Relax at Tranquility

The journey towards beauty, health & wellness begins at Tranquility.

Happy 13th Birthday Tranquility! September 5, 2013

Happy Birthday Tranquility! 13 years of growth from a one-woman show to a house of many! On September 5, 2000, Beverly Miller, Esthetician, opened the doors to Tranquility Skin & Body Care at the Stone House in downtown St. Charles, IL.  “I was everyone- receptionist, esthetician and cleaning lady,” stated Beverly.  By 2003, Tranquility moved into a larger space to accommodate the growing staff  of another esthetician, a nail tech and a general manager/business partner, Loreta Lescelius.

Now known as Tranquility Spa and Wellness Center, Beverly’s vision has continued to expand into the present 4000 square-foot space at 113 N. Second Avenue, St. Charles, IL, adding an infrared sauna & steam shower, yoga sanctuary, and multiple treatment rooms.  No longer “just a spa”, Tranquility has blossomed into a haven for beauty, health and wellness.

113 N 2nd Ave

Tranquility was built on Beverly’s principle that, “Taking care of the skin is a lifelong commitment.  It’s taking care of the skin and aging gracefully… It’s about health and wellness.”  Relax at Tranquility with services including:

Tranquility logoSpa Servicesrelaxation

Skin Care & Waxing

Massage Therapy

Natural Nail Care

Eye Lash Extensions

Infrared Sauna & Steam

Tranquility logoWellness Serviceshealing

Chiropractic Care

Natural Medicine


Yoga Therapy & Classes


Energy Healing

Tranquility logoAdditional Servicessupport

Permanent Make-up

Sound Healing & Meditation

Wellness Workshops

As a THANK YOU to all the supportive and loyal patrons, Tranquility is offering a 13% discount on select products each month for the entire year!  During September all Anti-Aging products and serums are 13% off.  “Like” Tranquility Spa & Wellness Center on Facebook to find out about upcoming sales, promotions, events and for knowledge & inspiration.

Here’s to another 13 years and beyond!

Health & Happiness,

Dr. Emily Loveland, DC



The Perpetual Patient…. is this you? June 18, 2013

Join the Perpetual Patient Program
By Dr. Jeffery Scott Sullender
It starts so innocently, so easily, you hardly noticed. You’ve been stressed lately and getting to bed later than normal with all the things on your “To-Do” list. You tell yourself: “It’s only temporary”, but with your recent reliance on pre-prepared and fast foods, you’ve been experiencing some stomach upset, a little gas and burping, even occasional burning. Your physician quickly diagnoses GERD and you receive a prescription for a proton-pump inhibitor to reduce your stomach acid. It seems to work for awhile.
Life is still “crazy-busy” and months later you notice you are unusually tired. After some blood work, your physician informs you that you are anemic again and prescribes an iron supplement. But almost immediately upon taking the iron you find yourself constipated and really uncomfortable so your physician prescribes a stool softener to offset the constipating effects of the iron.
The Next Stage
A couple of years go by and you begin to experience heart palpitations, leg cramps and more irritability than normal. Your physician refers you to the cardiologist and after 30 days on a Holter monitor and some blood work, you are told no “organic” cause for your palpitations was found. However, your cholesterol is “up” a bit and you receive a prescription for both a calcium-channel blocker for the heart irregularities and a statin to lower your cholesterol. With your palpitations abated and your cholesterol 20 points lower, your physician is pleased with your treatment. But the stress in your life hasn’t diminished with all the changes at work and the divorce. At your next annual physical, you mention that you are having difficultly sleeping. “If I could just sleep!” you say and you receive a prescription for a sleep medication. Two weeks later, your physician’s office calls saying that your bone scan shows the early stages of osteoporosis. Fortunately, it was detected early and you receive a prescription for a bisphosphonate to “slow the bone loss”.
Although you fill the prescription, you find yourself increasingly concerned about your persistent fatigue, forgetfulness, and periodic brain-fog. Feeling a little “down” about it you mention it to your closest friends, who quickly reassure you its all “normal” and just “part of getting older!” After sharing these concerns with your physician, you receive a prescription for an SSRI to deal with what is now diagnosed as “depression”. Now you have a handful of medications to swallow each day and you still don’t feel “well”. But, you are too busy to figure it all out and your physician is not particularly concerned, since this is all “normal for your age”. Twenty years later, you are diagnosed with dementia.
The Slippery Slope
Now let’s keep track. You started with being stressed, over-tired, eating poorly and the resulting effects on your digestion. Your physician prescribed one of those ever-popular “acid-blockers”, (Rx #1). By impairing the production of stomach acid necessary for the ionization and absorption of essential minerals, including iron, the anemia you had previously corrected, returned. The iron supplement your physician prescribed was unfortunately a poorly absorbed inorganic form, such as iron sulfate, (Rx #2), which gave you constipation.
While the stool softener helped your bowels, you remain tired and prone to brain fog as your iron stores remained low. After years of silent mineral-malabsorption from these two drugs, your tissue stores of magnesium became depleted, resulting in muscle spasms, irregularities in heart rate, increased fatigue, irritability, easily-aroused anger and other signs of low magnesium. The cardiologist prescribed a calcium-channel blocker, (Rx #4), to deal with the cardiac symptoms and a statin drug, (Rx #5), to reduce your body’s production of cholesterol. You were not told to take Co-enzyme Q10 to offset the inevitable negative impact of the statin drug on mitochondrial function.
Your fatigue, moodiness and irritability continued. You received a prescription to help your sleep, (Rx #6), and a bisphosphonate drug, (Rx #7) to “help your osteoporosis” which resulted from the severe demineralization. Your physician didn’t check your magnesium level properly, so you were then prescribed an SSRI to treat “your depression”, (Rx #8). After years of relying on fast foods laced with aspartame, MSG and other excitotoxins, the signs of dementia eventually began to appear. At this stage “aggressive treatment” was recommended and two drugs were prescribed to help offset the cognitive decline, (Rx #9 and #10). What a way to begin your retirement.
You Joined!
Like millions of Americans, you joined the Perpetual Patient Program. There were no application forms to complete, no minimum age requirements and you didn’t even have to be of “legal age” to take part. All you needed was a symptom, a diagnosis and a desire for a quick fix. It is a program borne of the unrealistic desire to live out of sync with our biology and genetic predispositions and simultaneously silence the expression of the consequences.
It is the ultimate “buy now and pay later” program, where you pay nothing up front but it will cost you everything in the end! It is the “default” outcome when we fail to listen to our biology and address causes rather than treat symptoms.
Sources for this article include:
About the Author:
Jeffery Scott, PhD, CCN is a author, researcher and health educator. He is author of “Mind Myths” and “Wisdom from Machu Picchu: 3 Words to Change Your Life” published by
How can Tranquility Spa & Wellness Help?
Tranquility has a variety of practitioners to educate, guide and support you through your Wellness journey.  Find the one, two or many that work for you to get well, stay well and be well!
Dr. Kalli Prater,Chiropractic Internist, specializes in internal disorders from seasonal allergies, hormone imbalances, infertility to auto-immune diseases.  She offers laboratory testing, gynecological exams and the opportunity to heal through nutrition.
Dr. Susan Sterling, Acupuncturist, utilizes Traditional Chinese Medicine to allow the body to heal naturally.
Dr. Emily Loveland, Chiropractic Physician, focuses on the outer body helping patients manage and overcome musculoskeletal pain through chiropractic care, massage therapy and acupuncture.
Kelly Brubaker, Holistic Nutritionist and Wellness Coach.  Kelly helps patients “Make Wellness Their Reality” by making new habits, eating for health, incorporating Green Smoothies and offering ongoing support to achieve your goals.
Sally Strosahl is a licensed clinical professional counselor providing individual, couple and family therapy with a compassionate, spiritually based approach.
Donna Burg, Yoga Therapist.  Donna brings movement, flexibility and mindfulness back into our lives through class work  and individual yoga sessions.
Call Tranquility Spa & Wellness center at 630-762-9864 to schedule.  Your journey toward beauty, health and wellness begins at Tranquility.

Dealing with Foot Pain? June 12, 2013

Filed under: Acupuncture,Chiropractic,Healing,Massage/Reiki,Yoga Therapy — relaxattranquility @ 2:02 pm
Tags: , ,

The foot is a complex mechanical genius, with 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments and 19 muscles and tendons. Our feet are our trusty servants, providing a foundation upon which to “take a stand” and move forward in life.

But most of us tend to take our feet for granted, and rarely give them the time of day — until they hurt, that is. And hurt they will, if neglected. According to a report issued earlier this year by Harvard Health Publications, there are at least 300 different types of foot problems, and three out of four Americans will suffer some kind of foot ailment in their life.

Feet hurt for many reasons, from poor alignment, weakness and fatigue to injury and disease.

foot injuries


The only way to definitively identify a soft-tissue injury in the foot — or anywhere else in the body — is to get evaluated. Only then can you determine what type of treatment(s) might be useful, for example massage, friction therapy, Chiropractic manipulation, acupuncture or if more invasive therapies are needed like injections or surgery.  Many diseases, including Raynaud’s, congestive heart failure, pulmonary hypertension, and gonorrhea can cause swollen, painful feet. For sore feet that are not associated with a serious injury or disease condition, a combination of basic self-care and targeted reflexology techniques can often provide great relief.  As a rule of thumb you should always try conservative treatments first, before medications, injections or surgeries.

Contact Dr. Emily Loveland DC at Tranquility Spa & Wellness Center for an evaluation, conservative treatments or custom orthotics from The Orthotic Group.

Self-Care Routine for Aching Feet

Many people have reduced or completely eliminated their foot pain by following a dedicated self-care routine. Below are some key actions that get results.

First of all, rest. Stop doing whatever it is that aggravates your pain. If a certain pair of shoes causes you pain, stop wearing them. If daily runs on pavement end in pain, find another way to exercise. Listen to your body’s cues and discontinue any activity that interferes with the healing process.

You should also consider ice massage. This is a simple way to reduce inflammation. Fill a small paper cup with water and freeze it. Gently move the cup over and around the injured area, stopping when the tissue begins to feel numb. Keep the motion constant, so you’re not holding the cup stationary in any one spot.

foot injuries

You might also try stretching. Start by stretching your toes. Bring all your toes into extension and then grasp one toe and stretch it slowly into full extension for a moment or two. Do this with each toe four or five times. Next, take each toe and bring it into flexion all the way. Then grasp two toes at a time and gently stretch them apart for a few seconds. Repeat with all the toes. Then go on to stretch all the joints in the foot and ankle, the muscles of the lower legs, the hamstrings and the quadriceps. Use a towel, rope or stretching strap if you need to.

Roll the arch of your foot on a golf ball.  Best to perform while seated to avoid using to much pressure or falling (you don’t want to create more injury!).

Another important step is strengthening. To strengthen the muscles of your foot, toss a dozen large marbles on the floor, sit in a chair, and pick up a marble with your toes. Then cross that leg over the other, tailor-fashion, and remove the marble. Repeat until you have picked up all the marbles and then switch to your other foot and pick up all the marbles again.

It is also important to develop better footwear habits. Many of our foot-related woes are caused, either directly or indirectly, by the shoes we wear. Consider taking some of the these simple steps:

  • Change your shoes throughout the day, so as not to tire individual muscles; call on a variety of muscles to share the load.
  • Explore alternatives to high heels. These shoes do more damage to the body than we have time to discuss in this article. If you wear them frequently, they may well be the primary cause of your foot pain.
  • Replace your shoes when they begin to deteriorate and the sole or heel becomes uneven. This is particularly important for athletic shoes.
  • Always wear supportive and cushioned shoes on ceramic, concrete or wood floors or when going on long walks or running.  This includes middle-of-the-night jaunts to the bathroom.  Adult feet may require custom orthotics for arch support or to correct imbalances to counteract years of gravitational force.
  • Look into purchasing Yoga/Pilates sandals to wear around the house. They spread and lengthen the toes.

If you live near a beach and take barefoot walks, you can invite the muscles of your feet to strengthen in a healthy, natural way. Walking or gently running on sand is excellent for the health of your feet. You can also establish morning and evening routines for your foot health. Before getting out of bed in the morning, remember to stretch and massage your feet. Then, when you’re relaxing in the evening, try a combination of the following:

  • Spread your toes. Foam pedicure separators or gel toe separators do the trick.
  • Roll your foot on a footsie roller or golf ball. This will elongate and stretch the tissue on the plantar surface.
  • Soak your feet in warm water and ¼ cup of sea salt or Epsom salts, and then give yourself a short reflexology session (as described below) before going to bed.

Evening Reflexology Protocol

Reflexology is a non-invasive complementary modality involving the use of alternating pressure applied to reflexes in the feet. Reflexology reduces tension in the muscle tissue and improves circulation of the blood, lymph and neurons, resulting in reduced pain and better functioning.

Following your foot soak, fully extend, flex and separate your toes. Take each stretch as far as you can. Roll your foot and ankle in clockwise and counter clockwise circles. Range-of-motion exercises will increase blood flow to the feet, loosen up the joints and relax the connective tissue.

Use a knuckle to “walk” the bottom surface of the heel. Stop on any sensitive points and apply slow micro-friction to break up adhesions of excess nerve and/or scar tissue that has been laid down in response to trauma.

Use your thumb to apply rhythmical, alternating pressure to the remaining bottom surface of the foot. Imagine your thumb as a little inchworm, taking small “steps” over the entire surface of the foot. Stop on sensitive points and apply micro-friction.

Use your fingers to walk the top side of the foot and work on any points that get your attention.

Finish with ice massage, followed by massage with a natural moisturizer, like coconut oil or Glysolid (available at Tranquility).  For a treat add organic essential oils that have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. (Examples include German chamomile, peppermint, ravintsara, helichrysum, and lavender.)

Drink some water, turn off the light and go to sleep! Remember to wear footwear with arch support if you get up in the middle of the night and stretch your feet and calves before rising in the morning.

Remember, when you treat your feet well, they tend to return the favor.

This article was reprinted from



10 Tips for Daily Detox May 30, 2013


1. Be a green machine: Dark leafy greens are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. They’re anti-inflammatory and great for detox and help keep our immune system strong. They’re also high in good dietary fiber, which is great for increasing elimination! Try kale, arugula, romaine, Swiss chard, collard greens and spinach in salads, lightly steamed, or in a green smoothie.kale

If you’re thinking “yuck,” hold your tongue. Just because something is green doesn’t mean it has to taste bad! The green smoothie revolution is upon us, and if you haven’t tried one yet, it’s time to bust out your high-speed blender. Start with 2 cups of pure filtered water. Add to it a cup of your favorite fruit (I always include a banana for creaminess but pear, peach, mango, blueberries — they’re all great!) and a big handful of your favorite leafy greens (romaine, spinach, kale, etc). Blend until smooth and well combined. Sip and enjoy slowly. Need help with Nutritional Choices? Ask Kelly Brubaker, Tranquility Wellness Coach.

2. Sip warm lemon water: Upon waking, turn on your teakettle and boil a fresh pot of pure filtered water. Take a quart size mason jar and add to it the juice of half a lemon. Drinking warm lemon water will gently wake up your digestive and lymphatic systems, which helps remove toxins from the body. It also helps to cleanse and detox the liver, giving you more energy, balancing hormones and improving digestion and elimination.

3. Beware of the food demons: Minimize sugar, processed foods, gluten and dairy. I know this can sound scary. You might be thinking, “if I don’t eat fill in the blank (cheese, crackers, bread, pasta, wine), what will I eat?” Take one item at a time and focus on what you can add to your diet in place of these items. Try hummus with celery instead of cheese. Use a Swiss chard leaf and make a wrap instead of a tortilla. Baby steps. The food demons will without a doubt clog and slow your system down. If you don’t believe me, just try it out for yourself for 2 weeks and let your body be the judge.

4. Follow the 80:20 rule of conscious eating: Eat well at a minimum 80% of the time and allow yourself to go wild 20% of the time. This can be a genuinely freeing concept if you really take it on. When you follow a healthful eating routine 80% of the time, your body will run like a well-oiled machine. And a well-oiled machine can much more easily process that 20% — you’ll find that your body won’t slow down the way it used to. As an added bonus, when you do “indulge,” you’ll find a new appreciation for your old favorite comfort foods. Eating a decadent meal or snack won’t carry guilt anymore, which is also less toxic on your system.

5. Drink half your body weight in ounces daily: Water, water, water. Our cleanse participants hear us say this ad nauseum. It’s our answer to everything. If you’re reading this, you more than likely you know that your body is made up of 80% water. And it needs water — lots of it — to move toxins out of the body, to function and to thrive. We like to say that our secret weapon is actually that we drink close to our body weight in ounces. And a general rule is that more is better. Another good measure: if you’re not peeing at least 10 times per day, keep the water flowing!

6Get your heart rate up. Break a sweat: The body thrives on movement. In fact, experts say that the body heals (detoxing is a form of healing) 8 times faster with regular exercise. It’s so important for our overall mental and emotional health, and as an additional bonus, sweat is the fastest and easiest way to release toxins.

7. Take a hot Epsom salt bath: One of the most simple, easy and inexpensive ways to kick up your body’s natural detoxification system is to run the bath water as hot as you can get it, sprinkle in 2 cups of Epsom salts, and add a few drops of lavender oil if you have it, you can also use the LifeStinks Soaks to dechlorinate your bath water (available at Tranquility). Dim the lights, fire up some candles, put on some relaxing music, and soak for at least 20-30 minutes. The warm water will open up your pores and the Epsom salts will pull toxins right out of your body.

8. Eliminate allergens: 90% of Americans suffer from allergies or sensitivities and 9 out of 10 of those people have no clue that what is causing their symptoms can be linked to the food they are eating! Alarming health challenges like stubborn weight loss, weight gain, mood disorders, irritability, depression, headaches, migraines, eczema, acne, joint and muscle pain, brain fog, asthma, bad breath, diarrhea, constipation … the list goes on and on. Doing a cleanse can help you identify your allergies, but what’s important is that you learn to recognize the signals your body is sending to you as potentially connected to a food sensitivity. Allergens cause inflammation, which can cause us to be puffy. If you want to de-puff, be diligent about keeping these sneaky little suckers off your plate and out of your body.  If you suspect a food sensitivity contact Tranquility Natural Medicine practitioner Dr. Kalli Prater DC.

9. Practice easy-in-easy-out food combining: Food combining is a big topic and not an exact science. What we do know is that upwards of 80% of our body’s energy goes toward digestion in any given meal. We also know is that waste equals weight. To keep the good cleanse vibe flowing, eat in simple yet specific food combinations so that your body has to do less work and so that it can take out the trash more easily (poop!). Meat and potatoes, eggs and bacon, chicken and rice, fruit for dessert — these are all food combining nightmares, making your body do overtime. Make vegetables the center of your food universe and add in either a protein or a grain. Eat fruit on an empty stomach (unless it’s blended). Remember, digestion should happen in the background of life. If your stomach (think gas, bloating, heartburn, etc) is talking to you, re-think your food combinations.

10. Keep Soul Food balanced: Soul Food is what we call the other areas of our life that feed and nourish us. It’s things like having a fulfilling career, a regular spiritual practice, healthy relationships and regular physical activity. You could be eating all the kale and quinoa in the world but if any area of your Soul Food is off balance, you won’t feel as vibrant as possible. Balance is a daily practice. Soul Food is no different. Do one small thing every day that nourishes your soul! Check out Tranquility Yoga and Workshops.

by Jo Schaalman and Julie Peláez


Safe Travels, Healthy Tummy March 25, 2013

Beautiful beaches.  World-class cities. Rustic retreats.  Travel takes us beyond our everyday experiences, and that’s a wonderful thing-except when the result is an upset stomach.  Stomach woes can affect travelers due to changes in climate, stress level, altitude, diet and exercise.  Maintaining a healthy, stable diet can be a major challenge when you’re away from home.  Sometimes fast food is the most convenient option, making it appealing to the busy traveler.  And many of us eat richer foods when we’re dining out.  Trying new foods, eating at irregular times, drinking less water, and eating less fiber can also contribute to constipation and other tummy trouble.  Even if you are bound for a relaxing vacation. The logistics of getting there and back can be stressful, which doesn’t do your digestive system any favors.
Here are some travel tips for a healthy tummy from the Tranquility Staff:
stomach health
  • “Stay hydrated” – We hear this often from our nutritionist, Kelly Brubaker.  Drink extra water to keep the digestive system moving, and steer of alcohol at least the day before significant travel.  Bring a BPA-free bottle and refill it at the airport.  Sip throughout your journey, especially if you’re flying; the air at 30,000-plus feet is dehydrating. Take an herbal tea break.
  • Pack healthy – Pack simple snacks for easy access to something healthy when you’re hungry,  Small bags of nuts and dried fruit.
  • Eat smart – Eat 3 meals a day and two snacks a day instead of grazing nonstop.  “Be aware that if you eat smaller portions overall, the fat, calories, sodium, sugar, and potential for digestive upset goes down too.”  Once you arrive, include fresh fruits and vegetable in your meals which contain water, fiber, and nutrients.  Bring along some ginger chews/candies for nausea, upset stomach, or motion sickness.
  • “Get moving” – One of Beverly Millers (Esthetician and owner of Tranquility), favorite quotes!  After sitting for hours en route, take a brisk walk around the block for 15 minutes or more.  Your breathing will open up your circulation, delivering oxygen to your cells and gut.  The gentle twisting of the trunk that occurs with walking also wakes up the digestive tract by giving it an internal massage.
  • “Take a deep breath” – We hear this often from Donna Burg, ( Yoga instructor at Tranquility).  Meditation or deep-breathing may stave off or alleviate digestive discomfort,  The gut is a regional immune system in the body and it’s also sometimes called the ‘second brain’.  According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, (ask our acupuncturist, Dr Susan Sterling), emotions are tried to the digestive organs, so worry, anxiety and stress can aggravate it.  Even a few minutes of deep breathing in a quiet space is beneficial.
  • “Heal your gut” – Words of wisdom from Dr Emily Loveland, everyone’s favorite Chiropractor!  Enzymes and Probiotics – Enzymes help break food down into smaller particles so we can assimilate nutrients.  They also encourage healthy elimination, as do probiotics, which maintain healthy bacteria in the gut and can alleviate gas, bloating, and constipation.  Tranquility sells the highest quality physician grade probiotics and digestive enzymes. orthobiotic

Have a Safe and Healthy Spring Break!

Loreta, Tranquility owner and manager


PS. If you are staying home for Spring Break, come relax at Tranquility with great Stay-Cation specials. The more your relax the more you save!  Call 630.762.9864 to schedule your Stay-Cation!

Staycation 2013


Putting Your Best Face Forward…. Day 14 February 15, 2013

Filed under: Acupuncture,Confidence,Healing,Relaxation,Skin Care & Waxing,Yoga Therapy — relaxattranquility @ 4:32 pm

It’s hard to believe that 2 weeks ago I was just getting home to recover from surgery. The weeks have flown by and the recovery has been quite amazing. It’s been a journey filled with happiness, love, wonderful friends and clients carrying about me, and strength.

Each day I watch my face come closer to looking and feeling like it’s mine again. I still have numbness and swelling along my neck and jaw line and around my cheekbones. Dr. Haddle explains that the cheekbone area is the last to go down. I still have tightness in my neck, so I don’t have complete range of motion, but it’s getting there. This morning I did a few seated yoga stretches to get myself moving. I do miss my yoga classes so much. Then, I went for my very first walk!!! WOOHOO!!! Green smoothie in hand. It was glorious! 45 minutes of pure bliss and nature! It felt so good to be outside in the fresh air and sun! Yes, I slathered my sunscreen on 🙂

photo (15)

I also had my acupuncture treatment this week and will have another one tomorrow. I really think it has helped the bruising go down. I will probably start posting 1-2 times a week now. Dr. Haddle and I are working on a date for the Part 2 presentation, so you can see the new me in person and ask all your questions about my journey. Look for updates on date and time for this event. Until then, I will continue to keep you posted on the blog.


Why is the back so prone to injury? October 13, 2012

Filed under: Chiropractic,Healing,Relaxation,Yoga Therapy — relaxattranquility @ 11:40 am
Tags: ,

As we age, ligaments and tendons shorten.  The range of motion of particular joints decrease.  Discs lose their ability to absorb shock, muscles weaken and bones loose mass.  To add to these inherent biological weaknesses, we have lifestyles where we spend too much time sitting – in cars, at desks, and in front of televisions or computers and our back muscles weaken.  If we have bad posture or slouch, this makes matters worse.  The lower back is especially prone to disc herniation and disc degeneration problems.  It’s the junction between the pelvis and the spine and bears much of the weight.

Yoga postures lengthen connective tissues, expand range of motion, improve posture and protect against back injury.  Michael Wood, an assistant strength and conditioning coach at the University of Connecticut and director of the Sports Performance Group in Boston states that many of his clients have had great success keeping their backs pain free with yoga.

Here are some basic anatomical and movement principles to guide your path to a healthy back and assist you with a yoga practice:

1.       Focus on your breathing as you do the poses.  Breathing is the link between the body and the mind and can establish your focus on healing your body with positive imagery and presence.  Breathing influences circulation and posture.  When we hold our breath, we hold on to tension.  Quiet, introspective breathing alters the sympathetic/parasympathetic nerve signal balance to the arteries and veins, allowing increased circulation to tissues whose vessels are constricted during times of stress.

2.  Maintain spinal curves.  The spinal column is a series of curves defined by the shape of the vertebrae and the shape of the intervertebral discs and supporting ligaments.  The thoracic (upper back) and sacral (pelvic) convex curves are the first curves to develop in utero.  Later in crawling and standing the cervical (neck) and lumbar (lower back) concave curvatures develop in response to children’s ability to lift their heads and later to stand.  These curves need to be neutral – each curve neither too pronounced nor too flat – to absorb shock and facilitate the full range of motion throughout the spinal column.

3. Keep the spine moving.  The spine needs movement to lubricate the joints and provide nutrition to the spongy discs between the vertebrae.  During movement, the discs go through a process called imbibition where they soak up nutrients like a sponge when squeezed.  To feed and lubricate the discs properly, it is necessary to reverse the curvatures for brief periods of time which yoga postures do.  Trouble occurs when the curves become imbalanced or reversed by habitual poor posture, through injury or too many repetitions of one movement.

4. Balance flexibility and strength.  Building strength is crucial but flexibility is equally as important.  Without a doubt, yoga is one of the best ways to increase flexibility.  Having strong yet flexible muscles is perhaps the most important principle in back care.  Remember a tight muscle is not necessarily a strong one.  In beginning a yoga practice, it is important to first lengthen muscles that have contracted.  For the back this is crucial to stretch back muscles to help lengthen the spine and create more space for the vertebrae and discs.


yoga for backpain

Principles of Back Care

Eighty percent of adults experience back pain at some point in their lives.  Back injuries send more people to the doctor than any other ailment except the common cold.  Pain can simply come from lifting something heavy from the trunk of your car or leaning over while gardening.

You don’t have to take back pain lying down.  As a matter of fact, doctors are now recommending you do just the opposite.  You have the power to reduce the chance of back pain occurring in the first place and recurring if you have a chronic condition or old injury. “I’d say that more than half of back injuries can be prevented” says Michael Hisey, M.D. a spine surgeon at the Texas Back Institute in Plano, Texas. “A back maintenance exercise program is key to keeping people out of trouble.

Why is yoga such a good solution for back ailments?

Abdominal strengthening is commonly prescribed for back health. However, researchers are discovering that abdominal strength alone is not enough to protect the back from injury. And simply strengthening the lower back does not provide the complete solution to total back health. Researchers are now discovering that the best approach to back care is to incorporate a wide range of strength building and flexibility regimes such as yoga into your fitness plan.

In the past physical therapists, trainers and exercise physiologists have focused on building core strength. The body’s core is basically the lower part of the trunk, the abdomen, lower back and front of the hips. A recent study by Scott Nadler, D.O. at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in Newark, showed that athletes were just as likely to develop low-back pain with core training as those who did not participate in the training. Nadler explains that the study did not suggest abandoning core strengthening, but found that it just might not be sufficient. To protect the back from injury, we should do more than just the traditional core-strengthening exercises.

Unlike traditional back exercises which isolate parts of the body to be stretched or strengthened, yoga postures are whole body movements. They are designed to integrate and benefit the entire body. Back problems involve the whole body. Many factors may contribute to a bad back – tight muscles and/or weak muscles, poor posture, obesity, emotional stress, and lack of a full range of movement in the peripheral joints (shoulders and hips). No back problem can be isolated from the rest of the body.

Because of this interdependence, back problems respond well to the whole body movements that yoga offers. This whole body yoga experience affects not only the spine but corrects musculoskeletal imbalances anywhere in the body. As you focus on the balancing of different body parts, a natural alignment comes to the entire body and your posture improves from a place of inner awareness and integration.

After muscles have released their tightness, the emphasis can be re-directed to strengthening weak muscles. Due to our sedentary life style, there are tendencies of certain muscles in our body to be weak and others to be tight. With regards to the lower back, there are several muscle groups that we must pay special attention to if we’re going to relieve lower back pain.

Tight hamstrings can cause back pain since they insert in the buttocks and pull the pelvis out of alignment. Also tight hip flexors (iliopsoas and quadriceps) in the front of the thigh can cause lower back pain since the iliopsoas attaches to the lumbar vertebrae and can also be a contributor to back tightness. It is important to release tightness from other back muscles such as the quadrates lumborum in the lower back and erector spinae muscles along the spine. The piriformis muscle, a hip rotator located deep in the buttocks must be stretched to relieve sciatica.

Strengthening back muscles is crucial to balance the range of motion and to support the body for better posture. In addition, strengthening the leg muscles is important, particularly the quadriceps, hamstring and abductor muscles. When the legs are strong, the back muscles don’t have to function as the main support for the body. This can decrease tightness in the back and creates a more balanced body.

The following poses or asanas have a wonderful ability to work several areas at the same time. While doing an asana, you may be stretching several muscles while strengthening others. Stay in the pose long enough to gain the benefits. It takes a minimum of twenty seconds for muscles to start to lengthen.

It’s never too late to start doing yoga. Remember: “Don’t let what you can’t do interfere with what you can do!” You don’t have to do advanced yoga poses to get benefits. The simplest poses are sometimes the most effective for back care. Remember to breathe as you do this sequence of poses and take note that being consistent is the key to maintaining a healthy back and preventing future back pain.


%d bloggers like this: