More to Know About Magnesium Types

Magnesium Glycinate More Forms

Funnily enough, someone asked me the other day about Magnesium, saying that during a visit to the neurologist, they were told to consider taking it as a supplement. Unfortunately, the doctor didn’t talk about any particular type of magnesium, just mentioned it as a suggestion for relaxation and anti-anxiety. What would have been even more helpful? Recommending Magnesium Glycinate as a supplement.

Known among functional nutritionists as a particularly absorptive form of the essential nutrient, Magnesium Glycinate also doesn’t have the laxative effects that other types (oxide and citrate) can. It’s also a good form to take to reduce inflammation and improve sleep, along with being helpful for alleviating anxiety.

You could use it to boost your magnesium levels quickly – which also helps prevent the vestibular migraines most often brought on through stress, lack of sleep, and dehydration.

Magnesium Taurate (taurine being the bonded amino acid) is another form studied that’s shown to help with migraine prevention. Consider that when you’re evaluating what type to take, especially if you’re struggling with high blood sugar levels and cardiovascular issues.

While I frequently hear Magnesium Citrate widely recommended as a general magnesium supplement due to it being well-absorbed and super easy to find, the flip side is that taking the recommended dose can be laxative. Of course, that’s a good thing if you’re constipated due to other medications or having given birth recently. You can reduce the daily dose to see if that makes a difference. Be prepared for the larger pill size, too.

The overall takeaway is that Magnesium is an essential nutrient. Our bodies’ very building blocks need it to function well, and as you can see from my last few articles, different forms have different uses. Not all types are created equal, and some may be contraindicative with certain medications or conditions.

That’s why I encourage you to work with a professional holistic nutrition counselor to ensure that you’re choosing the one that will best work for your needs. Avoid under- or overdoing it with your magnesium intake just like you would with any other supplements. If you’ve not taken magnesium because you have trouble swallowing pills, be sure to check my dispensary for powders, as those are gaining popularity.

Reference Sources:

Choosing the Right Magnesium for Your Holistic Health

Choose Right Magnesium

As I talked about in my last post, magnesium deficiency is widespread. But there are many different types of magnesium, so you’ll want to choose the one that best suits your overall objectives for holistic health. In this post, I’m going to cover both topical and energizing forms of magnesium.

Topical Magnesium: Magnesium Chloride & Sulfate

Let’s start with one form of Magnesium that many of us are familiar with – Epsom Salts, aka Magnesium Sulfate. If you’ve been sore or achy, chances are someone’s suggested you soak in Epsom Salts. You may not know that its counterpart, Magnesium Chloride, is far more effective from a topical perspective. Look for it in topical forms of lotions, sprays, or soaks. Good for relaxation and ease of sore muscles, yes, and also handy for severe headaches, even migraines.

The topical form also protects against stomach upset, which can happen if you’re already taking oral magnesium or are simply highly sensitive to some forms.

Energizing Forms of Magnesium: L-Threonate & Malate

Typically, people hear of magnesium supplements and think “relaxing, take at bedtime.” However, Magnesium L-Threonate and Magnesium Malate tend to do the opposite and are recommended to be taken in the morning because they’re each considered an energizing form of Magnesium.

The coolest thing about Magnesium L-Threonate – at least in my opinion – is it’s effective against brain fog, improving cognition, and being energizing. Tests as far back as 2010 showed that it can help to improve memory. Plus, it can easily penetrate the blood brain barrier (BBB). You can take it with another form of magnesium, as well, and on its own, it doesn’t promote bowel movements like the more laxative forms do.

Magnesium Malate is another energizing form of the essential mineral and is less likely to cause stomach / GI upset (in case you’re wondering, the most laxative versions are Magnesium Citrate and Magnesium Oxide). It’s also rated as highly bio-available, particularly when taken along with a healthy diet, which means it absorbs well.

Always check for contraindications with other drugs. Also, avoid Magnesium Malate if you have migraines.

Please be aware that this form of magnesium could interfere with other drugs you may be taking, like diuretics (often prescribed alongside high blood pressure medication), antibiotics, and malate may interfere with certain drugs, such as diuretics, antibiotics, and bisphosphonates (medications for osteopenia or osteoporosis). One other caution that goes along with it being stimulative is if you suffer from migraines, particularly Vestibular Migraines, you’ll want to avoid Magnesium Malate.

In my next post, I’ll cover the properties of Magnesium Glycinate, Magnesium Citrate, Magnesium Taurate, and Magnesium Oxide.

Please remember, as with all supplements, work with a professional holistic nutrition counselor to ensure that you’re not under- or overdoing it with your magnesium intake. Or any other supplements.

Reference Sources:

Are You Magnesium Deficient? WHO says probably.

are you magnesium deficient

Magnesium is a naturally occurring mineral in many everyday whole foods and snacks: pumpkin seeds, roasted almonds, brown rice, and spinach, to name just a few (more here on the National Institute of Health’s site). Overall, magnesium is heavily involved in cellular metabolic and biochemical processes. With it being so readily available, how is it that being magnesium deficient is so common?

According to the NIH article cited above, as much as 75 percent of us in the US fall into the range of magnesium deficient. No surprise that processed foods are one of the culprits – refining and processing strips the nutrients out of foods. But sometimes, our bodies work against us.

The kicker: it’s really hard to test for magnesium deficiency using blood tests, etc. Most of us simply have to figure it out on our own based on symptoms or with the help of a professional, like a functional nutrition counselor.

For instance, subtle symptoms may already exist – you have trouble sleeping well, suffer from anxiety, or get frequent muscle cramps.  You’re also highly likely to be deficient when you’re a diabetic, suffer from other insulin-resistant issues, have a Vitamin D deficiency, or deal with Crohn’s or Celiac disease – just to name a few chronic health issues.

Why it’s Important to Take the Right Form of Magnesium

You’ve likely never had to think too much about magnesium, so you may be unaware there are multiple types, each with its own strengths. An intake process with a qualified FxN counselor can help you more efficiently identify the type of magnesium that best suits you, the cause of your symptoms, and your body’s tolerance for supplements.  Avoid wasting time with the incorrect form. 

I’ll go into more detail on the various types in the next post, but they are:

  • Magnesium Glycinate
  • Magnesium L-Threonate
  • Topical Magnesium: Magnesium Chloride & Sulfate
  • Magnesium Malate
  • Magnesium Citrate
  • Magnesium Taurate
  • Magnesium Oxide

As with anything you’re going to ingest, be sure to read the full ingredients list – the shorter that list, the better! You want to avoid fillers and additives (gelatin, magnesium stearate) that may irritate your system. Taking the correct form will address magnesium deficiency and ensure you’re absorbing key nutrients in the most beneficial way.

Contact Christopher Horan for more information on holistic nutrition or pain-free movement. He is a Certified Functional Nutrition Counselor (CFNC) through the Functional Nutrition Alliance, as well as a longtime Certified Rolfer (CR). His practice offices are in Tacoma and Bellevue, Washington.

Has the 80/20 rule put your health at risk?

80/20 rule health risk functional nutrition

Imagine a situation where you have a health concern – say digestive issues are causing extreme discomfort, brain fog is affecting your personal and work life, or anxiety and depression are taking their toll. Your doctor or other care provider looks at the symptoms, matches them to a pre-determined diagnostic code, then prescribes the protocol medication(s). Maybe they recommend minor adjustments to diet or exercise. Sound familiar? This is your health getting the same treatment that works (at least on the surface) for 80% of those with similar symptoms. 

How – when each body is unique – does this address your unique self? Here’s when working with a Functional Nutrition Counselor can make a difference.

Known as the Pareto principle, the 80/20 rule means that “for many events, roughly 80% of the results come from 20% of the efforts made.” Now, to apply that definition to the health sector and typical treatment, if you’re one of the 80% that responds well to that 20% effort from traditional medical protocols, that’s awesome. If not, what do you do? Where do you turn for help with your health concern?

Flipping the 80/20 Rule in Your Favor

How listening to your whole self – body, diet, lifestyle, habits – will lead the way.

More and more, we hear of people who simply cannot find relief, much less healing. Maybe you see countless specialists, feel like a pincushion from pokes and blood tests, take meds that mess with your system, and still feel like crud. What needs to change? The approach.

Understand that your entire body system needs to be considered. And that’s what functional nutritionists do. We look at the whole body – not only the part that’s exhibiting the illness or discomfort. Going deeper to find the root cause of the problem, not simply tackling the symptom, is only one way the holistic practitioner goes beyond the 20% effort.

The bioindividualized healthcare approach.

As practitioners, we call this approach “bioindividualized” healthcare. It’s care that’s tailored to what’s going on with your body systems – and it’s far from a cookie-cutter solution.

That means that there isn’t one magic bullet that’s going to fix everything. Not one standalone supplement or one “superfood” will suddenly propel you to 100% holistic health. To believe that is to fall into the very path that brought you to see me in the first place – the one that relies on that old 80/20 rule.

…there isn’t one magic bullet that’s going to fix everything.

For example, as someone who looks at what you put into your body from a holistic nutrition standpoint, I’m going to ask “Why” you feel the way you do. I’m also going to discuss your environment, activities, and more. And keep digging until we get to the root of the issue. 

When you work with me as a Functional Nutrition Counselor, our goal is to heal you, not just provide temporary relief. You’re an active participant in rebuilding your health. We begin with a free, no-risk, telephone discovery session, then build from there. Are you ready to not only feel temporarily better but to be in overall better health? Let’s get started! Call 425-449-6458 or email me via the website today.

Christopher Horan is a Certified Functional Nutrition Counselor (CFNC) through the Functional Nutrition Alliance, as well as a longtime Certified Rolfer (CR). His practice offices are in Tacoma and Bellevue, Washington. Functional Nutrition counseling is offered via online video, as well.

Reference: Inspired by “Field Guide to Functional Nutrition” by the pioneering Andrea Nakayama, Functional Medicine Nutritionist, Educator, and Speaker. 

Mind-Body Health Tips to Support New Habits

mind-body health tips

Easy does it. But do it.

January 2022. A brand-new year. Are you pressuring yourself to “change it all” in 2022? Get the mind-body health focus going? We tend to go a bit overboard – “I’m going to get fit, so I need to go to the gym (or do yoga, or run) every day for at least an hour.” If you’ve had a good habit of regular workouts and just want to increase your time, that’s probably less overwhelming than if you’ve had no exercise routine.

Starting something new that’s completely foreign to your mind and body can be challenging. Sometimes, we tire ourselves out early on, or go too strong, too quickly, and either a) injure ourselves, or b) get frustrated and quit. It’s almost like self-sabotage. So, what’s the answer?

The best way to avoid self-sabotage is to create “do-able for you” goals. Not the goals that your next-door neighbor, co-worker, or partner have, but the ones that work best for your personal mind-body health. So here are a few tips to creating good ones that we all can do, no matter our starting point.

Christopher’s “Easy 3” Mind-Body Health Tips

  1. Try to move 7 days per week. Whether it’s walking 10 minutes per day, doing a few sun salutation cycles each morning, 50 bodyweight squats, jumping rope for 5 minutes, 10 sprints, 50 pushups, or a combination of all of them. Just move each day, consistently and mindfully.  Two keys for success are to 1) make the goal small to start with so that you don’t feel overwhelmed, and 2) build specific time slots in your calendar and make that time non-negotiable.
  2. Hydrate – try to drink half your body weight in ounces per day. If you weigh 150lbs, then drink 75oz of water per day. (Not coffee, tea, sodas, or fruit juice.) Use a cup or bottle that helps track intake easily, so you know that you’ve hit your daily goal.
  3. Improve your sleep hygiene.  Go to bed at the same time every day and expose yourself to the sun or bright lights immediately upon waking. After your evening meal, keep lights as dim as possible, with zero electronics or lights on in the bedroom while sleeping. Remember: No screen time within 1 hour of sleep, and no food within 3 hours of bedtime.

Keep in mind that consistency is the key to establishing a habit. Good or bad. Be true to you and your holistic health needs, not someone else’s.

Are you ready to explore holistic health? A Nutrition-Centered program that’s specific to your mind-body health? Let’s talk. 

Christopher Horan is a Certified Functional Nutrition Counselor (CFNC) through the Functional Nutrition Alliance, as well as a longtime Certified Rolfer (CR). His practice offices are in Tacoma and Bellevue, Washington.

5 Things to Understand About Functional Nutrition

Functional Nutrition 5 things to know

“Health is Wealth.” I’ve always liked that quote because it’s true. As a Rolfer, and now as a certified Functional Nutrition Counselor, I’m really internalizing the concept. And a number of my Rolfing clients are asking a lot of questions about Functional Nutrition and want to dive in (thank you!). Let’s explore some of the essential framework, in hopes of driving more conversations with you – and potentially, counseling sessions in addition to our Rolfing work together.

First, know that your story is original. Unique. How you’ve come to feel the way you do, whether occasionally not-so-good or perpetually not-well, happened over time. As a different way of approaching healthcare, Functional Nutrition looks at the whole you. How you got where you are, and the way your body has responded. After all, we are not statistics – our thyroid number or blood count or cholesterol and so forth do not define our overall health. My job? To help uncover the source(s) of your dis-ease or illness. Of course, you have good ideas about that, but some things can hide from you, even in your own body. We’ll discover the root of the issue together.

As a different way of approaching healthcare, Functional Nutrition looks at the whole you.

Secondly, there is no magic pill. Would that there were! But only treating the symptom, or even an overarching symptom, dismisses the complexity of whatever health challenge you’re experiencing. Working with me as your Functional Nutrition Counselor will be a steady path, a process vs a cookie-cutter diagnosis. This goes back to #1: your story is original.

Thirdly, framework beats out formula every time. Again, because your story is unique, we need to understand the history and physiology that is yours alone. The functional nutrition framework hangs on a detailed intake form and associated tools that help draw the picture of your specific situation. We meet, discuss the answers, delve deeply into the why, where, when, and how, and then create an accurate representation.

Now, we examine the evidence. Not the typically touted evidence that’s based on what works for 80% of the population, but your evidence in your situation. For instance, almond butter upsets your stomach but every single dietary formula you’ve ever followed says it’s great. But it’s not for you. We’ll look at the evidence and its answers that help map your personal path to whole health.

Lastly, ideal health is not a fixed situation. You don’t reach it and just hang out there. (Although that would be way cool.) We’re all constantly responding to our situation. One day our life is cruising along, minimal bumps, feeling healthy, steady, and good. The day after, not so much. Health, like life, is dynamic. It changes all the time – and that’s a good thing! In Functional Medicine, this natural phenomena is known homeodynamics, our ongoing response to food, rest, and physiological changes (hormones, etc.).

Essentially, Functional Medicine is specific to you.

It’s a personalized, holistic approach. Unlike traditional Western medicine, it’s not an A-to-B quick fix, but a deeper dive into your needs. As your Functional Nutrition Counselor, I’ll uncover and help to resolve your chronic illness much like as your Rolfer, I uncover and resolve your pain source.

Christopher Horan is a Certified Functional Nutrition Counselor (CFNC) through the Functional Nutrition Alliance, as well as a longtime Certified Rolfer. His practice offices are in Tacoma and Bellevue, Washington.

Source: paraphrased from Functional Nutrition 101 by Andrea Nakayama, FNLP, MSN, CNC, CNE, CHHC, founder of the Functional Nutrition Alliance.

What’s Next at Horan Rolfing? Pairing Full Body Systems Health & Pain-Free Movement

functional nutrition pain free movement

Functional Nutrition: It’s the next big thing for my practice. If you’re a Horan Rolfing client, over time we’ve probably talked about the right way to exercise (especially when trying to recover from an injury) and gut health. Hang out with me enough and you’ll quickly realize that overall health and healing is my passion. Building our natural immunity, understanding the power of our gut, the microbiome; these types of topics got me interested in functional nutrition.

What do you know about functional nutrition?

If you’ve been listening to buzz about the science behind functional nutrition, you may be familiar with the concept. The idea that to change your health for the better, you have to understand why you don’t feel your best today. It’s not all that different an approach than the one I take in Rolfing, that the symptom may not be the source of the problem, but it can help us find it.

Full body systems health is invaluable.

Functional nutrition’s goal is to not only help others get healthy, but also to teach them how to stay healthy. The idea is that you work directly with a Functional Nutrition Counselor – that’s me by year end – to determine what’s going on with your body, and how together, we can bring you to optimal health.

Why am I pursuing certification as a Functional Nutrition Counselor through the Functional Nutrition Alliance?

If 2020 convinced me of nothing else, it’s that overall health – mind and body – is the greatest gift we can give ourselves. Full body systems health is invaluable. Combine systems health and pain-free movement? We have a winner!

Rolfing Structural Integration helped me heal from injury and inspired me to become a Certified Rolfer. I believe melding Rolfing with the practical health approach of Functional Nutrition will give my clients a clear path to whole-body health and pain-free living. In the meantime, Rolfing remains center stage, with Full Body Systems waiting in the wings.

Helping your body function at its level best is a goal worth working toward. It’s the whole reason I’m committed to the program.

Christopher Horan is a Certified Rolfer passionate about his clients’ overall health and wellness. You can schedule your pain-relieving Rolfing session at either his Tacoma and Bellevue, WA practice locations using the website scheduling calendar

Rolfing’s Holistic Approach: Optimal for Pain Relief & Body Maintenance

holistic rolfing

If the pain is gone, why keep up Rolfing treatments?

Rolfing is a holistic approach to bodywork. It’s not only a treatment for pain relief, it’s also a whole-body method that restores balance. If you’re interested in not just treating the symptoms, but the cause, then consider that Rolfing may need to be part of your body’s  “health maintenance” plan.

Think about the whole-body connection. Something going on in your foot can give you shoulder pain. Why? Because your body’s musculature, connective tissues, and nerves don’t exist in silos. Everything is connected. That’s not to say you don’t celebrate the pain going away! Just be aware that unless the underlying causes are treated and resolved, symptoms return.

Holism: (from the Greek term holos “all, whole, entire”) is the idea that various systems (e.g. physical, biological, social) should be viewed as wholes, not merely as a collection of parts.


Rolfing looks at the holistic picture.

You likely called me because you want to get rid of pain. And I became a Certified Rolfer to help people recover from pain. But it’s essential that we get your body back into overall alignment, not just chase pain symptoms. That’s why I try to remind my clients that no one can “heal” your body for you. Your body – if it’s in a healthier state – heals itself. My goal is to help your body get to the point that its natural healing capabilities kick in.

When I look at your body’s problems, I look at the whole body. That’s what Rolfing is all about. Yes, pain is how our bodies tell us something is wrong. What pain isn’t so great at telling us is the issue, or source, of the discomfort. The jammed big toe that “heals” can still throw off your gait enough to cause low back pain. Those painful bunions? Blame your abdominal organs as much as you do bad shoe choices. Yep, sounds nuts but it’s true.

So, when you begin a Rolfing series with me, know that we’re going to look at your situation holistically. That’s what Rolfing structural integration is meant to do, not only to look at where changes can be made but also how your life-use of your mind/body could be causing or exacerbating discomfort.  After all, you want permanent healing, and that’s what I want for you, too.

To get a holistic view of what’s going on with your body, and get to the root of pain, contact Christopher via his website or simply schedule your Rolfing session with him directly here

Fingers tingle or go numb? May (or may not) be Carpal Tunnel.

Think you have CTS? (Carpal Tunnel)

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) tends to be the go-to self-diagnosis for anyone who’s feeling persistent pain, tingling, or numbness in their fingers. That’s unsurprising when you consider all of the attention on ergonomics, pain from bad computing habits, and so on. A true carpal tunnel syndrome diagnosis is a little more specific because it has to do with the median nerve.

Your median nerve is also called the “laborer’s nerve.” While it’s only one of three main nerves that send and receive information up and down your arms, it’s the main nerve for the front of your forearm. You may assume that because you do a lot of repetitive motion at work, you’re suffering from CTS. While that can be the case, CTS can stem from many causes: oral contraceptives, hypothyroidism, arthritis, diabetes, trauma, obesity, and lipomas.

Median Nerve Compression

What’s happening is that that median nerve is being compressed right at the wrist, causing disease or damage. Think about all the nerves that have to get down to your fingers – all go through the “tunnel” of your wrist (carpal) bones. You’ll notice numbness, pain, and tingling in your fingers and thumbs and think,

“Oh, I must have carpal tunnel syndrome.”

Oddly enough, when I go through the diagnostic process before we dive into a Rolfing treatment program, I discover that all the issues are actually happening in areas not fed by the median nerve, but others.

They’re surprised to learn that the nerve entrapment most people believe to be CTS is actually coming from much further up the arm. It can even be from nerves weaving their way through the collarbone on the way to our necks, the most common place nerves get entrapped.

Right now, so many people have been in unusual work-from-home setups that I’m seeing more nerve compression and muscle issues than I have in a while. Carpal tunnel is a really familiar term to most people, so when I get a call saying, “My CTS is acting up” I’m not immediately going to suggest anything that’s specific to CTS. Because it may or may not be carpal tunnel.

Are you wondering now just what that pins-and-needles or numbness is? Let’s schedule a Rolfing appointment either in Tacoma or Bellevue so we can find the real culprit and get you moving freely again.

What can Rolfing do for a pulled muscle?

pulled muscle relief rolfing

How do your muscles get pulled in the first place? Muscle fibers stretch too far past normal working length, tearing muscle fibers. That causes what we’re most familiar with as a “pulled muscle.” It can be severe enough to keep you from working out like usual for weeks at a time. Let’s talk about recovery and Rolfing – because you definitely want to recover properly to get back to 100%.

How can Rolfing help you recover from pulled muscles?’

Usually, the first thing we want to do is try to stretch it out. The assumption is that we pulled it because it was too short. Here’s where understanding how one part of the body’s musculature and myofascial affect another part is so important.

For example, did you know a pulled hamstring may not have anything to do with your hamstring being short? Yep. It could be that a short quadricep is pulling your pelvis into a front tilt. Because your hamstrings attach to the back of your pelvis, your hamstring is actually being pulled too long! That means the last thing you want to do is stretch your hamstrings. Instead, you need to stretch – or lengthen – your quads.

Other reasons for pulled muscles: Poor habits & dehydration.

You may be thinking, “How could my quads get too short?” It all depends on how you’re using your body, from how you sit to how you work out. If an injury or a bad habit makes your muscles misfire – the sequence is off – then it’s a lot easier to pull a muscle.

Another reason for a pulled muscle is dehydration. You’d be amazed at how much it matters to your muscles that you’re well-hydrated, because there’s simply no elasticity in dehydrated soft tissue. Here, test yourself:

Pinch the skin right behind any knuckle on your hand. Did it flatten out right away? Excellent. Way to keep hydrated. Did it stay pinched for any time at all? You’re dehydrated – drink water now!

Remember, as little as 2% dehydration affects your mental alertness and physical performance. Get into the habit of checking your non-diuretic fluid intake. Caffeinated coffee, sodas, even green tea, causes more frequent urination. If you’re not balancing that out with healthy hydration, you’re placing your muscles – and your mind – at a disadvantage.

We’ll explore all possible reasons for your muscle pain during your initial examination when I evaluate your body mechanics. Our Rolfing sessions together are focused on getting your body – and how you use it – back into balance for the long term. That often means creating new habits and patterns. Let’s get started!

At Horan Rolfing, my goal is to help you move pain-free again. We’ll work together to restore your body’s ease, balance, and strength. Schedule a Rolfing appointment with me in the Tacoma location of Horan Rolfing or in the Bellevue office.

Got a Pain in the Butt? Could be Sciatica.

It’s true – you’d be surprised at the number of Rolfing clients who walk in and point to their butt, complaining of sciatica. My first step is to determine through diagnostics which nerves are causing problems, like if the visceral system is even involved.

Here’s what happens with sciatica. The sciatic nerve (root of sciatica) begins in L4 – S3 (L meaning Lumbar vertebra and S meaning Sacral segments) and goes down the back of your leg, continuing into your feet. If that nerve is “pinched” anywhere along the line, you’ll feel pain. It can cause issues walking, standing, lying down – in fact, sciatic nerve inflammation can be a pretty miserable situation.

Nerves can be tricky.  They talk a lot amongst themselves, sharing irritation. They’re reliable in that you know when something hurts. Yet getting specifics on where the hurt begins isn’t always as obvious. One compressed nerve tells all the connected nerves, then the brain, that things aren’t right. Well, then the brain gets involved and suddenly you feel like lots of areas are inflamed. Say, for instance, your toe hurts. That doesn’t necessarily mean your toe is injured, just that the nerves in your toe feel pain. The origination point could be somewhere way up the line.

I’m 2/3 the way through the series with Mr. Horan and it’s been incredible to see my posture improve and my long-time sciatica go away completely. – M. Fish, Horan Rolfing Client

What happens when you tell me, “I think I have sciatica.”

I’m going to look at the potential sciatic nerve compression points – spinal, muscular and organ. This is why the ability to discover the start of sciatica imageyour discomfort is so important to resolving it. Every potential cause needs assessment. If you have damage to an intervertebral disc in the spine, protrusion into the nerve area can irritate the sciatic nerve. Or say the nerve is perfectly fine in the spine, but then the rectum or the sigmoid colon (both organs that sit right in front of it) compress the nerve causing pain. Then there’s the deeply seated piriformis muscle, a common source of sciatic nerve pain, tingling, or even numbness that runs down the leg or into the foot, as in piriformis syndrome.

As a Certified Rolfer, my aim is to 1) diagnose the actual pain source, and 2) free up the affected structures. Here’s also where balance is so important to the surrounding areas. It may call for evaluation of your movement patterns. It’s common for habits in gait, stance, or sitting to affect our bodies. Exercise routines could be exacerbating an issue. We’ll look at how retraining those habits or adjusting routines could help.

Christopher Horan’s Rolfing therapies help alleviate issues from sciatica. His mission is to help restore freedom of movement without pain. You can schedule a Rolfing appointment with him in Horan Rolfing’s Tacoma or Bellevue office. Sciatic nerve pain relief is only a call away!

Does Rolfing Hurt?

does rolfing hurt christopher horan certified rolfer

No, Rolfing does not hurt you, at least it doesn’t when I do it.  You may have heard that Rolfing® Structural Integration is painful. It doesn’t need to be. Yes, I’m pushing your system so we can help your body change, but the more you relax, focus on what the sensations tell you, the more receptive to change your body will be.

In my experience, results come more productively when I work with your nervous system. I believe that positive body change is more likely to happen that way than if I work tissue while completely disregarding your comfort level.

Rolfing executed too deeply, too fast can cause your system to tense up.

That’s your body’s natural response as it tries to protect itself.  I don’t want to fight against bodily instincts, but to work at a level that keeps you relaxed on the table, working with me.

My clients typically report Rolfing as feeling like a satisfying deep pressure or a really nice deep stretch.

Every session is a little different. There’s a broad spectrum of what you can expect or will feel. For instance, if the pain source is an organ or entrapped nerves, the work feels incredibly gentle. Resistance usually surfaces when we’re trying to change entrenched patterns, like compensating from longtime pain or an injury. Or even correcting bad posture. Tissue “pushes back” vs simply accepting change.

That’s why I encourage communication throughout every Rolfing session.

Everyone has a different level of sensitivity. Is the manipulation too intense? Let me know. I do not take offense at your feedback about your body. Persistence is necessary, but not at the cost of progress or comfort.

It’s true that there are practitioners who tend to work from a “no pain, no gain” perspective. That works for some. Personalities and beliefs differ. All Rolfers go through essentially the same training yet each of us develops our own approach to Rolfing. You’ll want to choose the Certified Rolfer who most aligns with your needs and personality.

At Horan Rolfing, my sole aim is to restore your body’s ease, balance, and strength. To help you move pain-free again. You can schedule a Rolfing appointment with me in the Tacoma location of Horan Rolfing or in the Bellevue office.

Do you have “good posture”? Does it matter?

good posture vs bad posture

How important is good posture to your body, really?  Some people believe that if you don’t have great postural habits, then you’re always going to hurt. Yet there are some people who slouch through life with little to no pain.

What healthy or good posture does is help in our fight against gravity. Here’s how.

The head is heavy. If it’s lined up correctly, your neck and shoulder muscles can work as they should; if not, you get a tight neck, tight shoulders, and eventual pain.

What’s the proper position for healthy posture? Your ears should line up with your mid-shoulder, as viewed from the side. That places your head and torso in proper position to support your head’s weight. Then your neck muscles can perform as designed, stabilizing and mobilizing to let you easily turn your head, nod, etc. That’s “good posture.”

Posture vs Gravity

What happens when your head is out of position, or “turtled” forward?  Tight neck and shoulders, leading to pain.  Those back-of-neck and shoulder muscles weren’t designed for that kind of counterbalance.  When your positioning is off kilter, the muscles are literally fighting gravity all day long.  They over-contract, can’t work as designed, meaning you can’t rotate and extend your head without pain or limited range-of-motion like you should. That’s not “good posture.”

Your posture can tell me a lot about how your body is doing.

I look to see if your posture is “correct” and if not, why?  Postural imbalance and resulting pain could come from a usage imbalance, genetics, a muscle misfire due to an entrapped nerve, or an irritated organ. From a Rolfing Structural Integration (Rolfing SI) standpoint, I know that the most common reason for your bearing to be off is that your body’s compensating for the pain or discomfort these can cause.

Correcting these internal misalignments are what Rolfing is all about. If postural imbalance is causing you discomfort or pain, my focus will be to restore your body’s balance. I’ll review your posture and take you through a diagnostic process to find the true source of the issue, and improve your posture, too!

Christopher Horan’s Rolfing therapies help to restore your body’s ease, balance and strength. You can schedule a Rolfing appointment with him in Horan Rolfing’s Tacoma or Bellevue office. Good posture is only a call away.

Is Knee Pain Taking You Down? Talk to Your Rolfer

knee pain rolfing helps

Did you know that what starts as knee pain can cause pain elsewhere? That’s because if you don’t treat knee pain quickly, your body compensates. “Making up” for the knee, which is a pivotal hinge joint, will send your body off track. Rolfing tackles the cause of your pain for a long-term vs a short-term fix.

Because you need the knee joint for locomotion, if the pain is debilitating, all activity suffers. Sports play, walking, running, even simple actions like rising from a chair or taking the stairs hurt. That one vital joint permits flexion and extension, as well as a slight medial and lateral rotation. In other words, a healthy knee bends and straightens, plus – ever so slightly – rotates. What it’s NOT meant to do is move laterally or to rotate excessively. Our hips and ankles are supposed to handle those types of movements.

“I’ve had limited range of motion in my knee for years and within a few visits he has restored the range to almost 100%.”

– Satisfied Rolfing Client

When you visit either my Tacoma or Bellevue Rolfing practice, we’ll discover the source of your joint pain. I treat a lot of people specifically for knee injury. While some knee problems are from familiar causes, others may surprise you.

  • Lateral knee pain stemming from a too-short IT Band
  • Kneecap tracking issues stemming from overdeveloped lateral quads
  • Meniscus issues (pain behind the kneecap) due to a damaged meniscus or tracking issues
  • Medial pain from to an aggravated nerve that originates in the abdomen or an underdeveloped medial quad VMO (Vastus Medialis Oblique)

6 Questions About Knee Pain

My job as your Rolfer is to not only relieve the painfulness, but also to figure out where it stems from.  To start, I ask myself these questions when I’m examining you:

  1. Is there enough movement at the ankle?
  2. Is there enough movement at the hip?
  3. Is a nerve being aggravated by something going on in the abdomen?
  4. Is there proper balance between the ligaments on the inside of knee vs. the outside?
  5. Does the kneecap track straight and if not, why?
  6. Is there a nerve or artery that is compressed on the back side of the knee?

As a Certified Rolfer treating knee pain, I aim to return balance to the tissues surrounding the joint, plus improve tissue mobility in the hip and ankle. Why are the hip and ankle involved? Because if they function correctly, there’s less strain on the knee to move in a way that it’s not designed to do. 

Keep in mind that as the cause of the imbalance is often nowhere near where it shows up, my goal is to not only free you from the pain, but also to find and treat its origin.  

As a Certified Rolfer, Christopher Horan uses Rolfing to restore your body’s ease, balance and movement. His Puget Sound Rolfing clients come from Tacoma, Puyallup, Newcastle, Gig Harbor, Fircrest and University Place, as well as the Seattle metropolitan and Bellevue areas. Schedule your Rolfing session with Christopher today in either his Tacoma or Bellevue location.

Rolfing: When pain in the neck is more than an expression.

rolfing for neck pain

We’ve all experienced it. The pain in our neck that isn’t going away. With Rolfing, the first step is to find out what’s causing the neck pain. Is it whiplash? TMJ? Or is it coming from some area of the body that you’d never guess would make your neck hurt? Let’s find out.

When I’m working on a source diagnosis for where the pain is originating, I’m typically looking for an imbalance. Keep in mind that pain from an imbalance can be from any number of issues:

  • Musculoskeletal
  • Pinched or trapped nerve
  • Abdominal organ that shares a common nerve with one in your neck (it happens)

I know. Sometimes it’s as if you just opened your eyes one morning, went to jump out of bed, and suddenly, “Owwwww!” My role is to (1) find the source of that OW and (2) get your body in the best position to heal itself so the hurt goes away.

When you come to me, don’t be surprised if I watch you walk, look at the different ways you move your body, or interview you on recent exercises or home activities. I use all kinds of diagnostic methods to discover the imbalance. All of it is to determine where the neck pain starts, not just to treat where the symptoms show up.

Getting Rid of Neck Pain

Re-educating Your Body

The important thing to remember is that we’re not going for a temporary fix. Yes, I want the pain in your neck to go away – as soon as possible. But I also want to know how we can keep it from coming back. That’s the other thing the source helps tell us. Imbalance can be because of some nutritional issue, everyday movement that needs to be corrected, or because you’re unconsciously compensating for an old injury.

Your health history – that includes exercise, athletics, work and play, too – feeds into a roadmap. The roadmap provides guidance on what you can do to help keep the neck pain from returning. Together we’ll teach your body, re-educate it, on how to keep you moving freely and without discomfort.

Christopher Horan’s Rolfing practice helps clients find freedom of movement, without pain. He uses Rolfing to treat neck pain, sciatica, back pain, TMJ, athletic injuries, as well as to improve posture and gait. Schedule your Rolfing session with Christopher today for either his greater Tacoma or Bellevue location.

Back Pain and Rolfing = Problem and Solution

back pain problem rolfing solution

Did you know that the NIH says ~80% of us experience back pain? In fact, it’s the top reason that people contact my Tacoma Rolfing® practice. The good news for you is that whether it’s debilitating or an ongoing discomfort, generally back pain is fixable, and often without surgery.

The trick to treating back pain effectively is in knowing how to find the pain before just diving in. Knowing “Where’s does it hurt?” doesn’t necessarily mean knowing the source, but it’s always a clue. Did you know that even a simple stubbed toe can throw off your gait enough to cause your lower back to hurt? That’s why it’s important to know where the back pain originates, and there are lots of possibilities. To name a few:

  • Sedentary lifestyle, aka sitting too much
  • Pinched nerves from a herniated disk
  • Lack of core strength
  • Off-balance gait or walk, a limp
  • Injury from a workplace or car accident

Luckily, all of the above (and more) causes of back pain typically respond really well to Rolfing.

What’s different about how I, as a Certified Rolfer©, treat back pain?

To begin with, I look at the whole you. Like I mention above, the thing that’s making your back hurt may not originate where you think it does. That’s where the initial assessment comes in. I’ll take you through a short process that lets me examine your alignment, how you move and how you stand.

Each client is unique, so how we move forward will be unique, too. Say that I determine part of your back pain comes from lack of core strength. Part of your treatment regimen may include simple core exercises. But if it looks like your case is more complex or severe, you may need to see a physical therapist, too. I know several practitioners in the greater Tacoma area (Seattle metro, too) and can refer you.

Back pain doesn’t just hurt, which is bad enough, it also limits your movement. That’s packs a double whammy to any lifestyle. Because I’ve been a Certified Rolfer for more than a decade, I know just how all the muscles, fascia tissue and nerves need to work together.

Using Rolfing and corresponding deep touch body work, I can help free spasming nerves, loosening the tissue that locks you up movement-wise. I’ll get to the root of the pain and help correct what’s causing it. Because ultimately, the goal is to get you moving well again, free from back pain.  

Christopher Horan is a Certified Rolfer practicing in the greater Tacoma, Washington area. His Puget Sound Rolfing clients come from Tacoma, Puyallup, Newcastle, Gig Harbor, Fircrest and University Place, as well as the Seattle metropolitan and Bellevue areas. You can schedule your appointment here.