Neuroplasticity - the brain muscle connectionNeuroplasticity: A Key to Managing Stress, Anxiety, and Slowing Aging

One of the buzz words for 2018 will be “neuroplasticity.” Neuroplasticity is the combined effects of all body processes involved in stabilising or counteracting aging processes. This is a rapidly growing field of research, driven by the voices of baby boomers striving to live long, healthy, productive lives. Effects are far-reaching and may one day be able to slow the onset of dementia, enhance recovery from strokes and heart attacks, and manage other chronic diseases. Currently, neuroplasticity is being investigated as a tool for managing stress, anxiety, overall health and slowing down aging.

This concept of neuroplasticity excited Joan—a connection between the mind and body that could bring about long-term benefits! This past year, she was thrilled to attend two workshops with facia master trainer, Marie-Jose Blom. Marie-Jose’s courses integrate brain science with fascia research, and integrate these into Pilates exercise programs.

Joan returned from these courses invigorated (of course!), with a new, richer understanding of neuroplasticity, and a gym bag full of strategies for applying this understanding to Pilates exercises.

In terms of neuroplasticity, Joan will use the knowledge that “fascia needs the right kind of load environment and movement to control muscle action” to help students build neuroplasticity in her Pilates classes. By facilitating appropriate postural alignment, creating efficient loading patterns, reminders about balance, breathing, and mindful movement, students will be able to better manage stress, anxiety, pain, their overall health and aging processes.

 

Mindful movements build brain resilience

Building brain resilience with mindfulness

The latest and greatest on decreasing your chance of Alzheimer's disease or any other form of neurodegeneration involves mindful movement.

A program of mindful movement was developed at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in the 1970's, by Professor Jon Kabat-Zinn, to treat stress, pain and a range of maladies and life issues that were difficult to treat in a medical setting. The mindfulness-based movements, such as yoga, Pilates, and body awareness, included any physical activity where the participant needed to use their brain to do the activity. The program, known as Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) was successful at treating stress, pain and other disorders, however the researchers did not know why it was successful. Kabat-Zinn is known worldwide as a meditation teacher responsible for bringing mindfulness into the mainstream of medicine and society.

Fast-forward a few decades to June, 2017, when the Journal of Translational Psychiatry reported on a factor, called the REST1 Factor, that appears to be a key regulator of an aging brain's stress response2.  The report indicates that the REST factor concentration is decreased in a person’s blood under conditions of stress and Alzheimer's disease, leading the research team to suggest that increasing the REST factor concentration may be neuroprotective. 

People who received mindfulness training showed increases in the blood concentrations of REST, as compared with the control group that did not receive mindfulness training. As well, increased REST levels were correlated with a reduction in psychiatric symptoms associated with stress and Alzheimer's disease risk.  All of this data supports the role of REST factor in slowing or minimizing neurodegeneration. 

This is great news for people who participate in Pilates, yoga, and other mindfulness activities. In addition to lubricating your joints, building strength and flexibility in your muscles, you’re also increasing the strength, flexibility, and resilience of your mind!   

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2 Journal of Translational Psychiatry, https://www.nature.com/articles/tp2017113

Frozen Shoulder: 1. Anatomy

Dr. Michael Buna, an educator and chiropractor, identifies specific parts of the shoulder joint anatomy, in preparation for the next two videos that detail how frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis) develops, and treatment options for dealing with frozen shoulder.

 

Video Transcript: Frozen Shoulder: Anatomy

Good afternoon. Today we're going to talk about frozen shoulder. And the first part we're going to do is we're going to talk about anatomy, so you understand the names of the things I need to label for you guys.

So in the shoulder and frozen shoulder, you always hear about the rotator cuff. “They’ve got a rotator cuff injury.” What is a rotator cuff? Well it doesn't really describe much, it only describes four muscles. So we’ve written them up over here. We use the acronym SITS. It stands for Subscapularis, Supraspinatus, Infraspinatus and Teres minor.

Here's a picture of your back, where your shoulder blade is, the hard bone. And on this bone is a thing we call the spine of the scapula. So the supraspinatus lives up here. The infraspinatus lives below the spine. The subscapularis lives on the other side of the shoulder blade or on the front of the shoulder blade between the bone and the chest.

And the last one that Teres minor. It hooks on here and hooks on to the bone here which is the humerus – the arm bone.

But I also want to talk about a couple of other things. This is your arm, these are your fingers. There's your bicep. There's your triceps. There's the tendons for each of them and that's going to be important in a few minutes. All right.

And the other structure we want to talk about, is a structure called the capsule. And the capsule is a bag of fluid that holds fluid in all the joints in our body. So we have finger joints that have capsules on them, toe joints, knee joints. All the joints have capsules and it holds the synovial fluid in them. The synovial fluid is there to lubricate the joint.

Now in the shoulder, the capsule is a little bit different than anywhere else in your body. In the shoulder the capsule is hooked on like this, and it is hooked on here but it sags down like this. OK. So it's sagging all the time to allow us to do this action. Which is abduction - so you steal from the middle, that's what abduction is.

Now. There's another structure we have to talk about. And he lives right here and he’s called the subacromial bursa. And then, on the other side on the front of the shoulder is the subcoracoid bursa. And those are the structures in the shoulder we're going to need to learn about today.

 

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