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Navajo Nation Wellness Camp

Amy PiszAt the end of July, I got to spend a week in the beautiful state of New Mexico working with the people of the Navajo Nation. I was able to take part in this experience through the University of Findlay of Findlay, OH. I am a current student in their weekend bridge program for PTAs to complete their DPT. This schooling experience has been exciting, exhausting and life changing. Being in this program has given me multiple opportunities to give back to the PT community and my profession.

Published in Blog
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Yoga: A Health and Wellness Revolution

Yoga was first practiced in India thousands of years ago and has become a popular form of exercise recently in the United States, which is no surprise since there are numerous health benefits while engaging the mind, body, and spirit. Some main benefits of yoga are:

  • Increased muscle strength and tone
  • Improved energy levels
  • Improved flexibility and balance while focusing on engaging core muscles that support the spine
  • Can help manage stress and help you focus while decreasing blood pressure  
  • Improved sleep
  • Yoga also focuses on slow breathing and incorporating meditation which can improve a person’s overall well-being

Yoga is not just slow movements anymore, there are many different types of yoga offered at different studios in the area.  A few yoga studios are highlighted below with the different types of classes they offer:

Published in Blog
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You Have to Move to Improve

You have to move to improve. For some people, especially those having chronic or persistent pain, this is easier said than done. Sometimes a person has so much pain they are unable to participate in everyday activities. There are, however, some techniques out there to help these people. Immersion in warm water as well as breathing, relaxation, meditation, laughter and music may help to calm the central nervous system allowing people with persistent pain to improve their quality of life.

Pain is a warning system designed to protect us and to make us react to danger or potential danger.  When nerves are stimulated, chemicals are released and transmitted to the spinal cord and brain. Pain only exists when the brain concludes the body is in danger and action is required. All pain is generated by the brain. All pain is real. In people who have persistent pain, it is the potential for tissue damage that the brain is concerned with.  The result is an over sensitive central nervous system. Pain then becomes restrictive, not protective.

The good news is that a hyper sensitive, over-responsive pain alarm system can be retrained with relaxation, breathing techniques and exercise. Laughter can also be a great tool in breaking through some of the restrictions that pain can create. A lesser known fact is that laughter promotes healthier blood vessels. Artery diameter increases by 22% during laughter and is decreased by 35% during mental stress. Also, by performing exercise in warm water a person with persistent pain may be able to help calm this overactive central nervous system. Here are some of the benefits of warm water exercise.

  • Gravity is reduced /eliminated depending on the depth of the water
  • When movement stops, the workload immediately stops
  • Pain, stiffness and muscle guarding are reduced
  • The touch, temperature and pressure of the water will compete with the pain signals going to the brain
  • Repetitive and comfortable movement helps to normalize input to the brain
  • Balance, core strength, stability and gait can be comfortably retrained using the water as an external support

According to the American Chronic Pain Association, chronic pain is the #1 cause of adult disability and affects 50 million people in the United States. If you are one of these people you may want to try some of the techniques listed above to help you deal with your pain and improve your quality of life.

Aquatic Therapy Rehab Institute Chronic Pain Specialty Course

Published in Blog