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Partner Up: The Intersection Of Health Care And Self-Care

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by Kate Krumsiek

We hear a great deal about the various forms of self-care lately and, in many ways, it covers a huge gap in healthcare for maintenance issues of stress relief, chronic pain and injury recovery. The old “apple a day keeps the doctor away” adage can be applied to consistent upkeep of our human bodies, yet the relationship between caring for oneself and being under the care of a doctor are two very different, and often contrasting, experiences.

Many of us have crinkled that white paper beneath our seats as we wait for a doctor to enter an exam room and deliver their diagnosis of our health through tests, history, etc. This common experience is likely one of our most un-embodied in life — we are literally displaying ourselves for examination as just a physical body and waiting for a verdict. Often, doctors dismiss patient reports as uneducated – they rely on tests, facts on paper, rather than the human directly in front of them and, at times, this is unfortunately necessary. But with a practice of self-care, I believe that people can bring a scientific approach to observing their own physical experience of symptoms, fluctuations in performance and pain, to provide an essential window of information for doctors.

This intersection, where healthcare and self-care can join hands to forge a clearer path toward overall integrated health, will be critical going forward. Requisite in this partnership is the patient’s willingness to step toward responsibility for their health, and inject a practice of caring for themselves in the service of making life both longer and better.

This partnership is where I believe health care is going in the near future. With all of the recent changes in our healthcare systems, we are called upon as patients to be more empowered in influencing our care and, in turn, are more responsible. If we cast a blind eye toward our self-care, we miss out on a massive opportunity to be more informative and effective in relationships with our doctors during the rough times of illness and injury, as well as in preserving a body that will thrive for a lifetime.

The word partnership requires that both parties contribute — the doctor, having spent years in study, contributes the knowledge of THE human body, coupled with potential treatments, experience with other patients and research, while the patient can add insight into their individualbody, including symptoms, alterations in function and, pertinent observations.

I have a student, Adam, just beyond middle aged who has tackled some health concerns in his time that exemplifies the awesome potential of this partnership.Adam4305small

After a bout with the flu this winter, Adam had intense calf pain and difficulty taking deep
breaths. He was able to report these specific symptoms to his doctor as a result of the
careful and various methods of self-care he employs on a regular basis. Diagnosis: blood clots in his calf muscles and those clots collect on the surface of the lungs creating the difficulty in breathing. He was prescribed blood-thinning medications and he augments this treatment with a focus on self-care.

He attends yoga classes, practices soft tissue massage with therapy balls and a vibrating massage tool, runs, and uses his inversion table twice daily. These tools, including grippy, pliable, Yoga Tune Up Therapy Balls, inspired him to describe himself as “a little laboratory – I explore the effects in my body and try to trace back to the causes, and treat the causes.” That sense of exploration and curiosity informs the choices he makes, from food to movement to stress reduction. Partnered up with his doctor’s advice, this strategy has empowered him to take charge of his health and the quality of his life. That is quite an alliance – an alliance for good living!

Bo Forbes elucidates the power of interoception in her work as a clinical psychologist and yoga therapist. Through a system of self-care, in the form of mindful movement and inward awareness, Bo believes that we can train the mind to release the story line that has been put in place through past experience and pain’s leftover legacy in the body. We develop a “sensory awareness of the fluctuations within (the body) from moment to moment,” as opposed to following the same old story and getting what we expect in return. She refers to the practice of “entering the body without a sense of mastery,” which I believe is shared with Adam’s description of his body as “a little laboratory.”

When we are able to stop re-writing the same old story lines of our past and fully experience our bodies, in both health and illness, proper function and injury, we see and feel what is truly present. This skill makes us, as patients, more reliable reporters for our health care providers and enables us to witness the subtle changes that occur within as treatment progresses.

Dr. Adam Wadel, a chiropractor with a bustling business outside of Boston, reiterates this by saying that patients who employ self-care practices ranging from mindful healthy eating to meditation retreats, “are more apt to seek out assistance in their health challenges as well as being more open to making the needed changes to reach their health goals. These patients regularly heal faster and more efficiently.”

The best part of this partnership is that power is in our own hands. There is vast information regarding the introduction to self-care practices that we can welcome into our lives and experiment with as potential welcome mats into our individual “little laboratories.” These practices, when well vetted, can reintroduce us to the internal panorama that we lose sight of in our busy daily lives. This personal panorama holds a powerful key to overall health and contributes to a true partnership between doctor and patient, where both offer vital and informed data to best serve the patient in a long, healthy, mobile, and integrated life.

~Originally published by Yogadork.com

From the start, the practice of yoga did it all for Kate Krumsiek – fitness, awareness, IMG_2881cleankksmallbreath, alignment and clarity of mind. Kate couldn’t resist her drive to pass those gems along to others from the teacher’s mat. Her 200 hour training with Natasha Rizopolous provided an exceptional foundation of yogic knowledge from which to learn, teach and cast a wide net for continued study. Yoga Tune Up teacher training refined her lens of understanding to shine upon the anatomical and corrective aspects for practice – helping students, alongside myself, identify and address postural habits that impair efficient, effective movement in the body. 

Balance celebrates its Students from 4-84 years of age.

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Thanks to all who attended out Grand Re-Opening reception this past Friday evening!  It was a gorgeous night, the sunset was spectacular, the air was filled with the sound of Caribbean steel drums, the food was amazing and the sangria was flowing. I am so bsopening staffsmallgrateful to our administration  support staff, our teachers, our builders and craftsmen and to all of our students who weathered our renovation the past few months. Special thanks to my fiance Jamey who offered his patience and needed muscle for the second floor demo and to the rest of my family for putting up with my craziness to wrap up on time, stick to our class schedule and bring it all together before the party.
My heart was bursting as student after student shared what Balance Studio means to them and how the students and our community as a whole has become an integral part of their lives. I sometimes hear that people are intimidated to come to Balance and it breaks my heart and makes me more determined than every to change that misconception. They think that everyone is beautiful, skinny or dressed to the nines. They feel that they are too old, too young, not strong enough or fit enough to come to our classes…that couldn’t be further from the truth.
As a community, we range from the ages of 4-84. We are men, women, children and teens. Our classes range from restorative yoga to Cardio Fusion and everything in between.  There is literally a class for everyone!
Last month we highlighted Hilton Hudson, an amazing young man who took home 3 gold IMG_6433
medals and several other team medals for swimming at the Junior Olympics earlier this summer. I mistakenly quoted his age at 16 because of his poise, self confidence and easy going manner. His proud Mom let me know after the article was printed that Hilton is only 12! I was shocked, keep your eyes open for this boy in the future.
This month our focus spans the course of  a few more decades. Adam Vogel, a regular at Balance was highlighted in a recent Blog post by Kate Krumsiek, one of our newer teachers at Balance.  Kate has been teaching yoga for years but has recently joined our team. She teaches a Foundational Flow and Yoga Tune Up and is hosting a workshop later this month called Body in Balance a guide in relieving chronic tension. Check out her blog here and see what yoga has done for Adam and how it could help improve not only how you feel but how you move, age and live a pain free life.
The Fall schedule starts this week, we have added in several unheated Vinyasa flows, additional Hatha classes, we’ve brought back our noon all level flows 4 days a week and are offering a Thursday evening Pilates mat class and 2 days of “Lunch at the barre”. We do listen to your suggestions and do the best we can to accommodate requests.  In case it didn’t work for your schedule this summer, check out our 8:00am vinyasa flows on Tues, Thurs and Fridays and our Monday and Wednesday 8:15 barre classes. With more than 65 class offerings a week there is no excuse not to come back into Balance this fall!
Hope to see you at the studio.
Kellie

Balance Studio is Expanding!

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Balance Studio is excited to announce that we are expanding!  This spring we will begin
construction in the Focus Gallery space on the first floor, adding another studio, relocating our check-in desk and expanding our retail selection.  We are targeting the end of June for our Grand Opening.  This expansion allows us to increase our class offerings and alleviate congestion between classes by making more community space available on both floors.  To ensure that your practice is not interrupted, we plan to maintain a full class schedule during the renovation.

 

We hope that you are as excited as we are about the expansion of our space and our services.  We want to make Balance Studio the best it can be for our wonderful community of clients, teachers and staff.  You will be receiving a short survey later this week.  Please take a few minutes to share your thoughts with us!

 

On a personal level, it has been 10-weeks since my knee surgery and I am feeling stronger every day! Pilates has helped me maintain my fitness level and has been central to my recovery.  Earlier this week I was able to take my first Barre class since my accident.  I was reminded how the micro movements of Barre strengthen the body.  It is no surprise it will help me regain my pre-injury strength.  Lotte Burke, the founder of the Barre movement, created the method 15 years ago with the physical therapist with who she worked while recovering from a serious injury.

 

As warmer weather approaches, I am continually asked what the best way is to get in shape and to stay in shape.  It’s a pretty simple recipe and consistency is the key.  You need a healthy balanced diet to fuel a dedicated and consistent practice of cross training your body to build strength, and to achieve and maintain results.   It helps to love your method – whether it’s Pilates, Yoga or Barre or even better, a combination of these disciplines.  The goal is sustained health, not a quick fix prior to vacation or to fit in that special outfit.  Once you embrace fitness as a lifestyle you will be able to maintain your optimal fitness level and feel fantastic everyday.  I will be there right next to you working my way back to my 100%

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