A New Window on the Human Condition Opens
Dec 15, 2014 by Dr. Jess Goodman | lifestyle
For 20 years I learned Tai Chi from a Taoist monk and had many positive, life changing experiences. At the end of his life he asked me to show people health benefits that flow from stretching between the heart and the kidneys. Tai Chi, Yoga and other ancient Eastern movement arts focus on stretching along the spinal axis.
Judging Stiffness Through The Body's Core Regions
As a Physician I was intrigued and gladly accepted my teacher's request. Surprisingly there is an extensive body of medical scientific literature showing that stiffness of the Aorta, the body's largest blood vessel travelling from the heart through the chest and abdomen, is an indicator of heart health and predicts risk of death from all causes. Aortic Stiffness appeared as a way to judge stiffness throughout the body's core regions, bounded by the spine. A few articles about Aortic Stiffness are found at http://www.iheartalive.com/faqs#studies-that-prove
Your Pulse Changes As You Age
An even more surprising discovery was that the shape of the arterial pulse, the same pulse that you can feel just above the thumb on your wrist, has a shape that gradually changes with aging as a result of increasing Aortic Stiffness.
Starting by soldering LED's and Photodiodes on my kitchen table I built simple circuits that I placed on a fingertip letting me see the shape of the pulse wave. With the help of friends with engineering knowledge, computer programs were developed to analyze pulse shape.
10 years later an affordable Bluetooth pulse sensor and a iOS app are ready and able to give people a way to use their fingertip pulse signal to assess Aortic Stiffness. The iHeart Physiological Age System iheartalive.com uses pulse signal analysis to determine Aortic Stiffness and provide users with their associated Physiological Age.
Benefits Of Regular Exercise
Exercise is a very effective way to improve Aortic Stiffness and lower Physiological Age. A recent article showing this, 'Effects of Exercise Modalities on Arterial Stiffness and Wave Reflection: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials', is found at http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.137... The article shows that the more vigorous the exercise the more profound the benefit and that the stiffer a person is initially the better the exercise effect.
iHeart allows people to objectively see health benefits from exercise. In the past equipment to measure Aortic Stiffness cost over $10,000, used multiple sensors and required a skilled operator. iHeart, using a 30 second simple test and with a retail price of $149 makes it possible for everyone to start using Aortic Stiffness as a personal road map of their health direction.
Core Mobilization is not a current focus of exercise training. It is however a big part of Yoga and Tai Chi. iHeart is a bridge between ancient Eastern wisdom and Western scientific understanding of health.