30+ years of lifestyle medicine experience
my personal Experience with translating knowledge into a healthy lifestyle:
Breathing: Transformed 14 year habit of smoking 2-3 packs of cigarettes a day into a daily exercise and meditation practice.
Posture: In 1984, my stooped posture measured at 5'2". By improving my lifestyle, now 30 years later, I stand tall at 5'4".
Movement: I rarely exercised before age 25. That's when I began in earnest to practice yoga, Pilates, and swim. Those breath-based disciplines revolutionized my breathing, postural, and movement skills; at age 42 with just four months of training, I ran my first marathon in 3 hours and 42 minutes to qualify for the Boston Marathon. I swam 1.25 miles without wearing a wet suit from Alcatraz to the San Francisco Dolphin club in 26 minutes and since 2003 swim all year long in the cold San Francisco bay without a wet suit. I actually love skinny dipping most of all.
My Health Condition that required Lifestyle Medicine: Traditional medicine could do nothing for my congenital neck anomaly. My right atlas neck bone is not fully formed. That caused chronic neck and back pain, poor posture, fatigue, and poor self esteem. I routinely received chiropractor adjustments until I realized those adjustments treated only my symptoms, not the cause of my problem. My head quite literally was not screwed on straight; I needed a healthy compensation for my malformed bone. Practicing Pilates became my lifestyle medicine; I developed extremely strong core muscles on and off my Pilates mat. That core strength offset my neck anomaly and alleviated my pain, poor posture, and fatigue; I no longer needed any chiropractic adjustments. Even better, I evolved into an elite athlete and masterful lifestyle medicine teacher. One last footnote to my story: I also used method acting techniques to express myself fully, compensating with better communication and emotional skills.
My Professional experience teaching others to adopt a healthy lifestyle:
Breathing: Taught the Walnut Creek Aquanuts synchronized swim team, including their elite Olympic swimmers from 1997 to 2001. Their sport requires them to hold their breath. They recovered more quickly after their workouts by learning how to "Hail the Exhale" to stop holding their breath on land. Taught professional opera singers how to use their excellent breathing techniques off stage in their daily lives and exercise workouts.
Posture: My credentials of erect posture, a doctorate in physical therapy, and 25 years experience teaching yoga and Pilates landed me a teaching job at UCSF. I taught a research-proven exercise regime designed to improve posture for a study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Movement: I designed and implemented a core strengthening program for Team in Training's San Francisco/Marin Run teams. Taught these classes from 2005 to 2011. Helped novice runners, many of them with no prior running experience, run a marathon with less than 6 months of training. I aided them by including foam roller self-massage, core conditioning and balance exercises, and breathing techniques into their workouts.
Common Conditions that Require Lifestyle Medicine: Conditions that can't be fixed by a pill, surgery, or electronic gadget that require a lifestyle makeover, such as modifying breathing, postural, and movement habits. These conditions range from chronic pain, recurring injuries, poor posture, exercising safely with a chronic medical condition or post-op, compromised balance, managing stress effectively, poor body awareness, fatigue, breath holding, shallow breathing, anxiety, depression, and premature aging.