Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Brain Power

I just finished reading Jill Bolte Talylor's book, "My Stroke of Insight". Jill is a neuroanatomist who had a stroke that damaged her "left brain". She writes not only about how the stroke impacted her life, but also how the two sides of the brain impact what we do, how we behave and the peace or chaos we feel in our life. I learned in school what each side of the brain did from a physical standpoint, but his book outlines it from a psychological and personality standpoint. I highly recommend reading the book (because it is good for your brain!). My favorite chapters for those of you who don't want to read the whole thing are chapters 15-19. If you are really busy, you can also watch her story on YouTube at the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UyyjU8fzEYU.

I have always been fascinated about how the body and mind work so perfectly together. I have known that peace in the world begins one heart at a time and I can either add to peace or chaos. There are days I can access that peace and pass on healing to those who come to me in pain. There are other days, when I can barely shut off my busy self absorbed mind that chatters incessantly. On my journey for healing and peace in the world, this is what I learned from this story and want to teach you:

1) Our "Right Brain" controls the functioning of the left side of our body. Information from all of our senses comes into the brain and the right brain makes a master collage of what all the information looks like in "pictures". It is not concerned with the details, just how it all fits together. It creates a picture of the space around us and our relationship to that space. It is our creative mind. It helps us remember moments with clarity as to all the pictures, smell, and emotions that were felt. It gives us those warm feelings of being connected. No time exists except the present moment and it exist vibrant with sensation. It is what people mean when they say "I feel it in my heart or soul". In our right mind, the only moment is NOW! There are no rules or regulations or "right" way of doing things, therefore we can be creative. You have all felt it, it is when you are "in the groove" at whatever you are doing and you don't have to think about it. It is spontaneous, carefree and imaginative. We are all one when we can inhabit our "Right Brain". This is where our intuition and "gut feelings" arise.

2) Our "Left Brain" controls the right side of the body. It thrives on the details of the information coming in. It breaks present moment information into manageable bits of data. It categorized, list, compares, files, retrieves information to keep us organized and on task. It creates stories about the information to help us make sense. It creates edges, boundaries, rules to keep us safe and organized. It separates us as individuals different from those around us. It judges the information that is coming in. It is great a critical analysis of all information. It excels in academics and manifests a sense of authority over the details it masters. It allows you to process large amounts of information without overload. Our language center is found here and speaks to us constantly. It defines who we are. It reacts to protect us. Without the left brain you would lose track of your life and forget who you are and how you relate to those around you.

This was a "stroke of insight" because the author realized that prior to her stroke she functioned mostly with "Left Brain" dominance. We all have a dominance we use, some of us find it easier to be creative and have difficulty with facts and figures. We think in pictures and make decisions by the way "things feel" (that's me). (Right Brain) Others think in fact sand figures. They have great memorizing skills and easy recall. (Left Brain). But we all have the ability to tap into the "other side". The first 90 seconds of a response to incoming stimuli (sight, sound, etc..) is usually an automatic response. We were designed that way to protect ourselves from harm, because in a dire situation if you wait to think, you could be dead. But after the 90 second, we have a moment where we get to choose. In that moment you get to decide how each stimuli (stressor) is going to impact your day. You will first fall back on which side of the brain is dominant. I am proposing that you take the time to go to the "other side" and process the information before you make your choice. So for me (right brain dominant), I need to think about the fact, figures and outcome before I make my choice. I may have to give myself time. And if you are a "left brain" person, take the time to ask your right brain the best way to connect.

So the bottom line is use your amazing brain every day to learn new things. Figure out what hemisphere you are comfortable in, and then go and explore the other side. You will be amazed at how your life will change. I was. Louise Lynch

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Who's the Real Stick Here?

All you hear nowadays are ergonomists and therapists preaching proper workstations set-ups and perfect body positions and mechanics.
“Keep your spine straight!”
“Sit up straight.”
“Use 90-90 (degree) positions.”
“Lift with your legs”
The truth is, we are not like the 3-6 joint stick figures above, we have hundreds of joints in our bodies that allow for movement through a plethora of various angles, angles that you should strive to use. What you need to understand, is that these postures are considered best if you are required to maintain prolonged postures, performing repetitive work, or lift heavy objects, however, none of these situations are ideal. Ideally, you wouldn’t be stuck in a static position or doing anything repetitive. So, if you’re an accountant stuck at your desk for long hours during tax season, position B is your optimal resting spot, but you ARE allowed to use other positions. It’s okay to tuck your feet under the chair, kick’em out, cross your legs, slump for a bit, sit up like a soldier, reach overhead, stand up, walk…do you get the point? MOVE! If you stand on a line at a machine in a factory (position A), bend your knees, scrunch your toes, rise up onto your toes, rise up onto your heels, if your always rotating right, rotate left, let your head bobble on your shoulders, if you reach forward all day, reach back…do you get the point? MOVE (out of the repetition)!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

IHMS's 7th Anniversary!!!


•Louise was working at Burton Snowboards and an employee who had just been treated stated:
“You are like a body mechanic” “I know when I have an ache or pain, you will come and take it away, teach me how I got it, and most importantly how to avoid getting it again.”
The more I thought about it, the more I decided that this was a unique PT niche-this is how the “PREVENTATIVE BODY MANTAINANCE” (PBM) originated.



Erica had been a student of mine in her Junior year at UVM. We became great friends and she was always energetic and a “get it done” girl. She would watch my kids and always help me out of my binds. I hired her and trained her right after college-in fact she was the first person in her class to get a job. So naturally it made sense to start the company with her—besides she was much younger which would be helpful as I got old!!! We started IHMS in my cellar! We did not take out any loans! Louise provided the funds and Erica provided the "sweat". We had nothing to lose and everything to gain.


We worked out of my cellar-no PT just prevention. Leslie Bell, PT was kind enough to let us bill through her office when we did have to treat patients. Burton, Lane Press, DEW, and Bombardier were a few companies who started contract for our new "PBM Program" which allowed us to pay ourselves in the first month. We hired Amy Benson a PT student at the time to watch my kids (3,8, 13) and answer phones over the summer. When she went back to PT school, we hired Penny Bolton. (Louise and Erica had worked with her prior) We had a lot of request for FCE's and PT. My husband was tired of our house becoming a busy office, so we started to look for space for the first IHMS.

Step #4: IHMS Clinic

We found a small space in the Champlain Mill where we could rent month to month. We were on the river (great energy!) and had a place to call ours-we were ready to expand our business and now provide clinic services in addition to our health promotion business.
It was exciting, but scary! We hired a 2 PT's, a PTA/massage therapist, a part time OT, and Amy Benson worked as an aide. We hired Martha Burroughs as an aide, Mary Beth Morriseau as an office Manager and eventually Sue Trainer as another office person. Growth happened very fast.

Step #5: New Clinic

Staff came and went. The construction in downtown Winooski was having a negative impact on our business. While Erica was on maternity leave with Colby, Louise began the search for new space. We found the perfect option on Water Tower Hill. The new space and addition of Kim Fuller, PT (Louise's old boss at GMSPT) and Charles Alexander, OT. Business continued to grow.

NEXT STEP: Where are we now??? This economy has become rough on our business. We constantly have to recreate ourselves. We have lost some customers due to budget constraints, but have also gained other who see the need to keep employees healthy and productive. Our plan for the future is to sell our "PBM Program" around the country and be a resource in injury prevention and health promotion.

We thank you our customers and especially the employees that work at those companies. They are the true hard working Vermonters that make me keep doing what I am doing without being discouraged. Thier enthusiasm and commitment to Vermont Quality make me proud!
We are proud to call ourselves a Vermont Company

Special thanks goes to my many mentors who supported and still support my idea's: Roy Matheson, Wayne Enright, OT, Jeannie Lynch, Phyllis Severence, Joe Blanchette, John Diblasio, PT, Leslie Bell, PT, and Sue Trainor.