Houston, We Have a Problem…

A00204F01So – I’m googling for images (man! if that was like “Bowling for Dollars” I could so clean up!) Anyway… I’m googling for images for a lecture I’m giving tomorrow when I happen upon a link  for Compartment Syndrome from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. Ever curious I click on it to find a description that includes the following: “ Anatomy: Compartments are groupings of muscles, nerves, and blood vessels in your arms and legs. Covering these tissues is a tough membrane called a fascia. The role of the fascia is to keep the tissues in place, and, therefore, the fascia does not stretch or expand easily.” (emphasis mine).

Geez! What are they teaching these kids in school today??


Tune in Saturday for the latest on fascia from German TV.

Ah Germany! The World Cup, a healthy understanding of fascia, and trains! Really, what’s not to love?

Fascia Comes to Costco

Costco Connections magazine has a piece on yin yoga this month and it  talks about fascia.  Hana Medina writes:  Yin yoga will not make you break a sweat, but it is working some very necessary areas of your body: the fascia, also called connective tissues. “The fascia is the muscular fibrous connective tissue that’s enveloping every muscle, but also every organ in the human body,” says Dr. Robert Schleip, who leads the Fascia Research Group at Ulm University in Munich. He explains that this web-like structure holds muscles and organs in place, and also makes up tendons, ligaments and joint capsules. The fascia is central to mobility.

Find it here.

PS: Ulm University is in Ulm, not Munich. Oops.

Walk Like a Simian

USA Todays’ Bryan Alexander interviews master of movement Andy Serkis  and motion coordinator Terry Notary (of the upcoming Planet of the Apes movie) about how to move like a primate. You can find the article and a really great video here.

I love how they tell Bryan to “soften the mind and body connection” and to “root yourself down into a deeper presence”. But my favorite is the cue to ” (do) not use effort. Don’t use any muscles to do simple tasks.” Sounds like Fascial Fitness to me!

Tip of the hat – Barry Craig!

Are Yoga Teachers Underpaid?

MSNBC’s Ned Resnikoff examines it:

“In many respects – the low pay, the gig-based nature of the job, and the unpaid overtime – yoga is little different from other freelance professions in the new, service-based American economy. More than one person interviewed by msnbc compared teaching yoga to being a part-time adjunct professor, with all the job insecurity and irregular pay that implies. And like many low-paying service jobs, the field of yoga instruction is dominated by women. According to the Yoga Journal’s 2012 Yoga in America survey, 82% of American yoga practitioners are women. The survey didn’t track the gender breakdown for teachers specifically, but only one of the dozen or so yoga instructors who replied to msnbc’s request for interviews was male.”

And answers criticisms that this isn’t a real labor issue:

“A few people have asked me why this story matters. For me, the most interesting thing about yoga instructors is precisely the fact that many people don’t seem to consider them “workers” in the traditional sense. That helps to explain the incredulous attitude so many readers had to this article. Nobody asks why a story about, say, school teachers or truck drivers counts as news. But for whatever reason, yoga instructors don’t count.

That seems a little odd to me. It’s a skilled service profession, typically requiring some form of accreditation. People do get paid, albeit not very much, for rendering the services in question. So what makes it not-work? To flip the question around, why are stories about yoga instructors not considered to be labor stories?

I can think of a couple possible reasons. One is the widely held perception that yoga instructors are pursuing a hobby, despite the money involved. Another related reason is the casual, precarious nature of the work, which differentiates it from a full-time, salaried position. And a third, less charitable explanation, has to do with the gender breakdown of yoga instructors. Most of them are women, and feminized labor is often dismissed as not being “real” work.”


Trigger Point Tuesday

The Subscapularis! (which, after my trip to dentist yesterday I strangely need – and on the opposite side from where they worked!).

What is Structural Integration?

Why it “ is a system of manual therapy and sensorimotor education that purports to improve human biomechanical functioning as a whole rather than to treat particular symptoms“.

That’s what Eric Jacobson says, and he says a lot more on the National Center for BioTechnology/US National Library of Medicine page devoted to SI. Taken from the Journal for Alternative and Complimentary Medicine.  Required Reading.

Other Connection stories  featuring  Eric Jacobson here and here.

Tip of the hat to Emily Gordon!

All Creatures Great and Small

seem to have consciousness too.

 “If you ask my colleagues whether animals have emotions and thoughts,” says , a prominent computational neuroscientist, “many will drop their voices to a whisper or simply change the subject. They don’t want to touch it.” Jaak Panksepp, a professor at Washington State University, has studied the emotional responses of rats. “Once, not very long ago,” he said, “you couldn’t even talk about these things with colleagues.”

That may be changing. A profusion of recent studies has shown animals to be far closer to us than we previously believed — it turns out that common shore crabs feel and remember pain, zebra finches experience REM sleep, fruit-fly brothers cooperate, dolphins and elephants recognize themselves in mirrors, chimpanzees assist one another without expecting favors in return and dogs really do feel elation in their owners’ presence. In the summer of 2012, an unprecedented document, masterminded by Low — “The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness in Human and Nonhuman Animals” — was signed by a group of leading animal researchers in the presence of Stephen Hawking. It asserted that mammals, birds and other creatures like octopuses possess consciousness and, in all likelihood, emotions and self-awareness.

Scientists, as a rule, don’t issue declarations. 

And thanks to Andrew Sullivan, this story about Raju the elephant,  who wept when he was freed from shackled captivity.

Maybe are consciousness isn’t as humanly precious as we thought.


An Off/On Switch for Consciousness

Gray_718-emphasizing-claustrumTo say I enjoy the mystery of what consciousness is would be an understatement. Today we got a little more knowledge about this aspect of being human.

In a study published last week, Mohamad Koubeissi at the George Washington University in Washington DC and his colleagues describe how they managed to switch a woman’s consciousness off and on by stimulating her claustrum. The woman has epilepsy so the team were using deep brain electrodes to record signals from different brain regions to work out where her seizures originate. One electrode was positioned next to the claustrum, an area that had never been stimulated before.

When the team zapped the area with high frequency electrical impulses, the woman lost consciousness. She stopped reading and stared blankly into space, she didn’t respond to auditory or visual commands and her breathing slowed. As soon as the stimulation stopped, she immediately regained consciousness with no memory of the event. The same thing happened every time the area was stimulated during two days of experiments.

The claustrum is thin sheet of neurons attached to the underside of the neocortex.  We don’t really know what it does per se, but it is thought to play a role in communication between the two hemispheres of the brain.

I wonder what it does when we sleep? Or meditate?

Singing is Connecting to the Body

article-new-ehow-images-a07-bt-k8-sing-computer-record-voice-notes-800x800Terri Gross interviews opera singer Dolora Zajick. Money quote: “Singing is connected to the body. So there’s a depth in the body that’s necessary to perform this kind of music and a lot of the expression comes from a kinesthetic awareness and that’s one thing that I think people identify with… There are sensations that you’re feeling physically that the audience isn’t feeling. There is a kinesthetic, sympathetic awareness that audience has if you are really using your body when you sing that they are feeling at the same time. A lot of the times the audience doesn’t realize that’s what’s happening… It’s a very visceral thing.

Early in the interview she also talks about “kinesthetic empathy” – a fascinating ability and one we therapists engage with, or should be engaging , on a daily basis.

Tip of the hat: Coletta Perry

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