The Triad of Chinese Medicine, Fascia, and Peak Performance with Doug Bertram

Where do you live these days?  It’s an important question when it comes to your health.  Each region and country in the world has its own “health culture,” and when you venture out to investigate new scenery, you might feel a bit out of place.

The “Elements” of Structural Elements

Bridging the language gap is difficult, and maybe a little polarizing when trying to see eye-to-eye in the health world,” says Doug Bertram, renowned Manual Therapy Expert and owner of “Structural Elements,” a multi-faceted treatment center for athletes and every-day movers alike.
“At Structural Elements, we don’t use any of that defining language.  ‘Chi-Flow’ for instance is just communication within the body and with the environment,”  not a high-end hair styler.
  • Acupuncture is just one tool in the toolbox
  • Yoga uses eastern terms unfamiliar to most westerners

“I like to keep things really simple.  I’m a midwestern boy, and I like things that I can touch and things that I can wrap my head around.” (6:30)

Here’s a few ideas:

  • Breathing is the way we connect our internal and external worlds (7:10)
  • Physical and emotional states are not disconnected
  • You can’t achieve a higher mental state or more spiritual awareness if you have physical ailments where your body is out of balance
  • Mastery is shrinking the time between finding balance, because states of balance are fleeting

Meditation Method

“Meditation is not the process of trying to outpace your anxiety with calming thoughts,” says Doug.  “That’s not the goal, nor is it effective.  It’s about taking inventory and involves vivid communication with all parts of yourself.”Feeling, sensing, and noticing are central to meditation, followed by responding with re-centering and breath work. We have a say in our experience–We don’t have to accept the way things are.We can’t leave our physiology behind, because the physical affects the emotional state

Activity Enhances Wellness

“Our typical client is an active individual, sometimes a pro athlete, and a lot of spinal injury patients.” (14:00)Structural Elements also benefits older men and women who want to stay active. The focus is not making pain go away, but helping patients see what life would look like without pain.Diagnosis begins with alignment of the physical body.  Acupuncture can loosen muscles and allows the body to be manipulated more easily
  • Healing is encouraged when the body is aligned
  • Education about nutrition and recovery cycles of training are central to each client’s treatment experience
  • Listening to the body through sight, touch,  and emotion helps diagnose problems

** Prefer To Watch? Check Out Our Livestream, The Triad of Chinese Medicine, Fascia, and Peak Performance with Doug Bertram Here!**

The Fantastic Fascia

Fascia: “Band” or “Bundle” in Latin.Once thought of as a web-like or mesh system of nerves in the body, Fascia is a thin casing of connective tissue that surrounds and holds every organ, blood vessel, bone, nerve, and muscle in place underneath the skin (25:30). “It’s fluid, actually, and there are like 17 different densities of collagen fibrils that determine its stiffness.”Fascia keeps your muscles attached to your bones and keeps your organs from jostling around inside of your body when you move.

When it’s healthy, Fascia is flexible, supple, and it glides.

When it’s unhealthy, Fascia is sticky, clumpy, tight, and flaky. Unhealthy Fascia is caused by a sedentary, dehydrated, stressful lifestyle or can be caused by overused muscles or poor sleep.

Improving Fascia Health

Inflexibility is just one of the symptoms of poor Fascia health.  Fatigue and cellulite can also be troubling effects of poor Fascia condition.  Luckily, there is hope.
Try these recent updates in Fascia health:

1.  Stretch every day for at least 10 minutes2.  Hold each stretch for 30-60 seconds, but not to the extent that pain is caused

3.  Visit the sauna following a workout…warm muscles are more easily stretched, and Fascia with them
4.   Cardio workouts (walking, jogging, swimming) improve blood flow and Fascia health

5.  Yoga is prime time for stretching Fascia

6.  Hydration, hydration, hydration. Water is vital to Fascia health

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Mobility Vs. Flexibility

What’s the difference?

Flexibility is the ability for a joint to reach range of motion, whereas mobility is how we sequence movements in real time.”  (28:30)  “The Traction Exercise is our gift to the world,” says Doug.
Here’s how it’s done:
  • Lay flat on your back on a firm surface (not a bed or carpeting)
  • Bend your knees, lengthen your spine, and extend the arms sideways with palms up
  • Breathe deeply from the abdomen, and repeat for 3 minutes, extending the time on the exhale end
  • Repeat this process twice a day for maximum benefit

Check out for this exercise and more!  “Clients get better faster when they apply the right tools,” says Doug.  “Learning how to down-regulate stress responses from our bodies is achieved by applying different tools, and it makes a world of difference.” (36:00)

Stress is Here to Stay

It is no surprise that performance requires stress management.  Helping athletes or just an average Joe to achieve his or her highest level at work or play is Doug’s goal.”Stress isn’t something we have to overcome.  Guess what?  It ain’t going anywhere.”When the high demand situation is done, we don’t want to stay in a high stress state.  This becomes a chronic unhealthy state of being.”The Traction Exercise is our gift to the world…it takes a person out of that stressful state.”
Download this episode here