Athletic Development: Find Your Flow with Floatation

athletic manBeing an athlete, whether recreational or professional, requires discipline, strength and skill. Athleticism is an intricate balance of physical and mental performance. Floatation therapy is known for its physiological effects on the muscular system and the soft tissues of the body.  Floating in a tub with 800-1000 lbs of Epsom Salt works wonders for the recovery of the body after athletic exertion. Floatation therapy decreases inflammation, relaxes the muscles, increases oxygenation of cells, and speeds recovery from injury.

The physiological effects of floatation are certainly important, but what about its benefits for the mind? The mind thrives in the state of flow. “Flow” was coined by Mihaly Csikszentmihaly a Professor in the Department of Behavioral Science at the University of Chicago, and describes a “state of concentration or complete absorption with the activity at hand. It is a state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter.” This is a common occurrence with most athletes, and is often referred to as being in “the zone”. Floatation offers a unique environment for the development of “flow” for the athlete. Not only does floating decrease stress and anxiety, it increases mental cognition, creativity and clarity.  Michael Hutchison writes, in The Book of Floating;

“It is here that we see the unique value of floating: The flotation tank is a specific and reliable flow-creation tool. On the whole, floaters seem to experience flow every time they enter the tank. Even better, they experience that most elusive and pleasurable thing, long periods of pure, uninterrupted flow.”

Floatation therapy enables one to identify and experience flow and recall that state at will outside of the tank: it is a tool to develop the mind and can be a valuable asset for the athlete in training or anyone who desires to be on top of their game. We are seeing a rise in the number of athletes who are utilizing floatation therapy to enhance their athletic performance. From UFC fighters to NFL teams like the Philadelphia Eagles, floatation is being embraced with documented success. Olympic teams from Sweden, Australia and the UK  employ floatation therapy for athletic training, and many athletes are making floating even more accessible by installing float cabins and tanks in their homes.  With mounting scientific evidence to back up the benefits, floatation therapy may very well become a standard in athletic training and flow development.

References:

Floatation Therapy Current Concepts, Austrialian Institute for Sports.

The Acute Effects of Flotation Restricted Environmental Stimulation Technique on Recovery From Maximal Eccentric Exercise, Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 2013.

Floatation REST and Imagery in the Improvement of Athletic Performance, Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 1990.

Effects of flotation-REST on muscle tension pain, Journal of the Canadian Pain Society, 2001.

 

 

 

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Yoga Poses for Pregnancy Bliss

I was recently asked by a client what yoga poses were helpful during pregnancy. I wasn’t able to answer the question off the top of my head so I decided to put together a list and post it for any other mom’s to be who might also be interested.

If you have never tried yoga you may think of it as nothing more than exercise, a series of postures designed to sculpt our body. Let us not forget that Yoga is much, much more than this. The word “Yoga” means union, its holistic practice unites our body, mind and spirit and connects us to the infinite. During pregnancy the practice of yogic postures (asanas) coupled with yogic breathing (prananyam) and daily meditation  facilitates balance for the mother and the child in all three areas.

It is important to always listen to your body while doing yoga especially during pregnancy, do not over exert yourself. stay calm and focus on your breathing while visualizing a conscious healthy pregnancy and delivery. These gentle yoga postures are safe during a normal healthy pregnancy, please consult your physician or midwife before practicing yoga. Enjoy!

Easy Pose – Sukhasana

Butterfly Pose – Purna Titliasana

Cat Cow – Marjariasana

Goddess pose- Supta Baddha Konasana

Lunge- Anjaneyasna

Childs pose- Balasana

https://youtu.be/uxY2UofbghA.

Pregnancy and Massage a Sacred Journey

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photos-pregnant-woman-belly-pregnancy-concept-image34391478Massage has been practiced throughout recorded history and has been an important part of  pregnancy and childbearing for millennia. Pregnancy and birth are a sacred journey, one that creates a miraculous environment for awareness and healing. As a massage therapist, there is nothing quite like working with a mother and her unborn child. The beauty of pregnancy and the energy of new life in the womb gives rise to a deep reverence for the journey the mother and child are on together.

Historically, pregnancy and childbirth were seen to by midwives, healers, birth attendants and family members. Massage was an important tool in assessing the mothers well being, the position of the unborn child and managing stress and pain before, during and after the birth. With the rise of modern medicine and a more clinical birthing environments we have lost some of these beneficial practices. Prenatal massage is making a comeback through the rise of birthing centers and the resurgence of midwifery and doula’s.

Massage therapy increases an individuals awareness of their body and for the pregnant woman, whose body is growing and changing everyday, this awareness is an amazing tool in understanding and accommodating their needs and connecting with their baby.  In addition to body awareness, prenatal massage provides relief from stress and discomfort associated with pregnancy. Stress relief is important for expecting mothers as stress during pregnancy has been shown to cause immune deficiency, nausea, birth complications, including preterm labor, decreases in blood supply to the uterus, fetal distress and even miscarriage.

Benefits of Prenatal Massage include:

Massage during pregnancy can be preformed not only by a licensed Massage Therapist, but by the pregnant mother herself. Gentle massage can have a soothing effect on both mother and baby. In his book, Nurturing the Unborn Child, Thomas Verny, M.D. writes that after the sixth month of gestation the unborn baby can sense massage of the abdomen and respond to that touchThis implies that not only does the mother benefits mentally and physically but so does the baby! Perhaps this type of nurturing touch could even increase the babies awareness of itself and its relationship to its mother and the world at large through the facilitator of the massage.

Prenatal Massage is safe providing the mother-to-be is experiencing a normal, healthy pregnancy. There are certain contraindications and cautions for pregnancy massage such as risk of pre-term labor, preecclampsia, ecclampsia, blood clots and clotting disorders. Consult your physician prior to receiving massage if you have any concerns..