Archive for November, 2009

Home Winterizing Workshop

The good folks from Green Envelope LLC will give advice on how to prepare your home for the winter this year.  Learn how to cut down on your energy costs by making a variety of changes, both big and small, that all add up to serious savings.  You’ll have the chance to ask questions about your own home and to learn about tax credit opportunities.  RSVPs are appreciated.

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Vitamin O

Dear Friends,

It is with great pleasure that I introduce to you Ryan Todd, a friend, customer and fellow local business owner.

Dr. Todd earned his bachelor of science degree in bio-medical engineering from the University of Iowa in May of 2000 with an intense focus on biomechanics of human movement. Dr. Todd earned his doctorate in physical therapy from the University of Puget Sound in May of 2003. He then graduated from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in June of 2006 with a degree of holistic health and nutrition counselor. He is board-certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners. He holds a current physical therapy license in the state of Illinois.

In addition, Dr. Todd holds advanced certification in Sound Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (SASTM) and is formally trained to perform Functional Capacities Evaluations by the Matheson protocol.

Happy reading!

Vitamin O

In a series of two blogs written this past July (The ABC’s of VOC’s parts I & II), authors Michael Fallarino and Andy Pace (of Safe Building Solutions) effectively outline what VOC’s  andHAP’s are, how the use of building materials/products which contain ingredients that qualify as VOC’s and/or HAP’s  can effect the quality of the indoor air we breathe, and what this means to the consumer who is conscious of the potential health hazards related to regular exposure in their work and living environments.  If it has been some time since you read their blogs, or if you are unfamiliar with VOC’s, I encourage you to read/review as the content they offer is very informative.

I whole-heartedly agree with the idea of being as well-informed as possible regarding currently available building products and coatings and how they can best be used to reduce the emission of toxic chemicals that can otherwise become concentrated in indoor air.  This is especially true of new construction or remodeling efforts.  In living situations where making significant changes to the interior building products and furniture is cost-prohibitive, efforts to filter the air to improve it’s quality would seem to make good sense and there are a myriad of products on the market that claim to do so.

What about the end-user?  What about the individual who breathes the air into their lungs with the hopes of effectively utilizing the oxygen for it’s life-sustaining qualities?  To that end, I would like to expand on how you the reader can make the most of what I call one of nature’s most important ‘vitamins,’ namely Vitamin O.

It has been said that you can live for 4 weeks without food and even 4 days without water.  Yet after only 4 minutes without oxygen your chances of survival are extremely slight.  It is safe to say that each of these elements is essential to human survival however most people don’t see themselves running low oxygen any time soon.  Interestingly enough most people breathe as if that is just the case.  Why do I say this?

First let me explain the two basic types of breathing…diaphragmatic/abdominal and chest/clavicular.  In diaphragmatic/abdominal breathing the diaphragm (an umbrella-shaped muscle located at the base of the lungs) contracts during inspiration (breathing in).  When it contracts it flattens out and pushes down on the abdominal cavity creating a protrusion of the abdomen.  As it does this, the lower ribcage expands causing an increase in the thoracic space where the lungs are housed.  This causes oxygen-rich air to move primarily into the lower lobes of the lungs.  During exhalation natural elastic recoil of the ribcage and diaphragm pushes the oxygen-poor air out of the lungs with help from the abdominal muscles, which can be engaged to expel as much oxygen-poor air from the lungs as possible.  In chest/clavicular breathing (the method most often practiced by people in our society) the intercostal (between the rib) muscles and the muslces in the front of the neck that attach to the top of the collarbones vertically lift the ribcage/chest cavity in order to create space for the lungs to expand.  This causes oxygen-rich air to move primarily into the upper and middle lobes of the lungs.  Exhalation of oxygen-poor air is pushed out during elastic recoil of the intercostal and neck musculature to complete the cycle.  So which type of breathing is better during sports and why?

The upper lobes of the lungs house a concentration of sympathetic nervous system receptors that are activated when we breathe air into these regions consistently as in chest/clavicular breathing.  This triggers a typical sympathetic fight or flight stress response in the body.  This is exactly what should happen when we are faced with an emergency situation like being pursued by a hungry mountain lion because the body is then ready to deal with such a serious threat to it’s survival.  However in our day-to-day lives this response is unnecessary and actually detrimental to our health and well-being in many ways.  The lower lobes of the lungs house a concentration of parasympathetic nervous system receptors that are activated when we breathe air into these regions consistently.  When the parasympathetic nervous system is activated the body and mind are calm and composed;an ideal state for most daily activities.

In addition to this there is a significant difference between the middle/upper lobes of the lungs and the lower lobes with respect to each region’s ability to transfer oxygen to the bloodstream.  The middle and upper lobes of the lungs are not nearly as well vascularized as the lower lobes of the lungs.  This means that, when we regularly breathe air into the middle and upper lobes (which many people habitually do), the amount of oxygen getting to the bloodstream and ultimately to our cells is much less than when we breathe air into the highly vascularized lower lobes of the lungs.

Proper diaphragmatic breathing techniques drive air primarily into the lower lobes of the lungs, which benefits you greatly.  I train my patients to breathe in such a way that allows them to maximize their lung capacity for optimum blood oxygenation.  Their breathing becomes much more efficient.

So here’s to making the most of vitamin O and to making the most of your body’s ability to utilize such an important fuel.

Ryan Todd, DPT

Functional Health and Wellness, LLC

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