Winter News

Wonderful SMI clientele,

It has been a pleasure working with you, your family and your friends this past year. Thank you for trusting us to take care of you and treat your aches and pains.

Our goal at SMI has always been to provide the highest quality clinical bodywork available. In order to continue doing this, we will be increasing our rates by about 10% on January 1st, 2015. It has been ten years since our last increase. As much as we would like to maintain our current rates, our own rising costs and our commitment to excellence necessitate this increase.

Current clients will be able to prepay for up to 5 sessions at the existing rate before the end of the   year. Please contact our front desk to prepay for sessions before January 1st. Our office number is 650-322-2809.

We look forward to working with you this coming year. As always, feel free to give us a call if you have any questions or concerns.

 All the Best,


~Your SMI Team


SMI in San Francisco!

Just a reminder that SMI therapist, Eva Popper, is now working in San Francisco every Wednesday in addition to a few Sundays per month. She is located in the Alamo Square district at: 425 Divisadero Street Suite 209. You can schedule by calling the Palo Alto office at 650­-322­-2809.

Foam Rolling


Roll and Stretch Away Your Tightness!

In our September newsletter we discussed a recent study on the positive impact foam rolling has on knee flexibility (1). The study found that foam rolling the quadriceps muscles increased range of motion during knee flexion without impacting strength and power output. A few days before our September newsletter hit the internet, an article appeared in the Wall Street Journal citing the same foam roller study as well as an additional study that was published in the November issue of the Journal of Sport Rehabilitation (2). This study found that a combination of stretching AND foam rolling was more effective at improving range of motion into hip flexion than just stretching by itself OR just rolling by itself. Taken together, these two studies begin to provide an outline of the most effective ways to utilize the foam roller.

What should you do?


Foam rolling should be a regular part of your warm­up routine. We recommend foam rolling first, followed by dynamic stretching. The amount of time you spend rolling will vary depending on your level of tightness, the temperature, the time of day and the activity you are preparing for. As a general guideline, you should spend between 5 and 10 minutes rolling before starting your dynamic stretching.


After working out, foam roll first and then engage in static stretching. You should generally spend more time rolling after you workout. The more you need to improve your flexibility, the more time you should spend rolling. You  should roll somewhere around 10 to 15 minutes after exercise. Make sure to experiment with varying amounts of time to find out what works most effectively for you.

General Guidelines

*  Ease into the muscle tissue slowly. Start with less pressure and then gradually increase the pressure as the tissue begins to soften and loosen. Err on the side of caution.

* Stay on soft tissue. Rolling over bony structures can cause or exacerbate irritation.

* Pay attention to your entire body. Using the roller can often times put you in awkward positions. Optimal use does require effective positioning which will also promote better body awareness. This is not always intuitive. Proper guidance can help tremendously. Check in with your therapist or personal trainer if you need coaching for effective positioning and body awareness.

If you have any questions on the foam roller and/or stretching, please don’t hesitate to contact us. You can also check out the additional resources below:

SMI guide

Foam Roller Techniques book

(1) MacDonald GZ, Penney MD, Mullaley ME, Cuconato AL, Drake CD, Behm DG,Button DC. “An acute bout of self­myofascial release increases range of motion without a subsequent decrease in muscle activation or force.” Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research March 2013: 812­21.

(2) Johannes, Laura. “Can Foam Rollers Help Relieve Muscle Pain?” The Wall Street Journal September 8, 2014.

Putting the Band back together…the IT Band that is!

10 years ago, Dr. Brian Fullem DPM, wrote an article on IT Band Syndrome entitled “Beating the Band.” Runner’s World recently published an updated version of this article stating that it “has remained one of the most popular on our website.”

SMI’s mention in the article has resulted in numerous phone calls and e-mails from around the country asking for advice on treating this stubborn syndrome! We have even had a few desperate individuals make the trip to Palo Alto from Washington, Alabama, Massachusetts and around the country to receive treatment!

If you have any questions on IT Band Syndrome, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

Here is a link to the complete article with exercises:

The Skinny on Fat and the Unexpected Role of Oxygen

For decades saturated fats have been labeled “bad fats” and unsaturated fats have been labeled “good fats.” Earlier this year a meta ­analysis published in the Annals of Internal Medicine concluded that maybe saturated fat isn’t that bad after all.(1) A number of experts believe the conclusions of the analysis are misleading and inaccurate, which has sparked an intense debate in the nutrition and medical communities.

The issue is really quite complex. Saturated fats from plants are different than saturated fats from animals. Cream, butter, whole milk and meat from 100% grass fed pastured cows are fundamentally different from cream, butter, whole milk and meat from feed­lot cows. Meat from wild salmon is fundamentally different than meat from farm raised salmon. As complex as this subject is, we are going to throw one more factor into the equation. The role of oxygen. And while we are not going to attempt to give a comprehensive guideline for fat consumption, hopefully this will shed some light and give some guidance on a very complicated issue.

Oxygen is critical for human survival. Life on Earth would simply not be possible without it. So it is ironic that oxygen is also a prime driver in accelerating the aging process in human beings. High temperatures often used in processing foods and cooking as well as simple exposure to air cause oxidation. Oxidation damages food molecules and damages the mitochondria in our own cells which speeds up the aging process. All foods are vulnerable to oxidation, but unsaturated fats and cholesterol in particular are highly susceptible to oxidation. The more unsaturated the fat, the easier it is to be oxidized. Fats like omega­- 3’s and omega-­6’s will oxidize more quickly because of the very high levels of unsaturated fats.

The oxidation process can wreak havoc on all sorts of foods. Chia seeds, flax seeds and walnuts (all high in omega-­3 fats) go rancid very quickly and should be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Most corn, soy and canola oils are exposed to high temperatures during the extraction process and then intentionally heat treated to eliminate their natural odor. Cooking with these oils further exposes them to heat. Vegetable oils are much healthier when they have not been heat treated or pressed at high temperature.

The heat processing of fish oil, flax seed oil and other omega­-3’s used in supplements is probably why research indicates that omega­-3 supplementation does not have the same benefits as eating Omega-3’s from whole foods.(1,2) Another example of the deleterious effects of fat oxidation is in infant formula. The very omega-­3 fats that are added to formula help with brain development and organ growth in babies are highly oxidized.(3)

Animal fat, which is partly unsaturated fat and partly cholesterol is also susceptible to oxidation. Heat­processed dairy products such as dry milk powder, low­fat milk, ultra­pasteurized milk and homogenized milk are all oxidized.

This does not mean that we should be eating all of our food raw. It just means that we need to pay more attention to our food sources and how our food is prepared. We have choices when it comes to food. Make sure you are as informed as possible before making those choices! If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

Bottom Line on Fats

* Eat Fat, more unsaturated fat than saturated fat

* Avoid ultra­pasturized milk and dairy products

* Eat wild seafood and avoid farm raised seafood

* Eat animal fats from fully pastured animals and avoid fats from feed-lot animals

* Avoid blackened and charred foods

* Don’t overcook foods

* Store nuts, nut butters, chia seeds, flax, etc in the refrigerator in an airtight container

* Eat foods rich in omega-­3 fats and skip the omega-­3 supplements

* Eat cold­pressed oils rather than heat treated oils

(1.) “Association of Dietary, Circulating, and Supplement Fatty Acids With Coronary Risk” by R. Chowdhuryet al., Ann Intern Med 160 2014 398

(2.) “Lipid Oxidation in Milk, Yoghurt, and Salad Dressing Enriched with Neat Fish Oil or Pre­Emulsified Fish Oil” by Let et al., J Agric Food Chem, 55 2007 7802
(3.) “Oxidation products of polyunsaturated fatty acids in infant formulas compared to human milk” by M­CMichalski et al., Mol Nutr Food Res, 52 2008 1478