Episode 28: It’s a Mail Bag Show!
DANI: It’s the Katy Says podcast, where movement geek, Dani Hemmat – that’s me – joins biomechanist Katy Bowman, author of Move Your DNA, for discussions on body mechanics, movement nutrition, natural movement, and how movement can be the solution to modern ailments we all experience. And today’s show is my favorite kind. It’s a mailbag show!
DANI: That’s M-A-I-L bag.
KATY: I know. I love that you – I like that you spell it out just to avoid all of the M-A-L-E bag jokes, right? Is that what that’s from?
DANI: Well, I know you. So – I had to – before you -
KATY: Just nip it – nip it right in the mailbag.
DANI: Nip it right in the mailbag. As in – these are questions that people send in to you, via your website, and for those of you that don’t know about this, there’s a couple forms. One is an email form that you can just go to KatySays.com and type in your question. We also have a really cool widget called SpeakPipe, where you can click on it and record your question to Katy, and then we play it on the podcast. So –
KATY: Are we going to do that today? Do you have actual, recorded questions?
DANI: We have some recorded questions and some emailed questions, so we’re going both ways. It’s pretty cool.
KATY: Has anyone ever just recorded a message just to say hi?
DANI: I get a lot of those.
DANI: Yeah, but they’re to me.
KATY: I love it! I love it. You should put them at the end, just kind of like at the end of Romper Room. “I see Mary, and Josie.”
KATY: “And they all want to say hi!”
DANI: Yeah. I remember that! All those episodes, yeah. Totally.
KATY: They never said my name. Did they ever say Dani? Did she ever say Dani?
KATY: She never saw Katy, either.
DANI: I just sat there on my living room floor on the green, shag carpet thinking, “Dang!”
KATY: And I just sat on my orange, shag carpet going, “Bummer!”
DANI: I know! She couldn’t see me!
KATY: Let’s watch Captain Kangaroo, then. If she can’t see us, we’ll watch Captain Kangaroo.
DANI: Yeah. Mister Greenjeans is way more sympathetic. All right. You want to do it?
KATY: Yes. Let’s do the mailbag show.
DANI: Excellent. All right. This first one is from Caitlin. Caitlin writes, “Hi, Katy! I’m a new but passionate Bow-liever.” Bowliever!
KATY: Oh, gosh. She fits right in.
DANI: Yeah, love her.
KATY: Is this you? Wait, is this you?
DANI: No, no. This is really – this is Caitlin. She rules.
DANI: Okay. “I am a new but passionate Bow-liever. I’m wondering if you have any suggestions for a 6 month old, stubborn, Achilles tendonopathy. I’ve been doing eccentric-only calf strengthening.” Hm. “As well, I’ve been following your, ‘Save Your Knees, Build A Butt’ video, that’s one of your Alignment Snacks, almost every day, and it has helped tremendously. Do you have any other suggestions? Also, what are your thoughts on orthotic heel-lifts while the Achilles heals? Thank you so much.”
KATY: What was your, “hm” for? It’s like, I’ve been doing eccentric-only calf strengthening – hmmmmm.
DANI: I had to make sure I was reading it right.
KATY: Hmm. Yeah.
DANI: I’m under a blanket. Remember that. It’s dark under here.
KATY: She’s straining! She’s straining, folks. Okay, so, um, I guess I’ll just translate. So it sounds like she has an issue with her Achilles tendon, so that’s – for those of you who don’t know, I think most people do, but kind of the ankle cord where your calf muscles come together to become the tendon that comes around and attaches to your heel. Very common, although a lot of people will have a tendinitis, or they’ll have maybe they’ll have general heel pain that’s been undiagnosed. So she’s doing eccentric-only calf strengthening. So let me just – I’m not going to give an example of it, because I don’t know if there’s an easy example. So I would like to see what she is actually doing that’s eccentric-only, but setting that aside, it sounds like – and she’s doing Save Your Knees, Build a Butt, which is actually – it’s actually not an Alignment Snack, it’s a webinar. It’s one of the earlier webinars.
DANI: Oh, that’s right. That’s right.
KATY: It’s like an hour-long class that was – I did a, did an article for Prevention magazine, which we can link to in the show notes for – it was a – an article series that they did where they take someone with an injury and they do 3 different approaches. Like, how would you adjust her or the person’s training program to deal with what their goals were and what their limitations were? So this Build a Butt class stemmed from this article which was – and then she voted – the woman did all 3 programs for a period of time and then voted which one was the best as far as her goals and her issues were concerned. And she picked mine, so then I created a whole class out of it so everyone could do it.
DANI: That’s right.
KATY: So what the Build A Butt webinar has in it is a lot of posterior leg strengthener as a unit – a lot of single leg, like, arabesque type stuff which you can find on the blog. You can find those exercises. You can find those exercises in the article, you can find even a more fleshed-out example of these single-leg – you know, it’s like the wall, where you hold onto the wall and you reach one leg out behind you, but you’re rotating your thigh in a particular way. But what I don’t hear, from what she is doing, which seems like she’s got corrective exercises down, is how she’s changing her every day behavior. Because remember: your Achilles tendon, your whole body, but your Achilles tendon is responding to what you do all day long, so I would be interested in what – what kind of shoes is she wearing the bulk of the time? A lot of people will have professional shoes, right? The go to work, they wear heels, and then they go hit the gym or a walk or whatever, but then they swap to a flat shoe, and sometimes that rapid transition from an all-day, shortened muscle to then demanding that it lengthen while you’re doing, you know, a higher impact thing can aggravate Achilles issues.
KATY: She wants to know what I think about orthotics or heel lifts. I think that that could be a good idea for you, but again, I would have to know what activities you do the bulk of the day. Something else that people forget is that sitting shortens your calf muscles and puts a lot of tension on your Achilles tendon. So the calf muscle, if you start at your heel and trace up your leg, you’ve got one calf muscle that starts from the heel, goes over the ankle, goes over the knee before it attaches to the bottom of your thigh bone. So when you bend your knees, a la sitting in a chair, that muscle – that calf muscle – adapts. So even if everyone’s like, I wear flat shoes, but I still have tight calves, you might want to check the frequency with which you sit. So if she can –
DANI: In a chair.
KATY: In a chair. Well, in a chair or in any similar, um, position. And that’s actually a good kind of a side comment is – and I did write a post about this, too. You could post a link to that, also, about sitting and shortening the calves. So then, everyone’s like, what about floor sitting, and it’s not really the sitting that’s the problem, it’s that it’s the repetitious sitting. So you’ve probably sat in the exact same chair or couch or office chair or car chair, so then you adapt because you’re doing the same thing all the time. If you’re using floor sitting and you sit with your legs straight out in front of you sometimes, then it’s perfectly fine to cross them, which is knee flexion, because it’s different than how you were just sitting in a chair. Yes, it shortens your calves, but then they’re not doing this long-term structural adaptation, because you’re not going to sit cross-legged for 8 hours a day. You’re going to switch to your legs out to the side, and you’ll put your legs straight. How much does she sit, what shoes is she wearing? I think she probably would have told me if she was doing any other sort of sporting activity, but looking at that and seeing if she can change that sitting frequency and sitting position will help. If you noticed that going for a walk is aggravating your issue, then you might want to consider some sort of – you know, you can say orthotics or heel lifts, but if she’s wearing minimal shoes she might just want to go to a shoe with a small heel on it. It doesn’t have to be a medical device, right?
KATY: It could just be – it could just be something that gives her a little bit of plantar flexion, a little bit of toe pointing. So that would be my, um, other place to put your eyes, you know, and think about your Achilles tendon is affected by all – by all of those things. Your shoes, your sitting, and the types of movements and exercises that you’re doing. So she’s got the exercises down, so I’d look in those other two places. And then if she has more details, send them our way via the SpeakPipe feature.
KATY: And I’ll just end this – I’ll end this by saying, I see you, Caitlin. I see you, Dani.
DANI: Yay! She finally saw me!
DANI: And you’re right about the Build A Butt, right. But for people that don’t know the Alignment Snacks, I just – I often forget that you have so many new Alignment Snacks, but they’re five bucks.
KATY: Five bucks.
DANI: Go to your site, download them, and you keep them.
DANI: You keep them and you just – you can work on so many different pieces and parts with these snacks.
KATY: And I added two, like with the foot book there were two – I mean, there’s a couple on the feet and then there were two other ones. A foot massage – if you haven’t done the snacks, Caitlin, or anyone, they’re a really great way to actually do a super inexpensive movement session with me.
KATY: And I think there’s 20 – 22, I think there’s 24 or 25. There’s 25, we just added a few more. And they’re a great intro-level. They’re fun.
DANI: They are fun. They’re fun and so, so short that there’s really no time excuse.
KATY: 20-30 minutes. Yeah. Yeah.
DANI: We dinker around more than that on Facebook. So it’s 20 minutes on a snack and you just feel amazing afterwards, so.
KATY: I know. I found that I didn’t want to do anything – I don’t – hour-long classes just seem so daunting, but 20-30 minutes, I just throw one on. You can do, they’re just all sorts of body part specific, and they’re downloads, right? There’s no –
KATY: No carbon footprint of them – there’s no waiting. You just get it right now and watch it right now. So. I love the snacks.
DANI: The snacks are good!
KATY: Plus, I filmed them right after I had my daughter, and so there’s a couple – there’s always outtakes in everything I do. Everything I do is mostly outtakes with a small portion being the actual, usable piece of the film. So the outtakes – I had a couple where she’s a little baby going through. Oh, I miss that little early time.
DANI: And an occasional yawn on your part, being a breastfeeding mother who’s not sleeping through the night. Yeah.
KATY: Aww, yeah. There was one – and I think we ended up putting it on the website, it was like, just a disclaimer: this is a mom with a 2-month-old baby, and she was very tired. The workout is awesome, but it might put you to sleep. Do not watch this while operating heavy machinery.
DANI: Okay, before I move on, I also just want to mention that when you listen to a podcast, you listeners, you probably don’t really care where it’s recorded, because you’re just – wherever you are listening to it, but if you’re on the other side of the mic, like we are, it kind of matters. At least it matters to me. I’m very sentimental. So I just wanted to mention that this is the last podcast we’ll be recording while I’m here in Montana, and our next one will be after I’ve landed in Colorado. Woo!
KATY: Where are you living in Color – where are you going to be moving to?
KATY: Do you need walking buddies in Boulder?
DANI: Hey, everybody! (sings) I need walking buddies in Boulder!
KATY: Oh, my gosh – you are going to have so many excited people that you are moving to Boulder!
DANI: Yes! Because Boulder’s a very walky kind of place! Very walky-hikey. Walky-hikey.
KATY: Did you get that article I sent you about some amazing hikes there?
DANI: I did.
KATY: I’m going to come visit you.
DANI: You’re going to come visit. I’ve got an extra room. Come visit.
KATY: We’ll take a big group walking.
DANI: All right. So our next question: this one is from Marie.
MARIE: Hi, Katy, this is Marie, and you can use this recording for your podcast if you wish. My question is this: have you ever heard of anyone using psoas release techniques with people with disabilities, specifically people in wheelchairs or people that have support, breathing support? Thank you.
KATY: I see you, Marie! That was a lovely question. I’m going all Romper Room today. So I do – I have some experience or knowledge of people using our psoas release; I think there’s a lot of different psoas release techniques. So all I know is our psoas release, which is – maybe it differs a little bit from what people would think. It’s essentially bolstering your skeleton so that you can see what the resting tension is in not just the psoas but the psoas and the iliopsoas and the rectus femoris which is one of the quadriceps that attaches the femur to the pelvis. So the whole kind of crux of the work that I do, and especially the stuff that you, Dani, have trained in, which is the Restorative Exercise™ and Alignment Markers is the idea that you can’t fix the problem until you can actually see what the problem is. So we put everyone on a grid, and in our psoas release, we put the body on a grid so that we can see the angle at which their psoas is at rest. This is a little bit different than how it looks when you’re standing, when you’re doing different things to mask it. The issue – the only issue with doing psoas – our psoas release – with someone if they were in a wheelchair would be the difficulty getting them into a supine position, which means laying out on their back. Our psoas release works – it’s not about working. It’s a measure that requires flat ground. So you can do a version of it on the bed, but the bed, when you lay on it tends to form around you. So again, when – if you have a psoas that has a resting length where your pelvis is tilted or your lumbar vertebrae are sheared, your thoracic – your rib cage is kind of moved out in front of you – when you lay flat on the ground, you see the space underneath. You’d be like, wow, my ribs are up in the air, I didn’t really realize that. Or my low back is flat, or my pelvis is in a particular position but my thigh bones are up in the air. My knees are slightly bent. A tighter, shorter psoas is one of the reasons that if you go get a massage or when you go to bed at night, people like to prop their knees or bolster their knees is because there’s a lot of tension that the resting configuration of the skeleton under the influence of a tight psoas will place on the lower back.
KATY: So if you can get that someone in a wheelchair down onto the floor, to be able to do it, then – depending on what sort of skill sets and movement capabilities they have – all you’re doing is you are letting your body hang out in a situation where gravity can work on the psoas. There’s nothing, really, to do. You’ve done the psoas release, you know, you’re not trying to move anything in a particular place. What the psoas – there’s this resting tension in the body, which would be passive resting tension, and I’m going to use an example of the kneecap release. So if you haven’t done the kneecap release, if you’re listening to this, you want to go search that on the blog or you can – Alignment Monkey, she’s got a great video of kneecap release. Everyone seems to have done a video of Restorative Exercise™ kneecap release. So you can find some example on YouTube, I’m sure. Just put in “Restorative Exercise™ Kneecap Release.” A lot of people will feel like, my quads are so tight, my kneecaps are always up, I can’t let them down. But we move their body geometry around in a way and them boop! They come down. It’s not always that easy; sometimes it takes a long time. So in that case, their kneecaps were up. There was tension in the quadriceps, but it wasn’t tension that needed to be stretched, or coaxed out. It was simply: you have to stop tensing them. But when you’ve been holding a muscle in a particular way in order to, whatever – you know, there are reasons you would hold your quadriceps tight. You’re so unaware that you’re doing it all of the time that when I say, hey, could you let your kneecaps down? You’re like, “what are you talking about? I didn’t pick my kneecaps up; they’re just like that. They can’t not be like that.” There’s this whole, mental thing where you’ve been doing it so long that you no longer recognize that you’re actively doing it. And it takes a while to find that active signal of tense that you are sending out. And the psoas is also one of those muscles. There are also passive adjustments where you can’t get a full release, necessarily, in the moment. Like there are structural adaptations to behaviors like sitting or – if you lift your chest all of the time, or tuck your pelvis or whatever else you do that changes the orientation of the attachment points of the psoas and there are 24 attachments points of the psoas major, just in case – psoas major! You know, it’s a major – it’s like a huge starfish, and you’ve got one on the right, and one on the left side of your vertebral column, and it’s got all these fingers that are touching your vertebrae, and the discs, and the femurs, and they can – it can move a lot of your parts. And a lot of people are tensing it willingly, but unconsciously. They’ve just been doing it so long. So release creates a platform in which someone who can’t relax, or what am I going to relax into? And if the bed were underneath you, you wouldn’t be able to relax, but if you get someone on the floor, they can release, and if someone’s disabilities are related to their structural orientation, then it can be beneficial. My dad’s 88 and I will get him in a psoas release. He has 2 artificial hips. It’s not easy for him to get down or get back up, but I will put him in it, and it makes his hips and it makes his SI joint and it makes his digestion better. But it’s quite labor-intensive. It’s not anything he does on his own, because it’s too much work where I go set up everything, and then I help him down, and then we just hang out while he’s down there for 20 minutes.
KATY: So that’s the biggest limitation, right? Is the assistance.
DANI: Mm-hmm. It is definitely a release, you know, like, I had a client this weekend say, “I think I need to stretch my psoas,” and I’m like, I don’t think we need to do that. I think we need to release it. There’s – it’s different.
KATY: Yeah. Especially when you’re trying to – a lot of people are trying to stretch their psoas without actually recognizing that they themselves are holding it.
KATY: It’s like, you are both holding it and trying to stretch it at the same time. You’re freaking the muscle fibers out. They don’t – that’s like protection mode, when you are creating your own opposition even if it’s unconsciously. Release – I’m much more a fan of the release.
DANI: Yes. Excellent question, excellent answer.
KATY: Thanks, Marie.
DANI: I’d let you go home, but there’s more.
DANI: We could have ended on that, because it was good. But there’s more. So here’s a question we have about torso length, and it is from Megan. Megan writes, and this is a long question, so stick with me. Megan writes, “A short torso, and big, wide ribs are the bane of my existence for more reasons than one. Working on being able to squat down, I can get down in a pretty good squat, but I feel absolutely useless once down there. I have a very short torso. The bottom of my big, straight ribs are about an inch off the top of my hip bones on the side, thus putting my knees in my armpits when I am squatted down into a comfortable, resting position. Couple that with the big boobs hanging off the front, and squatting is a very impractical way for me to do anything besides the squat itself. Is this something that increased mobility in my hips and shoulders could help with? Or is it just one of those things I will have to work around? And along with that, I have a long way, clearly, to go in work I can do in flexibility, but flexibility of the torso with twisting, etc., is the closeness of my ribs to my hips potentially an actual limitation? Or an imagined, created-by-my-life limitation?” Gee whiz, that’s a long question.
KATY: That’s a long – yeah, that’s a long question about a short torso. Well, I could have written this, essentially, because I have, like, a 2-inch torso max, as opposed to my dad and my sister and my husband and my children – my dad and my sister both have that extra vertebrae so they have a long torso. I have a short torso. The big, wide ribs that she’s talking about; ribs are malleable, and so there are things – like, when your ribs are flared, which is what I’m imagining she’s referring to with her “big, wide ribs,” which, by the way, are not the bane of your existence. They are the facilitator of your existence. So just to change the internal message.
DANI: Ah, yes.
KATY: Your short torso and your wide ribs are the essence of your existence, so don’t think about them in the way – like, without them, you would be dead. So you’ve actually got it completely backwards. They are facilitating your existence, and they are beautiful. However; big, wide ribs are simply ribs that are not being managed properly by your core musculature.
DANI: Yeah, big shift.
KATY: That’s a shift in thinking, and what I would refer back to is the diastasis recti show. I think that, Megan, you can benefit from listening to the Diastasis Recti show because I believe that we talked about ribs.
KATY: And it’s also going to be in – and I just finished writing it – expanding on a big section of this in the Diastasis Recti book, in the core strength book coming up, because you know, your ribs are connected to your pelvis via your abdominal muscles, and when they are wide it’s an indication of – just the goings on of your torso, and it can be respiratory issues, diaphragm issues, abdominal strength issues: all of those being affected by the amount of strength that you do or do not have. So in that way, it’s an actual – what she’s asking is is it an actual limitation or is it an imaginary limitation? It’s a real limitation, however it’s a malleable limitation, which means that it is not a limitation that is going to be in front of you, impeding you for the rest of your life. It’s an indication that core strength might facilitate your squats, and now we’re back to this bigger idea that is that there’s not fixing your upper body and then getting a good squat and then getting core strength. It all goes together. Her squats will become more comfortable the more core strength she has because it’s going to position her ribs in a way where they’re not, you know, interfering. And then also, when we think of – again – so this is in Move Your DNA – the book where you know, you break down and talk about a squat as having this form, but the form to the squat is really to elicit a very particular response to doing the squat. Squats – in real life –are not the type of squat you do for exercise; it is a dynamic movement in a lowered position, so um, you know, I’m out picking strawberries for two hours and I’m in a squat positon the entire time, but that squat position is really just a category of 100 different positions that I assumed that we will call “squat.” So if you’re trying to squat, you know, with your feet pelvis width apart, and your knees pointing in this direction and your pelvis down and your ribs in this place, then of course your boobs are going to be right up on your thighs. It’s not very practical. But neither is just sitting there in a squat. So if you’re trying to get work done in front of you – like, I’m picking strawberries, and with my short waist and my big boobs, like, I’m moving around and I’ve got my chest rotated, right?
KATY: Because in a real-life squat, movement is large and rotational. So don’t feel like you have to squat in a particular position. If your knees and armpits are interfacing, and you don’t want them to be, just twist your torso and do the task that you’re trying to do in your squat off to one side, and then the other side. Or assume a different kind of squat, where – pick anything off of the “Think Outside the Chair” poster or blog post, or picture in Move Your DNA where there’s 30 other or maybe even more squat-like positions that don’t have this really narrow constraint that you find uncomfortable right now. So, that would be – is that a good enough answer?
DANI: That’s a great answer. That’s a big old plate o’ freedom for Megan, because she got freedom from the way of thinking about her ribs, she got more movement in her squat, I mean: Yay!
KATY: Yeah, everyone right now, call to mind the part of your body that you like the least, and realize that without it, you would die, and that it’s awesome. Is that – what is that for you?
DANI: For me?
KATY: Yeah, do you have one?
DANI: Um, actually, yeah. It’s my – it’s my legs.
DANI: I always thought I had short legs and I would complain, and I was a teenager, and my mom said, “Well, if you didn’t have legs, where would you be?” and I thought, “Huh.” So I really don’t – you know. There was – that was when the dislike ended. I was like, yeah, these are cool, man, they carry me around! That’s what it was for me. I don’t really have a part now just because of that.
KATY: I love that. Just draw like a little heart. Just go give a little heart tattoo, give a little extra love to the part.
DANI: It’s true, it all matters, right? It all matters.
KATY: It’s holistic. You can’t be hatin’ – you can’t be hatin’ on yourself because that part is you!
DANI: Don’t be hatin’. It’s true.
KATY: Don’t be a hater.
DANI: That’s right. And Megan, yeah, go back to the Diastasis Recti podcast, and also, when can we look forward to that book?
KATY: Oh my gosh! So soon!
DANI: Don’t want to put pressure on ya.
KATY: I know, it’s okay. It’s okay. It’ll be out the end of 2015, so right now we are in the summer? This will probably air in August of 2015, and so – you just have months. Just a few more months and we’ll probably pre-order it with some sort of – we’ll probably couple some special core strengthening Alignment Snacks with it for pre-sale.
KATY: So look for that, pretty soon.
DANI: Cannot wait!
KATY: I know, me either.
DANI: All right, let’s move on. That was a good answer.
DANI: Okay, here we have one from the mountain state: “Hi, Katy, this is Dani. I’m calling from Montana. I have moved twice in the past two months, and really – moving, it sucks. And I was just wondering if you’d ever consider coming out and helping me pack up my house to help me out. Thanks! Love your work.”
DANI: Can you imagine the gall of some people? The things they ask of you! Jeez!
KATY: Some people are soooo rude!
DANI: How did I not weed that out of these questions? Good grief.
KATY: I want everyone to know that you’ve moved twice in what, 30 days?
DANI: Yeah, about 40. So. Woo-hoo!
KATY: You moved out of your house to the new house, only to get the job offer for the family to move to a different state.
DANI: I feel like Judd Hirsch in Running on Empty. Just pack up and go, pack up and go. So, yeah.
KATY: Did you just make a Running on Empty reference? Oh my gosh – River Phoenix? I love that movie!
DANI: Totally. It’s a great movie.
KATY: I love it. It’s a great movie. And frankly, I always wanted to kind of be in the witness protection program.
DANI: Same here.
DANI: Yeah, yeah.
KATY: I totally always wanted to be an asset to a crime so I could be in the witness protection program. I didn’t want to actually commit the crime, but I wanted protection.
DANI: Right. Yeah. I thought that was a great movie.
KATY: You don’t know me. Well, okay, anyway, I’m not going to answer that question.
DANI: I sure wouldn’t. Good Lord. Okay, so the next question is from Andrew. Andrew writes, “I really loved the audiobook version of Move Your DNA. Can we look forward to a Whole Body Barefoot audiobook narrated by Katy Bowman as well? Please, please, please please, please.”
KATY: Well, Andrew. I want to just let you know that, yes, there is, and it’s been out for a couple months now on Audible.com. Whole Body Barefoot, audiobook narrated by yours truly – including – including! – an outtake reel, just like Move Your DNA had. Have you listened to the audiobook?
DANI: Aw, no!
KATY: Oh my gosh! The book – the audiobooks alone are worth the price just –
DANI: I had no idea.
KATY: -- for the audio outtakes, and I didn’t even – the stuff that the guy who produced my book culled for the outtakes are freaking hysterical. And I was like, I don’t have any recollection, it’s like some sort of audiobook Tourette’s Syndrome where I’m just – you’re locked by yourself in a sound booth for hours at a time, and I would just be, I guess I spontaneously make noises and sing anyway? Which I didn’t really realize until, you know, friends listening to it go, yeah, that sounds like you pretty much all of the time. Yeah, so.
DANI: Thanks for the tip. That’s good.
KATY: Outtakes, people.
DANI: I can speak from experience, there are some noises going on. It is funny.
KATY: They’re mostly coming out of my mouth.
DANI: Yeah, yeah. That’s true. It is mouth noises.
KATY: And so Audible – you can get it on Audible, and you can also get it on iTunes.
DANI: Oh, okay.
KATY: Just download that right to your little device, and go out for a walk and listen to it. And the audiobooks – the audiobooks come with .pdfs so if you’re worried about not wanting the visuals? I think a lot of people don’t buy audiobooks for movement books – I think I’m one of the few people –
DANI: Well, yeah. I don’t, actually, for that reason.
KATY: Yeah. Yeah, well, you get a .pdf with all of the pictures and all of the written explanations as well, so it’s kind of like you get the content on the go, so you don’t have to sit and read it. But when you’re ready to do the actual exercises, you can just sit and refer to the .pdf that’s included.
DANI: Well, that’s good news, thank you.
KATY: Thanks, Andrew. I see you. I see you, Andrew.
DANI: All right. So this next question is from Siri. Not the girl in your phone, but Siri. “Hi, Katy, this is Siri from Norway. I am seeing a therapist at the moment and she is talking about what she calls hypotension. I’ve heard you and several others speaking about hypertension in muscles and fascia, which to me seems to be a very normal term. So coming to this therapist and hearing about hypotension, which she explains as a muscle lacking tension, or having given up, if you will, which can be caused by traumas both physically and emotionally, getting a muscle to get into this lack of tension. So it’s difficult for me to grasp my head around what that really is, what it looks like and does that mean that the muscle stops sending signals to the brain that it’s actually there, so you can’t feel it anymore? And how can you treat muscles or fascia in this state? So hopefully you can clarify this to me: what is hypotension? And what can you do about it? So, thank you.”
KATY: Okay. Well, there’s – so just to clarify: hypertension. Hyper is a lot, so too much tension. Hypotension is the opposite: too little tension. A more correct term for tension in this case is usually tone. So hypotonicity is also referred to as flaccid muscles. I have never – that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist – but I’ve never heard hypotension, or flaccid muscle diagnoses for things other than motor nerve issues, where there’s like a – there can be a trauma, a nerve trauma, where the muscle itself no longer responds to the signal, in which case you would have a flaccid muscle. And it’s also hard in the translation, so I imagine that sometimes, you know, like, if you’re – and she’s in Norway, I think, right? So if you’re – the Norwegian scientific terms should line up with the – you know, the English ones – but if they don’t, that might be a place where trying to reconcile what you’re reading in English here, which is different than a Norwegian journal. I’ve searched, you know, Google scholar and PubMed for flaccid muscles or um, skeletal muscle hypotonicity and I’ve only seen it associated with nerve damage. So I’m wondering if – sometimes when we speak we speak casually, she would want to clarify with her therapist that she’s not using flaccid muscles or hypotonicity in lieu of a muscle weakness, you know, a muscle that’s not contracting. So Siri would know if she’s had, you know, major muscular damage, like trauma, where there was nerve or actual tissue damage where the tissue itself is no longer responsive, or if this is just a more casual reference to, you don’t have enough tone in your muscles and we’d like you to have tone, in which case, you can improve your tone by moving more but in a very specific way, depending like if – most – most cases of muscular hypotonicity outside of some whole body, genetic condition would just be spot – you know, you have a spot, you have one muscle that’s not responding the way it should. Or a muscle group, whether you got in an accident or whatever, you know, whatever the situation might be. It’s really the same thing. It’s – I work with people often who have very low tone, and again: tone is not a super specific word, but I think of it as a resting tension where when you go – the muscle is primed, it’s ready to go and primed for movement and it’s response and capability in dealing with the loads that come on as you’re moving is able to facilitate that movement with strength and stability, you know, many muscles doing that all at once. And the way I train people in it, that’s what I use alignment for, because I don’t think a lot of people are aware of is: your muscles respond to a very particular geometry, meaning if you’re creating a motion in a particular plane, but the muscle that you want to help you while moving through that plane is located in a different plane because of – you know, I think of like a forward bend. So you have, like, hamstrings down the backs of your legs, so as you do a forward bend they’re going to let you go down, and they’re going to help you back up again. But as you turn your feet out, what you’re doing is you’re turning a portion of your hamstrings away from the plane in which they would function or contribute to that forward bend. So you can do a forward bend having less action, less activation, less performance in your hamstrings because your position is such that it has removed the leverage capability or the force generating capabilities of a muscle. So what I do, when someone has a tone problem is before I assume that they have a tissue damage, I go, well, maybe you’re just not ever lining up your planes of action with the muscle that you thought you were using. So a lot of people, when they take an exercise class or do an exercise for a specific thing, they’ll show me, oh, I’m doing this for my biceps. It’s like, well, that’s awesome, but the way that you are doing it means very little biceps can actually work. So here, this is why we adjust your form, right? So that’s the whole thing with body building or alignment or postural adjustments is that you are bringing a higher percentage of what should be working for that motion to that motion so that that motion is executed better. Betterly. I think it’s betterly. So. Hopefully that helps Siri.
DANI: Yeah. And I just want to add that if the Siri in my phone had a voice as beautiful as Siri from Norway, I would be asking my phone questions all the time. All the time. Okay, this next one is from Sarah, who writes: “I saw a biomechanist on TedEx recently, and was meaning to ask you, when are YOU going to do a TED talk?” Come on, Katy. Come on.
KATY: I have no idea. Like, I – I don’t know. When they ask me?
DANI: Here’s – here’s what I know, Listener Land. I see you all. I think you have to be nominated. That’s my understanding.
DANI: Is that people for TED talks get nominated, like professors, you know, will have – the people that have learned under them will nominate them. So that’s how I understand that the process works. That’s the only answer I know about that. It’s not like you’re holding out on us.
KATY: I’d be too embarrassed. I can’t even imagine myself – I’m not – I – I don’t know. I would just, what am I gonna?
DANI: You’d be awesome.
KATY: There’d be so many outtakes. Do they have TED outtakes? Because I would totally nail it if they did.
DANI: Maybe you could just do a whole talk, just outtakes only. All right. The next question is from Chris.
CHRIS: Hi, Katy, your work is incredible, and I’m a long time fan. Period. Would love to hear a podcast about exercising, movement, and science of the facial muscles: something that would appeal to the vanity in most of us. Period. Keep us young looking. You’ve spoken a lot about the chewing muscles, and the importance and science of that, how about the other facial muscles? Thanks.
KATY: Dani, how do you feel about doing a show on facial muscles?
DANI: I would love that.
KATY: Yeah, and I think we could probably flesh out – I just got in an argument who said it was flush out. You know, like, like, just get rid of the stuff that doesn’t matter and keep what’s left. And I was like, oh, that’s interesting, but I think it’s flesh.
DANI: Well, there’s both sayings but different contexts. Different meanings. So, yeah. Yeah, flesh: you are correct. That was a pretty cheeky person that tried to argue with you.
KATY: Oh, I can’t even – why do I even try? Why do I even try to keep up with you? Yeah, we could do facial muscles, I think, um, I’ve done – you know, and I’ve written blog posts, Chris, if you want to go check it out, on the muscles of the tongue, I’ve got cool stories about the muscles of my own nose. So yes, we can. Period. The end. Xoxo. KAB.
DANI: All right, our last one! Got a few more minutes: this one is from Rhonda. Rhonda writes, “Hi. I love your podcast. I was wondering if you know of any solutions for cracked heels and reasons mechanically speaking or otherwise for their existence. It’s been slowing down my barefoot time.”
KATY: Yeah, well I do have –
DANI: You’ve gotta help Rhonda.
KATY: (sings) Help me, Rhonda! Help, help me, Rhonda! I told you I was feeling singy today.
KATY: I asked – I thought I would go right to the source and ask my BFF who is also a podiatrist her input first, and then I will comment on it otherwise, because I thought if – if you can get free advice, why not take it? So for Rhonda, here was my BFF/DPM’s answer. “If we knew all the reasons why this happens, I believe we would have “cured” the problem by now. Cured is in quotes. The big culprits are shearing forces and evaporation of the foot’s natural moisture when wearing an open shoe.” So shearing foices – I’m shearing voices! Hello! “Shearing forces are like when you put your hands together and you rub them back and forth. That motion of one part sliding past another is a shear force. The feet I treat most often are those exposed to air by wearing shoes that are open at the heel. The fat padding tends to be thicker, allowing for more movement or friction. If the fissure gets so bad that they harden or crack, then debriding away the hard skin is usually necessary.” See, this – wait, hold on, I gotta read the whole thing so you can get the full picture.
KATY: “I typically also employ” – I gotta read this, it’s so good. “Debriding away the hard skin is usually necessary. I typically also employ topical keratolytics?” I don’t even know how to pronounce it, I don’t even recognize it. It’s kera- which is skin, -tolytics.
KATY: And she employs these topical whatchamacallits under occlusion and “often prescribe a more closed shoe for a period of time.” So this is someone who can actually speak normally in conversation unless she’s talking about feet, in which case a medical dictionary must be at your side the entire time. But basically what she’s saying is she’ll give a skin softener under occlusion, meaning, like, just cover your foot, right? So put something on your foot and wrap it up, so don’t expose your foot to so much air, because everyone knows that’s bad for your feet. So that’s kind of your traditional take on it, and I have – I don’t have that deep cracking, but my feet are extremely, extremely dry. If I had to pick a piece of my body that gave me the most grief, where I’m always like, ugh, god, I hate you! It is the skin on my feet, and that’s obviously not okay since I love my feet and without that foot skin I would have to cut them off, so.
KATY: So I am going to take my own medicine here, but I will also say that as far as skin softeners, I’ve tried everything, and I just want to give a shout out to what I’ve recently found, which has been amazing. And I have tried everything to keep my feet from being really, really dry and constantly peeling. And that’s Moon Valley Organics, have you ever heard of them?
KATY: Even if you do nothing else but go to their website and look at their super cute website and watch their video of how they got started – it’s amazing –
DANI: Moon Valley Organics.
KATY: Moon Valley Organics. Two products: psoria-soothe and
DANI: I like them already.
KATY: Yes. Right? And the other one’s called, like, EczaCalm. So I’ve tried them both because no one really knows if it’s eczema or psoriasis on my foot, it’s just kind of like an inflammation that constantly peels. It’s worse under friction or shear forces. Also, when I travel, a plane when they swell – that’s enough stretch of the skin where it aggravates it.
KATY: So those two things have been awesome. I can’t remember – I think the PsoriaSoothe ended up working out better for me.
DANI: Yeah. And I’m sure everybody’s a little bit different with what works, yeah.
KATY: Everyone’s just different, but those are just – yeah – and they’re – it’s a Washington company.
DANI: Oh, cool.
KATY: It’s a local Washington company. Something else, though, is hydration – you know, we kind of reduce mentality, it’s all, ‘there’s something wrong with your foot skin,’ but I also have a problem with dehydration. This is like – hydration comes from the inside.
KATY: The skin’s hydration isn’t about what you put on topically. Yes, the external environment matters, but your internal environment also matters, and I tend to be low on oil and fluid anyway. So look into maybe dietary changes; you can ask someone about, you know, how to be more hydrated and yes, that means drinking more water, but it also usually means eating more oil, right? Because –
DANI: Mm-hmm. Some good fat in your diet.
KATY: A lot of good fat, you know, because you can keep putting water on your deck, but it just sucks it up. The true hydration is when you’ve sealed it, you know. So maybe that, and then also, how do you use your whole body all of the time? She’s barefoot, but what about other things like circulation down to the lower legs so that the skin’s super healthy as a whole? How much are you using your calves: if you did the calf stretch, what would that tension look like in there? So. That would be my input for that. Hopefully that was helpful because that question resonated with me. I’m like, here’s my secret thing that I just discovered!
KATY: I mean, I’ve had a problem for years and years and years, and the PsoriaSoothe that I put on – it was like a week and I’m texting pictures going, “no way!” I put it on before I got on an airplane and then I covered it, right, so that’s occlusion – you want to go ahead and close it off with some good socks and let it saturate, you know.
DANI: Now, do you do the socks at night as well?
KATY: I do. I mean –
DANI: Yeah, that’s what I do when they’re starting to get dry. Sleep with cotton socks.
KATY: You’re already not walking around, so if you want to moisturize and put something on, I did that mostly because there’s little oily footprints all over the house which are my, like, my husband’s like, “Enough! Enough with the oil all over your feet!” Like, pat-pat-pat little gnome-sized 8.5 footprints all over our house. It was the coconut oil!
DANI: That’s some gnome!
KATY: Coconut oil gnomes! They’re just all over the house while we sleep. So, yeah. That would be some – some mailbag advice for you!
DANI: Excellent. Excellent mailbag advice.
KATY: Rhonda, I see you, Rhonda!
DANI: Rhonda got her help. And that brings us to time!
KATY: All right, well, um, have a great move, Dani, and for all of you out there, thanks for listening. If you want more information on books, online classes, the Alignment Snacks that we talked about – whatever – you can find me, Katy Bowman at KatySays.com. You can learn more about Dani Hemmat, Movement Warrior and 3 time Interstate box-packing champion – woo! Woo! – at MoveYourBodyBetter.com.
DANI: See you later.
We hope you find the general information on biomechanics, movement, and alignment informative and helpful – but it is not intended to replace medical advice and shouldn’t be used as such.