Posts Tagged ‘Physiological’

There are so many acts of “care, kindness, and loving gestures” about people being a good person to elderly individuals, but one particular act I wish to shed light on. I don’t know if you will agree with me as of now but I will state it as something for you to think about before quickly jumping to these acts of kind gestures. However, I am ABSOLUTELY not telling anybody to “not” care for the elderly. I just have an opinionated idea.

We all know that when we are young we are able to move really well because our bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, and tendons are at its optimum; but as we age the majority of our body structures will inevitably decline. Now you probably know I am speaking from a physiological and anatomical perspective. This is the main topic of my statement. A perfect portrayal is when everybody shows kindness whether reluctantly or wholeheartedly offering seats on the bus to elderly individuals. Not only is this offering of kindness but the “designated” seats for elderly individuals prompts everybody to feel the need to offer it or get up and move.

This doesn’t mean that if elderly individuals have a medical problem or disability you decide not to offer your seat, of course these people are loving exceptions. Now people may argue that “if we don’t offer our seats we look like a really bad person.” This is of course true in society’s eyes. But I am simply looking at this interesting act of service from another perspective and hope that it can change a bit with education.

What I am trying to say is that people who offer seats to elderly individuals all the time may actually be indirectly contributing detrimental effects to their overall preservation of health. It has a very minute effect in the eyes of one particular individual, but over time you can imagine that it will add up. And if you think about it, a bus ride for elderly’s is probably one of the most beneficial balance related workouts they will have throughout an entire day; because if they stand then the movement of the bus will provide them rich sensory feedback to maintain the balance that is slowly eroding. Another example is that in Asian cultures we tend to be “so” good towards our seniors, especially loved ones, to the point of telling them to not do any kind of duties and just rest and “sit down.” Usually this is due to our PERSPECTIVE of them being of old age now and have “earned” their rest. But if you think about it, by giving them the opportunity to help out with even small tasks (increases dexterity) it can preserve the longevity of their physical and physiological function.

So many “seniors” end up in senior homes could be because of a lack of physical and physiological stimulation as they enter old age. Dementia is one of the leading reasons for senior homes and continuous activity and stimulation may slow down this process. So I strongly suggest that we need to find a balance between “being kind and overly kind/loving with our elderly.”

We should educate elderly individuals to continue to “move” as much as they can so they do not lose the sensory feedback that they “need” in order to function throughout the rest of their years! Of course we should also educate their families and immediate loved ones as well as they serve the needed platform and support.

We were born to move so we should keep moving for the rest of our lives.

We can retire from old age but we must keep moving while we still can.

Cliche quote: “If we don’t use it, we’ll lose it.”

~Open Our Minds


Are we trying to say that we are smarter than our innate nervous system (brain) that naturally gave us everything we had?

To ice or not to ice? And I mean that in the most literal sense. I have recently acquired information about the biggest and most popular analgesic (pain reliever) controversy. Ice, the popular go to pain reliever may not be the best modality in treating our musculoskeletal injuries that we suffer throughout our lives. In “fact,” it absolutely goes against our body’s innate healing system. Now you may wonder why that is? Before you disapprove of this claim and fact and move on, I am going to explain what I have learned.

What do you use “ice” for? Or to give you some control, what do you “want” to use ice for? In other words, what are some of the main reasons you want to use ice. Do you want to use it to relieve the Pain? Or do you want to use it to Heal? I believe that these two simple questions  and the reasons behind them are extremely important to answer because the difference between them are physiologically enormous.

To shortly breakdown one physiological aspect, the pain we feel is the response that our brain or nervous system sends to the injured area to tell us to avoid the use of that area in order to protect us from further harm. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary that we have this pain response. Now you should think about whether we should use “ice” to numb the area and block this signal? The obvious outcome from blocking the pain signal is that we may not know whether the area has suffered any further damage.

There are three phases during healing: The first phase is the inflammation phase (which is the phase I will be focusing on), the second is the proliferation phase, and the final phase is the remodelling phase.

We all more or less use ice as a treatment modality in order to “slow down” inflammation in hopes of decreasing pain, and congestion or swelling in the injured area. Did you pick up on it? Good. Because the first phase of “healing” is the inflammation phase and it may also be the most important phase. This means we need the inflammation which is accompanied by redness, swelling, pain, and heat, in order to heal. But instead, we use ice to try to slow this process down. So now you may ask what do you do or which side do you pick? This depends on the two main questions and the reasons behind why you want to use ice.

If you just want to relieve pain then you have no reason not to use ice. However, if you want to “heal” or increase the healing process, then ice may not be the best modality to use. If I haven’t lost you yet then it is time to get straight to the point. The pain is actually due to the “swelling and congestion” which is the pocket of fluid that accumulates in the injured area. This congested area is caused by fluids and our bodies healing systems which immediately sends macrophages and other cells to battle foreign matter and digest dead tissues in order to clean out the mess and set an ideal “platform” for the second and third phases of healing. This is what I call “positive congestion.” Of course, when there’s a positive there has to be a negative and that is the digested dead tissue and other foreign matter which tends to pool in the injured area “if” we do not clear it. Now can you guess what ice does? Yes, by icing and also “resting” too much, the congestion and swelling will stay in the area which may cause more damage. In other words, ice attempts to slow down inflammation by freezing the surround nerves and tissues; but luckily it does not. Because if it did, then we would not heal. We may be smart but we can never trump our brains in a battle of innate intelligence.

So how do you get rid of this congestion? There are 3 main ways and it does not include ice. The three simple ways are “movement, massage, and isometric contractions (contracting muscles with out changing in length at the joints).” Treatment modalities such as Intramuscular stimulation and transcutaneous nerve stimulation may assist in these contractions. Now this is where the “lymphatic system” plays the biggest role. Since this system only goes one way (up), it is the main pump and pathway for “waste and garbage” to leave the damaged area; and this is the only way to decrease the congestion and in turn lead to a decrease in pain. If the waste is not pumped out then the brain will think there is still foreign matter in the area and will fight and in turn cause more inflammation. Movement, massage, and isometric contractions effectively and efficiently get rid of this waste. Think of all three like mechanisms that squeeze on the lymphatic vessels to pump the waste through its “one way” pathway.

However, all that I have said is not set in stone or absolute because everything in life requires a balance and people possess different behaviours. In other words, I understand that some people may need the ice to relieve the pain and then slowly work on the 3 ways to eliminate the congestion. That is fine as well. As long as we know the reasons behind using cold therapy. We are all human beings and our similarities make our lives, but our differences balance it.

Thanks for reading. I just wanted to spread this information because it makes sense to me nad there are evidence to support it. Now we are left with a choice instead of an automatic response (ice) to treating an injury.

P.S.: Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) “may” also be controversial as it may not only slow down but also “prevent” the inflammation phase during healing.

Here is a video of Gary and Kelly discussing about “ice”:

Here is an article to support why we should not use ice to “heal”:

Credits to: Gary Reinl (Author of “ICED: The Illusionary Treatment Option) and Kelly Starrett (MobilityWOD).

~Open Our Minds

Self-limiting exercises are one of the most important methods of exercise that can decrease the risk of injuries and with enough training can “surpass normal functional limits (video below).”

If you ask anybody or “everybody” what do they wear when they go for a run they will say a pair of shoes of some kind. You will rarely hear them say barefoot! The difference between running in shoes and running without shoes has a great impact in our everyday health. For example, running in shoes allows us to run longer distances and for longer periods of time but it will increase our risk for injuries. This is true because of two important perspectives. From a physiological perspective, in this situation we will innately use our cardiovascular system as a limiting capacity for exercise. In other words, the structural integrity of our ligaments, tendons, and muscles will be put at risk and thus are actually weaker due to the shoes over-protective support. Therefore, what we should do is use our feet as our “exercise capacity limiter” because it will allow us to reach fatigue honestly and prompt our brain to tell us to stop when we’ve truly had enough.

From a bio-mechanical perspective, the point of force impact when running in shoes is transferred up from the heel area due to “heel-strike” during a run, increasing the risk for injuries. The point of force impact is further front in the mid-sole area when running on barefoot and this method decreases the risk for injuries “naturally.” In other words, we will naturally avoid too much heel-strike and land more on our mid-sole.

Therefore, running in barefoot has many benefits from simply developing stronger intrinsic and extrinsic structures and decreasing the risk for injuries to surpassing human body limits (talked about in video below).

Caution: Although, barefoot walking and running can provide large benefits, be disciplined and listen to your body when “gradually” progressing into its lifestyle. A good way to go about achieving this is to gradually work into shoes with a lower platform before you put your feet into shoes such as the vibram five fingers, vivobarefoot, Nike free trainers or other wide toe-boxed and flat shoes, which are much closer to the ground. These shoes are the “goal” but we must work progressively or there will be bad times.

Credits to: Functional Movement Systems.

This video tells us about the secrets of our human body and what it can do if we did not have all the modern technological ease. (Talks about the point I did not really mention above, “surpassing human body limits).”