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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,

I am writing this after my morning yoga class where I can now bend and stretch in ways that I thought I had lost forever. I am 60 years old and started using the miracle balls 2 years ago for hip bursitis and arthritis in numerous places.
This simple journey of breathing and letting go has moved into spiritual territory. I am now breathing in forgiveness in all it's shimmering colors and breathing out buried traumas also of assorted dark colors and can feel some sort of ancient armor falling away and streaming out of my muscles. I am reaching and healing wounds that no amount of excellent therapy has reached. The word miracle has taken on new meaning and these little balls have been well-named but I am also calling them my prayer balls. Getting in touch with my breath has opened a very big door. Thank you Elaine Petone!!
Please publish this comment to help many with the afternoon slump that hits us. I drink lots of water to help with that sluggish feeling. If that doesnt help, I go climb some stairs to energize and circulate the blood and oxygen. If stairs arent available I do what is called a set of mountain climbers, down on all fours and move right leg in and out then left in and out and repear about 25 times. This really works and the water does too, by this time of day we may be dehydrated, especially if we had coffee or tea earlier or any of those nasty sodas.
I have just been blessed by finding your "Miracle Ball Method" - What a difference this is making for me! My energy raising solution comes from relieving facial tension by doing the following: sticking the tongue out and gently holding it at the base with the teeth, keeping a straight forward head, look up with the eyes and randomly tap the bottom of your chin with your knuckles for 60 - 120 seconds. You will feel quick relief!! I have been spreading the word about the tremendous relief and the common sense approach of the Miracle Ball Method since I have started it. Thank you for sharing your discovery!
Thanks you so much for your e-mail. We appreciate hearing from you and agree> It changed my life. Keep it up. We would like to put testimonials on website if you would be alright with that. Keep in touch.



I have borrowed your product from an associate and have started using it, but it seems like the 2 balls are somewhat deflated (I'd say almost 1/4 to 1/2 flat when compressed), so was curious, since I didnt see any mention of this in the book "the Miracle Ball Method" as to how "full" or firm the balls should be, i.e., pump them up as much as you would a basketball or soccer ball, or do I want them to be about half flat?

thank you and hopefully this works, I am having terrible pain, numbness, and tingling all up and down my right arm/hand (thinking it's carpal tunnel) due to my job and obviously can't quit. I am desperate for something to help this to avoid causing permanent damage, so am really hoping your method works!

Dustin Adams
Hi Dustin,

On page 36 of the Miracle Ball Method book, "About the Ball," it explains that the ball has give to it. If you feel like it is too soft for your liking, or too hard in some cases, you can use a bike pump to add or subtract air. We also sell a pump on our website, www.elainepetrone.com. The exact amount of air is based on personal preference. When you use the ball, you are learning ways to feel the body to rest. At that point, you are able to use the Body Formula. The weight of the part resting on the ball can sink as the muscles ease up with the breath.

I hope this helps. Let me know if you have other questions and I will be happy to answer them for you.


Elaine Petrone
I suffer with fibromalygia, an suffered for about eight years now, i struggle some days with the pain , especially when i have a flare up. I came across the miracle ball method quite by accident, i was in a ex catalogue shop, where many books where been sold cheap, an come across the miracle ball method, i can honestly say, this have really helped me with my pain tremandously, when my body starts to really hurt me i go on the balls for a hour, an alot of the pain releases, i am so thankful i came across this method, it really helps me to control my condition.
Hi Maria

Thank you so much for your e-mail. It is very important for me to hear from people especially with specific concerns like yours. If you wouldn’t mind, I might share this on the website so others who have a similar problem might feel motivated. Let me know your thoughts.


Elaine Petrone
I am wondering if this method would be good for someone who has scoiosis? I'm 42 years old and wore a brace for a year when I was 14. I have tried PT in the past several times which works for awhile, but most of the time I have a knot on one side of my lower back that is just always there. Do you think The Miracle Ball Method would be helpful?
Dear Jenny

Many people with scoliosis find it very helpful. Unlike yoga and other forms of exercise the directions are to help you reduce the excess tension which is exacerbated by your condition. The breathing sections would be very important to pay attention to. You don’t need to do anything that feels effortful or as if you were straining. It is the opposite, allow your own body weight to rest. That takes time because our bodies are unconsciously trained to tense based on many of the things explained in the book. The ball under the side of the ribcage or elbow on the ball might be a good start. Keep in touch.


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