In addition to my therapeutic and private consultation services, I give speeches and workshops ranging from keynote addresses for large audiences to parent education in school settings; speak to medical residents about eating disorder treatment modalities and management; work with fertility physicians and surrogacy and donor agencies to help clients navigate the path to parenthood; offer expert opinion on parenting, relationships, family building, and body image to publications ranging from Elle and Self to the Washington Post and Time magazine; consult on film and television projects from a psychological perspective; and do executive coaching to help corporations and individuals perform at their best.
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For those of you who have been following the barefoot and minimalist shoes debate, the recently published research by theHarvard ‘barefoot’ team led byDaniel Liebermanadds weight to the argument that what matters most in preventing injury is how you are running rather than what if anything you are wearing on your feet.
In their latest published research Foot Strike and Injury Rates in Endurance Runners: a retrospective studythe team from Harvard did a retrospective study to test whether runners who habitually forefoot strike have different rates of injury than runners who habitually rearfoot strike. They concluded that runners who habitually rearfoot strike have significantly higher rates of repetitive stress injury than those who mostly forefoot strike. But they also found that some runners were fine with a rearfoot strike, while others were injured with a forefoot strike. The team “predict that these runners have better form than those who do get injured: they probably land with less overstride and more compliant limbs that generate less severe impact loading (…). These predictions are supported by several recent studies, and they emphasize the hypothesis that running style is probably a more important determinant of injury than footwear (with the caveat that footwear probably influences one’s running style)”
This research certainly backs up much of the theory that Malcolm Balk aims to put into practice during his Art of Running workshops. Applying the principles of the Alexander Technique helps runners to achieve the ease and efficiency of movement needed to prevent injury.
There certainly seems to be a good case for using barefoot running or minimalist shoes as a way of improving one’s running style and to overcome nagging injuries which can often be caused by a heavy heel strike action. But looking to these as a panacea is not the best way forward. Instead the focus should be on running form.
The Alexander technique, developed more than 100 years ago by Frederick Alexander, helps students become aware of and stop habits and muscle use that may be contributing to pain. Mild, hands-on work and instruction for postural improvement teaches students techniques for sitting, walking, standing and many other activities of daily living. Students who praise Alexander technique sometimes tell me they feel it has "lengthened" them or "created more space" in their spines. Some believe that the Alexander technique works through release of tension, decompression of the spine, more balanced muscle activity and improved flexibility.
In a study published in the British Medical Journal, researchers discovered that patients who had 24 Alexander technique lessons during a year experienced just three days of discomfort due to back pain, compared to 21 painful days for those receiving conventional medical care. A short course of six Alexander technique lessons (plus exercise) had a better result than either massage or conventional medical care.
PAIGE MCKINNEY COMMENTS: The article offers a good description of the Technique, and a link to an excellent2009 NY Times interview with Paul Little, lead author of the BMJ back pain study. Because the author of the Huffington Post article suggests a mix-and-match approach to “alternative therapies,” I feel compelled to report that from my own experience with back pain, mixing and matching never helped. In fact, it was only when I decreased the number of approaches to dealing with pain that I found relief. Sometimes less is more.
Spondylolisthesis: In Greek: 'listhesis' means slipping. In your back, one vertebra slides out of alignment. It usually slips forward, but sometimes back or to one side or the other. It's a radiological diagnosis, and state-of-the-art EMG techniques can determine if that's your problem. PT to strengthen abdominal muscles (front back and sides) and possibly an abdominal binder are good treatments, but some yoga also helps, as does Alexander Technique, which can work wonders with posture.
Spinal Stenosis: This is where the canal inside the spine gets too narrow, compressing nerves. You may need an MRI to be sure of the diagnosis. Posture is the best conservative solution -- Alexander Technique is probably the single best treatment, though PT is helpful too. Stenosis may worsen inexorably over time, and then it's one condition where surgery may be the best option.
The picture of you sitting with your hands between your legs, humbled after the epic loss, becomes a web meme mocking your sorrow.
Let’s face it: It has not been a good week for Tom Brady. And while many New Yorkers will likely mutter “Good” when thinking about that, it seems like the hits are just going to keep on coming for the superstar athlete.
“Bradying” seems to be the latest meme to hit the internet. While “Bradying,” a subject is shown sitting on the floor, legs stretched out, with their hands folded between their legs. The head is bowed.