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Expanding my knowledge

It’s the beginning of 2005, a time to thank returning clients, welcome new clients, and plan for my continuing education courses. First up is Clinical Application of CranioSacral Pediatrics March 7-11. I will be one of four therapists assisting a therapist at the Upledger Institute in West Palm Beach, Fla., in her treatment of her child clients. At the end of April, I return to West Palm Beach to hear the latest advancements in CranioSacral and related therapies at the five-day “Beyond the Dura” conference. It will be my first time at this every-other-year gathering, and I’m excited in expanding my knowledge and networking with fellow therapists.

I return to the basics as a teaching assistant in CranioSacral Therapy I June 23-26 in Philadelphia; and from Sept. 22-25 in New York City, I venture off in a new direction with “Healing From the Core,” discovering how to hold a strong therapeutic presence — a vital skill in the application of any modality.

While learning new techniques and building upon techniques I’ve already learned, I’ll continue to apply the vital Orthomassage work I learned last year, and, as always, I’ll supply the warmth and relaxation inherent in every session of the Heartful Touch.

Much to look forward to, much to savor now: Please join me on this healthful, heartful journey.

Technique of the Month

Rhomboids

(From “Pelvic Stabilization & the Upper Body” by James Waslaski, LMT, author and international lecturer, www.orthomassage.net)

The rhomboid major and rhomboid minor muscles together are called the rhomboids. Their muscle fibers run at an oblique angle between the spinal column and the scapula. They are located deep to the trapezius and superficial to the erector spinae. To treat them, the therapist has the client lying prone with his arms off the side of the table.

Myofascial Release: The therapist stands at the side of the table. He begins with myofascial spreading strokes using the palms of the hand at a 45-degree angle up the erectors working from the base of the spine to the distal rhomboids.

Now the therapist uses the back of his hands on the erectors with his thumbs as a guide in the lamina groove, next to the spinous processes, working up toward the middle back.

Next the therapist moves to the head of the table. He uses myofascial strokes with his thumbs or the back of his fist, keeping his wrist straight with his fingers curled in. He works proximal to distal through the lamina groove of the rhomboids to close any open thoracic facet joints because of client’s forward shoulder and neck posture. The therapist repeats this several times, working progressively deeper, finishing the strokes at the distal rhomboids.

Then, on one side of the back, he uses his thumbs to glide along the medial scapula border and then through the belly of the muscles, working proximal to distal. He repeats on the other side. Ischemic muscle pain and trigger points in the middle trapezius and rhomboids usually disappear by working and releasing the pectoral muscles. This creates balance around the joint by relaxing the painful, overstretched rhomboids and middle and lower trapezius. There are no stretching exercises for these muscles as they are already overstretched. They need to be strengthened.

Strengthening Exercise of the Month

Rhomboids

(From “Pelvic Stabilization & the Upper Body” by James Waslaski, LMT, www.orthomassage.net)

The client is standing. Have him secure the middle of a piece of surgical tubing (purchase 5 feet of tubing inexpensively from a surgical supply store) around a door handle and hold the ends in his hands far enough away from the closed door so that the tubing is taut. His arms are abducted (away from the body) 90 degrees with his elbows bent.

The client then tightens his rhomboids, bring his scapula together working the last 20-30 degrees. Have him slowly contract, hold for 2 seconds and then slowly release. This is very slow work.

Have him repeat this exercise 8-10 times.

Recipe of the month

Carrot-Ginger Soup

(From Lora Brody’s “Slow Cooker Cooking,” Morrow Cookbooks, 2001)

Preparation 2 hours

2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
4 large shallots, peeled and cut in half
Zest of 1 large orange
2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
6 cups vegetable broth
1 cup orange juice
5 to 10 drops hot pepper sauce, or to taste
2 to 3 tablespoons soy sauce, or to taste
Plain yogurt or sour cream, for garnish (optional)

Combine the ginger, shallots and orange zest in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped, about 10 seconds. Transfer the mixture to a slow cooker. Add the carrots, potatoes, broth and orange juice.

Cover and cook on high for 2 hours, or until the vegetables are very soft.

Use an immersion blender to puree the soup in the slow cooker, or transfer it in batches to a blender. Season the soup to taste with hot pepper sauce and soy sauce.

Serve the soup garnished with a dollop of yogurt or sour cream.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

“Let Your Light Shine”

A provocative message to ponder, courtesy of Kevin J. Todeschi, editor of Venture Inward from the Edgar Cayce organization Association of Research and Enlightenment:

Years ago, I attended an A.R.E. conference about Jesus, where one of the speakers made a statement that frequently comes to mind. Herbert Puryear, then director of research for A.R.E., told the audience: “For 2,000 years we’ve been trying to make a man out of Jesus when His whole purpose was to make gods out of us.” Although some might take offense at this seemingly sacrilegious remark, a personal inquiry demonstrates the biblical and Cayce readings’ basis for such a claim. This idea also underscores much of the conflict in today’s world — conflict that exists because too many individuals may be focused on attempting to make themselves (and others) live their religion rather than attempting to come more into alignment with the living spirit contained within their personal faith.

An often-overlooked statement in the Bible occurred when a group in Jerusalem threatened to stone Jesus. The group declared that in spite of His good works, He was committing blasphemy by making himself a god. Jesus answered them, saying, “Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?” (John 10:34). The law Jesus is referring to comes from Psalms in the Old Testament, and states: “I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High” (Psalms 82:6). This suggests that all of us potentially share the same relationship with God as Jesus.

From the perspective of the Edgar Cayce readings, “salvation” does not come from belonging to a specific religion, from meditation, or from any such activity; rather, it is only ours as we manifest the spirituality of the Creator in the earth. This process of growth and unfoldment is clearly described in the New Testament (Matthew 13:31-33) when Jesus discusses the nature of Heaven in parables: “Another parable put forth unto them, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.’ Another parable spake he unto them; ‘the kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.’ “

Too often, it seems, we may try to impose our personal religious beliefs outwardly on to others and our society, rather than trying to direct them inwardly as a means of awakening ourselves to the same living spirit that inspired individuals like Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, Moses and others.

While giving the sermon on the Mount, Jesus explained to the multitudes that His mission was not to change a religion or even to start a new religion but rather to demonstrate the fulfillment of God’s plan in the earth: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets: I am not come to destroy but to fulfill” (Matthew 5:17). During the same sermon, He encouraged His listeners (and perhaps us as well) to begin living the light that was within them:

“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).

Cayce once described this internal awakening process to a 34-year-old physicist: “In giving does a soul grow, even as a tree, even as a rock, even as a sunset, even as a world grows in its influence upon that about it. So has that force grown that we find manifested in the earth that we worship as constructive influence of God, as to the All-Wise purpose, or as to the Holy Spirit, or as to those influences that make alive in giving, in making itself manifest. So are ye gods in the making, saith He that walked among men as the greatest teacher of all experiences and ages” (Cayce reading 699-1). And a 46-year-old lawyer was told: “For we are — and ye are as others — are gods in the making; not the God, but gods in the making! For He would have thee be one with him” (877-21).

Regardless of our religious heritage, let us use the season as a time to encourage our own inner awakening of the living spirit rather than simply practicing the outward form that our personal faith takes. After all, Cayce readings remind us: “For you grow to heaven, you don’t go to heaven. It is within thine own conscience that ye grow there” (3409-1).

(From Venture Inward, November-December 2004 issue, www.edgarcayce.org)

Parody Alert!

And now, to end on a light note, some “nutritional” advice, a much-passed-around Internet joke of the day, that’s good for a laugh.

HEALTH QUESTION & ANSWER SESSION

Q: I’ve heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life. Is this true?

A: Your heart is only good for so many beats, and that’s it… don’t waste them on exercise. Everything wears out eventually. Speeding up your heart will not make you live longer; that’s like saying you can extend the life of your car by driving it faster. Want to live longer? Take a nap.

Q: Should I reduce my alcohol intake?

A: No, not at all. Wine is made from fruit. Brandy is distilled wine, that means they take the water out of the fruity bit so you get even more of the goodness that way. Beer is also made out of grain. Bottoms up!

Q: How can I calculate my body/fat ratio?

A: Well, if you have a body and you have body fat, your ratio is one to one. If you have two bodies, your ratio is two to one, etc.

Q: What are some of the advantages of participating in a regular exercise program?

A: Can’t think of a single one, sorry. My philosophy is: “No pain… good!”

Q: Aren’t fried foods bad for you?

A: YOU’RE NOT LISTENING!!! Foods are fried these days in vegetable oil. In fact, they’re permeated in it. How could getting more vegetables be bad for you?

Q: Will sit-ups help prevent me from getting a little soft around the middle?

A: Definitely not! When you exercise a muscle, it gets bigger. You should only be doing sit-ups if you want a bigger stomach.

Q: Is chocolate bad for me?

A: Are you crazy? HELLO… cocoa beans… another vegetable!!! It’s the best feel-good food around!

Q: Is swimming good for your figure?

A: If swimming is good for your figure, explain whales to me.

Q: Is getting in-shape important for my lifestyle?

A: Hey! “Round” is a shape!

Well, I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions you may have had about food and diets. And remember:

“Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways — chardonnay in one hand — strawberries in the other — body thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and screaming — WOO HOO! What a ride!”

Indeed. Be well, and may The Heartful Touch infuse your being with warmth and light. Until next time…

Dennis Sprick
The Heartful Touch
Massage and CranioSacral Therapy

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