Submitted By Alan LLoyd
As a health care provider in Rainier Valley, I see women who are pregnant in the 3rd trimester, coming in with that persistent low back, neck, and upper back pain. I noticed occasionally women who are pregnant, coming in for rib pain, carpal tunnel, sciatica, and leg cramps. As most of the woman I see are very busy, I thought I’d provide some background information and self-care tips.
Musculoskeletal problems are often due to the hormonal effects of progesterone on the ligaments. The weight of the growing fetus is compensated for by the woman’s muscles and joints. This weight is distributed in the abdomen, rather than evenly over the entire body. This throws the woman’s center of gravity off, leading to a variety of pelvic, back, shoulder, and neck problems.
Problems also arise due to pressure on the limited physical space. The ribs become an area of discomfort, as they compensate and expand as the uterus pushes upwards. A woman may also experience hip and pelvic pain from ligaments loosening within the pelvis.
Friends and neighbors, Claudia and Jackie, joined me today for stair climbing on this fine, and increasingly rare, sunny morning at the concrete stairs tucked in at intersection of S. Cooper St. and Waters Ave. S. in Upper Rainier Beach.
There’s nothing better, in between breaths, than talking about books, gardening and local beautification efforts to take my attention off this demanding, sweaty form of exercise. All of us carried backpacks with varying poundage (5lbs – 20lbs) of rice or other bulk foods to make it more of a load bearing exercise. As middle-aged women, we need to keep building lean muscle mass since women tend to lose 5 -7 pounds of muscle a year if not doing weight-bearing exercise. And besides building strong bones, weight-bearing exercise keeps your metabolism fired up because having more muscle generates more metabolic activity, which burns fat. At fifty-four years old, I’m all for it.
I would have never imagined that I would voluntarily walk up and down stairs carrying weight, but after my backpacking trip to the Sierra Nevada Mountains this past summer, I can’t think of a better way to stay in shape and partake in my local landscape. While descending the stairs, one is...
If you are looking to add more fermented foods into your diet this summer, try making shio-koji (salt koji). It’s uber-easy and extra tasty. Koji, rice inoculated with the Aspergillus oryzae spores, is commonly used in making traditional Japanese fermented foods like miso, sake and soy sauce, but it is also used to make this salt seasoning which is made from just three ingredients: koji, salt and water. Left on the kitchen counter for one to two weeks, and stirred once a day, it will ferment into sweet/salty creaminess.
Although it can be used simply as a salt substitute on all foods, one of my favorite ways to use shio-koji is for an overnight ferment on garden vegetables like root vegetables (especially radishes and turnips), or sugar snap peas, peppers and cucumbers. Immerse vegetables (whole or sliced) into the mixture; the next day serve them as side dishes to meals or add them in salads.
On raw salads, I enjoy using shio-koji is as a stand alone addition or in a dressing of olive oil and rice wine vinegar. One tablespoon will give that mystifying savory sweet & salty umami taste which will keep your dinner guests guessing and wanting more.
A common and delicious...
Undriving.org is the first organization I volunteered with as soon as I had moved here from KY. I was thrilled with my new decision to be car less and happy to connect with similar minded folks so soon.This group was started by my friend Julia Field and they challenge all of us to get creative about getting around. They ask you to pledge to take some action just in the next month that gets you out of the car.
For children their pledge could be “I’ll walk to my friend’s house twice a week”, others pledge to shop using their bike, or perhaps to teach someone else how to ride the bus downtown. These pledges are small steps that really do help to change our mindsets about jumping into the car for every trip. Research confirms that this is effective stating that 72 % of Undrivers report establishing a new transportation habit as a result of taking the pledge!
The Undriving team of volunteers set up at fairs and local events like street festivals to take pledges and to issue Undriving licenses; amazing since their 2007 start they have issued over 6,000 undriving licenses. Potentially a real transportation shift changer for those folks that have answered...
Achy wrist and hands? It could be Carpal tunnel syndrome, but it could be many other soft tissue issues as well. Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) can be given as a diagnosis for any forearm or wrist pain, please make sure your physician is doing some simple tests along with the physical examination, not just seeing a history of computer keyboard use and going straight to CTS. However, it is common injury from repetitive keyboarding or using small hand tools. You will feel numbness in the middle and index finger and weakness in the thumb.
Here are more symptoms:
• Nighttime painful tingling in one or both hands, frequently causing sleep disturbance
• Feeling of uselessness in the fingers
• A sense that fingers are swollen even though little or no swelling is apparent
• Daytime tingling in the hands, followed by a decreased ability to squeeze things
• Loss of strength in the muscle at the base of the thumb, near the palm
• Pain shooting from the hand up the arm as far as the shoulder
You can alleviate the pain in a few ways:
• Stretching is very important, the nerve is being pinched between bony structures and inflamed tissue, and stretching that...
It’s that time of year. Yep, time to get off coffee. A half a cup a day was fine, desirable even, during the cold winter months but now that the days are lengthening and warming, the uprising Qi in the earth and in my own body, wants to burst out. Sorta, but, not really. I can’t quite manage any amount of burst, never mind an energetic spurt, because the heavy, sluggish feeling I’m walking around with is stagnant Liver Qi. Coffee temporarily gives me a lift but it also generates heat and stagnation, ultimately creating more drag in my system.
In this season, there are many ways for me to activate Liver Qi like getting acupuncture, increasing exercise, eating more sour and vinegary foods, and eating lots of greens. During early spring when the garden isn’t yet producing greens there are a few common plants like dandelions and stinging nettles that pop out of the soil just in the nick of time to assist me with my Liver activating Spring regimen.
Most people are aware of nettle’s intense sting but few appreciate nettle’s nutrient values, making it a fierce physiologic ally. In fertile soils, the purple hue on the top surface of its green leaves looks almost iridescent, shimmering with potency....
Yeah, it happened to me too at the end of the year-I couldn’t resist eating the homemade goodies that arrived in little cellophane gift bags tied with pretty ribbons. Full disclosure: I could resist most cookies but not the homemade almond roca or the toffee. So, as the New Year begins, I am sharing my antidote for replacing the sweet taste that might still be clinging to your palate, and derailing your healthy food choices too.
At Parsley Farm, lacinato kale, or commonly referred to as dinosaur kale, is our primary winter food crop. All the cruciferous vegetables grow well in the Pacific Northwest climate, but kale, in particular, seems to thrive. And if it thrives, we thrive. Unlike cabbage, broccoli or Brussels sprouts, which mature for a one-time harvest, kale, a plant that keeps on giving throughout the seasons, will continue to generate growth when some of its leaves are picked as it develops. If you start your plants in the spring, by fall they will mature into big leafy plants, mighty manufacturers of nutrient dense nutrition for picking throughout the winter.
Kale is a medicinal money tree as far as I’m concerned. With many large plants growing in my garden, I feel rich. In Chinese medicine,...
FEET FIRST- Is a fabulous organization based in Pioneer Square that I enjoy volunteering and working with- they work tirelessly to ensure all communities across Washington state are walkable.
Feet First on their web site says “We help people take steps that create better places to live, learn, shop, work and play—a world that cares about health, community and design.”
Imagine even with all the hills in this neighborhood if we had just 10 more people out walking a day here- As a neighborhood, we’d enjoy healthier stronger less stressed, more energetic neighbors. We would also enjoy a safer more engaged neighborhood- more walkers = more eyes on the streets and more “face to face” communications on our streets.
You certainly don’t need Feet First to go for a walk- but it is invaluable to have a devoted group making walking easier and safer statewide.
Two great upcoming Feet First activities-
On Saturday, February 9, 2013 from 10:00 am to 12:00pm, join Feet First for Stairway Walks Day. This event features fifteen simultaneous walks across the region to celebrate our valuable legacy of
650 publicly accessible stairways.
Holidays more than any time of year bring out the desire to give. Like many people, I get overwhelmed with all the pleas for help in the world, especially since I have started more actively down the path of giving back. I have always given to charities, sometimes a one off donation, sometimes gifts of my art to sell for benefit auctions, sometimes, as now, opening my home to homeless dogs looking for a new home.
I believe in doing what I can, but understand in these stressful times how the problems of the world seem at best, impossible and at worst, too horrible to wrap my mind around. I’ve found a few simple guidelines to keep from shutting down and giving up on the things we care about because the need is too great.
Focus on what you care about.
For me it’s animal rescues, especially dogs, which are near and dear to me. I don’t ignore other causes, I know a penny stretched over many needs does nothing, but I can make a contribution to one or two that will make a difference. Find the thing that tugs at your heart, and focus on that. It doesn’t mean you stop giving to other charities, it just means you don’t have to feel pressure from everyone all the time.
Registration for Seattle Vikings rugby for boys and girls ages 7 to 18 is now open with an open house coming up on October 27th at Magnuson Park. All interested parents and players should plan on attending this event.
Rugby offers a unique opportunity for kids in South Seattle. “We really want to connect with kids in the Southend about the sport of rugby,” said Craig Wicks, Director of Coaching, Seattle Vikings RFC (Rugby Football Club). “We see a real opportunity for rugby to grow here as a fun sport that celebrates diversity and fair play, and brings a real sense of community to players and their families.” The Vikings coaching staff includes 12+ volunteer coaches and a dedicated athletic trainer, offering both a sense of teamwork and community, as well as unique opportunities to for youth to stay fit.
In existence since 1987, the Vikings are coming off a successful year in 2012. The Vikings won a state championship in Sevens rugby in both the boys U-19 and U-16 age brackets beating out teams from across the state. And this coming December two current Vikings, Matt Brennan (Shorecrest High School) and Wilson Vess (Mariner High School) will try out for the USA High School All American team with...
I ran into a neighbor one afternoon and he shared that he is starting a book exchange. He suggested that I stop by his place and check out a box he built for the exchange. (Of course, this was the day after I had taken a bag each of books and magazines to Half Price Books and collected $8.72.) The following day while taking a walk, I went by his house to check out the box. I found a cute little painted box with a painted signed that red “Little Free Library”, “Donated by Friends of the “Give It Forward Team (GIFT)” and a website for information. The box had several books, a note pad and a small description of the purpose of the box. I was impressed! Continuing my walk, I spied a second library, on the west side of Renton Ave.
I went to the website and discovered that there is a movement to have a “Little Free Library” in communities throughout the world. Neighbors are encouraged to take and return a book and to leave a book. The notepad is to leave comments or requests. Ideas include if there are several libraries in a neighborhood, than libraries can have specific types of books, like cookbooks, mysteries, poetry, etc. Little...
Seniors at the Southeast Seattle Senior Center, on the corner of Rainier & Holly, are bending over backwards (and forwards and sideways…) to stay happy and fit, thanks to a collaboration between SESSC and the Samarya Center. The Samarya Center is a Seattle nonprofit dedicated to providing yoga and yoga therapy to people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds.
And they are just the right folks to bring the Yoga-for- Everyone perspective to SESSC.
Teacher Sasha Parks brings her gentle way and extensive knowledge of yoga to share with students on Mondays from 9-10am. What a way to begin the week – tranquility and healthy stretching – ahhh!
You will learn to loosen up tight muscles, relax tension and build strength. The teacher will provide individual attention and modifications to suit your needs. This down-to-earth class is perfect for students new to yoga.
Come join in: $6.00 for SESSC members and $8 for nonmembers Call (206) 722-0317 to sign up!
This is the time of year when I feel like everyone other person I talk to has a cold. The heat has come on in our homes, windows and doors are closed, and I feel stuffy. Here are somethings that I do at the inkling of a stuffy nose.
Wash your hands
This is when I try to be super conscious of washing my hands. Simple things such as using the little fork to eat the Trader Joe’s sample and avoiding those absent-minded rubs to the nose.
The warmth of the summer has faded too quickly and our reminders to drink have diminished, but we really need to hydrate more at this naturally detoxing shift into autumn. Hot, non-caffeine teas, a pre-meal course of miso soup, and more reasons to drink more water!
slow-down Does life ever slow down? But this could mean simply going to bed early, not eating meals while checking email, savoring your morning coffee on the porch while gazing at the sunrise, taking long walks.
hot bath with epsom salts used wisely with going to bed early can be rejuvenating.
remember your greens The garden and market are bursting with greens to harvest, find new ways...
I was recently asked “What’s the science of massage?” and honestly I felt a little flustered. Scientific research is just beginning to scratch the surface as to why massage is healing. Sometimes trying to explain the benefits in a simple way, which is backed by science, is difficult. Massage is a difficult subject to study; touch in general is pretty complex. Massage therapy is generally known to be effective, but why? How does it affect the body?
Basic massage 101 is about pressure and rubbing the muscles and soft tissue of the body, but massage can also use other forms of manipulating the muscles and tissues, such as friction, skin rolling or stretching specific muscles and sometimes even light touch, as with lymphatic drainage or cranio-sacral massage.
The most obvious and most often claimed benefit is increased circulation. This is definitely true to the area being massaged, and the evidence is the skin having an increased reddish color, pretty simple.
Ok, so your neck hurts and rubbing increases the circulation, but so what, why does more blood in that area make it feel better?
The increase of blood flow delivers more nutrients to nerve and muscle cells and also aids...
Submitted special to SouthendSeattle.com by Matias Valenzuela for King County
A brand-new Public Health campaign called Let’s Do This King County plans to bring changes to local communities across King County—including South Seattle. The campaign focuses on the relationship between neighborhood and health, notes inequities in our county and inspires residents to become involved.
Fifty local partners have come together to implement changes that will help residents live healthier lives—through changes such as more walkable communities, better access to healthy foods and smoke-free housing.
So what kinds of changes can South Seattle communities look forward to?
As part of Let’s Do This King County, corner stores in South Seattle like Rainier Food Market, Farmers Market and Grocery, and Global Food Market/Halal Meat have committed to bringing customers healthier foods like fruits and vegetables by joining the Healthy Foods Here initiative.
Another partner, the Asian Pacific Islander Coalition...
Southend Seattleites, what do you do daily to give yourself more energy?
How do you keep your heart open?
What do you do to engage creatively?
How do you connect with meaning in your life?
Answering these 4 questions for yourself will give you a good idea about how resilient you are as an individual and how you can contribute to a more playful, creative SouthendSeattle community.
I answered this question by exploring Spirit, Heart, Body, and Mind. Under each of these words I placed the most important thing I can do for the next 3 week to bring wholeness and balance into my life and the life of my community.
You can follow along and find ways to increase balance in these important parts of yourself. Pick a day, say Sunday or Monday, and each week fill in what you will do to nurture each of the 4 areas to increase wholeness and resiliency while...
Need a quick fix for a sore shoulder, tight hamstrings, achy back or neck? All you need is two tennis balls and a sock. Tie a knot at the end, and lean against a wall or lay on the floor, and just roll around until you find that sweet spot! Instant relief.
On the floor, lie on your tennis-ball-and-sock tool, knees bent, with one ball on either side of you spine. With your butt off the ground (lower back straight, not arched) head and neck supported in your hands, roll up and down your spine, until you feel the muscles soften and release. Try it on your feet or hips too!
If your really in a rush grab some balls and get a massage in your car! Just put them between you back and the seat. I’ve also heard this done with racquetballs because of their smaller size and greater give.
CAUTION: Backs can be tricky, don’t try this technique if you have an acute injury or symptoms that call for professional attention. Also be very careful on your sacrum – the triangular bone at the base of your spine – too much pressure can disrupt the joints between your sacrum and your pelvis.
Try it out and share how it feels!
It’s Sunny in the Southend and Time to Go “Free Wheeling”
Outside it is close to seventy degrees today and it makes me eager to get out and play. For free, or close to it, of course. My daughter, Mia, is now learning to ride her first two-wheeler, and neither of us is really excited about riding up and down the sidewalk in front of our house anymore. Fortunately for us, there are a number of places we can go for a more interesting ride.
Probably the most obvious Southend choice is Seward Park. It’s the place that has just about everything you could ask for on a short outing. The scenic loop around the park is just under 2.5 miles, has views of Lake Washington, downtown, and Mount Rainier, two bathroom stops, and a first class playground, and usually, a parking space.
The downside is that because it is such a wonderful spot, Seward Park can be pretty crowded, and challenging when you mix bikes, pedestrians, strollers, and dogs. Not a problem if your kids are comfortable with their bikes, not so great for new and young riders. For them, consider coming down early in the day on weekends, or midday during the...
I often get asked about the best way to treat minor injuries, such as an ankle sprain, or more specifically, what to do after inflammation has gone down and the injured area has started to heal, but may have some lingering pain. I am a massage therapist, not a physical therapist, so this is a look at minor injuries. First, let’s look at what happens to your muscles when you have a trauma or impact.
One reaction that happens, even to a small amount of tissue damage, is that the sensory pain signals from the injury get translated in the spinal cord back to the muscle tissue surrounding the injury telling those surrounding muscle cells to contract. This contraction is designed to immediately support and protect the injured tissue, in the form of muscle tightening, to “splint” the area. This a great part of the fabulous design of our bodies. However, it is possible to press it too far or sustain it too long. This self-protective mechanism can often cause more discomfort than the original injury and last long after the actual damage has been mended, we’ll come back to this.
Ok, so you’ve injured your ankle and you know this because when you attempt to use it, it’s painful. Let’s just hope it’s...
I just tried something last week that many people have sung the praises of to me for many years now: the Neti pot. First, I must say that I grew up at the beach, so having salt water in my nose actually brought up very intense, yet enormously happy memories.
Now I have to sing the praises of the Neti because I love it. I have never really had sinus problems before, no allergies, colds faded quickly and my issues are more often with my throat, but I just had a lingering cold that turned into a sinus infection and I wanted to do more than just take antibiotics (which didn’t work anyway, probably because it was a virus, not a bacterial infection). I can’t say for sure if it was the neti that cured me, but it did provide the most relief for my sinus-es that I’d had in weeks. So it made me curious about this ancient practice.
The practice of cleaning the nasal passages with water is an Ayurvedic practice known as jal neti. Ayurveda is a medicinal and healing art from ancient India. It’s concepts are concerned with knowing one’s own constitution, the nature of nutrition, effects of psychological behavior, and other environmental interaction and learning to coordinate these to create harmony and vitality....
Spring is the season of rebirth, renewal and re-growth. It is also time for the annual Spring Clean that many of us experienced as youth. Spring-cleaning is a tradition in many homes and has been for generations. Families, usually mom (unless you had hired help) picked a bright sunny spring day and spent it freshening up the home and preparing it for summer. This included stripping beds, windows, curtains and floors of their wardrobes and airing them outside. Walls, floors and windows were scrubbed, mattresses were flipped and at the end of the day, the entire house sparkled. As a person who needs a reason to clean, I may plan to host a wine tasting, Easter brunch or ladies’ night for added inspiration, following and encouraging my cleaning.
According to a post on “Encyclopedia Britannica Blog”, “Spring cleaning was needed because… people kept their houses shut tight against the cold of winter, heated them with coal, oil and wood, and lighted them with candles. The coming of spring signaled a welcome opportunity to make a dingy habitation fresh again. On the first warm, dry day of the season, everybody in the family—that is, everyone in the family who had survived the ravages of the cold season—would...
Water is pretty amazing when you think about it. I think about water frequently because, as a massage therapist, it’s very evident from a person’s soft tissue if they are not drinking water. I often ask people about their water intake and encourage them to drink more, but I also have to remind myself. It will be the end of the day, my lips are chapped and I’m super thirsty, and I think “Oh yeah, I haven’t had any water, all day!”
“It’s very likely that the moment a person feels thirsty, mild dehydration has already set in.”
This is a pretty strong statement, basically we should never feel “thirsty”! I also once read that we sometimes confuse the sensation of being hungry with being thirsty.
When I think about water it takes me back to Biology 101 and how fascinated I was to learn about how unique water is. It’s the reason there is life on this planet! For instance, because frozen water is less dense, unlike most liquids, lakes only freeze on the top, so in winter fish and other life can survive on the warmer bottom layers. Here are some other interesting, unique facts about water.
• The physical and chemical properties of water...
Let’s face it. With winter wearing on, most of us aren’t getting the exercise that we’d like and as a result we are getting stiffer and less comfortable. Even if you can’t find the inspiration to get to the gym, you can feel better by just stretching. And even better than THAT if you stretch before or after exercise.
Stretching increases flexibility and improves range of motion of your joints. Stretching even improves circulation and helps relieve stress. Before stretching, warm up with five to 10 minutes of light activity. Don’t overstretch, it can damage the muscles. Better yet, stretch after you exercise — when your muscles are warm and more receptive to stretching.
When you’re stretching, keep it gentle. Breathe freely as you hold each stretch for about 30 seconds. Don’t bounce. Expect to feel tension while you’re stretching. If you feel pain, you’ve gone too far. By over stretching, you can create an automatic reflex that will actually cause the muscle to recoil to protect itself. Here are a few of my favorite stretches.
Simply sit on the floor and reach for your toes. You can wrap a hand towel...
The severe form of winter depression–called seasonal affective disorder, or SAD–affects at least two million North Americans. Overeating, sleeping for prolonged periods, mood swings, carbohydrate cravings, and weight gain during winter months may be more than just symptoms of cabin fever. They can suggest a biochemical reaction caused by a lack of exposure to sunlight.
Like all living things, we humans are sensitive to the seasons and sunlight. We secrete a hormone called melatonin, which helps us sleep at night and stay awake during the day. Melatonin production is directly linked to sun exposure. So, as the days get shorter during the winter, our bodies produce more and more melatonin and we can literally feel like going into a cave and hibernating.
If winter blues are getting to you, consider investing in a full spectrum lamp and use it first thing in the morning. Exposure to natural spectrum bright light for thirty minutes on awakening is twice as effective as evening sessions, and one study found this practice actually had an 80 percent chance of sending SAD into remission.
I am a seeker of new ways to gain awareness, especially to my own body since I have to live with it twenty four hours a day for the rest of my life. I use my body for work as a massage therapist, but even for those who sit at a desk, attempting to use our bodies in a balanced way we strive toward longevity. We are built to be symmetrical, front to back, side to side and top to bottom, but very few of us actually are. Such is life.
I first attended a weekend Feldenkrais class ten years ago and the biggest idea I left with was the simplicity of the technique. We spent a lot of the time sitting in a chair noticing which muscles we were using to hold ourselves. A few years ago I attended a drop-in class at Lotus Yoga in Columbia City and was drawn back to the class last week.
The class instructor, Sheri Cohen, leads the class through a series of small movements with guided intention designed to “discover the habits that inhibit your moving better.” More than just movement, it involves thinking, sensing and imagining. It is not just exercise or stretching or relaxation, although...