Could stretching actually be making your sciatica worse?

People who suffer from sciatica are often told to stretch their hamstrings or their piriformis to relieve the tightness and get rid of pain. But certain sciatica stretches not only don’t work, they also can be quite harmful.

A client of mine, Susan, 47, had been suffering from what she believed to be hip pain for many months. Because of all the time she spends working at her desk and driving/commuting, she could literally feel her hips getting tighter and stiffer by the day.

Local mom uses personal experience to help open specialty food allergy clinic


Courtesy of Debbie Taback
Debbie Taback, Mountain View mom and co-founder of Latitude Food Allergy Care, above with her husband and children, said she was inspired to help people affected by food allergies after all three of her kids were diagnosed.

Using her firsthand experience, Debbie Taback of Mountain View co-founded Latitude Food Allergy Care, a specialty food allergy clinic in Redwood City that aims to help children and adults through the diagnosis, potentially life-saving therapy trials and later management of the allergy.

Taback and her clinic co-founders hope to give parents what they wish they had when they were learning about their own children’s serious food allergies: reassurance that they can handle all of the situations thrown their way.

Learning on the job: Local caregiver agency partners with VR company to test innovative training


Courtesy of Care Indeed
Meg Gonzales, Care Indeed’s staffing and employee relations coordinator, tests out the new virtual-reality technology being used to train her caregivers.

Care Indeed has joined forces with the Menlo Park-based Strivr to provide a different kind of on-the-job instruction to caregivers who help patients with dementia: virtual-reality training.

“We are the only company in the country that is using this technology to train caregivers on how to interact (with those affected by dementia),” said Melissa Oakes, business development manager of Care Indeed, which provides at-home assistance to seniors and their family members at six Bay Area locations. “Empathy training is absolutely needed. But then, on the other side, it doesn’t teach you how to interact with that person. Sometimes when you just do empathy training, you can come off more as feeling sorry (for the patient).”

Nutritious meal planning benefits busy families


Courtesy of Reena Vokoun
Planning nutritious meals before going to the grocery store may seem like a hassle, but it could benefit working parents in the long run, according to Passion Fit’s Reena Vokoun.

Daily life has become busier than ever for most families, which can often make eating nutritious meals more challenging. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, typical American diets far exceed the recommended levels of sugar, sodium, saturated fats and refined grains, and fall short of the recommended levels of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

While it may require a small time commitment, organization and planning, it’s possible for families to beat these statistics and eat healthier foods on a regular basis. Below are four meal-planning ideas for busy families to do just that, all strategies I use for meal planning and cooking for my family as well.

Accessible playground gains international attention


Courtesy of Jen Lewin
Palo Alto’s Magical Bridge all-inclusive playground inspired the “Access+Ability” exhibition at this year’s World Economic Forum in Switzerland. Black Eyed Peas rapper Will.i.am, above center, talks with exhibition curators at the event, which ran Jan. 22-25.

The team at Magical Bridge Foundation watched Brooklyn artist Jen Lewin represent their efforts with a traveling version of the “Magical Harp” installation she created for their all-inclusive playground in Palo Alto at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The plot twist: There were no means to get any of the team across the globe, so they watched from approximately 5,898 miles away.

But the inability to attend and view the large-scale photograph, video and temporary laser installation portraying Magical Bridge’s efforts to serve children and adults of all abilities didn’t get the directors of the South Bay-based nonprofit organization down. They have plenty going on at home, with construction of a Redwood City playground set to open by fall and fundraising for a Mountain View playground – with $3.5 million committed so far – in full force.

Healthy Relationship Checklist: 10 benefits of loving well

The new year brings an opportunity for all couples at any stage of an attached relationship – engaged, celebrating silver or gold anniversaries, bringing two families together, newly retired or empty-nesting – to reassess how satisfied they are with this thing called love.

Couple behavior makes sense when we look at it from the perspective of two bonding mammals. Emotional attunement and physical closeness are ancient survival strategies designed to keep us alive when threatened. Our brains encode emotional or physical distance as cause for alarm.


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