Foot Function & Fascial Lines Series

Protect Your Peripheral Nerves | Top 5 Supplements for Optimal Foot Function

We all know that keeping our feet strong is key to proper posture, optimal movement patterns and staying pain-free as we age.   In my workshops I’m a huge advocate of Barefoot BabyBoomers and keeping barefoot stimulation a key part of our lifestyle.   However to truly stay #barefootstrong as we age we need to do a little more than simply train sans footwear.

Biohacking Your Barefeet 

With changing nutritional values, toxins in our food and combating everyday stress we no longer can rely on diet and exercise to ensure our youngest, healthiest selves.   This is where I advise my patients to turn to vitamin supplementation and simple ways to #biohackthebody.

Below are some of my favorite supplements that are all designed to enhance nerve function, reduce inflammation and combat free radicals before they damage our peripheral nerves and fascial network.

Supplement #1 – Wild Blueberry Extract 

IMG_4214You may have heard that blueberries are brain food.    What makes blueberries so beneficial is that they are packed with polyphenols or compounds unique to plants.   Polyphenols which can also be found in coffee, dark chocolate and spices carry some of the strongest anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

A 2004 study by Youdim et al. found that wild blueberry supplementation enhanced neurogenesis in the aging brain with their flavonoids being able to cross the blood brain barrier.  Now you may have been told that we do not grow new brain cells or our peripheral nerves cannot regenerate – this is not true!   The research in the field of  neurogenesis is a super exciting area of medicine and is showing some exciting advances in aging, neuropathy and neurodegenerative diseases.

To maximize the benefits of blueberry polyphenols I recommend taking wild blueberry extract daily to avoid the excess sugars of eating so many blueberries daily.   Also make sure the blueberries are *wild* as these contain the highest levels of polyphenols!

Recommended Life Extension Wild Blueberry Extract

Supplement #2 – Krill Oil 

krillThis is one of my newest fav supplements for my patients.   Krill oil is similar to fish oil supplements in that they are packed with beneficial Omega-3 fatty acids (DHA & EPA).  However unlike fish oils, krill oil phospholipids have a special carotenoid called astaxanthin attached to it.   Astaxanthin is an extremely powerful antioxidant that – get this – can cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB)!   This makes Krill Oil so powerful to maintaining nerve function.

In addition to crossing the BBB omega 3’s have such a powerful anti-inflammatory benefit that they make a great replacement or alternative to traditional NSAIDs such as Advil, Aspirin or Aleve.    These anti-inflammatory benefits have shown to reduce arthritis pain, nerve inflammation and connective tissue pain.

Recommended Dr Mercola Antartica Krill Oil 

Supplement #3 – R-Lipoic Acid

This was one of my favorite supplements when I was going through medical school and was a big forerunner when it came to anti-aging supplements.   It’s great to see that it is still one of the strongest anti-oxidants on the market – and has actually been formulated to be even more powerful when taken in its sodium-R-lipoate form!

Neuropathy has a oxidative stress theory which means that to keep the nerves of the feet (and hands) healthy we need to keep our oxidative stress low!   Super R-Lipoic Acid is more bioavailable, stable, and potent, achieving 10–30 times higher peak blood levels than pure R-lipoic acid.

I also recommend taking R-lipoic acid with the next supplement and nerve-protective powerhouse ALC!

Recommended Life Extension Super R-Lipoic Acid 

Supplement # 4 – Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALC) 

ALC is another favorite supplement when I was going through medical school and doing research in diabetic peripheral neuropathy.    Again super excited to see it’s still one of the best nerve-protective supplements on the market.

ALC like all of the above supplements has the unique ability to cross the BBB which means it’s crucial to nervous system health.   Studies have shown that ALC may have potential in exerting unique neuroprotective, neuromodulatory and neurotrophic properties that are not limited to just the central nervous system.   Study after study has shown great effects of ALC on peripheral neuropathy patients.

Recommended Life Extension Acetyl-L-Carnitine

Supplement #5 – L-Cittruline (Watermelon) 

aterWatermelon is one of my favorite pre-workout drinks due to its effect on vasodilation and circulation!  The vasodilation effect of watermelon is found in the amino acid L-Citruline which is a precursor to nitric oxide (think Viagra!).

Nitric oxide is integral to relaxing blood vessels which is necessary for healthy blood flow to the heart, muscles, nerves and throughout the entire body.  Nitric oxide helps the blood vessels maintain their flexibility so that blood flow is unrestricted – even to the smallest vessels to the peripheral nerves.

To get enough L-Citrulline for optimal circulation you’d need to eat 6 cups of watermelon or you can cut out the sugar and take a supplement.    Amino acids are always recommended to take on an empty stomach for maximum absorption.

Recommended Source Naturals L-Citrulline 

To learn more about how to protect your nervous system from inflammation and oxidation and how to #biohackyourbody please visit http://www.dremilysplichal.com

Stay #barefootstrong !

Dr Emily Splichal

 

 

 

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Foot Function & Fascial Lines Series

From Primal to Bipedal | Why we need to get off the ground and walk more!

Before you start throwing stones at me assuming that I’m bashing or discrediting any of the primal movement programs out there – please hear me out.    Anything I’m about to say does not mean I do not value the role primal movements and ground work has on restoring optimal movement patterns.   However, where these programs fall short is that ultimately we need to GET UP and being able to navigate the world of ground and gravity.   We need to be able to optimize the coordination required to load and unload impact forces, stabilize on a single leg and get from point A to point B.

When we look at the evolution of the human neuromuscular system, fascial lines and the skeleton we can see that the primary purpose behind human movement is WALKING.

From the medial rotation of the ilium creating the lateral fascial line and allowing single leg stance to the abduction of the foot’s 1st ray creating the spiral fascial line and lateral fascial line allowing the stability for a rigid lever – everything – I repeat everything favors locomotion – and we need to train the body as such.

When was the last time you walked?    I mean REALLY walked?  

walkingI’ve been blessed with the opportunity to evaluate the gait of thousands of people from all over the world and there are a few key compensations that I see in too many people.    So many people have lost the rotational element of gait.   I’m talking locked up t-spines, restricted triplanar motion of the pelvis, tight ankles and even tighter subtalar joints.

Rotational loading and unloading of the fascial system is how we transfer impact forces and the potential energy of gait.   If we lose this rotational element of gait the entire movement efficiency pattern breaks down and restrictions, compensations and connective tissue fatigue results.

So what’s causing this restriction in rotation?

Sitting, a sedentary lifestyle, driving, injury, compensation – there’s a lot of things that cause a restriction in rotation.   However there is a KEY one that is missed so often and cannot be addressed through rolling, crawling and being on the ground.

This driver of restricted rotation is so important that it is what leads me to say GET OFF OF THE GROUND AND JUST WALK!   What is it?   Short strides!

The impact of shortened stride length!

Think of the type of walking you, your clients, your family does in a typical day.    You walk around your home.   You walk around the office.   You walk around the store.    This type of walking is not the walking EVOLUTION intended.

These small stacotic steps are insufficient to optimally 1) hydrate your fascia  2) load rotational forces in the body  3) stimulate the neuromuscular system.

To maintain an optimal gait you need to STIMULATE your gait.   You need to tap into all the fascial systems with each step you take – a process that can only be achieved and a long enough stride length.

The Optimal Stride for Fascial Fitness

walk

To better understand this let’s take a look at the point in gait in which the optimal stride is happening.

One foot is initiated heel contact with the ankle dorsiflexed, hip flexed, pelvis medially rotated and posteriorly tilted.   With the foot, leg and pelvis in this position the posterior fascial line is tightened, locking the SI joint and preparing for ground contact.

Meanwhile the opposite leg is in 1st MPJ dorsiflexion ankle plantarflexion, hip extension, pelvis lateral rotation and anteriorly tilted.   With the foot, leg and pelvis in this position the psoas, plantar fascia and functional fascial lines are primed to release elastic energy upon swing phase.

Now the SHORTER the stride you take you tighten your rotations of the t-spine, pelvis and foot eventually leading to fascial tightness and compensations.

Since walking is THE most functional movement we do every day with the average adult taking 5,000 – 8,000 steps per day – improper stride length is what’s f’ing up your body.

These small steps we take to our cars, around the office or at home are killing our fascial system.    It is a cycle that can only be temporarily alleviated by rolling and crawling on the ground.

Imagine this.    You take your client through all the rolling patterns, dynamic bodyweight movements, foam rolling – all which are so great for the body – and then they leave the session and go back to waking small steps and in insufficient stride length.    They just REVERSED all the work you did.

The solution?

Walk.    And I mean really walk.   Put on your favorite shoes, grab your earbuds and walk.   Do not go on the treadmill, I need you to walk outside.   Find the pace that feeds into a momentous state.   You will feel when your body has switched and is now flowing in your fascial.   It is an effortless gait that is working WITH the ground and impact forces, not against it.

And then just walk.

Want to learn more about human locomotion, the evolution of gait and how to optimize rotations through walking.   Become a Barefoot Training Specialist with EBFA!    We are the Leaders in Barefoot Education and #fromthegroundup programming.

http://www.ebfafitness.com

Say #barefootstrong

Dr Emily Splichal

 

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Foot Function & Fascial Lines Series

Emotion Meet Motion at the 3rd Annual Barefoot Training Summit

For those who follow EBFA you know that recently I’ve been speaking a lot about INTEROCEPTION and the emotional side of movement and fitness.    When it comes to movement and mental health, they are so deeply connected that we as an industry need to start focusing on this connection.

We need to say goodbye to the days of categorizing programming as “mind body” vs. general group fitness.    We need to start to appreciate how ALL movement influences the emotional state of our clients and members, and then USE this information to better create programming that respects the body mind connection.

I’m excited to announce that the 3rd Annual Barefoot Training Summit we will be dedicated to how we can use MOTION to control our EMOTION.    From fascial fitness programming to breathing and flow-based programming you will leave this event feeling empowered and equipped with a deeper understanding of how to positively influence emotional states.

Presenter Line-Up

Jenny Burrell Headshot

     Jenny Burrell, United Kingdom 

Jenny Burrell is the head of Burrell Education one of the UK’s leading-edge educators in the field of modern Pregnancy, Post Baby, 3rd Age (Peri-to Post-Menopause) and Female Fitness, Wellness, Massage + Bodywork Therapies.

Burrell Education the UK’s only Endorsed, Accredited and Licensed Education Provider solely dedicated to education for these very special populations.

Learn more about Jenny & Burrell Education 

Chris Flores, New Jersey  

Chris Flores has over 17 years of experience in the fitness industry, and is the Head Athletic Trainer at Westfield High School, in NJ.  He is an Adjunct Professor at Kean University and a Clinical Instructor in Athletic Training for Kean, Montclair State and Seton Hall Universities.  He is a founding member of Next Generation Fitness Pros, a group dedicated to educating and networking for the fitness professional. As the owner / operator of FLO FITNESS, a people first gym, Chris’ passion is in helping high school athletes reach their goals.  Most recently, Chris achieved Master Instructor status in the Animal Flow® program, and travels globally giving courses.

Learn more about Chris Flo & Rooted Rehab

Chris Flo Headshot

Summer Headshot

 

Summer Huntington, Washington 

Summer has woven her understanding of anatomy, kinesiology and human movement & performance into practical workshops for the public. She has taught educational seminars in Clubbell Yoga worldwide since she founded it in 2012, and serves as a Head Coach for RMAX International, a company leading the functional fitness revolution for the last 18 years.

Her teaching approach is to make learning easily accessible to people from all walks of life and help them apply this knowledge to their own bodies right away, regardless of level of athleticism. Her personal training clients stay with her for years, and make drastic changes not only in physique but in body intelligence and awareness.

Learn more about Summer Huntingon & Clubbell Yoga

Lois Laynee Headshot

 

Lois Laynee, Arizona 

Lois is a dynamic, disciplined professional who has developed a wellness paradigm based upon the essential component of oxygen.

She is passionate about educating all communities of the significance of the oxygen content in their brains as well as the rest of the body.  Most importantly, she focuses on developing each person’s ability to impact their own physiology for themselves.  In essence, her goal is to design airways for breathing.

Learn more about Lois Laynee & Restorative Breathing

Splichal headshot professional

 

 

Dr Emily Splichal, New York City  

Dr Emily Splichal, Podiatrist and Human Movement Specialist, is the Founder of the Evidence Based Fitness Academy, Creator of the Barefoot Training Specialist®, BarefootRx® and BARE® Workout Certifications and Inventor of Naboso Technology.

With over 16 years in the fitness industry, Dr Splichal has dedicated her medical career towards studying postural alignment and human movement as it relates to barefoot science and foot to core sequencing.

Learn more about Dr Emily & Naboso Technology
Stick Mobility Team

Stick Mobility Team, California 

Take your health and performance training to the next level with Stick Mobility. From CrossFit to the Weekend Warrior, Strength Training to Post Rehab, Desk Jockey to Longevity, Stick Mobility is a force multiplier to get to you to the next level of movement and performance.

This revolutionary new training system benefits everyone through a progressive approach to fitness, mobility, and muscle activation, regardless of age or level of performance.  Simple, fun and effective.  Stick Mobility will unlock the inhibited movements that prevent optimal function and health.

Learn more about Stick Mobility 

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Learn more about the Barefoot Training Summit

September 23 – 24, 2017  |  New York City 

Registration Fee:  $399 USD 

Barefoot Strong Training Summits 2017 Flyer

http://www.barefootstrongsummit.com

 

 

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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, 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, Foot Function & Fascial Lines Series

Local Reflexive Stabilization & Movement Efficiency

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 12.24.22 AMWhether we consciously realize it or not we all want to move better, feel stronger and stay pain-free.   We all seek the ability to do the activities we love – whether that be going for a long walk with a loved one or competing in an obstacle race.

It is my mission to help professionals and patients alike achieve what I call movement longevity by better understanding the concepts of movement efficiency and local reflexive stabilization.

What does it mean to be efficient?

To be efficient means to effectively use energy.   When we think about bipedal locomotion the energy that we need to get from Point A to Point B is found from the ground we walk on.

Bipedal locomotion or walking is considered a series of falls with each foot contact (foot fall) providing the energy needed to take the successive step.   As our foot contacts the ground we are encountering 1 – 1.5x our body weight in impact forces. These impact forces are converted from potential energy to elastic energy, providing a recoil effect to bring the swing leg forward.

forceWhen we look at the force peak curve of a walking gait cycle what’s quite fascinating and perhaps under appreciated is that even though our body brings in 1 – 1.5x our body weight in energy (heel contact) we actually release 2 – 2.5x our body weight when we push off (forefoot propulsion)!

What this means is that our body is somehow is able to double the energy that it is provided with!   How is this possible?   And why is this even important?

Understanding Fascial Elasticity

The concept I described above is referred to as the catapult effect and truly is the meaning of movement efficiency.   To move efficiently does not meant to just take in energy and release it with little loss of energy.   It actually means to take in energy and double it!

This ability to double potential energy allows a basketball player to slam-dunk a ball or a triple jump jump 50+ feet.  This catapult effect lies within our connective tissue – namely our myofascia.

To effectively understand the catapult effect and the oading response during bipedal locomotion one must first understand what’s referred to as the Muscle Tuning Theory .   This theory was researched and developed by Dr Benno Nigg out of the University of Calgary Canada.

What the Muscle Tuning Theory demonstrates is that in order to effectively damp the impact forces encountered during initial contact we must have sufficient foot and ankle stiffness.   We must contact the ground with enough foot and ankle isometric contractions to allow the rapid loading of impact forces (potential energy) into our connective tissue.

Because our foot and ankle muscles are firing isometrically during the loading response what actually allows the joint movements of deceleration (ankle dorsiflexion, STJ eversion, tibial internal rotation) is the elasticity of our connective tissue (fascia / tendons).

normal-foot-pronation-at-midstance-sample_view
This fascial loading is dependent on the degree of elasticity or rubber band effect in our connective tissue.   However simply having fascial elasticity is not enough.  In order to effectively load our fascia with potential energy we must first achieve sufficient fascial tension.

Fascial Tension = Stability

If I were to say that to have fascial elasticity we must first have fascial tension – this may seem contradictory.   How can our fascia be both elastic and stiff at the same time!

What if I were to word it another way.   In order to effectively load impact forces (potential energy) we must be STABLE!   Let me take it even further with this statement – Stability is the foundation through which power, force and resistance is generated.

In other words to move efficiently and transfer energy we must have sufficient stability.   In the words of Dr Perry Nickelston I think that deserves a BOOM!

This above statement is what I try to achieve in all of my patients.   To help my patients become pain-free I know I must teach them to achieve proper stability.   But not only do we need proper stability – we need deep joint stability.   And not only do we need deep joint stability – we need fast deep joint stability.

This is what I refer to as Local Reflexive Stabilization.   Local – referring to our local stabilizing muscles and reflexive meaning fast or subconscious.

Understanding Local Reflexive Stabilization 

The concept of local vs. global stabilizers was first introduced by Dr Vladamir Janda and then later expanded upon by Shirley Sahrmann.

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 12.05.53 AMThe  following image demonstrates some of the biggest differences between local and global stabilizers.   What’s fascinating is that when we consider the Deep Front Fascial Line we can see it is formed by all the local stabilizers.   The foundational concept in EBFA’s Barefoot Training Specialist Certification is to train stiffness and reflexive sequencing between the foot and core.

By intelligently tapping into our local stabilization system we will find ourselves with enhanced stability – and therefore better be able to load impact forces during dynamic movements.

Because it is so easy to slide out of local stabilization and into global stabilization the below 3 exercises should be used as a daily reset or activation for the local reflexive stabilization needed for bipedal locomotion.

3 Way to Enhance Local Reflexive Stabilization

Step 1 – Diaphragmatic Breathing

Step 2 – End Range Expiration (with pelvic floor activation if possible)

Step 3 – Diaphragmatic Breathing / End Range Expiration & Short Foot

To learn more about EBFA’s education and our Barefoot Training Specialist Certification please visit http://www.ebfafitness.com

As always – stay #barefootstrong!

Dr Emily 

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Barefoot Science, Foot Function & Fascial Lines Series

Myofascial Energy Transfer & Movement Efficiency

When we walk, run, jump or do any dynamic movement there is a fascinating interaction that occurs between the body and the ground.  This interaction may only take a mere milliseconds but it provides the energy source needed for efficient human movement.

Upon ground contact the body encounters impacts forces which are detected by the plantar foot (and sometimes palmar hand) and quickly converted into potential energy.

What happens next is critical to how effectively you take your next step.  Even before your foot contacts the ground the nervous system is preparing for impact.  This preparation is achieved through what’s called stiffness.

Stiffness is a requirement for movement efficiency

The stiffer your foot & ankle are upon contact the quicker you will be able to load and
unload the potential energy contained within these impact forces.   In fact research has shown that it is foot and ankle stiffness that actually translates to running speed.   A 2002 study by Brett et al. found that sprinters who could generate the greatest stiffness had the fastest acceleration.

So how do we create this stiffness needed upon foot contact?

The answer lies within the integrated relationship between our muscles and fascia.

Myofascial Tensioning = Stiffness

picAll of our muscles contain a deep interconnected myofascial web that is continuous with the surrounding tendons and ligaments.  This myofascial web runs from around the muscle as a whole (epimysium) to around the muscle fascicles (perimysium) and finally around the individual muscle fibers (endomysium).

Each of these individual facial layers have muscle fibers inserting onto them making their relationship dynamic – as well as one that is necessary for movement efficiency.

The way our body creates stiffness is through isometric contractions.  Isometric contracts create tension through this myofascial web – especially through the perimysium.    Why the perimysium is important to stiffness and energy transfer is that studies have shown that it is this layer of facia that contains the highest concentration of myofibroblasts.  Myofibroblasts are the cells that contain the contractile potential for elastic energy transfer.

This process of isometric contraction leading to fascial tension is what Dr Nigg refers to as the Muscle Tuning Theory and what EBFA refers to as fascial tensioning.

Fascial Training Beyond Foam Rolling

The health and fitness industries have done a great job at bringing myofascial or trigger point release to the forefront however we cannot stop there.   Our fascia requires attention beyond simply foam rolling.

To achieve optimal movement efficiency our fascia needs to be trained to create tension or stiffness – a stiffness that must actually be pre-activated before our foot contacts the ground.   In addition our fascia needs to be elastic or have a rubber band effect to it.   This can be trained through rhythmic movements such as tai chi, gyrotonics or many of the exercises we do in the BARE® Workout.

To explore the concept of fascial tensioning a little bit more please check out the video HERE

I also encourage you to check out EBFA’s Barefoot Training Specialist® Certification!

http://www.ebfafitness.com

Stay #barefootstrong!

Dr Emily

 

References:

Brett et al.   Leg strength and stiffness as ability factors in 100m sprint running, J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 42(3): 274 – 281. (2002)

Schliep, et al. Active fascial contractility, Structural Integration 2006

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