Swedish Balance

A balanced approach to pain relief and injury prevention

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A Quick Refresher, Relaxer, and Foot Exerciser at the Beach….. or wherever you are……

Posted on 8 October, 2017 at 17:12 Comments comments (272)

Sit down comfortably in the sand. Make sure you’re sitting in a way so that you’re able to take a couple of deep breaths. Cross legged is great as that opens your abdominal area, your psoas and pelvic area. The lungs and your ribcage has the freedom to move and expand to full capacity when you sit cross legged. 
As you breath, feel the air/ and the wind against your skin, against your forehead, against your cheeks, your hair, and wherever your skin is exposed. Put your attention to each part of your face. Let go of any tension between your eyebrows and around your mouth. If you have a hard time letting go of tension, it might help you to put a hand or a finger on the area. 
Let the air flow in and out of your lungs.
Feel your feet. 
Feel the sand. 
Put your feet in front of you in the sand. 
 Feel the temperature, wiggle your toes, the whole foot.
Feel the sand under your arch fully supported. 
Feel each particle of the sand. 
Let sand run in-between each toe. 
Flex your feet and point the toes up to the sky.
Inhale, take a deep breath, and as you exhale all the air out of your lungs, push the sand away from you.
Inhale as you point your toes and start scooping sand back in towards your body. Try it 10-20 times.Then, reverse direction, and try it another 10-20 times.
Now your head should feel clearer and your senses more vibrant. 
Make sure your shoulders drop down and away from your ears. 
If you’re not used to used to use your feet much, or you always keep them in shoes, this might be a huge workout for your feet and calves. You might feel cramping and the like, but don’t be alarmed-
that just means your feet need the work. Stretch them out, massage them, and let them be free in the sand. 
If you can’t make it to the beach, instead of sand; try dirt, grass or water- an element true to nature. 
Sit under a tree!
To finish, lie down on your back. 
Open up your chest,
your heart,
to the sky.
Turn you palms up to the sky,
 or put them behind your neck.
Walk back to your car barefoot! 
Let your feet feel the ground.
Walk heal to toe.
Walk lightly, as if you were walking on clouds. 
Let me know how you did!

Enjoy you day!

Pilates or Yoga?

Posted on 22 January, 2017 at 13:57 Comments comments (90)
I get asked all the time:
"Kicki, should I do pilates or yoga? Which is better?"
I also often hear from long time yogis, that "I just like yoga. Pilates is not my thing."
Yet, they know something is missing when they consistently are bothered by a tight shoulder or painful lower back. 
My answer to the above question is: Do both!
You get the great healing benefits from both yoga and pilates. When we try to recover from an injury several modalities are often needed. 
My experience is that most yoga classes focus on opening and stretching the body. Pilates both stretches and strengthens the body on a deep level but is more focused on strengthening. 
The body needs both. 
If you focus on only opening and stretching your body, you will lose strength and you are more prone to injuries. 
Have you ever heard/ or have you ever said yourself: "I'm falling apart" when in pain?
I hear it all the time- and yes, it is true!You are!
As we age we lose collagen, our hormone levels change, mother earth is preparing to kick us off the earth by breaking our "cushions" (cartilage, collagen, disks, bursas) down. Your joints might start to hurt, or you feel tighter than you used to, and maybe you have less "spring" in your strides when you walk or run.
Joints are supposed to hold our limbs in place. When joints throughout life have been stretched out, and in some cases ripped, the muscles try to do the joints job; keeping your limbs in place. Muscles become fatigued from overuse, you get tired, and before sooner than later, you are injured. 
With pilates we work on a strong midline of the body- a strong core. Every movement should start from there. As your center becomes stronger, you will soon notice that you feel more flexible and have more energy. 
Some think that pilates is all about squats and sit ups. This is absolutely wrong!
Pilates is an exercise system for the whole body, with every movement starting with the center engaged, but nothing could be more wrong than thinking pilates is about pushing your body to do squats and sit ups. If you have encountered that class, I would encourage you to stop, and instead seek a professional and fully certified pilates instructor, who knows how to help your body build up the strength from deep within.

What is Neuromuscular Therapy and How is it Different from a Regular Deep Tissue Massage?

Posted on 28 January, 2013 at 18:02 Comments comments (250)
Have you ever had an agonizing spot between your shoulders in your neck; a headache coming from seemingly nowhere? You try to rub it out, but to no good. You might have a friend or spouse push on the "knot" between your shoulders, or rub your forehead... but nothing happens. It might feel good for the moment, but there is no or very little relief.

The reason is that your discomfort or pain is not coming from the area you are rubbing. It's coming from a distance place elsewhere in the body and what you feel is referred pain from a trigger point.

Neuromuscular therapy involves work on trigger points and it also involves an examination of your alignment or posture. Your posture is often a reason for the formation of trigger points and therefore needs to be addressed.

When you come in for a treatment with a neuromuscular therapist, a look at your posture can give us a lot of information and a quick idea of what we should address first to lessen your pain/discomfort. Tight muscles can pull you out of proper alignment; we want your body back in alignment and in balance to stop tension and the creation of trigger points. A trigger point can form due to: posture (habitual posture at work), post-surgery scar tissue, disease, illness, vitamin deficiency, stress (mental and physical), aging, metabolic disorders, toxic food, bony anomalies and more....
When I work on someone, clients often ask me if I can feel the trigger point, or how can I possibly end up right on it? Most often I can feel it when working on the tissue, but sometimes I just have a sense of where it is. This "sense" is probably made up from knowing where the general location of the trigger point is in most people and a tissue response, such as a little twitch, a little flutter, resistance to my pressure, or the sensation that the area feels a little warmer than the rest.

By now you're probably thinking, "So, what is a trigger point?"

A trigger point can be small as a pin head, a little nodule pea size, or it can be a large lump, or several lumps together; tender spots in a taut band, hard muscle that feels like a cord or guitar string, ropey and stringy, like spaghetti glued together. There are different theories about how trigger points form. One popular theory is that the root of a nerve is traumatized or pinched, and trigger points form along this traumatized nerve.
If you are one of those who never had a neuromuscular treatment but would like to get more results out of your deep tissue massages, NMT is probably something for you. Neuromuscular work is a form of deep tissue work, but the difference from a regular deep tissue massage and neuromuscular work is the trigger point release. If we treat a muscle and neglect to release the major trigger points, the muscle won't relax much. This is usually when people will say after their massage, "Well, it felt good as long as it lasted, but it didn't do anything." That's because the trigger points weren't released. An arm or hand was probably just sliding over the trigger points. A trigger point has to be treated with a static pressure in order to release. 

- Kicki


Posted on 10 January, 2013 at 16:00 Comments comments (48)
Here we will discuss anything that concerns your health, and primarily imbalances in muscular tissue and fascia restrictions. However, since there are many systems within each body, we cannot ignore discussing the influence on/of the organs, cranial bones, and your energetic system.

I practice holistic therapy, and the way I apply this view of treatment is by taking a look at the body as a whole unit instead of focusing exclusively on one body part or on one specific
muscle group.

For example, if you have been plagued with neck pain for years for no obvious reason, you will most likely not be helped by hands-on work on your neck only. By taking your whole body in consideration, and by questioning what you do/don't do, on a regular basis, we can start to paint a picture of when your problem started and where it's coming from. It could be, as crazy as it might sound, that it started with a blow to your head, hip or any other part of your body. It could have been a traumatic event in your life; the stress hormones that were released into your body tightened up the fascia around your head to protect it from re-injury. It also could be from worrying too much. When the body is in a state of fear, toxins accumulate in your system and can put the body in imbalance with muscle spasms, tension, trigger points, and restricted fascia as a result.

At first you won't notice much in your body or feel any pain, but sooner or later (later can mean decades) you feel pain, or you feel discomfort and you have less range of motion when trying to turn your head to the side. You book an appointment to treat your condition and the therapist asks you how it started, and you say: "I have NO idea where this is coming from!"

So, that is why a holistic approach is important when dealing with chronic pain.  If we were to focus on only the body part that is bothering you, we might never solve the problem.

To take a look at your alignment and posture may give a lot of valuable information. Often we'll find evidence of a faulty work position that you have throughout the day. Computer work for several hours a day is one big cause for pulling you out of alignment with improper posture and various feelings of discomfort as a result.

There are times when we work on primarily one body part. For instance if you injured your muscles of the shoulder (often described as Rotator cuff injury) when hitting a volleyball with too much force, we will focus on a particular muscle group to start with. As you feel better it is however important to treat other parts of your body that might have been affected by the injury. Other muscle groups start to compensate for the injured and weaker shoulder and scar tissue builds up in the injury site and in the compensating muscle groups...

In the future, I will discuss health related topics such as:

What can I do on my own to feel better?
When I have an injury, should I use ice or heat?
What is Sciatica and how do I know if I have it?
What is a trigger point and how do they form in my body?
Can I get rid of a trigger point?
What's the difference between acupressure points and trigger points?
Why can abdominal work be important to treat my lower back pain?
What is thoracic outlet syndrome?
How can I treat pain caused by a herniated disk without surgery?
Are there alternatives to surgery?
What is energy work, and does it really work?

Stay tuned in to what's coming next:

How can Neuromuscular and trigger-point work help me?

- Kicki