·         Arousal

·         The Brain

·         Exercise

·         Indoor Air Pollution

·         Muscle Tension

·         Nutrition

·         Posture

·         Sensory Processing

·         Sleep

·         Other Suggestions


Research Topics


My Theories

Former Theories



The Cause of Internet and TV Addiction?


Suggestions for Muscle Tension


·        Common Orthopedic Inflexibilities

·        Tips


·        Abdominal Rigidity

·        Arm Tension

·        Suggestions: Exercise

·        Extraocular (Eye) Muscles

·        Fibromyalgia

·        Laterality: Mixed Laterality and Muscle Tension

·        Leg Tension

·        Muscular Imbalances

·         Musculoskeletal Disorders

·        Suggestions: Posture

·        Restrictive Clothing

·        Stretching

·        Take a Shower in the Morning or Before You Go to Work

·         Upper Extremity and Neck Flexibility

·          Axial Extension

·          The Scalene Muscles (Scaleni)

·          The Sternocleidomastoid Muscles

·          Shoulder Shrugs


Common Orthopedic Inflexibilities

· Common Orthopedic Inflexibilities



“Finding time to take relaxation breaks at a busy, stressful job may be difficult. This relaxation exercise may be practiced in a short time while sitting at your desk. Over time, regular practice will have long-term benefits.” How To Relax at Your Desk


Abdominal Rigidity

What is Abdominal Rigidity?

“Abdominal rigidity involves abnormal muscle tension or inflexibility of the abdomen, detected when touched or pressed.” Health: Medical Symptoms Guide: Abdominal Rigidity



“When there is a sore area in the abdomen, the pain becomes more intense as the hand presses against it and overcomes the muscular resistance.” Health: Medical Symptoms Guide: Abdominal Rigidity


Voluntary vs. Involuntary Rigidity

·        “A patient's fear or nervousness about being touched (palpated) [associated with tactile hypersensitivity?] in the abdominal area is referred to as voluntary rigidity. It usually occurs on both sides of the abdomen.

·        Involuntary rigidity, usually caused by a physical condition [poor posture? Stress?], may affect one or both sides and may be associated with pain.” Health: Medical Symptoms Guide: Abdominal Rigidity


Things to Consider

Nausea, vomiting, abdominal tenderness, swelling, and pain often accompany abdominal rigidity.” Health: Medical Symptoms Guide: Abdominal Rigidity


Related Topics

·        Vision: Bates Method: Maximize the Effect of the Bates Method: Tension

·        Exercise: Abdominals

·        Posture: Posterior Pelvic Tilt


Arm Tension

Things to Avoid

"Flailing your arms around isn't going to do you any good"

ivillage: fit by friday: Arm Stretches


Yawn Stretch

·        "Either lie on your back or sit on the floor, and raise your arms up.

·        Keeping your elbows slightly bent and shoulders relaxed, lift up nice and tall.

·        Now lean to the left as you pull your left arm down to your shoulder and stretch your right arm up and over to the left even more.

You'll feel this stretch up your entire side to your fingertips. Hold the stretch for between 10 to 60 seconds, then repeat on the other side."

ivillage: fit by friday: Arm Stretches


Things to Consider

When stretching your arms, it's important to avoid stretches that may cause muscular imbalances. For example, some arm stretches may also stretch your upper back.


Extraocular (Eye) Muscles

Bates Method: Palming

3D Stereo Images: Parallel Viewing vs. Cross Viewing


Leg Tension


Pros and Cons

Leg tension appears to be beneficial in the short term, but detrimental in the long term. In the short term leg tension can stabilize blood pressure and heart rate. In the long term, leg tension sucks away all your energy.


Beneficial Effects of Leg Tension (Not Recommended)

"In the study, the maneuver stabilized blood pressure and heart rate in all patients."

Crossing Legs May Prevent Fainting




"Stretches are range-of-motion exercises that reduce stiffness and help keep your joints flexible, which can make daily activities easier. Simply put, your ‘range of motion’ is the normal amount your joints can be moved in certain directions. Stretching gradually expands that range, giving you greater flexibility and less pain."

Stretching: The Flexible Way to Go


Things to Consider

Muscular Imbalances

·        Muscular Imbalances (quadricep and hamstring muscles)



·        Vision Suggestions: The Bates Method: Palming: Things to Consider


Salt Deficiency

·           Nutrition: Sea Salt: Lack of Salt: Loss of Salt, Vitamins, and Minerals (muscle cramps)


Muscular Imbalances

Legs: Quadriceps and Hamstrings

Back Pain

·        Posture: Lower Back Pain, Neck Pain: Risk Factors



·        Posture: Weak Hamstring Muscles



· Quadriceps: Knee Extension

· Quadriceps: Hip Flexion

· Quadriceps


Abdominals and Lower Back

·        Posture: Lower Back Pain, Neck Pain: Exercises for Lower Back Pain

·          Posture: Lumbar Lordosis


Rounded Shoulders

·        Posture: Rounded Shoulders


Upper Back

"Activities of daily living oftentimes cause pain due to muscle imbalances even though we are not aware of what is taking place.  One example is a pain that develops in one of the shoulder blades

·        This could be caused by working a computer mouse that is on a desk that is at a level too high for the person seated and using it. 

·        It could also be caused by turning the head to one side to watch TV, talk to someone, or work while the rest of the body is  facing forward. 

When the muscles develop on only one side of the upper back, the muscle imbalance eventually results in pain."

LATTC: Muscle Balance Lecture Notes


·        "'ergonomic' mouses (yes it's 'mouses' not 'mice') - many of these mouse designs or alternative input device designs can work well to improve your hand/wrist posture.

·        However, it's important to check that you can use these with your upper arm relaxed and as close to your body as possible.

·        Overreaching to an 'ergonomic mouse' defeats any benefits of this design.

·        Check out the 10 tips for using a computer mouse." Ergonomic Guidelines for Computer Workstations - 10 Steps for Users


·        Posture: Winged Scapula


Musculoskeletal Disorders

What are Musculoskeletal Disorders?

"This term refers to any problem or illness that affects the muscles and skeleton, such as

·        carpal tunnel syndrome,

·        temporomandibular joint syndrome,

·        scoliosis (abnormal curvature of the spine),

·        back injuries,

·        arthritis,

·        etc.

Compare: orthopedics."

Biotech Resources: Musculoskeletal Disorders


"MSD is a nutrient pathway disorder. It is critical to understand this. We prevent MSD by restoring, maintaining and enhancing the nutrient pathway to working musculoskeletal tissues."

SmartCare Physical Therapy: Valuable Information for Physical Therapists



Muscle Contraction, Tendon Tension and Joint Compression

"MSD problems are the result of reduced circulatory perfusion (blood supply) to muscles, tendons and joint structures. Muscle contraction, tendon tension and joint compression all create mechanical pressures that inhibit circulatory perfusion pressures of these working tissues."

SmartCare Physical Therapy: Valuable Information for Physical Therapists


Neck Region

·        Upper Extremity and Neck Flexibility


Other Causes

"Another consideration is to address MSD problems not caused by ergonomics hazards. We find that many workers develop MSD not because the job is poorly designed but. Rather, because the worker has

·        poor posture habits,

·        bad body mechanics,

·        poor flexibility or

·        vulnerabilities presented by health issues (pregnancy, diabetes, thyroid dysfunction, etc.).

These at-risk workers could benefit from stretching to build their margin of work tolerance."

SmartCare Physical Therapy: Valuable Information for Physical Therapists


"Prolonged postures and repetitive motion cycles can greatly increase muscle-tendon tension, leading to this process."

SmartCare Physical Therapy: Valuable Information for Physical Therapists



"Work then shifts to anaerobic metabolism, resulting in excessive accumulation of metabolic waste products in working tissues. These chemicals irritate and damage the musculoskeletal tissues."

SmartCare Physical Therapy: Valuable Information for Physical Therapists


"These serve as an irritant than can lead to inflammation."

SmartCare Physical Therapy: Valuable Information for Physical Therapists




"Our stretching program for neck-arm CTD and low back injury prevention takes only 1-2 minutes total and are done every hour."

SmartCare Physical Therapy: Valuable Information for Physical Therapists


"The core of our program:

  1. Scaleni stretch (gently!) [neck];
  2. Axial extension (gently!) [neck];
  3. Abbreviated Jacobsen's [also spelled Jacobson's] relaxation response at upper body;
  4. Codman's;
  5. ECR stretch;
  6. Wrist-finger flexor stretch;
  7. Standing back bends;
  8. Seated hamstring stretch.

This [program] is modified to meet specific job stresses. We do these only 10 seconds each, brief enough to gain management cooperation; not enough time to actually lengthen tight tissues (not our goal) but enough time to induce relaxation of muscle-tendon unit to rebuild tissue perfusion (that's the goal!). Workplace exercises must be brief to maximize cooperation and accuracy. (also a consideration for home exercises for patients??)"

SmartCare Physical Therapy: Valuable Information for Physical Therapists


"What we seek for MSD prevention are exercises that relax neuro-muscular tension in the muscle-tendon units that are deprived of nutrient pathway. A gentle passive stretch for ten seconds can stimulate the Golgi Tendon Organs, nerve endings located within tendons that can reduce motor nerve input to working muscles. The result is decreased muscle tone resulting in increased muscle, tendon and joint surface perfusion. Exercises must target those muscle-tendon units involved in grip, pinch, reach or other loading demands of work."

SmartCare Physical Therapy: Valuable Information for Physical Therapists


Exercise Mistakes

"There are many bad exercises employed in the workplace and a few good exercises. One cannot judge the value of workplace exercises without specifying which exercises are employed. Potentially hazardous and generally worthless exercises must be eliminated from the discussion. We have consistently seen excellent reductions in MSD problems at hundreds of workplaces where the correct exercises are employed.

SmartCare Physical Therapy: Valuable Information for Physical Therapists


Ergonomic Improvements

"Workplace stretching is not a cure-all. It is certainly not an excuse to defer ergonomic improvements. But it is extremely valuable as an added effort to accomplish maximum reduction in MSD problems. It is especially valuable for jobs where ergonomics modifications are just not available."

SmartCare Physical Therapy: Valuable Information for Physical Therapists


Related Topics

·        Muscle Tension

·        Other Suggestions: Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD)

·        Posture: Forward Head Posture

·        Posture: Rounded Shoulders

·        Posture: Rounded Shoulders: Effects: Thoracic Outlet Compression


Restrictive Clothing

     At your own discretion, loosen and/or remove restrictive clothing - unless of course you are prone to fainting. (More information on fainting is available in the article Crossing Legs May Prevent Fainting)

     Loosening restrictive clothing improves circulation and reduces muscle tension

     Some people get into the habit of wearing restrictive clothing (e.g. dress socks) on a daily basis. Try to avoid wearing restrictive clothing when it is not required.



Things to Consider

'Stretching' vs. Lengthening

"The term 'stretching' is incorrect. Stretching implies lengthening of a shortened muscle-tendon unit. But this may not be the appropriate or safe objective. Lengthening requires a stretch to be held for 30 seconds. Research implies this is the threshold for optimal lengthening effect. But that is not what we are after. Besides, that calls for stretches that are too time consuming for the workplace to tolerate and too hazardous to teach to large numbers of individuals with individual complications."

SmartCare Physical Therapy: Valuable Information for Physical Therapists



"Regular stretching can help preserve flexibility, and keep muscles and joints healthy. Regular stretching may also reduce risk of injury, and counteract chronic muscle tension that arises from too much stress and a sedentary lifestyle."

Stretching 101


Take a Shower in the Morning or Before You Go to Work


Reducing Muscle Tension

·        Muscle Tension


Negative Ions

·        Indoor Air Pollution: Negative Ions: Natural Sources: Showers



·        Sernsory Procesing: Vestibular System: Improving: Muscle Tone, Balance and Proprioception


Things to Consider

Shower Massagers

It may be wise to avoid certain settings on shower massagers. Some settings may stimulate acupressure points and scalp nerve endings, and may cause a release of endorphins, and increase serotonin levels. This may lead to an overproduction of serotonin.


Negative Ions

·        Indoor Air Pollution: Negative Ions: Natural Sources: Showers



·        “A brisk scrub in a morning bath or shower on rising is most important in order to

·        Wash off eliminated toxins from the previous night’s sleep.

·        Toxins will not be reabsorbed through the skin during the day and a morning shower adds to a feeling of well being.”

Positive Health Magazine: Mercury Poisoning from Amalgam Fillings by Vivian Bradshaw


Recent, Unconfirmed Studies

“Dr John Spangler, of Wake Forest University School of Medicine, North Carolina, said: 'If confirmed, our results could have profound implications for the world.'”

Taking a shower could give you brain damage, new research suggests.


“Studies on rats suggested a ten minute shower every day could cause brain and spinal cord damage, behavioural changes and a tremor condition similar to Parkinson's disease.”

Taking a shower could give you brain damage, new research suggests.


“A spokesman said: ‘The levels [safe levels in water for manganese] set by the EU [European Union] are safe for individuals who choose to shower.' The Drinking Water Inspectorate would consider the study and all the evidence, he added.”

Taking a shower could give you brain damage, new research suggests.


“However, while safe levels [of manganese] in the US are considered to be 0.5mg, a 1998 EU directive reduced acceptable levels in Europe to 0.05mg.”

Taking a shower could give you brain damage, new research suggests.


·        Nutrition: Water: Types of Water: Filtered Water: Shower Filters


Upper Extremity and Neck Flexibility

Stretching Exercises

Note: Some neck stretches require you to relax your shoulders. If you don't relax your shoulders you may not be able to stretch your neck properly.

"The upper extremity and neck flexibility program is a series of stretching exercises prescribed by your physician for your medical condition. The purpose of this flexibility program is to stretch (lengthen) the muscles in the upper body that are tight (shortened). Having a flexible upper body is desirable. it allows the muscles and joints to work more efficiently and decreases the frequency of muscle strains and tendon injuries.

     Each flexibility exercise in this program should be performed once a day, every day. Should your doctor prescribe a strengthening program in addition to the flexibility program, we suggest that you stretch before and after you complete the strengthening exercise. If you incorporate these exercises into a fitness program, stretch after your exercise, rather than before. If you have time, you may stretch both before and after exercise.

     Each exercise should be performed in a slow, sustained, steady manner until you experience a stretching or 'pulling' sensation in the muscle. When you experience the pulling sensation, the stretch exercise begins. Hold the stretch for 20 seconds, maintaining the 'pulling' sensation for the entire 20 seconds. Relax for 15 seconds, and repeat 2 more times.

     These exercises should not cause or increase pain. If you experience any pain, decrease the amount of stretch you are applying to the muscle. Should the exercise still cause pain, discontinue the exercise and call your physician"

NISMAT: Upper Extremity and Neck Flexibility Program


Additional Information

Axial Extension

Axial Extension: Description

Note: In the following excerpt the term “axial extension” is used only in regard to Viniyoga. More generally, it refers to the alignment or movement of the head & neck. When used in reference to Viniyoga, here, it deals with contra-lateral hemispheric neuro-integration, as part of the balancing that yoga does. 

·        "As the inhale fills and expands the chest cavity, the thoracic spine becomes slightly less kyphotic. In other words, the natural rounding of the upper spine between the waist and neck becomes subtly less rounded.

·        As the exhale releases from the body, if the practitioner accentuates the contraction of the abdominal muscles, the lordosis of the lumbar spine becomes less pronounced. In other words, the low back curve subtly flattens.

Both of these actions can ease spinal compression and encourage axial extension or lengthening of the spine. Lengthening of the spine in most cases creates less pressure on the physical level, potentially

·        increasing comfort,

·        range of motion, mobility and

·        supporting the function of the nervous system since the spinal cord is the central core of the spinal tract.

As we age, the cumulative effects of gravity on the spine are important to recognize and compensate for, and axial extension is such a strategy."

All Hearts Hatha Yoga: What is Viniyoga?


Note: The following uses the term “axial extension” more generally, meaning just the alignment or movement of the head & neck. 

"Margaret Schenkman, Ph.D., PT at Duke University PT program has done extensive research on an exercise program that she and some of her colleagues compiled called Axial Extension (elongation) of the spine. The program uses gentle rotational movements of the spine and extremities done with relaxation instead of with a strong effort. The therapist will use some gentle hand-on cuing to help facilitate the wanted movement and relax other muscle groups that are too tense.

·        These exercises are markedly similar to Feldenkrais and Alexander methods.

·        Dr. Schenkman has done before and after measurements with people with Parkinson's disease and found that they have a significantly better functional ability to get out of bed, get up from a chair, walk and turn around. These are all activities that become more and more difficult as Parkinson's disease advances.

·        These are also very effective with people neuromusculoskeletal or Orthopaedic pain problems."

Aesclepian Chronicles: Hands on Health--The Clark Method...Not!


Axial Extension: Hyperacusis

·        Hearing: Sound Sensitivity: Hyperacusis: Stretching


Axial Extension: Things to Consider

"In the case of those with flattened upper spines, the upper spine may flatten even more, in rare cases even becoming concave, which may not be an asset to the individual."

All Hearts Hatha Yoga: What is Viniyoga?


The Scalene Muscles (Scaleni)

The Scalene Muscles (Scaleni): Functions

"Any of four pairs of muscles extending from the cervical vertebrae to the second rib; involved in moving the neck and in breathing."

Websters Online Dictionary: Musculus Scalenus


The Scalene Muscles (Scaleni): Thoracic Outlet Compression

·        Posture: Rounded Shoulders: Effects: Thoracic Outlet Compression


"…Gently stretch the scaleni at the lateral neck to reduce neck compression of nerves and vessels to the working upper extremity."

SmartCare Physical Therapy: Valuable Information for Physical Therapists


The Scalene Muscles (Scaleni): 'Sunning' Exercise

·         Vision: Bates Method: Sunning


The Sternocleidomastoid Muscles

The Sternocleidomastoid Muscles: Functions

"Turns head obliquely to opposite side; when acting together, flex the neck and extend the head;

·          Nerve supply,

·          Motor [neural structures that cause muscle fibers to contract] by accessory [supports some similar, generally more important neural structures],

·          Sensory by cervical plexus [nerves formed from the cervical plexus innervate the back of the head, as well as some neck muscles]."

Stedman's Online Medical Dictionary: sternocleidomastoid (muscle)


·          “The Sternocleidomastoid,

·          Spinal, and

·          Neck muscles

may be used as accessory muscles of respiration; their use is a sign of an abnormal or labored breathing pattern."

Respiratory Assessment: Adult and Child: Glossary


·          Other Suggestions: TMD: Treatment: Physical Therapy: Stretching: Introduction

·          Other Suggestions: TMD: Treatment: Physical Therapy: Stretching: Stretching the Neck

·          Research Topics: The Subclavian Arteries: Pecularities: Left Subclavian: Course and Height


Shoulder Shrugs

·         Posture: Weak Shoulders: Suggestions: Shoulder Shrugs 



Back to 'Suggestions'