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Guest Article: Ladies' Footwear and Back Pain 

high heels and skeletonThe answer to your back pain is easier to find than you may think— just look down.

Certain choices of footwear such as certain pumps, wedges, and sandals offer little support to your feet, and that is a big problem. Your feet are the foundation of your body. They support your entire body when you stand, walk and run, and they offer shock absorption to protect your spine, joints and muscles.

When you stand, ideally your weight will be distributed evenly throughout your heel and toes as well as the three arches of your foot. Many people have small imbalances with weight distribution. An easy way to check this is to look at the bottom of your shoes. Your shoes should wear down evenly from left to right, on both shoes, and at the same rate. If this does not occur, you can safely assume that your feet are not in balance and back pain is not far behind.

To avoid back pain caused by foot imbalances you may want to reconsider cruising around all weekend in flip flops and any of the above mentioned shoes.

Beware of a backless shoe.  A backless shoe will allow your foot to slide from side to side, distributing your weight in an even manner. Be leery of the ballet slippers that are flat but provide very little support or cushion. High heels can cause your foot to strike the ground in a more toe-forward motion, which can jar your knees, hips and back.

Other than just being a fashion victim and subscribing to the theory that it is better to look good than to feel good, there are some important steps (no pun intended) that you can take to have good looking shoes that provide the correct support.

I am not advocating never wearing these beautiful-looking yet void-of-support shoes but for the majority of the time consider shoes with a back and buckling straps or laces. Loafers or lower heeled shoes that provide some arch support are ideal. 

[Keep] your foot in as good as balance as possible with good supporting shoes.

Used with permission. Dr. Todd Sinett, DC, from his newsletter Balance in the Body and at www.drsinett.com  Visit his website for more information on back pain, and check out his new book, The Truth About Back Pain, featured in Recommended Reading.


Tips for Beating Low Back Pain

low back painLow back pain is one of the most common reasons that people visit a massage therapist, acupuncturist, chiropractor or an allopathic physician.

In fact, low back pain affects about eighty percent of adults at some time or another. It is the second most common reason given for missed work (after the common cold), and we collectively spend about fifty million dollars annually on treating it.

Chances are that you have experienced low back pain yourself at some time or another. If you haven't, you probably will.

Although some low back pain can be attributed to a specific physical source, many people complain that they just don't know what caused their backs to hurt. In fact, all it takes is some fairly minor twisting and/or jarring to affect the lower spine and its surrounding tissues.

Besides that, your muscles have memory. That is, they remember that you twisted and hurt your back when you were ten years old and fell off the monkey bars. Today, when you twist the same way, the muscles remember and splint to keep you from inflicting the same injury. Trouble is, now that you are fifty-eight, you don't bounce back as quickly.

As we become older, we must become more proactive in preventing back injury. We can do this by monitoring our weight, practicing good posture, sleeping on our sides with our legs bent (or with something under our knees if we are on our backs), lifting from a squatting position rather than bending over, and getting regular exercise to strengthen the back muscles.

Even with the best preventative techniques, many of us will still experience back pain. The lucky ones among us will be able to resolve our back pain with rest and self care.

Here are some self-help suggestions if you suffer from low back pain.

Nevertheless, self-treatment is not always indicated. You should see your physician if any of the following is true:

There are many causes for low back pain, and most low back pain can be alleviated or eased by massage.

 If you are under the care of a physician, you should ask the doctor if a massage would benefit you before you call your therapist. Massage therapy can loosen tight muscles, and most conditions that cause low back pain can benefit from the treatment.

Loosening the tight muscles that surround the spine and that hold your in an upright position can reduce stress on the the bones and nerves of the spine. As proper spinal alignment is restored, pain and pressure diminish. The soft tissues that surround the spine can heal. 

Many clients find that massage and a chiropractic adjustment can work together to relieve low back pain. Acupuncture is also beneficial in relieving low back pain.

If you are suffering with low back pain, please call us. While there is no guarantee that your back pain will vanish instantly, massage therapy has been proven over and over to be one of the best and safest ways to naturally eliminate low back pain. 


Essential Oil of the Month: Chamomile

chamomileMany people love a nice hot cup of chamomile tea to soothe and relax their frayed nerves after a stressful day. Chamomile has been used as a remedy since ancient times. During the Middle Ages, people used it as a remedy for numerous medical complaints, including nausea, nervous complaints, children's ailments, skin diseases and so on.

What tea drinkers might not realize is that the essential oils of the chamomile flower also has a wide variety of health benefits.

Chamomile essential oil has a sweet, mellow aroma. Chief among its benefits is that Chamomile essential oil is a highly effective anti-inflammatory. It reduces swelling, stimulates circulation, and eases the pain of headache, neuralgia, dull muscle and low back pain, and TMJ syndrome. Additionally, it relieves dysmenorrhea, PMS, and digestive symptoms.

There are two types of chamomile— Roman chamomile and German chamomile Both varieties have similar in medicinal properties and can really be used more or less interchangeably. Roman chamomile is a bit milder than the German variety, and is often preferred for skin disorders. Some conditions may respond better to one than to the other, but basically the choice is up to the user.

Roman chamomile essential oil is calming and is very effective for menstrual problems. It is great for a wide range of skin conditions and distressed tissues like mouth ulcers or irritable bowel syndrome. It can help diminish scars, marks, and spots on the skin. Its aroma is a bit like apples.

German chamomile is a very powerful anti-inflammatory because of the presence of a compound called Azulene. (Azulene is responsible for giving the oil a deep blue color, which can stain--so take care.) It is very effective in the treatment of aches and pains, including muscle and joint pain. German chamomile oil is a vasoconstrictor. It is very effective in relieving the severe pain of neuralgia by constricting the blood vessels surrounding the Ninth Cranial Nerve and relieving pressure on it. Its aroma is more herbaceous.

Both varieties of Chamomile essential oil kill internal and external parasites, like worms and lice. Both varieties are effective in fighting depression and raising the spirit. Even smelling these oils can bring about good mood. They can improve blood pressure and alleviate sinus problems.

One word of caution: Chamomile is a member of the ragweed family. If you have ragweed allergies, you should avoid using either variety of chamomile. You should also avoid it if pregnant because its emmenagogue properties.

Blend for Sore Muscles

Work into muscles especially after a workout or other strenuous activity.

Tapestry Life Resources sells the highest grade of essential oils though its storefront at Ancient Wisdom Essential Oils. Please go to our storefront and click "shopping" tab or call 828-315-9900 for more information.

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Mar. 2009


In This Issue

purple spiral

Upcoming Events

Reiki class

Sat., Mar. 28

Suzanne Eller will lead a Reiki I class on March 28 from 9:30-5:00 at her home.

Reiki is a powerful yet gentle method of natural energy therapy that brings profound peace and healing to the physical, emotional, and mental bodies.

The word Reiki means universal life force energy in Japanese.

Founded by Dr. Mikao Usui in the late 19th century, Reiki can be learned by anyone and can then be immediately implemented into your life after this one day intensive. It is ideal for self care; furthermore, children and animals are particularly receptive to it.

At the level of Reiki I, students will be attuned to the frequency of the Reiki energy. They will learn the the history of Reiki, its uses, and the Reiki hand positions. They will also give and receive Reiki treatments.

The cost for the class is $150 if you are registered by March 16. A $50 non-refundable deposit is required, but it may be used for a later class. After March 16, the cost is $225. Class size is limited. Lunch will be provided.

For more information and to reserve your place, please call Suzanne Eller at 828-315-9900.


Don't Forget to Spring Forward!
DST Begins Sunday, March 8

Ancient Wisdom Essential Oils is a multilevel marketing company with a large variety of therapeutic grade essential oils. The founder, Donald Held, worked for Amway and Young Living before starting AWEO. He does not take a profit from the company; rather he is signed up as a distributor just like the people who sell his product. Held has traveled to 31 countries and continues to look and find good therapeutic oils from all over the world. There are no carrier oils in Ancient Wisdom Essential Oils.

AWEO Roman Chamomile Price: 15 ml bottle: $71.00

AWEO German Chamomile Price: 15 ml bottle: $85.00

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Copyright 2009
Suzanne H. Eller

Note: This version of Warp & Weft includes articles and information not found in the joint version with Hickory Massage Therapy. The joint version, which was sent to clients through Constant Contact, and had specials and pricing information not included here. You can subscribe to the Constant Contact version, now in collaboration with Body Balance II Therapeutic Massage, below.

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snow on flower pot

March is that month that is the last breath of winter and the glory of the spring. The weather is unpredictable, and yet folks find that the longer days beckon even when the air is chilly and damp.

Here at Tapestry Life Resources and Hickory Massage Therapy, the green thumb of owner Julie Parker is evident in the first emerging flowers of the season. We hope the snow and cold didn't kill all of them. Warm or cold, we find our hearts a bit lighter as we watch the finches eat from the bird feeders, their feathers getting yellow as spring approaches.

Daylight Savings Time begins, and longer days means that many of us start working in the yard or cleaning house. Before long, we may feel the twinges of back pain. That's what this month's issue addresses. We hope you enjoy it, and that it helps you welcome spring safely.

Recommended Reading for March

Image courtesy of Karen's Whimsey

boy reading

I've really enjoyed my winter of reading. Here are my recommendations for this last month of winter and on into the spring.

I hope you find something that strikes your fancy

purple spiral

A. J. Gregory has a lively wit and isn't afraid to look at herself or the world with a penetrating eye. Her longing for God during the difficult, messy legs of her journey helps the reader to realize that grace is always available, and our brokenness is a call to trust in God more.

March is the title of this year's Big Read in Catawba County. Set during the Civil War, the book's main character, Peter March, is the absent father of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. March goes off to fight for his beliefs, but his idealism is soon challenged by the brutality of war. You can find out about the community activities for the Big Read in Catawba County, which will culminate in a book discussion with author Geraldine Brooks in April.

This book was my choice for St. Patrick's day light reading. If you've never read Lawhead, you'll enjoy the way he mixes myth and fact to create great stories. Patrick is the narrator, and Lawhead does an outstanding job of using point of view to show changes in the character as the novel progresses.

One of the things I like about Dr. Sinett's approach is that he attributes pain to three causes: structural, chemical, and emotional. In this book, he discusses each of the causes of back pain and offers suggestions for alleviating pain at the source.

st. patricks day animation
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