Jan 22 2021
Hou Li Tai Chi and Frome Physical Therapy are pleased to announce our virtual Chinese New Year celebration on Saturday, February 13, 2021 from 4:30PM to 5:30 PM. You are welcome to join us for tea, snacks, entertainment and practice. There will be a brief meditation, Gongfu tea ceremony, Tai Chi demonstration and surprise guests performing music, Chinese folk dance and story. Please let us know if you would like to attend.
February 12, 2021 marks the beginning of the Chinese New Year. According to the Chinese Zodiac, this is the Year of the Metal Ox. Metal symbolizes values, respect, ethics, perfection, the autumn and the harvest. The Ox is associated with an honest nature, diligence and dependability. He achieves his goals with both strength, determination and stubbornness. While these traits are admirable, the Ox is not always the best communicator.
Based upon the character of the Metal Ox, it is advisable to choose your goals carefully, reflecting the greater good. Share your ideals with others and work together to overcome life’s many obstacles. Together, much can be accomplished.
Since 1984 Frome Physical Therapy has offered complimentary healing arts including Rolfing, acupuncture and now Craniosacral Therapy.
FPT has given birth to the Hou Li Tai Chi school, in Loch Arbour, NJ (Asbury Park) and now also online. Our school is now in it’s fourth year. Hou Li means vitality.
The practice of Tai Chi and Qigong appear to be simple however it demands balance, strength and flexibility and more. It takes years of study to do it well and can be practiced daily to cultivate physical, emotional and spiritual health. You will find yourself feeling more open and more relaxed after each practice. Tai Chi and Qigong challenge the body in ways that conventional exercise does not. It is slow and meticulous in its detail. As the student memorizes each movement, he is engaged mentally to refine the form.
David has studied Tai Chi for many years at The Society for Nanlaoshu in NYC. The literal translation of Nanlaoshu is “hard to grow old”. One can practice Tai Chi and Qigong into old age. The practice cultivates your strength, flexibility, immunity and vitality.
Our classes have been held in the studio, in the park and on the beach. Currently, our advanced Tai Chi and Chigong meets on Friday morning (virtually or outdoors) and our Qigong for all levels meets virtually on Wednesday mornings. In the spring, we will offer a beginners Tai Chi and Chigong that will meet outdoors. We welcome new students. To learn more, visit www.houlitaichi.org.
Jan 5 2021
Orthodox medicine has yet to recognize the existence of the craniosacral system and the movement of fluid within the central nervous system (CNS). What is Craniosacral Therapy and why does it matter?
Craniosacral Therapy (CST) is a gentle hands on approach that explores the movement of the fluid and soft tissue membranes that surround the brain and spine. The CNS includes the brain, spinal cord and the cerebro-spinal fluid. The therapist applies gentle pressure to relieve tension and restrictions within the central nervous system (CNS).
Cerebro-spinal Fluid (CSF) flows rhythmically around and through our spinal cord and brain. Just as air moves into and out of our lungs, and blood moves through our vascular system, the movement of the CSF helps to nourish and connect the brain, and spinal cord. The cranial bones have the ability to make subtle movements and respond to the pulsing of the CSF. When the bones of the skull and spinal column are well aligned and mobile, the craniosacral system “breathes.”
While CST is concerned with the alignment of the structure, it’s primary focus is upon the breath and movement of the Cranial Sacral bones and fluid. The movement of the CSF relates not only to the mobility of the spine and skull but also the tension and mobility of the dura. The dura is the connective tissue covering of the spinal cord and brain. Additionally, the dura separates the two sides of the brain. The tensions within the dural layer can influence the shape, mobility and function of the boney and nervous tissue that make up the CNS.
While applying gentle pressure, the practitioner evaluates the freedom and mobility within the craniosacral system. Gentle techniques are used to unwind the restrictions found within the head, neck and back. As mobility within the craniosacral system is restored, problems including low back pain, neck pain, headaches, TMJ and neuropathy can abate. As pains subside, CST promotes a deep sense of well-being.
The function of the brain and spinal cord are central to our overall health. Both emotional stresses and physical injuries can create imbalance and restriction within the craniosacral system. When the inherent cranial rhythm is disturbed our health is diminished. Craniosacral Therapy releases these chronic imbalances and nourishes health.
A typical CST session lasts 45 – 60 minutes and takes place in a peaceful, private setting. CST is performed with the client fully clothed and lying on a comfortable massage table. The therapist uses a light touch to “listen to,” or evaluate the body for patterns of tension or imbalances.
CST is a gentle hands on approach that releases long held tensions within the body. Craniosacral Therapy alleviates a wide variety of problems including chronic pain and dysfunction due to athletic injury, neurologic impairment or spirit level problems. Craniosacral therapy is profoundly relaxing and calming for the nervous system. During a session the client experiences a deepening of respiration, a softening of the musculoskeletal system and a greater sense of ease. Schedule your next CST session with David soon!
Oct 12 2020
Have you ever wondered if you would wind up like your grandma, or the senior citizen who is stooped over and shuffling across the street? You might have commanded yourself to sit up straight and practice good posture in order to avoid the fate of this older person you hope never to become.
How did grandma’s body shrink and why is she looking at the ground instead of straight ahead?
Forward rounding of the upper back is often referred to as hunchback or Dowagers Hump. The medical term is dorsal kyphosis. Kyphosis is an exaggerated, forward rounding of the back that can occur at any age but is most common in older women.
One thing is certain, while cell phones and text messaging do put a great strain on the upper back neck and shoulders, they are not what lead to grandma’s hunchback. No doubt about it, as we sit with our heads drooping forward and our upper back rounded, we are compromising our spines.
Over time, poor posture leads to overstretching of the ligaments and muscles that support the vertebrae. Laxity of the strap like paraspinal muscles, ligaments and other supporting tissues that run along either side of the spinal column give way for the spine to move from the vertical to the horizontal plane. As the support system for the vertebrae becomes over stretched the bones can move out of alignment , resulting in a kyphotic spine and predisposing one to pain, poor circulation, breathing issues, herniations, arthritis and other unwanted conditions.
Poor posture in childhood, such as slouching, leaning back in chairs and carrying heavy school bags, can also cause the ligaments and muscles that support the vertebrae to stretch. This can pull the thoracic vertebrae out of their normal position setting the stage for kyphosis.
Childhood is a perfect time to develop good postural habits and monitor the book bag burden. Early interventions, including Rolfing, can save a lot of children from developing age related postural kyphosis later in life.
Osteoporosis can lead to compression and deterioration of the spinal bones. This degeneration of the vertebrae may have caused grandma’s upper spine to round forward and lose it’s vertical alignment.
The more the spine moves off center, the greater the energy and muscular effort required to hold oneself up. For every inch that your head protrudes forward from its normal alignment, you add approximately an extra 10 pounds of force to support your head upon your neck.
This extra effort causes pliable soft tissue structures to harden as one works against gravity to keep their head up resulting in bracing, tension and pain. As soft tissue structures solidify, muscles, fascia and soft tissue of the entire upper trunk lose their ability to move. The upper trunk becomes wrapped in a tight soft tissue corset making it impossible to stand erect. Deep breathing which requires rib, diaphragmatic and spinal movement is hindered. Kyphosis is also associated with tight chest and hip flexor muscles.
Making attempts to sit and stand up straight are a good beginning, however as soon as your mind moves onto the next thought your body is likely to resort to its habitual posture. Our structure plays a key role in our posture. While our bodies are a collection of parts (muscles, bones, organs) what keeps these parts together and in relationship to each other, is the fascia or connective tissues. When you look at a person’s posture, you see the underlying relationships that are set in the structure. Shortenings within the structure have a direct and constant influence on posture. Tight, shortened pectoral muscles do not allow the shoulders to come back and the chest to open. Shortened inflexible paraspinal muscles do not allow the spine to extend and the head to sit comfortably on top of the spine.
During the 1920’s Ida Rolf, a young biochemist, began to see the important role that fascia plays on the shape of our bodies as well as posture. Over decades of research and practice she explored the vital role fascia plays in how our bodies are shaped by our experience. How we used our bodies in both work and play, the injuries, surgeries and illnesses we have endured and emotional history all determine our structural pattern and shape. Rolf began with the insight that fascia is not unyielding but can change with manual manipulation. This premise gave birth to Rolfing also known as Structural Integration.
Rolfing can help bring a kyphotic spine back on to its vertical axis. By balancing the tensions in the soft tissue network, Rolfing realigns the structure and provides the framework for an upright posture.
Aug 11 2020
If you are not able to see us in person, we can offer you a magnet therapy treatment online. Telehealth appointments are available with David. After evaluating your symptoms and concerns, he will offer a plan of action including, acupuncture magnet therapy and exercise. A wide range of problems including structural, acute and chronic health conditions can be addressed online.
Order the magnets They cost around $12 and take about a week to arrive. Once you’ve got them, contact us to schedule an appointment.
The treatment begins with a discussion and assessment of your current concerns. For physical problems, we look at posture, movement patterns, range of motion and learn about your pain, restrictions and holding patterns.
After our assessment, we may suggest lifestyle changes and offer corrective exercises. We help you to find the correct anatomical location of the specific acupuncture points and guide you to apply the magnets.
The magnets are powerful gold plated 800 gauss and come on a small circular adhesive tape. We are using the magnets to influence specific points along the acupuncture meridians. Magnets, like acupuncture needles influence the flow of Qi (energy) through the meridians and can influence our health. The magnets can be left on the body for up to five days and the stimulus is slow and sustained.
I have used telemedicine to treat anxiety, depression, severe back pain, pneumonia, insomnia and digestive problems.
Apr 27 2020
It should not come as a surprise that one of the keys to maintaining pulmonary health is in the breath. How do we maintain respiratory and aerobic capacity? What role does the flexibility of the spine, rib cage and shoulders play in our ability to take a deep breath and fill our lungs? How do you cultivate the ability to take a deep breath and hold it?
Flexibility of the musculoskeletal system plays an important role in maintaining pulmonary health. The ability to inhale and exhale deeply is reliant upon the mobility of bones and joints that constitute the rib cage. It also relies upon the pliability of the soft tissues; the muscles, tendons and ligaments and their ability to expand and contract in response to breath and movement. Breathing produces movement within the ribcage as well as the rythmic pulsing of fluids and energy throughout the human body.
Breathing and stretching exercises can help you to improve your lung capacity and slow down your respiratory rate. Respiratory illness results in just the opposite, rapid shallow breaths. Perform these simple exercises daily and you will be on your way to cultivating a stronger, more resilient response to respiratory illness including asthma, COPD and infectious diseases including Covid-19. You are also likely to notice the calming effect that deep breathing has upon your nervous system.
1. Pursed lip breathing
This is an exercise that can help you to maintain healthy airways. Breathe in slowly through your nose. Hold your breath at the top of your inhalation for 10 seconds. The ability to hold your breath is critical for maintaining good lung health. Then, breathe out slowly through pursed lips, lengthening your expiration until you have expelled all the air possible. Imagine you are blowing out the candles on a birthday cake.
2. Three part breathing exercise
Lying supine, rest your hands on your belly below your navel. Inhale deeply, and direct your breath into the belly, then exhale. If you are doing this properly your hands will rise as you breathe, in and then fall as you breathe out. You can repeat this exercise and develop a slow methodical rhythm breathing into the belly followed by a long slow exhale.
Next, place your hands on each side of your lower ribs. Breathe into the belly and then continue to inhale as the breath flows up into the lower ribs. A long deep inspiration is followed by a slow full exhalation. Relaxing your belly and the ribs on the outbreath.
Finally, place your hands on your chest just below your collar bones. Breathe into your belly then ribs and then your upper chest. As you progressively breathe into your belly, ribs and upper chest your entire trunk will rise and expand. As you breathe out your belly, ribs and chest will relax and sink downwards.
Tip: Count to 4 on the breath in, count to 4 on the breath out. Keep your neck and shoulders relaxed. Avoid hunching them up to your ears. Avoid over efforting or tensing any part of your body in an effort to direct your breath. This exercise can be quite meditative as you envision your breath moving up through your trunk and then releasing back down and out.
3. Towel stretch with back bend
With arms extended in front of you wider than shoulder width, hold the ends of a long towel or sheet. Slowly breathe in, raise the towel toward the ceiling and extend your arms reaching over your head. Lean backward as far as you can, while gazing upward. Keep your neck relaxed while stretching the front of the chest and rib cage. Hold the breath for several seconds. Then, slowly lower the towel while breathing out on the way back down back down.
Tip: You can increase the difficulty of the exercise by begining with your hands closer to each other. Keep your neck soft and in line with your spinal column. Tilting your head backwards or forward which will invite neck strain.
4. Towel stretch with side bends
Repeat the first exercise until arms are raised up to the ceiling, then lean trunk and head sideways while pulling on the lower end of the towel as you stretch the opposite side of the rib cage. Bring your arms back up to the ceiling (neutral) and repeat to the other side.
Tip: Keep your weight evenly distributed between both legs while leaning sidewards.Your head rests upon the top of your spinal column. Be aware of your neck responding and following the sideward movement of the trunk.
Good posture supports healthy breathing. Sitting in collapsed rounded postures promotes shallow breathing. By maximizing your lung health before getting sick you are improving your ability to respond to and recover from illness. Typically we use only half of our lung capacity. Good posture, breathing exercises, stretching, aerobic activity and good indoor air quality are complementary components of pulmonary health.