Therapy that moves you!

By Erica Hornthal, MA, LCPC, BC-DMT, Chicago Dance Therapy

Chicago Dance Therapy is the premier dance/movement therapy practice serving Chicago and its surrounding suburbs. Offering psychotherapy with a body-centered approach focused on connecting mind, body, and spirit.


Mind

In dance/movement therapy, movement is the therapeutic tool used to process feelings and emotions. The client is encouraged to experience, observe, and process behaviors and thoughts through body sensations, non-verbal communication, and body language. We use the body to recharge, refocus, and even re-pattern the mind.


Body

We use the body to assess, observe, and intervene in the therapeutic relationship. When words alone may not be expressing what someone is experiencing, dance/movement therapy can help to validate and support each individual.


Spirit

This holistic alternative to traditional talk therapy is a wonderful way to treat mind, body, and spirit. Using movement we can connect to our subconscious, enhance our awareness, and learn to be more present.


According to the American Dance Therapy Association, dance/movement therapy is the psychotherapeutic use of movement to promote emotional, cognitive, physical and social integration of the individual. Benefits of dance/movement therapy include:

  • Facilitate self-awareness
  • Enhance self-esteem
  • Reduce anxiety
  • Encourage reminiscing
  • Maintain and/or increases mobility
  • Enhance body-mind connectivity
  • Focus on non-verbal communication
  • Enhance emotional and physical well being

Sleep…Beyond Counting Sheep

By Valerie Odea for Athletico Physical Therapy

There’s nothing quite like a good night’s sleep…and awakening to the promise of a new day! But these days, getting a good night’s sleep seems to be more elusive than ever.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in three sleep beyond counting sheepAmericans routinely do not get enough sleep. A lack of sleep can contribute to health issues such as diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and impaired memory. Therefore, lack of sleep is a true public health crisis. The Rand Corporation published a study reporting over $400 billion loss to US companies annually due to employees’ lack of sleep. So why is our nation sleep-deprived and what can we do to be better sleepers?

Falling asleep should be one of the easiest tasks for us to accomplish, right? Yet many of us cannot do it well, nor on a consistent basis. How can we improve “sleep hygiene,” or healthy sleep habits? Happily, most of the practices that promote sound sleep are under our control! Here’s what you need to know:

A Consistent Schedule Matters: Humans have a circadian rhythm, which means we follow a day/night cycle of approximately 24 hours. That being said, the more consistently we manage our sleep/wake cycles, the better. Try to get to bed at the same time most evenings and awaken at approximately the same time each morning. Resist the temptation to stay up very late or sleep in, even on weekends or days off. By staying consistent with your cycle, your body will have an established routine.

Age Makes a Difference: Aging presents issues with regard to sleep, with many people waking up more frequently and have a harder time getting back to sleep as they get older. This could be due to a variety of reasons, including less time spent in a deep sleep, the need to urinate during the night, anxiety, or discomfort from pain or chronic illness.

Avoid Substances and Meals that can Interrupt Your Sleep: Be judicious about using substances such as alcohol, tobacco and caffeine. These chemicals can stay in our systems for up to 14 hours and disturb sleep. On that note, a large, heavy meal can be difficult to digest close to bedtime and interfere with sleep.

Stress Plays a Role: Stress…who doesn’t have it? A stressful day flows into the evening and you can’t relax. Besides your brain being preoccupied, stress cause the body to release the stress hormone cortisol which promotes increased alertness.

Medical Conditions can Make an Impact: A variety of medical issues can also keep you from sleeping well. More than just annoying snoring, sleep apnea is a dangerous condition where you can have decreased breathing, changes in vital signs and startle yourself into wakefulness. Oftentimes Restless Leg Syndrome may accompany sleep apnea. If you or your partner snore, have a sleep study performed by a specialist and follow the recommended treatment. Chronic insomnia interferes with your body’s restorative sleep and can have deleterious health effects on the brain and body as well.

So, how can you overcome these issues and catch your zzzzzzzzzz?sleep beyond counting sheep

Try to Respect Your Circadian Rhythm:Establish a consistent bedtime and wake up time and stick to it. Keep your bedroom as dark as possible with room darkening shades, blinds or use a sleep mask. Avoid lights from electronics in the bedroom. Keep your bedroom cool with the use of a fan, or by opening a window and turning down the furnace. Foam earplugs can reduce noises surprisingly well. Some swear by white noise machines available at most department or electronics stores. Don’t underestimate the benefits of a comfortable, supportive mattress, pillows and blankets. Make a rule that you won’t eat, watch TV or pull out your phone/laptop to do work in bed.

Limit Fluids After Dinner as much as Possible: Have that last coffee at lunch or switch to an evening decaf. Some feel that a “night cap” alcoholic drink will relax them for sleep. Initially, alcohol will make one feel sleepy, but then it will actually disturb your sleep.

Have a Bedtime Ritual (like when you were a child): I often share this information with my patients who are just home from the hospital, may have pain, are off their routine, have stress and concerns. Take a warm bath or shower if possible, perform some relaxation techniques such as tensing and relaxing muscles, or do some deep breathing. Try reading for a short time. Enjoy a small glass of milk and a light carbohydrate snack. A very effective technique I employ is to keep a pad of paper and a pen on my nightstand. I journal about ideas, concerns and worries. Then I put them aside. I have taken everything off my mind and put it down on paper where I know it will be waiting for me in the morning.

Exercise: With regard to exercise and fitness, those who have a regular fitness routine fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly. However, try to exercise earlier in the day or at least 3-4 hours before bedtime.

Napping: Short “cat naps” of 20-30 minutes are fine if needed. They can refresh you. Anything longer can make you feel groggy and interfere with your nighttime sleep.

Sweet Dreams!

These days there are high tech mattresses, gadgets, apps, fancy pillows that monitor sleep cycles, sensors and sleep tracking watches available to help you get to sleep and measure your sleep performance. None of these devices come cheap. I would argue that for most people, following the ideas discussed above and taking a do-it-yourself approach to improving your sleep works best. Of course, if sleep problems persist, see your health care provider for help.

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The Olympic Experience with Dara Torres; Clinical Trials & Research; Benefits of Coconut Water

Episode 17.33 with Hosts Steve Kashul and Dr. Brian Cole. Broadcasting on ESPN Chicago 1000 WMVP-AM Radio, Saturdays from 8:30 to 9:00 AM/c.

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Segment One (01:40): Dr. Nik Verma sits in for Dr. Brian Cole, with Steve Kashul and talks with Dara Torres5 Time Olympian Swimmer/12 time Medalist. Dara talks about her competition experience and training routines over the years.  

Dara Torres is arguably the fastest female swimmer in America. She entered her first international swimming competition at age 14 and competed in her first Olympic Games a few years later in 1984.

At the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008, Dara became the oldest swimmer to compete in the Olympic Games. When she took three silver medals home – including the infamous heartbreaking 50-meter freestyle race where she missed the Gold by 1/100th of a second – America loved her all the more for her astonishing achievement and her good-natured acceptance of the results.

In total, Dara has competed in five Olympic Games and has won 12 medals in her entire Olympic career. Her impressive performance in Beijing and her attempt at the 2012 London Olympic Games has inspired many older athletes to consider re-entering competition.

Career Highlights

  • 2009 U.S. Nationals Gold Medalist in 50m Freestyle
  • 2009 World Championships (8th 50m Freestyle, 4th 4×100 Freestyle)
  • Five-Time Olympian; 12-Time Medalist
  • First U.S. swimmer to compete in 5 Olympics
  • U.S. Record Holder in 50m Freestyle
  • Broadcast: NBC, ABC, NBC, ESPN & more.

Segment Two (13:18): Dr. Nik Verma talks with Steve about the importance of clinical trials and research, translational research, current studies in biologics and the use of stem cells. Currently, Dr. Verma maintains an active clinical practice performing over 500 procedures per year. He is Director of the Division of Sports Medicine and Director of the Sports Medicine Fellowship Program. In addition, he serves as a team physician for the Chicago White Sox and Chicago Bulls, and Nazareth Academy.nikhil verma

In addition to his clinical practice, Dr. Verma is actively involved in orthopedic research with interests in basic science, biomechanics and clinical outcomes, and has recently received funding for his work from Major League Baseball.

He has authored multiple peer-reviewed manuscripts in major orthopedic and sports medicine journals, numerous book chapters, and routinely serves as teaching faculty for orthopedic courses on advanced surgical techniques. He frequently serves as an invited speaker or guest surgeon for national and international orthopedic sports medicine meetings. 


Segment Three (19:07): Scott Sandler, President & CEO of COCO5 talks about the benefits of coconut water for professional athletes and weekend warriors & how COCO5 Coconut Water differs from other hydration products.

GREAT TASTING, NATURAL HYDRATION

COCO5 combines the powerful hydrating properties of young coconut water with all natural flavors to create a hydration beverage perfect for any time of day or night. Clean, refreshing and brilliantly delicious. Nothing artificial. Ever.

COCO5 replenishes the body with all 5 essential electrolytes your body needs. Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium, Chloride and Calcium.

  1. Eliminate chemical additives, dyes and high fructose corn syrup found in leading fluid replacement beverages. 
  2. Replace fluids lost through sweat.
  3. Restore electrolytes depleted during exercise.
  4. Reduce cramping and gastric distress often experienced with conventional sports drinks.
  • All Natural ingredients
  • Benefits come from coconut water, not artificially added ingredients or chemicals
  • Unlike other hydration drinks, the electrolytes in COCO5 are naturally occurring (sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, chloride and small amounts of other nutrients)
  • Colors and flavors are from natural fruits and vegetables
  • No artificial dyes (i.e., Red40, Bluel, Yellow5)
  • No artificial sweeteners. Stevia (Rebiana) is used as a sweetener from a plant (no artificial sweeteners such as Sucralose, Aspartame or Acesulfame potassium as found in other hydration drinks)
  • Maximum absorption due to the balance of carbohydrates and electrolytes

These 3 Surprising Workouts Are the Best For Your Health, Says Harvard

There’s nothing like a multitasking sweat session to help us burn calories, banish stress, and clear our minds. But as Business Insider reports, not all fitness routines are created equal. A new health report released by Harvard Medical School titled “Starting to Exercise” outlined the most effective workouts that not only aid in weight loss, but also help strengthen your brain, bones, and heart.

“Research shows that just a half-hour of moderately intense exercise a day can improve your health and extend your life,” the report says. I-Min Lee, a Harvard professor and author of the study, notes that activities like long-distance running can have negative effects on your digestive system and joints. In addition to explaining the best ways to avoid injuries and use the proper breathing techniques, the research also reveals some of the most beneficial workouts for your health—and a few of them may surprise you. Read on below for three routines that help you live longer and only require 30 minutes of your time.

Walking. This activity may seem like a no-brainer, but as Business Insider reports, some studies have found that walking for at least 30 minutes at a leisurely pace can help boost your memory and reduce depression. For those who don’t exercise regularly, Harvard suggests starting off with 10- to 15-minute strolls and building up to 30- to 60-minute walks.

Tai chi. A Chinese martial and meditative art that involves a series of gentle and flowing movements, this ancient practice emphasizes deep focus and paying attention to breathing. Lee writes that tai chi is “particularly good for older people because balance is an important component of fitness, and balance is something we lose” as we age.

Swimming. Harvard’s Healthbeat newsletter calls swimming “the perfect workout,” all thanks to its ability to work almost every muscle in your body. From protecting your brain from signs of aging to raising your heart rate, this aerobic workout also reduces potential injuries “because it’s less weight bearing,” Lee writes in a recent issue of the newsletter.

By DANIELLE DIRECTO-MESTON