General

Flow Your Way to Happiness

Flow.     Animal Flow?    FlowFit?    Vinyasa Flow?

Everyone in the fitness industry is “flowing” but is a movement flow state the same as a  mental flow or a superfluidity state?    Does flowing through a series of yoga poses do the same to the brain as when a base jumper jumps off a cliff or when a surfer rides a 100 foot wave?

Achieving a true flow state of mind is not simply a movement meditation.

Flow state of mind is a higher state of consciousness that is lies between the anxiety caused by a challenge being too difficult, and the boredom caused by the challenge being to easy.    The mental state of flow is marked by peak creativity and a timelessness that is driven by risk, deep focus and balance between challenge & skill.   And then most importantly flow is associated with a deep feeling of happiness.

“Happiness comes from within oneself” – Mihaly Csikszentmihaly

Beyond Moving Meditation 

I first had a fascination with the concept of flow – or being “in the zone” – when I was a Par8148538-kwLG-U110471073117TIG-620x349@Gazzetta-Web_articolocompetitive gymnast in high school.  I craved the indescribable clarity and timelessness that I experienced when I was about to perform a tumbling pass or execute a skill on the uneven bars.

After leaving gymnastics and entering general fitness (running, cycling, lifting weights), I had a deep emotional struggle with the greater purpose behind working out.   None of it was satisfying this craving I had for deep focus or flow.   Sure I would experience the classic “runner’s high” or the endorphin rush of cycling but it just wasn’t the same.

None of these movements gave me the indescribable focus of when I was a gymnast in flow staring down the runway to the vault.

In 2010, I remember sitting in the on-call room with one of my co-residents who was a jui jitsu fighter and we were talking about being “in the zone” and how we craved this deeper state of focus – almost like we were craving a drug.

Several years later a good friend of mine Dan Edwardes of Parkour Generations introduced me to the book The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance by Steven Kotler and my fascination in the topic of flow was re-ignited.  I began to understand the difference between flow, superfluidity, meditation and the classic runner’s high.

Risk as a Feature of Flow

There are 17 triggers to enter a flow state however according to Kotler the three biggest triggers to flow are:

  1. Risk of consequence or to see a challenge in the activity
  2. Deep focus
  3. Balance between challenge : skill ratio

When there is a risk of injury or challenge this requires full immersion of the person in the activity, therefore allowing them to enter flow.   This deep presence is associated with a loss of self-consciousness and a sense of timelessness.

This makes sense when it comes to my association of flow with gymnastics.   It was the perfect balance between challenge, risk, skill and deep focus.    But how can I carry this concept of flow to my present life as I am no longer a competitive gymnast?

We will explore this shortly.

The Brain in Flow

brain-waves-chartAs the brain enters a flow state, brain waves shift from beta to the alpha: theta border which is the only level in which gamma waves can exist.

Gamma brain waves bind together far reaching ideas in our brain allowing faster creative processing and strategies.

In Kotler’s book Rise of Superman he gives examples of survival strategies by those in death defying situations and how time almost slowed down allowing them to see clearer strategies for survival.  Strategies they probably wouldn’t have thought of in a non-flow state.

It’s almost like in flow the brain gets out of it’s own way! 

Author of The Athlete’s Way, Christopher Bergland references this “brain getting out of it’s own way” as a decrease in prefrontal cortex activity.    The more subconscious we become in our movements there is an associated shift in brain waves that unlocks fluidity of thought and action.

We speak about this a lot in EBFA Education stating that excessive prefrontal activity or over-cognition actually slows our reaction time and decreases the automaticity of movement.   Entering flow or understanding flow is another way to enhance the automaticity of movement in our athletes, seniors and all clients.

The Father of Flow 

We mentioned that flow is often associated with risk and challenge but what are other characteristics to finding flow?

And how is flow associated with happiness?    As that is the point of this blog after all!

To answer this question we need to go to the Father of Flow – Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihaly.   Csikszentmihaly dedicated his career to studying flow, happiness and what’s referred to as positive psychology.

“The best moments in our lives are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times… The best moments usually occur if a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.” ~ Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

What Csikszentmihaly found is that people who frequently experienced the flow state were happier and had a higher perceived state of contentment.   They were less materialistic and were driven by what’s referred to as intrinsic motivations, or simply performing an act for the simple joy of the act itself.

Intrinsic Motivation is the Secret to Happiness – and Flow! 

It seems like everyone is on the eternal hunt for happiness.    We know our emotional state is in a constant shift based on the perceived homeostasis of our autonomic nervous system which is fed through interoception.

As stated above by Csikszentmihaly those who find flow are happier – those who are led by intrinsic motivation are happier.

I think it’s time we look at what motivates us to do what we do?

Do you play a sport to get recognition from others?   Do you take yoga or barre class because it’s trendy or you want others to acknowledge your physique?  Do you work hard at our job for the incentive of a bonus?

Or….do you do what you do simply for the love of that action?

The latter is referred to intrinsic motivation.    Doing something simply for the joy of the action in itself – also known as being autotelic – is linked to happiness.   The reward to a chosen action is simply to fully experience that action.

Finding Flow in Movement 

We already mentioned two characteristics that help you find flow – risk & intrinsic motivation.   But what are other ways to begin to find flow?

How can you increase the element of challenge, focus and intrinsic motivation in your own life?    Only you an answer that.

My Happiness Journey | Freedom through Flow

To further validate the theory of flow and it’s association with happiness I want to share my own personal journey to hopefully inspire others who may find themselves seeking the meaning to happiness or inspire others to find the power of movement and flow.

Back in the Summer of 2014 I was involved in a series of domestic violence altercations with my then fiance’ eventually leading to my hospitalization and his arrest.   Due to the severity of the situation it triggered a massive primitive sympathetic stress response to my nervous system – putting me into a constant state of panic attacks and PTSD.

Everyday for 1 year my life was a living hell, filled with the conscious re-assessment of my bodies homeostasis to see if I was going to get thrown into another panic attack.  Any shift of my body that elevated my heart rate would cause me to consciously think I was going to fall into a panic attack.   After several ER visits I knew I had to do something about my emotional state and total sympathetic overdrive.

Instead of turning to psychotherapy I turned to movement therapy.

Almost 3 years ago to the date I took  my first aerial silks class.   I don’t remember exactly emily silkswhat drew me to aerials or how I knew to seek out this art form.    But what I do remember is that it has forever changed my life.

The risk and challenge of climbing, dropping and “flying” 20 feet in the air forced me to be present in the moment and enter deep focus.   There was a continuos balance between challenge and skill which continued to drive me further into flow.

For the first time in years I can now say that I have experienced true happiness fed directly by flow and intrinsic motivation.   I now carry this concept of intrinsic motivation and the state of flow into everything I do – from writing, to presenting at a conference, to teaching my BARE class and of course to aerials silks.

To date, I longer experience anxiety, have panic attacks or PTSD.   I am in full control of my emotional awareness and interoceptive perception and feel so free.

***

To learn more about how motion evokes emotion, intrinsic motivation and autotelic personalities, flow and superfluidity –

Join us on our 3-Part Webinar Series: 

INTEROCEPTION | The Art of Controlling Emotion with Motion 

Thursday July 13, 20, 27

***If you missed any week you get the recordings!    

All are recorded and accessible indefinitely***

JOIN THIS WEBINAR NOW! 

 

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General

Interoception: The Emotional Side of the Human Myofascial System

As movement specialists we have grown to build a deep appreciation for the proprioceptive network in the human body.    From the perception of vibration and texture to the integrated tension along fascial lines, proprioception is truly the sixth sense in human movement.

As important as proprioception is, what if I told you there is an even more powerful side to this myofascial web?

What if I told you that the myofascial system actually plays a much larger role in emotion – rather than motion?

Introducing Interoception

interoceptionAccording to Dunn et al. interoception is a sense of the physiological condition of the oneself.   It is an ubiquitous information network used to represent one’s body from within.

It is the ability to detect subtle changes in bodily systems, including muscles, skin, joints, and viscera.  It includes a range of sensations including warmth, coolness, pain, tickle, hunger, thirst, sexual arousal, muscular activity, heartbeat, distension of bladder, distension of stomach and sensual touch (Schleip et al.)

So how does interoception compare to proprioception?

Interoception        vs.           Proprioception

        Free nerve endings                      Myelinated small nerves

     Activates insular cortex                  Somotosensory pathway

  ½ – 1 second delay                           30 -90 m/s

Body mind system                    Dance / Pilates

Reiki /Energy Worker             Dance / Pilates

If we look above we can see that there are quite a few differences between interoceptors and proprioceptors.   One of the biggest differences is that interoceptors are free nerve endings and transmit information with a delay, whereas proprioceptors quickly process information within milliseconds.  This supports the proprioceptive role in the accuracy of human movement.

According to a recent article by Schleip et al. our myofascial web actually has a much higher concentration of interceptors vs. proprioceptors.    80% of the peripheral nerves found in fascia are actually free nerve endings – with 90% of these being interoceptive!

This puts the fascial innervation at 1:7 ratio or proprioceptors to interoceptors.

The Power of Human Touch

QJg9ht3ITESymX-KcCtb35KNzs4Often referred to as the primitive skin, this interoceptive network is what drives our need for social touch and the release of oxytocin.    Many massage techniques especially those which are lighter in nature are thought to affect the interoceptive system.

The human viscera fascia is one of the most concentrated areas of the interoceptive network with shifts in the viscera often being confused for irritable bowel syndrome or indigestion when it is really an emotion such as stage fright or excitement of a upcoming exam.

In Schleip’s recent article he states that an ‘interoceptive moron’ is unable to differentiate visceral sensations from signs of an empty stomach, ‘butterflies’ or empathy driven ‘gut feelings’ about another person’s dilemma

Putting Interoception into Practice

The concept of interoception in general is a new topic but one that I believe is going to start showing up more and more in the movement industry.   As our appreciation for mind body connection and fascial fitness programs expands this is an inevitable side of our fascia that will continue to be explored.

Want to learn more about interoception please join Dr Emily for a FREE educational webinar on Thursday July 6 at 9pm EST

Register for this webinar HERE

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Foot Function & Fascial Lines Series

Now Available Naboso Barefoot Insoles : Advancing the Science of Proprioceptive Insoles

Imagine experiencing the same proprioceptive stimulation and neuromuscular control you do barefoot – but in your shoes!

VivoThe concept of enhanced neuromuscular control in footwear was first introduced by the advance in minimal footwear.   From Vibram FiveFingers to VivoBarefoot shoe companies and footwear are now allowing more and more natural foot function than ever before.

With minimal shoes featuring minimal cushion, no shank or midsole and no heel toe drop, this is one of the best categories of footwear for optimal foot function.

Unfortunately despite these great features, one thing that is still lacking in minimal footwear is the stimulation or utilization of all possible proprioceptive input!

The Power of Plantar Proprioceptors  

The skin on the bottom of the foot has very unique proprioceptors which are sensitive to different stimulation.   This stimulation includes vibration, light touch, deep pressure, texture and skin stretch.

Much of the work I speak during EBFA Education is about or references the importance of vibration and it’s importance during dynamic movement, such as walking.   The minimal footwear which was mentioned above is great for allowing optimal vibratory stimulation which is necessary for the auto-correction of initial contact and for enhancing movement accuracy.

But what about the other important stimuli that is necessary for the control of dynamic movement?

One such stimulation which we can take advantage of is sensed by haptic or touch receptors in the feet – this stimuli is texture.    Texture and the ability to sense rough vs. smooth is also used in the control of dynamic posture, shifts in center of gravity and joint position sense.

Are all textures created equal? 

IMG_1918Texture is one of the primary proprioceptive stimuli targeted through Naboso Technology and has been shown to have some impressive and immediate effects on the neuromuscular system.

The unique and patent-pending textural design of Naboso Technology is based on the latest surface science and texture research.   So to answer our question above – NO – not all texture is created equal.   There is a specific texture you need to create a neuromuscular response.

A couple examples of the power of texture includes: 

A 2016 study by Steinberg et al. found that textured insoles in ballet dance shoes enhanced the rate of ankle joint position sense.  This translated to enhanced movement accuracy and faster rates of stabilization in the dancers.   This research supports and opens up the opportunity for the application of Naboso Insoles in athletic performance and injury prevention during shod sports.

A 2014 study by Clark et al. found that textured insoles decreased prefrontal activity during gait which translated to enhanced automaticity of gait.   As we age the less subconscious our gait becomes which greatly contributes to fall risk.   This research unlocks the potential of Naboso Insoles in reducing falls and enhancing balance in seniors or those suffering from post-stroke, Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis + more.

Your Naboso Insole Questions Answered

I get quite a few questions as it relates to Naboso Insoles with some of the most common questions including:

How are Naboso Insoles different from orthotics? 

Naboso Insole target proprioception while orthotics are designed to alter or control biomechanics of the foot.    As I always mention in my workshops – the foot is not just a biomechanical structure – but also a very powerful neuromuscular structure.

In many cases neuromuscular control and stimulation can trump biomechanical control of the foot and therefore both aspects of foot function need to be respected.

Naboso Insoles address optimal foot function from a neuromuscular perspective and do have an important role and function in the control of over-pronation, foot stabilization, reflexive foot stiffness and foot to core sequencing.

Can I wear socks with my Naboso Insoles? 

You can do whatever you want – however the science of proprioception and Naboso Insoles means that socks should not be worn.   Any barrier between the foot and the Naboso Insole will take away from the proprioceptive input.

In the near future we will be designing harder Naboso Insoles which will allow consumers to wear socks with the insoles and still gain optimal proprioceptive stimulation.

Can I wear my Naboso Insoles every day?   And in all shoes? 

Yes we actually encourage you to wear your Naboso Insoles every day and in all shoes.   At just 3mm in thickness the Naboso Insole will fit into almost all footwear.   The Naboso Insoles can also be cut to ensure proper fit in all your footwear.

If you find yourself feeling sensitive to the texture then we recommend gradually increasing your time to exposure with 30 minutes and increased incrementally each day.

Where can I buy Naboso Insoles?  

Naboso Insoles are AVAILABLE NOW! at our special pre-order rate of $30 USD (regular rate is $50 USD).    Simply click on the link below and you’ll be brought straight to our online store.

http://nabosotechnology.com/naboso-insoles/

We ship to all countries and allow 30 day return policy to all US-based orders.

Are you ready to experience barefoot stimulation in a shod environment?     Experience Naboso Barefoot Insoles today!

 

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Barefoot Science

Biohacking Your Body with Barefoot Science

We are all on the eternal hunt to looking good, moving well and feeling young – however as responsibilities (job, school, family, friends) increase the time allocated to health and fitness often decreases.   Surprisingly we expect the same results with less time in the gym but is this really even possible?

Perhaps it is.

Enter…..biohacking!

What is biohacking?  

Biohacking, as the name suggests, is “hacking” or finding a way to more efficiently manipulate human biology.  This can include areas of sleep, nutrition, mental health, strength, recovery.

If you are new the concept of biohacking – please think of this as a positive thing!   Don’t get wrapped up thinking it is a mad scientist in his garage implanting computer chips into his own body.

Think of biohacking as a empowering concept which allows one to enhance or improve the efficiency of different aspect of health.   It means taking ownership of your body and the aging system.

Can biohacking apply to fitness?

Absolutely!

In the case of fitness some examples of biohacking include drinking caffeine to give you energy during a workout.   Or taking branch chain amino acids after a workout to enhance muscle repair and hypertrophy.   Or using kinesiology tape to enhance proprioceptive stimulation and muscle activation.

Seems less mad scientist-y doesn’t it?

One area of biohacking that I am particularly a fan of is the application of barefoot science to improve your workout.    As I mentioned at the start of this blog the one thing we never have enough of is TIME.

By integrating barefoot training into your workout you will hack your way into a more efficient workout allowing you to achieve faster fitness goals.   Below are my top 4 biohacks integrating barefoot science.

Biohack #1 – Barefoot release to improve your balance  

Next time you hit the gym start your workout start with just 5 minutes of trigger point footrelease the bottom of the foot.      A 2015 study showed that 5 minutes of manual trigger point release was associated with an immediate improvement in single leg stability and postural control.

Since having someone do the trigger point release isn’t efficient we’ll instead use RAD Rounds by RAD Roller (www.radroller.com)    These small rounds of different sizes can be used to apply pressure to different intrinsic muscles of the foot.    I recommend 5 minutes in the morning, evening and before exercise.

To see a video on this please see below!

Biohack #2 – Barefoot whole body vibration to enhance micro-circulation and tendon strength

In the world of proprioception whole body vibration is one of the most efficient ways to stimulate the nervous system.   Since our foot is also the gateway to proprioceptive stimulation I recommend doing your WBV activation barefoot and using PowerPlate which is a multi-planar harmonic vibration platform.

A 2007 study by Lohman showed that just 3min of WBV at 30Hz enhanced skin, nerve and tendon micro-circulation resulting in enhanced tendon tensile strength and decreased arterial stiffness.   All of which is a very powerful response before any workout.

Learn more about WBV and PowerPlate at www.powerplate.com

To learn more on this topic you can view the following webinar below!

Biohack #3 – Improve your core strength with barefoot foot to core sequencing

The core.   The center of stability and the center of power.   When it comes to any dynamic movement or exercise – core strength and stability are critical to the way force is generated or transferred through the human body.

The foot.   The base of stability and only contact point between the body and the ground.   Studies have shown that it is more efficient to strengthen the core via the foot in what EBFA calls “foot to core sequencing”.   The access into foot to core sequencing is via an exercise called short foot.

To learn more about short foot and how to integrate it with exercises please see below!

Biohack #4 – Improve your balance with small nerve proprioception

Postural control and dynamic stability require the integration of four input systems – visual, vestibular, joint proprioceptors and plantar foot skin.   Of these four one of the most important but often overlooked systems is the skin on the bottom of the foot.

The skin on the bottom of the foot contains thousands of small nerve proprioceptors all of which are sensitive to different stimuli.   One of the most important stimuli coming into the foot is vibration (see WBV above).    We use vibration not only to know how hard our foot is striking the ground but also in the maintenance of dynamic balance.

As soon as we put on our shoes our nervous system inherently becomes slower.   This delayed neuro stimulation of the foot is small or micro which means it is hard to detect by the average client or patient – however it is happening.   Accumulatively this results in micro-trauma and micro-compensation.

To biohack your nervous system whenever you are barefoot training integrate small nerve plantar stimulation with Naboso Technology.   Whenever performing barefoot exercises such as short foot or any foot to core sequencing this is the perfect opportunity to pull out your Naboso Barefoot Training Mat.

If you want to bring this stimulation to your shoes, Naboso Technology also makes small nerve proprioceptive insoles which have been shown to improve postural control and stability (Coming Summer 2017)

To read more on Naboso Technology please click  – HERE

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Barefoot Science

How “tuned in” is your nervous system? Advances in barefoot science.

Cell phones, billboards, TV ads, fit bits.     Now, more so than every before, our nervous system is continuously being over-stimulated with information.   This over-stimulation of  information actually has the opposite effect on the nervous system, leading to a shut down or “tuning out” of the external noise which we experience on a daily basis.

This concept of “tuning out” can also be applied to someone who lives in an urban setting and eventually doesn’t notice the constant honking and construction of the busy city streets.   Or a mother who is able to function with screaming children in the background.

 The Essential Noise of Human Movementimages

If we take this one step further, we can also apply this concept to human movement and
the demands of our nervous system to maintain dynamic balance and postural control during walking.

In the case of human movement the “noise” that enters the nervous system would be proprioceptive information such as vibration, joint capsule stretch, texture, tension etc.   This proprioceptive noise is essential for proper activation of muscle sequences and time to stabilization for efficient loading and unloading of impact forces.

The Foot is the Gateway to Essential Noise

feet-black-and-white-toes-close-upWith the foot as the only contact point between the body and the ground – much of this “noise” enters our nervous system through the feet.   If this foot “noise” is tuned out or unable to be sensed by the nervous system inaccurate movement patterns and delayed time to stabilization (i.e. injury) is the result.

One of the biggest causes or reasons for the inability to sense the essential noise of human movement is footwear.   Thick, cushioned, supportive footwear with smooth insoles completely “tunes out” the foot during dynamic movement.

The cushion in shoes absorbs the vibration noise during foot contact.   Smooth insoles and socks block the skin stretch and texture perception during locomotion.   And thick soles shift proprioceptive feedback away from the foot and into muscle tendon reflexes – which are large nerve, reactive, slower responses.

 Textured Insoles Tune the Foot to NoiseIMG_1918

This April 2017 Naboso Technology will be launching small nerve proprioceptive insoles
which are designed to continuously provide the essential noise of the foot during dynamic movement.  This better allows the nervous system to auto-adjust with each shift in center of gravity or with each foot contact with the ground.

A 2015 study by Lipsitz  et al. found that using low grade vibratory insoles providing sub sensory “noise” improved postural control and reduced gait variability in seniors.     Another study by David et al. further explored the role of textural “noise” of insoles and the role the had on ankle proprioception in male soccer players.   Interestingly, those subjects with textured insoles reported faster ankle joint position sense and higher force production.

“Tune In” with Barefoot Training Every Day

Another great way to keep the foot “tuned in” to stimulation is to integrate barefoot stimulation on a daily basis.  This means no socks.   No shoes.   No soft squishy mats.

Barefoot stimulation enhances the proprioceptors on the feet – keeping them sharp, responsive and functioning as an integrated part of your natural movement.

To learn more about the Naboso Barefoot Insoles please visit www.nabosotechnology.com

To join our mailing list to be alerted of Pre-Order Options for Naboso Barefoot Insoles please email orders@nabosotechnology.com or follow us on social media!

Facebook and Instagram

Stay #barefootstrong!

Dr Emily

 

Bibliography

David et al.  ‘‘Essential noise’’ – enhancing variability of informational constraints benefits movement control:  Br J Sports Med 2004;38:601–605

Lipsitz et al.  A shoe insole delivering subsensory vibratory noise improves balance and gait in healthy elderly people.Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2015 Mar;96(3):432-9

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Barefoot Science, Foot Function & Fascial Lines Series

Time To Stabilization & Athlete Injury Risk

dancerA majority of my podiatry practice is built around treating athletes and chronic athletic injuries.   From professional dancers to marathon runners all athletes – regardless of sport or art – require the same thing – rapid stabilization for optimal loading and energy transfer.  

Why is rapid stabilization so important? 

During dynamic movement such as walking, running or jumping the ability to rapidly load and unload impact forces requires a baseline of stabilization.   With a rate of impact forces coming in at < 50 ms during walking and < 20 ms during running it is no wonder the rate of stabilization must be fast!

To put this a little bit more in perspective.   Our fast twitch muscle fibers don’t reach their  peak contraction till about 50 – 70ms.   So if impact is coming in at rate < 20 ms during running and your hip / knee / ankle and foot are not already stable before you strike the ground – it is too late!     It physiologically is not possible to react to impact and stabilize fast enough.

A client or athlete who is reacting to impact forces will often present with ITB syndrome, runner’s knee, peroneal tendinitis, stress fractures, shin splints – and that’s just naming a few!

Considering Time to Stabilization (TTS)

In my workshops I often say that “we are only as strong as we are stable” or that “stabilityacle is the foundation through which strength, force and energy is generated or transferred”.

The precision, accuracy and anticipation of stabilization must be so well programmed into the nervous system that peak stability is happening before contact with the ground.   This is referred to pre-activation and is associated with a faster TTS.

The opposite of pre-activation stabilization is reactive stabilization and is how many – if not most – of my patients or people in general are moving.   When we think of the rate of neuromuscular coordination even a small delay (think milliseconds) will result in tonic (exaggerated) muscle contractions, micro-instability and inefficient loading responses eventually leading to neuromuscular and connective tissue fatigue and injury.

So how can you improve client and athlete TTS?

1. Pre-activate base to center stabilization pathways aka foot to core sequencing

This is THE basis to EBFA Certifications Barefoot Training Specialist and BarefootRx.   With our feet as our base the activation and engagement of our feet to the ground is key to center or core stabilization.    Fascially the feet and core are connected through the Deep Front Line and must be integrated and sequenced as part of a proper warm-up or movement prep.

To learn more about foot to core sequencing please view HERE

2. Consider surface science to optimize foot feedback

All surfaces are designed differently with certain surfaces actually blocking and damping IMG_1753the critical proprioceptive input between foot and ground.    When we think of softer surfaces and mats research has shown a direct correlation between softer surfaces and delayed / prolonged loading responses.

Harder surfaces.  Surfaces that allow the transmission of vibration.  And surfaces with textures allow more accurate and precise proprioceptive input.   Thus led to the innovation of Naboso Technology by EBFA Founder Dr Emily Splichal

Ideally if Step 1 – pre-activation of our stabilization pathway could be done on a Naboso surface this would be ideal.    More information can be found at www.nabosotechnology.com

3. Footwear to allows optimal feedback and foot function

If follow Step 1 & 2  and activate the neuromuscular system barefoot and from the ground up we then want to ensure this carries over as soon as we put on our shoes and begin our sport or activity.

Imagine if you activate the proper neuro pathways but then put your client into a thick cushioned shoe.  This essentially shuts off and defeats the purpose of Step 1 & 2.   We need IMG_1767to ensure a proper shoe is worn to allow this carry over into sport.    So think flexible, minimal cushioning. possible textured insoles (check out Naboso Insoles launching Spring 2017)

Additional ways to begin to train pre-activation training and shortening the TTS is covered in our EBFA Certifications.    From the ground up landing techniques, foot to core sequencing, single leg decelerations + more are critical to injury prevention and optimal performance.

To learn more about EBFAs Certifications and workshops coming up near you please visit www.ebfafitness.com     Our workshops can be found in over 30 countries and taught in over 12 languages.

Isn’t it time for your clients and athletes to become BAREFOOT STRONG!

 

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Barefoot Science

The Barefoot Advantage: Understanding Surface Science

footwearscienceIt’s been well accepted that footwear changes the proprioceptive input between foot and ground.   Despite consumer associations between cushion and comfort, a 1997 study by Robbins et al. has demonstrated that increased cushion in shoes actually decreases foot position sense and alters overall stability.   This same study by Robbins et al. further demonstrated that the ideal shoe for improving balance and stability is a thin, hard-soled shoe.

From Shoes to Surfaces

We can take the concept of stiffness and cushion from shoes to surfaces.  When it comes to surface science and innovation much attention has been given on the topic of landing techniques and surface stiffness.  Similar to shoes, when it comes to surfaces – stiffness wins again!

Surfaces vibrate and deform upon contact with the degree of vibration being dependent on surface stiffness.   Anyone who has taken a workshop with EBFA should remember that vibration is how our foot proprioceptors and nervous system knows how hard we are stirking the ground.  This information is critical to optimizing landing technique and the subjecquent loading response.

matA review article by Marinsek et al. found that the ideal mat for optimal landing techniques in elite gymnasts was a stiffer mat that not only created vibrations but also had the capability of damping the excess impact forces.   Marinsek et al. further emphasized the need for pre-activation muscle tension occurring up to 170ms before foot contact.  This concept which is often research by Nigg et al. is a critical component to the Barefoot Training Specialist® Certificiaion by EBFA.

Proprioceptive Responses to Texture

Another feature of surface design that must be considered, especialy when it comes to barefoot training, is texture.

Texture perception is one of the stimuli unique to the small nerve proprioceptors of the plantar foot.   A key thing to remember when it comes to texture is that not all texture is the same!

A 2011 study by Hatton et al. set out to find the most effective texture when it comes totexture improving proprioceptive feedback from the foot.   Hatton et al. compared two different shapes and sizes of texture (pictured right).

What was fascinating is that Texture 1 improved balance and stability while Texture 2 actually threw off balance!

It is important to note that the greatest improvement in balance with Texture 1 was when the subjects eyes were closed.   The reason for this observation is that when you take away one of the input systems (eyes, ears, joints, skin) the nervous system seeks out the other input systems.   In this case it was the plantar foot that was over-recruited to maintain balance.

Application to Practice

To recap some of the features you want to look for in a surface especially when barefoot training or during barefoot sports include:

  • Stiffness – to allow optimal vibrations
  • Damping – to offset the excess vibration during dynamic movement
  • Texture  – to uniquely stimulate the small nerve proprioceptors in the plantar foot

Naboso Technology launches into Surface Innovation 

We are extremely proud to announce that the newly launched Naboso Technology created by EBFA Global includes all these surface science features.   From the unique patent-pending material of the Naboso Yoga Mat to our Naboso Flooring (coming soon!) we are changing the way fitness, performance and rehab looks at surface science.

To learn more about Naboso Technology or to order your Naboso Yoga Mat please visit www.nabosotechnology.com

In health,

Dr Emily Splichal

Founder EBFA Global

http://www.ebfaglobal.com

 

References

Hatton, A.  Standing on Textured Surfaces: Effect on Standing Balance in Healthy Older Adults (2011). Age Ageing 43: 363 – 368.

Marinsek, Miha. Basic Landing Characteristics and their Applications in Artistic Gymnastics. 2(2): 59-67.

Robbins, S.  The Effect of Footwear Midsole Hardness and Thickness on Proprioception and Stability in Older Men (1997).  J Testing Evaluation 25(1): 143 – 148

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