Saturday, November 23, 2019

Foot Care Professional

Something came up in class the other day that I wanted to clarify about foot care professionals.

In the United States, medical and surgical care of the feet and ankles are mainly provided by two groups of physicians: orthopedic surgeons and podiatrists. 

In general, an orthopedic surgeon is a Doctor of Medicine that specializes in medical and surgical management of all of the bones and joints of the entire body (global musculoskeletal health). Their training includes medical school, has 5+ years in an orthopedic surgical residency, one or more fellowship years, and board certification.

Podiatry is a branch of medicine devoted to the study, diagnosis, and medical and surgical treatment of the foot, ankle and lower extremity.

To become a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine, a candidate must complete: a Bachelor's Degree, 4+ years in Podiatryt School, 3+ years in a surgical based residency, board certification and licensing. While a Podiatrist might not be an M.D., they are part of the medical community and have surgical training.

Chiropody (from English chiro- for hand and Greek -pody for foot) has both ancient and modern elements in its development. Stemming from an ancient Egyptian art, it was practiced by journeymen at fairs, markets and in the street. In the 1800's in England it became a organized profession, and subsequently evolved into the practice of podiatry (though many countries still use the terms interchangeably). The term chiropody itself came about in the 19th century.

Reflexology is a type of massage that involves applying different amounts of pressure to the feet, hands, and ears, based on a theory that these body parts are connected to certain organs and body systems. It rests on the ancient Chinese belief that qi (vital energy), flows through each person. Stress blocks the flow of qi, and that blockage can cause an imbalance in the body that leads to illness. Reflexology aims to keep qi flowing through the body, keeping it balanced and disease free. 

In Chinese medicine, different body parts correspond with different pressure points on the body. Reflexologists use maps of these points in the feet, hands, and ears to determine where they should apply pressure. They believe their touch sends energy flowing through a person’s body until it reaches the area in need of healing.



Regarding Salt, Sodium and your Kidneys (from 
  • Sodium in the diet is an electrolyte (the ion Na+) which is very different from Sodium the metal element (symbol Na). Electrolytes are electrically charged minerals that help maintain fluid levels and the balance of chemicals in your body called acids and bases. Sodium also helps your nerves and muscles work properly.
  • You get most of the sodium you need in your diet. Once your body takes in enough sodium, the kidneys get rid of the rest in your urine. If your sodium blood levels are too high or too low, it may mean that you have a problem with your kidneys, dehydration, or another medical condition.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

The Yoga Lounge

For the past eight years I have been honored to provide volunteer yoga services to the participants of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society Pacific Coast Chapter 50 Mile Challenge Walk. Prior to being their yoga provider I actually walked the challenge from 2004 through 2011. (Full disclosure, in 2009 I did all the fundraising but my OB didn't think it advisable that I walk at 8 months pregnant. Turns out I left the event early to give birth to my son).

The Yoga Lounge, 2019
As the yoga provider I help kick-start the event Friday morning with (humorous) stretching/warm-up during Opening Ceremonies, and Saturday and Sunday mornings I greet the walkers in the breakfast room with foam rollers and tennis balls for self massage and suggestions on chair yoga poses to stretch the quadriceps, hamstrings, back muscles, hips, or whatever else needs a morning wake-up.

Friday and Saturday afternoons I host the BYOM Yoga Lounge, a quiet, prop-equipped room that includes:
  • Yoga mats and blankets
  • Multiple sized bolsters
  • Blocks and straps
  • Stretch bands
  • Chilled golf balls and smaller rubber balls for foot massages
  • Tennis balls and lacrosse balls for larger muscle massage
  • Small foam rollers
  • Aromatherapy mist
  • Quiet music and ambient lighting 
  • Chairs for those not able to get onto the floor
I like to think of the service as yoga "triage." Walkers (and staff and volunteers who have spent up to 12 hours on their feet supporting walkers) come in, let me know what body part/s need soothing, and I try to set them up with yoga poses, restorative or otherwise, that will help to stretch, ease, strengthen, and soothe their body stresses. They can also do their own thing, using the props as needed in a quiet space. I supply aromatherapy mists, body lotions, as well as handmade magnesium chloride muscle rub for soothing aching body parts (click to order this on ETSY

Mg Muscle Rub
For some, just taking off shoes and socks and rubbing the soles of the feet on iced golf balls (spiked with a little essential oil) can be delightful. For others the act of lying horizontal, on a blanket, or a supported bolster with feet down, knees up, can be the low back release that does the trick after pounding the pavement for 20 miles.

Walking 20 miles (or even just being upright all day) can create postural challenges (hunching over). Simply lying supine, with arms overhead and resting on blocks can open the shoulders without causing wear and tear on the shoulder joints (see Constructive Savasana below).

Hips, glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps also take a beating on long walks, so I have a variety of supported floor based yoga poses I introduce, encouraging everyone to hold for at least three minutes, utilizing long slow breaths to maximize the calming effort for muscle and nervous system relaxation.

Some of my time-tested favorites:

Deer Pose/Lazy Pigeon: Prone, legs bent, bottom leg knee closer to body. Torso can be supported on a bolster. perform on both sides. Similar to Pigeon but far less intense on the lower knee and less stretch on the back leg quad/psoas.

Prone Dancing Shiva/Prone Pavritta Hasta Padagusthasana: Prone extended leg and arm twist. hand and big toe do not have to touch. lower leg extends, body working to "fold" on top of lower leg, pushing through lower heel. bottom hip can be supported (as shown) on block or bolster. restorative version has torso on bolster (not hip). perform on both sides.

Supta Pavritta Hasta Padaghustasana (with props): Supine Twisting Hand to Big Toe Pose has a strap between the hand and top leg that cross over the body, pushing through the heel. upper leg can rest on a bolster/block. Restorative version does not use a strap, or has strap around top thigh and looped around upper arm (see pic). perform on both sides.

Broken Wing/Figure 4: Prone, one leg hiked up to the side at 90 degree like hugging a pillow, ankle below knee. Head turned to one side. release for glutes and outer hip and low bag. Torso can be supported on a bolster. perform on both sides.

Constructive Savasana: Supine, on floor or supported by bolster esp. with low back support. if on bolsters, use additional blocks/blankets under length of arms to prevent hyper-extension of shoulders.

Legs up the Wall/Vipariti Karani: Supine, sit bones at or near wall. bolster under length of body including pelvis and head, or on floor. legs can be gently bound at upper this with strap to support adductors. arms overhead for shoulder stretch or by side, palms open. eye pillow optional. gentle weight/blanket over body or on hips for grounding/low back release optional. gentle weight/blanket on/over feet optional.

Supported Prone Savasana: Prone, bolster/rolled blankets under belly, legs extended at end of bolster or separated to allow knees to descend off sides (similar to frog). arms crossed under head on bolster or floor. rolled blanket under shins for low back support. flesh can be distributed over edge of bottom bolster/between two bolsters for comfort rather than struggle with compression.

Savasana (Restorative): Supine, with bolsters under torso/hips, head, and additional rolled blanket or bolster beneath knees to release low back. arms supports. option to cover eyes, gentle weights/blanket on bellow/hips.

Deer Pose/Lazy Pigeon Prone Dancing Shiva Variation

Revolved Hand to Big Toe Variation Revolved Hand to Big Toe Variation

Legs up the Wall Broken Wing

Prone Savasana Variation 1 Prone Savasana Variation 2

Constructive Savasana

Restorative Savasana Variation Traditional Savasana
If you are looking for a Yoga Lounge provider for your charity event keep BYOMyoga in mind! The NMSS is near and dear to my heart and you'll see me here every year I'm able to provide service. Check the About Me page to see other events at which I volunteer this type of service, or teach Adaptive/Chair yoga classes. Namaste!

Friday, November 1, 2019

New Adaptive Yoga Class starting January 3, 2020

Every Tuesday the Casa de Oro library hosts three Adaptive Yoga classes for Adults with Special Needs at 10am, 11am and noon. The class is open to everyone in the county, whether a client of Regional Center or not. We have regular attendees from St. Madeleine Sophie's Center (who co-sponsors the class), and often have consumers from privte and public programs like Living Independently is for Everyone (LIFE), Stein Education Center, Monte Vista High School, Elite Academy, Unyeway, the ARC, TRACE, and Cool Options to name a few.

I am thrilled to announce that we are starting another class, on Fridays at 10am, to accomodate the enthusiastic attendance, starting January 3. 

The Tuesday 12-12:45 class will no longer meet as of 11/5/2019; we are confident our new Friday class will provide a better opportunity for more people to attend.

As always the class is free, but seats fill up fast so please arrive on time. We have to cap attendance at 25 to ensure the safety and security of everyone; this includes coaches and aides.

The program will be added to the library's calendar by the end of the year. For questions reach out to me at the website email or phone.