We Make We Move Wednesday

 
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Grace Under Water / 6" x 6" / oil on panel by Jessica Lee Ives / 2018


Wednesday We Make We Move posts bring together the art of movement, and the movement of art.

 

The fine motor movements made by painters, writers, and musicians are not unlike the full-bodied exertions of runners, climbers, and swimmers; both express kinesthetic intelligence. Human movement is a privilege and a wonder to experience. It is how we make. It is how we move. It is how we live in this world. And it is how we make this world livable.

Interviews with Artists and Athletes: Jack Hauprich

 

Jack is one of our coaches at CJ Strength & Conditioning. He’s also a wrestler, firefighter, and strongman competitor. He can deadlift 485 pounds, squat 365 pounds, and run a six-minute mile.

 
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What are your greatest athletic accomplishments?

There have been lots of accomplishments that I’ve been privately proud of, but they aren’t the things that make headlines.  It’s going back to the gym after a disappointing competition.  It’s doing the training instead of hanging out at the bar.  It’s not quitting.  My greatest accomplishment is always right around the corner.

 

What are the foods that you eat every day?

My diet is not my strong suit.  I’ve recently begun really trying to eliminate processed foods because I got used to just throwing protein bars and snacks into a bag for the day.  To eat right you have to slow down a little -- it’s going to take a little more time, and that’s something I never have enough of.  I’m working on it though!

 

What supplements do you take everyday?

None, but I go to see two of the most knowledgable massage therapists in the industry that I’ve ever met at Making Movement!

 

How often do you train a week and for how long?

I usually train six days a week for about 12-16 hours a week.

 

What are your favorite bands or music to listen to when you train?

It depends on what I’m doing!  I like Eminem and Skillet.  When I’m lifting heavy, it’s Skillet.  When it’s a “grind” kind of workout -- fast and light -- it’s Eminem.  During rest periods I listen to Disney Classics.

 

What do you do for your rest days?

Catch up on things I neglect when I’m training -- haircuts, chores, tidying up, crying profusely in the corner.  But I also do other stuff -- hanging out with my friends, training at the firehouse.  

 

What books or authors do you recommend to your friends most often?

Verbal Judo and Champion Mind.

 
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Learn more about Jack and CJ Strength & Conditioning.

 

At Making Movement, we have the opportunity to work with some amazing people who inspire us in our everyday lives. These interviews shed light on how they excel in their art or sport.

 

We Make We Move Wednesday

Bright Morning, Rapid River / 10" x 22" / oil on panel by Jessica Lee Ives / 2018


Wednesday We Make We Move posts bring together the art of movement, and the movement of art.

 

The fine motor movements made by painters, writers, and musicians are not unlike the full-bodied exertions of runners, climbers, and swimmers; both express kinesthetic intelligence. Human movement is a privilege and a wonder to experience. It is how we make. It is how we move. It is how we live in this world. And it is how we make this world livable.

Why We Take Breaks

Muscles work, muscles rest, and sometimes muscles need a reminder to stop working and start resting. The system by which they operate is scalable. For example, in the following passage on muscle function and dysfunction, it's easy to see parallels that apply when we pan out and consider the whole organism, specifically an individual human living in the modern world: 

We move by contracting. Muscles fire, causing them to tighten, shorten, and pull. With repetition and habituation, muscles fire quicker, shorten more, and pull harder. When strength or stability are needed, this rapidity, tightening, and pulling are all very good things.

But muscles that get accustomed to firing quickly or strongly can lose refinement and finesse. Powerful movements become jerky and less precise, as muscles “forget” they don’t have to bring all their motor units online at once. And when it’s time for rest or relaxation, muscles accustomed to fast contraction, strong pulling, and sustained tightening sometimes forget how to simply let go.

That’s where hands-on work can help. By leveraging the nervous system’s built-in regulatory and control systems, skilled manual therapy can “remind” muscles to lower their resting tone when they aren’t working. And using the same systems, hands-on work can also help muscles learn refined, incremental, and nuanced possibilities for action, instead of lurching into unnecessarily large all-or-nothing contractions with every moment.

A muscle must learn to enter full relaxation in order to access full range of power. Have you ever seen Derek Stockton's quad? This is what an insanely powerful set of muscles looks like when fully relaxed. Super-jiggle is not exactly what our culture of "firm and fit" inspires us to work toward, and yet there's no denying this man's elite practice and performance. If we scale up to the whole organism, our culture's projection of what a powerful, productive life looks is also incredibly misguiding and unhealthy. "The Busy Trap" is one of the best reminders of this that I've ever read.

When we lead hyper-tense lives (using our hyper-tense muscles) what is the scaled up equivalent of the manual therapist's elbow, effective in forcing a lifestyle stuck in sustained "work" contraction to relax? Well, Jonathan and I have decided that booking non-refundable plane tickets seems to work for us!

Our first summer of business at Making Movement was successful far above and beyond what we had anticipated -- which is awesome! -- and we are so very grateful to all of you who made it so. The work we get to do with you is a privilege and joy; it is a GOOD thing. But too much of anything can kill you, even good things like kale, oxygen, exercise, or meaningful work. With no previous standard to pace ourselves by, and falling fully in love with our new profession, we slipped into overworking so easily we didn't even realize it at first. It was only July when this happened, and a full two months of the busy season still remained! Almost accidentally -- but thankfully -- plane tickets had been booked well in advance so that we would be forced to take a fall break.

During the month of October Jonathan and I closed our practice for three weeks. We traveled back to Bend, Oregon, the city where we trained to become LMTs, and a place where our outdoor adventure spirits feel at home in the landscape. While there, we didn't give any massages, we only received them. We gave our hand and forearm muscles a rest, enjoying the larger whole-body activities of hiking and fishing instead.

Like all of us who are navigating the demands and opportunities of our contemporary culture, Jonathan and I are guilty of the work-hard-play-hard grind. But we also endeavor to practice what we preach -- that rest and relaxation are vital not only for muscles but for people! -- and in order to do this we're learning how to take intentional, even anticipatory, and sometimes costly (plane tickets?) measures. All well worth it to maintain health, balance, and the capacity to live a life in full range of motion.

How can you hold yourself accountable to practice necessary rest and relaxation for the health of your muscles? Your whole body? Your work? What are the possible ripple effects that a vital rest cycle might have on your family and community?

For more information and inspiration check out The Wisdom of Recovery or mull over functional medicine practitioner, Chris Kresser's thoughts on Leaonardo da Vinci.

Interviews with Artists and Athletes: Annie Bailey

 

At Making Movement, we have the opportunity to work with some amazing people who inspire us in our everyday lives. These interviews shed light on how they excel in their art or sport.

 
 
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What are your greatest artistic accomplishments?

The Account of The Royal Tar which was on exhibit at the Farnsworth Art Museum in a show called The Art of Disaster is probably my most significant artistic accomplishment. It’s a 35 foot long hand-painted illustration of the final voyage of the Royal Tar presented in a vintage wooden shipping crate. There are knobs on the top of the box that enable the viewer to crank through the scroll which is illuminated from the rear of the box and framed in a vintage gold and black viewing window. Inked images depict the devastating true story of the vessel named the Royal Tar which was transporting a circus from Canada to Portland, Maine when it burned and sank in Penobscot Bay in 1836. 

Truthfully though, I think my most significant accomplishment has been to keep maintaining a creative practice. It is so easy to get side-tracked and be extremely tough on yourself when you work alone in a studio. Continuing to show up and do the work feels like a big accomplishment.

 

What does a typical work day look like for you?

My days tend to vary quite a bit. I work best from about 9am-11am and then again from 1pm-3pm. Some days are productive, some less so. I strive for 3-4 hours of actual painting a day, which is usually flanked by all the other things that come with representing yourself as an artist, like marketing, writing proposals for grants. residencies, and doing research for upcoming projects.

 

When you work, what is your choice for music?

Classical music or alpha waves are my go to studio music choices. 

 

What are the foods that you eat every day?

Breakfast is usually leftovers, salad with egg on top, or banana and peanut butter. Oh, and coffee! For lunch and dinner I eat a lot of beans and rice, vegetables, and canned fish, like sardines and herring. Cheap and healthy is my jam.

 

What do you do on your days off?

When I take time off I like to get outside and play! I hike in the Camden Hills, swim in the ocean, and occasionally go sailing. There are always home chores to get done, too, and I enjoy the satisfaction of keeping things in order.

 

Are there any physical activities that you enjoy or that you feel compliment your art making?

Expressive movement (like dance) and cardio activities (like running and swimming) are ways that I help maintain an active and healthy lifestyle. I often find that creative ideas will come to me while I’m out on a long run, too. Recently I have started a sitting meditation practice before I begin a big painting. I’ve noticed a looser, more expressive painting quality emerge since I started meditating. 

 

When you hit a creative block what’s your strategy to get through it?

Practicing patience, getting outdoors, exercising, reading or talking to other artists is the most effective strategy for me.

 

What books or authors do you recommend to your friends most often?

I love The Art Spirit by Robert Henri, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard, and Orion magazine.

 
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See more of Annie's work on her website or follow her on instagram.

We Make We Move Wednesday

The Art Of Movement / 20" x 30" / oil on panel by Jessica Lee Ives / 2017


Wednesday We Make We Move posts bring together the art of movement, and the movement of art.

 

The fine motor movements made by painters, writers, and musicians are not unlike the full-bodied exertions of runners, climbers, and swimmers; both express kinesthetic intelligence. Human movement is a privilege and a wonder to experience. It is how we make. It is how we move. It is how we live in this world. And it is how we make this world livable.

Low Back Pain

  Brinjikji et al 2015    Systematic literature review of imaging features of spinal degeneration in asymptomatic populations.  AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2015 Apr;36(4):811-6.

Brinjikji et al 2015  Systematic literature review of imaging features of spinal degeneration in asymptomatic populations. AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2015 Apr;36(4):811-6.

Low back pain is the leading cause of disability in Americans under the age of 45 and the most common physical condition leading to doctor visits. Many new studies are now questioning the causative role of disc herniations, osteoarthritic changes, and spinal stenosis in low back pain. Results show that although association is high, causality is low. One study divided people into two groups: one with a long history of low back pain, the other with no history of pain. When researchers compared X-rays, MRI’s, and CT scans there was no physical difference between the pain and non-pain groups. In fact, the spinal pictures of the non-pain group often looked worse. Because of this many orthopedists and neurosurgeons are now learning to treat the patient, not the picture.

Some doctors now recommend two years of physical therapy before getting any kind of surgery on the back. In 2006, The Journal of the American Medical Association found that over this period of time, patients with low back pain and leg pain improved nearly as much as those who went under the knife, with differences in outcome described as “small and not statistically significant.” 

As we come to accept that our bodies begin to breakdown with age, an increase in pain doesn’t have to be part of this breakdown equation. The table above, from a study published in the American Journal of Nueroradiology, shows that although one-third of adults over 20 show signs of herniated disks, statistically only 3% of these disks actually cause symptoms

So if low back pain is not a problem with the skeletal structure, it is most likely a problem with the soft tissues of this area. Getting massage from a well trained and therapeutically-minded massage therapist, coupled with low stress aerobic exercise such as walking or swimming could relieve your back pain without the high cost of surgery. 

Interested in further reading and listening? Check out this Time Magazine feature, this New York Times article, or this NPR show.

Rigor

Last week I returned to my massage alma mater in Bend, Oregon to take a continuing ed class on deep tissue sports massage with a focus on injury treatment and prevention. My instructor was Bill Musser, a former NCAA College Division All-American swimmer, an orthopedic nurse, and a university instructor, coach, and administrator, with 40 years of manual therapy under his belt. We've all heard the term rigor mortis, the postmortem state of muscular contraction; but it was Bill who first coined the terms rigor livis, and explained that the same thing happens in the muscles of the living. 

Muscles need a type of fuel called ATP to contract. In individual muscle fibers, myosin heads lock onto actin and then ratchet the fiber tight, like an oar pulling a boat forward through water. What most folks don't realize is that muscle fibers don't just use ATP to contract; they also need ATP to relax, for the myosin to let go of the actin. If we exhaust all available fuel during the contracting phase, muscles will remain in a locked, shortened state. This is rigor. 

Deep tissue massage is the physical act of breaking myosin heads away from the actin they are locked onto, returning the muscle fibers to their original, resting state. How can we prevent our muscles from forming rigor? The two easiest ways are with sufficient hydration and a proper warm up. 

Water is the catalyst for ATP fuel production in muscle cells. We loose 8oz of water for every 15 minutes of physical exertion, or two pounds an hour, so we need to make sure muscles can continue to make the ATP they need to avoid rigor from forming due to dehydration. Seventeen gulps of water two hours before exercise gives the body time to turn this water into blood and to keep tight bands of rigor from forming. 

At rest, 80% of our bodies blood supply is in our trunk, close to our internal organs. It takes 8-12 minutes of gentle aerobic activity to open up the capillaries in our extremities like the arms and legs. We all take time to warm up before working out or going for a run, yet we rarely do so before we do a deep clean of our homes, move a piece of furniture, or take the trash to the dump. Our muscles don't discriminate between exercise and non-exercise exertion. If they are asked to perform work without the necessary blood available, then tight bands of rigor will form, leading to decreased range of motion and muscle weakness. 

We need to understand that exercise happens throughout the day, not just in the gym. Especially with the summer months ahead, drinking enough water and adding a warm-up, like ten minutes of walking, to our morning routine will have us -- and our muscles -- ready for whatever adventures come our way! 

We Make We Move Wednesday

Breath / 10" x 22" / oil on panel by Jessica Lee Ives / 2017


Wednesday We Make We Move posts bring together the art of movement, and the movement of art.

 

The fine motor movements made by painters, writers, and musicians are not unlike the full-bodied exertions of runners, climbers, and swimmers; both express kinesthetic intelligence. Human movement is a privilege and a wonder to experience. It is how we make. It is how we move. It is how we live in this world. And it is how we make this world livable.