Monthly Archives: July 2014

One Customer Testimonial that Truly Gladdened Our Hearts.

We really appreciate the time this customer took to let us know we helped him. What a surprise when he turned to be an MD and director of a hospital. It made his letter even more satisfying because his expertise is the body, how it moves, what it takes to move the body and how posture uses different muscle groups.

We are grateful for Dr. Waggoner’s comments on our customer service and the level of education and problem solving we provide. He’s got all of us glowing. Thank you Dr. Waggoner!

Below is Dr. Waggoner’s testimonial and details of the story behind it.

Karen Burke, President

Testimonial 6/14 Customer Service testimonial

“I would like to … offer my thanks, to you and most particularly to Craig. I wrote an e-mail complaining about a mistake, …and although…the mistake was actually mine… you folks responded with a genuine concern that things weren’t right. You never mentioned the topic of who was responsible for the problem. Further, your concern was incredibly professional. Having spent 40 years in one of America’s most beleaguered service industries, I can say with authority, “You’re the best! You truly are.” This impression was furthered when I heard about the work you do for our veterans–both young and old. I believe my sister quoted Craig describing his company as a “Boulder Cottage industry”–or something to that effect. If so, it would seem to be a cottage populated by folks who have been sprinkled with the greatest of all magical powders–compassion, altruism, and intelligent common sense.”

With Great Respect,

 Jeffrey R. Waggoner, MD

Chief of Staff, Weisbrod Memorial Hospital, ER, and ECU

Sometimes there is an issue with discomfort when sitting. In this case, this gentleman had purchased a Kare Drafting Chair and was very happy with it but there seemed to be some issues with sitting in an upright position. He designed an in-house standing desk to reduce compression to his abdominal area. He explained how he needed to be able to recline a little to be comfortable. And he did not want his back to always rock, he needed it to have a locking ability so he could angle the chair back in a slight recline position and lock it wherever he wants.

The Kare Ergonomic expert asked a number of questions about his goals, such as what is he trying to create and what does he expect the outcomes to be.

It turns out that he is most comfortable when he can change from sitting to standing. And when sitting he needs a chair back that can adjust in small increments of recline. And he certainly needed all the other parts of the chair to adjust, like being able to set the seat depth to fit his leg length.

We felt his solution of using a draft chair introduced a new issue when getting in and out of chair because he would have to over use the abdominal muscles and that would increase the current issues.

We proposed he change his current solution and use a desk-height chair instead of the draft-height chair to eliminate the over-use of the abdominal muscles.

Then use a sit to stand desk that has the height adjustments to fit him. This ensures that he is always in a comfortable working position whether sitting or standing. It also permitted easy height adjustments to the height of the desk so he can quickly reduce fatigue whether sitting or standing.

The root issues are that he was never comfortable sitting and would stand for relief but then standing became uncomfortable. And the area of his body that let the most discomfort was the abdominals.

As in any design process it works best if the goals are always kept in mind. When you start to design around a particular item that is not really at the best height for you then you are at best just putting a Band-Aid on the problem, often increasing discomfort. The goal of this customer was to reduce the compression on his abdominal area. He had all the right ideas but the solutions were at a struggle with each other and thus did not meet his needs. We helped him get the ergonomic product solutions to work together. Yes, this was a more complex situation that needed some extra time, but we have passion for ergonomic support that makes a difference in people’s lives.

Craig Stewart

Ergonomic Evaluator

VP Technical

 

Ergonomic Solution of the Month – How To Care for Your Eyes

Last week, I was visiting my eye doctor for my annual check up.  Because I’m passionate about proper ergonomic setup, I asked her for input on eye care and ergonomics. After examining my eyes (all is well!), she gave me a few tips I’d love to share with you:

  • When using the monitor or watching television, we blink 5 times less. Blinking is apparently important, since it tells the eye muscles that we can relax a little. Blinking helps get the eye in a neutral ergonomics posture and refreshes the eye with tears.  Now tears function like blood to the rest of the body – they deliver oxygen and nutrients to our eyes, carrying away waste and adding moisture. All this work aids the retina (inner layer) to perceive a clearer image. Tears also help restore optimal health to all 3 layers of our eyes: the surface, middle and inner layers.
  • Computer Tip: keep a bottle of artificial tears on your desk to use throughout the day and blink softly like a butterfly to keep your eyes moistened. Aim for natural drops, without preservatives and make sure they are safe for contact lenses, if wearing any.
  • The 20/20 rule: Simply stated, the 20/20 rule is that every 20 minutes, you gaze 20 feet away for 20 seconds.  It gets the eye muscles moving, changes their position and refocuses the eyes
  • Eat your greens: Greens help renew and guard our bodies, so naturally they help protect our eyes. Orange foods containing vitamin A, like carrots, yams, pumpkins, etc also help maintain healthy eyesight and blueberries are magical little things containing tons of antioxidants that can help protect our eyes, as they help protect all our other cells.
  • Our eyes naturally come closer together to get the best viewing, particularly when you’re reading or doing close work, i.e. using the computer, writing, reading a book, etc.  This involves coordinated movement of both eyes inward to focus on the image of a single point. This process is called convergence and can cause fatigue when the eyes are held in this position..

My eye doctor encouraged me to do eye exercises daily. Here are a couple of interesting videos I found on the subject:

Convergence eye exercises:

Eye Yoga with Paul McCartney

Strengthen eye muscles:

It’s easy to take for granted what our eyes do naturally, but caring for our eyes is at least as important as going to the gym or eating healthy.  A little extra consideration and care will allow our eyes to serve us for all our life! To your comfort and health- Karen Burke

Stress Less – Live Longer!

We all get stressed out every now and again, but did you know there are two kinds of stress: positive stress and negative stress.

Positive stress is that adrenaline-fueled feeling that helps you get done what needs to be done, and leaves you feeling less stressed out afterwards. Negative stress is the kind of stress that occurs when we are overwhelmed and unable to manage the challenges facing us. While some positive stress can be beneficial, negative stress can be wearing physically, mentally and emotionally and it is really worthwhile to learn to manage it better.

Learning to successfully manage negative stress can benefit your effects of stresshealth.

You will sleep better. While you may not associate your daily stress with insomnia, your stress levels may be keeping you up at night. To beat back stress, your body produces adrenaline and cortisol. This may be helpful during the day, when a jolt of adrenaline can help you nail that deadline or run that last errand, but not so helpful at night when you are trying to drift off or sleep through the night.

Making adjustments to cope with and minimize stress can get you some serious shut-eye, and help your body manage more effectively in the day.

You may be more productive. Physical stressors such as poor lighting, or non-ergonomic workstations and tools, as well as mental and emotional stressors like insomnia, deadlines, office politics, and high-pressure work environments can cause reduced productivity. Constant, low level stress at work can cause anxiety, narrowed thinking and negative feelings, generally making the work environment less pleasant for you, and others around you.

Simple solutions like a change in the physical work environment such as freshly painted walls, soothing music, oxygen producing plants, clearing your desk, or a focus on solutions rather than focusing on the area of frustration can go a very long way toward turning negatives into positives, and make you happier, healthier and more productive.

Your memory will improve. Stress – even mild stress – can create short-term memory loss. Stress produces hormones like noradrenaline and cortisol. These hormones flood the cerebral cortex, which governs working memory and stores new information. This explains why you can’t remember where your keys are when you are running late, or you come back from the grocery store without the one thing you went to go buy. If you are feeling harried, taking a moment to relax and breathe deeply can fuel your memory and keep your mind sharp.

What are the best ways to de-stress?

Laughter. Something as simple as laughter can relieve stress immediately and dramatically. In one study, stress –related memory loss was shown to be reversed after just 15 minutes of exposure to a funny movie. Take a minute to laugh when you want to cry, and everything will seem a little brighter.

Talk about it. The simple act of talking to friends and family about your struggles can lift your mood and make you feel less stressed out. If you feel that you need to, speak to a professional. Therapy can and does work!

Reducing expectations. Being aware of your limitations, and being kinder to and easier on yourself (and others) can help you stay positive and reduce stress. Trying to do everything on the list creates it’s own stress. You cannot do it all perfectly, all of the time. But if you give yourself a break and a moment to re-focus, you can do the important things successfully and feel great about yourself, and your progress.

Physical activity. Exercise releases feel-good endorphins that combat stress. It also makes you feel that you are doing something positive for your body, which can improve your mood and your self-confidence. Take a run during your lunch break, or march up and down stairs to get the blood moving through your body. No time to get away from the office? Something as simple as a standup, adjustable desk can go a very long way toward getting a little bit of extra energy into your day.

Adequate sleep. Getting enough sleep can improve your outlook and reduce your stress levels immensely. The whole world seems sunnier, and stress is much easier to manage after a good night’s sleep. Make your bedroom your haven, with quality blackout curtains and comfortable linens and pillows, and don’t underestimate the power of earplugs. Try slowing down an hour before you sleep with a ritual that helps calm your mind and you’ll feel the day’s stress melt away.

Letting things go. Accepting failures and learning from them, pacing yourself comfortably, recognizing that some things are not as urgent as you think they are, and letting go of the things that are outside of your control can help you manage stress effectively, and allows you to live a fuller, happier, more balanced life. Doing one thing that makes you calmer and more peaceful each day is the first step towards making each day a great day!

Relieve Carpal Tunnel Pain in 3 Minutes of Yoga Exercise

Among the five most common syndromes of the computer era the Carpal Tunnel one takes a regular place. Nevertheless, simple and short daily exercise can ease the pain and reduce progression of the syndrome (in some cases even reverse it). If you are suffering from Carpal tunnel (or similar pains) its crucial you fix your work posture and move to an ergonomic office chair (see here) if you are not using one.