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How to Cut the Tension

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Case Study 3
Hard-Partying Thirtysomething, ready to try waking up without a hangover.
Solution: Scare yourself straight. All those late nights and multiple cocktails have taken more of a toll than you’d think. Finding out your body’s physical age (which is likely a lot older than your chronological age) through the Body Age program at Equinox’s E Studio will tell you just how much damage you’ve done so far.

Clean out some toxins, even if it’s just symbolic. The Acu-Organ detox at Exhale involves a warm castor-oil poultice and a slow, deliberate massage that hits the liver, gallbladder, stomach, spleen, and pancreas. “When I’m doing this work, I can actually feel where there’s congestion, inflammation, stuck fecal material,” says acupuncturist Robert MacDonald. “And I move things along that channel.”

Meet some new friends. If you’ve been hanging out with the same boozing-and-using crowd for years, they’re not exactly going to be supportive. Try a new sport, or pick up a hobby that doesn’t take place in a bar.

Make your gym routine an obstacle course. Repeating the same workout is way too dull for twitchy substance abusers. “I’d have them stand on a balance board or a Bosu ball and do shoulder presses with hand weights at the same time,” says Cindy Sherwin, head trainer for the GYM.

Get acupuncture. While nobody’s really sure why it works, acupuncture is mainstream enough that it’s even used to treat drug addictions and quell cravings. Noah Rubinstein of Longevity Health advocates a few sessions of ear acupuncture (in Chinese medicine, the ear is a microcosm of the entire body, akin to the foot in reflexology). Inserting four or five needles into key points helps balance anxiety and cravings for food and other substances, he says.


Case Study 4
Number-Cruncher, hunched over a computer, strangled by deadlines.
Solution: Stop slumping. Bad posture affects blood flow to the brain. At Chirospa, Dr. Steve Gettinger, chiropractor-slash-martial-artist, will not only check your spinal alignment and adjust as needed, he’ll get you clear and focused with a series of calming breathing exercises and hydrotherapy. “I get New Yorkers aligned, but I also get them focused and back on the street with a warrior mentality,” he says. “Like a samurai.”

Have someone take a picture of you sitting at your desk, and analyze it. “You shouldn’t be reaching in weird ways to access stuff,” says Stephen Barlow-Lawson, the president and design director of Biomorph. “If you sit in your chair and rotate with your arms out, that’s your circle of power. Everything you need should be within that reach.” The checklist: The top of your computer monitor should be level with your eyes. Your chair should recline fully. Your elbows should rest on your work surface at a 90-degree angle to your keyboard. And your wrists should have good support.

Sweep religiously. There’s nothing like a million scattered Post-it Notes to inspire a panic attack. Linda Rothschild, an organization expert with the company Cross It Off Your List, suggests stopping for three distinct organizing moments every day: morning, after lunch, and before you leave.

Do a handstand in the late afternoon. When neck muscles are cramped and eyestrain is setting in, a fifteen-second handstand (stabilize yourself against a wall) behind closed doors can be very restorative. Plus, it makes you feel like a kid. Get proper technique first, though; Chelsea Piers offers beginner gymnastics classes for adults year-round.


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