Lower Back Pain? Could be a Fixed Kidney

Organ Fixation in a Nutshell

An organ fixation occurs when the organ is unable to move when the body moves, which can result in pain, discomfort, limited joint range of motion, or a decrease in overall energy.

When the body moves, the organ, which should have a smooth glide, gets pulled with the musculoskeletal system via the fascial system, but range of motion is limited because the body wants to protect the organ that can’t dance with the movement.

When joints and muscles are unable to move through their full range of motion, because the nervous system is more concerned about the organs than the muscles and joints, you get stiff, sore and uncomfortable.

There’s a decrease in energy, as the organ, who’s in a sub-optimal position, has to work harder in order to function well, which requires more energy from the body.

After a trained therapist performs organ specific fascial mobilization, the body regains range of motion, pain is diminished and people report feeling more energy.

Kidney Fixation can look like quite a few things:

  • breathing dysfunction, as the kidneys need to move an average of three centimeters with each breath

  • back ache that gets relieved by pushing on the low back and leaning back

  • decrease motion in T7, T11, T12 (their ribs) and L1 -4

  • shoulder flexion because of the relationship latissimus dorsi has with the lumbar spine

  • decreased spinal rotation because the kidney isn’t able to slide and glide

  • decreased hip flexion, with an early posterior pelvic tilt because of the relationship of the nerves and vasculature of the lower limbs, as well as the relationship between the kidneys and the pelvic organs.

Check those fabulous little filters assessed to make sure they aren’t giving you grief and treated if they are!




Image by Joe Muscolino

Image by Joe Muscolino

There are very few muscles I actually “treat” directly, but the sternocleidomastoid (SCM) is one of them.

The SCM has a direct relationship with some vital structures and impacts movement in a multitude of joints including the neck, shoulders and jaw. The SCM attaches to the manubrium of the sternum and the medial third of the clavicle and the mastoid process of the temporal bone and the lateral half of the superior nuchal line of the occiput. It’s innervated by cranial nerve XI, the spinal accessory nerve and gets sensory supply from C2 & C3 for proprioception.

The SCM does the following joint movements:

  • extends the head and upper neck

  • flexes the lower neck

  • laterally flexes the head and neck

  • contralaterally rotates the head and neck

  • elevates the sternum and clavicle

Each muscle has a common referral pain pattern, the SCM’s referral pattern is around the eye, cheek, jaw, teeth, forehead and lower part of the back of the head.

This essentially means, it contributes to everything wrong with your neck and plays a huge role in your headaches.

I have two questions though before I treat an SCM:

  1. Why is it all jacked up?

  2. How do I fix it so it doesn’t just come back?

Here are a few reasons the SCM could be going bananas:

  • it’s stuck to the underlying structures

  • the accessory nerve is compressed

  • you have shitty posture

  • you have shitty breathing

  • your lymphatic system is blocked (the bottom attachment at the throat is where your body’s fluid drain is)

  • you’re stressed out

  • you’ve been injured (whiplash, shoulder injuries, clavicular issues, etc.

  • your SCM is compensating for other structures, like your abdominal muscles (neck get sore when you do sit ups?)

  • the head and neck aren’t moving enough

  • the head and neck are moving too much

  • you had dental work, a sinus or ear infection, a concussion

Here are a few reasons why your SCM issues need to get resolved:

  • your carotid artery and jugular vein, the blood vessels to and from your brain, run right underneath it (also why you should see a professional)

  • your ear is right in front of it and tension can cause ear infections or ringing in the ears

  • your vagus nerve, that innervates you heart, lungs and almost every organ south of the diaphragm, and is the primary parasympathetic (chill out) nerve runs beneath it

  • it affects the flow of the lymphatic system, which is a primary filtration system

  • it affects the position of your head in relation to your neck, which affects how your spinal cord exits your skull

  • it affects the neck and how the nerves that affect your shoulders and arms exit the neck

  • the little bugger is giving your very clear grief in terms of headaches

Now get yourself a pair of balls, treat your own SCM and see a manual therapist to make sure all of those essential structures are moving to keep your head, neck and jaw healthy and pain free!



The Mesentery

The mesenteric root is the joint fascial attachment points of the mesentery (the green) and the parietal peritoneum (the purple).

The mesenteric root is the joint fascial attachment points of the mesentery (the green) and the parietal peritoneum (the purple).

The mesentery is a two piece, fold of peritoneum that attaches onto the back on the belly, or the front of the back, depending on how you look at it. The other attachment of this fascial sheet is to the entire length of the small intestine and is home to all of the arteries, veins, lymph vessels and nerves.

The mesentery is a thin, broad sheet of fascia covered in apidose (fat) and full of blood vessels, lymph vessels and nerves that fuel the guts and allow for absorption and digestion. On one side, it’s attached to the small and large intestine and on the other it’s attached to the back of the abdominal cavity from the iliocecal junction (right pelvis) to the duodenojejunal flexure (just left of L2) and crosses several essential structures:

  • the duodenum (D3 - the horizontal aspect)

  • the abdominal aorta and inferior vena cava

  • the psoas

  • the right ureter

  • the right testicular and right ovarian vessels

This only shows the veins (blue) and arteries (red) but there are also nerves and lymph vessels embeded in the mesentery.

This only shows the veins (blue) and arteries (red) but there are also nerves and lymph vessels embeded in the mesentery.

From a strictly digestive system stand point, if there is tension in the root of the mesentery, which it attaches to the back wall of your belly, you don’t digest your food well because tension in the mesentery can limit blood flow, nerve conduction and lymph flow. The

Tension in the mesenteric root can compromise blood flow and alter the pressure because it anchors right over the abdominal aorta and inferior vena cava. In can affect the function and resting tension in the psoas, as it anchors right into both the left and right muscles. It can limit flow from the right kidney to the bladder via the right ureter (tube that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder) and effect the function of the right testicle and ovary.

The other neat thing about the root of the mesentery is that it’s a double fold. The inner portion is the mesentery, but the outer fold is the parietal peritoneum, which is the two square meters of fascial bag most of your guts live in. I talked about this in last weeks blog, which you can find here.

Common signs and symptoms of mesenteric root tension are:

  • acute or chronic low back pain

  • immobility of T10 - L2

  • diastasis recti and umbilical hernias (see this post)

  • poor digestion and absorption, malnutrition

  • sciatica symptoms due to blood flow limitations

  • excessive post workout fatigue and recovery

Any number of things can cause issues in this important structure of the body:

  • gut inflammation from illness, injury, food sensitivities and poor eating habits

  • abdominal surgery from injury to the parietal peritoneum

  • pregnancy

  • car accidents - from internal whiplash

  • a sedentary lifestyle from lack of movement

Here’s a technique you can do at home, it’s not as specific as a trained manual therapist, but it could help.

Enjoy your happy new guts!



Mesenteric Root, Parietal Peritoneum, Diastasis Recti and Umbilical Hernias

Most of your guts are in a membranous sack and that sack anchors into the front of your back. Read that again. It anchors in diagonal lines that are approximately two to three inches above and below your belly button and go from the left ribs towards the right hip.

The membranous sack is double layered and is technically called the peritoneum and it is fascia. If there’s a fascial pull in the root, it can tug on the peritoneum.

mesenteric root and peritoneum.png

The outer most layer of the peritoneum is attached to the deepest layers of the abdominals, which attach at the linea alba (the line down the middle of your six pack.)

When there’s a fascial pull on the mesenteric root, there’s a separation of the abdominals called a diastasis recti. If you’re super unfortunate, your guts poke through that little (or large hole) and you’ve got yourself a fancy little umbilical hernia.

“Well Casey, how the heck do you fix that?” to which I say “carefully.” As a manual therapist trained in visceral manipulation, I use my hands to introduce load into the root so the tension eases. It’s mildly uncomfortable but always tolerable. Then I do a little bit of Neurokinetic Therapy voodoo to flick on your obliques or release the pelvic or respiratory diaphragms, then it’s up to you to not screw it up again.

I don’t do it unless my clients promise me they’ll try their best not to screw it up.

How does one avoid screwing it up?

  • avoid loaded spinal flexion - no sit ups (at all), hinging at the hips instead of the back, rolling out of bed

  • minimizing intrabdominal pressure for a couple of weeks - no breath holding while lifting or exercising, no straining to poop

  • do resisted rotational movements like paloff press, active revolved abdominal pose or baby dead bugs that challenge you, but not to the point of breath holding or belly peaking

  • practice uddiyana bandha/diaphragm vacuum/abdominal vacuum/hypopressives daily

  • roll on a Coregous ball from your lower right rib cage down to your left hip and back up again, avoid placing it right in the center of your abdomen

  • release you pelvic floor with a Roll Model Method ball (pluses seem to be a good size, avoid the tail bone)

  • minimize your gut inflammation by making good food choices and moving your body

If you’ve got a diastasis recti or umbilical hernia, do yourself a solid and pop in for an appointment or two so your guts don’t pop out.



The Importance of the Atlanto-occipital Joint


The atlas is the very highest vertebrae (spine bone) and the occiput is the bottom back part of the skull that sits right on top of the atlas. Together they form the atlanto-occipital (AO) joint, where your head moves in relation to your neck.

Between sitting at computers, texting, driving and sitting so darn much, our AO often gets jammed in extension and sits too far forward.

Spinal cord’s position coming from the occipital bone

Spinal cord’s position coming from the occipital bone


No big deal, right? Except…

  • our brain sits right on top of our occipital bone

  • the spinal cord comes right out the bottom of the occipital bone


Nerves, Arteries and Veins at the AO junction

Nerves, Arteries and Veins at the AO junction

Head position directly impacts neck position and here are some important structures in your neck:

  • carotid artery that brings blood (and all the nutrients) to your brain

  • jugular vein that drains blood (and all the waste) from your brain

  • vagus and phrenic nerves (that innervate your organs and regulate your autonomic nervous system, which is a HUGE deal in cardiovascular health, digestive function and stress modulation)

  • excessive lymph nodes and vessels that brings all fluids back to your heart to then be filtered by the lungs and kidneys

  • brachial plexus, which is a bundle of nerves that innervates your shoulders and arms

  • muscles that get all jacked up trying to hold that big melon on your neck, and muscles are the lowest thing on this priority list for a reason

AO Joint Decompression, craniosacral therapy style.

AO Joint Decompression, craniosacral therapy style.

Now how on earth do you fix it? A few ways…

Suboccipital release with the Roll Model® Method’s Alpha ball.

Suboccipital release with the Roll Model® Method’s Alpha ball.



Heartburn, Acid Reflux and Manual Therapy


Heartburn, Acid Reflux and Manual Therapy


The cardiac sphincter is the (mostly) one-way valve between the esophagus (tube that goes from mouth to belly) and the stomach. It should let air up in the form of burps and vomit up when necessary, but all other times it should remain a one-way valve.

The stomach is a hostile environment filled with stomach acid, which has a pH of 1 or 2, making it nearly as acidic as battery acid, which has a pH of 0. One magnificent thing about the stomach is the thick layer of mucous and mucous secreting cells along the inner wall, that protects the rest of the muscley organ from this searing fluid that is necessary to liquify your food for digestion. The esophagus doesn't possess this special layer, so when stomach acid creeps into the esophagus, it burns this food tube that lives in your chest (hence, the name heartburn.) When this happens occasionally, it's not a massive concern but when it's consistent, lasting days, weeks, months or even years, we've got a problem.


The medical and pharmaceutical industry recommends neutralizing the stomach acid or reducing how much stomach acid is made, both of which have considerable repercussions on food digestion and absorption and systemic physiological issues can ensue.

Our bones, vessels, organs and muscles live in an endless body wide web of connective tissue called fascia. The fascia between our organs are called ligaments. There is an abundance of ligaments in and around the stomach, esophagus and diaphragm that can pull any of those structures out of a functional position, leaving the cardiac sphincter in a position of stress. It may function sometimes, based on how much pressure is in your abdomen or stomach or based on postural stress or movements, like lying down or trunk rotation. Regardless, when we ease the tension on the ligaments and surrounding structures and manage the resting pressure in the abdomen, we can alter the cardiac sphincter’s function, making acid reflux a thing of the past.

This blog is not meant to replace medical advice. Speak to your doctor if you experience acid reflux and discuss medical and alternative therapies.


How to Reduce the Risk of Breast Implant Contractures with Manual Therapy


How to Reduce the Risk of Breast Implant Contractures with Manual Therapy

Left: submuscular. Right: subglandular.

Left: submuscular. Right: subglandular.

During a breast enhancement, a silicone disc filled with saline (most often in Canada) gets inserted either in front of the muscle and behind the breast tissue (subglandular) or behind some or all of the pectoralis major muscle (submuscular). Submuscular enhancements are more common, as they give a more natural look.

When a foreign object in embedded into the body and stays put, the body builds it’s very own connective tissue capsule around it to keep the body safe. How freakin’ cool is that? It does a bunch of other stuff to try to remove it first, like eating it or burning it out, but eventually, it doesn’t go anywhere and basically builds a fascial wall around it. When the body gets a little over zealous (or is it?), too much of this connective/scar tissue surrounds part of the implant and it causes pain and malformation of the tissue and the implant, which is called a contracture. Research varies and it depends on a lot of variables, but contracture rates are anywhere from 7 - 20%.

Prior to surgery (and applicable to nearly all surgeries in fact), see a professional for superficial fascial and myofascial release, as well as breast massage and rib mobility. Get on some Yoga Tune Up® therapy balls to help release the tissue to permit stretch, to increase nourishment to the tissues and to increase awareness of the area. This all increases tissue health and allows more expansion of the tissue, which could help reduce pain, improve recovery times, reduce scaring and potentially reduce the rejection of the implant (my theory, not a proven fact). Discuss each of these things with your doctor, as they may request a certain amount of time between your last treatment and your surgery, as manual therapy can temporarily increase inflammation.

Post surgery, with the go ahead from one’s surgeon, receiving massage and manual therapy with someone experienced and knowledgeable about breast enhancement could help recovery rates, decrease pain, improve position of the implants, help regain mobility and range of motion in the surrounding, affected joints (which is everything from your head to your toes, by the way), decrease swelling, and decrease the incidence of contracture. Rolling on a Roll Model® Method Coregeous ball post-surgery, with the surgeons okay, can also greatly improve tissue mobility.

When all is healed up, the ribs, spine, shoulders and collarbones should all be moving. The superifical fascia should have an adequate amount of elasticity to allow movement in the adjacent joints and by proxy have a healthy resting muscle tension in the affected muscles, as well as permit subtle movement of the breast for the most natural look. Breathing, spinal rotation, shoulder movement and posture should all be effortless after the surgery has healed. Manual therapy by an experienced and knowledgeable therapist at any point during the process, even years after surgery, can help improve mobility and increase comfort in your body.


Hiatal Hernias


Hiatal Hernias

Each cavity in the body (pelvic, abdominal and thoracic) has either negative or positive pressure. These pressure systems work together to ensure proper working order and position of your organs. The negative pressure of the thoracic cavity is essential for breathing but also positioning of the abdominal organs, without which, the occasionally very full stomach and the giant liver would collapse down towards our pelvis.

In most instances, this is very helpful, but in the case of a hiatal hernia, this pressure can suck the stomach up into the thoracic cavity (rib cage) by way of the esophageal hiatus (the hole in the respiratory diaphragm for the esophagus, which is the tube that moves food from your mouth to your stomach.)

Normal diaphragm and stomach relationship

Normal diaphragm and stomach relationship

Hiatal Hernia

Hiatal Hernia

Signs and symptoms of a hiatal hernia include:

  • Heartburn and acid reflux (when stomach acid back-flows into the esophagus)

  • Regurgitation of food or liquids into the mouth

  • Difficulty swallowing

  • Chest or abdominal pain, usually felt around the bra strap line and is worse in the morning (due to a more relaxed diaphragm)

  • Shortness of breath and coughing

Hiatal hernias can be caused by a variety of things:

  • heavy lifting, particularly while breath holding or wearing a weight belt, which increases pressure in the abdomen

  • excessive coughing, vomiting, straining to poop, giving birth, which all increase pressure in the abdomen

  • anatomical anomaly of an enlarged esophageal hiatus (food tube hole)

  • weakening of the myofascia of the respiratory diaphragm due to injury, trauma or pathology - it can alters the fascial pull of the diaphragm, decreases resting tone in the diaphragm or increases intrabdominal pressure

  • excessive abdominal contents - too much food, inflammation and fluid retention, visceral fat, growths (my assumption, not necessarily a documented fact)

What to do:

  • talk to your doctor to confirm diagnosis

  • avoid increasing intrabdominal pressure - heavy lifting, straining to poop, holding your breath, ab crunches (and similar exercises)

  • lose weight, particularly around the abdomen (speak to a professional)

  • wear pants that are loose around the abdomen - bye, bye lulus

  • see a manual therapist trained in visceral manipulation and myofascial release - they can gently pull your stomach back down into your abdomen and decrease the tension on your abdominal wall to decrease the pressure in your abdomen

Eating changes:

  • eat smaller meals and wait three or more hours before reclining

  • eating meals that separate carbohydrates from protein - meals that have both delay the emptying of the stomach

  • decreasing fat intake, as it takes longer to make it’s way out if the stomach

  • decrease highly acidic food to reduce acid reflux symptoms and complications

Occasionally, surgery is the only option. It is worth looking at all other avenues before traveling that route to reduce potential complications. If you suspect you have a hiatal hernia, talk to your doctor.



Diaphragms are the only skeletal muscle you need to live.... treat them well


Every diaphragm on my table gets assess and worked on. They all get treated a little differently, but every diaphragm needs a little reorganization to prevent unnecessary tension on some very important structures:

  • the abdominal aorta - the artery the feeds EVERYTHING below your ribcage with blood. If it's pinned, your blood pressure goes up, just like a kinked garden hose.

  • the inferior vena cava - the vein that brings ALL of that blood back to the heart and lungs for gas exchange and detoxification. If it's squished, you get light headed and swell below the ribcage.

  • the esophagus - that brings food from your mouth to your stomach. If it's kinked, you can get a hiatal hernia, heartburn or have a hard time digesting food, especially protein.

  • the thoracic duct of your lymphatic system - helps return all the extra fluid in your body back to your heart. If it's blocked, the fluid stays stagnant like a pond and can breed bacteria, not to mention it's affects on the cardiovascular system.

  • the vagus nerve - your primary parasympathetic (rest and digest) nerve that's responsible for relaxation, stress reduction, digestion, sleep, pleasure, etc. If it's tethered, ain't nothin' working like it supposed to. It's like the the chill out power's out. 

If any of these structures are compressed by diaphragm tension, you've got issues with your cardiovascular system, immune system, nervous system, digestive system and the result is muscle tension in your low back, neck and shoulders, just to name a few things.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to diaphragm dynamics... essential organs sit directly on top and right below this muscley trampoline as well, but I'll save that for another day.



Stop saying iliopsoas

There is iliacus and there is psoas. There is no iliopsoas. 

Let's talk about what they have in common to start with:

  • both attach to the lesser trochanter of the femur
  • they both flex and externally rotate the hip joint, anteriorly tilt the pelvis and help adduct an abducted hip

There's SO MUCH MORE they don't have in common...

They're innervated differently. Iliacus is innervated by the femoral nerve (L2-4) and the psoas is innervated by the anterior rami of lumbar nerves (L1-3), which is a big deal if there's a pathology or injury.

The whole lumbar plexus is embedded in the posterior aspect of the psoas. This leaves a lot of room for dysfunction if a hypertonic psoas is compressing nerves. It can also be an issue if you're going continually eccentrically load (stretch) the psoas without assessing any underlying issues .

Your psoas massages practically all the organs in your abdomen when it contracts. The iliacus gets the lower intestines, which ain't shabby, but the psoas gets your kidneys, liver, spleen, stomach, pancreas, gallbladder AND your intestines (high and low). Plus all the other glorious stuff in your insides like your lymphatic and blood vessels.

The psoas crosses seven(ish) joints and iliacus crosses one. They both cross the hip joint, but the psoas crosses T12/L1, L1/L2/ L2/L3, L3/L4, and L4/L5. This means there are many more opportunities for movement and lengthening of the psoas. 

The psoas has more actions because it crosses more joints. The iliacus and psoas share the same four actions previously mentioned. The psoas also:

  • laterally flexes the lumbar spine
  • contralaterally rotates the lumber spine
  • flexes the lower lumbar spine
  • extends the upper lumbar spine
  • stabilizes the spine

The psoas has multiple important intimate relationships. It's connected to the intervertebral discs, the diaphragm, the lumbar plexus and shares fascia with the abdominal aorta, the inferior vena cava, the lymphatic system, the quadratus lumborum, the kidneys and the adrenal glands. Don't go jamming hard objects in abdomen with the intention of releasing any muscles. Use a soft object, like the Coregeous ball and find a skilled manual therapist.

Psoas is commonly inhibited, while iliacus is commonly facilitated. Meaning iliacus is doing all the work and psoas is getting all the credit through it's fame. It also means you may not want to excessively stretch the psoas to inhibit it more. 

As you can see, these two important hip flexor muscles are quite different, meaning they require different types of attention based on what is going on in the body. Always look at relationships in the body because absolutely nothing stands alone. The psoas and iliacus must be able to lengthen, contract and relax, just like every other skeletal muscle, to function well. Getting a thorough assessment and treatment by a manual therapist is a must if you are suspecting dysfunction (low back pain, excessive stress, hip pain, limited range of motion, breathing dysfunction, digestive problems) in either of the muscles.

Enjoy your iliaci and your psoai ! Much love,





On cellulite

A woman asked what I did for work, so I said I was a massage therapist, but I work in a different way than most. Following that, I explained the types of modalities I use for treatment and assessment and mentioned myofascial release. Her eyes lit up when I said the word fascia and I knew what was coming next. Sure as shit, "have you heard of the fascia blaster?" and my blood pressure and heart rate creeped up. After a deep breath I said I'd heard of it, then she proceeded to tell me that her sister had used it every two days with great results and she was going to get one. My heart started to ache.

Here is the how the medieval torture device, I mean fascia blaster works:

Fascia Blaster
  • roll the ever loving fuck out of your superficial fascia to the point of damage (internal bleeding and inflammation)
  • let the swelling of the tissue fill out the dimples of your skin so it isn't puckered
  • repeat when the tissue heals and your body has reabsorbed the interstitial fluid

You know when you sprain your ankle or break a bone and everything around it swells? That's tissue damage and the inflammation is your body trying to heal itself.

So let me ask you this:

  1. Do you think that's a considerate thing to do to your body every other day?
  2. Do you think your immune, nervous, lymphatic and cardiovascular system appreciate the extra work they have to do?
  3. Could that possibly lead to unnecessary stress on your body because you're *repeatedly* abusing it?

No? I don't think so either.

My friend Gil Hedley went on a rant, er, I mean speech about cellulite... have a watch:

Here's some thoughts:

  • every body has cellulite (babies, skinny people, fat people, fit people, strong people, old people, young people)
  • the only nude people we see are our partners (that are human and have cellulite) and airbrushed models (which are so fucking far from a realistic representation of the human body)
  • I've seen an awful lot of naked people in my life and even the most conventionally attractive ones have "imperfect skin" - cellulite, stretch marks, acne, ingrown hairs, scars
  • superficial fascia is wet and juicy and therefore conductive - which means more sensation (unless you cause damage and make scar tissue) 

Love. Your. Body.

Love. Your. Fascia.




De-clutter Your Mind by Journalling

Okay, okay, so you've heard this whole "you should journal" thing before, but I've got an awesome, convenient, secret place to do it and a couple of tips to help you start and succeed. (2).png

I journal for a few reasons:

  • it keeps me sane
  • it prevents me from putting too much energy (usually the negative bitchy kind) out into the world
  • it guides me to the root of whatever is running through my mind
  • it motivates me
  • it preps my mind for meditation

One can journal a multitude of different ways:

  • the old fashioned way with a pen and paper either in a journal, notebook or piece of paper
  • using an app or a word processor
  • using a website dedicated to journalling

I use Morning Pages and absolutely love it. It's free, easy to use and gives you a fabulous little box of your favourite words at the end of each session! Hemingway mode even prevents backspaces so you have to release your hold on perfectionism!! When you're done it vanished into thin air and no one ever has to see it, including yourself ever again.

Some tips:

  • just write. It doesn't matter what you write, just write what your thinking, feeling, worried about, excited about, perturbed by, what you had for lunch, how cute your dog looks when his nose it suck up against the patio door. It doesn't matter and don't judge yourself, just write your stream of consciousness.
  • have a pen and paper handy to jot notes as you go about daily tasks/reminders. Write them quick and continue on.
  • do it everyday, sometimes twice even if it's for three minutes
  • you don't even have to write sentences. Sometimes my journals look like a long slew of cuss words :D
  • keep track of how often you're journaling using a habit tracker - something in your planner or on your wall that tells you how many days in a row you've journaled. 
  • try drawing as well. This isn't usually my cup of tea, but it's incredibly therapeutic for some. 
  • Meditate for five to ten minutes after to integrate the clarity you've discovered. If that's too tall of an order, just stick with the journaling.... baby steps!

Give it a whirl. Do it for  at least 10 days and let me know how it goes. It gets pretty addictive!

Much love, Casey



You need a cold shower everyday!

My hot water tank blew a gas valve on Saturday night. Lucky for me, I've been having daily contrast (hot/cold) showers for the last few months, which means I could tolerate an icy cold Canadian November well water shower the last three days.

You'll shower in the cold when you have to (or maybe you won't,) but why on earth would I voluntarily douse myself in chilly water? Here are a few solid reasons why you should flip the switch to cold:

1. Promotes Fat Loss

Your body has two types of fat: brown and white. White fat stores excess calories when we consume more than we need and it hangs out around our waists, hips and thighs. Brown fat is derived from muscle and it burns calories to generate heat. In simple terms, we want more brown fat because it actually helps us burn more calories and hanging out in the cold can help stimulate brown fat. 

2. Help to Repair Muscle

Post-training cold water immersion has been shown to significantly reduce the effects of delayed on set muscle soreness for better muscle recovery.

3. Improves Digestion

A cold shower causes the blood vessels in your periphery (arms and legs) to constrict and redirects the blood to your internal organs, which makes them more effective.

4. Relieves Depression

Cold hydro therapy has been linked to:

  • lower cortisol levels: stress hormone
  • instant release of endorphines: feel good chemicals
  • instant release of norepinepherine: a neurotransmitter related to improved mood and energy levels; it also works in conjunction with dopamine, the happy neurotransmitter
  • higher testosterone levels: get up and go hormone

5. Creates Discipline

This one is pretty obvious. I'm a firm believer that will power is a muscle that we must train in order to be able to use it when things get tough. Enduring a few minutes under frigid water is a simple and fierce way to develop your discipline, while gaining numerous other benefits. 

6. Improves Skin and Hair

A dose of cold water helps the hair retain it's natural oils, keeping it luxurious and healthy. It can also help keep your follicles flat, which could potentially help against hair loss too.

7. Boosts your Immune System

When you hang out in a cold shower long enough, the rest and digest part of the nervous system, turns on, which also supports healing. Plus, studies show cold water immersion can increase the amount of two types of protective white blood cells (monocytes and lymphocytes) in your circulatory system to help ward off foreign invaders.

And an added bonus is that it helps you sleep! Check out this video of Paul Chek talking about the importance of sleep and cold showers


Maybe you're convinced that having a cold shower is a good idea. Here's how I transitioned into them:

  • start with a warm/hot shower 
  • flip on the cold after a few minutes to a level you can tolerate
  • make it colder when you adjust to it. Don't push it though. You don't want to turn yourself off of cold showers before you start to feel the benefits. You need to warm up to the idea.
  • stay in the cold for at least 2-3 minutes
  • make sure it hits your chest, neck and face for the best results
  • flip back to warm if you wish, then back to cold, but end with cold. This is called a contrast shower and is a nice way to introduce it.
  • permit your body to feel the sensations of "cold" and "warm" without labeling them "bad" and "good." Let it be a meditative process.

You should feel invigorated, perhaps a little pissed off, but also invigorated! I can't encourage you enough to start slow if you intend to make this part of your daily routine. You'll be a better human because of it! Much love,




How do you poo?

Are you a "shit and get off the pot" kinda person or a "see you in half an hour" kind of person? Perhaps you're both depending on the day.  

I'm sorry to have to break the bad news to all the bathroom readers/thinkers/texters, but:

a) if it is ACTUALLY taking you over 10 minutes to drop a deuce, you've got problems

b) if it doesn't and you're taking some "you" time, you're causing problems

Here's the deal:

Your intestines push the poop out in a smooth (involuntary) muscle contraction wave called peristalsis. Your butt muscles aren't doing a damn thing. Perhaps you think your abdominal muscles can help with the act of bearing down, but that actually doesn't actually get poop out either. However, what that bearing down with the relaxation of your pelvic floor muscles is doing is stretching the hell out of your pelvic floor by increasing the pressure in your abdomen, which is a BIG problem. Why do you ask?

Bearing down to poop is an issue for two main reasons:

  1. It can cause hemorrhoids, which are bulging blood vessels in your rectum that are itchy, painful and frequently bleed.
  2. Spending 30 minutes stretching a group of muscles is going to weaken them and cause a host of problems down the road. 

Okay, okay, so I think I've made my point about why you shouldn't plunk your ass on the can for half an hour a day (possibly even two or three times). "But seriously lady, it actually takes me 30 minutes to go number 2." Here are some things we need to look at:

1. Are you visiting when nature calls?

Remember, pooping is an involuntary process. When your feces hits your rectum (your poop shoot,) stretch receptors send a signal to the brain that says "it's go time." If you don't go, reverse peristalsis happens and your poop goes back into your colon. That feeling is familiar... you really have to go for a bit, then it eases off. It doesn't seem like that big of a deal though and it'll just travel back down soon enough right? Well, the main goal of your colon is to absorb water - it's the poop dehydrator. You know when you you have runs and it's liquid? Well, it's because it's speeding through the colon. So once your turd gets hits a red light at your rectum, it crawls back up into your belly and the colon absorbs even more water from the feces. Then bam, you've got rock solid rocket that's condensing even more - think fresh homemade Play Doh one the first trip and three year old Plasticine in the kindergarten bucket on the next. What happens if you hold it in again? It's even dryer, harder and more compact. When that dried out rock solid rocket makes it's way back to your rectum and you decide it's time to go, it's so much harder to pass. Ya'll know what I'm talkin' 'bout. It can also easily lead to hemorrhoids or anal tears. Seems rather horrifying, but the point is: listen to your body. 

2. How's your fluid and fiber intake?

Our bodies are anywhere from 55-70% water (depends on a few factors.) When we take in fluid, it needs to be distributed to blood, our brain and spinal cord, our muscles, our organs, our connective tissue, our mucous membranes... I could seriously go on for days about the fluidity of our bodies, but you get my drift. The body works in a bit of a hierarchy and the heart and the brain trump the digestive system for who gets water first. We need to drink enough water so that all the systems are adequately hydrated.

That was a bit of a detour to say that when we drink enough water our stools are softer and they're easier to pass and fiber keeps everything fluffy for lack of a better word so when it's time to escape, it's a bit squeezable at the end.

3. How do you sit on the throne?

Here is a fabulous video that shows why you should squat at the pot. I really can't describe it any better than this guy...


Okay so you're going to give that all a go, excellent. It may take some adjusting to get your guts into prime working order so here are a few tips to set you on the path to fecal freedom:

  • Get enough sleep and find ways to decrease your stress. The opposite of "fight or flight" is "rest and digest" for a reason. We may not be getting chased by tigers, but our bodies respond to stress is the same way. Meditation, massage, yoga, spending time in nature, taking a relaxing bath are just a few ways you can turn off your on switch and shift into rest and digest mode.
  • Move - a lot. Walking, running, yoga, trampoline bouncing, dancing, cartwheels, weight lifting and all kinds of other things actually shift your guts around and promotes movement of food through your digestive system.
  • Get a visceral massage. A trained manual therapist (massage therapists and osteopaths) will work wonders shifting things around in your abdomen to make sure things are moving along smoothly. 
  • Give yourself a belly massage. Here's a short video on how to get things moving with a Coregeous® ball. I teach this regularly in Yoga Tune Up® classes and workshops. I can't tell you how many times I've had students tell me they had the best poops of their lives after rolling their bellies.

If you have any questions, desire a belly massage or want to learn more about self-massage, feel free to get in touch! To order yourself a Coregeous® ball, click here. I wish you all comfortable, frequent and satisfying poops. Much love,





Anatomese: Why this univeral language is essential for yoga teachers, personal trainers and movement teachers

Greetings friends,

My social media is blessed with an abundance of different movement teachers and manual therapists, filling my news feed full of brilliant discussions sparked by physiotherapists, chiropractors, massage therapists, occupational therapists, yoga teachers, CrossFit coaches, personal trainers, osteopaths, and many more brilliant, well educated individuals. The conversations are clear and concise even though we all have different practices because we share a universal lingo: anatomical language. This is taught in all academic programs, but not necessarily in basic entry-level programs like personal training certifications and yoga teacher trainings. 


I will hereby refer to anyone that teaches people how to move, be it with group fitness, yoga, personal training as movement teachers.


Below are just a few reasons why learning a new language can improve your teaching game.


In a class or private session, using specific terms, like flex the hips or externally rotate the shoulder, in conjunction with unique language like hinge at the hips and spin the arm outwards will teach your clients how their bodies move - at the joints. With this knowledge, your clients are able to make the best choices for how they move their bodes. As Perry Nickleston of Stop Chasing Pain says, "there aren't any bad movements, only good, better and best."

Discussing concepts with other professionals

For each amazing discussions I've read involving anatomical language, there's one in which people are trying to understand what the other is saying. It resembles this: someone says words like "tuck your tail bone" instead of "posterior pelvic tilt" and "round the back" instead of "flex the spine," leaving everyone to try to figure out in a flurry of confusion what is happening with a student's body. All of this is okay and we all start somewhere, but it could be better. Using anatomese to engage in clear, concise conversations with our colleagues and friends permits more accuracy and understanding, which will, in turn, benefit our students.

Understanding what you see in front of you

Coming back to the cueing convo, knowing the specific directions of movement available at a joint and understanding how to combine them for optimal stability and power, your students have less risk of injury and make better progress. When you develop the words to describe what you see in front of you, your brain can make better sense of it. 

Gaining an understanding of what muscles, joints and connective tissue are doing

Piggy-backing on the point above, when you know how joints move, you can figure out which muscles move that joint, how the connective tissue is stretching and how the bones are articulating in relation to one another. When you know or are able to think through, what's happening, or not happening, you can troubleshoot and have more tools to fix the problem in front of you. The best movement teachers envision the moving skeleton and use their knowledge of anatomy to deconstruct the movement and then put it back together to make that movement better.

These are all complex, multifaceted notions and the only way to begin to understand them is if you learn the language and apply the concepts to benefit your students. We brushed over these concepts in my yoga teacher training but I still didn't remember, let alone understand them. Six weeks after I finished my yoga teacher training, I took the Yoga Tune Up® Level 1 and got far more anatomy knowledge than I bargained for. Level 1 was like a fire hose of brain bombs and body concepts and I was completely overwhelmed. As I continued with my YTU Integration process, I was able to sort through the ideas and theories that I got in Level 1 and gained a much clearer picture of how the body moves and why it sometimes doesn't move well. If you're interested in learning anatomese and how top apply it to any movement practice check out my Yoga Tune Up® Teacher Trainings and the Yoga Tune Up® Teacher Trainings happening around the world. 

Thank you so much for take the time to explore my musings today, much love,