Written by: Julie Blandin, PT + ATC + CSCS + PRC
Jason Day’s back pain made the news this past week during The Masters. While his back pain is nothing new, his trainer recently started incorporating some new and different exercises that required the use of a balloon into his program.
What?? A balloon?? How crazy is that???
Actually, it’s not crazy at all. Those exercises may have been ‘new’ to Jason Day and the news media, but they are secret-weapon fundamental exercises to many other athletes and also to our team at Thrive Proactive Health. Noone should ever be embarrassed or feel silly blowing up balloons. There is a profound science that explains the power of these balloons–it’s a science that can help millions of people if the media can help others to understand it a bit more.
Allow this blog to be your short introduction to a complex yet simple principle: our postural form and rotational function is balanced around our ability to breathe.
I called Thrive Proactive Health and asked to schedule an appointment for acupuncture, they asked me why (don't ask me why unless you want a long story). Within a few sessions of Acupuncture, all my intestinal pain was gone, and my stress and anxiety decreased significantly. At the same time, I sat with the physical therapist and she evaluated my body and posture. Within 10 minutes she was able to assess that I had no hamstring strength, no core strength, and from pulling my shoulders back all the time incorrectly (ALL OF YOU THAT SAY PULL YOUR SHOULDERS BACK), I was only breathing out of half of my lungs. Because of this, my body was always in a state of ‘fight’ or ‘flight’ (sympathetic nervous system engaged) and not going into rest and digest (parasympathetic). I, of course, immediately wanted to change this problem, and after receiving my first full breath in (potentially ever), I had to re-learn how to breathe, rest and how to hold my body.
We spent the first month of treatment with 1 or more therapists rib-pumping to let all of my air out and develop an understanding of where my chest is supposed to be posturally. It takes a team of people to change a person–I have worked with every person in that building (I think) and everyone has their talents and expertise. I can not thank them enough for their time, effort and energy. I have been pigeon-toed, flat foot, bad knees and hunched-over-with-no-butt since I was born. Turns out, changing your posture changes everything. Changing the way you hold yourself changes the way you think about yourself and the world.
I spent every week from August to December going in for an hour for Postural Restoration® and did my best to do the exercises every night (well... at least 3x a week). My weight dropped immediately, from 174lbs to 163lbs in 4 months. But again, it wasn't about the weight–I can now move in ways I never could. I can move my hips, I started being able to jump high, run further and even dance!
I don't know where I will go next, but I am really proud of myself and thankful to everyone that has been apart of my journey. While it is far from over, I would not have made it this far without the coaches, cheerleaders, and the support of my family. My kids are 8, 5, 2 1/2 and 5 months old. My goal in life is to be the best version of myself possible. To be the best husband, father and man of God that I can. I strive to be moral, truthful and care about others selflessly, trusting all will work out. Anyone that has watched me over the last 6 months can tell you, I feel like I am just now coming to life. And while I could have kept this story to myself, I hope it can inspire every person that reads it to just go for it... whatever it is... to be the best version of you. Learn to be healthy, learn to be yourself, and learn how to like yourself. You are good!