Good posture - mental emotional health | Emma Simpson, Structural Integration

What Does Posture Have to Do With My Mental Health?

Here’s what Social Psychologist, Amy Cuddy had to say about this in her 2012 TedTalk “Your Body Language May Shape Who You Are”

“Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves. Power posing — that is, standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident — can boost feelings of confidence, and might have an impact on our chances for success.”

That is so…POWERFUL!

Interestingly, Amy’s research on body language reveals that we can change other people’s perceptions – and perhaps even our own body chemistry, simply by changing body positions.

Doesn’t it make you feel more confident when you just stand a little taller, and not slumped forward with your eyes looking toward the ground?

I sure do! I feel like freakin’ Wonder Woman, in fact!

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The Physical Effects of Low Mood and Depression | Emma Simpson, Structural Integrator

The Physical Effects of Low Mood and Depression

Depression is a very prevalent mental disorder affecting 340 million people globally and is projected to become the leading cause of disability and the second leading contributor to the global burden of disease by the year 2020.

 

While we think of depression as more a mental health issue, it also affects your physical health and well-being – in more ways than you can probably imagine!

 

Having experienced depression myself in the past, I can attest to the fact that it’s a full-body experience. Interestingly, living with chronic anxiety and depression are what actually got me into remedial massage, yoga, and holistic & functional movement as a profession as I personally experienced the healing powers of these “touch therapies” myself.  

 

Let’s learn more about some of the most common symptoms of depression, including how it can affect your entire body, especially if left untreated.

 

(Please remember that if you’re experiencing symptoms of depression — you are not alone, there is nothing “wrong” with you, and there IS support for you!)

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Full body response - how stress affects health | Emma Simpson, Structural Integration

The Stress Response: How to Curb the Destruction of Health!

This is Part 2 of a two-part series on STRESS and how it impacts your health, body AND your mind…

 

Being chronically stressed (as in being in a state of nonstop, unrelenting stress!), as so many of us are these days – you might think that it only affects your nervous system. After all, that’s where you perceive it to be in abundance – because it’s quite literally is unnerving!

 

But, the truth of the matter is that stress also compromises your digestive system, immune system, reproductive system, other major organs, and even your posture and alignment.

 

It truly IS a full body response – health, body AND mind!

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Frozen Shoulder - stretches & exercises to treat and "thaw" your frozen shoulder!

How to Thaw Out Your Frozen Shoulder

What if one day you woke up and you weren’t able to lift your arm above your head? No matter how hard you tried, it just won’t move.

 

And to make matters worse, your shoulder is swollen and you’re in a lot of pain.

 

These are just a few of many symptoms of a condition commonly known as Frozen Shoulder. As the medical folk like to call it — Adhesive Capsulitis. (See, that’s why most people prefer to just say ‘frozen shoulder’!)

 

Frozen Shoulder is a condition in which the shoulder joint experiences an extremely limited range of motion. In some severe cases, an individual with the condition will have difficulty performing basic daily tasks like getting dressed or brushing their teeth.

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SI joint pain | Why your pelvis has everything to do with your chronic low back pain

SI Joint Pain and a Wiggly Pelvis: Could This Be The Cause of Your Low Back Pain Too?

I recently had a new client in my clinic who was experiencing pain in her lower back. “Lisa” had just leaned down to pick up her toddler son, turned to grab something and…BOOM. The searing pain stopped her in her tracks.

 

She immediately gave me a call so we could start treating the problem and she could get back to her busy life.

 

After a few evaluations, I was able to determine the cause of the problem: SI Joint Dysfunction caused by Pelvic Girdle Instability.

So, my pelvis is wiggly?!

In simple terms, Lisa’s pelvis moves all over the place when she walks and therefore is unable to support her lower back and torso. And Lisa is not alone in this.

 

An unstable Pelvic Girdle (just think wiggly pelvis) is extremely common, especially among women who have given birth OR are currently pregnant — AND HERE’S WHY…

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Hips Have Heart: The powerful connection between your hips and your emotions

Hips That Have Heart: The Powerful Connection Between Your Hips and Your Emotions

What if I told you that that tight feeling you have across your hips (better known as cranky hips!) had more to do with your feelings than your daily activities or an old injury?

 

Sure, our lifestyles these days are a contributing factor:

 

We sit a lot.

We drive in cars a lot.

We spend time hunched over tech devices…A LOT.

 

And, yes these things can all cause tightness through the front of your body, including your hips.

 

But sometimes there’s more to the story…literally.

 

What if I told you that your hips are tight because of your emotions?

 

You might think I’m crazy, but read on, and you’ll see that there’s actually a HUGE connection between our emotional wellbeing and those chronically tight spots in your hips.

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Functional Movement - lunge

Is ‘Functional Movement’ Just Another Trendy Term? (or should you be doing it?!)

We’ve only got one body — so why not treat it well in everything we do, including moving it?

 

When we walk, run, play sports, lift weights, or just sit in front of the computer (umm, all day, every day), we should be tuning in to how we use our muscles — for optimal functioning in healthy, efficient and pain-free movement.

 

Consider this: if any part of your body is experiencing pain, it’s pretty likely that some element of your body’s functional movement system (which I refer to as myofascial slings) has been compromised.

 

This may manifest as:

  • weakness/decreased strength
  • muscle imbalance
  • poor functioning joint
  • decreased flexibility

 

And it doesn’t matter whether one or more of these show up in your ankles, hips, pelvis, knees, back, shoulders, neck or the classic “pain in the butt”…the whole body has been cleverly designed like a complex chain link system that works for you to move with biomechanical efficiency.

 

(At least that’s the idea!)

 

That’s why the term ‘functional movement’ – which I prefer to expand that to holistic and functional movement isn’t just a trendy exercise term du jour.

 

It’s a body movement concept that everyone needs in their everyday repertoire!

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7 Best Stretches for Chronic Pain & Discomfort | Emma Simpson Structural Integrator

In Pain? There’s a Stretch for That – 7 of Them!

I love my job. I really do.

I love that I can help people achieve pain-free routines, and sustain active healthy lives. When a client comes to see me, I consider it a sincere privilege to help them find relief and more simply – to move better.

But I do have my limitations…

Truthbomb: as a Structural Integrator and Massage Therapist, there’s only so much I can do.

There’s only so many times I can treat each individual client each week. Not to mention that I can’t follow them around all week in between our appointments to make sure they’re watching their posture or lifting that big heavy object properly.

Pain management, especially that for long-standing, chronic pain – is a joint venture between the patient and practitioner. When my clients “do their homework”, their results are much better and long-lasting.

This is why I frequently assign clients take-home strengthening exercises and stretching routines. These exercises help them manage their discomfort in between appointments AND also minimize the likelihood of an injury recurring.

 

Some of the most common issues I treat are:

  • low back pain
  • tight neck and shoulders
  • sciatica
  • tight pectorals
  • tight hips
  • TMJ pain (jaw pain)

 

And the good news is that I have an exercise or stretch to help with each and every one of these conditions.

Ready to live with less pain and move more freely? I thought so!

Here are 7 stretches for every area of your body that you might be experiencing pain in.

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