be very effective. 

Are you interested in seeing how we can help you with your neck pain, shoulder mobility, etc.? Schedule your 15-minute discovery session here: https://p.bttr.to/3qHXz8i

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I hope this is helpful. If it was, please give it a like, share it, and subscribe to our Youtube Channel — The Movement Paradigm — for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement.

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7 of the best foot hacks

Not only is our foot our foundation for human movement, but it is also a powerful neuromuscular structure that gives our brain constant information. This happens through the skin on the bottom of the feet. 

Here are seven different ways you can optimize your foot health that can be easily integrated into your daily life.

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What do you need to know about the foot

As I mentioned, from a biomechanical standpoint, we want to think of our foot as our foundation for human movement. If our foot is not stable and does not provide a stable foundation, the rest of your kinetic chain will be affected.

When we think of the foot from the neuromuscular standpoint, we want to think about the skin on the bottom of the foot. We have 104 different receptors, which are actually stimulated by different external stimuli: deep pressure, texture, skin stretch, and vibration.  

The information coming in through the skin on the bottom of the feet via these receptors goes to the brain, even passing through the emotional center of our brain.  

When we wear shoes and socks, we block this powerful information that’s coming into our nervous system. It is imperative that we focus on stimulating our feet to move, walk, balance, and live better. 

7 of the best foot hacks

#1. Foot release

There are lots of different tools that you can use, including rad balls or a neuro ball by Naboso. Hold the ball under the specific points of the foot for approximately 20 to 30 seconds. You can do longer, ensuring there’s no pain. Allow the foot to naturally relax over the ball. This will stimulate some of the receptors in the bottom of the foot that respond to deep pressure and release tension in your feet.

An easy way to incorporate this into your life is to perform this while brushing your teeth or cooking. That way, you’re stimulating your feet, creating more mobility and elasticity, while simultaneously doing something else. 

#2. Splay

Use splay in your feet. During the toe-off in your gait cycle, females toes should splay  approximately three millimeters; for men, five millimeters. When we wear shoes that have a narrow toe box, it prevents proper splay. This affects the ability of the foot to create a rigid lever to be able to push off from. Ultimately, that’s how we transfer force.

Instead of wearing compressive shoes, which we’ll get into in just a moment, we want to think of trying to create space in forefoot. Try Naboso Splay 30 minutes each night, maybe while you’re relaxing or watching TV; that’s a great opportunity to incorporate this. 

If you have a bunion, you’ll want to address that, too. You won’t fix the bunion by using a toe spacer, but you can use something like a bunion spacer between your first and second metatarsal to realign your first toe and bring it in a more neutral position for push-off in your gait cycle. 

#3. Naboso insole

Naboso is an evidence-based technology that stimulates the small nerves on the bottom of the feet, specifically the Merkel disc. I highly recommend wearing the insoles for constant stimulation in your shoes. 

There are different variations of Naboso insoles. There’s activation performance, neuro, and duo — all of them may be a little bit different based on your needs, but really powerful ways to stimulate your feet while wearing shoes. 

#4. Varied surfaces

You can build a rock mat and stand on that while you’re getting ready in the morning. You can get river stones that are a little bit softer; you can also get little pebbles depending on your tolerance and work up a tolerance over time. Walking outside in the grass, on stones, and on different surfaces really allows you to adapt to different stimuli. You can also use Naboso technology mats.

Yoga mats, for example, decreases your balance and stability.

#5. Short foot

Train your feet! Instead of wearing shoes, socks, and orthotics and losing stability over time, you want to train your feet. That can start with slowly increasing your barefoot tolerance, stimulating the feet and allowing them to do what they are meant to do. We can also intentionally train them, which is called short foot.

As you’re performing this exercise, it really is about sequencing the foot to the core. It’s about connecting all of the fascia in the foot and the muscles in the foot all the way up to the pelvic floor, the diaphragm, and the hip stabilizers. It isn’t just simply a foot exercise, but it’s ultimately how we are stabilizing during dynamic movement.

To perform short foot, you start on one leg, and you can place your foot in a neutral position. You can begin with a kickstand, and from here, inhale through the nose, allowing your foot to relax. As you exhale, root the tips of your toes into the ground. This will lift the arch of the foot and the ball of the foot slightly as you perform this exercise. 

Once you feel comfortable, then you move up onto one leg and perform the same. You perform approximately eight breaths before you move on. 

#6. Footwear 

Next is enhancing your natural foot function with proper footwear. Unfortunately, as I said, as it relates to our feet, we tend to block all this powerful information with shoes, socks, orthotics, and cushion.

The shoe should be able to twist just like the foot does. The foot has to spiral. The midsole should bend unless you have some type of forefoot pathology such as great toe arthritis or neuromas.  

The more cushion we have, the more impact force we have coming in through our body because we are hitting the ground harder. 

More cushion and more support is actually not good despite what the shoe industry tries to push for. You can SLOWLY transition to less supportive shoes as you do more intentional footwork. Ultimately, you want to get to a point where you are enhancing your natural foot function. 

#7. Barefoot time

Lastly is increasing barefoot tolerance. If you’re somebody that wears shoes and socks at home all the time, you must go really slow. If you are already barefoot all the time, you’re off to a great start. 

Start with about five minutes. Whether you are scared to go barefoot, or your podiatrist told you to never go barefoot, whatever the case may be, go very slowly while building tolerance and a sense of safety over time. 

If it’s extremely fearful and scary for you, then you have to respect that. Start with one to two minutes at a time. Keeping all of these nerves stimulated is one of the keys to preventing falls as we age so that we can prevent any kind of major accident as we age.

I could go on and on about feet, but hopefully, these seven hacks were helpful.

If you are interested in learning more about your feet and what your foot needs, then please reach out to us. We are trained through EBFA Global as barefoot rehabilitation specialists.

I hope this is helpful. If it was, please give it a like, share it, and subscribe to our Youtube Channel — The Movement Paradigm — for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement.

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Peeing yourself during heavy lifting is not okay

No, peeing yourself by lifting heavy weights is not normal! There are numerous posts floating around social media that are making light of the fact that women (and men) performing heavy lifting are peeing themselves. This is purely information that we need more pelvic health education.

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We have three different layers of the pelvic floor which are part of the intrinsic stabilizing unit of our core. This system is based on pressure management.

At the top of our core, we have our diaphragm. As we inhale, the intra-abdominal pressure that’s built up from the diaphragm as it descends continues to move down to the pelvic floor. Initially, as we inhale, the pelvic floor relaxes. As we exhale, the pelvic floor is gently lifting (contracting). This is simply a normal function of our diaphragm and pelvic floor. It also involves our transverse abdominis, which is our natural weight belt. As we inhale, the transverse abdominis lengthen and eccentrically contract. As we exhale, we’re creating a corset as it contracts.

If there is an imbalance in the pressure management in the core at a basic level, then when going under heavy loads, the pelvic floor cannot support this amount of pressure.

3 Key Reasons Why You Have Dysfunctional Pelvic Floor During Lifting

There are three key reasons why you have dysfunction of the pelvic floor during lifting. If you can understand and appreciate the anatomy, then these are all going to make sense. 

1. Shallow Breathing

We breathe about 25,000 times a day. If you are breathing from your neck and shoulders on a day-to-day basis, then this will create downward pressure on the pelvic floor.

Breathing from the neck and shoulders creates a reverse breathing pattern. When you inhale, everything is lifting, and as you exhale, the belly comes out. We have to be able to breathe optimally, which means as you inhale, you have 360 degrees of pressure in the abdomen, all the way down to the pelvic floor.

During exhalation, allow the abdomen to contract and bring the belly button towards the spine. Coordinating your breathing pattern during dynamic movements or heavy lifting is essential. 

2. Breath Holding

When doing something like a heavy deadlift or squat, you are performing a Valsalva maneuver which can effectively increase intra-abdominal pressure and can help with spine stability and trunk rigidity.

If you have an over dominance of your outer core muscles (think six-pack muscles) and a lack of stability in our deep stabilizers, which are the diaphragm, pelvic floor, transverse abdominis, and the multifidi, then that can create significant downward pressure on the pelvic floor. That can cause dysfunction in our pelvic floor and result in urination during lifting.

3. Doming 

This is also caused by instability in the deep core. The way that we would test this is to lie on your back, bring your knees up, and see what happens to your abdomen. Many times the abdomen will dome immediately. Sometimes that could be due to diastasis recti. It can simply be that there is poor intrinsic stabilization (deep core).  If you’re trying to do heavy lifting without proper stabilization and coordination of intraabdominal pressure, then, unfortunately, it can result in a lot of pelvic floor dysfunction. 

What can you do

One of your easiest takehomes from this is to begin working on breathing coordination with your deep core. As you breathe in through the nose, allow the abdomen to expand 360 degrees all the way down to the pelvic floor. As you exhale, you can focus on an active exhalation, pulling the belly button towards the spine.

This creates more of an abdominal brace. Work on the coordination, sequencing, and timing of all of these important muscles. Then begin to integrate that into dynamic movements. When you get into heavy lifting, you will need to learn how to maintain your pressure while you are doing a lift.

If you don’t have good coordination, to begin with, and you’re trying to manage pressure at a high level, it’s not going to work out so well.  If you have been lifting for years, implement this newfound knowledge and awareness of your pelvic floor, diaphragm, and coordination among all of your deep core muscles. 

I hope this is helpful. If it was, please give it a like, share it, and subscribe to our Youtube Channel — The Movement Paradigm — for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement.

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Side Plank Progressions

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Side Plank Progressions

Have you performed side planks but you felt like they were just way too hard? What’s important to recognize is there are many variations that you can do. The side plank is a wonderful exercise and it can be very challenging for many people.

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What you need to know about side planks

The important things to consider about a side plank are:

  • You want to have equal tension under the shoulder, side, and hip. It is a full-body tension exercise. Otherwise, you can put too much load on your shoulder.
  • It’s important to not drop the hips down, but rather stack your rib cage over your hips.  
  • Make sure that you are breathing diaphragmatically in your plank.
  • Rather than holding for time, use your breath as your repetition. That way you will have optimal sequencing will be able to create optimal body tension and will know exactly when you need to stop. 

Types of progressions you can do and how to perform them

As far as progressions, there are many. 

  • Hands and knees: One of the first progressions for a side plank you can do is performing this from your hand and knees. You do want to make sure that you have equal pressure and tension underneath your shoulder, side, and hip. 
  • Forearm and knees: To progress this, you can move down so you are more parallel to the ground. This requires more stability. You can extend the top leg as another alternative. 
  • Full plank staggered: Then move into a full side plank with a staggered stance, with the top leg is in front of the other. 
  • Full plank stacked: Then you can move into a stacked stance where the top leg is parallel with the bottom leg. From here you can do many variations like pulsing the hips or arm wraps. 

Although there are many variations, you do want to make sure you have a strong foundation first. 

Please make sure to check out all of our other vagus nerve hacks that can help you optimize your health and longevity. Make sure to give this a share and subscribe to our YouTube channel, The Movement Paradigm for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement.

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6 causes of osteoporosis you probably didn’t know

Are you suffering from osteopenia or osteoporosis, and you’re unsure how you got here? It’s important to identify the root causes of osteoporosis which can be different for each person. However, there are some commonalities.

What we eat, our environment, toxin exposure, activities, and stress all play into how our body is building bone and breaking it down. It’s important to look at our modifiable lifestyle factors like sleep, nutrition, movement (or lack thereof), and also how we are digesting and absorbing food and getting the optimal amount of nutrients that we need for proper bone health. Now let’s dive into six potential causes of low bone density. 

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6 causes of osteoporosis

1. Chronic Inflammation

Ninety percent of all chronic disease is linked to excessive or persistent inflammation, and osteoporosis is no different. For each person, different inflammatory drivers such as food, bugs, toxins, trauma, and hormones could affect your bone health. 

2. Lack of Resistance Training and Weight-Bearing Exercises

This is one of the most important things to do, especially as you get older because we are going to develop sarcopenia, which is a loss of muscle mass. With the loss of muscle mass, we also lose bone density if we’re not stimulating our bones. We do this through resistance training and weight-bearing exercises. It’s important to make sure you continue that, if not increase it, as you get into your older years. 

3. Heavy Metal Toxicity

We are exposed to heavy metals on a fairly regular basis. Lead happens to be a key driver in osteoporosis. It’s important to recognize that things such as protein powders and so on that aren’t third-party tested can include heavy metals like arsenic and lead. So, you want to make sure that you’re assessing those products and supplements to try to lessen the toxic burden.

Some of us can be much more sensitive to heavy metals than others because our ability to detoxify is unique. One person may have a very high toxic load and toxic burden that could affect their bone health, whereas another person may be unaffected.  

4. Low Estrogen

As women are going through menopause, the production of estrogen shifts from the ovaries to their adrenal glands. This decrease in estrogen can significantly affect bone health. For some people, that may exacerbate their loss of bone density, and for some people, hormone replacement may be the best way to target low bone density, especially if they have osteopenia.

However, hormone replacement may not be appropriate for many people due to family histories, beliefs, philosophies, and so on. It’s important, though, either way, to recognize that it can be a key driver in your osteopenia or osteoporosis. 

5. Gut Health

Things such as the leaky gut, celiac disease, and even non-celiac gluten sensitivity can go undiagnosed for many years, and all of these things can play such a huge role in bone health.  Exploring your digestion, absorption, and elimination, as it relates to gut health, is a key thing that you want to explore if you have symptoms of chronic inflammation or if you have low bone density per DEXA scan.

6. Smoking

Smoking is one of the biggest drivers of low bone density, not to mention poor overall health. Please make sure that if you’re smoking that you consider getting the help that you need to be able to quit. 

Hopefully, this overview gave you some food for thought about how to begin to address your low bone density. 

Please make sure to check out all of our other vagus nerve hacks that can help you optimize your health and longevity. Make sure to give this a share and subscribe to our YouTube channel, The Movement Paradigm for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement.

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Vagus Nerve Hack | Gastroesophageal Release

Do you suffer from acid reflux, and you’re trying to figure out how to manage your condition? Many factors go into this, but today’s focus is on a visceral release for your gastroesophageal junction that may, in fact, help relieve your symptoms.

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It’s important to remember that when we are in a stressed state, we have blood flow that’s moving away from the digestive tract. To be able to digest optimally, we have to be in a parasympathetic state, i.e., rest and digest.

Stimulating the vagus nerve via the digestive tract by performing visceral releases can be a great way to manage and treat your condition. 

The gastroesophageal junction connects the esophagus to the stomach. The esophagus, stomach, and the rest of the digestive tract are innervated by the vagus nerve. This junction itself regulates the food and fluid that is moving from the esophagus to the stomach. This is a very important function because this is one of the things that can contribute to acid reflux. From an anatomical perspective, the esophagus passes right through the diaphragm. As you’re performing the exercise, diaphragmatic breathing is very important before, during, and after to be able to calm the nervous system down and optimize esophageal mobility. If the diaphragm is restricted, then that means it could compress the esophagus as well. 

To perform this technique:

  1. To find the location, move down the sternum and under the xiphoid process. Perform this exercise lying down and while you gently press into the tissue. You might already feel some tenderness, which is quite common and normal. 
  2. Once you’ve assessed the tissue, then traction the tissue down and to your left towards the stomach. Once you’re there, perform your diaphragmatic breathing. As you inhale, you’re creating resistance against the tissue. As you exhale, move down and out while tractioning the tissue more. Perform this until you feel a release or until the tissue begins to feel more relaxed. You might also have another response in your nervous system, such as a sigh, swallow, or yawn. However, you will feel the tissue relax and feel not as tender. Those are all positive signs that you’re performing the technique properly. 
  3. Perform this in-between meals. You don’t want to do it immediately before or after a meal. You can perform this exercise right before bed or in the morning. 

Make sure you speak to a medical provider if you are dealing with a chronic condition to make sure this is an appropriate technique for you. Always be gentle and intentional, and never aggressive. 

Please make sure to check out all of our other vagus nerve hacks that can help you optimize your health and longevity. Make sure to give this a share and subscribe to our YouTube channel, The Movement Paradigm for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement.

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Ancient Navel Massage Practices

Vagus nerve hack | Diaphragmatic and Lymphatic Release

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Ancient Navel Massage Practices

Did you know that the brain and the gut develop from the same embryonic tissue which begins at the navel?

Navel massage is a foundation of many ancient practices and can be a great addition to your self-care practices as another way to regulate your nervous system. 

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The Sib Sen Thai Massage

In Thai massage, they refer to the navel practice as Sib Sen — Sib for 10 and Sen for path. Ultimately, there are 72,000 different trajectories that are starting from the navel and expanding outward. 

The Lower Dantian

In Japanese practice, right below the navel is considered the lower Dantian, the area we refer to as life, chi, and energy. The lower Dantian is also believed to be the foundation of breathing, posture, and awareness and can even control our emotions. This is thought to be a key area of digestion and metabolism, too. However, on a spiritual level, it gives us the strength and ability to transform, vitality, change and evolve. 

So how can you perform these different techniques?

  1. Assess your navel. This can tend towards being very sore at first. 
    • How restricted or elastic does it feel?
    • Starting at the navel, pulling up towards the direction of your head. Pull down, side to side, and in a diagonal direction to see where the restrictions are. 
  2. Once you’ve done that, then you can begin to perform a basic navel massage. To do that, you can place your hands on the umbilicus and traction the skin over the tissue. 

If you are experiencing SIBO, gut issues, have anxiety or depression, or if you are trying to restore your gut-brain connection, give this a try! We love combining Eastern and Western medicine. The fascinating aspects of ancient culture are so valuable in today’s world. 

We are happy to help, so please reach out. We do virtual and in-person consultations, so we’d love the opportunity to help you on your journey. If this was helpful, give it a share and make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel, The Movement Paradigm, for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement.

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

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8 ways to heal your chronic pain

8 ways to heal your chronic pain

Chronic pain is in part considered a neurodegenerative disease and is mismanaged in our country. We need to dig deeper into the biological and metabolic factors as well as the pathophysiology of chronic pain. This goes well beyond opioids and NSAIDs.

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What you need to know about chronic pain

Essentially, chronic pain will distort the cognitive and emotional processing of day-to-day experiences. The volume in chronic pain is dialed up, and our ability to inhibit or turn that volume down is decreased. Therefore, we have what we call sensitization. That means that our nervous system is hypersensitive. Everything is amplified, and the ability to dampen it is decreased.

In addition to that, it can be associated with anxiety and depression. Oftentimes, these may go hand in hand. Of course, it’s necessary and important to look at any type of adaptive movements or compensations that may be contributing. Beyond that, it’s important to look at toxin exposure, intestinal permeability, otherwise known as leaky gut, inflammation, dysbiosis in the gut, and hormone imbalances. Increased cortisol from chronic stress or decreased sex hormones, like DHEA, progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone, can influence our ability to perceive pain. 

Lastly, chronic pain does not equal tissue damage. With acute pain, there is often acute tissue damage which contributes to increased swelling, pain and increased white blood cells in the area. However, with chronic pain, there is no tissue damage. The tissues have healed, yet your brain is still perceiving that there is increased pain.

8 ways to heal your chronic pain

Let’s discuss eight things you can do to address your chronic pain.  

1. Stop the Opioids and NSAIDs

Long-term use of opioids can actually increase pain and your perception of pain. NSAIDs drive leaky gut, so intestinal permeability. That contributes to a release of lipopolysaccharides (LPs), which is considered an endotoxin. The more LPs that you have in your body, the more inflammation and the more pain you can experience. 

2. Support Key Nutrients

Chronic pain is considered a dysfunction of the mitochondria, the powerhouse of cells. You want to make sure that you’re supporting the nutrients for your mitochondria. Proteins, carbohydrates, and healthy fats, for example, are crucial for the membrane health in your cells. 

3. Improve Glycemic Responses

Eat balanced meals with proteins, carbs, and fiber sources to prevent blood sugar dips throughout the day. If you’re eating a high glycemic food like candy, white bread, or enriched foods without any protein or fats, you can have poorly regulated blood sugar. You want to improve your membrane thresholds by stabilizing your glycemic response. 

4. Modulate Stress

This can be done through mindfulness practices, meditation, psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, autogenic training, progressive relaxation, and much more. This is a crucial part of healing chronic pain and understanding your body’s signaling, which can be done through a variety of modalities. 

5. Purposeful Graded Exercise

It is important to start low and go slow in a very systematic progression. For example, if you were going to start walking, you would start walking for five minutes every other day. Once you’re able to do that without any increase in pain, then you can proceed to eight minutes. This will allow you to progress safely without getting discouraged.

6. Heal the Gut

Your gut is 70% of your immune system. This is what drives inflammation, and typically, chronic pain is associated with chronic inflammation. You want to get to the root of your gut issues. Gastrointestinal issues might not be obvious and could present as systemic inflammation, joint pain, and so on. 

7. Prioritize High-Quality Sleep

It is important to make sure that you are not only getting enough sleep, but you’re getting deep and REM sleep to fully restore and repair your body. 

8. Assess and Decrease Toxins

You can start by going to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) website and begin to choose one product at a time to switch to a cleaner product. This could be something as simple as switching from plastic water bottles to stainless-steel water bottles. You could change the products you’re using on your skin or your hair. Toxins, including medications, are things that can continue to perpetuate the chronic pain cycle. 

You can get better! You can heal your chronic pain. Look beyond just basic physical therapy, exercises, cortisone shots, and surgeries. You have to dig deeper into all of the things that play into chronic pain. 

We are happy to help, so please reach out. We do virtual and in-person consultations, so we’d love the opportunity to help you on your journey. If this was helpful, give it a share and make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel, The Movement Paradigm, for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement.

Need help? 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 | Diaphragmatic and Lymphatic Release

Did you know that the lymphatic system is one of the most powerful yet neglected systems in the body and it’s critical for our immune health?

As we know, nearly 90% of all chronic diseases and chronic health conditions are associated with excessive or persistent inflammation. How do we get rid of inflammation and detoxify our bodies? We do this primarily through the lymphatic system and our detoxification organs.

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Our liver is one of the most important detoxification organs, but we also want to factor in our lungs, kidneys, skin, and even our tongue.

How does this relate to the vagus nerve?

Although the vagus nerve does not innervate the lymphoid organs directly, it does play a huge role in the neuroimmune axis. There’s information coming into the brain via the vagus nerve and from the brain via the vagus nerve. Our diaphragm is one of our main respiratory pumps for the lymphoid system. If you are having any gut issues and if you suspect that your lymphatic system is congested, which it is for many people, this is a great technique to release the diaphragm to optimize your respiratory pump. The vagus nerve passes right through the diaphragm, so when you are stimulating the diaphragm, you are also stimulating the vagus nerve. 

How do you perform the technique? 

You can do this lying down or standing up. Use a scooping technique right underneath the ribcage on the left side. The diaphragm is attaching to the inside of the ribs. Push down towards the opposite hip with your hands gently to release the spleen, stomach, and pancreas. Perform this about 10 times.

Then, switch to the other side where we will release the liver and gallbladder. Perform 10 times.

Lastly, come into the center of the abdomen between the sternum and belly button. You will incorporate this with your breath. Inhale and relax the hands, exhale push in with your hands with a pumping motion. This will help pump the lymphatic system. This should not be aggressive at all, just intentional. Perform this for another 10 reps.

Make sure you check out all of my other vagus nerve hacks, but if this was helpful, make sure to give it a share. Also, subscribe to our YouTube channel. The Movement Paradigm for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement.

If you are interested in making a consult for yourself, please make sure to reach out. You can check us out at themovementparadigm.com, we would love the opportunity to help you.

Need help? 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 | Pyloric valve release | visceral release

Vagus Nerve Hack | Ileocecal Valve Release | Visceral Release

Vagus Nerve Hack | Pyloric valve release | visceral release

If you’re experiencing any gut issues or stress, then this vagus nerve hack, the pyloric valve release, may be very powerful for you.

The pyloric valve connects the stomach to the small intestine. If you have increased stress, blood flows away from your digestive tract. Additionally, low fiber intake, decreased pancreatic enzyme efficiency, or low stomach acid can contribute to pyloric valve dysfunction.

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Essentially, when food is not broken down well, then the bacteria are passed downstream to the small intestine. That can cause a whole host of issues from dysbiosis and SIBO — small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.

The interesting thing about the pyloric valve is that it is innervated with parasympathetic fibers as well as sympathetic fibers. The sympathetic fibers act on noradrenaline, which will increase the contraction of that sphincter. The parasympathetic fibers contribute to the relaxation of that sphincter. And that’s where the vagus nerve comes into play.

How do you perform this release? 

First, you want to locate the pyloric valve by lying on your back. You start from your umbilicus, or belly button, and come up about two inches. Everyone’s torso is going to be a little bit different, so the location of the pyloric valve will be different for every person.

Once you come up about two inches, then you should be able to feel the sphincter. It will feel like a little circle. You’ll be able to work your way into the tissue.

Once you’ve located it, you can begin to do a very gentle soft release here using a small circular motion. Then, when you do the actual pyloric valve release, move your hands over to the left, towards the stomach. Use both hands to gently pull the tissue in towards the pyloric valve. Once you gently pull the tissue over, you will hold that for one to two minutes to allow everything to relax. 

Whenever you’re doing these types of releases, think intentional, not aggressive. You want to let the tissue relax and soften. You may feel tenderness at first which is normal. It should release, however, as you continue. You do not want to perform this right after you eat.

Try doing this before bed to help down-regulate the nervous system. It’s a great way to calm the nervous system. You could also do this before you eat to bring yourself to a parasympathetic state to optimize your digestion. Enjoy! 

If you are interested in making a consult for yourself, please make sure to reach out. You can check us out at themovementparadigm.com, we would love the opportunity to help you.

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Vagus Nerve Hack | Ileocecal Valve Release | Visceral Release