LABLOG #2

Well, here I go on another Tony trip. These trips always reminds me of how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful place! Leaving for Singapore in February or the Gold Coast in April is not too difficult. But leaving the PNW anytime between May and Nov. is just torture! It does however give me a wonderful chance to reflect on all the blessings in my life. 

Tony says the best way to conquer fear and/or depression is with gratitude. Well, we have a lot to be grateful for. Just a simple day in PNW with my family gives me all the gratitude I need! The trick is to be mindful of all our blessings as they happen to us. 

Here's a trick I do called priming. It's simple but can make a huge difference in your life. (The way I like things...small change, huge difference). Try it for a week and see how it can change your life. 

Find a nice quiet comfortable place to sit. Get up 15-20 minutes earlier than you normally would. Go to your "thinking chair," sit tall and relaxed. Raise both arms overhead as if you were grabbing something. Grab it out of the thin air and pull it down to your lap. Do this 15 times in rapid succession while breathing strongly in and out of your nose. In on the reach up, out on the pull down. After 15 rapid repetitions with breathing you sit still with your hands resting in your lap. Think of something you're grateful for. Focus on it and feel how blessed you are as a result. It can be anything from a coincidence that led to something great. To an accomplishment that was completely planned and that took a massive effort to achieve. Anything at all that makes you feel grateful. 

After focusing on this first point of gratitude for a few minutes, you will repeat the reaching, pulling, and breathing another 15 times and choose another blessing to be grateful for. 
     Repeat a total of 3 times, focusing on a new thing each time.  I then usually spend a few minutes planning what I want to accomplish that day right there and then in a positive, grateful state. 

This priming and planning is a great habit to get into. It will help you stay happy, healthy, focused and productive. Try it every day for a week and see just how lucky you really are!
In good Health,

Lablog #1 | A Confession

Today I want to talk about another way to cause dysfunction in the human body. Everyone knows about acute trauma (i.e. car accident). We talked about stasis (see NWSL travel log #6). A third and very common method however, is cumulative microtrauma. The classic example of this is the “Chinese Water Torture.” The method is to drip single drops of water on the forehead until it leads to excruciating pain. After a while each drop feels like a hammer hitting the head.
Quite often cumulative microtrauma is experienced as a movement pattern that is so frequently executed so as to cause permanent adaptation by the body. A good example of this is any movement pattern repeated long enough to cause the formation of a blister, callous, or bone spur. Another example, that a small yet ever growing number of people are aware of, is the existence of a leg length discrepancy. This is when one leg is not the exact same length as the other one. This is also quite common among human beings. Most studies place this number somewhere around 92% of the population.

Steven Hawkins said that “nothing in the natural world is perfectly symmetrical.” He went farther to say that “it is exactly these discrepancies that give gravity something to sink its teeth into.”

This is of particular interest to me because in 1987 while on a bike ride, my illustrious collegiate football career was ended by a close encounter with a car. I woke up hours later in the CAT scan machine, wondering where I was.

I had broken C5 and the occipital bone in the back of my cranium.

For the next 14 years I had about 5 degrees of rotation available in my cervical spine. While I refused to give up on exercise, I paid a huge price for doing so. I suffered constant neck pain, fatigue, and spent all my time compensating for my limited range of motion.

Then one day Paul St. John measured my legs, threw a measly 3 mm lift into my right shoe, treated me 3 times and changed the rest of my life. I have never felt that neck pain again and have had full range of motion return in my neck.

It was then that I decided to devote the rest of my life to trying to provide that same kind of evaluation and life changing therapy to as many people as possible.

Every so often I am reminded how important those 3 little millimeters in my right shoe are. On my last trip to Fiji I went without my lift most of the time because I observed the no shoe rule where I stayed, spent time at the beach barefoot, and because I thought “what difference could it make for just a few days.”

Well, as I am well aware, it makes a huge difference. My hip started hurting deep in the socket about 5 days ago, just before my return flight. This makes sense in that my leg length discrepancy caused a cumulative micro trauma that then took a while to add up to the point where it actually hurt.

So, now I have put my lift back in, treated myself, and used a number of movements designed to release the hip. I’m currently feeling much better and will be 100% in another day or two.

So now you see, even someone who lectures people day in and day out about leg length discrepancy can underestimate cumulative micro trauma. So, as my father always says, “do as I say, not as I do.”

If you have a lift I hope you have more discipline than I do. If you don’t, and suffer from chronic pain, you might want to get that checked out. And if you’re one of the lucky 8% of the world who are virtually symmetrical and have no pain, well then…never mind. And to all of you, regardless of leg length, thanks for your warm welcome home.

In good health,

James

NWSL

James Bowman’s NWSL Travel Log | Day #6

Well, my trip is almost over. I hate to see it end, but I am so excited to get home and see my family, friends and the wonderful community that surrounds me on Bainbridge Island. It’s saying a lot to be happy to leave a place like Fiji.
As I sit here on the plane it is currently the 17th hour of my 25-hour commute. Ugh! My body is aching, my head is spinning with all the things waiting for me at home, and the prepackaged food on the plane is in stark contrast to the wonderful fresh food I’ve been eating for the last 10 days.

It’s the perfect storm: sitting still for hours on end, exposure to lots of people’s germs, stress of the upcoming obligations, lack of quality sleep & bad food.

Most people think of pain as coming from an acute injury like a fall or car accident. And of course, it often does. But, the sneaky kind (and more common kind) is the one that comes from stasis.

For me this is one full day of sitting in an otherwise blessedly active lifestyle. But for most, this is more like the norm. I feel for those of you who have to do frequent and regular travel or sit at a desk for hours on end…or both.

The human body has evolved over millions of years for movement. By sitting still for hours our bodies stiffen, and over time, begins to atrophy. The fluids of our bodies, which is most of our bodies, slow down and form eddies and backwaters. This fluid stasis is the breading ground for disease and disfunction. The pumps of our body, of which there are many, work over time to make up the difference, but still fall short of optimum.

As this inflammation accumulates and the pain sets in we feel less an less like doing anything. We must fight this urge and move, get back to healthy food ASAP upon arrival, and get some solid sleep!

People come into my office all the time saying this or that pain pattern “just mysteriously started, there was no event.” But from the perspective we are currently discussing we know where it is probably coming from don’t we.

So, do your best to address these issues in your daily lifestyle and stay off my table. If you need help, by all means, come and see me. That’s what I’m here for. But, think about how many ways you can make seemingly small changes and create preventative habits. Support yourself and don’t fall into harmful patterns.

I look forward to walking soon! I look forward to the beautiful BI ferry sunset at the other end of this trip! And I look forward to seeing you all once again!

In good health,

James

NWSL

James Bowman’s NWSL Travel Log | Day #5

I had a response to one of my latest emails that I want to share with everyone so as to correct any confusion about my intent. It went as follows:
” There is one thing that none of us has a choice about and that is the genetic information we receive from our ancestors and its massive effect on longevity and quality of life along the way. I believe that your message is a good one and one we all likely dream about living. However, over a rather long life I have also come to recognize the downside of painting the ideal as reachable by all and that it is in each individual’s power to do so.”

Thank you for your thoughtful and thought provoking response.

The ideal I speak of however, is the individual’s ideal, unique to each and every one of us. The one, sadly enough, so few of us ever fully realize. Regardless of genetic code, one can make good choices and one can make bad choices that definitely impact one’s life in a very significant way.

Regardless of genetic code, eating the right foods at the right times in the correct proportions, sleeping the right amount of time at regular intervals in the optimal position, having an active rather than sedentary lifestyle, being surrounded by a loving family and community, exercising at regular intervals with the appropriate force application, being self aware and addressing injury or illness in a timely fashion, can all have a major impact on ones quality and quantity of life.

This is what I was referring to as the ideal. The fact that so few reach their’s is what I want to help change in any way that I can. That’s part of my ideal. That’s part of my genetic code.

I am the voice that says take personal responsibility! Know yourself and take massive action. We must learn to do our absolute best! Call me crazy but, I believe it is only through unwavering focus that we can ever hope to achieve our own personal ideal.

Be your best! Be outstanding!

In good health,

James

NWSL

James Bowman’s NWSL Travel Log | Day #4

Today I’m going to celebrate!

 Recently someone told me to share my thoughts & experiences with all of you as part of how I might serve you better. So I took this trip to Fiji as a way to test the waters, if you will, and see if I could do it. See if anyone would care or even better benefit from it.

The response has been overwhelming. I sincerely thank you all for your correspondence. They have been uplifting and inspire me to continue with this new experiment.

My whole goal is to support you in any way I can. I just didn’t realize, before now, that this was a good way to do so. I guess I’ve had a few bad examples of how to do this in the past. When people wrote on the Internet (blogged, emailed, twittered,whatever you call it) it always was full of self aggrandizement or negative in tone or just plain mundane and I was turned off! Didn’t want to read it or contribute to it.

Then someone said, “just share your thoughts with a dear friend and there you go.” Well that is definitely how I view our little Strength Lab family so that wasn’t so hard. I pledge to you not to self promote, bitch & complain, or try to separate you from your money. That wouldn’t inspire me anyway.

I tell all my new therapists, coaches, and prospects. This is the easiest job in the world in some ways. All you have to do is try to help people! So thanks again for your support of my support. I guess its true, if you pay attention, you learn something new every day!

In good health,

James

NWSL