Swedish Balance

A balanced approach to pain relief and injury prevention

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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.

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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