Saturday, April 28, 2007

I'm Here

Yes I made it to Costa Rica....
Wonderful B Fast this AM and now to the rain..

Gotta get to work.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Bumper Sticker of the Day

"Those who abandon their dreams will discourage yours"

I saw this sticker downtown in Flagstaff yesterday. I am a firm believer in the power of attraction, so this meant something to me. I have not seen the movie "The Secret" but I believe it has something to do with this. Throughout my years of life I have ran across many opportunities to join these people in abandoning my dreams. These sentiments come in many forms. "Good luck" in a cynical tone of voice is one of my least favorites. However, it often works as a motivation for me. I'm sure I share this trait with many people, I know my children are in the same boat...when told I can not do something or are incapable of achieving a task, this only makes me want it more.

There are so many ways to remind ones self of what it is you want. My mom bought me this little piece for manifestation one year for my birthday. It is a small praying, or thinking figure with a bowl in it's lap. The directions on this little figure said to think of what you want, write it down on paper, or come up with something that reminds you of this desire... next, you are to put that in the lap of this figure. Pray on it, think about it, look at it, whatever you believe...upon waking and at bed time. I put a business card of a particular job I really wanted in the lap, thought of it a bunch and "poof" I got that job.

But it is not magic, you can use what works for you, church, nature, incense, books on achieving, journal, hitting the streets, whatever you call quote the great waffle makers "Just Do It"..(sorry I had to) That's it. Find what you want and make it so.

Now days I don't use the little figure as much, I do use the concept. I write it, I draw it, however crude it may be.... I 'put it out there', I think and talk about it. No, I do not have all I want, I don't even know what that is yet, but when I think of it, I will work on it.

I was just reminded of my grandma or mom saying "God helps those who help themselves" (and in that tone) a great life lesson in a few words. Picard on Star Trek says "Make it so"... some one said "ask and you shall receive"... to sum this up I'd like to remind you again of that sticker. "Those who abandon their dreams will discourage yours" don't let this happen to you, work hard for it.... be it sport, career, travel, children, addiction recovery, blah, blah, blah...okay enough Tony Robbins for one morning! There is a small group of people from Waverly-Shell Rock, Iowa who can prove this theory to be true...

I realize I need to take a writing class, it's on the list. Until next best to you, and I mean it. Best wishes to you....

Friday, April 20, 2007

Did you hear that chicken?

In one week I will be headed south to the wonderful land of Costa Rica. When I was there last year there were a few chickens that had their clocks all screwed up. At around 2:30 am these two roosters would start calling each other like some kind of lost kittens of the jungle! And these are not the storybook roosters that you read about in "Mr. Brown can moo, can you?", no, no, no, these chickens are deep in the wild, they are untamed by humans, and I can only imagine what they must look like. Their call is somewhat like the overlaid sounds of fingernails on a chalkboard, and the guy with tuberculosis coughing behind the Fred Meyer's in Portland who I used to take salads to after closing the deli I worked at.

None the less, I can not wait for our trip. This year is to be less of a party, and more of a ...shall we say...educational experience. Erik Dalton and Tom Meyers. Two of the best Rolfers/bodyworkers in the industry. If you are a bodyworker yourself, you need to check out their work. They are both great authors, reading their thoughts on paper is enough to get me going like a 13 year old girl at a New Kids On The Block concert. No, it's more like an old slow and progressive song from a band like DM Fits, or HOLS where you kinda work the outside then gradually get down there in the middle and get it all going, and it is all working very nice together. Alright, I digress. (been doing that a lot this morning) oops..

Anyway, check it out, and I'll stay away from the chickens this year!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Good Job All!

Congratulations to all the athletes who have done so well lately. You guys are my inspiration, "you are wind beneath my wings", to quote the great Bette Midler!
  • Fam
  • Eric
  • Chris
  • Reid
  • Jill
  • Kirsten
  • Kyle
  • Colin
  • Jordan
  • Natasha
  • Andy
  • Cal
  • Simon
  • Bill
  • Lisa
  • Mike
  • Marten
  • AP
  • Pieter
  • Lauren
And anyone else I missed. You are all great and thank you for everything, I'll try to stay on top of the results. You are all just too great!


Well it is now Thursday. It has been around 80 hours since I hiked out of the canyon. Big deal?, well it has been a great re-learning experience for me. In the first days, Monday and Tuesday, I could hardly walk. This felt like soft tissue damage/inflammation. The main soreness was coming from my calves with some residual soreness in my quads.

The calf pain was primarily from the eccentric contractions of going downhill. The secondary cause of pain was getting back out, which was no small feat for me.
Eccentric calf pain from going downhill works like this.
  1. You extend your toes to get proper foot placement. When this is done the soleus muscle(1) and the gastrocnemius muscle(2) contract-shorten.
  2. You put said toes/foot right where you want it, so as not to fall. It just so happens there are a lot of mules that go up and down this same trail, they dig big holes in the trail.
  3. Now with foot all good, you put all your weight on this foot, calf contracted, and lengthen that muscle while it tries to stabilize.
  4. Repeat around 1,500 times.
  5. Calf soreness.

The only area I had any concern over was my right sacrotuberous ligament. With pelvic misalignment there was a unilateral joint pain. I favor my right side, I am strongest on my right side, and it may be that when stepping required a stronger hold, I overused my right foot/leg/hip. I had a massage on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Tuesdays massage was a great flush (all I could handle) and some much needed stretching. Rosa did a bit of gentle movement of the sacrum across it's oblique axis and really freed things up. On Wednesday I asked Shawn to check that ligament, he did a bit of cross fiber on it and today the "joint pain" is gone. 100% Tuesday night and Wednesday night I had the best foot therapist in town stay the night at my house and work my feet over until I fell asleep. She's the best, thanks Missy!!!

Keeping moving, hydration, and getting good food into my system has played a key role in this recovery I feel. For a day I thought I made a real mistake. But today it was all worth it and more.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

First Time in The Hole

What A trip! Not advisable off the couch. At approximately 32 hours after completing this trip and having eaten a big shredded beef burrito, I do not walk well. No major injury I know of yet, a lot of soleus pain and muscle soreness in quads and minimal hamstring damage. But the calves, oh my lordy lordy. OK, some sacraltuberous ligament pain, but what can I expect. I hope I can walk through the airport in ten days! No sweat, they have those fancy golf carts zipping around.

Why'd ya do it like that?

Well yes, good point. As a therapist working with many of today's top athletes, I wanted to experience again this pain and discomfort that so many of my clients present with. I do a few light jogs around the block every year or two, but nothing of this magnitude.

My man Chris, that drugged me and took me in the canyon, does this trip many times over in a year. This was his fourth time in the canyon in April, Today is the 17th. The day previous to this trip he did a 4.5 hr run in "the hole". Chris started at the South Rim, ran to Phantom Ranch and back to the South Rim. 4.5 hours. That's around 5,000 ft downhill over 12 miles or so, then back up 5,000 ft and the same mileage. When I did the deal, I ran 57 minutes down to Indian Gardens, that's 3,000 ft down hill and however many miles. Duh- next I will walk more.

Chris did the 7 hours with me because he did not want me to die in the canyon. Thanks Chris. This is, however, not advisable. I say this to protect my readers. Not off the couch. I know many people who are of the fitness level to allow this, most of the running clients I work with. Not me, I am alive, but the muscles would be happier had I taken a few extra jogabouts. All and all it was a great trip. I am learning about the body, pain, and saw many wondrous things. Until next time.....

Sunday, April 15, 2007

A day at the park


A Runner's High in Flagstaff hosted a great clinic for athletes in training on Saturday. The group was composed of local athletes training for 5k, 10k, half marathon, and full marathon. Stay Tuned Therapeutics was there, along with Phil Wharton, to provide guidance in flexibility training, and give encouragement to these runners as they embark on this journey.

First thing we did was get these folks on the ground, unload the gravity, and teach some flexibility. We went to Wheeler Park and had 70 people spread out and lay down. We taught a simple 10 minute routine in opening up the hip flexors and hip extensors. We turned on the glutes and opened the lateral hip, and addressed the springing system with-in the feet. Threw in a little spinal rotation and side bending for the Thorax and Lumbar spine and off they went.

After their run, and back at the store we stretched the runners and provided a bit of various recovery techniques on an individual basis. I taught some simple foam roller techniques for balance and maintenance, pointed out some postural dysfunctions, and met some great people.

Mike Friedberg was helping people get the right shoes on their feet, Phil turned people into Gumby and sold some books, and together we got em geared up for their success in running. Way to go team!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Nationals for Missy

Today Missy is sitting for her NCETMB. When she takes the test and passes she will be nationally certified in therapeutic massage and bodywork. She has been studying for weeks, raising our chitlins and working full time. She never stops, sometimes I say I wish I had the mammory glands so I could sit around at night and just feed a baby. I take it all back, not that it has been granted or anything. Missy is one of the hardest working women I know! No we are not fighting, nor am I trying to cover my butt. Just stating facts.

The workings of a small business and raising a family is hard, many of you know this. It comes back to us however, I do believe we get out of life what we put into it. We have highs and lows in life, good times and bad times. If we can look at the bad times as learning experiences, we are two steps ahead of the game.

We all know this.

Missy Passed with flying colors!! I had no doubt.

Foam Roller Work

Drag cursor over image to pause the slide show. These are a few exercises you can do at home to keep your myofascia lengthened, and your body in balance. Start slow and keep with it. Eventually you will be able to use more body weight. Play around and find what works for you! Have fun...Stay Tuned!

By the way, you can not find these sweet shoes any more! Don't even try!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Monkies and Food

Gearing up for my second trip to Costa Rica. Pack light, take the i pod, book, running gear, brain, shorts, hat, sun screen, flip flops. Change message on mobile phone to let callers know you will be in Costa Rica for eleven (11) days!!! Good, I'm set!

This is the good stuff here. Three organic meals a day, really good coffee, fruits of all kinds to keep hydrated and clean. We do this retreat with the Freedom From Pain Institute at a joint called Pura Vida ( Life to us gringos. On my first trip to CR, it was a bit of an interview with FFPI. I studied with Erik Dalton and James Waslaski, had a grand time, and got a job.

Now I will return as a Teachers Aide, and help the students learn these fabulous techniques in soft tissue manipulation. This year is with Tom Meyers, Mr. Anatomy Trains, and Erik Dalton, PhD. These two are both Rolfers and I have a feeling their work will play very nicely off one anther! Can't wait.

While there I will be going dancing with the DH danceman if you know what I mean! Yes Darin is there, hangin with the natives. He is landscaping and shooting pics of the stuff. We will be meeting up in Manuel Antonio and have just a few days to spend.

I'll post more from the Jungle!!


Saturday, April 7, 2007

No Pain, No Gain?

I copied this article to my blog because it raises some interesting points about pain. Not all are entirely agreeable to me, but it is thought provoking.

‘Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.’ So goes a well-known but anonymous quote. For many athletes, pain is a normal everyday experience and success is often achieved in spite of pain. But what’s the best strategy for coping with and overcoming pain and how can athletes distinguish between benign and potentially damaging pain? Matt Lancaster looks at the latest evidence

Pain is synonymous with sport. Endurance athletes relish the challenge of ‘pushing through pain’ while boxers expect to fight on regardless of a jarring blow to the chin. Adulation is reserved not just for the star rugby player, but anyone who can play through pain and contribute to the team. Winners and heroes overcome pain. Losers don’t.

But the price of pain can be high. Pain both demands attention and creates fear(1). It can restrict the ability to concentrate on performance and take away the opportunity to compete. Pain can even end sporting careers. The relationship between pain and sport is filled with challenges for sportsmen and women as well as those who support them. However, although pain of some description is no stranger to most athletes, it’s still a curious phenomenon in many ways. For example, consider the following questions:

* How are some people able to shrug off a painful injury?
* How can two athletes with the same injury experience different pain?
* Why do some pains seem to last ‘forever’?
* Why can some people compete, seemingly regardless of pain, while others struggle to overcome even a minor niggle?

This article will explore these questions, offering practical advice about when it is appropriate to perform in the presence of pain, when you should consult a professional, and how to best approach pain in a sporting environment.

The diagnostic dilemma

If you tear your hamstring muscle or sprain an ankle it hurts – obviously. Since the 17th century, the medical and scientific world has sought to diagnose pain by identifying the particular tissue that has been injured. For example, the philosopher RenĂ© Descartes proposed that a pure pain sensation is transmitted from the damaged body to an entirely separate organ, the mind, just as… pulling on one end of a rope…makes to strike at the same instant a bell which hangs at the end(2,3). Descartes separated the body from the brain, and even today it is usual for people to make a distinction between physical pain and mental pain(3,4).This is especially the case in sport.

However, there are some problems with this classical view of diagnosis. For instance, an extensive network of nerves supplies the various tissues in your back, making them potential sources of pain when injured(5). It follows that if you can identify the damaged spinal tissue, for instance using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), it should be possible to explain the pain.

The problem is that while MRI findings of severe damage to the discs or nerves is associated with the experience of pain, studies have failed to demonstrate a clear relationship between the majority of tissue damage observed on MRI and the patient’s pain(6). What’s more, almost 40% of people who have no history of back pain have abnormal, damaged spines at more than one spinal level when scanned using MRI(7)! Likewise, the damage shown by ultrasound investigations of athletes with painful patella tendons (jumper’s knee) does not necessarily correspond directly to the degree of pain experienced by the athlete(8).

This doesn’t mean that identifying the injured structure is not important or that it isn’t crucially involved in your pain. But looking to tissue damage alone (which is both frequent and often quite subtle in sporting injuries) to explain the relationship between pain and sporting performance is probably not sufficient.

A painful process

Another theory, first proposed in 1965, suggested that far from acting like an old-fashioned telephone exchange, your brain and spinal cord can actually increase or inhibit the transmission of pain signals(9). Gate control theory was revolutionary because it proposed a mechanism for the brain to have a modulating influence on the generation of all pains, and not just mental pain(10). While the original theory has been modified and expanded, it has essentially stood the test of time and been supported by 40 years of scientific research(11).

If you listen to the language people use to describe their pain, it soon becomes apparent that pain is quite simply pain, and is not separated into physical or mental compartments. All pain invokes not just a pure sensory response, but a range of thoughts and emotions also(3,12) and pain emerges from the integrated, combined action of the pain system(2,3). Simplistically, this system can be viewed as three separate parts of the nervous system, all of which modulate pain.

How do some people shrug off a painful injury?

Remember that following an acute injury, such as an ankle sprain, pain receptors are first stimulated by the mechanical stress and strain placed upon the tissue. ‘Inflammatory soup’ soon floods the tissue leading to peripheral sensitisation. Several hours later, similar chemicals will also lead to spinal modulation(19). Pain and sensitivity to movement and pressure increase over a period of a few hours; the time between the transition from the original mechanical pain (which may pass) to the maximum sensitised state may provide athletes with a ‘window of opportunity’ to shrug off their pain and continue competing.

However, this mechanism is probably only the tip of the iceberg. When you are totally focused on your opponent, or consumed by the contest, supraspinal and spinal modulation may act to inhibit the transmission or limit the awareness of the pain signal(18). We’ve all heard stories of sportsmen and women who have continued despite an injury which (theoretically) should have caused them to stop: a boxer with a broken hand, rugby players with torn ligaments, a long jumper with a strained hamstring etc. In the cut and thrust of competition, the pain system can ‘shut the gate’, and athletes are able to continue in spite of injured tissue(18). However, once your attention is drawn back to the acute pain (particularly following competition), awareness of the pain becomes strong again, especially if this also coincides with an increase in peripheral and spinal modulation.

So, should you ignore pain and try to shrug off an injury? Acute sensitisation is a normal, helpful process to encourage you to stop using the injured tissue and avoid further damage(20). It might be helpful to ask yourself the three questions in the box below.

There are a few other questions, which are perhaps even more important. We’ll get to these later. But remember, acute pain usually occurs for a good reason. It makes sense to seek professional advice as soon as you can. Sometimes people can overcome acute pain and continue to compete, but that doesn’t necessarily make it a wise decision!

How can two athletes with the same injury experience different pain?

Studies have confirmed that people respond differently to similar levels of painful stimulation(19). Differences exist not just in our individual sensitivity to a painful stimulus, but also in our perception of pain and how we display it. Pain is individual, even when the stimulus is not, but while we cannot know exactly what someone else is experiencing, our brains undergo quite similar activity when confronted with someone else’s pain(21). This is the basis for empathy and acknowledging someone’s pain is normal and important.

Our individual sensitivity to pain is in part explained by our genetic makeup (22-24), while studies involving twins have shown that learned behaviours are also important (25). Again, the division of pain into real and mental is unhelpful and the variation in pain between two athletes with the same injury lies at all levels of the pain system. Even for the same athlete, pain sensitivity varies under different circumstances, and perhaps not surprisingly, can become significantly less during competition(26).

It’s also worth noting that different groups in society may have significantly different pain responses, and this applies within sport. A study performed 40 years ago demonstrated that contact sport athletes could tolerate experimental acute pain for longer than non-contact athletes, while both groups could tolerate more acute pain than non-athletes(26).

Pain sensitivity may also be different in different people at different times; the way athletes display that they are in pain can vary, both between individuals and also between groups of athletes from different sports. It might be an extreme example, but imagine a footballer who could potentially be rewarded with a penalty responding to the pain from a kick in the shin. Now, assuming the tissue damage is equivalent, think about the same incident involving a Thai kick boxer who is in the middle of a title fight. Get the idea?!

Why do some pains seem to last forever?

During ongoing or chronic pain, adaptive changes at all levels of the pain system often outlast their usefulness in helping us protect injured tissues. Movements and pressures that would otherwise be normal continue to cause pain long after the risk of further injury has passed and often even once the tissue has essentially healed.

Examining possible tissue damage remains important when considering ongoing or recurrent pains, but a broader approach is required to address an athlete’s fear and anxiety about their ongoing pain and help them return to their sport. Focusing too much attention on pain can actually increase pain(18). It is probably more helpful to concentrate on working hard to strengthen the tissues at a sensible rate, regain normal fitness and aim to return to training.

Providing an appropriate environment for people to overcome ongoing pain is important and not always easy in sport. Coaches or team-mates who are angry at or ignore athletes with ongoing pain may contribute further to those athletes avoiding the very things that will help them return to full activity (such as a rehabilitation programme), and generate further anxiety that doesn’t help either(27). Getting this balance right and remaining positive is therefore important. People who develop an exaggerated, negative mindset towards their ongoing pain have been shown to experience both increased pain and emotional distress(28). Pain is a normal part of sport but the right mental approach can prevent it from becoming a catastrophe.

Does this mean it is OK to ignore ongoing pain? Well, it’s not quite that simple. Once again consider the three Cs. Any pain that has been present for more than a week or so, or keeps returning periodically is worth getting checked out by a professional who can not only assess for tissue damage but can also understand your pain and hopefully point you in the right direction before the maladaptive changes to your nervous system become entrenched.

Why are some people able to compete, seemingly regardless of pain, while others struggle to overcome even a minor niggle?

Although pain (especially acute pain) is related to tissue damage, this damage alone is not sufficient to explain pain fully. Pain is not just a sensation but results from the interaction between sensory inputs and brain processes, such as emotion and conscious thought. And pain is individual, not just to you as an athlete, but also to the time, circumstance and environment you find yourself in. Within the mechanics of the pain system, individual variation and modulation occur subconsciously, which helps to answer this question.

To ultimately address the relationship between pain and sport however, it is necessary to consider one further aspect of pain: your own ‘personal values’. We’ve already considered the three Cs as a guide to considering how to act in the presence of pain; however, as anyone involved with sport knows, making decisions about athletes in pain is often a judgement call. The three C questions only have meaning if we add a further, more personal line of questioning:

* Am I prepared to cope?
* How important is contributing a worthwhile performance to me?
* Am I prepared to suffer the consequences?

Having a pain killing injection two days before an Olympic final, regardless of the risks, would seem quite a reasonable thing to do for most elite athletes if it was the only way they were able to compete. Under similar circumstances, few casual joggers would agree to the same injection just days before a fun run. Entering a boxing ring, running 100 miles a week or crashing into a rugby scrum is not for everyone. Some people can continually and repeatedly overcome pain for the sake of their sport because they are prepared to. Sometimes they are rewarded with success, and sometimes, despite their desire to cope and contribute, their body succumbs to the consequences. Winners and heroes overcome pain sometimes. Losers often try and fail. Perhaps the most successful sports people are those who best understand the relationship between pain and performance: they are prepared to overcome pain, but make wise, informed decisions about when it is worthwhile trying to do so.

This post was copied from

1. Pain 2005; 113:235-240
2. J Bone Joint Surgery 2006; 88-A:58-62
3. Pain: The Science of Suffering (Columbia University) 2000; 17-31
4. Pain 2005; 113:238
5. Clinical Anatomy of the Lumbar Spine (Churchill Livingstone) 2002; 187-214
6. Phys Ther 1998; 78(7):738-753
7. N Eng J Med 1994; 331(2):69-73
8. J Ultrasound in Medicine 2000; 19(7):473-479
9. Science 1965; 150:0071-9
10. J Electromyography and Kinesilogy 2004; 14:109-120
11. B J Anaesthesia 2002; 88(6):755-757
12. Anesthesiology 2005; 103(1):199-202
13. Swiss Med Weekly 2002; 132:273-278
14. Acta Orthopaedica Belgica 1998; 64(4)
15. Acta Anaesthesiol Scand 2001; 45:1121-1127
16. Can J Anesth 2002; 49(6):R1-R5
17. Annu Rev Neurosci 2003; 26:1-30
18. Brain 2003; 126:1079-1091
19. Trends in Pharmacological Sciences 2005; 26(3):125-130
20. Topical Issues in Pain 1 (CNS Press) 1998; 45-57
21. Pain 2006; 125:5-9
22. Human Molecular Genetics 2005; 14(1):135-143
23. Proc Natl Acad Sci 1999; 96:7744-7751
24. Pain Practice 2005; 5(4):341-348
25. Arthritis & Rheumatism 2004; 51(2):160-167
26. Sport Jrnl 2003; 6(2)
27. Pain 2005; 113:155-159
28. Clinical Jrnl Pain 2001; 17:52-64

Monday, April 2, 2007


What a great bunch of folks, those Canadians. Simon, Kyle, Jill, Natasha, Kirstin, Colin, Lauren, and even Adam and Jordan. Jordan is an honorary Canadian I believe, well, he trains with them any way. This group makes up the Canadian National Triathlon team that recently concluded an altitude training camp here in Flagstaff.

While in Flagstaff, the team of eight athletes received an average of one hour of sports massage therapy/bodywork a week. Some used this one hour divided into two half hours a week, and some received two-hours a week on average. In the early days of such a camp, the athlete’s main focus is on acclimatizing. Specific techniques targeting the breathing apparatus may be of benefit during this time. If the athlete is having any problems with rib function or breathing pattern disorders this may inhibit the effects, to some degree, of the altitude training.

The term ‘sports massage’ encompasses a wide variety of techniques. I believe the most important techniques are communication and physiological understanding. Depending upon where the athlete is in their training, I may use techniques ranging from general effleurage strokes and compressions to flush the metabolic waste from the muscles, to pelvic balancing routines to ensure balance left to right between the ilia and sacrum.

During the off-season it of crucial importance to assist the athlete in maintaining proper joint range of motion and muscle firing order. I have found Erik Dalton’s Myoskeletal Alignment Techniques to be a great tool for the delivery of such outcomes. Another aspect of massage for athletes is to help reduce the anxiety surrounding competition. Encouraging words and positive feedback are sometimes all it takes to achieve this. James Waslaski is always telling his students, “Choose your words wisely, what you say to a person will either build them up, or break them down.” I find this to be very true; we can either put our clients mind at ease or really freak them out!

Another responsibility of the sports massage therapist is to know when to refer for further evaluation and treatment from another health care providers. Build relationships with chiropractors, osteopaths, nutritionists, and trainers.

I will not go into any specific conditions treated during the camp. These folks are here training their butts off, and it suffice to say they did need the recovery work, all in all it was a great camp for all of us. I say "us" because for the three months I am part of that team.