Category Archives: exercise

Blasting the Fascia

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For me, it all started when I had some  MFR (myofascial release therapy) done on my right calf. Myofascial release (MFR) therapy focuses on releasing muscular shortness and tightness. There are a number of conditions and symptoms that myofascial release therapy addresses.

Fascia is the head to toe, arm to arm, inside-out connective tissue. It divides our muscles and penetrates them like the internal skin of an orange. It also surrounds virtually every structure of the human body. If we were able to peek inside our bodies and only see the fascia, we would look like a human form of cotton candy with mummy-like bandages running throughout. The entire fascia system is connected in ONE piece like a 3D spider-web.

When my daughter-in-law, Katherine, started talking to me about her experiences with the new fascia guru, Ashley Black, I signed on to a Facebook group that pertains to the topic of “fascia blasting”.

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Fascia blasting consists of using specific tools to loosen the fascia throughout the body, from head to toe.  It is accredited for doing everything from restoring hair loss to body sculpting, to getting rid of neck “waddle” and crows feet.  In 30 days, it can make a person go from a pockled cellulite carrier to a smooth sailing, fit-looking body babe, as shown in the pictures below.

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The Fascia Blasters, as these tools are called, come in a variety of sizes, all intended to do the same thing.  That is, release the fascia that binds fat to bone.

Ashley Black  explains there are 4 types of fascia:

  1. Structural fascia- Runs in long strips through the body. Visible in chicken meat just below the skin. The white silky membrane.
  2. Inter-structural fascia- Is present inside muscles and connects muscles to other muscles and to the bones. Visible when eating steak, the cobweb-like material.
  3. Visceral fascia- The “goop” inside our abdominal cavity that surrounds our organs and digestive system.
  4. Spinal fascia- the straw like thick casing that surrounds the spinal column

The fascia has a brush point with literally every other system of the body. It is as, or more significant than any other system. Having loose, healthy fascia is vital for overall health and well-being. Healthy fascia also makes us look, feel, and function better!

SO…..

I purchased a fascia blaster.  I also purchased a mini fascia blaster and a “fake” (not Ashley Black brand) facial fascial blaster.  I have to say, the results have been amazing!  I have redistributed the tissue around my knees to be much more attractive than it was before.  I have completely rid myself of a slight double chin.  I have carved out my abs and the under side of my arms.  I am making progress over my entire body.  Fascia Blasting really works!

The idea is to heat the fascia via a sauna or hot shower, then to blast away using the above-noted tools. Expect bruising at first, but that just tells you that the fascia blasting is working.  You can use arnica to heal the bruises quickly.  Ashley also recommends that one drink a good detox tea, because blasting fascia releases all kinds of toxins in the body….so expect to feel a little wimpy at first, but this quickly goes away, and the practice becomes pleasurable.  It feels great to fascia blast these days.

Here are a few videos that tell more:

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The Writing Life

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The Mills Brothers  released their hit  “Too Many Irons in the Fire” in 1946.  70 years later, this song could be designated my theme song. Yet, how many irons are too many?  I suppose that much is subjective.

I live a multi-faceted existence and always seem to have a lot of irons in the fire.  With the onset of the new year, however, I find myself busier than ever, but I am also happier than ever, and with great hope for the future.

I am working on opening a new business and have been developing workshops and programs for that, gathering partners and finances, and creating a dynamic endeavor that may take a couple of years to get off the ground, so  I continue to work on other things as I focus on getting this done.

A friend, who is a former celebrity client from a decades-ago stint I did with an entertainment law firm, contacted me over the holidays to ask if I would be part of a $25 million capital raising campaign with a view toward producing 5 new independent films.  I will be working in the capacity of a consultant, designing social media promotions and campaigns, but won’t know many details until some time next week. This will be my first MOIP-related, salaried work I have done since I received my masters degree, and while I’m excited about the work, this is not what I’ll be doing professionally, in the long run, but that is another story for another time.

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In addition to my art work, a large part of my vocational time is spent writing.  I have my various creative writing projects going on….my cookbook, my novel, my poetry and short stories, all of which take the back burner too often in favor of the writing work that I get paid for.

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Over the last 48 hours, I have written essays on the world-renowned Monte Pascoal cigars, Missouri fly fishing, eyeliner, the Bakken oil fields, Maternity photo shoots and the merits of portable ballet barres.  I have written essays for a graphic design company, two criminal law firms, a judge, an artist and a physician whose specialty is the treatment of diabetes.  I have a long list of articles to complete today, and another list of articles that I will have to complete from our retreat at Lake Tahoe.

I have honed article writing down to a fine art and can knock out what my editors designate as “high quality” writing in a very short period of time.  My research skills were honed to perfection while I was in graduate school, and I am able to produce many articles in a short period of time.  All this, is in addition to writing the Chinese fashion catalog that provides an endless stream of work.

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Admittedly, I do not feel a lot of passion about the paid writing that I do.  My heart lies with my creative work, but the paid work provides a good income, and I rather enjoy it.  It isn’t what I intend to do over the long run, but for now, it is fine.

I work through a number of different agencies.  Over the years, my ranking has risen to the top with many of these agencies, and I have received a more noteworthy status than I once had as a hack writer.  Today, I am frequently notified by editors and former clients, so that the majority of the work I do is for private clients or special projects.

My work involves long hours and intense concentration, and, therefore, results in my having to make a special efforts to exercise and stay healthy.  This work can be all-consuming, and it is as easy to forget to eat and exercise as it is to breathe.  There have been days when I have started work before the sun came up, and ended it well after midnight.

In this new year, I shall endeavor to moderate my writing into a more manageable enterprise.  I vow to place my health first, and to exercise twice a day, beginning each morning with  yoga and a long walk, and doing a concentrated aerobic effort each afternoon. I have been doing this three times a week, but I am going to up the ante.

This freedom to arrange my schedule as I want it is the primary reason I continue to pursue the writing life.  This freedom to travel.  This freedom to begin and end work when I want.  The freedom to take off a half hour when my best friend calls, or the freedom to stop what I’m doing to pick Ingrid up from school.  These are the reasons that I write.

Tomorrow, as my friends go to their offices and get snagged in rush hour traffic, I will be departing for Reno/Tahoe.  THIS is why I engage in the writing life.  This freedom to leave when I want or to sleep as late as I want …..although I am an early riser….this freedom is why I write.

 

 

 

Great Deal on Yoga Clothes

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Found a company on Facebook yesterday, called Fabletics.  They sell Kate Hudson’s workout clothes for men and women and are offering one outfit for only $15.  This includes shipping.  You have to sign up to be a member of their VIP thing….but you may cancel at any time by calling 1-844-833-6220.

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Shipping is free.  Good deal.  Good clothes.  This is the one that I bought:

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Get yours HERE.

Well worth the $15.  I think the one I bought retails for $60.  Cute.

Day 23 – Good Times

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Day #29- I Walked Here

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Let’s Get Physical! (and smell better!)

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Between yoga and visits to the Green Gym, my energy levels have really gone up and I’m feeling very good, particularly after a largely sedentary winter or heavy school and work/work.   All of my senses have sharpened, which is but one of many benefits of increasing physical exercise. But this leads to a less pleasant aspect of working out.

Body odor. 

When I was at the gym this morning, I had to exit the treadmill because the man lifting weights next to me STANK so badly!  I’m not a prima dona.  It’s a gym. You’re SUPPOSED to break out into a sweat….but this particular man smelled so vile that I could not stand it….

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Which leads to this:

Since that nasty smoking vice was outlawed in  clubs and other public places, customers began to complain about unpleasant smells, such as body odors.  This prompted researchers in Europe to try to find ways to cover them up. They measured the effects of peppermint, for example on dancing activity,  and asked people to rate their energy levels from calm and quiet to fervid and frenzied…. and indeed people felt more cheerful, danced more.   So environmental fragrancing, such as the essential oil diffusers that I keep writing about,  may be expected to have a positive effects on future club revenue.   I recently read that some  innovative nightclubs are already inviting aroma jockeys to smell the places up.  Good move, so long as pure essential oils are used, and not heavy, ugly perfumes.

The business community caught whiff of this and thought, “Perhaps  we can get our secretaries to type faster.”

And it worked!

Improved performance on clerical tasks associated with the administration of peppermint odor. They also used an electronic memory device to measure memory, Milton Bradley’s Simon game.  Do you remember that?   I loved that game…BUT…the experiment didn’t work.

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Still, the researchers figured that if the scent of peppermint can increase typing performance, it might be able to do the same with athletic performance…..so the researchers threw some collegiate athletes onto treadmills and exposed them to  different smells.  The ones that were exposed to peppermint reported feeling less fatigued, more vigorous, less frustrated, and just felt they performed better. But did they REALLY perform better?

The first study was just about the psychological aspects of athletic performance. This study measured actual performance, and participants were able to squeeze out one extra pushup before collapsing and cut almost 2 seconds off a quarter mile dash with an odorized adhesive strip stuck to their upper lip. Interestingly there was no significant differences in basketball free throws. They think the reason is that free throws actually require some skill, and all the peppermint can do is really improve athlete’s motivation. If an athlete does not have the skill to make the free-throw, increasing the level of motivation will merely result in a more motivated athlete who still does not have the skill to make the free-throw.

Unfortunately follow-up studies were not able to replicate these results, showing no beneficial effect of smelling peppermint on athletic performance…… so how about EATING peppermint?  Well….the effects of peppermint on exercise performance, measured before and after almost 2 weeks of drinking bottles of water with a single drop of peppermint essential oil in them. And all their performance parameters shot up, churning out 50% more work, 20% more power, and a 25% greater time to exhaustion!!  Wow!  Powerful stuff!   With improvements across the board in all those fancy physiological alphabet soup parameters that all the exercise geeks love, indicating increased respiratory efficiency. They attribute these remarkable results to the peppermint opening up their airways, increasing ventilation and oxygen delivery.

A word of caution, however.   You can actually overdise on the stuff. However, a few drops are ok and shouldn’t be toxic. I’d rather see folks blending fresh mint leaves in water rather than using peppermint OIL….sort of like a mojito without the rum and sugar.  The bad news is that may lower one’s libido. There are studies out there of men drinking four or five cups of day of spearmint or peppermint tea and losing their sex drive.  Then again, as any good coach will tell you,  THAT  may improve athletic performance even more.  Because of the antiandrogenic, researchers decided to try it out on hairy women, and in a matter of just 5 days were able to drop their free testosterone levels by about 30% with two cups of tea a day.

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There’s actually a syndrome called PCOS, or polycystic ovarian syndrome, which can result in abnormally high testosterone levels in women, which can successfully be brought down with mint tea.

So there ya have it.

Go to the gym.  Do yoga.  Drink tea.  Chew peppermint gum.  Use deodorant.  Any questions?  🙂

References:

H N J Schifferstein, K S S Talke, D J Oudshoorn. Can Ambient Scent Enhance the Nightlife Experience? Chemosens Percept. Jun 2011; 4(1-2): 55–64.

S Barker, P Grayhem, J Koon, J Perkins, A Whalen, B Raudenbush. Improved performance on clerical tasks associated with administration of peppermint odor. Percept Mot Skills. 2003 Dec;97(3 Pt 1):1007-10.

B Raudenbush, B Meyer, B Eppich. The effects of odors on objective and subjective measures of athletic performance. North American Journal of Psychology, 2003, Vol 5 No 2 181-192.

B Raudenbush, N Corley, W Eppich. Enhancing athletic performance through the administration of peppermint odor. JSEP Volume 23, Issue 2, 156-160.

P Pournemati, M A Azarbayiani, M B Rezaee, V Ziaee, P Pournemati. The effect of inhaling peppermint odor and ethanol in women athletes. Bratisl Lek Listy. 2009;110(12):782-7.

A Meamarbashi, A Rajabi. The effects of peppermint on exercise performance. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2013; 10: 15.

S S Nath C Pandey, D Roy. A near fatal case of high dose peppermint oil ingestion- Lessons learnt. Indian J Anaesth. 2012 Nov-Dec; 56(6): 582–584.

M Akdogan, M N Tamer, E Cure, M C Cure, B K Koroglu, N Delibas. Effect of spearmint (Mentha spicata Labiatae) teas on androgen levels in women with hirsutism. Phytother Res. 2007 May;21(5):444-7.

M Akdogan, M Ozguner, A Kocak, M Oncu, E Cicek. Effects of peppermint teas on plasma testosterone, follicle-stimulating hormone, and luteinizing hormone levels and testicular tissue in rats. Urology. 2004 Aug;64(2):394-8.

P Grant. Spearmint herbal tea has significant anti-androgen effects in polycystic ovarian syndrome. A randomized controlled trial. Phytother Res. 2010 Feb;24(2):186-8.