Healthy Concepts

From the colonial mansions of New England to the stately ranches of the Southwest and the charming Midwestern farmhouses in between, one striking feature unites all the very best houses of the nation: hardwood floors. The timeless beauty of natural wood just can’t be matched by any other material. And while the aesthetics of wood flooring are often of foremost concern, there are a number of reasons why the modern, practical, health-conscious and environmentally-friendly homeowner should champion hardwood floors. Here are just a few of them.

Sustainability

Many of us today are trying to do what we can to make sure that we don’t squander our planet’s resources at the expense of future generations. While it may seem counterintuitive (how is cutting down trees good for the planet?), wood is widely accepted as a sustainable resource. It may take a little while to happen, but trees do grow back. And right now, thanks to conservation efforts, the U.S. Forest Service estimates that we’re growing more trees than we’re chopping down.

That said, harvesting hardwood must be done responsibly. Many lumber suppliers partner with the National Forest Service to ensure that commercial timber harvesting is not undertaken at the expense of existing ecosystems or future generations. If you’re considering installing new hardwood floors but are concerned about their environmental footprint, check to see that the seller’s materials are certified as sustainable by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

Of course, if you really want to commit to sustainability, you can use reclaimed wood for your floors. Though this option can be costly, it is probably the most beautiful and most fashionable way there is to recycle.

No off-gassing

Then there are the health benefits. Lots of decorating and building materials used today contain substances that aren’t terribly good for us. These are called volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. There are literally thousands of VOCs, with common culprits including formaldehyde and benzene. These chemicals are associated with ailments as varied as respiratory and nasal irritation to liver damage and cancer. Many of these compounds exist in nature and shouldn’t cause harm when encountered outdoors or in spaces with adequate ventilation. However, VOCs crop up in many indoor building materials as well, where ventilation is often less than adequate.

Certain types of carpeting, its backing, and the adhesives that are used to install it all contain VOCs. They are also often found in the glues used to make pressed-wood composites, common in laminate flooring. VOCs inside your living space result in a process called “off-gassing,” which is the release of these noxious particulates into the air you breathe.

While there is considerable debate within the scientific community over the safety of these materials, many concerned homeowners would prefer to err on the side of caution. Hardwood floors are a good way to do just that. The Environmental Protection Agency agrees. They suggest that anyone building or remodeling homes should consider using prefinished hardwood products to minimize the impact of VOCs in their environment.

Though prefinished hardwood products do contain some VOCs, research suggests that any fumes or particulates that could be harmful to homeowners disperse within 24 hours of application. In other words, the bad stuff is gone by the time you put these products into your home. This cannot be said for carpets or wood composites.

Ease of maintenance

Not only is hardwood flooring good for your body and your conscience, it’s also extremely practical. Even the most committed environmental crusaders need to clean their floors, “dirty hippy” stereotypes notwithstanding. This brings us to another benefit: hardwoods are easy to take care of.

Regular sweeping, occasional mopping and perhaps refinishing every five years or so — that’s it. Routine spills are easy to clean and staining is a non-issue. (OK, if your kid pours a whole bottle of bleach on the floor, you might have a problem. But most spills are quick and easy to clean.) And if you’ve ever lived in a home with white carpet, you’ll get the added benefit of once again being able to serve red wine at parties. What’s not to love?

Timelessness

And then there’s the fashion element.

Ever walk into a room that was carpeted wall-to-wall with thick, orange shag? What was your first reaction? Groovy?

One of the greatest yet most overlooked benefits of hardwood flooring is that it never goes out of style. Wood floors are by their nature permanent (or at least semi-permanent). While carpeting and linoleum can become dated quickly, wood floors have a classic look that tends to improve with age. Of course fashions will always come and go, but redoing your living room or your office isn’t like trading in your bellbottoms for a pair of skinny jeans. New floors are a significant investment. Which brings us to yet another benefit.

Cost

Many homeowners would love to put in hardwood floors but are put off by the somewhat high cost up front. But their relative ease of maintenance and extremely long lifespan means that the initial investment will be the only significant expenditure you will need to make during your home’s lifetime. Choosing hardwood flooring over materials that require a lot of maintenance, and that may well require replacement within a decade or less, results in significant cost-savings over the long term. Better to pay once and be done with it.

Natural beauty

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, there is the aforementioned aesthetic value. Wood is beautiful. If you run your hand over a polished table or pause to marvel at the mesmerizing variations of knots and grains in an old door, you know that wood is nature and nature is a miracle. An expert artisan can take nature’s masterpieces and shape them into gorgeous objets d’art that perfectly enhance the unique charms of your space. Nowadays, there are literally more design options to choose from than ever before. Parquets, plank-flooring, strip-flooring, limitless opportunities for customization — if you can dream it, an expert artisan can make it.

Add it all up and you’ll find that hardwood flooring is the natural choice for the discerning homeowner. 


References: “The 9 Main Benefits Of Solid Hardwood Flooring.” www.builddirect.comhttp://bit.ly/2dhpuG7.

“An Update on Formaldehyde.” www.cpsc.gov. United States of America Consumer Product Safety Commission. http://bit.ly/1WMKcg2.

“Ask the EcoTeam: My New Carpet is Off-Gassing!” www.ecologycenter.orghttp://bit.ly/2pqpWWO.

“Addressing Indoor Environmental Concerns During Remodeling.” www.epa.govhttp://bit.ly/2p2CWW6.

“Volatile Organic Compounds’ Impact on Indoor Air Quality.” www.epa.govhttp://bit.ly/2o3Rj8z.

https://www.fia.fs.fed.us/slides/major-trends.pdf.

https://ic.fsc.org/en/what-is-fsc/what-we-do.

Changes in your daily food choices can be a fun way to increase the sustainability of our food system while having positive impacts on you, others and the environment. There are a million and one ways to make a difference by the types of food you choose to eat every day. I’d like to share tips from three diverse foods: coffee, fish and live culture fermentation.

Coffee

Coffee is a seasonally-harvested fruit that grows in specific tropical locations. The seeds are carefully sorted, roasted, ground and then brewed with care. Opting to buy Fair Trade coffee varieties can provide a living wage to a coffee farmer while you can enjoy that delicious morning cup of joe.

According to Jared Linzmeier of RUBY Coffee, “The biggest tip I have for improving coffee at home is to use filtered water and pick up a basic digital scale. Weighing your coffee and knowing your coffee to water ratio will give you consistent results that you can tailor to your taste. We recommend starting with 60 grams of coffee per liter of water.”

Fish

Wisconsin waters are teeming with hungry fish and can provide a tasty, healthy meal harvested from waters close to home. When preparing fish, less is better so you are able to taste the flavor of the fish. Ingredient paring ideas include lemon, garlic, pepper, oil, butter, paprika or maple syrup, and cooking the fish over a cedar plank offers added flavor.

A tip from Theresa Stabo of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources for cedar plank preparation: soak the cedar plank for at least one hour, warm the plank on the grill for about 5 minutes, and when the plank starts to smoke, lay the filet on it, skin side down. Close the lid of the grill so the fish steams on the plank, and cook for 12 to 20 minutes depending on the thickness of the filet. Don’t overcook. Keep a spray bottle handy in case the plank bursts into flames. It’s also a good idea to have fireplace gloves close at hand.

Live culture fermentation

Consider increasing the digestibility of your pizza crust or bread dough through live culture fermentation, known as sourdough. To make sourdough you will need to maintain a living sourdough culture. The culture, referred to as the “mother” or “starter culture” is kept alive by adding flour and fresh water each time you make pizza crust or bread, and retarding the fermentation in the refrigerator between uses. The starter should look spongy and have a slight to strong smell that is reminiscent of wine or vinegar. Depending on the temperature (higher temperatures ferment quicker), typically the longer your sourdough culture sits, the tangier your dough will be.

We as consumers play an important role in maintaining a healthy environment for ourselves and generations to come. Being a knowledgeable consumer and knowing the source of the foods we’re consuming, how it was raised, grown, caught and prepared can make a huge impact on our local economy, sustainable agriculture, and inevitably lead to healthier lives for all.

With over 250 workshop topics related to sustainable living and live food demonstrations at this year’s 28th Energy Fair in Custer June 16-18, you can learn simple and easy ways to live sustainably this summer. Look out for the DNR Fishing for Dinner program providing information about fish identification, lures and licenses, and preparation in the kitchen. The easiest way to get a sourdough culture is by learning in-person and taking home a free starter culture of your own!

Many modern families are spread out across the country if not the globe. Some people move away from family to further their careers, while others are called upon to care for others. Children may separate from their parents to witness new travel experiences. Military service may call individuals away from home as well.

Distance can make it challenging to spend time together for major holidays and other special occasions — like Mother’s Day. But Mother’s Day can still be special even if Mom lives hundreds or thousands of miles away.

Embrace technology

Technology helps break down some of the barriers created by distance. While phone calls were once the way to keep in touch, many people now utilize various forms of digital communication. Someone who lives across different time zones can talk through texting or the various social media avenues available on computers, phones and tablets. Video apps like Skype and FaceTime enable you to video chat with others in real time. Come Mother’s Day, connect with mom via such apps so you can watch her open up her gifts.

Reconnect with home

If Mom is the one who ventured from home, help her to reconnect with her hometown or another place she feels attached to. Ship her some favorite regional foods that can only be bought in town. Make a photo or video montage of places of interest in town. These little touches of home can mean the world to her.

Create a special day

Even if you do not live near your mother, you can still plan a fun day for her in her town. Make reservations for a spa, hair salon or other sources of pampering and surprise her with all the details.

Treat her to the ultimate surprise

If possible, make a surprise visit this Mother’s Day. Coordinate the plan with your father or another relative and then enjoy seeing her eyes light up when you arrive.

With a little creativity, even families separated by geography can share the magic of Mother’s Day together.


Source: MetroCreative Connection.

It is estimated that more food goes into our landfills than any other material. In 2014, Americans threw away more than 38 million tons of food. In other words, up to 40 percent of food that is grown, processed and transported in the United States will never be consumed. Considering that Wisconsin is a major agricultural producer, the Badger State could do better by its food producers and make resources go further.

Reducing food waste begins in the kitchen. A preliminary inventory of cupboards and refrigerators will help us to purchase less food. Then, at the grocery store, a willingness to buy “ugly” carrots or tomatoes will help. Ungainly fruits and vegetables have the same great taste and nutritional value, but nevertheless grocers throw out produce that doesn’t look picture perfect.

The next step is to feed hungry people. Many local grocery stores offer day-old bakery and perishable items to local food pantries. This is generous, but could be expanded to include leftover prepared food from delis, restaurants, hospitals, schools and special events. Efforts are being made to donate prepared foods to local soup kitchens to feed the homeless, but many businesses are reluctant to contribute. Fortunately they are protected by “Good Samaritan” laws that shield them from liability when donating to charities.

Other steps include feeding animals, anaerobic bio-digestion, composting and lastly landfilling.

Some Wisconsin farms accept suitable food waste to feed livestock. UW-Oshkosh operates an anaerobic bio-digester that accepts food waste from local restaurants, cafeterias, grocery stores and Brown County’s food collection program.

Finally, composting with a conventional backyard compost pile or vermi composting (with worms) is an excellent method for reducing wasted food.

It’s important to understand there are alternatives to waste and that we can all make a difference. 

So many times I am asked, “What’s a life coach?” A life coach is the catalyst that helps guide an individual to unstoppable personal achievement.

Life has a way of throwing us a lot of unexpected twists and turns. They can manifest as things such as divorce, death of a spouse/family member, breakups or even becoming an empty nester — the list goes on and on. While each of these have their mourning processes to go through, which needs to happen, you can be left facing a new beginning and feeling a little or sometimes a lot lost. This is your opportunity to make the most of this new beginning.

As for myself, I too have experienced all of the above experiences. When faced with my latest new beginning, I turned to a life coach. The personal growth that occurred had been truly life changing. It guided me to finding my true life’s passion, helping others with their personal growth.

When we are children, we have all of these dreams of what we’re going to do and be when we grow up. By our elementary age years life has already begun to limit those dreams with comments such as: “stop daydreaming and pay attention” or “that’s a nice dream, but you have to be real.” Life conditions us to start living by the circumstances surrounding us. It puts us into hum-drum routines that leave us feeling empty or wondering if this is all there is to life.

We also tend to discount our worthiness of improving ourselves, perhaps feeling selfish if we were to actually invest in any type of self-improvement. What is it worth to you to become a better person? A person who will be more present for your family, friends and relationships? What is it costing you to remain in a state of denial? How is your longing and discontentment affecting those around you?

True happiness in your life is only going to happen when you listen to the small voice deep inside — the child in you who is really still dreaming those dreams. Plus, you’ve most likely come up with some new dreams.

When a person is truly ready to take charge of their future, there are 3 vitally important things that need to be in place: structure, vision and a mentor.

  • Your structure is delivered in a proven successful program, one that keeps you on track and builds upon itself as you progress.
  • Your vision starts as a dream. Remember all those dreams you’ve had? What happened to them? Through your structured program, your vision is fine tuned and becomes crystal clear. This ignites passion and propels your results.
  • Your mentor, or life coach, is your own personal cheerleader. Someone to guide you, inspire you and hold you accountable.

All of these put together ensures your success.

When a person knows they will be regularly masterminding with their own personal life coach — someone who is going to give them encouragement and a high level of support — that person’s commitment, enthusiasm and belief in their goals increases exponentially. It’s an overwhelming testament to the awesome power and potential that rests in the human soul.

So what would you love to see in your future?

Be safe. Be happy. Be you.

The sun is starting to shine more brightly and stay around just a bit longer every day. The breeze has started to feel a bit warmer and more welcoming. The vernal equinox has come and gone — it’s officially spring! With spring often comes that desire to throw open windows, invite fresh aromas and a feeling of newness into our homes. The spring cleaning bug begins to strike!

Rather than rushing out to your local big box store to pick up a cadre of chemical-laden cleaning products, why not whip up some of your own natural, chemical-free yet highly effective cleaning supplies? Make enough to keep them on hand for you to have as spring becomes summer too.

White vinegar can be used as a safer bleach alternative for some applications, like cleaning. It is also biodegradable. However, vinegar is not a registered disinfectant and it does not kill some dangerous bacteria, such as staphylococcus. It does work really well for certain things, such as degreasing the range hood in the kitchen, cleaning mold and mildew in the bathroom, cleaning and descaling the coffee maker, and replacing the rinse aid in your dishwasher. A recent study showed the following, “vinegar was more effective in reducing microbial contamination than the other alternative cleaners but was least effective in removing soil.” Thus, it may be best to use vinegar as a rinse to help to disinfect a surface after you have cleaned it with a soap-based cleaner. Hydrogen peroxide has antimicrobial ingredients and can also be an effective household cleaner.

Herbs can provide effective cleaning properties — they aren’t just good in teas!

Here’s a simple, effective and nice smelling basic scrub to clean sinks and bathtubs:

Sink/Tub Herbal Scrub

½ cup baking soda

½ cup dried sage leaves, coarsely ground

½ cup ground rosemary leaves

Mix together and store in an airtight glass jar. Shake well to blend, sprinkle on surface of sink or tub, scrub with a damp sponge.

Essential oils often have great cleaning properties that include being antiseptic, antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral. A word of caution: use essential oils sparingly if you have children <2 years of age and/or four-legged friends in your home — infants, along with cats and dogs, are especially sensitive to some essential oils and they absorb them quite easily through their skin. Remember that essential oils have chemical properties that require the liver or kidney to metabolize, which is hard on babies. Also, if you have older pets, their organs may find it more difficult to get rid of essential oils from their circulation. You can use lemon juice in place of essential oils, or even in addition to them. Lemon juice is less concentrated than essential oil but has similar properties.

Herbal Degreaser

2 cups water

¼ cup Murphy’s Oil Soap

10 drops lavender, rosemary or any citrus essential oil or ¼ cup lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle. Shake well before use. Spray generously on appliance surface and wipe with damp cloth or sponge. Wipe dry with a cloth or towel.

Homemade Deep Cleaning Soft Scrub

1 part castile soap

1 part cream of tartar

Spray bottle of hydrogen peroxide

Mix together castile soap and cream of tartar in a small bowl until a paste forms. Scoop out the paste with a sponge, rag or your hand. Rub over the surface you’re cleaning. Spray the surface down with hydrogen peroxide and then let sit for a few minutes. Scrub to clean and rinse surface off with water.

Citrus Floor Cleaner

1 gallon hot water

2 tablespoons liquid castile soap

15 drops sweet orange essential oil

8 drops lemon essential oil or ¼ cup lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in large bucket. Dip a mop into bucket, squeeze out excess liquid. Clean floor by working in sections, using short strokes and dipping mop as needed. No rinsing needed.

Double Nut Wood Polish

¼ cup almond oil

1/8 cup walnut oil

4 drops lemon essential oil

Combine all ingredients, apply a light layer of polish to wood with brush or cloth. Rub into wood with a soft cloth using a circular motion. Wipe again with a dry cloth.

All-purpose Stain Spray

¼ castile soap

¼ cup vegetable glycerine

2 tablespoons Borax

10 drops peppermint or tea tree essential oil

1¾ cups water

Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle and shake well. Spray generously onto stain, launder as usual.

Enjoy experimenting with fresh scents and natural cleaning products. Happy spring!

Winter is behind us, and the warm weather is within reach. Summer is a time when we have the opportunity to be outdoors, enjoy and participate in a greater amount of activities, and therefore live a more active lifestyle. That doesn’t mean everything must come to a halt during the cold weather months. It’s not hard to transition your summer workouts to short, effective and powerful indoor workouts. Alternating aerobic and strength into short time bursts will give you the results you desire, and ensure your workouts don’t feel mundane and boring. Here is an example workout to get you started.

For cardio, interval training will give you great results. You can utilize a treadmill, bike or elliptical and start out with intervals. Think of each interval as a zone.

  • Zone 1 is easy, like an easy walk on the treadmill.
  • Zone 2 is more difficult, yet still comfortable.
  • Zone 3 is the most difficult and challenging.

Stay at each zone for 30 to 60 seconds before switching to the next level, and continue alternating zones for a total of 5 minutes. This will guarantee an effective cardio workout.

Begin your first strength series with upper body movements such as bicep curls, overhead tricep press, chest press, seated row and plank hold. Perform each strength movement for one minute, and complete two sets. Head back for some more cardio and complete the zones just as before. After this round of cardio, move to lower body strength movements such as squats, lunges, calf raises and side lunges. As you did with upper body, perform each strength movement for one minute, and complete two sets.

Indoor workouts can easily be modified for the gym or home. Modified cardio could include jumping jacks, jumping rope, butt kicks, burpees, mountain climbers, step touches or speed skaters. Modified strength circuits can include body-weight exercises like pushups, planks, squats, lunges, side leg raises, tricep dips, bridges, back leg raises and calf raises. Don’t forget to include stretching at the end of any workout!

You can get a great workout in 10 to 30 minutes if you challenge yourself and incorporate both facets of exercise. Don’t let the effects of a long winter keep you down. The end of summer doesn’t have to mean the end of being active. Indoor workouts can be just as fun if you follow these tips. 

In 2011 my husband and I moved to Hawaii where he was stationed with the Navy, and he left for deployment two weeks after we arrived. Since he was gone for 6 months I started getting into working out and was inspired by how the body can be transformed. I started doing research on different workouts and began following several bodybuilders on Instagram, but still I did not know how to properly work out or create efficient workouts to help attain my personal goals. I also was not properly fueling my body with the right food, which helped me learn the importance of food fueling because I was not seeing body transformation. Even though I did plenty of research, I could not find the right balance with the information I found online. It wasn’t until my husband got back from deployment that he and his buddies started to teach me a lot of things about working out and eating right. They started taking me to the gym on base where I remember I was quite intimidated watching how intense everyone seemed, but I fell in love with lifting and seeing how much I was able to lift! It helped having their help because they motivated me and made sure that I did not hurt myself. After starting to see results and feeling amazing, I realized that I wanted to help others achieve their goals too — by becoming a personal trainer!

A couple of years later and it has become an amazing and rewarding job! I see my clients from the beginning of their journey, motivate them during every workout and push them to their limits. Helping them set goals and seeing them achieve those goals is a great feeling, knowing they have worked so hard every day. Not everyone has motivation to work out on their own or write their own workout, so a great way to reach goals is to work with a trainer.

Similar to how I started getting into working out most people start by looking up workouts online to try to find motivation from social media. This is a great way to find workouts, but to actually hold yourself accountable to do the workout can be a huge challenge — not to mention making sure you are performing each exercise properly so that you do not injure yourself. These are the challenges I ran into when I first started working out. Even though I am a trainer now and am motivated and knowledgeable enough to put together meal plans and workouts for my clients, it’s a struggle for me to do it for myself. As a trainer a daily routine can sometimes be challenging with trying to schedule clients at different times of the day, figuring out when I will eat and also finding time to do my own workouts. Because of this, I actually have my own personal trainer who writes my workouts, does my macronutrient calculations and holds me accountable to reach my goals.

At Aerial Dance we offer personal training to help women reach their goals, cross-train to build strength with the different aerial apparatus in mind and to build their confidence. I am able to meet with them to figure out their goals, whether it is to build more upper/lower body strength or help them work on a specific trick that they are struggling with in class. This way I can tailor their workouts to them specifically and they can build the proper strength for that trick. Seeing the students progress with their strength each week is one of the awesome parts of being a trainer! Knowing that I’ve helped them in different ways is a very humbling and rewarding aspect of being a trainer.

Purpose is a great motivator. A woman with a purpose is said to be unstoppable. The aerial arts have helped to give me purpose! Tying personal training into helping women build their strength and confidence in themselves is invigorating. It is an amazing feeling to watch students grow, and as they grow they become more determined about taking more time for themselves. More women are doing personal training and nutritional consulting to better themselves. As I watch these women change by taking back control of their lives it is a very empowering feeling to be helping them. Aerial Dance has been a leader in changing women’s lives through the aerial arts, and the new personal training program is another way they are staying in the lead. If it was not for the aerial arts I would not be the strong, confident person I have become. Thanks to all the wonderful women I work with at Aerial Dance, and most of all the students that come to Aerial Dance. I would not have found such great purpose in my life without you! 

One of our goals when seeing a patient for physical therapy is to complete their course of treatment in a judicious number of visits. This has become more important over the past few years with increasing co-pays and higher deductibles.

Most patients are presented with home exercises to maintain the corrective treatments rendered by the therapist. In addition, I do my best to advocate for a healthy exercise alternative that will have long-lasting impact once they leave my care for their most recent diagnosis. My recommendation is they look to partake in yoga.

As we get older, research demonstrates that if we do not address, we lose strength and flexibility, which combined and over time can impact our ability to balance. Endeavors such as Pilates, the martial arts and other activities are options that can help to counteract these negative occurrences. I have yet to experience each one of these. However, I can give a firsthand account of yoga.

A year and a half ago, a friend who also happened to be a patient at the time, strongly suggested I come to a yoga class that she attended. I had yet to experience a yoga class on a consistent basis. After a few classes, I was able to identify in my own body asymmetries, areas of tightness, weakness and balance deficits that I possessed on one side of my body that were not present on the other. While I was vaguely aware of these issues before yoga participation, I became quite aware of them quickly after. And this is a goal that we strive to achieve with all our patients, a symmetrical body with range of motion, strength and balance that are the same on the right as on the left.

A year and a half in, I still have some deficits, but they are greatly reduced. If I spent more than once or twice a week at this practice, these deficiencies may be gone. My ability to run, bike, ski and play golf are greatly enhanced due to my improved range of motion, strength and balance. An added benefit to practicing yoga for me is that I do not have the post event soreness that used to be present. My morning steps are comfortable. Most importantly, as my years continue to progress, I feel that yoga can delay many common “aging factors.”

Before you start with excuses, let me tell you I have practiced next to people who have had both knees replaced, those who have had a hip replaced and those who have had back surgery, toe surgeries, and probably other medical issues that I am not privy to. There are many types of yoga, and while it is beyond my scope, almost everyone can be placed in a specific yoga class. The key is to talk with a yoga teacher, informing them of your specific condition, and ask if they have a class that they can recommend that would be best for you. While they offer many types of yoga classes, the studio I attend also offers chair yoga, a class for those with osteoporosis, as well as a class that emphasizes stretching within yoga positions.

Not long ago I listened to a radio show in which the commentator took me by surprise when he mentioned that the key to successful golden years is mobility. When one loses their mobility, social life and independence are reduced. While there may be other forms of bodywork that deserve time in future articles, yoga is a great option.

It is incumbent upon us all to recognize that health care practitioners can take us only so far, and there are options in our communities that we can participate in to create a better life for ourselves. 

Lauren* was in her mid-thirties when she shed nearly 100 pounds on a very regimented weight loss program based on exercise and dietary changes. She felt good in her newer, lighter body; but she also knew on some level that she could look and feel even better. Not finding help or suitable guidance available within the conventional medical route, she instead sought out the holistic system of bodywork and movement education known as Rolfing Structural Integration (Rolfing SI).

When Lauren began her mid-winter Rolfing SI sessions, she was just starting to become used to moving, standing and being in her new body. Since she could more clearly see her frame, she noticed that she was in dire need of help with her posture. The accumulation of hours and hours spent sitting in front of a work computer manifested as a forward head/neck position with rounded shoulders. Walking with so much extra weight for years may have contributed to the external rotation of her femurs (upper legs) and how her hips functioned. She also had a bit of lower torsion that did not help to activate the arches in her relatively flat feet, which she noted, “turned out like a duck” when she walked. Conversely, with nearly 100 less pounds to insulate and weigh her down, she found that her center of gravity had dramatically shifted. The combination of all of these challenges affected Lauren’s ability to find grounding and secure footing — especially on unstable, slippery surfaces.

After Lauren completed her first Rolfing SI session, she was amazed at how differently she experienced her body. Her weight seemed to shift more toward the center of her feet and she felt more awareness in her feet and knees. She also noticed how easy it felt to hold her head high while still relaxing her shoulders down. All of these new ways of being inspired Lauren to pursue more sessions.

Each Rolfing SI session is like a class for the body, and with each session the changes became more apparent. Lauren’s body continued to transform as she progressed through the sessions. One day while walking in the snow, she was feeling much more confident with her footing. She looked back at the crisp trail of her footprints and noticed that her feet “weren’t so turned out” and her one leg was not dragging. She was walking with better functioning of her legs and feet, and her arches were becoming more activated. She felt stability. Lauren now understood what her Rolfer™ really meant when talking about the need for more grounding in her feet.

Near the end of her ten sessions, Lauren also began to experience a shift in her relationship with her current weight. Having been a larger size for much of her life, she had become accustomed to taking up a lot of space or needing a lot of space to move. Now much thinner, she needed to embody and “feel” her actual size. The detailing, differentiation as well as integration provided by the Rolfing SI process helped Lauren to feel more aware of the physical boundaries of her body and that of the space around her. With more awareness, Lauren could now connect with and consciously inhabit more room to elicit subtle movements that enlivened and brightened her demeanor. Through this process she also shed some weight-related emotional baggage. This allowed her to feel safer and more comfortable in clothing that no longer just hung or draped on her body but that gave her well-defined shape and form.

Rolfing SI helped Lauren along on her 120-pound weight loss journey by anchoring the weight loss transformation more deeply and permanently in her mind, body and spirit. Because of better alignment and grounding through her structure and by creating a new relationship with her personal space, Lauren felt that she could now more efficiently inhabit and live fully in her new body. Lauren credited Rolfing Structural Integration for helping her to feel more comfortable in her own skin so that she could finally come back home to herself. 

*Name changed to protect privacy.

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