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HOW BIOMIMETICS HELP YOUR BODY

HOW BIOMIMETICS HELP YOUR BODY

What is Biomimetics?

Biomimetics offers an empathetic, interconnected understanding of how life works and ultimately where we fit in. It is a practice that learns from and mimics the strategies used by species alive today. The goal is to create products, processes, and policies — new ways of living — that solve our greatest design challenges sustainably and in solidarity with all life on earth. We can use biomimetics (often referred to as biomimic), to not only learn from nature’s wisdom, but also heal ourselves — and this planet — in the process.

Biomimetics Brings Relief To The Body

We’re stressed. Our planet is stressed. Many are losing hope for solving the climate crisis and its many negative effects on ecosystems across the world. Biomimicry gives us hope, because we know the solutions for our greatest challenges are here, accessible, and validated by the many species still alive today. By using nature as our mentor, we get to experience the powerful healing effects it has by connecting to the natural world — while also finding empowering relief to solve these challenges together.

The 3 Essentials Elements of Biomimicry

When translating nature’s strategies into design, the science of the practice involves three essential elements: Emulate, Ethos, and (Re)Connect. These three components are infused in every aspect of biomimicry and represent these core values at its essence (Biomimicry Institute).

  • Emulate: The scientific, research-based practice of learning from and then replicating nature’s forms, processes, and ecosystems to create more regenerative designs.
  • Ethos: The philosophy of understanding how life works and creating designs that continuously support and create conditions conducive to life.
  • (Re)Connect: The concept that we are nature and find value in connecting to our place on Earth as part of life’s interconnected systems. (Re)Connect as a practice encourages us to observe and spend time in nature to understand how life works so that we may have a better ethos to emulate biological strategies in our designs.
The word biomimicry was coined by Janine Benyus many years ago (1997) when she came out with her book Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature.  Her book is a collection of stories describing the work of scientists, engineers, and inventors who were translating their fascinating observations of functional strategies found in biology into innovative technologies.  Before this book came out, this inspired-by-Nature approach to invention and innovation was referred to with terms like bionicsbio-engineering, or biomimetics.  Benyus recognized that these terms might feel too technical and off-putting for her readers (mostly people interested in Nature), so she came up with the term ‘biomimicry’, which she felt was more approachable. Biomimicry for Creative Innovation,
 

 

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HOW FEET AFFECT THE BRAIN

HOW FEET AFFECT THE BRAIN

Agile feet can help to improve one's balance, posture, gait, and movement overall. However, feet do not function independently of the body or brain. In fact, extensive research points to a definitive foot-brain connection, which is so dynamic that when activated, it allows us to move with calm, certainty, and security.

If you wonder why you have brain fog, depression, worsening memory, or slow thinking, the clues may lie in your feet — your foot health can tell you whether your brain is receiving enough oxygen.  Poor circulation to the feet creates myriad symptoms that signal circulation in the brain may also be poor, depriving your brain of oxygen, nutrients, and function. Troublesome symptoms aren’t the only bad part of poor brain circulation. Insufficient oxygen to the brain speeds up brain aging and raises your risk of vascular dementia, and it is the second most common type of dementia after Alzheimer’s. Check out these common signs to watch for below:

  • Got cold feet? Your brain could be oxygen-deprived: Got cold toes and feet? If you have chronically cold feet, you may want to investigate whether your brain is getting enough oxygen and nutrients from sufficient circulation. Have someone check if your feet and toes are colder than your ankles or calves. If so, your feet are not getting enough circulation, and your brain may not be either. Cold fingers and a cold nose are other symptoms.
  • Chronic fungal growth in toenails: If you have chronic fungal nail infections or chronic athlete’s foot, this can mean poor circulation is depriving your feet of enough oxygen, nutrients, and immune cells to ward off infection. This makes the feet and toenails more prone to fungal infections and fighting them a losing battle.
  • Poor capillary refill time and white toenail beds: Are the nail beds of your toes a healthy pink or a pale white? If circulation is poor, the nail beds are more white than pink. Another test is to press down on a nail bed and observe how quickly the color returns.  The pink color should return instantly. If it takes a few seconds this indicates poor blood flow to the feet and most likely the brain as well.
  • Cramping in the feet: When circulation to the feet is poor, it’s common to experience foot cramps that are difficult to relieve. The feet cramp due to lack of blood and oxygen to power the muscles. You may also experience cramps in your hands, such as when writing or typing. Both are signs circulation to the brain may be poor.
  • Poor brain circulation: If you think poor brain circulation may be a culprit in your brain fog, memory loss, depression, or slow thinking, it’s important to figure out why your circulation is low. Investigate health condition that cause poor blood flow and lack of oxygenation, such as hypothyroidism, anemia, a heart condition, diabetes, low blood pressure, smoking, or an overly sedentary lifestyle. Normal blood pressure is 120/80. If the top or bottom number is 10 or more points below, that means the pressure is not high enough to push blood into the furthest ends of the body. Low blood pressure is typically accompanied by low blood sugar and adrenal fatigue. In addition to addressing root causes, one way to boost blood flow to the brain is through bursts of high intensity exercise, even if it’s just for a few minutes.

The Foot Brain Connection

The  importance of healthy feet is often undervalued.  In fact, the health of one’s feet is often either neglected or abused.  Constrictive or ill-shaped shoe wear, like high heels, can often lead to foot dysfunction. However, feet do not function independently of the body or brain.  In fact, extensive research points to a definitive foot-brain connection, which is so dynamic that when activated, it allows us to move with calm, certainty, and security.  

Fascia, tendons, and ligaments are ionically charged and receive sensory information providing feedback to the brain which enables us to move with skill.   There are:

  • Over 7000 nerve endings in the sole of the foot
  • 26 bones in each foot that work with intrinsic muscles to provide a static or dynamic balance
  • 250,000 sweat glands that can produce 4-6oz. of perspiration a day in active feet
  • 33 joints, and over 100 muscles, ligaments, and tendons  

All of these components, contribute information for sensorimotor control.  Everything must work synergistically to provide postural stability, balance, grip strength, shock absorption, and mobility for quiet standing, gait, and dynamic movement (The Functional Neurology Center).

How to Restore blood flow to your feet and your brain

This foot-brain connection empowers us to move in space.  Feeling our stability we gain confidence for more unbounded action and movement patterns, without it our mobility becomes restricted and diminished.  Therefore, maintaining foot health, and avoiding injuries from overuse are vital to fluid movement and optimal performance. 

Along with exercise, wearing appropriate footwear can help improve balance, especially in older people who may struggle with mobility and balance issues. This is a 24 hour / 7 day rule, whether out running errands or at home cooking dinner. The right footwear can support and strengthen your foot and arch, in turn enhancing overall balance and mobility. 

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WHY DO MY HIPS HURT? THE ANSWER MAY SURPRISE YOU.

WHY DO MY HIPS HURT?  THE ANSWER MAY SURPRISE YOU.

The Hip Joint is a Big Deal!

The Importance of the Hip Joint to the Human Body is much the same as the Importance of the "Grand Central Terminal" to the City of New York. You may have heard the term "Everything flows through the hips" - and it is said for good reason!

Major nerves and arteries extending into the lower body pass through the hips, and pinch points for these major nerves are often found in the lower back or the hip. Pinched nerves can happen for many reasons, but soft tissue inflammation due to muscle imbalance, gait issues, and/or overcompensation is one of the major causes.

Hip Pain: Causes and Treatment

The hip joint can withstand repeated motion and a fair amount of wear and tear. This ball-and-socket joint--the body's largest-- fits together in a way that allows for fluid movement.

Whenever you use the hip (for example, by going for a run), a cushion of cartilage helps prevent friction as the hip bone moves in its socket.

Despite its durability, the hip joint isn't indestructible. With age and use, the cartilage can wear down or become damaged. Muscles and tendons in the hip can get overused. Bones in the hip can break during a fall or other injury. Any of these conditions can lead to hip pain. 

If your hips are sore, here is a rundown of what might be causing your discomfort and how to get hip pain relief.

  • Arthritis.Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are among the most common causes of hip pain, especially in older adults. Arthritis leads to inflammation of the hip joint and the breakdown of the cartilage that cushions your hip bones. The pain gradually gets worse. People with arthritis also feel stiffness and have reduced range of motion in the hip. Learn more about hip osteoarthritis.
  • Hip fractures. With age, the bones can become weak and brittle. Weakened bones are more likely to break during a fall.
  • Bursitis. Bursae are sacs of liquid found between tissues such as bone, muscles, and tendons. They ease the friction from these tissues rubbing together. When bursae get inflamed, they can cause pain. Inflammation of bursae is usually due to repetitive activities that overwork or irritate the hip joint. Learn more about bursitis of the hip.
  • Tendinitis. Tendons are the thick bands of tissue that attach bones to muscles. Tendinitis is inflammation or irritation of the tendons. It's usually caused by repetitive stress from overuse. Learn more about tendinitis symptoms.
  • Muscle or tendon strain. Repeated activities can put strain on the muscles, tendons, and ligaments that support the hips. When they become inflamed due to overuse, they can cause pain and prevent the hip from working normally.
  • Misalignment of Lower Body - Be Aware of Your Posture.  A key factor for preventing hip pain is maintaining good posture throughout the day. Your ears, shoulders, hips, and ankles should make a straight line. Having proper alignment goes beyond maintaining a good posture — it can also help prevent long-term pain. Misalignment may impair your range of motion, and severe issues can affect your quality of life (Healthline).  Observing your profile picture will tell you if you are letting your head, shoulders, and hips lean forward. This misalignment is the foundation of many health problems including hip pain.

Hip Pain Relief

If your hip pain is caused by a muscle or tendon strain, osteoarthritis, or tendinitis, you can usually relieve it with an over-the-counter pain medication such as acetaminophen or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug such as ibuprofen.

Rheumatoid arthritis treatments also include prescription anti-inflammatory medications such as corticosteroids, disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) like methotrexate and sulfasalazine, and biologics, which target the immune system.

If you have arthritis, exercising the hip joint with low-impact exercises, stretching, and resistance training can reduce pain and improve joint mobility. For example, swimming is a good non-impact exercise for arthritis. Physical therapy can also help increase your range of motion.

There is another crucial variable that most people don’t take into account when considering how best to achieve proper alignment and posture in turn relieving Hip pain.  That is the footwear and arch support that your foot receives.  When your feet and arches are supported properly than the rest of your body will be in a better position to be properly aligned and in turn achieving lower body alignment.

Most shoes do not provide proper arch support, and most insoles provide what we like to refer to as static support vs. Dynamic.  By static, we mean there is no fluid support through the gait cycle in support of the arch.  Static support is primarily the type of support that all orthotic insoles provide, whether they are custom or over-the-counter.  To be able to provide Dynamic Arch support would mean providing support underneath the arch throughout the gait cycle, and effectively maintaining alignment throughout the gait cycle.   

There is now such an insole called SelectFlex that provides the Dynamic Arch Support. SelectFlex is an entirely new type of dynamic energy returning insole that just won the ISHN Best Protective Footwear category for 2020.  SelectFlex insoles use a patented energy returning arch lifting technology called the PowerLift Arch.  The PowerLift Arch provides the wearer with 3 energy return levels to support the arch with dynamic alignment with every step.  A byproduct of proper alignment will be good posture. 

  

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