While parts of Ontario are beginning to enter into Stage 3 of the Province’s COVID-19 reopening plan, many of us are still missing out on our regular pre-pandemic self-care routine of massages and osteopath treatments.
Photos by and featuring Dr. Liza Egbogah
Maybe they’re no longer in the budget for the time being. Perhaps you’re not quite yet comfortable venturing too far from home. Regardless, after months of isolation at home, the reality is that this is when we could all use a reset the most.
“Most of us are still missing out on our usual massage and osteopath treatments and might be experiencing more tightness and tension in pressure points in our bodies as a result,” said celebrity body and posture expert Dr. Liza Egbogah (Dr. Liza), who is a staple on daytime television and is no stranger to a slew of famous clients.
“This, paired with the simple truth that most of us are guilty of spending more time than ever sitting down and hunched over our computers, means that our posture, shoulder and back health are probably starting to take the brunt of it.”
There is good news. If you have a broom (and let’s hope you do), then you can simply and straightforwardly revive and reset your body at home or at the cottage with a few of Dr. Liza’s seasoned tips.
“In the absence of professional massages, there is a way you can relieve tension from your body and reset your posture to combat hunching and improve your overall well being,” says Dr. Liza. “I regularly use a broom (yes, a broom!) to perform myofascial – the connective tissues found all over the body – release, adjustments and assisted stretching, and anyone can do these moves safely in the comfort of their own home.”
According to Dr. Liza, pain reduction, release of knots, proved flexibility, and enhanced circulation are just some of the tried and true benefits of these techniques. “And, it’s so easy to do!,” she says. “I’ll walk you through it.”
How to: Grab a handy broom, and bring the broom pole vertically into the left shoulder. Straighten your arm and steady the front of the broom with your left hand. Take the other hand and press the broom pole into your chest, slowly moving the broom from left to right between the top of the arm and the chest. Do this for approximately 30 seconds, and then be sure to switch sides.
It might feel a bit uncomfortable, but that just means you’re releasing tight pec muscles and the fascia in this area!
Why: When we are hunched over our computers, our chests become compressed. This causes our pec muscles to shorten and this is what leads to slouching. Releasing tension this way will enable you to sit up correctly and improve posture.
How: Take the broom and balance horizontally behind and on top of your shoulders. Hang both arms back, balancing forearms on the broom. Lean into the stretch.
Why: Once you have released the tension built up in the pecs in step one, this second move helps to stretch them out, allowing the chest to open up while lowering shoulders, too. Not only does this improve posture, but it can also promote proper breathing to encourage full oxygenation of the body, reduce anxiety and release happy hormones (endorphins)!
How: Sit down on the floor with one leg flat on the surface and the other bent at a downward V angle. Place the broom pole under the bent leg, and with arms on the broom either side of your leg, move the pole up and down the calf from top to bottom. Repeat on the other side and then do the same but to your hamstrings.
Why: This will help improve circulation in the legs and release any built-up tension in the back of the thighs and calf muscles. In addition to this exercise, you should always stand regularly and walk around to keep the blood flowing throughout your lower body.
The Hip Fix
How: While standing, bring your left leg forward one step. Locate the bony part at the top of your hip and place the centre of the broom handle there. With a good grip on each side of the broom, slowly push the broom down towards mid-thigh applying enough pressure to feel some slight discomfort. Once you have reached mid-thigh, slowly bring the broom up to the bony part, once again applying a good amount of pressure. Repeat this pushing and pulling motion until the area feels looser.
For a deeper release step forward into a slight lunge position and repeat.
Why: This release is great for loosening up tight hip flexors [psoas muscles]. Since these muscles attach to the lower back and pelvis, they are large contributors to lower back pain. This move not only helps relieve back pain, but it is also beneficial for treating hip and knee pain, too.
How to: Take the broom and place it horizontally behind your back with the broom sitting at the inside portion of your elbows. Squeeze your shoulder blades together so that you feel an opening of your chest, and hold this position for 20 – 30 seconds.
Why: This move helps to encourage proper posture and prevents slouching forward that may happen from too much time spent sitting or hunched over our computers. It also provides a great stretch for your chest [pectoralis muscles], which will leave you with less pain in your neck and back and also help you to breathe better.
Learn more from Dr. Liza on social media or through her website. Links below: