Alignment 101: Why We Teach Alignment

At Advanced Balance Clinic, we teach body alignment to help get people moving better. But there tends to be confusion around the term alignment.
 
When we refer to alignment, we mean the positioning of each of your body parts relative to each other. For example, if you are standing and you look down, where is your foot pointed relative to your hip? Is it angled out, angled in, or pointed straight forward?
 
And for most people, the first question is, "why does this matter?" It seems silly to spend so much time exploring these subtle variations of your body.
 
But it is important. And there are several reasons why.
 
The human body is complicated. When we focus on alignment, we also realize this is far from the whole picture. Take chronic pain, for example. Alignment work might be a good start for some people, but pain is more complex than meets the eye. As we've discussed in the past, research shows that chronic pain has nothing to...
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Are You an Abstainer or a Moderator?

In an earlier post, we discussed the importance of finding your why and changing your mindset for better health. But this is only the first step of the process.

 
Finding better health and living life to the fullest is a journey, one which is full of layers. Knowing why you want to live a better life and changing your mindset to one of growth is the base layer. The next step is to learn more about yourself and how you form habits make meaningful change. And for that, we need to explore the difference in habit tendencies.
 
Ever wonder why some people do fine quitting a bad habit cold turkey, while others who try that approach fail within a matter of days and go right back to what they were doing? This is the difference between an abstainer and a moderator.
 
As author Gretchen Rubin outlines in her book Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives, there are major differences in how individuals form strong habits.
 
She caught...
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Your Health Directly Relates to Your Mindset

 At Advanced Balance Clinic, we teach health is not the absence of disease. Our mission is to bridge the gap between managing a medical condition to living a vibrant, fulfilled life. Living a life of vitality is a journey, and we're here to guide you. Healthy living looks very different for everyone.

Over the years, we realized there was one big difference in our clients who make improvement and those who don’t. No matter the diagnosis, the answer is not found in one exercise, medication, or diet plan… There is no magic bullet solution when it comes to health.
 
So what does actually make a difference?
 
The answer is MINDSET!
 
We find progress isn't made until you identify the root of your motivations, habits, and mindset. We boiled this process down into smaller pieces to help you address your health mindset. Changing your mindset allows you to take charge of your health TODAY. No matter what the current status of your health, you...
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How Your Physical Health Relates to Your Mental Health

Brain health isn't a topic discussed often enough, particularly within the medical community. On the bright side, the topics of mental health and access to mental health services have come to light in the last few years. But, the aging brain is often left out of the conversation.

There are many unanswered questions about the decline in brain health with aging. The medical profession is starting to observe the differences in adults who experience brain atrophy and those who don’t. So, we're gaining some clarity. But, there's still so much we don't know.
 
The research identified some clear patterns in those who receive a diagnosis of dementia. But, keep in mind that patterns don't always give a clear cause. We know fall risk increases with increasing mental decline. We know poor mental health increases the risk of developing dementia. We know a connection exists between muscle weakness and dementia. What isn't as clear is why.
 
This is the 2nd part in a...
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Chronic Pain Changes Your Brain

Brain health isn't a topic discussed often enough, particularly within the medical community. On the bright side, the topics of mental health and access to mental health services have come to light in the last few years. But, the aging brain is often left out of the conversation.
 
There are many unanswered questions about the decline in brain health with aging. The medical profession is starting to observe the differences in adults who experience brain atrophy and those who don’t. So, we're gaining some clarity. But, there's still so much we don't know.
 
The research identified some clear patterns in those who receive a diagnosis of dementia. But, keep in mind that patterns don't always give a clear cause. We know fall risk increases with increasing mental decline. We know poor mental health increases the risk of developing dementia. We know a connection exists between muscle weakness and dementia. What isn't as clear is why.
 
I've studied these...
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For Better Health, Be Like a KidĀ Again

The other night, I was watching my one-year-old son attempt to pick up a garden hose in the backyard. Starting in a deep squat, he kept trying to stand up with an object that was heavy relative to his size. Standing unsupported is a skill he's yet to master, and here he was trying this unknown skill to him. After about 50 tries, he finally got it and I'll never forget that smile on his face.

 
Watching my children grow over the last few years, I've realized kids are invigorated by the most difficult of physical challenges. Curiosity to learn about their surroundings results in physical skills like crawling and walking. The connection between physical movement and brain development is clear in children.
 
I'm not sure where we lost this as adults, but keeping this same curiosity would solve most of our health problems. Adopting a child's approach brings mindfulness to movement, paving the way for healthier aging. Here's what you can take from this example to...
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How Does Balance Work Anyway?

Ever wondered how your body keeps its balance? Well, wonder no more! This is the question we'll address in this blog post.
 
In our work, we encounter balance issues that start at any age. It's no secret that the human body is complicated. Balance is no different. Your brain relies on input from several of your body's systems to map out your position in the world. This helps you stay upright to move about your world.  
 
Your body uses three main systems for this purpose. These systems communicate information with one another through nerves. This gives your brain information about your positioning at all times.
 
Healthy balance happens on a subconscious level. We shouldn't be aware all this work is going on behind the scenes. The first hint of awareness is a sign of a problem. Balance problems arise when any one of these systems, a combination of them, or the communication between these systems start to malfunction
...
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3 Exercises for Weak or Painful Shoulders

Acute or chronic shoulder pain is a common reason a person might seek out the services of a therapist. In this blog post, we will cover the starting point of our favorite exercises for weak or painful shoulders. First, we will discuss different types of exercise and how we use each type to promote pain management. Then we will demonstrate shoulder alignment and give instructions for strong, healthy shoulder joints!

Sound like a plan? Here goes...

When we initiate a plan of action for either acute or chronic pain, we structure an exercise sequence in a specific order. The first goal is to calm down the pain response and bring more stability to the joint in order to allow for bigger movement. Once pain is addressed, we look at underlying movement patterns and reinforce patterns to promote optimal joint health! Let's take a look at the difference between different types of strengthening exercise and discuss a starting point for weak or painful shoulder joints.

Different types of...

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Quick Test: What Does Actual Shoulder Mobility Look Like?

Image may contain: one or more people, people standing and indoor

Image may contain: one or more people, people standing and indoor

A key component in maintaining strong, healthy shoulder joints is understanding how to differentiate between using actual shoulder movement v. other movements to compensate for a lack of shoulder mobility.

As the above photos demonstrate, more than one motion can be used to reach arms overhead. Many of us mistakenly believe we're using shoulder mobility to accomplish this motion.

The first photo shows someone reaching arms overhead to touch the wall behind them. At a glance, this might look like fantastic shoulder mobility, but take a closer look at what is happening at the rib cage. It moved away from the wall to help move the arms further overhead. Once the end of actual shoulder mobility is reached, rib cage thrusting can help us achieve further movement without using the shoulders but using the low back instead. 

Is this a problem? Not always. But if you are looking to improve actual shoulder joint mobility, compensating with rib cage thrusting bypasses the...

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What is a Floor Transfer?

 

Why do we care so much about your ability to get on and off the floor?
 
Because the ability to get on and off the floor without the use of your hands is a strong physical predictor of early disability and death.
 
This is why one of the first skills we cover with new clients is getting on and off the floor. Not only is this a life-saving skill but it's also one of our favorite exercises for healthy aging!
 
There are an infinite number of ways you can get on and off the floor, as well as unlimited options for sitting positions once you are on the floor. The confidence to know you can safely and easily get off the floor decreases your future risk of falls!
 
If you're currently able to get yourself on and off the floor, continue to practice this skill daily. If you are unsure, see a physical or occupational therapist for a floor transfer test. 
 
A floor transfer test is nothing fancy. As shown in the pictures above, the...
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