Physical Therapy Doctor - August 2019

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August 2019

ON THE MOVE

My Dog’s Superpowers A HERO’S LESSON

Since people call this time of year the “dog days” of summer, I think it’s high time for another article on the littlest member of the Morea family — Hero the Maltipoo. If you missed the article on our pup last summer, Hero became a part of our family five years ago when I brought him home on Christmas Eve. Because the black spot on his face looks like a mask straight out of a comic book, naming him “Hero” was an easy choice. This dog may not be climbing any buildings or traveling faster than a speeding bullet, but he certainly has some superpowers I’m envious of! First and foremost, there’s Hero’s ability to lay around all day. Even if I didn’t have a business to run and kids to take care of, I don’t think I could lounge as much as this dog. I’d get antsy eventually. But without bills to pay and errands to run, our little Matise-Poodle mix is more than content to take enough afternoon naps for the rest of us. No wonder he has so much energy when it’s finally time to play. But there’s a deeper strength to Hero’s relaxed attitude — it’s more than simple laziness. This dog really and truly is content in his situation. Whether you’re playing with him or being couch potatoes together, Hero is always very “in-the-now.” He doesn’t have concerns from the day before or worries about tomorrow. Like so many other dogs, he’s able to take each passing moment for what it is, and enjoy it. Maybe we humans aren’t the superior beings we think we are after all! I’m certainly a big believer that this very present mindset is a healthier way to live. As a physical therapist, I’ve seen the effect stress can have on our bodies. Our minds have a nasty habit of escalating the pain we feel, thanks in large part to the autonomic nervous system. More and more studies are finding links between our perception of pain and the actual way we experience it — and a few individuals have started experimenting with this idea in the extreme.

or “The Iceman,” attributes his ability to withstand these freezing temperatures to mental and physical training. He claims this allows him to have more control over his autonomic nervous system. His methods essentially boil down to calming his body in the face of extreme conditions. I don’t need the ability to take a dip in freezing water, but the ability to distance myself from the stress of everyday life would certainly have my tail wagging! But what I admire most about Hero isn’t his ability to achieve tranquility, but the way he shares it with those around him. Whether it’s me getting home from a long day, or my kids coming through the front door after a tough time at school, our dog won’t leave us alone until we have a smile on our faces. You may not feel it right away, but between his cuteness and playfulness, Hero will have you laughing in no time. This ability to help others enjoy the moment is certainly an amazing power, one I think we can all strive for. That’s why our whole team believes in making our clinic a fun, friendly environment. We know it’s not enough to treat your pain if we don’t alleviate the stress it’s causing you.

Here’s to all the lessons our pets have to teach us,

–Dr. Robert Morea

Specifically, Wim Hof, a Dutch extreme athlete, has pulled off amazing feats like swimming in ice water with only a pair of swim trunks. Hof,

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