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This past week, at our Annual Interdisciplinary Integration Symposium, we presented the PRI Director’s Dedication Award to two very deserving women who have had a tremendous impact on our Institute; Lori Thomsen and Jennifer Poulin. The PRI Director’s Dedication Award was established by the Board of Directors (Ron Hruska, Janie Ebmeier, Jennifer Platt and Bobbie Rappl) in 2012 to recognize individuals’ ongoing dedication to their advancement in PRI.

Past PRI Director’s Dedication Award recipients include: Susan Henning and Joe Belding (December 2012); Kyndall Boyle and James Anderson (April 2014); Michael Cantrell (December 2014); Jason Masek (April 2015); and Michal Niedzielski (December 2015). An award recognition plaque is currently being designed and constructed, and will be displayed at the Postural Restoration Institute®, recognizing each of the PRI Directors Dedication Award recipients.

Lori Thomsen graduated in 1995 from the University of Nebraska Medical Center with her Masters in Physical Therapy. She was first introduced to PRI while working at RiverView Health in Crookston, MN in 2003. Lori was a member of the 2005 Postural Restoration Certified™ (PRC) class. Lori spent countless hours with Ron Hruska helping to organize and structure the Pelvis Restoration course, and joined the PRI faculty to begin teaching this course in 2010. Lori is a teacher at heart, both with her patients as well as colleagues in her PRI courses. You will see this demonstrated in the many videos, articles and blogs she has created over the years.

Jen Poulin graduated in 1991 from the University of Vermont with her Bachelors of Science in Physical Therapy. She attended her first PRI course (Protonics) in Burlington, VT in 2001. Jen and her husband Chris opened Poulin Performance and Rehabilitation in Burlington, VT in 2002. Jen was also a member of the 2005 Postural Restoration Certified™ (PRC) class. In 2012, Jen and her family moved to Southern Pines, NC and opened Sandhills Sports Performance, where their staff continues to grow, as they mentor them with PRI. After expressing her interest in teaching PRI to Ron, Jen joined the PRI faculty in 2009, teaching Myokinematic Restoration, and Pelvis Restoration beginning in 2013.

Thank you Lori and Jen for your ongoing dedication to the Postural Restoration Institute®, and congratulations on receiving the PRI Director’s Dedication Award!

Posted April 28, 2017 at 10:18AM by
Categories: Clinicians

This year’s Interdisciplinary Integration was a symposium that brought together researchers and clinicians in a great two days of learning. Below are some photo highlights of the two days.  

Posted April 27, 2017 at 3:38PM by
Categories: Courses

A Recent Email question (from 2008) on understanding psoas relationships with the diaphragm in general: 

“In Myokinematic Restoration, James Anderson talks about how tightly woven anatomically the psoas major is into the right diaphragm leaflet.  Can we then assume that activation of the right psoas can be used and is advantageous to use as a method of activating the right diaphragm/pulling it down to enhance right intercostal expansion?”

Ron’s response: “The interesting thing about the psoas major and the diaphragm is that they have similar influence on the spine in the sagittal plane, but they have an opposite influence on the spine in the transverse plane.  In other words, in the transverse plane, the right psoas major compliments (is agonistic to) the left leaflet of the diaphragm; and the left psoas is agonistic to the right leaflet of the diaphragm.  They work with one another through their “tightly woven” attachments ipsilaterally in the sagittal plane to enhance the extension activity of an extended patient, but work with each other contralaterally across the anterior vertebral bodies in the transverse plane.  So, if you activate the right psoas, you are enhancing the sagittal influence of the right diaphragm leaflet and the transverse influence of the left leaflet (something that is desirable in both planes at both of these sites).  As far as using the right diaphragm to enhance right apical expansion is concerned, it’s incorrect to view it that way.  In fact, it is the torsional respiratory influence of the left diaphragm (not the right) that is primarily responsible for expansion of air into the right chest wall and mediastinum.”

Here are my initial thoughts on the email question: The R hemi-diaphragm doesn’t need help in its respiratory role.  It already has plenty of help in the form of a liver below, larger, thicker crura and central tendon, and better abdominal opposition to maintain its domed positon.  Its dominant respiratory activity contributes to chronic tension, not only of the abdominals, intercostals, and lats on the R side, but also of the muscles associated with the R brachial chain.  This is the crux of the reduced R intercostal and apical expansion.  So can activation of a R psoas change this, and can it improve R apical expansion?  Yes, indirectly, with a host of other muscles, but not by “activating a right diaphragm”.

Ron’s response was to acknowledge that a relationship does exist between the psoas and both the ipsilateral and contralateral hemi-diaphragm.  He states: “So, if you activate the right psoas, you are enhancing the sagittal influence of the right diaphragm leaflet and the transverse influence of the left leaflet (something that is desirable in both planes at both of these sites).”

However, it’s not as simple as flexing your R hip.  To clarify:

In our conversation about this email, Ron reminded me that occasionally a R psoas, not just a L psoas, can get hypertonic in a L AIC pattern. How?

Our brain simply wants fulfillment of L spinal rotation, and these 2 muscles may work together in an attempt in to satisfy the brain’s “request”. 

How is it that the R psoas and L diaphragm (and L psoas and R diaphragm) work harmoniously, if not through “tightly woven attachments”, as is the case ipsilaterally?

A vector force, through fascial connections overlying the anterior vertebral bodies, creates this contralateral influence.

Is this right psoas-left leaflet connection in the transverse plane significant?

No, they are ineffectual in achieving L lower spinal rotation. Why?  Because of the L side’s hyperinflated state and externally rotated ribs.  There is air in the way!

(another consideration:  Because of the orientation of the facets, minimal transverse rotation occurs through the lumbar spine.  That area moves more in the sagittal and frontal planes.  Therefore, it is the psoas’ frontal plane influence that is more significant when it comes to breathing and walking.)

Could a right psoas assist a L diaphragm with drawing air into the R apical chamber? 

Indirectly, yes, along with a host of other muscles.  However, certain conditions must first be met.

James Anderson states: “Limited influence of L crura in the transverse plane, lack of well-established L ZOA, and lack of L abdominal opposition, all complement R lumbar spine orientation.”

The R diaphragm partners with its abdominal wall to maintain its position as a powerful muscle of respiration and rib orientation.

If the R psoas becomes busy trying to rotate the lower spine to the L with a L hemi-diaphragm that has a smaller, shallower crura and with L ribs that are in ER, it will need L IOs/TAs to provide the needed pull on the L lower ribs for thoracic flexion and doming of the diaphragm.  Additionally, L abdominal wall opposition creates intra-abdominal pressure and, therefore, a counter-force to the descending diaphragm.   As long as those L ribs remain in ER, the L hemi-diaphragm will remain in a tonic state, influencing the tonicity so often seen in the L psoas.  In summary, when the L hemi-diaphragm contracts unopposed by the L abdominals, our upper body mass tends to shift to the L and, therefore, force us to compensate by spending more time and placing more weight on the R lower extremity in stance or L swing phases of gait, creating and perpetuating dysynchrony!

So while the R psoas can exert some degree of sagittal plane and L transverse plane motion, it serves us better in the frontal  plane, creating convexity at the lumbar spine to provide fulcrum from which L thoracic abduction can occur.   L thoracic abduction is a necessary movement pattern for maintenance of L ZOA and to provide the L hemi-diaphragm with a fulcrum (L hip) that is now situated directly below.  With an established L ZOA through L IO/TA activation, the L hemi-diaphragm can do its job of breathing – creating pressure differentials that allow us to manage gravity and walk, efficiently – with the least amount of force and torque.  This is how a R psoas indirectly enhances R apical expansion, along with many other muscles not mentioned in this orchestrated movement pattern.

 L IOs/TAs and a domed L hemi-diaphragm are the principle lower spinal/sacral/pelvic rotators to the L. 

Finally, why is it that the L hemi-diaphragm, not the R, expands the R intercostal and apical regions?

Rib position determines a hemi-diaphragm’s respiratory direction of flow.  When ribs are IRd on one side, they are ERd on the other.  IRd ribs assist the hemi-diaphragm with achieving and maintaining its ZOA to effectively draw air in.  Therefore, sufficient activity of the IOs/TAs, via their attachments to the ribs and their influence on intra-abdominal pressure, is a requirement for that hemi-diaphragm’s ZOA. 

IRd ribs don’t allow for much expansion. ERd ribs do. Therefore, once sufficient L IO/TA activity exists, creating L IRd ribs and a ZOA that is now effective for ventilation, the L hemi-diaphragm can draw air into the R apical chest wall, assisting with, and maintaining, its ERd ribs. Remember, when ribs are IRd on one side and ERd on the other, the thorax is positioned in ipsi-lateral abduction and contra-lateral rotation. Hence, it is “the torsional respiratory influence of the left diaphragm (not the right) that is primarily responsible for expansion of air into the right chest wall and mediastinum.”

We have 117 techniques in the standing integration section to teach us to get the R side to let go and to get the L side of rib cage to IR, highlighting the importance of L IO/TA activation to establish L hemi-diaphragm ZOA and restore its respiratory role.

Posted April 18, 2017 at 2:16PM by
Categories: Website Courses Science

James and I recently got back from traveling across the Atlantic! The PRI Integration for Fitness and Movement Course had its debut in the UK to a stunning group in London. It was a great mix of Personal Trainers, Yoga and Pilates’ Instructors, Strength Coaches, Physiotherapists, Osteopaths, and even an emergency room Medical Doctor! Besides the UK, other countries were represented including Ireland, Switzerland, Spain, Poland, and Australia. It was a privilege and honor to spend the weekend with this awesome group and I’m looking forward to hearing success stories spread across Europe and learn how they integrate it all with their clients.

A very large percent of our attendees had never been to a PRI course before. We introduced the respiratory and neurological principles taught in the PRI science, as well as focused on rib mobility, thoracic posture, and concepts around managing gravity. There were a lot of stiff ribcages in this course--- which we made sure we got moving! I made it my personal mission to make sure unexhaled air was mobilized and misuse of the abdominals patterns were identified. Ab bracing a ribcage that is hyperinflated, stiff, and rigid contributes to hyperactivity of rib elevators, back extensors, over firing of a rectus abdominis, compensatory movement strategies and poor neuromuscular balance between the two halves of the body.

Parachutes and pancakes were hot topics this weekend. We learned with every breath you take and every move you make…the diaphragm will orient you Thanks to Monica, James really did make it to the Sting concert. Thanks to Luke Worthington and Third Space for graciously hosting the course. Luke we appreciate all the pre-arrangements you did prepping for the large group and printing the manuals. The Third Space staff were all awesome and so friendly. We could have not asked for a better host site!

 Thank you Danielle Berger from Zurick Switzerland for the comments on her course eval. She says “Course manual: excellent, you've really helped fast forward our learning with this manual. Thank you so much. Loved the reinforcement on breathing, loved the breakdown on three planes of motion, loved the application to the fitness industry. Thank you James and Julie, you are both an inspiration. Thank you for your authenticity and integrity”.  

Thanks to Moiz for sharing his craftsmanship and presenting us with a handmade BC+AIC key chain, so thoughtful and creative! We loved it!

This was my first trip over to Europe, and I hope the first of many more abroad. Sharing this information is dear to my heart and I love helping people understand the simplicity and practicality that can be found in one of the most complex and effective sciences we have to learn. PRI helps us all understand patterns of human movement and how various body segments are linked. Next course is in Palo Alto, CA in June! Check out the affiliate course link to learn more!

Video Highlight

Posted April 17, 2017 at 11:09AM by

Impingement and Instability, West Yorkshire, UK. We had a fantastic international group gathered at Leeds University for Europe's first installment of the secondary level course Impingement and Instability. A big thank you to Martin Higgins, PRC for all his help hosting this course and for nurturing the science of PRI in the U.K. and across Europe. We had chiropractors from Germany, Pilates teachers from Switzerland, Physiotherapists from Ireland, Athletic Trainers from America traveling with international groups in Europe, and osteopaths, physicians, physiotherapists, chiropractors, sports therapists, strength coaches and personal trainers from all different parts of England.

It was refreshing to address such a diverse audience from so many different places with such varying backgrounds. As a group, we came together to really appreciate the lateralizing influence of asymmetrical body systems on human performance. We evaluated the 3 planes of performance, with special attention on the frontal plane. This appreciation for counter acting the lateralized human system gave us an edge understanding instabilities across the calcaneus, femur, ilium and scapula. Non manual and manual techniques were explored in context with these areas of instability, with a focus placed on getting patients and clients up on their feet. Breathing, gait and management of neurological reference centers were central themes throughout the course.

In the end, this group demonstrated a strong passion and a willingness to learn and apply advanced PRI principles in spite of their backgrounds. It was fun to see experienced professionals reconsider previously adopted ideas about biomechanics and movement and be open to new ways of evaluating things. Their willing hearts and minds made this course especially enjoyable for an educator who has become accustomed to teaching professionals in the US who are not usually as willing to cross boundaries outside their particular professions so easily. Thank you all for your welcome mentality and for the European hospitality you all so graciously showed me. Cheers!

Posted April 14, 2017 at 11:44AM by

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