Saturday, March 29, 2008

Alexander the Great

I had my first Alexander lesson on Friday afternoon with Nanette Walsh. I was really impressed with her; she was intelligent and really knowledgeable on physiology and anatomy and able to explain why she was asking me to do what she was. Plus she had the sweetest old dog named Harley who lay in the room with us, and came up to observe when we were standing up, like some kind of canine consultant, sniffing at my pant legs.

So the first thing we did as soon as we got into the room was “chair work.” She immediately had me stand in front of a straight backed, hard chair and she positioned me to correct way to prepare to sit. For me, it’s all about not having your chin jut out and tightening up the next muscles when I engage my back muscles to prepare to sit down, or stand up.

Then we went to the table and I lay down on my back with my knees up. She also place three small phone books (like the ones we get in NYC for just one neighborhood) about three inches thick total under the knob at the back of my head. My neck was just sort of suspended but supported. She explained that the books are to help keep the top of the head pointed forward, up and out. Adjustments were made to my shoulders and lower back to allow my body to spread outward. Nanette explained that that is the whole idea, for the body to spread out.

We also spent a lot of time on my breath. I’ve done my fair share of yoga and meditation and I was always taught that it’s best to blow your belly out when you take in breath, sending it to the small of your back and abdomen instead of just the chest. Nanette explained that for someone like me who has trouble with tense muscles in my neck and shoulders, it’s important to fill all the way up, and of course, out.

So now I’m practicing my “chair work,” and today I lay on my yoga mat for 10 minutes trying to “direct” my body to spread out. Nanette made sense to me, and I think after about a month or so of living with this new information, I’ll go back for more.

Here’s some information and a bit of history on the Alexander Technique. If you have back problems, it could be worth a try.

Labels: , , , , ,

Friday, March 21, 2008

Pain Clinic Redux

Well, it just keeps getting better and better. Last Tuesday, I had a different set of students again and I have to say, they were the best yet.

Everyone up to this point has trying to get the big knotty muscles in my back to "release." No one has been able to do it. I had one set of students tell me to get ready for it, then it never came, what a letdown. This week was different; this week I had so many releases going on I felt like I needed a cigarette afterward.

They started with my calves. I usually get needles there, but whatever they did with the needles this time caused a small electric shock to run deep through my muscle, building up until it exploded in the most exquisite pain, my calf was twitching and jumping and quivering uncontrollably. It was the most delicious release; meanwhile, I'm gasping and moaning with it and there's only curtains in between me and the other patients in the clinic and I'm feeling like I should apologize for making so much noise but the student practitioners say that that is what is supposed to happen and I'm doing great. I'm sure it sounded to anyone else who may not have known what to expect from acupuncture that I was getting laid, and how, in there.

They did the same thing to my other calf, more moaning and yelping from me. They did it to my back, my shoulder and neck, all followed by paroxysms of pain/release from me. Wondrous.

I have had mucho pain relief this week, though I'm a bit sore in the neck area, as that was the worst/best orgasm, er, I mean release, that I had. I haven't been back to the gym yet, partially because I don't want to strain or tax those released muscles too soon, also this flu thing is lingering like a bad odor and I'm very tired. But needless to say, I am really looking forward to next Tuesday.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Snap, Crackle, Pop!

Last Tuesday at the Pain Clinic was interesting. I had a different team of "practitioners" who had needles in some different places than the previous team. I'm not sure which set of needles did it (they had some in my ears, and in my calves, in addition to the ones in my ankles and hands that I get every week), but something unleashed some kind of chi because I wasn't able to sleep very well that night and ever since I've been kind of "energized" to say the least. I'm feeling kinda snappy and getting lots of stuff done, but not sleeping too well. I also had the most pain relief that lasted the longest since I've been getting acupuncture. Go figure.

I'm now noticing that when I move in certain ways that engage the newfound flexibility of my lumbar region, there is a distinct popping, crackling or crunching sensation. I wonder what this is? Is it the actual ProDisc or is it just that the new range of motion I have down there is causing the muscles to crunch around?

I'm kind of liking it, I have to say, the snap, crackle and pop of my newly flexible L5-S1 and my mad flowing chi.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,