19 Jan

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Reduce Stress & Muscle Tension With Progressive Muscle Relaxation

by

Shavasana2

 DISCLAIMER: This article is not a substitute for professional medical, fitness, or dietary advice. Please consult with your healthcare provider before undertaking or modifying any healthcare intervention. Please read our disclaimer.

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By Chris Sovey, DPT, PT, RN,BSN


The following video is the final continuation of our 4 part series on meditation. Be sure to review all the previous types of meditation from the past 3 weeks. Download them, implement them regularly, and most importantly, subscribe to our YouTube channel and mailing lists to receive more self-empowerment tools like these in the future!

As stated in part 1 of this series, progressive muscle relaxation is an invaluable tool to decrease acute stress, reduce muscle tension, and further turn off the “fight-or-flight” response. I have personally written and recorded an additional free guided-meditation practice.

A High-Fidelity, 192 Kbps audio MP3 of this meditation can be found here

If you missed part 1 of our meditation series, it can be found here.

Part 2 can be found here.

Part 3 can be found here.

Here is the YouTube Video of part 1 in the meditation series. It outlines an introduction to meditation:

Here is the YouTube Video of part 2 in the meditation series. It demonstrates a guided mindfulness meditation practice.

 

Here is the YouTube Video of part 3 in the meditation series. It demonstrates a deep breathing meditation practice.

If you prefer a written version of the above meditation practice, it can be found below:

TRANSCRIPT:

ShavasanaHello, and welcome to a progressive muscle relaxation tutorial by Chris Sovey. This meditation is part 4 of a 4-part meditation series. This particular meditation is primarily designed to assist in the reduction of acute stress and muscle tension. Please see the description in the link below. This production is copyright 2015 by Chris Sovey of Healthy Consumer, LLC. All rights reserved. This meditation is available as a free download for personal use in the link below. Let us begin.

Start by finding a comfortable room with no distractions. Turn off your cell phone and other electronic devices. Pick a time of day where you know there will be at least 20 minutes where you will not be interrupted.

If it is not possible to find a quiet room, it is ok. Just try your best to minimize external stimulation.

Begin reclined or lying on your back in a comfortable position. Your knees should preferably be straight but could be slightly bent, with a pillow under your knees if that is safe and comfortable for you. Legs are gently spread and palms face towards the ceiling. The back of the neck is long.

First, take note of any obvious tension in your body. Shake your arms and legs a little, as to wring out any miscellaneous stress from your day.

Next, tune into your breath. Take note of its rhythm. Observe its depth. Is it shallow or deep? Does it flow with ease, or is it labored? Just observe for a few moments, without judging or changing it.

First start with 5 expansive breath cycles.

Inhale… 2… 3… Exhale… 2…. 3… 4… 5… 6… [x5 cycles]

Continue breathing deeply and easily. Don’t force the breath. Let it flow in and out of the body as naturally as possible.

Now …. Tune into the feet. Let’s focus on our contract-relax cycles. We will combine the contractions and relaxations with breath to enhance the effect.

Inhale: flex all the toes on both feet. Hold, hold. Exhale, relax.

Next, move up to the ankles. Inhale. Flex all your toes and point both ankles down. Hold, hold. Exhale, relax.

Next, tune into the calf muscles. Inhale. Flex your toes, point your ankles, and squeeze your calf muscles. Hold, hold. Exhale, relax.

Focus your attention on the front and backs of your thighs. Inhale. Flex your toes, point your ankles, squeeze your calf muscles, and contract the front and back of your thighs. Hold, hold. Exhale, relax.

Continue up to your pelvic floor, the deep muscles between your thighs. Inhale, draw up all the previous muscles in both legs, and engage the pelvic floor as if you were sucking up water through a straw between your legs. Hold, hold. Exhale, relax.

Now turn to your gluteal muscles and front of the groin. Inhale, draw up all the previous muscles in both legs, engage the pelvic floor, and activate the gluteal muscles and the front of your groin. Hold, hold. Exhale, relax.

Move to the lower abdomen. Inhale deeply into the abdominal cavity, expanding in all directions. Draw up the muscles of the foot, ankle, leg, glutes, groin, and now the abdomen. Hold, hold. Exhale, relax.

Notice any tension in your chest and neck. Inhale. Active your leg muscles, the pelvic floor, groin, glutes, abdomen, and draw in the muscles of the chest and neck. Contract the front, sides, and back of the chest walls. Hold, hold. Exhale, relax.

Note the position of your shoulders. On an exhale. Let them melt into your supporting surface. Inhale: Legs, pelvic floor, groin, abdomen, chest, neck. Squeeze the front and back of the shoulders, draw your arms into your side body. Hold, hold. Exhale, relax.

Observe any tension in the forearms, wrists, or fingers. Inhale, active all the previous muscles, squeeze the arms into the side body, engage the forearm, wrists, and reach through the fingertips with energy. Hold, hold. Exhale, relax.

Lastly, move up to the face. Inhale, contract all the previous sets of muscles, scrunch the face, purse the lips, Hold, hold. Exhale, relax.

Do one last full body contraction together. Inhale, Squeeze, squeeze, squeeze!! Releasing all tension, and relax.

Continue to breath deeply and easily, for as long as you need. When you are ready, return to the room, and open your eyes.

Perform this practice several times a week, as a regular discipline, to help prevent accumulated stress or tension in the muscular system.

 

Photos by: Teakwood and Kah Wai Sin:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/teakwood/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/kahwaisin/

 

12 Jan

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How To: Deep Breathing Meditation Tutorial For Relaxation

by

Meditation4

 DISCLAIMER: This article is not a substitute for professional medical, fitness, or dietary advice. Please consult with your healthcare provider before undertaking or modifying any healthcare intervention. Please read our disclaimer.

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By Chris Sovey, DPT, PT, RN,BSN


The following video is a continuation of our 4 part series on meditation. Be sure to check back the next Monday for part 4, and free downloads of all the audio files for use on your mobile device, etc.

As stated in part 1 of this series, deep breathing meditation is an invaluable tool to decrease acute stress, turn off the “fight-or-flight” response, and decrease the response of your sympathetic nervous system. I have personally written and recorded an additional free guided-meditation practice.

A High-Fidelity, 192 Kbps audio MP3 of this meditation can be found here

If you missed part 1 of our meditation series, it can be found here.

Part 2 can be found here.

Here is the YouTube Video of part 1 in the meditation series. It outlines an introduction to meditation:

Here is the YouTube Video of part 2 in the meditation series. It demonstrates a guided mindfulness meditation practice.

 

If you prefer a written version of the above meditation practice, it can be found below:

TRANSCRIPT:

Meditate3Hello, and welcome to a deep breathing and body relaxation tutorial by Chris Sovey. This meditation is part 3 of a 4-part meditation series. Please see the description in the link below. This production is copyright 2015 by Chris Sovey of Healthy Consumer, LLC. All rights reserved. This meditation is available as a free download for personal use in the link below. This recording may contain subtle background sound effects or music to assist in your relaxation. However, they will be kept to a minimum. Let us begin.

Start by finding a comfortable room with no distractions. Turn off your cell phone and other electronic devices. Pick a time of day where you know there will be at least 20 minutes where you will not be interr upted.

If it is not possible to find a quiet room, it is ok. Just try your best to minimize external stimulation.

Begin seated in a comfortable position. You could be slightly reclined, but still internalizing the concept of an erect posture, as to not fall asleep. If you wish to lie down, do so with the concept of internalizing upright posture.

First, take note of any obvious tension in your body. Shake your arms and legs a little, as to wring out any miscellaneous stress from your day.

Next, tune into your breath. Take note of its rhythm. Observe its depth. Is it shallow or deep? Does it flow with ease, or is it labored? Just observe for a few moments, without judging or changing it.

Take note of any stressors floating through your mind, and just let them be. Return to your breath. Gently begin to deepen your breath. We’re going to pace the breath now and deepen the exhalation. This will assist the body in entering a relaxed state.

Lets do this together. We will inhale for 3, exhale for 6 seconds.

Inhale… 2… 3… Exhale… 2…. 3… 4… 5… 6… [x4 cycles]

The exhale may feel too long to you. This is normal, as we spend a great deal of our day with significantly shortened breath cycles. Adjust the breath cycle slightly if needed.

Inhale… 2… 3… Exhale… 2…. 3… 4… 5… 6…

On an inhale, the breath begins in the nares, travels down into the trachea, and expands through the chest, in all directions. Your sternum lifts, and your diaphragm drops down into the abdominal cavity. The feeling of the breath continues all the way down into the pelvic floor. Release any tension along this descent.

Inhale… 2… 3… Exhale… 2…. 3… 4… 5… 6…

Slowing down your stressful day, appreciating this precious time you have set aside for yourself. You deserve it. No worries about what is left for today or what is to come tomorrow.

Inhale… 2… 3… Exhale… 2…. 3… 4… 5… 6…

Checking in with your posture, being certain to maintain an upright posture the entire cycle of this practice.

Inhale… 2… 3… Exhale… 2…. 3… 4… 5… 6…

Continue this cycle as needed, as long as it feels right for you. Come back to this practice daily, and you will be amazed what a regular practice can do for you.

Photos by: Ian Burt and Kah Wai Sin:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/oddsock/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/kahwaisin/

05 Jan

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How To: Mindful Meditation Tutorial With Body Scan

by

Meditation2

 DISCLAIMER: This article is not a substitute for professional medical, fitness, or dietary advice. Please consult with your healthcare provider before undertaking or modifying any healthcare intervention. Please read our disclaimer.

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SUBSCRIBE TO US ON YOUTUBE!

Check back every Monday for more empowering health articles!

By Chris Sovey, DPT, PT, RN,BSN


The following video is a continuation of our 4 part series on meditation. Be sure to check back the next 2 Mondays for parts 3 and 4, and free downloads of all the audio files for use on your mobile device, etc.

As stated in part 1 of this series, mindfulness meditation is an invaluable tool to improve mental performance, reduce stress, and more. I have personally written and recorded a free guided-meditation practice.

 

A High-Fidelity, 320 Kbps audio MP3 of this meditation can be found here

If you missed part 1 of our meditation series, it can be found here.

Here is the YouTube Video of part 1:

If you prefer a written version of the above meditation practice, it can be found below:

TRANSCRIPT:

Meditation3Hello, and welcome to a mindful meditation tutorial by Chris Sovey. This meditation is part 2 of a 4-part series. Please see the description in the link below. This production is copyright 2015 by Chris Sovey of Healthy Consumer, LLC. All rights reserved. This meditation is available as a free download for personal use in the link below. All future recordings of this series will include background music. However, due to the nature of mindful meditation, music has been omitted from this recording.

Let us begin.

Start by finding a comfortable room with no distractions. Turn off your cell phone and other electronic devices. Pick a time of day where you know there will be at least 20 minutes where you will not be interrupted.

If it is not possible to find a quiet room, it is ok. Just try your best to minimize external stimulation.

Begin seated in a comfortable position. You could be slightly reclined, but still internalizing the concept of an erect posture, as to not fall asleep. For this reason, it is also recommended to avoid lying down completely, unless this is a physical necessity for your body.

First, take note of any obvious tension in your body. Shake your arms and legs a little, as to wring out any miscellaneous stress from your day.

How are your feet? Pause here for a moment and observe. Start with your right big toe. What do you notice? Now, sequentially move to each of the remaining toes on the right foot.

Repeat the same process on the left foot, starting with the big toe.

Move up to the soles of your feet. What do you notice?

Move on to the ankles. What are they saying to you?

Remember: Meditation is a discipline. Any time you feel distracted, simply acknowledge the distraction or thought, and return to your meditation.

Focus your attention on your calves. Rest here in awareness for a while.

Let go of “clock” time and just be present.

What are your knees telling you? Rest here in awareness.

As you shift your awareness to your thighs, some people may notice a great deal of tension here if you have been sitting a lot today. Take note of this, but do not judge any observations.

What do you notice about your hips?

As you move to your lower abdomen and groin, begin to tune into your breath. Is there a gentle, rhythmic rise and fall of the abdomen, or is it still and contracted? Is your breath making it all the way down into this area during an inhale?

Continue up to your mid-abdominal region.  Tune in closer to your breath pattern. What do you notice? Is your breath labored or difficult? Soft and steady? Anxious or calm? Shallow or deep?

Whenever you feel distracted, continue to refocus. Return to your breath. It is your anchor point. Your constant.

Whatever your experience with the breath, don’t try to change it. Just stay present. Distractions will continue to appear in your awareness, but just watch the thoughts flow past you, like a leaf gliding along a river.

What does your chest tell you about your breath? Is there any tightness or discomfort here? Or does your chest expand and fall with ease? Tune into the rib cage, and all the muscles surrounding it. Notice the small muscles between your ribs as you inhale, and exhale.

Begin to shift your awareness into the back of your neck. Stay present for a few moments. And what comes to your awareness when you focus on the back of your head, the occiput?

Continue to observe the breath as it travels through your trachea. Trace the breath all the way from your nose or mouth, all the way down into the abdomen. Notice if your abdomen and chest expand in all directions, or not?

Observe any tension in the muscles of your face. Still breathing. Being present.

Shift awareness into your shoulders … what do you notice? Travel down into your upper arms, into the palms, into the fingers. Always anchoring your awareness with breath.

And now, continue to observe your breath freely, with no restrictions. Return to any area of the body that needs more attention. And at your own pace, when you are ready … You may open your eyes, and return to your day.

 

Images by: https://www.flickr.com/photos/alicepopkorn and https://www.flickr.com/photos/wiertz/6093566215

29 Dec

1 Comment

How To Meditate: A Beginner’s Tutorial

by

HaPe_Gera-Meditation

 DISCLAIMER: This article is not a substitute for professional medical, fitness, or dietary advice. Please consult with your healthcare provider before undertaking or modifying any healthcare intervention. Please read our disclaimer.

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By Chris Sovey, DPT, PT, RN,BSN


References for this article can be viewed in my linked articles.

Thank you for your interest in meditation. I don’t normally do this, but I would like to sidetrack for a quick second and thank our fans for the recent YouTube milestone. As of this writing, we reached 1,000 subscribers. This was very exciting for us, and I am grateful to all those who subscribed. If you have not subscribed to our YouTube channel yet, please do so here to continue receiving helpful health-empowerment articles, such as these.

This initial video will be an introduction into the practice of meditation. This is part 1 of 4 of a meditation series I will be posting over the next 4 weeks. In the above video, I explain the following:

  • What is meditation?
  • What are the benefits of meditation?
  • 3 common meditation practices supported by research.
  • Deciding which type of meditation best fits your needs.
  • A brief explanation of each of the 3 practices.

Meditation is a timeless practice adopted by nearly every culture. Most civilizations recognize the power of the mind-body-spirit connection, and have created practices to enhance this embodiment of self.

I define meditation as “A self-discipline of focus that typically involves tuning into a specific inward detail of one’s existence.” It can be spiritual or secular. Hence it fits the needs of nearly everyone. There is no one size fits all approach. That is why so many different types of meditation have evolved over the years. I also would say that the popularity of these individual practices wane and wax, like the phases of the moon. This is true of most things in the health realm.

Some of the benefits of meditation include:IanBurt_Meditation

  • Stress reduction
  • Improved concentration performance
  • Decreased depression / anxiety, improved mood
  • Improved cardiac health
  • Improved cognitive function
  • Decreased impulsiveness

HERE ARE 3 TYPES OF MEDITATION SUPPORTED BY THE LITERATURE

Mindfulness Meditation

SEE OUR DETAILED MINDFULNESS MEDITATION ARTICLE HERE

SEE HOW MINDFULNESS MEDITATION IMPROVES DEPRESSION HERE

  • A process of turning inward with typically a single focus, i.e. the breath.
  • Can be done anywhere, “urban mindfulness.”
  • If performed regularly, there is a significant benefit assisting with depression and stress.It may improve clarity of thought.
  • The focus is not to change breath (or other focal point), but to observe it… without judgment.

References for this article can be viewed in my linked articles.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

  • It is particularly beneficial for acute stress / anxiety / muscle tightness
  • Select a starting point and systematically work up/down your body
  • Example: Inhale and contract the toes for 2-3 seconds. Exhale and relax. Inhale, contract the toes and ankles. Exhale and relax. Continue all the way up to the crown of the head, progressively increasing the amount of muscle groups contracted.
  • Typical process: Contract-relax for 2-3 seconds; coordinate with breath.

References for this article can be viewed in my linked articles.

Deep Breathing Meditation

  • Done with the intention of purposely changing breath patterns to induce a parasympathetic (relaxation) response
  • Typically performed with a 1:2 – Inhale: Exhale ratio
  • Can be performed for a deep cleansing of stress
  • Known to significantly improve blood pressure / anxiety.

References for this article can be viewed in my linked articles.

BE CERTAIN TO SUBSCRIBE TO OUR MAILING LIST TO RECEIVE UPDATES ON THE CONTINUATION OF THIS MEDITATION SERIES OVER THE NEXT 4 WEEKS. CHECK BACK EVERY MONDAY FOR THE NEXT PART OF THE MEDITATION SERIES!

Images by: HaPe_Gera and Ian Burt from Flickr Creative Commons under Attribution License.

15 Dec

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Rethinking Posture: The Basics

by

IMG_0822

 DISCLAIMER: This article is not a substitute for professional medical, fitness, or dietary advice. Please consult with your healthcare provider before undertaking or modifying any healthcare intervention. Please read our disclaimer.

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Check back every Monday for more empowering health articles!

By Chris Sovey, DPT, PT, RN,BSN


I know I’m stating the obvious, but: We sit a lot… and it’s killing us. We wake up and get ready for the day. Once we’re on our way, the average commute time for a worker in the U.S.A. is 25.4 minutes (2). That’s just about enough time for a physiological response in the body to tighten up our postural muscles. Then when we get to work, we often sit for up to 8-12 hours. At lunch we sit. On the way home we sit. Once we are home, we need to unwind, so what do we do? We sit (and watch TV or something similar.)

It is a vicious cycle, and it is not without consequence. As we sit for such excessive amounts of time, we significantly increase our risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, type II diabetes, and all cause mortality (3). I can’t stress enough how important it is to IMG_0824-eget up and move around… frequently. I know this can be difficult for some due to the nature of their jobs, but we must do our best. Even more disturbing, a significant amount of the population in the U.S. is unaware of their actual amount of time spent sitting (1). As a Physical Therapist, I strongly urge people to get up and move, even if it is something as simple as going to the bathroom, or walking outside for 5 minutes every hour. Every little bit helps. When I am blogging, doing paperwork, etc., I set a timer for every 25 minutes, and take a 15 minute break. I get my blood flowing with a few exercises or gentle stretches.

The more we sit, the more difficult it is to obtain a healthy posture. Our spine and heart typically suffer the most. Through the above video (and my previous tutorial), I’ve outlined a good start to rebuild your posture. There are a variety of paths you could take to help with this. I love Pilates, and think (if taught properly,) is one of the most useful tools to improve your seated posture. Posture really has to start in the positioning of the pelvis. We cannot simply “pull our shoulders back.” The pelvis is our foundation for the rest of the spine. Everything builds on top of it. We must first correct tight hips / pelvis positioning before trying to address things further up the chain. Build yourself from the ground up. I frequently go as low as assessing for dysfunction in the foot with clients. Make sure there is no dysfunction there first in standing.

Everyone will be different. This depends on their own physical limitations or structural difficulties in their body. Frequent movement, body work, Pilates, stretching, yoga, can all be useful tools to help you improve. Regular interval training is extremely beneficial for cardiac health as well.

SOURCES:

(1) Which population groups are most unaware of CVD risks associated with sitting time?

(2) Average Commute Times

(3) Role of Low Energy Expenditure and Sitting in Obesity, Metabolic Syndrome, Type 2 Diabetes, and Cardiovascular Disease.

01 Dec

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Inversion Tables: Do They Work? A Physical Therapist’s View

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Inversion Table

 DISCLAIMER: This article is not a substitute for professional medical, fitness, or dietary advice. Please consult with your healthcare provider before undertaking or modifying any healthcare intervention. Please read our disclaimer.

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By Chris Sovey, DPT, PT, RN,BSN


Clients frequently ask me about the use of an inversion table as an adjunct therapy during their recovery of spine-related disorders. As a Physical Therapist, I see some potential benefits (and cons) to using inversion therapy at home. First, we must always consider whether the client has any contra-indications to inversion therapy. These include, but are not limited to: Glaucoma, history of stroke or cardiac disease, hypertension (high blood pressure), orthostatic hypotension (a rapid drop in blood pressure when changing to an upright position), osteopenia / osteoporosis, and several others. I will not list the exhaustive conditions here, but it is your responsibility to check with a healthcare provider for any possible reasons you should not use inversion therapy.

Contra-indications aside, there is another barrier to consider with inversion therapy. When muscle guarding exists within the body due to pain (or other neurological reasons), the body will take the path of least resistance when stretched. This is true of inversion therapy as well. This means that areas that are tight, may remain tight… while areas that are loose, may get looser. This is an important consideration when choosing to use inversion tables.

teeter_860After thinking about the above, there is no doubt in my mind that people need to create more space in their spines. This is particularly true when referring to the space between the vertebral bodies. Our spines are degenerative over time due to the daily stressors of jobs, lifting, faulty posture, etc. I believe it is possible through postural re-training and breath work to increase space within the spine and decrease compression. Pilates is a great example of how this works. In fact, I have increased my height by 1.5 inches in the last year by doing just this. This is possible because we have a dense network of connective tissue, known as the myofascia.

Excuse the above tangent…. So the question remains: is inversion therapy a useful treatment tool? I would say, yes…. with reservation. Regardless of the type of therapy involved, most people are looking for a quick fix. I think of inversion therapy as another tool in the toolbox. It certainly will not cure your stenosis or herniated disc in isolation, but may assist you in recovery when combined with the right mindset / approach. Watch the video above to see how I get more out of inversion therapy rather than simply just passively inverting.

I am not aware of any studies that definitively link inversion therapy to improved clinical outcomes. This doesn’t mean it is not useful. There is that which is studied, and then there is everything else…. Why would a research body / institution research something simple like inversion tables, when there is billions of dollars to be made in chronic illness through pharmaceuticals?

If you are having difficulty with your spine, I recommend visiting a qualified health professional, such as a Physical Therapist for proper assessment and treatment. If you are interested in inversion therapy, consider a more specific (and verified through research) form of traction, known as Cox-flexion distraction. This is typically performed by a Chiropractor.

21 Jul

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How I Cut My Grocery Bills By 35% Using PlanToEat Meal Planner

by

2014-07-20_21h21_52

 DISCLAIMER: This article is not a substitute for professional medical, fitness, or dietary advice. Please consult with your healthcare provider before undertaking or modifying any healthcare intervention. Please read our disclaimer.

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Check back every Monday for more empowering health articles!

By Chris Sovey, DPT, PT, RN,BSN


2014-07-20_21h20_39 So you’ve set out on a journey to live a healthier lifestyle. You’ve committed to cooking for yourself and / or your family. Maybe you even bought a recipe book or two. This process can be a daunting task without the right system in place. I must admit, I always had good intentions when it came to planning meals effectively and efficiently. However, I usually kept up with the process for about 1-2 weeks and it fell apart from there. Plan To Eat Changed All That.

The Next Generation Of Meal Planning Software Is Here… And It’s Great

Plan To Eat is an online-based meal planning software that is simple, intuitive, and easy to use. It has taken all the drudgery out of the meal planning process. I never thought I would say this, but I actually look forward to meal planning now. I know it will be painless, and help me to produce healthful meals.

Plan To Eat keeps all your recipes in the cloud, which makes them accessible from nearly any device. This is extremely advantageous if you are in the store as well and need to check your shopping list on a mobile device.

What I love about Plan To Eat is how quickly I can organize a whole week of meals. I’m sure you are a busy person like me, so you likely don’t want to muck around with meal planning. Well, with this software, I can now plan all my meals in under 45 minutes for the whole week. Importing recipes from websites is simple. It is usually performed in 1-2 clicks. The software is very accurate the majority of the time when importing a recipe. I rarely have to make modifications to the recipe after it has been imported. Everything is automatic. Plan To Eat will even generate an automatic shopping list for you based on your recipes for that week.

Pros

  • Simple, yet elegant design.
  • Accurately imports recipes into a planner within 1-2 clicks >95% of the time.
  • Meal plan an entire week of meals in less than 45 minutes.
  • Automatic shopping list that is divided by section (and can be further sub-divided by store.)
  • Share recipes online with friends.
  • Free 30 Day Trial! Click here!
  • Low cost for what you receive.

Cons

  • It doesn’t always import the ingredients from every website correctly (<5% of the time). However, that is hard to fault the software. There are so many variances in website coding and design.
  • No dedicated app for mobile devices (as of this writing.)

Price:

As of this writing, the current price for Plan To Eat is: $4.95 a month or $39 a year (only $3.25 a month). I can almost guarantee you will save much more than the subscription cost in grocery bills to justify the purchase.

For my full review of Plan To Eat, please see the video above or click here.

Simple Meal Planning - Plan to Eat

07 Jul

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Heal Your Gut, Restore Your Health Seminar: Part 2 of 2

by

HealGut3

DISCLAIMER: This article is not a substitute for professional medical, fitness, or dietary advice. Please consult with your healthcare provider before undertaking or modifying any healthcare intervention. Please read our disclaimer.

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By Chris Sovey, DPT, PT, RN,BSN


 

CLICK HERE FOR PART 1 OF THIS BENEFICIAL GUT HEALING SEMINAR.

“Heal Your Gut, Restore Your Health” is  a recent 2-part seminar I delivered at Mindful Movement and Physical Therapy. The content focuses on identifying and addressing  underlying lifestyle factors that contribute to modern day-chronic disorders, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s Disease, Leaky Gut Syndrome, Acid Reflux Disorder, and more. If you delve into the literature, deep connections exist between the mind, gut, and overall wellbeing. This is because the gut is our first interaction with external environments. It acts as the gatekeeper to our inner world.

I’ve seen repeatedly people can recover from most chronic gut pathologies if the right modifications to diet and lifestyle are implemented. Medications tend to be ineffective for long-term management of gut disorders, and frequently come with costly side effects. Fortunately,  a functional medicine doctor or holistic clinical nutritionist can often help to turn around the most problematic dysfunctions.

For  free downloadable resources from this seminar, please click the links below (these include the resources for part 2, which will be posted next Monday, July 7, 2014:

Heal Your Gut, Restore Your Health Outline (.docx)

GMOs and Your Food (.docx)

PowerPoint Presentation Summary slides (.pptx)

If this seminar interested you, check out some of my other gut health videos and subscribe to my YouTube channel for more helpful tips in the future!

Healgut4

30 Jun

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Heal Your Gut, Restore Your Health Seminar: Part 1 of 2

by

HealGut1

DISCLAIMER: This article is not a substitute for professional medical, fitness, or dietary advice. Please consult with your healthcare provider before undertaking or modifying any healthcare intervention. Please read our disclaimer.

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Check back every Monday for more empowering health articles!

By Chris Sovey, DPT, PT, RN,BSN


 

Please check back Monday, July 7th 2014 for part 2 of this highly beneficial seminar. 

“Heal Your Gut, Restore Your Health” is  a recent 2-part seminar I delivered at Mindful Movement and Physical Therapy. The content focuses on identifying and addressing  underlying lifestyle factors that contribute to modern day-chronic disorders, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s Disease, Leaky Gut Syndrome, Acid Reflux Disorder, and more. If you delve into the literature, deep connections exist between the mind, gut, and overall wellbeing. This is because the gut is our first interaction with external environments. It acts as the gatekeeper to our inner world.

I’ve seen repeatedly people can recover from most chronic gut pathologies if the right modifications to diet and lifestyle are implemented. Medications tend to be ineffective for long-term management of gut disorders, and frequently come with costly side effects. Fortunately,  a functional medicine doctor or holistic clinical nutritionist can often help to turn around the most problematic dysfunctions.

For  free downloadable resources from this seminar, please click the links below (these include the resources for part 2, which will be posted next Monday, July 7, 2014:

Heal Your Gut, Restore Your Health Outline (.docx)

GMOs and Your Food (.docx)

PowerPoint Presentation Summary slides (.pptx)

If this seminar interested you, check out some of my other gut health videos and subscribe to my YouTube channel for more helpful tips in the future!

Please check back Monday, July 7th 2014 for part 2 of this highly beneficial seminar.

Healgut2 

 

23 Jun

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Contrast Soaking: What Is It, How Can It Help Me?

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Hotsoak1

DISCLAIMER: This article is not a substitute for professional medical, fitness, or dietary advice. Please consult with your healthcare provider before undertaking or modifying any healthcare intervention. Please read our disclaimer.

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By Chris Sovey, DPT, PT, RN,BSN


What if you could find a way to reduce whole-body muscle and bone pain, shorten workout recovery time, and improve the function of your heart without any significant side effects? No drugs, no injections, no surgery! I’ve been searching for a while now, and such a treatment exists: It is called contrast hydrotherapy (contrast soaking).

Contrast hydrotherapy (CH) is the process of alternating immersion in a cold-water source and hot water. Sometimes this is performed for just an extremity (sprained ankle), or it could be utilized in the entire body (up to neck) for systemic inflammation and osteoarthritis.

When it comes to health challenges, there is one factor we all share: Inflammation. It is the root cause of nearly every chronic disease. Our Western medical system recognizes this, but usually only temporarily reduces inflammation through steroids or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Unfortunately, these drugs bring with them costly side effects.

ColdSoak1Contrast hydrotherapy is not a new fad. It has been used for generations as a means of healing the body from musculo-skeletal ailments. Contrast hydrotherapy is proposed to reduce edema (swelling) via a “pumping” action. Hot water causes blood vessels to vasodilate (get larger) and the cold water then constricts the vessels, drawing in the inflammation and redistributing it throughout the body to be processed by the appropriate systems (1).

Linebackers in the The National Football League (NFL) and Olympic athletes frequently use contrast soaks during training periods to improve recovery time associated with the rigorous abuse to their bodies (2), (3). Studies have also shown that hydrotherapy can reduce the symptoms of delayed onset muscle soreness (4). I’ve found that these benefits seem more pronounced in contrast soaks.

Contrast soaking is an effective means of reducing inflammation throughout the body. (5) Some studies have examined the effects of contrast hydrotherapy on the heart. These studies suggest that contrast hydrotherapy may play a role in improving the efficiency of the heart with repeated exposure by increasing the ejection fraction of the heart (4)

Personally, I am treating disc herniations at T6-T7, T7-T8. If it were not for this practice of contrast hydrotherapy, I do not think I would be remotely functional. Fortunately, I am very determined to heal. So I wanted to pass this information on to you.

What is is the catch? Why aren’t more people doing this? Well, it’s intense! The initial transition from hot to cold water definitely gets your attention. However, the effects afterward are well worth a few minutes of cold water! Try it for yourself and see!

Please discuss this with your healthcare provider before trying contrast hydrotherapy, especially if you have a diagnosis of: Rheumatoid arthritis, a cardiac history, diabetes, or autoimmune disorders.

SOURCES:

(1) Alternating hot and cold water immersion for athlete recovery: a review

(2) Effect of Hydrotherapy on Recovery from Fatigue

(3) Effect of hydrotherapy on the signs and symptoms of delayed onset muscle soreness

(4) Improvement in ejection fraction by hydrotherapy as rehabilitation in patients with chronic pulmonary emphysema

(5) Scientific evidence-based effects of hydrotherapy on various systems of the body

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