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A Holistic Approach to Enhancing Sports

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A Holistic Approach to Enhancing Sports

Improving your performance without drugs

A Physical Therapist Perspective by Kristine Battey

The primary focus of physical therapists working in the sports performance arena is to provide injury prevention, injury rehabilitation, and fitness training.

Some physical therapists are lucky enough to work with athletes during their training mode and can take a pro-active approach towards injury prevention as part of their regular training program. Injury prevention exercises include core strengthening, specific muscle strengthening, and flexibility. Rehabilitative exercises are included for areas of the body that are at a higher risk for injury. An example would be to include rotator cuff strengthening exercises for the shoulders of baseball players and deep abdominal and lumbar stabilization exercises for all athletes.

Both physical therapists and personal trainers are skilled at designing the physical fitness portion of an athletes training program. This part of the program will include a multi-phased approach to increasing strength, power, agility, flexibility, and endurance. The program will also include active and non-active rest and cross-training in other sports.

If a person has an injury, physical therapy can decrease pain, increase strength, restore motion, and restore a patient’s ability to function in their sport and in everyday life. Physical therapists are skilled at designing rehabilitative programs for any injury that an athlete may encounter. Rehabilitation may include therapeutic exercise, manual therapy including soft tissue and joint mobilization, and healing modalities such as ice, heat, electrical stimulation, and ultrasound.   

As both a physical therapist and a personal trainer working holistically, I am lucky enough to also be able to provide nutrition coaching to my clients.  Food is the athlete’s fuel and it is imperative that athletes nourish their bodies with high-quality, nutrient dense foods. A diet with organic produce, hormone and antibiotic free meat and dairy products, and nutritious whole foods is the base of any healthy athlete’s diet. It’s also important for the athlete to time when they are eating according to their workout and competition schedule and for recovery afterwards.

Kristine Battey is a licensed physical therapist, a certified athletic trainer, a certified strength and conditioning specialist (personal trainer) and a holistic lifestyle coach.  She owns Divine Health & Fitness, and can be reached at (208) 946-7072.


A Rolfing Perspective by Owen Marcus, MA, Certified Advanced Rolfer, 208/265-8440

How do you improve your performance without drugs? Tune your number one instrument: your body.

Men in particular will not hesitate to spend money for the newest development in equipment technology. We covet a new set of skies, clubs, or maybe that new mountain bike. We like our toys. But how often do you consider the next advancement in improving your bodies? About the only time any of us do anything for our bodies is when we have to--when something breaks down.

Your body is your most important piece of equipment. No matter how good your clubs are, your skis are, or your shoes are, if your body is not performing at its peak level, you won’t get the results you want. Chances are you also won’t be having as much fun. For a while you might be able to push it, but eventually your body will tire.

Several years ago, I conducted the first study on Rolfing and sports performance with ASU. We ran three groups of elite runners through; only one group got Rolfed. The intent was to quantify the improvements the runners experienced from the Rolfing. To do that, the researchers decided to reduce the body’s performance down to small mechanical movements and measure those. Shank angle (the angle of the ankle relative to the knee) was one such measurement. These measurements changed little, yet each Rolfing subject’s injuries disappeared—and they all set new personal records.

Rolfing puts in practice the principle that the whole is much greater than the sum of its parts. Yes, most clients come to see us because they have a specific problem. But to fix the problem, increase performance significantly, and sustain those improvements, we need to look beyond the parts.

As you play a sport, your body is dealing with many variables from gravity, coordination, strength, aerobic capacity, endurance and structural alignment. Each of these factors has many interrelated aspects constantly affecting your performance. Your bad knee could come from your rotated femur which comes from the shortness in your piriformis and gracillis muscles that may have first started shortening because of your everted foot.

To deal with all the primary and secondary causes that limit your performance, you must address your entire body. You need to release and re-organize your fascia (soft tissue system). This thin connective tissue holds everything together.  Over the years it may become distorted feeling like you were performing in a suit that’s a size too small. Because the process of distortion was slow, you are only aware of the problems--sore back, aching knees, etc.—you may not even notice your hindered performance and just chalk it up to aging.

Most clients come to me to alleviate a problem. That’s the easy part. Transforming the entire suit is the challenge I love. After releasing, the pain is gone and the client invariably starts to experience gradual improvements in performance. They are amazed how much better they are performing – they hadn’t realized the full impact of their restrictions.

Last year a man in his fifties came to me after a life of playing many sports and the usual associated injuries. He was hoping to avoid shoulder surgery. Before he finished his tenth session, his shoulder was 95 percent better, his performance in each of his sports was better—and easier than it had been in decades. But the most exciting effect was that he was having more fun. He said he felt like a kid again.

After their bodies begin to loosen and straighten, I start to teach my clients what I call the Natural Walk. This way of walking goes against what most of us do: leaning back as we walk causing us to fight gravity. I teach clients how to use gravity to do most the work. For sports like skiing and running, this is huge. Even for sports such as swimming and cycling, I see improvements because clients learn to use their core muscles correctly. When you get this walk down, you click into using your body as it was designed to be used. Using gravity and your core muscles correctly gives you an enormous advantage.

When your fascial suit loosens, becomes flexible, and straightens, your range of motion, recovery time, and adaptability significantly improve. Your newly resilient body feels younger from your soft tissue deeply relaxing.

Also, your breathing improves because your chest, diaphragm and back are looser. While in Scottsdale, Olympic runners I worked on told to me that the biggest benefit from their Rolfing was not the healing of their injuries, it was their increased vital capacity (the ability to exchange air).

Improving performance is more than just getting stronger, becoming more flexible, getting better trained, or upgrading equipment. It can transform your entire structure. This magnitude of change often seems unrealistic until you experience it. I certainly wouldn’t have believed that, at age 55, I would be one inch taller, a lot faster and looser, and better coordinated, than I was at 25. Our bodies are constantly changing. Fortunately, we get to decide in what way.


A Biofeedback Perspective by Robin Mize, CBS, AHH, 208/263-8846

Performance enhancement to me means to be at the top of my game and super healthy in body and mind. It is a wide subject and I think it is what we all want. With my specialty being so entrenched in Quantum Biofeedback, I have learned a great deal about how the body works at an energetic cellular level. I have touched on biofeedback in my other articles so today I wanted to talk about one of the tools I have in my office. It is called PEMF Therapy. By now most of us know the power of magnets and how important electromagnetic energy is to our very survival.

We were thrilled when we were introduced to PEMF (Pulsating Electro Magnetic Field) about a year ago and here are some of the facts on PEMF Therapy; Nearly 50 years of research provides compelling evidence that pulsed electromagnetic fields supply pulsed energy for the cell to better accomplish function and repair. The benefits of PEMF technology are well represented by more than 2,000 double-blind medical studies and experiments being done at major universities and clinics around the world. These studies are published in prestigious medical journals and are presented in the National Institute of Health Library showing success with arthritis, depression, hypertension, lymphocytes, Multiple Sclerosis, osteoporosis, Parkinson’s, circulation, endometriosis, healing, migraine, nerve repair, pain, bone re-knitting and the list goes on.

So what is PEMF? It is high powered Magnetic therapy. Magnetic force is very important to the human body and essential to our very existence. The earth is full of magnetic force and it is what makes us feel grounded. PEMF is very powerful and can help you remain flexible and works fast on pain and inflammation so that you can get on with performing at a high level. A typical session lasts 12 to 30 minutes with 80 to 90 percent results. Check it out for yourself. I offer the first session for free. I am that convinced it will help you out.

For more information, read Electromagnetic Healing - Electrotherapy

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Sandpoint Wellness Counci Sandpoint Wellness Counci The Sandpoint Wellness Council is an association of independent, complementary wellness practitioners located in Sandpoint dedicated to holistic health care. Pictured are: Owen Marcus, Penny Waters, Robin and Layman Mize, Ilani Kopiecki, Krystle Shapiro and Mario Roxas

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