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Have you ever done a workout and wondered why you felt sluggish, despite sleeping and eating well? Women who cycle may feel the effect fluctuating hormones have on mood and brain function throughout the month. However this also has an effect on your muscles, joints and energy levels as well! Matching your exercise choice with where you are in your cycle can have a profound effect on how worthwhile your workout feels! Here is a brief overview of the typical fluctuations of hormones throughout the cycle, and how you can work with it to make you feel best:
Menstrual phase (3-7 days)
This phase begins with the first day of bleeding. Hormones such as luteinizing hormone (LH), progesterone and estrogen are at their lowest, hence why many women find their energy is lowest at this time of the month. This is an important time to listen to your body and move exactly the way your body is asking you to. This might mean a gentle walk or yin yoga. Although if you feel like doing something more intense, don’t hold back! Lower estrogen levels may actually mean you are less prone to injuries at this point.
Follicular phase (7-10 days)
This phase begins after bleeding is complete. Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) gradually rises to help an egg mature in the ovary, then drops just before the ovulation phase occurs. Estrogen levels peak at the end of this phase. Interestingly, creativity levels are heightened at this time, so it can be a fun time to try a dance or a barre class, or other new forms of movement!
Ovulation Phase (3-5 days)
Estrogen, FSH and LH levels are all at their highest during the ovulation phase, meaning energy levels are also at their highest! This is the perfect time to break a sweat and participate in more vigorous exercise if you’re feeling the pull. It is also a time where you may feel more sociable, so group exercise classes such as Pilates circuit may feel like a fantastic choice!
Luteal Phase (10-14 days)
Estrogen levels drop a little after the ovulation phase, then rises again with progesterone until midway through the luteal phase. Then they both drop again to prepare for menstruation. This hormonal fluctuation can often make women feel a little sluggish and any slight imbalance can explain pre-menstrual symptoms. This is an important phase to listen to your body and work with what you feel like doing. Higher intensity activities such as weight training, running, vigorous classes may feel great for the first half of the luteal phase, while lighter activities such as walking, yoga and gentle Pilates may be more ideal during the second half of this phase.
Depending on many various factors contributing to hormone health, no two bodies are the same, nor is no cycle from month to month exactly the same. So the bottom line is to really just listen to your body, use this information as a guide and adapt your workout to how you’re feeling.
What is Fascia?
Fascia is a thin, web-like layer of connective tissue that lies under the skin and wraps around the muscles and organs, a bit like a Spiderman suit. Fascia essentially holds us together.
In an ideal word your fascia should be smooth but due to stresses that can range from running, carrying a heavy work bag on our shoulder, sitting at a computer, or any other activity that we perform regularly, fascia can become thick and tight.
Adhesions can also develop because of little tears that sometimes don’t heal properly. If the connective tissue surrounding your muscle becomes restricted, you’ll notice your muscles will also become restricted in their movement.
How to release it?
The foam roller will be your best ally for this. Think of fascia as a sponge that has dried up and gone brittle and stiff. Add water to the sponge and it becomes fluid and supple.
When you move on a roller, you’re effectively rehydrating the fascia and boosting lymphatic drainage to flush toxins. By applying pressure to the affected areas, to eliminate adhesions and release tension, you ultimately improve movement and restore the body back to its natural state.
What are the benefits exactly?
Here are a few listed for you:
- Prevent injury by releasing muscle tension, breaking up scar tissues and releasing trigger points
- Remove lactic acid to aid recovery, it only takes 60 to 90 seconds of rolling on an area to feel the difference the next day
- Improve mobility and flexibility keeping your muscles sliding and gliding with ease to achieve a greater range of motion
Don’t know where to start? Don’t own a foam roller? Come along to one of our Stretch and Release classes. Our teachers will guide you through using rollers, spiky balls, Franklin balls and more to make your fascia happy!
What are your Pilates Goals for 2017. Get rid of pain, tone up, master the teaser, or just have a routine that ensures you wake up every morning feeling outstanding! What ever your goals, as 2016 comes to a close it's time to start thinking about how to make them happen.
What are your Pilates goals?
The first question should be what are you trying to achieve with Pilates Alexandria? If your a beginner to the world of Pilates our advice would always be to start with a 'studio session<' (i.e. using the equipment). This will allow you to get a good feel of the Pilates moves as the equipment can be perfectly adjusted to suit the resistance, range and control your body currently posses. If you are more experienced in the Pilates perhaps a mat class if more up your alley. The level of difficulty increases significantly when it's just you, your body and the mat!
What is your Pilates budget?
The next question is your budget, how much can you afford to spend. Obviously private , semi-private and studio (3:1) sessions decrease in cost in relation to the amount of 1:1 attention your receive from your instructor. Classes are cheaper again as more participant share the teachers attention. When deciding on session types its always good to consider a couple of things;
- How much attention do you need? Sometimes its worth spending a little more in the beginning to get your bearings, so that as you transition into classes down the track you have a strong base of knowledge and understanding to work from
- Will your health fund cover it? If you work with an instructor who is accredited and/or is a movement practitioner such as a Physiotherapist your private health insurance may cover the majority of the session type, making it win-win! You get the benefit of expert guidance and the cost to you is very minimal!
- Do you have an injury? Injuries are important things to consider, as while Pilates is 'hailed' as a great rehabilitation tool, it again come back to the level of experience of your instructor and the amount of 1:1 time they can spend with you to ensure you are doing movements that are beneficial to your rehabilitation process and not harmful!
How do I know if my Pilates is working for me?
You should be able to feel, see and 'know' that Pilates is working for you. It's like Joseph Pilates always said “In 10 sessions you will feel the difference. In 20 sessions you will see the difference. And in 30 sessions you will have a whole new body.” If you are not experiencing these changes then the chances are the type of session you are doing, the way your instructor is working with you or the number of sessions you are doing are not be right for you! Don't dismay, there are probably one or to things you are doing that are just not quiet right, our article '7 fatal Pilates mistakes' might help you to realise this yourself! By finding a class or instructors that suits your personal needs is actually easier than you might think, you just need to know what your aiming for! We can help ...
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All the physiotherapists at BPS Tensegrity are trained in ConnectTherapy. This is an innovative way to look at injuries, not only by treating the symptoms and area causing pain, but also by having a holistic view of the person. The goal is to determine the source of the issue and treat the body as a whole.
How does it work?
The ConnectTherapy follows three simple rehabilitation steps during your therapist will:
- Identify the driver, or main source at the origin of pain or discomfort
- Develop a treatment and exercise plan to help your brain develop new strategies and acquire new movement patterns
- Teach your body to maintain these new patterns so they become your natural way of moving
The added benefits of Pilates
Did you know that combined with Clinical Pilates, especially during the third phase, the treatment results will significantly improve?
The Pilates method is based on a whole body workout. Rather than working out on one specific area at a time, Pilates focuses on improving overall body awareness, flexibility and strength.
Our Pilates programs are based on 6 main principles:
- Breathing to release and facilitate movement
- Spinal articulation notably to avoid compensatory patterns
- Axial elongation and core control to free movements and stabilise the body
- Organisation of head, neck and shoulders, to relieve the tension these areas are put under
- Weight bearing and alignment of the extremities to optimise movement
- Movement integration to bring all principles together in more complex movement patterns
The versatility and variety of Pilates’ exercises will help the client retrain his body, built new and long lasting movement patterns. This will not only prevent injuries from coming back but also improve performances.
Our clients journey does not always start with physiotherapy. Some are referred by one of our Pilates instructors to a Physiotherapist. Experiencing the ConnecTherapy can truly help releasing area of tensions and get an even better understanding of what could be impairing their quality of movement and general wellbeing.
The best combination ever
Physiotherapy and Pilates work hand in hand, bouncing from each other and assisting patient in their progress. At BPS, Physiotherapists and Pilates instructors collaborate to offer our clients a tailored program to reach their goals, optimise their recovery and provide the best outcome in the long run.
Start your journey with us today and experience the ConnectTherapy difference.
How is your Golf Swing? If your anything like our local pro's, it's an ongoing skills that can take years to perfect and finesse and you never really stop learning. Did you know, the biggest movement in your golf swing happens in the rotational plane, however the majority of us with our sedentary desk lives have very limited rotation (and no it doesn't just suddenly appear once you hit the green). Improving your rotation just a fraction can lead to dramatic improvements on the golf course.
How does Pilates help your Golf Swing?
So, we wanted to fill all you golfing enthusiast in on a secret weapon that you may very well be missing out on, yep you guessed it, Pilates! A few months ago I decided to do some specific research to help one of my clients to improve her golf swing and technique through Pilates. I quickly realized that golf is such a complicated sport!! After struggling between Youtube videos and articles from all sorts of websites, I decided to contact my client’s golf coach Barry Bent from Woolooware Golf Club… I couldn’t have taken a better decision! Combining Barry’s exceptional experience in the golf world with my technical support from a physio and Pilates point of view, we have developed a great Pilates program specific for golf lovers.
Considering the crucial importance of the spine rotation during the golf swing, Pilates can be extremely effective to strengthen the transverse abdominis (lower tummy muscle), responsible to give you the stability, but also your obliques, responsible for the actual rotational component. By starting in a “non-familiar” environment, that means in a position that is different from your golf swing (e.g. lying on your back or seated on the mat), at BPS we can help your mind and body to develop more efficient rotation strategies, isolating specific muscles through specific verbal and tactile cueing. Once you mastered these new movement strategies, we then transfer them to a more “familiar” environment, or rather a position that is more similar to your golf swing, so your brain can strengthen the new strategy, therefore, with practice and repetition, improve the performance. A great progression to work on your spine rotation would be to start with oblique chest lifts lying on the mat, progress with crisscross, then move into a seated half roll down with the twist, and finish with spinal rotation in golf stance.
Hip disassociation and lumbo-pelvic stability
When I first approached to golf I thought “Great, pelvis stays still and spine rotates over the pelvis”, but I quickly realized that it’s not! During your golf swing, your pelvis is actually moving in such a complex way to allow the forces to be efficiently transmitted to the club and then to the ball. Through the expert guidance of your Pilates instructor, at BPS you will learn how to disassociate your hips from your pelvis but at the same time how to stabilize your hips to avoid injuries on your lower back, SIJs or hips. The ultimate goal is to create a stable base of support, with an equally flexible and strong structure on top of it. And here comes the term Tensegrity, a concept of muscular-skeletal relationships based on the work of architect Buckminster Fuller. It refers to the forces of tension (provided by muscles, tendons, ligaments, and fascia) pulling on structure (bones and joints) that help keep the body both stable and efficient in mass and movement. Stability and efficiency, essential tools in almost all sports!
As part of our BPS mission, we use our knowledge and expertise to provide a clear, individualized and functional program to our customers, that encourage them to achieve their goals.
If you are interested in knowing more about how Pilates can help you improving your golf technique, don’t hesitate to call our studio 85441757 or email us for any enquires at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, book your initial consultation online now!
... 'you're not like normal Physios!' - says every BPS Tensegrity client!
At BPS, we continually strive to be different from just your everyday Physiotherapy practice, it’s one of the reasons why we achieve such amazing results for our clients!
While in conversation with a client regarding why our practice is so unique, she felt the need to say that we just aren’t “normal” physio’s, and that our method of treatment is significantly different and superior from what she has experienced in her past. This got me thinking, and inspired me to want to explain to YOU why we’re different here at BPS, and why so often our clients want to spread the word!
What we do
Experienced low back pain? Did your previous physio give you a massage on the back followed by a basic exercise before your session ended? Maybe he did a few “cracks” on your spine before telling you to rest for a few days? These forms of treatment may provide initial relief for a few days, but 9 times out of 10 the same ache will return and long-term relief rarely achieved.
So what’s all this talk about ConnecTherapy you may ask? This is a treatment model that flips traditional physiotherapy on its head. It does not simply treat where you are experiencing pain, but investigates the underlying cause of your symptoms. It employs a clear and logical method of assessment, clinical reasoning, and treatment that is used to improve your disability and pain by determining the root cause of your problem. This allows our highly skilled physiotherapists to treat the whole person and provide great results that not only relieves your pain, but also get you on the path to long-term relief through optimal movement.
Why we do it
ConnectTherapy has revolutionized physiotherapy. Think of your own body as one integral unit with many “cogs” and “gears”. If an area of your body is not moving the way it was designed, it can dictate the rest of the body’s movement patterns – what we like to call your “driver”. The end result is a particular structure in your body that is loaded in a way that does allow optimal movement as it should, leading to symptoms and pain. ConnectTherapy targets the driver, and allows that body part to move in the way it was designed to – pain free!
ConnectTherapy – the trump card
What you must consider is the location of your driver may not be where you are experiencing pain – this is what sets BPS apart from traditional or conventional physiotherapy! For example, say you have always liked to run but for the past few months you have had to reduce or stop running because you develop knee pain that becomes so debilitating to the point that you have to stop! This knee pain may be driven by your pelvic alignment. If your pelvis is not allowed to move in the correct biomechanics for running, then the end result means incorrect or extra loading on the structures in your knee. So although you have knee pain, it’s your pelvis that needs attention!!
Another example may be having shoulder pain when you’re playing a backhand in tennis. This may be driven by your rib cage, which is not allowing your thorax to rotate through your backhand stroke, resulting in increased load on your shoulder, as it needs to provide the extra power to hit the ball and follow through.
These drivers all have a specific correction and release techniques that our physiotherapists employ to determine that it is the root cause of your sub-optimal movement patterns.
Rehabilitation – A 3-step treatment
Put simply, there are three core steps to your rehabilitation with ConnectTherapy:
- Identifying your driver – which will predominantly be in your first session
- Correcting your driver, and commence training new movement patterns and strategies developed by your brain’s neural pathways.
- Learning to maintain the new movement patterns independently so they become automatic – like rebooting a computer!
Get in contact with us here at BPS and let our physiotherapists assess you and take your first steps to permanently relieving your symptoms!
It never ceases to surprise me how many people are unaware of the benefits of seeing a Physiotherapist. Moving well is not just important for sport, moving well is a part of life, & unfortunately 'it's not a birth right'.
In my opinion a great Physiotherapist is two things;
- Physiotherapist Role 1: your trusted advisor for all things injury and body related
- Physiotherapist Role 2: your master teachers, ensuring you not only understand but truely embody how to move well
Gone are the days of ice packs, heat packs, electrical stimulation and a pat on the back. The Physiotherapist of the future are passionate about accelerating healing, teaching phenomenal movement and ensuring injuries are not only dealt with but also prevented!
So the question still stands then, 'when might it be a good idea to see a Physiotherapist?' and the answer is simple, when ever you fell like your not moving at your best! What ever that means for you.
- Your run is not as light as it used to be
- Your pelvic floor is not as connected as it once was
- Your back is stiff in the morning
- You get head aches after sitting at your desk for too long
Or one of any multitude of other movement discomforts. If your body is not performing as you wish it to, then a Physiotherapist is quiet often the secret weapon you need to get back to the movement potential every body holds.
How do i know if my Physiotherapist is right for me?
Not all Physio's are the same, just as there are good and not so good restaurants, there are good ... and GREAT Physiotherapists. At BPS we understand this difference and we believe everybody has the right to outstanding Physiotherapy so we created this quick check list to help you identify if your Physio is working for you.
- You understand the problem. All to often we hear our clients saying "no one ever explained that to me before!" and unfortunately it's to true. If your Physiotherapist hasn't explained to you WHAT is causing the problem your experiencing it is often because they really don't know. I don't know about you, but when it comes to my body, I want to know what is going on, not leave it up to trial and error!
- You know what needs to be done to fix it! Once you know the what is causing the symptoms you need a clear map, a clear action plan stepping out what needs to be done to get you to you goals. If your Physiotherapist hasn't given you this, ask them for it. After all if your don't know the road map how are you supposed to follow it!
- You feel understood. This is a hugely important and often overlooked aspect of working with your physio. After all they are your trusted advisor for all things body and movement related, and if you don't feel like the relationship you have is built on understanding and trust then, I don't know how you feel, but for me that's not a trusted advisor.
- You can see results. The most important litmus test, are you getting results. If you are truely following the plan then you should be getting outstanding results. If your not, it may be time to ask yourself, is my Physiotherapist really right for me?
Knowing how to touch your new baby may seem obvious, but there is much more to this ancient artform than meets the eye. The simple definition of Touch from the Merriam-Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary is
“To put your hands, fingers, etc, on someone or something
To be in contact with (something)
To change or move (something)”.
In this article I will start from this sterile definition to describe the more complex and fascinating value of Touch.
First of all, let’s think about the positive experiences that could come from Touch. The incredible softness of its fur when we cuddle our cute kitten, the silky sensation on our skin when we wear our favourite warm wool jumper on a cold winter morning, the caring hands of our partner when we spend quality time together, enjoying the real meaning of love. Just a few examples of how Touch can influence our day positively, whether it’s just for a moment, or for the rest of our life. However, some of us may link Touch to uncomfortable memories, still resulting in being influenced for the rest of their life, but unfortunately not in a positive way. How many people can’t even be metres away from a dog without being frightened by its presence, maybe because they got bitten when they were kid. Or how many women still suffer from emotional distress or even serious intestinal issues because they have been abused by their ex-boyfriend or maybe by a family member. Here comes the third definition of Touch from the Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary. “To change or move (something)”, yes, I strongly believe Touch has such an amazingly strong power to change something, in particular people’s lives. And whoever uses Touch with a professional or personal purpose should be constantly aware of this.
Being a Physiotherapist and Pilates Instructor I am aware of how my hands can influence my patients’ existence and I carefully and delicately use them to help and empower every person that works with me. In the last few years I’ve learnt not only to facilitate proper alignment and correct movement organization through Touch, but also to create a deep connection with my patients. I firmly believe when we touch someone we create a bridge with him/her, we collect information from him/her, we share experiences, allowing the vital energy to flow between our bodies and between our souls. And here comes the first definition from the Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, “to put your hands, fingers, etc., on someone or something”. Well, I think there’s a lot more to that! Through Touch you can “put” feelings, emotions, thoughts, memories, beliefs, values, heart, mind, soul “on someone”. As a consequence of this intense rapport that we inevitably create with the person we are in contact with, we should always respect him/her. Asking for permission is only the first step, but it’s also extremely important to modulate the firmness of our Touch to avoid shifting rapidly from an enjoyable to a disconcerting experience. John Keats said “Touch has a memory”. Every day I personally strive to use Healing Touch to create positive memories for my patients and give them the chance to live a better life.
How amazing would it be if we had the power to create a blank book surrounded by positive energy for our loved ones, where they could write the story of their life with the colours of kindness, respect for others, compassion, fearlessness, empathy, altruism and love. How amazing would it be if we could do this simply by using Loving Touch? Well, we can! Through the First Touch Program as parents we have the chance to give all this to our babies by using the power of our loving hands. Vimala McClure says by massaging your baby “with a fully present mind, relaxed body and open heart” he “will be more likely to respond to others with empathy and warmth, to respond to social problems with compassion and altruism, and to experience life as a joyful adventure in which he has the opportunity to love and be loved – to help others and extend himself in genuine service to humanity”. Nothing more inspiring!
Then let’s use the immense power of Healing, Loving Touch to improve our children’s life and make this world a better place!
Back pain is an increasingly 'common' symptom in a wide variety of the populations. From adults to kids, male to female, active to sedentary it seems this insidious and costly symptom is increasingly creeping into our daily lives and very few people actually know what to do to get rid of it!
Rest & Panadol for Back Pain?
Back pain has long been treated with 'rest and panadol' by our friendly GP, however many people who have tried this approach will tell you, it is not all that effective and certainly in the long run it does nothing to prevent the pain returning often with vengeance!
At the other end of the spectrum is the surgical approach which, worryingly, is increasing at an alarming rate. While both these options have their merits in certain subsections of the population, the best cure (and yes I mean real cure) is to improve the quality of the structures which are causing the pain in the first place. That's right, I mean fix the problem from the source!
The frustrating part for many back pain suffers is the frequency and unpredictability of when their next episode will occur. The continual increase in frequency and severity after someone has their first back pain episode is commonly due to the adaptive behaviours they begin to adopt. By starting to worry about when and how they might 'injure' their back again, they often subconsciously make choices which eliminate certain movements and activities from their lives. The negative impact of this is that by reducing the frequency and variability of their movement's they are actually increasingly the likelihood of re-injury and the back pain cycle carries on.
Alleviating Back Pain
The only true way to stop back pain from coming back is to work at improving it. Work on your movement patterns, understand your pain generating structures, your weaknesses and your strengths and then get to work on optimising them! It is not the quick fix path, but trust us, it's the path that is proven and long lasting. True resolution of your symptoms and the return of the freedom to your life!
The words bonding with baby and attachment together, describe the beautiful and innate relationship that naturally exists between a parent and their child. It includes the deep non-verbal emotional communication between them. The creation of a secure attachment for the child is extremely important for his/her mental, physical, emotional, intellectual and social development.
The initial bonding between the baby and his/her mother and father takes shape in different ways, however both are fundamental to help the baby feel a sense of security and form positive self-esteem.
Bonding with mum.
The bonding with baby process between a new born and their mother starts directly in the womb, but the labour plays a crucial role for it. In fact when the baby travels through the birth canal, the mother releases a great amount of oxytocin, the hormone related to bonding. The bonding process continues also when the baby is placed on the mother’s breast after birth. Different studies demonstrated the importance of an early skin-to-skin contact between baby and mum to enhance the bonding and attachment. After birth mothers have several different ways to improve the relationship with their baby, first of all through breastfeeding, but also through simple things like soothing touches, nursing, bathing, changing the baby, rocking him/her, singing, reading or making special eye contact.
Bonding with dad.
On the other side, many dads struggle to find their role as a new parent, since usually mums perform most of the caregiving duties, particularly when it comes to feeding. However the way fathers interact with their babies can have a significant impact on their brain development. Studies showed the importance for the dads to start talking to their baby while he/she is in utero, whether it’s reading a story, singing a song or simply talking to them. This helps the baby recognize his voice a few hours after birth. Once the baby is born, the father should try to dedicate time to his baby, separate from the mother’s time with the baby. This includes skin-to-skin contact, eye contact, bathing, changing and bottle feeding.
Which factors can disrupt the bonding process?
Different factors could disrupt the bonding and attachment. Firstly, if the primary caregiver (often the mother) or the baby has a health issue, this can affect the non-verbal communication between the two and therefore create obstacles for a secure bond. For example, if the parent is often depressed, angry or anxious, he/she won’t be able to calm and soothe the baby, thus hindering the bonding process. Other factors could be related to the pregnancy, for example if the baby experiences difficulties in the womb, or to the delivery process, during a caesarean birth for example. Adopted babies or those who spend time in hospital neonatal units away from their parents may find hard to feel safe, secure and relaxed. As the child grows, other obstacles for a secure bonding and attachment could be being moved from one parent to the other, as a result of adoption, foster care or loss of a parent, being mistreated or abused.
The First Touch Program we offer at BPS gives you the perfect change to enhance the bonding with your baby through massage techniques, empathic listening and touch relaxation. Come along in September to our studio in Caringbah for a 5 weeks course that will help you to understand your baby through the unique body language, cues and signals he/she uses to communicate with you.