The Changing Face and Body


We live in a time of the changing face and body. What do people really look like? Your guess is as good as mine.

I can remember a time before plastic surgery was everywhere. Seriously, I do remember how it would be big news when a celebrity had a face lift, tooth whitening, or an eye or nose job. People would look drastically different.

Nowadays, with better techniques and many more non-surgical options, people start to have small pre-emptive procedures so that we never actually know how they would look and age naturally. There are now stand-alone cosmetic surgical centers where men and women can change how they look in a day, or even an hour.

When I was in graduate school and then teaching Pilates, I saw a lot of women with Botox in Philadelphia. I would notice not only the distinct lack of lines, but also the inability to move the face and emote as much as before.

Two good friends had liposuction in Philadelphia, and I have to say that they both looked fabulous after. It is a painful procedure, no matter what people tell you, but for them it was worth it.

And then a couple of my male clients decided to go for Hair Transplant in Philadelphia. If you have the money and time for a good transplant, it really works and can look quite natural. Don't bother with, as my mom used to say, "cheap plugs". It is not a good look!

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Pilates after Hernia Repair


Pilates after hernia repair offers a crucial piece of the exercise puzzle - pelvic floor and deep abdominal support!

Lately I have received several requests for exercise suggestions to help either repair small existing inguinal hernias, or assist in maintaining a hernia repair after surgery.

First of all, what is a hernia?

According to the NIH,

A hernia is a sac formed by the lining of the abdominal cavity (peritoneum). The sac comes through a hole or weak area in the strong layer of the belly wall that surrounds the muscle. This layer is called the fascia.

Basically, a hernia is an area where the intestines start to protrude through a weak area in the abdominal wall. Hernias are named for location (inguinal - groin, umbilical - belly button, hiatal - upper abdomen, femoral - upper thigh).

Hernias are caused by straining while abdominal pressure is increased - it can happen on the toilet, opening a window, or even lifting weights and/or doing abdominal exercises incorrectly.

Yes, you read that correctly. Poorly executed exercise can cause hernias and make existing ones worse.

However, correctly done exercise can help heal a hernia, especially after repair.

Exercise recommendations for pilates after hernia repair are similar to those for diastasis recti.

Once you have been cleared by your physician to exercise, it is important to avoid straining while increasing abdominal pressure. This requires careful monitoring of breathing patterns while moving and exercising.

At the beginning you should avoid most traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches. You should also avoid overhead presses.

Focus on exercises that help engage your pelvic floor muscles, diaphragm, and deep abdominals.

Breathing correctly is the first challenge.

Listen to the first breathing exercise in my back pain video. This is the basis for moving correctly in any exercise.

Reiki and Consent


Reiki and Consent - Where do we draw the line?

Trauma (medicine)

One of the first things we learn as Reiki I students is to always obtain the consent of the person you are treating. This becomes even more important in Reiki II as we look at sending distance healing, and it should go without saying that no Reiki Master should be passing attunements to people without their knowledge.

A few days ago I read this blog post by a surgeon who is out to debunk reiki, Reiki Invades An Operating Room, and while I wanted to be very upset at his tone and approach, I couldn't be. All other issues aside, the Reiki case in question in this blog post is one where an anesthesiologist who also happens to be a Reiki Master (and yes, many health professionals do Reiki) discusses passing Reiki and attunements to patients who are out on the operating table.

In Lightwork in the O.R.: a Case Study, the author states,

Intraoperative Reiki is a powerful tool. It helps to establish rapport. It helps to address the underlying conditions, both on an energetic level and a deeper soul level, that result in the manifestation of physical disease. It is non-toxic, safe, and does not need to be documented or charted or even discussed with the patient at the time it is given. People come to us for healing, in the hospital. It would be remiss to leave something clearly in need of treatment, untreated, when we have the ability to treat it at the same time that other work is being done.

And therein lies the problem. I have the right to refuse any aspect of medical care that I do not wish to receive, even if that might kill me. I also have the right to choose or refuse any part of my care. My 77 year old mother is dying of liver cancer. Respecting her wishes we have declined all medical treatment other than pain management in hospice care. She has the right to decline the biopsies and treatments that might extend her life, and she also has the right to say no to Reiki, even if it would help her feel better.

Pamela Miles brought this up for discussion on her Reiki, Medicine, and Self-Care Facebook page, and the responses have been interesting, with a large number of Reiki folks bristling at the criticism instead of addressing what I believe is such a crucial issue. I mean, if we cannot even agree that individuals have the right to say yes or no to a Reiki treatment, how are we to go convince the surgeons of the world that we are not completely woo-woo?

Here is my last (but probably not final) comment on that page:

I think Orac is appropriately angry at one of his colleagues, and the fact is that said colleague sneaks reiki in on people who he knows would say no if asked, and even attunes them at times with no basis or discussion. I would think that as a community we should be thinking about what we can learn from this, and part of what I take away is the importance of clear communication and consent regarding any kind of treatment. I have the right to decline medical treatment period, even if it could keep me alive. I should therefore have the right to decline reiki, and Reiki Doc's patients are not given that option. Someone like Orac wouldn't even talk to us unless we could at minimum agree on that.

Pilates for Pelvic Floor Strength

Left Levator ani from within. In my life I have had many uro-gynecological problems, resulting in many surgeries that ended with a total abdominal hysterectomy. During my treatments and after this final surgery I really had to work on my pelvic floor. The muscles were weak, they had been moved around during surgeries, and suddenly there I was at 27 looking at buying incontinence products. Not a fun place to be!

That led me to develop breathing and exercise techniques that allow for healthy strengthening of the pelvic floor without strain. Most people are unaware that deep and supportive abdominal and back strength, along with proper breathing mechanics, are dependent upon the pelvic floor muscle working well. Once I understood that and really worked those muscles along with everything else, my incontinence improved to the point where today it is not an issue at all.

I encourage anyone with incontinence to try Pilates - it can really help!