Monday, October 14, 2013

Healthy Movements for Fibromyalgia

Hello everyone! I apologize for the long delay. Life sometimes gets in the way as we are going along. Been tending to some family medical issues and working on my new upcoming book, Is There  Diet For Chronic Illness? My time seems to have been narrowed to a short 20-hour day! But I still insist on a FULL 8 hour sleep. Nothing gets done without that! It's a priority! The following is a summary of our October 8th Mishawaka Fibromyalgia Support Group Meeting. I separated the actual "movements" from the dialog, so that you could print out what section you'd want to keep handy!

Introduction to Dave Shahl’s “Movements”             10-8-13 

The very first thing Dave wanted to share with us was that we should ignore the word "exercise." Like myself, he prefers the word "movement."   

Our bodies have 60 billion cells,  and they continually die and regenerate on a weekly, monthly, and three and four-monthly basis. In fact, after 4 months you literally have a brand new body! But cells become lazy if they don't move. So when you are eating and feeding them, you want them to be active and functional so that they can effectively absorb nutrients and oxygen and rebuild themselves and make new healthy cells. Moving keeps our metabolism up, and keeps our muscles stronger and healthier. Your movement keeps your cells active enough to function effectively, then die off when their time comes and rebuild new, stronger, "younger cells."  This is rejuvenation! This is how we stay young!  

Dave told of a study done by the Harvard Alumni of 17,000 men which showed that the more they moved, the longer they lived. He also told us, however, that there is a break-down point. For example he explained that every mile you put in (walk) the healthier you become. BUT if you go over a certain point, your body succumbs to high stress, where your body begins making excess free radicals, and you become more prone to stress injuries. Walking 1-2 miles is good; walking 3-6 miles is optimal. But walking over 6 miles a day can prove damaging to the body in the long haul. 6,000 to 10,000 steps per day, i.e., 20-30 minutes or 40 -60 minutes per day is optimal. [All this walking, of course, is assuming one is able to walk this much...just saying.]   

Dave also said we should plan our movements. Simple things like using the stairs when possible. Even if you walk down and ride the elevator up, those stairs you take, DO help. And in good weather, don't drive around the block or parking lot wasting gas looking for a closer parking space, park where you can, and do a bit of walking before you get into the building. So many of us sit to eat breakfast, sit in the car on the way to work, sit at our desk, then sit at lunch, sit in the car on the way home and sit in front of the TV all night. All this sitting does not move our bodies enough to regenerate cells.  

Moving, however, doesn't need to be a huge, painful effort. For example, it takes more energy to stand than it does to sit. At Notre Dame there are computer rooms that have no chairs, but have the computers on counters and people stand to do their work. This is actually an energetic way to work and rejuvenates cells. If you were to stand during the commercials as you watch TV and do a few of the movements listed below, you would be rejuvenating your cells too. You would live longer, have younger healthier cells, your food and oxygen would absorb better and more efficiently, and you would ultimately feel better. Dave told of a woman who lived to be 126 years old. She rode her bicycle until she was 110! How's that for longevity - and energy! Look at nearly all the long-lived persons you hear about in the news or TV - they are all active. The activity actually keeps them active! 

There is a fine line for each of us however. We must all work our way UP to tolerance. The idea of “no pain no gain” is not exactly the way to go for most of us. Working a little bit more every day to work up to a comfortable pace is the key. As far as a regularity of moving, he feels that 45 minutes two to three times a week in his free "exercise" class at St Paul's (see info below) or on your own, plus doing our movements every day to stay active, will help immeasurably.  

Water therapy is ideal too. A swimming pool is perfect "exercise" as the water presses against our muscles as we use them, thereby nearly doubling our efforts. Walking in the water and just paddling around is sufficient...laps are not exactly necessary. I did mention to him that many of us are chemical sensitive, and would need to find a pool with a tolerable amount of chlorine and not too much. Also, some are temperature sensitive and the water can’t be too cold or too warm. But even still, if it's at all possible doing the following movements in water, or just walking or paddling around in the pool will help tremendously in easing pain, and rebuilding young healthy cells! 
Dave Stahl’s "Movements:"

As Given to the Mishawaka Fibromyalgia Support Group
                                                                                                                                  October 8, 2013

Most of these can be done sitting in a straight chair with feet comfortably flat on the floor, thighs parallel to the floor - a kitchen chair, for example. Or they can be done standing. You can even stand and do them during TV commercials. Do each exercise 4-6 times or more - working up to tolerance – 12 times each is ideal. 

-turn your head slowly to look right, then slowly turn your head to look left

-look up slowly, then down 

-lean your right ear to right shoulder, then left ear to left shoulder

-stretch arms out and make circles going forward, then make circles going backward

-with elbows at your sides, reach hands out in front and make circles to the right with your
wrists, then to the left.

-with elbows at your side, reach hands out and make circles inward with your wrists, then make
circles going outward.

-with elbows at your sides, hands out front, bend wrists down, then up

-with elbows at your sides, hands out front, bend wrists left, then right

-with hand touching your right shoulder, use your elbow to draw a circle in the air, rotating
shoulder in a forward circle, then in a backward circle

- repeat shoulder rolls, with left shoulder, forward and backward

Note: remain totally relaxed in these movements. Do not force anything, but move a little bit more each time you do them.

-standing behind, and holding the back of a chair, lean slightly to the left, to raise you right ankle
slightly, then bend your right ankle up, then down

-in the same position, move your right ankle to the left, then to the right

-in the same position, rotate your ankle in a circle to the left, then in a circle to the right

-repeat the previous three steps with the left ankle

- standing behind, and holding the back of a chair, lean slightly to the left, and swing your whole
right leg forward, then backward

-in the same position, swing your right leg around in a forward circle, then in a backward circle

-repeat the previous two steps with the left leg 

-stand with hands on hips or to the side, roll hips around in a circle to the left, then in a circle to
the right

-standing in an open area, hands on hips, slowly bend your body forward at the waist, then bend
your body backward

-in the same position, slowly bend your body sideways to the right at the waist, then bend
sideways to the left


-standing behind and holding onto the back of a chair, take a single step back, and spread your
feet to shoulder width apart, then squat down half way, pushing your butt way out behind
you, so that your torso is parallel to the floor, hold that position for a few seconds and repeat.

-standing behind and holding the back of a chair, step back 3-4 steps – you’ll be leaning at an
angle. Begin doing slow gentle push-ups against the back of the chair.
Keep your body straight and elbows flexible. Start with 5 push-ups and work up to tolerance over time working up to 12. Over 12 is too much. [I had a hard time doing 3 the first time.] 

Once your muscles are fatigued, they will begin to rebuild, new young healthy cells.  

For BACK PAIN: Nearly every activity we do requires we lean forward and push or pull or reach etc. To relax your back muscles, stand with hands on hips and slowly bend your body backward at the waist. Do this exercise after driving for long periods, or sitting at a desk, or pushing a vacuum, or lifting grandkids, etc 

~While standing at the kitchen sink doing dishes, we all lean at an uncomfortable angle slightly forward. To relax your back, open the doors under the sink and as you do the dishes, put one foot up on the inside of the cabinet. Then switch feet. This relieves the strain on your low back area.  

~When sleeping on your side, place a pillow between your knees and calves to relax the hip area. ALSO, roll up a towel and place it in the curve at your waist. This helps to keep your spine straight between shoulders and hips. 

~When sleeping on your back, place a pillow under the back of your knees. Also, roll up a towel and place under the small of your back. Again, this helps to keep your spine straight between shoulders and hips. 

~I might interject here that it is important to use the correct pillow – one that fills in the curve at the neck and allow the head to be in perfect alignment with the rest of your spin. This will prevent your chin from going down to your chest and cutting off your airway – it actually opens up your airway and keeps your chin perpendicular to your spine, allowing oxygen to flow freely.

            Dave then demonstrated kinesiology, or muscle testing. This is an excellent way to test foods, supplements, anything, to see if they will benefit your body. Here is a YouTube video demonstration:

Dave told us how very important it is to relax. We all know what stress can do to a body, especially our own body! He then demonstrated a bit about EFT, Emotional Freedom Technique. The basic original EFT explanation and directions can be found on Gary Craig’s site, ; also check out the "Notes" on my facebook page for information about Faster EFT
Dave holds classes, free to the public, at St. Paul’s Retirement Community on Monday and Wednesday evenings at 5:30 pm. They are 45 minutes long and are basically theses movements and more. Call for more information or for listings and places  of the 10:00 am classes elsewhere.

Contact info:

Dave Stahl

Wellness Director at
Sanctuary at St. Paul’s, A Trinity Senior Living Community
3602 South Ironwood Dr., South Bend, IN 46614