Wellness through meditation
By Lillian Kolbenson
For The Essex Reporter
“Optimum wellness is my goal in working to meet the needs of each individual,” reads part of Carol Kleinwohl’s mission statement on her website www.mindbodyvt.com. Kleinwohl has run a private practice for psychological services for over 30 years. More recently the Colchester resident has also contributed to health services at the University of Vermont Medical Center.
She helps her clients in areas like anxiety and stress reduction as well as mind-body integration and cognitive behavioral therapy for mood disorders.
She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Akron and then went for her master’s degree at the University of Kentucky, both in psychology. Kleinwohl is a licensed Psychologist and a licensed mental health counselor.
She started mediating to improve her mental health. Kleinwohl shared her expertise and experience of the benefits of meditation.
- Balance stress. The nervous system works automatically. The sympathetic nervous system is switched on in a time of stress. The parasympathetic system contradicts that, and lets us recover from stressors. If the sympathetic nervous system becomes overactive, it can prompt an increase in blood pressure and release more stress related hormones. Too much stress can threaten the immune system and even encourage chronic illnesses.
- Reduce anxiety. Some research done on meditation shows that it helps the body regulate anxiety.
- Avoid the doctor. Meditation is a simple way to improve your own wellness. By staying out of the doctor’s office, you also avoid pharmaceuticals and exposure to other illnesses.
- Increase energy and awareness. Meditation can improve low energy levels that can come with the change of seasons. Meditation can also help ground your mind and increase your awareness.
- With a strong meditation practice, you can carry the tranquility you find through meditation into your daily life.
- Discipline for the mind. There are many meditative practices; a good practice to start with is to follow your breath.
Do You Understand the Gravity of the situation?
If you went to our website after the last column “Are You Square”, you may have identified with some of the postural asymmetries shown. Even if you did not see the column, the question is, where do postural mal-alignments, hence injuries, come from?
The long and the short of it is gravity! How you hold yourself is the direct effect of gravity and how you have moved in it for years. Postural control, how you move and react to sensory input, is the end result of a pretty complicated system of sensory input from the feet, joints, muscles, eyes, emotions, and vestibular system. The brain’s main response to any sensory input is to seek the most stable position given the input. To do that, the brain has two main objectives; keep the eyes level and “don’t fall down and go boom.”
Loss of your square develops when the most stable response to sensory input causes the brain to alter postural control. We adapt where we hold our center of gravity and compensate mechanical alignment for a visual horizon and stability. Most often, we become unstable in one of the three planes of motion causing us to become too stable and rigid in another. This is important to realize as most orthopedic injuries, both overuse and traumatic, are a result of the positioning of the joints prior to injury, through altered postural control.
If you don’t understand the gravity of the situation, prevention and treatment of an injury will be one-dimensional at best. Once identified, it is easy to regain proper alignment and postural control through repositioning and plane specific exercises. Postural alignment and postural control in all three planes of motion is critical to restoring proper movement and function. In my next column, we will explore what postural instability looks like.
A quick preview: If you have poor balance or can place your hands flat on the floor, you are compensating for some postural instabilities.