PAUL'S POINT OF VIEW
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GROWING UP DOWN UNDER
and cricket. These sports are often organized around competitive clubs that get together over the weekends. Growing up, I had a lot of fun getting involved with various clubs. I think that’s where my initial interest in physical therapy came from. These sports range from weekend amateur leagues all the way up to elite stars, like the All Blacks — New Zealand’s national rugby union team, a team that represents New Zealand in international rugby. I saw many injuries firsthand, but I saw recovery as well. I also had an uncle who was a successful physiotherapist, and I was inspired by and wanted to emulate him. After I graduated high school and the equivalent of grade 12, I applied to Auckland University of Technology and their physiotherapy school. I was genuinely surprised I was accepted but thrilled for the opportunity. During my final year of school, they required 1,200 hours of patient care in area hospitals. If you aren’t familiar with Auckland, it’s very spread out and sprawling, and as it happened, I didn’t have a car. So, I bought a motorcycle! I loved it, and I loved commuting around Auckland riding on that bike. Even after I graduated, my love of motorcycles continued. My first job ended up being at the bottom of the south island. So, I hopped on my motorcycle with my girlfriend on the back and we went for it, even taking the ferry between the two islands. It was that experience — being farther away from home and experiencing New Zealand while riding my motorcycle — that really sparked my interest in travel. But those are stories for another time! In our next newsletter, I’ll share a few stories from my travels, which eventually brought me to America and Oregon.
In our last newsletter, I reminisced about my childhood Christmases “down under” in New Zealand. This month, I thought I would share a little more about growing up there. As you may know, I was born on the Fourth of July. What you might not know is that I was born in a hospital in New Zealand that was constructed by U.S. contractors during World War II. The hospital was initially built to treat wounded soldiers. Maybe being born in a hospital built by Americans meant I was destined to come to America! I grew up on an isthmus covered in a dozen dormant volcanoes (that may erupt again!) with spectacular ocean views. And the ocean really defines life in New Zealand and Auckland. Many Aucklanders love to sail, and this March, they’re defending America’s Cup in Waitematā Harbour — Auckland’s primary harbor. Despite my close proximity to the water and living in a community that loves to sail, I never really got into it. I was more interested in the “land” sports — soccer, rugby,
–Paul Kane, P.T., BSC, CMP
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MIND OVER MATTER HOW YOUR EMOTIONS AFFECT YOUR HEALING
When combating pain, patients tend to think physically. They recognize how much the pain hurts them or hinders their ability to do what they love, and they focus on the physical ways this can be improved. However, researchers have found that this isn’t the only way to deal with and overcome pain. Psychological researchers have discovered that merely thinking about a time when you were happy, sad, or scared, can cause a real, visceral reaction from your body. You can begin to sweat and experience a faster heartbeat when you recall that time you were scared, or you can genuinely smile or laugh as you remember a pleasant memory with a loved one. That same idea can be applied to healing from a physical injury, too. According to researchers at Harvard University, being in a constant state of anxiety, stress, or depression — as is common when experiencing an injury — only heightens your body’s fight-or-flight response. This raises your blood pressure and inflammation, resulting in increased pain. Essentially, your body is trying to survive and is working overtime to succeed. It’s compensating for the area in pain, and all energies are going into what’s wrong, rather than preventing other issues. This is the mind-body connection, and it has a common effect on patients healing from injuries, cardiac events, major surgeries, and other medical events. Without proper intervention, diminished mental stamina can wreak havoc on your body. It’s vital that you prioritize your mental health as you heal from an injury, and you can start with these three tips.
Keep a Journal: It might sound cheesy to write down your thoughts each day, but a journal can be the tool you need to pinpoint specific stressors. You might find you have a consistent diminished mood in the early afternoon or after interacting with a coworker. By identifying these triggers, you can better combat them. Find Social Support: Life’s better with someone by your side, isn’t it? Find and surround yourself with people who motivate you most. Ensure your circle has people you can trust, vent to, and who are honest and supportive. Seek Professional Help: A physical therapist can help you find the relief you need physically, while a psychiatric therapist can help you navigate your emotions and mental hurdles in overcoming this pain. Therapy is not just for those with diagnosed conditions. It can help you sort out your emotions and develop healthy coping mechanisms for improved well-being. Recovering from pain is never an easy road so don’t be your own worst enemy. Our team is here to support you during your physical journey, be the cheerleaders you need mentally, and offer any suggestions we can to increase your mental well-being. Just ask us how!
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LAUGH MORE, AGE LESS WHY LAUGHTER IS GOOD FOR YOU
As we age, we’re told to wear sunscreen, eat more vegetables, take vitamins, and even walk more — all in hope that our internal clocks will slow down and we will age better. But something as simple as laughter could actually be one of the easiest ways to slow the ticking clock of aging. Scientists have long known that laughter can be therapeutic and help us live longer. It has been shown to reduce wear and tear on our bodies and improve our relationships. A Norwegian study found that those who prioritized humor were more likely to live past 70 than those who didn’t laugh often. At a biological level, laughter can reduce tension in your muscles and activate a powerful stress-relief response from your brain by releasing dopamine. Just one chuckle may even improve your breathing and heart function! In fact, laughing can work wonders for the heart.
One study showed that laughter therapy helped reduce the blood pressure and cholesterol levels of its participants. Their blood circulation improved, too. Studies have also found that regular laughter can help strengthen your immune system, and it has long-term benefits for those with respiratory conditions.
In addition to your body, laughter is also good for your social life. (And we don’t mean that people will want to spend time with you if you have all the good jokes!) Throughout history, laughter has been an evolutionary sign of understanding. When there are language barriers, laughing together
can create camaraderie and a tighter bond between people of different cultures. The dopamine release that comes with laughter aids in stress relief and creates powerful memories that can improve your mood and strengthen friendships. Of course, laughter has its downfalls, too. Laughing at someone else’s expense is detrimental to their health and can harm your relationships. So, stick to light jokes and actively seek shows, cartoons, or people who make you laugh. You’ll feel good, and your body will be pretty happy, too.
ASPARAGUS AND SMOKED MOZZARELLA
TAKE A BREAK!
PIZZETTES Inspired by EatingWell.com
• 1 lb prepared whole- wheat pizza dough, divided into 6 equal portions • 12 oz asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil • 1/4 tsp salt • 1 cup shredded smoked mozzarella cheese • 1/3 cup scallions, thinly sliced • 2 tbsp walnuts, toasted and chopped • 1 sprig of fresh mint leaves, torn • Zest of 1 orange
1. Preheat oven to 500 F and ensure there are two racks in your oven. 2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, stretch each piece of dough into a 7-by-3-inch oval and arrange evenly on the pan. 3. On a second baking sheet, toss asparagus with oil and 1/4 tsp salt. 4.Place dough on top rack and asparagus on bottom and bake for 3 minutes. 5. Remove both trays from the oven, sprinkle cheese over the dough, then top with asparagus and scallions. 6. Return pizzettes to oven and bake until the crusts' edges are golden, about 8–10 minutes. 7. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with walnuts, mint, and orange zest before serving.
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INSIDE THIS ISSUE
GROWING UP DOWN UNDER 2. NEED TO HEAL? CHECK YOUR MIND FIRST! 3. THE EASIEST ANTI-AGING TACTIC? LAUGHTER ASPARAGUS AND SMOKED MOZZARELLA PIZZETTES 4. 3 SIMPLE HAND EXERCISES TO AVOID CRAMPS
STOP CRAMPING PALMS WITH 3 SIMPLE HAND EXERCISES Hand health is so easy to take for granted — but the minute we start to lose it, we realize just how important it is. If you’re using your hands to type, scroll on your phone, or do other repetitive motions every single day, this can cause problems later on. Luckily there are some simple hand exercises you can do to keep your joints healthy! A quick tip before we get started: If your hands are feeling painful or stiff, try warming them up with heating pads or soaking them in warm water before your exercises. This will make it easier to stretch and move them. No. 1: Finger Stretch You want to be able to use your hands pain-free and with flexibility. Finger stretches help ensure that’s the case for a lifetime. To relieve pain and improve the range of motion in your hands, first, place the heels of your hands on a flat surface. Then, gently straighten your fingers until they are as flat as possible — but don’t force your joints. Hold for 30–60 seconds. Repeat at least four times with each hand. No. 2: Finger Lift To increase your range of motion and flexibility in your fingers, put your hand in a flat, finger stretch position. But instead of
focusing on keeping your hand as flat as possible, try gently lifting one finger at a time before slowly lowering them. You can also lift all your fingers and thumbs at once, then lower. Repeat for 8–12 times on each hand.
No. 3: Thumb Touch Almost all of our tasks require some coordination between our fingers and thumbs. That’s what this exercise is all about. Press the tips of your thumb and index finger to form an “o” shape with your hand. Create the same shape with your thumb and middle finger. Hold for 30–60 seconds. Repeat this with the rest of your fingers, then do the whole exercise for a total of four times. Going through this workout routine might seem unusual at first, but considering how important our hands are to our daily lives and communication, you certainly won’t regret keeping them in shape. Happy stretching!
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