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Elaine's Pain Management Blog
       

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Elaine Petrone Simple Way Everyone Can Raise Energy Levels in the Afternoon

Tap In To Your Energy by Kate Hanley [kate@msmindbody.com]

I'm writing this at 3:30 in the afternoon—prime time for a serious slump in energy. Looking for new ways to perk up, I reached for the latest offering from Elaine Petrone, one of my favorite go-to sources for ingenious yet simple ways to get in touch with your breath, reduce stress, and help your body feel its best.
A former professional dancer, Petrone suffered a debilitating injury that conventional medicine couldn't fix—eventually, her right leg shrank to half its original size and doctors told her she'd walk with a limp for the rest of her life. She began studying rehabilitative movement with every teacher she could find, and ultimately came to the conclusion that what's generally at the root of chronic pain is over-tight, over-worked muscles that pull the body out of alignment. She and her books are excellent sources of simple yet profound ways to release that tension you are likely not even aware that you're holding, deepen the breath, and set the stage for energy to circulate unimpeded.
The title of this latest book is The Portable Miracle Ball Method, and as its name suggests, many of the exercises in it use a grapefruit-sized rubber ball (that comes packaged with the mini-sized book and a small bag to carry them both in—making the whole kit easy to toss in a suitcase and keep you ache-free on the road). I've used the ball as she suggests, and often give myself back massages by lying on the floor with two tennis balls on either side of my spine. But today the exercise that caught my eye doesn't require any props except your own two hands. Called Tapping the Breastbone, this exercise is subtly energizing, de-stressing, and helps you feel more supported by coaxing your spine in to a more erect posture. (And it's yet another way to access the Sea of Tranquility acupressure point, which I've written about before.) Here's how to do it:
Tapping the Breastbone
• Sit up tall in your chair or cross-legged on the floor.
• Lightly cup your fingers and let your wrists be loose.
• Tap the fingertips of both hands up and down your breastbone—which runs horizontally directly between your boobs and is approximately six inches long from bottom to top.
• As you tap, notice the subtle changes you feel in your body. Pause after 30 seconds or so and focus on detecting any effects.
• If a co-worker sees you and asks what you're doing, give him or her your best Tarzan imitation, a la Carol Burnett (it's four and a half minutes in, but it's worth the wait if you've got the time).
• As you tap, notice the subtle changes you feel in your body. Pause after 30 seconds or so and focus on detecting any effects.
While I was tapping, I noticed that I took a big deep breath after a few seconds. When I was done, my chest felt a lot more open, and I felt that my weight had shifted so that my upper back was doing more to support the weight of my shoulders, neck and head (instead of having all that mass slump forward toward my keyboard, requiring my neck to carry most of the load). I also felt like the light in the room was a little brighter. Pretty powerful stuff for something free, fast, and easy!
What are your natural ways to wake up?
What do you do when the afternoon ughs hit? Share your tips by leaving a comment, and if I publish yours in the next Vegimental, I'll send you your very own The Portable Miracle Ball Method.
Congrats to Twainhart Hill!
She wrote in her with her winter-reading recommendation, and won a copy of Pleasure Healing: Mindful Practices & Sacred Spa Rituals for Self-Nurturing by Mary Beth Janssen for doing so. Here's her suggestion:

"My cozy reading this winter was a book called 'Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World.' It is a real story about a stray cat that is heart-warming and creates a lot of good fuzzy feelings. It has kept a smile on my face for some time."
Take care and keep breathing,
Kate

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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Miracle Balls Plus Breathing Burns Fat

I work with a lot of people who have some major and some minor weight concerns. Breathing burns fat. Improved breathing also improves the suppleness of your muscles so they lengthen and realign. Using the miracle balls is a good time to improve your breath. There are many, many reasons for a person who has weight concerns to use the method. Most people are only concerned about what they put in their mouth and not about how the body actually works. 70% of all the bodies waste is processed through the breath. The body processes 3 things food, liquid and oxygen. Simply put (I could go into detail at another time) Better breathing more easily burns fat. That is why exercise burns fat because of the large increase in oxygen throughout the body. But it can be difficult for obese people to run at first try. The balls will ease the pressure on the hips and thighs but also help to limber up.

Not only that, when your muscles are more supple your body shape changes. Many people find if they don't lose so many pounds they still look like they do since the fat is redistributed. It also relieves the stress. Many of us eat when under stress. When stress is eased so is the desire to satisfy ourselves with food. The pressure for most large people who exercise can be too much in the hips and legs. Obese people find the balls very supportive and a great tool to feel movement throughout the body.

Using the 2 miracle balls under the buttocks is excellent for hips and thighs. Include the breathing with feeling the weight of the body to circulate the breath throughout the body. Large people do not have to modify. If something doesn't feel good they can use the ball in a different place. Using the Body Formula is the most important piece to understand.

“Making changes…one breath at a time”
www.elainepetrone.com

Best!

Elaine

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Trainers Experience with Elaine Petrone Method "Truly Remarkable"

"The intensive immersion training was a truly remarkable experience for me. The changes in my own body I found to be remarkable, I continue to find to be remarkable."

"What is most profound to me, I think, is the beautiful simplicity of it all, and the ease of doing the method. Not that it is either simple or easy - it's hard work, and it's important work. What I mean rather is that it is unadorned and honest."

"I was also surprised by the fundamental changes that I felt in my own body doing the work. It really feels like I have discovered something precious. I am no longer nearly so anxious about my own body issues related to injury, imbalance and overuse. I guess that would be another area of surprise overall with the method - just how paradoxically subtle and simultaneously profound it is to apply the simple body formula."

"I feel that I've learned a great deal about the method, and I feel confident that I am teaching something valuable, safe and effective."

Our newest certified instructors are located in Brooklyn, NY, Charlottesville, VA and The Netherlands.

Certification Workshop Training with Elaine Petrone

Reduce muscle tension and chronic pain
Learn how understanding breath and exercise makes big changes in the body
Discover how to recover body alignment and reach peak performance levels
Acquire new powerful tools to help your clients reach their full potential for a healthy mind and body

Dates: August 7-9th, 10:00-4:00pm

Place: Tully Health & Fitness Institute
32 Strawberry Hill Court
Stamford, CT 06902

To register contact elaine@elainepetone.com
www.elainepetrone.com

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Looking For Results on the Miracle Ball

Elaine,

When I look back in October of last year I was able to use one ball under the very end of my tail bone but now I have to use two and sometimes I lay there for a half an hour and still can't find the spot, when I lay on my back I feel like a turtle and every time I think of doing the balls I panic and get very anxious it seems to consume my time trying to get what others are getting , I have noticed if I have one good experience I never have it again, one time I did the knee bend for back relief it felt great but for a couple of hours but because I continued to stand I could feel the muscles tensing up again so I tried to do it again but did not get the same result instead it tensed them up more, now every time I try to do it all I can feel are my knees. I can't tell what's going on down there even if I look at my knees while I'm doing the knee bend for back relief. I have not had all the great results the other people have had.

Anonymous

Thank you for your e-mail. These are the reasons I wrote the book and spent hours and probably years refining the directions. It is very easy to have the experiences you have had. When I was on the road many people expressed difficulty and yet a sense that they had very good experiences one day and not the next. The CD’s have been helpful for some because there is a constant reminder of the method directions.

I would suggest as I say to most people,I tell this to my students in classes and even one on one, The directions are essential. It is what we say to ourselves while we are doing the method. Most beginners wait for a response and then take shots in the dark that something will work. If you re-read the Body Formula. It explains the breathing sections. Spend time with this. This will give you the sense of Weight or release of the weight of the part of your body that rests on the ball. Without the breathing sections we are truly going to get random results.

Then the next question is about the breathing. We must make the ssss sound or use an exhalation to stimulate the diaphragm. Without this the breathing stays trapped and you are likely to feel frustrated. That is your bodies way of speaking to you.

I would go back to the breathing and try 5-10 minutes following those directions. Then I would place the ball but “not” to feel relief but to notice how the weight of this part of the body rests or does”not”rest on the ball. Each answer is important to observe because then you can begin the Body Dialogue explained in the book. You start to notice responses. Don’t do the work to get results but to understand how you live in your body. The ways in which you hold your muscles and hold your breath. Then change is easy.We are usually looking for the end before we take the time to know how to get there. I have done all of these things myself so I hope I can help you.

Please keep in touch and Let me know.

Elaine

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Competitive Athlete Releases Tight Muscles, Improves her Jumping Ability by 4 Inches Higher

I have been a Certified Instructor of the Elaine Petrone Method for a few years now and I have really enjoyed teaching in Mundelein IL. Many of my students have found relief from chronic pain and muscle tension. It has been so rewarding teaching the Elaine Petrone Method.

Recently, I have been working with an athlete, a sophomore in high school. She is on a highly competitive volleyball team that travels the Unites States. She started to have some low back pain, as so many athletes do. After working with the balls for a short time she was able to relieve the low back pain. When she went back to playing she was able to jump 4 inches higher! All of the other players and competitors noticed right away. They all wanted to know what “special training” she was getting. The only thing extra she was doing was the Elaine Petrone Method! As we know, tight muscles are stiff and thick, while released muscles are long and supple.

I am always amazed at the number of people and the different types of people this method helps. The miracle balls are great for everyone, from those suffering with stress and chronic muscle pain to the athlete who is trying to get the most out of there bodies.

Susan Homsey

Join Elaine Petrone for Certification Training May 12-17,2009 in Stamford CT, and July 24-26th at The Omega Institute. *Earn CE credit* gain new skills *receive certification. Find more information at www.elainepetrone.com

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Monday, March 2, 2009

Oral Cancer Patient Makes Changes to Her Posture and Pain with Miracle Ball Method

Hi Elaine,

I recently tried the miracle ball method for my neck and shoulders. I had tongue cancer 2 years ago and had a very invasive surgery to my face head and neck. I also had radiation which caused a lot of scar tissue where I had a neck dissection.

I have noticed a hug difference in my posture and evenness of my neck and the pain has been much alleviated.

Just wanted to let you know how effective it is for head and neck cancer patients. THANK YOU!!!!
Kate

Dear Kate

Thank you for your e-mail. With your permission I would like to include this in a blog on my website. Everyday I receive e-mails from those with questions who would benefit from learning about the positive changes others like you have experienced using the method.

I have been teaching for many years. This is not a medical procedure. At this time there have not been double blind studies or research proving the efficacy of this method for specific conditions. At the Stamford Hospital where I teach, I am planning on starting such research shortly. That will take time. Until then it has always been the students of this work sharing their experiences. I always remind new students that I have never seen someone NOT benefit in over 30 years of teaching. This method works, unless of course you are not doing the work. My mission is to help with the directions, to help others who are not able to get to a class or those who are inspired to teach learn this method.

I receive questions from those with varying conditions from Restless Leg syndrome to occasional low back ache to severe pain from a past injury or accident. This is not a pill that is targeted towards one condition. It is not a cure for a disease. I can only encourage them to try the method.

There are systems in the body that are constantly negatively impacted by excess stress, illness, and alignment. We need to become aware of our physical body, not how to fix it. Become aware of details of how you live in your body. For example, are you constantly holding your jaw tight, stiffening your back, holding your breath? Be open to learning. Your body will teach you. How you live in your body is you!

It is always good to remind ourselves that there is no one like us. That in itself is amazing. Awareness also includes thoughts and behaviors. DO you breathe differently when you get great news? What does that feel like? Learn from that. Does your breathing get shallow and do you feel stiff with bad news or after a stressful day. We all have ways of directing ourselves. Is it in a positive way or are you extremely critical. Do you feel a connection to your physical body if you are particularly hard on yourself? Many people keep pain cycles alive because they are convinced there pain will always be there. We lose our sense of hope. I know this from teaching for so many years but mostly from first hand experience.

This awareness may seem intellectually simple, and it is, but to feel your body physiologically stimulates the recovery systems in the body. Making that distinction is the key to powerful changes and improvement in your mind and body. People call this the mind body connection. That makes sense. The problem that I have with this is that we are all so disconnected. The connections we have are on an unconscious level. We are not able to positively benefit from the mind body connection unless we are aware of how connected our thoughts are to our body and vice versa.

Once you are growing in this process you can experiment. Let’s say on a day that you don’t feel quite right and you feel the tightness or the particular way you are breathing, you are clear what you feel. Then you add something you have learned to do with the ball or your breathing. Without forcing you let your body give in to its own weight with gravity, you allow yourself to breathe, you encourage yourself with your thoughts. You break the cycle of stress and pain. Learn to speak to yourself differently. Live differently. Change is a challenge.

Best,
Elaine

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Pain Relief After Spinal Fusion and Disc Herniations

Elaine,

What has been your experience working with individuals with persistent back
or neck pain after a spinal fusion? Those with known disc herniations ? Do
you limit them or treat them differently? Do you require a referral from
their treating providers?

Sally Garhart MD
Bedford Occupational and Acute Care
Bedford, NH

Dear Sally:

Having a spinal fusion or herniated discs is painful. Pain increases muscle
tension. Increased muscle tension is one of our bodies response to pain. We
cringe. We tighten, we are trying to find a way to almost protect ourselves
from feeling more pain. This of course exacerbates these problems. By using
the method to reduce the tension, a person can begin to breathe. During
their time doing the work they can feel the tight grip they have on their
muscles easing. As a result the pain eases. As a result many of these people
can begin to move which is essential for them to strengthen the areas that
have the difficulty.
Most therapies want a person to exercise but after surgery or when dealing
with areas that hurt, a person does not want to move. They then get more
stiff,muscle tension further exacerbates the problem and they end up with
the cycling of pain.

My experience working with spinal fusions and herniated disc has been
consistently successful because I am not challenging a person to feel more
pain and push thru it. I am first asking them to feel how much they are
resisting movement and holding their breath. As they understand this process
they can begin to let their muscles ease up enough to move. This then allows
them to lengthen and strengthen their muscles. This will relieve the
herniation and improve their overall range of motion. But first they must
spend time understanding the method enough so they feel confident they can
begin to move again without pain.

Hope this helps.

Best

Elaine

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