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Just As You Are

Just As You Are

When I first joined PALM Health, I was encouraged to take a personality assessment called the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI). This assessment involves answering a couple hundred questions that reminded me of the Myers-Briggs test but this test breaks personality into two main categories: Temperament and Character. Under these categories are sub-categories/traits such as novelty seeking, harm avoidance, persistence, self-directedness, and cooperativeness, among others. Through participating in the 8-week program, I am hoping to use the outcomes of the TCI to learn more about myself, understand how to use my innate traits to help me grow personally and professionally, and discover what makes me thrive.

I am currently reading The Tao of Pooh and the following quote reminded me of some of the points that were discussed with me after taking the assessment. What I learned is that we don’t necessarily want to change our personality entirely, we just want to understand the different aspects of our personality and how to work with them effectively in all situations.

“Sooner or later, we are bound to discover some things about ourselves that we don’t like. But once we see they’re there, we can decide what we want to do with them. Do we want to get rid of them completely, change them into other things, or use them in beneficial ways? The last two approaches are often especially Useful, since they avoid head on conflict, and therefore minimize struggle. Also, they allow those transformed characteristics to be added to the list of things we have that help us out” – The Tao of Pooh, Benjamin Hoff

For example, introversion is not a less desirable trait than extroversion. It just demonstrates how we tend to interact with others and influences what activities we choose to participate in. Traits such as avoiding harm may be useful in some situations but can hinder the way we handle other situations. Therefore, we must learn how to make our traits useful.

Be you. Don’t try to change yourself to fit a more desirable mold because you may find that your traits help you greatly. If there is a quality that you don’t like about yourself, think of a few ways in which that quality is positive and would be of benefit to yourself and to others.

Ice, Ice, Baby

Ice, Ice, Baby

DISCLAIMER: PLEASE CONSULT WITH YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE PARTICIPATING IN CRYOTHERAPY

Walking into a spaceship-like contraption while it fills with nitrogen gas and plummets to subzero temperatures doesn’t sound appealing. But whole-body cryotherapy has been popular among the wellness community. My first experience was on Wednesday and I had two more sessions on the following days.

Before the session, the technician explained the process to me, took my blood pressure, and had me sign a consent form. Since I have a spinal fusion, I asked a few of my doctors if the metal rods would be a problem in the cold temperatures and I was assured that it would be okay. The tech provided me with wool socks and booties and wool mittens. I also used the wool elbow sleeves.

The chamber was pre-chilled as I stepped in but it filled with the nitrogen gas as the tech started the machine. The tech talked to me throughout the whole three minute experience and gave me time updates every 30 seconds. The recommended amount of time is at least 1 minute but 3 minutes maximum.

An important component of the 8-week program I am doing at PALM Health is called the Trilogy, which encompasses cryotherapy followed by 30 minutes in the infrared sauna and a 25-minute salt room session. The purpose of pairing these three services is to promote detoxification for reducing inflammation and rebalancing neurotransmitters.

Days 2 and 3 of cryotherapy were much better since I knew what to expect. I slept well on the following nights and have noticed less muscle soreness from my weight-training workouts.

Mission: Upgrade

Mission: Upgrade

This week was the start of my 8-week wellness journey at PALM Health. A couple of weeks ago, I had an acupuncture assessment in which energy production of several acupuncture points on the body were assessed. From these measurements, the energy produced by the different organ and body systems is determined. Deficiencies or excesses of energy affect the functioning of our bodies from our overall energy, cognition and emotions to our digestion, the absence or presence of physical symptoms, and likeliness of future disease risk. Meridian balance among these systems is thought to be the key to vitality and longevity. The findings from this assessment are used in biofeedback rebalance sessions, acupuncture treatments, and nutrition among other therapies.

“The body is to nature as a violin is to an orchestra. The strings are to a violin as the organs are to the body. For the orchestra to play in harmony all the instruments must be tuned to each other. If a single instrument is out of tune, the whole sound is dissonance rather than harmony”– Beinfield & Korngold

This week on Thursday I had my first consultation with the chiropractor for acupuncture treatment. After the doctor asked questions about my medical history and goals for the treatments, he reviewed the acupuncture assessment with me, explained why I am feeling the way I am, and how the symptoms are linked to the organ systems. He could also see from one of the charts on the assessment that I was waking up several times in the middle of the night. There were three points on this graph that showed an excess of energy at certain hours of the night meaning that the body is not in a state of rest at these times.

Next, the doctor performed an assessment where he had me hold up my arm or leg while he pushed it down and he could move it effortlessly. The doctor asked me to push on the roof of my mouth with my thumb and then he couldn’t move it as easily! This was so weird!

The remainder of the appointment was an acupuncture treatment. The doctor also put tiny magnets on various points on my feet that stay on for a few days until they fall off. The whole consultation was very informative and fascinating. I was blown away and I can’t wait for the next one!

I also participated in a neuroplasticity class and a body meditation class this week. In neuroplasticity, the instructor gave each of the students a small ball and we tossed the ball in our hands with a specific rhythm. She then added our feet and coordinated the foot pattern it with the hands. It was a lot harder than it sounds but really fun! Body meditation was not a still meditation, rather a movement-based meditation linking breath with motion. Both of these classes are always different so I am looking forward to trying them again!

The program gets going full speed next week. Up next: my first experience with whole body cryotherapy.

When the Whole is Well, All Can Be Well

When the Whole is Well, All Can Be Well

“The part can never be well unless the whole is well” Plato

I have talked in previous posts about the importance being kind to our bodies by listening to it’s cues when we are pushing beyond our limits. But did you know that paying attention to the mind and soul is equally important? Understanding what healthy feels like requires tapping into a combination of these three facets that influence total well-being. The mind, body, and soul must work in harmony because when there is dysfunction with one part, other parts start to dysfunction as well. We must nurture our bodies through these actions: an appropriate amount movement and proper nutrition, establishing a sound mindset, participating in activities that set our creative souls on fire.

Mental health is a topic that a lot of people are afraid of talking about openly but it is something that must be addressed because the body cannot be well unless the mind is also well. We are all in this together and keeping it a secret is disadvantageous. Thought influences more than our emotions. It influences our current and future physical health, too.

Follow along as I share my experience on this 8-week journey and learn more about myself while participating in activities that nurture the mind, body, and soul.

Some topics you will learn about through my perspective:

  • Cryotherapy
  • Pink Himalayan Salt Room Therapy and Meditation
  • Neuroplasticity
  • Body Meditation
  • Biofeedback-Rebalance
  • Biofeedback-Cardiac Coherence
  • Acupuncture

Stay tuned!

Father’s Day

Father’s Day

“A father is someone you look up to no matter how tall you grow” – Unknown 

From holding my hand so I wouldn’t fall while rollerblading and riding Batman with me so I could try to overcome my fear of upside-down rollercoasters to watching me cross the stage with my master’s degree, my dad has been there for all of the milestones in my life. He has watched me grow into the young adult I am today and continues to inspire me every day. He always pushes me to reach for the stars and encourages me whenever I doubt myself. Like the quote says, I will always look up to my dad no matter how old I get.

 

Happy Father’s Day Daddio! xoxo

 

 

 

 

Is your body screaming at you?

Is your body screaming at you?

“Most people have no idea how good their body is designed to feel”Kevin Trudeau

I hurt my low back badly a couple of weeks ago. In the last couple of months, I had increased my training volume a lot. Before going to the megaformer class up to three times per week and Orangetheory one time per week, I was weight training three times per week and doing vinyasa yoga three times per week. This means that I doubled up on three days of the week (on my non weight-training days). I knew that I was exercising A LOT more than I was used to but I was eating more to fuel the additional exercise and I did not feel too sore or worn out so I thought I was doing everything right. I started having low back tightness a few weeks ago but it always felt better after any of the workouts. Two weeks ago during my weight-training session, I could feel that my low back felt a little tighter than normal while I was doing Romanian deadlifts and while picking up weights for another exercise. I felt great by the end of the workout. When I got home, I bent down to pick up the food processor from a low cabinet (which is very heavy and awkward) and when I stood up with it, I felt something pinch in the center of my low back. All I wanted to do was make pesto sauce! About a half hour later, I started having severe pain down both legs and could barely walk because of how painful and weak they felt. I have never felt this much pain in my whole life. I don’t remember what my pain was like after my back surgery 18 years ago but I’m sure it was pretty close to this. I felt defeated and I felt like all of the hard work I had put into making my body feel good would be quickly img_1316reversed. One of the daily practices that all of the trainers and chiropractors at the gym stress the importance of is breathing with the legs supported at 90 degrees. Zolie was keeping me company while I was doing this practice to relieve some of the tension right after I hurt myself. Isn’t it interesting how our pets know when something is wrong? He always makes me feel better even when I am in severe pain 🙂

Since reducing my weight training and overall exercise volume over the last couple of weeks, I have found peace with my lower intensity exercise routine. I have incorporated upper-body exercises and walking in my pool and am doing several rehabilitation exercises every day. These gentle forms of movement are peaceful and almost meditative because they are performed slowly and require concentration. Even though I am not sweating or working my body to exhaustion while performing these exercises, I am still able to find joy in moving my body in a way that makes it talk a little more quietly.

As the quote above indicates, a lot of people don’t realize that their body is designed to move well and feel good on both the inside and on the outside. Both people who have not adopted an exercise routine and healthy eating habits and those who exercise a lot and eat a nutritious diet have the privilege of experiencing what a healthy body feels like. There are downsides to extremes and our bodies may ultimately feel the best somewhere in the middle. My body doesn’t feel healthy right now but I know it will get back to normal soon because I am listening to its cues and giving it what it needs to heal including plenty of food and rest. I plan to reintroduce the classes slowly but take one or two rest days which I was not doing before the injury. And when I do go back to the classes, I will give 50% effort to avoid re-injury and to determine if those classes are ultimately beneficial for my mind and body. Even when we feel like we can take another class or complete another set of an exercise in the gym, it is important to rest and to pay closer attention to our body’s cues. A little low back tightness can eventually turn into something more extreme if it is ignored.

Two Days

Two Days

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why”– Mark Twain

Ask yourself if you are truly happy with what you are doing. Do you look at the clock waiting to go home at the end of the day? Or do you eagerly wait until you get to go back the next morning. The answer should be the latter when you find out why you were born. I know this day will come. I don’t know when but I can’t wait to be surprised when this realization comes.

I know I have talked about overcoming obstacles and figuring out my career path in previous posts, but this quote provides more meaning for my story. I have struggled with finding what I am meant to do with my life and I think we truly can’t plan when this is going to happen. I’m still not sure if nutrition and fitness is what I was meant to do even though it is what I am currently passionate about. We could find out when we are 16, 30, or 60 but when we do have this realization, everything seems to fall into place.

IMG_1470It is important not to rush this and enjoy the journey. We could land our perfect job but still not know if this is what we were born to do. I haven’t experienced this yet, but I think that we find out why we were born when our job brings pure joy both to us and to the people we interact with. It reminds me of the phrase “do what you love and you will never work a day in your life.” Our job should almost make us feel like we are living a dream because we never want the feelings to end.

The labyrinth provides the perfect symbolism because it represents the purposeful journey to finding our wholeness. We feel a sense of wholeness and fulfillment when our heart knows that we are doing what we were destined to do. I had never walked through a labyrinth before this but I was intrigued by the guide’s story about it’s meaning before each of the members in the group took turns and walked through in silence.