Sorry I've been silent lately; I've been super-busy, and due to the nerve damage from my Lyme Disease, I often don't have the physical ability to type after I go about my other, regular duties. By the way, most of the posts you read take me days to write, because I can't type for too long at a time. Anyway, I had a blog-worthy event happen on Tuesday that I wanted to share about. My brilliant acupuncturist, Michele Masset, is also a physical therapist and certified in a lot of other therapeutic techniques, including Yamuna Body Rolling (YBR). First, let me state what YBR is not: it is not the classes at the gym with people rolling around on Swiss balls or on foam rollers. YBR is the original small ball therapy using specially designed six- to ten-inch rubber balls to release muscular tension, improve flexibility, decompress the joints, increase range of motion, build core strength and help realign postural imbalances. This is a system for total body care that includes elements of rolfing, weight-bearing exercise, stretching, core strengthening, and neuromuscular reeducation. I think my experience Tuesday is testimony that YBR is a simple program with profound results.
The bottom, middle of my feet have been hurting badly lately. I'd seen my podiatrist, but like most of the time I leave a doctor's office, I felt like we were addressing the symptom, but not the cause. I was excited to see Michele, because she has so many different therapies she can draw from, and she has literally lived around the world learning best practices, and continues to take seminars around the world to further her education to better help her patients. Michele did a thorough physical therapy evaluation, and said it was no mystery why my feet were hurting: my arches are collapsed, which is making the muscles in my calves and butt work way overtime. The rest of the muscles in my legs are atonal, virtually floppy. This muscular/postural imbalance makes my knees turn inward, exacerbating the foot problems. Fortunately, she thinks YBR is perfect for this.
There are two main ways to do YBR on my legs. The first involves laying on my back on the floor with my rump bumping up against the couch, and my legs up on the couch. I put the YBR ball, which is inflatable to the desired pressure, under my calf just below the knee and slowly work my way down. Michele taught me how to apply pressure using the correct body rolling technique. The other method is to kneel, and put the ball on my calf and keep it there by applying pressure with the back of my thigh. Either way, it feels so good! I basically felt those muscles lengthen and unwind. We followed the YBR with stretching. One of the stretches we did has caused me excruciating pain in the past, but after rolling it didn't, because body rolling decompressed the muscles being stretched. We worked only on my left leg that day, so I could see the difference between it and my right one, and it was profound. Not only did my left leg feel open, longer, and more relaxed, it actually looked different -- my left knee was facing forward, correctly aligned, while my right one remained turned inward. It was such a dramatic and amazing thing, I had to call my husband and tell him about this after I left. For those of you wondering, of course I bought a ball so I could treat my right leg at home, and I've been using it!
The other part of my new regimen is to use the YBR Foot Wakers pictured at the top of this post. A few months ago, I took one of the monthly lunchtime YBR foot classes that Michele holds regularly. Instead of using regular YBR balls, you use the Wakers, which stay flat on the floor and are covered in little nubbins. Standing on these is intense, no doubt about it; my house guest tried and said, "I thought those would be cuddly and comfortable, but they hurt!" The intensity is necessary to open and relax those neglected and cramped bones, muscles, and connective tissues in your feet. Although they're intense, the Wakers are tolerable, and are made easier by the YBR technique's emphasis on relaxing into the balls while exhaling. Michele told me using my wakers every day will go a long way toward improving the underlying foot problems that are causing my imbalance and the resulting pain.
Although I bemoan the lack of holistic health care options in our area compared to the West Coast, I am so very grateful to live in a city with more holistic options than most places east of Oregon. Practitioners like Michele, and my massage therapist, Gail Messier (who also uses some alternative, very effective techniques), really make my life manageable by offering some tangible relief from pain.
If you're someone who has any ongoing physical problems, or if you just want to free muscular restriction caused by stress, improve bone density, and rebalance your body, I'd definitely encourage you to check out YBR. The Web site I linked to above has a directory of trained practitioners around the world. I just commented to my husband that this post sounds almost sales-like and gimmicky, but I really am that enthused about this. I promise it's my natural enthusiasm, not a paid endorsement!