2014 Spring Newsletter
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Your Well-Being

Spring Newsletter
                           Paul Ciske, Ph.D.   

HAPPY SPRING! (and quickly approaching summer). I hope that life is continuing to bloom in a joyous way for you. To help with your unfoldment below is the list of classes I am offering this Spring/Summer. Some of these classes are offered on a donation basis and others are in a small group format which makes the cost very reasonable. Please pass this information onto anyone you may think would be interested. Blessings, Paul
Spring 2014 Participatory Lecture Series: (registration required)

Self Care using Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT). 
Got tightness? Stretching is not always the answer. Learn a whole new way to work with tightness in the body based on how the nervous system operates.  Wednesday, May 28th, 7:30-8:45pm
Introduction – Your Body: Tuning In and Tuning UpTransform your movement and posture by learning in this session the 6 "high pay-off" mobility drills along with the principles of Z-Health®  and Muscle Activation Techniques® (MAT) to train both the body and the brain. Monday, June 2nd, 7:30 - 8:45 pm    
***6 week class series to begin the following week. ***
"Core" and Spinal Stabilization - The Truths and Myths
Walk away with a 5 step approach for engaging the muscles of the trunk and methods for challenging their strength and endurance. Monday, June 16th, 7:30 - 8:45pm
Posture - A Somatics Intelligence Approach
Use your intuition and the felt sense of the body to transform your posture and how you present to the world. Monday, June 30th, 7:30 - 8:45pm
Breathing: Techniques for Improving the 22,000 breaths you take each day. Hyperventalation is epidemic and can mask itself with a wide variety of symptoms including pain. This also affects carbon dioxide levels which greatly impacts acidity and therefore every system in the body. Improve your health by improving the quality of each breathing rep you perform throughout your life. Monday, July 14th, 7:30 - 8:45pm. 
Beyond Eyesight: How other visual attributes affect performanceVision is the work of the BRAIN - eyesight is work of the eyes. Experience how vision affects performance and how vision skills are trainable.  Monday, July 28th, 7:30 - 8:45pm.
Transforming Stress – An Introduction to the work of Conscious Embodiment. Develop greater capacity to relate to whatever arises, especially when under pressure, from a centered state which accesses “presence, confidence and compassion” . Monday, August 4th, 7:30 - 8:45pm.

Level One Class at East Bay Meditation Center. Daylong August 9th plus 3 Mondays - August 11, 18, 25th, 7-9pm. Daylong can be done separately.
Seating limited. Call 510-832-5725 to reserve a space. Classes are offered on a donation basis. See for further details on lectures.
BONUS - VISION DRILLS: Nothing to lose, possible pain relievers!
Two quick vision drills that surprisingly often can shift the nervous system out of a pain pattern are: the pencil pushup and vertical saccades.  To do a pencil pushup, hold a pen or pencil at arm's length in front of you at eye level. Slowly bring the pencil in toward the eyes until the tip of the pen doubles. Don't worry if the tip gets blurry. Ideally you will be able to touch your nose with the pen. Then slowly move the pen away from the nose and repeat to train the inner muscles of your eyes. Remember to asses and re-assess before and after the drill to see what effect there was on the nervous system.

The second drill is a variation of the drill from the last newsletter. Hold two pencil like objects about 12-18 inches apart vertically and evenly spaced about arms length away from the face. While keeping the head still, move the eyes up and down from one pencil to the other making sure the pencil is clear in the vision before shifting back. Try 15 - 60 seconds. Do not forget to asses and re-assess. Part of a re-assessment is to see if there is a change in the rating of the pain in the body.

Sometimes it takes some volume to make a change. So doing short focused sessions every hour or two especially if you re-test well for the drill can be of great benefit. If you have further questions on these drills please contact me. You can also let me know if they helped.
In this Newsletter:

Participatory Lecture Series
Article: Pain
BONUS: Eye drills: Pencil push-up and Vertical saccades 

Call 510-832-5725 for your Body Tune-up

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.
                              Khalil Gibran
Pain is an unavoidable part of human life. On the negative side, pain can be a source agony. On the flip side, pain can be an alarm signal and motivator to make a necessary change and do something different. Having a better understanding of something we all have to live with is of importance. 

Let's start with the definition developed by the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP). "Pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage" (emphasis added). Of major significance here is that there does NOT have to be physical or pathologic damage for there to be pain. This is why pain specialist say "pain lives in the brain". It is why someone can have a gun shot wound in a situation of duress and not even feel it and why people feel pain in an area long after healing has occurred. This is why pain can appear very mysterious and when it becomes chronic can be difficult to resolve.

Two general categories of pain are acute and chronic. Acute is time limited while chronic persists for more than 3-6 months which is often long after the needed time for healing. From these 2 general categories the IASP delineates over 30 different "types" of pain. For our purpose I will address 2 general categories: nociceptive and non-nociceptive.

Nociceptive pain results from signals being sent to the brain from specialized nerve endings in the body tissues. When they reach a significant level the brain interprets it as pain. Nociceptive pain can in general be divided into the categories of somatic and visceral as the source of the signals.

Non-nociceptive pain is generated in the brain without signals originating from the specialized nerve endings in the tissues. The 2 general types of Non-nociceptive pain are Neuropathic and Sympathetic. Neuropathic is where there is damage to the nerves or they become hypersensitized and start producing signals on their own. Sympathetic is where the central nervous system becomes over active which in the literature is referred to as "central windup". The nervous system starts interpreting normal signals as noxious ones leading to pain perception in the brain and a downward spiral in the body.
[to get a fuller description of the symptoms for the different types of pain click

Why is this all so important? Because pain then does not necessarily mean that there is something pathologically wrong at the site of pain. The nervous system can generate pain as an alarm to get your attention when a threshold of threat/stress is reached. As said in Z-Health, pain is an action signal to do something different. And the nervous system often uses old "pain pathways" so it does not have to create new ones. The problem then is figuring out what the nervous system wants us to pay attention to.

Reducing the threat level can often resolve pain. This can be accomplished by rehabilitating and optimizing the Visual, Vestibular/Balance, and Proprioceptive (body senses) systems all of which can contribute to the threat/stress level when not working well. This is why I use both the techniques of Muscle Activation Techniques which addresses the neuro-muscular system and those of Z-Health which has assessments for all three systems.

To learn more about Pain, I recommend the book "Explain Pain" by David Butler and Lorimer Moseley. It is a great laypersons explanation of the topic.
GRATITUDE: I am continually grateful to all of my clients that support my work. I am also grateful for your generosity in paying in accordance to a relative value for healing based on your means which allows me to offer my services to a wide range of people with a diverse array of socio-economic status. Thank you! 
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