Monday, August 26, 2013

Take a T-Tapp Stretch Break

Stretch breaks are mandatory when you spend time at a desk. One of my favorite stretches is a T-Tapp stretch.

Simply stand up and shake your hands out. Then get into position as if you're going to perform the clap away series but hold the position. Now concentrate on feeling as though you're flattening your back against a wall. Concentrate on feeling your back broaden and flatten in order to pull out any tension you're experiencing. Really get the kinks out of your back. Then go ahead and do four clap aways and kick it out.

The sequence takes but a minute and yet you'll feel refreshed and ready to go back to work when you finish.

Hint: Flattening your back may feel really foreign at first.  You can practice the movement with bent knees on the floor or even in your bed, if it's firm enough until it becomes more second nature.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Guilty As Charged?

This NY Time article talks about "the 'Busy' Trap.  While I Don't totally identify with every part of the article I do identify with the negative side of too busy.

I also believe that we tend to manufacture our individual versions of busy.
Busy can keep us from things we want badly but are afraid to try. I personally feel that the negatives of busy take as heavy toll on our health as any other bad habit. But what to do in a society that rewards busy and looks down upon not busy?

I don't have an answer but I hope to figure it out. I figured I could start by taking a few minutes to actively decide what I'll make a part of each day rather than just wake up and cram as much into each day as possible. So for the past few days this blog got edged out by more important and in some cases less important things and in other cases it was simply edged out to make the day more simple. To be honest, less busy feels so good that it's a habit I've decided to cultivate. It's a natural part of decluttering your life.

Are you chronically busy? Can you think of one thing you could eliminate just for today?

Note to self, avoid sending posts from your tablet. Auto correct did a number on this when I originally sent it out. I just corrected it. I think that's enough blog busy for today. :)

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Super Immunity: A Book Review

I just recently purchased the book Super Immunity: The Essential Nutrition Guide for Boosting Your Body's Defenses to Live Longer, Stronger, and Disease Free by Dr. Joel Fuhrman.

I dug in and started testing recipes on myself and my family before I had even finished the book - they sounded that good! I haven't been disappointed. So far there isn't a recipe that I prepared that wasn't fairly simple to make and delicious enough to be more than worth the time it took to make it.
My family has had the same reaction. Some of the recipes are repeats from previous books but they happen to be some of our most favorite recipes so it's nice to have it all in one book. He has actually given non-vegan options for some of the recipes. I really like this because it allows for a person who isn't ready or just doesn't desire a vegan eating plan to enjoy the recipes.

One of the things I like about Dr. Fuhrman's books is that he explains in a way that's understandable without talking down to me. He educates me without wagging a finger and then I'm free to take as much or as little from his books as I'm ready to use. I tend to read and then reread them because I never fail to discover something I didn't pick up previously.

I highly recommend this book and am anxiously awaiting his cookbook which will be released in October.

Friday, August 16, 2013

What the Heck are G-Bombs?
It sounds like a new cereal for kids - but it's not! Dr. Fuhrman uses the acronym G-BOMBS as an easy way to remember the most nutrient rich foods on the Mother Earth.  It stands for Greens, Beans, Onions, Mushrooms, Berries and Seeds.

For additional clarification into exactly why he considers these to be the highest quality foods we can eat you can read his article on the subject HERE.

I'm a big believer in Dr. Fuhrman's recommendations though I admittedly do not follow his completely vegan program. (I also use a lot of Dr. Ann Kulze's recipes/concepts)  Despite this "less than perfect" approach I've still seen great benefits.

If you're thinking about jumping on the G-BOMBS wagon train realize that you don't have to do it all at once. You can choose one or two of the G-BOMBS foods that you like best and add more of them into your diet for a week or two. Once you have that down add one or two more. Search for simple recipes that use the foods you're trying to concentrate on.

Speaking of recipes - I've been using  the recipes in a - new to me - Fuhrman book and loving them. I plan to review the book and the recipes soon.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

A Connection Between Vitaimin D and Athletic Performance?

Love this picture! Found it at
The online article "Vitamin D Sufficiency May Enhance Athletic Performance" by Dr. Joel Fuhrman outlines this important connection and two studies that demonstrated this connection.

He also talks about how in the early 20th century it was believed that sunlight exposure improved athletic performance. I marvel at the wisdom of our ancestors given the few long term scientific studies in those times.

Most of my athletic prowess centers around being strong enough to easily put the limbs of my clients through range of motion and into stretches these days but I believe that this article still contains important information for me AND for them.

It also brings two of my grandmother's sayings into mind:

"You are what you eat."

and thinking about how we've become a nation that hides from all sunlight out of fear of cancer....

"It's not nice to fool Mother Nature."

and that brings me full circle back to this one...

"Moderation in all things."

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Dark Side of Fitness Trackers

I just saw this article on ABC  It reminded me about a dark side of fitness trackers that I've seen pop up over the internet of late. I've heard of at least three people who ended up pretty much being a slave to their fitness trackers. People going to crazy lengths in order to always increase their daily step totals or once a "Board leader" stay on top of the board. Crazy stuff that in at least one example resulted in injury. I don't believe that this is extremely common among fitness tracker users.

In a previous blog post I talked about the benefits/limitations of the Fitbit Zip. I certainly hope that my post didn't spur anyone one on to walking overkill.

 Just yesterday a  coworker asked me how I was liking it. I had to be honest and tell her that I rarely think about it.

I do wear it, and on some days  I do glance at the totals at the end of the day but mostly I just wait for the weekly email that tells me about my weekly totals. Truth be known after the device revealed a few surprises - I generally cover more steps than I expected and many are at an aerobic pace - there was nothing new to learn.

My activity level is pretty stable and doesn't often change. I'm not willing to give up what little family time I have in order to become a board leader. Actually, I'm not sure exactly how one becomes a board leader and maybe that's a good thing. :)

My one disappointment with this device is that it doesn't give so much as a nod to my T-Tapp workouts and/or many of the other activities I enjoy. This despite the fact that my heart rate is definitely more aerobic during these activities than at any other point of the day. So for me, I feel that the Fitbit is of limited use.

That's not to say that it won't benefit you - only that you may want to think about how you will use it before you invest in one.

Here's two ways  I can definitely see it being of use:

1. You are extremely short on time, frequently end up taking your cardio indoors due to time restraints and lack of day light  AND want to put the minimum time in on your treadmill or other home equipment possible. In this case you could wear it and attempt to get as many quickly paced steps into your day as possible then use your home equipment to make up the difference between your recorded steps and your goal.

2. To periodically check on your activity level by wearing it for a week at a time every so often. This is most likely how I will end up wearing it.

When all is said and done I find that two  quotes keep floating through my mind.

"Moderation in all things!"
"If some is good more is not better!"


Friday, August 9, 2013

24 Hours of Aromatherapy

The article 24 hours of Aromatherapy by Jeanne Rose outlines ways of taking aromatherapy with you over the course of a day.

I haven't ever put my diffuser on a timer but it sounds like a great idea. One thing I do enjoy is to add a few drops of Eucalyptus EO to the shower floor and then block the drain for the first few minutes of my morning shower. It provides a gentle but effective wake up call.

On occasion I will also drop a few drops of rosemary EO into my palm to use while I'm shampooing my hair. I don't do this on a daily basis because I find that it tends to loose that special feeling if I do.

A few drops of lavender used while shampooing my hair can be soothing if I'm feeling stressed or wired and need to sleep well.

Two things to remember:

1. It's a good practice to dilute essential oils using only a couple of drops. The rule of thumb I learned is that you never use more than 10 drops total in a tub of water when preparing a therapeutic bath.
2. Use food grade oils if you are going to add them to water, drinks or food to be consumed.

Essential oils are available in a variety of price points. I found this set of six bottles of  100% Pure Therapeutic Grade Essential Oil . It's a nice starter kit. If I had to recommend only a single oil I would suggest Lavender. I'm particularly partial to T-Tapp Bulgarian Lavender Eseential Oil because of its purity. I've used it on my skin and face, straight out of the bottle and find it gentle but also effective.

There are many good online resources,. pamphlets and books available to use if you would like to build a regular program of essential oil based self care. The massage school I graduated from gave us a great handout that we keep in our massage office to this day.

Years ago my sister gave me the book Aromatherapy: A Lifetime Guide to Healing with Essential Oils by Valerie Gennari Cooksley. I enjoy using the recipes it contains to this day.

Recently one of my clients shared a recipe for tick repellent: Place 10 drops eucalyptus EO, 10 drops lemongrass EO and 4 ounces of pure filtered water (or tap water in a pinch) in a spray bottle. Shake before each use.  We've been using it on ourselves and the dogs (I spray by hands and gently glide them down their fur, especially around the ankles). So far so good. The side benefit is that it smells wonderful.

 Please take care when using essential oils on or around your pets - especially cats. Certain oils can cause adverse reactions in pets. The same is true for certain oils and humans. That's why having a guide is an important part of using them if you're going to venture past Lavender.

If you read this and have a favorite essential oil, EO recipe or story please feel free to share.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

You can have your potatoes and eat them too!

It's no secret that I'm a fan of Dr. Ann Kulze. She recently shared an article on ways to minimize the glycemic impact of white potatoes when you are craving them and want to give in. The webpage I linked to also contains healthy recipes to use when you plan to indulge. Simply  type "Dr. Ann" into the search area of the blog to be able to easily access other Dr. Ann posts.


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Too Much of good Thing? Can T-Tapp Help?

A study connecting long term endurance sport practice and atrial fibrillation  and atrial flutter recently came across my desk. My immediate response was to begin searching for reaction to the study and information and additional information.

I quickly found this. It's enlightening but a technical read. Then this - also a bit of a technical read.

Finally I found this PDF which presents the information in a more engaging way, makes some sense of it and suggests alternatives.

I hope that people won't see this as reason/excuse to completely abandon cardiovascular activities.  I can't imagine my life without cross country skiing in the winter, hiking in the fall and trail runs and walks in the spring and summer.

Personally I believe - and this is a comparatively instinctual versus educated opinion - that two things are at play.

First inflammation - there is just no way that you can layer heavy duty chronic cardio workouts one after another and not build at least some inflammation. Scientists are now connecting systemic inflammation to many, if not most of the chronic disease processes that are so prominent in our society.

Second is the idea of dose related adverse effects. Our bodies are like machines and if we push the machine hard and long on a consistent basis there are going to be repercussions. It all comes back to the idea of "If some is good more is not necessarily better."

Finally let me talk about T-Tapp and how I believe it can help. I so wish that every long distance athlete would be able to try T-Tapp.

Over the years I've discovered that by rebalancing the body it actually improves performance but it seems to do this without increasing my inflammatory response. I personally believe that the sequential lymphatic pump it employs has a lot to do with this. Improved body alignment also comes into play.

Making it part of your program gives you a pause from the chronic cardio but it's the "rest day" that improves performance while restoking your fire.

Please note that I'm not saying that T-Tapp would or could prevent Afib in endurance exercisers. I simply believe that you have nothing to lose and everything to gain  by adding it in place of chronic cardio once or twice a week.

I'd love to hear from any endurance exercise lovers who have added it to their program.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


Thank you for a GREAT massage....I feel better already...I felt like a pretzel....the last few days....
Thank you again...D

Saturday, August 3, 2013

T-Tapp with a Meditation and Yoga Challenge? Great for those new to any or all of the three activities

So you may have seen my post yesterday about the Free Meditation Challenge and Free Yoga downloads. OR you may have already found both yourself and want to use them but you don't want to give up the alignment and pain reduction benefits of T-Tapp. I'm right there with you!

So what to do? What to do?

First let me begin with what not to do. I DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES suggest that you try to cram several hours of Meditation, Yoga AND T-Tapp into your life UNLESS you have several hours of free time you can use without cutting into sleep time.

For most of us teaming up three different wellness activities will be too much of a stretch - both literally and figuratively. So my suggestion is one of moderation.

There are two different plans that come to me off the top of my head.

The first, uses a little of each activity on a daily basis. Each day would look like this:

Morning or evening - 15 minutes of Meditation
Morning or evening - 20 minutes of yoga
Morning, afternoon and evening - 1-3 T-Tapp moves

So how would this actually work over the course of several days?

Day 1 AM Meditation and Half Frogs then take time to think about the things in your life that you are grateful for as you prepare for your day, Afternoon set of Hoedowns, Evening Awesome Legs  Diva Derriere  followed by 20 minutes of calming yoga. Drift off to sleep with long slow breathing.

I chose the T-Tapp moves because they are available for free. You could purchase a T-Tapp DVD for your very own but these moves will allow you to get going while your motivation is high.

I sequenced the movements with - believe it or not - Eastern Philosophy in mind.

You use meditation to calm your mind and then work your core - the Dan Tien. When you strengthen your core you are also building your will power - and a whole lot more.

Hoedowns in the afternoon will recharge your mind, body and spirit as they wake you up and remind you of your commitment to yourself. Hoedowns are left/right brain movement. I find them to be a bit like meditation in movement. They can reset your body and your brain in about 3 minutes.

Your legs and hips speak to your forward movement in life. This is why I chose Awesome Legs and Diva Derriere for evening. These exercises use isometrics to deeply contract your thighs and hips. ALs drains your legs during the movements allowing fresh blood and lymph to flow in at the conclusion of the exercise when you bring your legs back below your heart. Use these exercises to strengthen and tone the muscles you use to literally move you forward in life but also use them to set the intention of your life goals.

The second way you could use this plan would be to alternate morning, afternoon and evening sessions.

Day 1 Meditation and Half Frogs then take time to think about the things in your life that you are grateful for as you prepare for your day

Day 2 Afternoon set of Hoedowns

Day 3 Evening Awesome Legs  Diva Derriere  followed by 20 minutes of calming yoga. Drift off to sleep with long slow breathing.

Days 4-7 repeat the cycle

I just actually thought of a third way and that would be to choose one discipline and add it to meditation each  day.

Day1 Meditation Yoga, together or AM and PM
Day 2 Meditation T-Tapp, Toghether or AM and PM T-Tapp is best in AM as it is stimulating
Alternate days.

Because these are light plans they would work equally well for the beginner exerciser, the advanced exerciser looking for recovery, or someone who is time crunch and/or stressed who needs to take a little time to push life away and go within.

Finally, I'll leave you with a brief meditation you can use. (The Oprah/Deepak challenge won't last forever and I want this link to contain all aspects of this plan at the ready and without cost.)

Should you decide to use any of these plans I'd love to know how it goes and what benefits you gain from them. ENJOY!

Friday, August 2, 2013

FREE STUFF + Scientically Validated Benefits of Yoga and Meditation


You don't have to spend hours on your mat or in your head meditating. Some is better than none.

Oprah and Deepak are offering a free 21 day guided meditation challenge. It begins on Monday 8/5/2013. You can sign up here. Participants will be able to access a brief meditation daily.

If you go to follow this link to yoga download you can download a variety of free yoga practices. Many of these practices are only 20 minutes long. If you've never practiced yoga or are new to exercise I strongly urge you to choose from these Beginner Classes before venturing into more advanced practices. You can choose the level of the classes from a menu above the list of classes.

If you decide to do the meditation or a yoga challenge please let me know how it goes.

Tomorrow - How would I combine this challenge with T-Tapp?