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20 November 2014

Java 8 and BlueJ 3.14 on a Raspberry Pi

In late 2013 Oracle released a Java language development kit (JDK) optimized for the Raspberry Pi's platform..

A short time later the Raspberry Pi Foundation included Oracle’s JDK by default in its Raspbian OS image.

However, running a coder-friendly Java editor, like the BlueJ IDE, on the Raspberry Pi was still a problem.

The good news it that in a recent Java Magazine article Michael Kolling describes how to install and run BlueJ version 3.14 on the Raspberry Pi.

Even better, this version of BlueJ also includes the Pi4J library for direct access to the Raspberry Pi's hardware.

Minecraft Pi Edition's main 'pi' package in BlueJ

More Raspberry Pi Coding, Tips and Tricks

3 November 2014

Fascia Understanding and Treatment

Are you suffering from persistent back, shoulder, neck or joint problems?
Did you realise a fascia malfunction could be the root cause?

While normally associated with muscle, fascia reacts quite differently to exercise and manipulation. And the timescales associated with fascia damage and repair are much longer.

So, we need to invoke a different mental picture, and a revised approach to treatment.

Fascia Understanding

Let's start with a few key facts about fascia:
• Fascia is a three-dimensional mesh-like web of fibres and lubricating goo.
• Fascia wraps and supports muscle fibres, bones, organs, blood vessels, nerves, and so on.
• Fascia is composed of three major components: collagen, elastin and ground substance.
• Collagen fibres are tough non-stretchy threads that provide strength and support.
• Elastin are rubber-like fibres that stretch and recoil.
• Ground substance is a thick lubricating goo which provides shock absorption.

For a more detailed picture read Julia Lucas's excellent fascia overview article Understanding Your Fascia: Fascia may be the missing piece for your lingering injury written for the Runners World magazine .

Fascia Treatment

Fascia takes much longer to stretch and contract than muscle. So, to be effective a massage needs to be administered using gentle pressure and slower movements.

You can see this in action at Heather Wibbels website. Within the series she has treatments for the lower back and neck, plus practical self-treatment ideas using a door frame.

There's a useful collection of self-treatment stretches at this illustrated stretching guide page. But remember, for fascia you'll need to stay completely relaxed, perform slow, gentle stretches and hold each stretch for many minutes rather than just ten to thirty seconds.

Also see Fascia Repair Foods and Understanding Trigger Points

Fascia Repair Foods

Fascia is a composed of three major components: collagen, elastin and ground substance.

Collagen fibres are tough non-stretchy threads that provide strength and support.
Elastin are rubber-like fibres that stretch and recoil.
Ground substance is a thick lubricating goo which provides shock absorption.

There's a number of nutrients required for effective formation, integrity and repair of collagen and its associated connective tissue.

Collagen is a protein, so make sure there's adequate levels of protein in your diet. Fish, white meats, nuts, beans and legumes all work well.

Vitamin C is needed to to build collagen via the conversion of lysine and proline into hydroxylysine and hydroxyproline. Natural vitamin C sources are best, such as oranges, strawberries, pineapple, kiwifruit, papaya, broccoli, brussel sprouts and kale.

Manganese is needs for cartilage, bone, ligaments, tendons and fascia formation. So make sure your diet includes foods like brown rice, chickpeas, spinach, pineapple, pumpkin seeds.

Zinc is required for protein synthesis. Zinc rich foods include oysters, venison, lamb, grass fed beef, scallops, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, prawns.

Copper is also important for collagen repair. Sources include sesame seeds, cashews, soybeans, sunflower seeds, tempeh, chickpeas, lentils.

Sulphate combines with chondroitin to to produce glucosamine sulfate and help facilitate cartilage repair and collagen production. Sources include broccoli, cauliflower, garlic, cabbage, onions, radishes, mustard, egg yolks and whey protein.

Other nutrients required for proper sulfation include Magnesium, B12, B6, B9. Think broccoli, cauliflower, garlic, cabbage, onions, radishes, mustard, egg yolks and whey protein.

Also see Fascia Understanding and Treatment and Understanding Trigger Points

Understanding Trigger Points

Trigger points is another health topic that's difficult to research. Nevertheless, trigger point identification and treatment can provide rapid relief for both long-term and frequently recurring pain.

The best information source I've found so far is Clair Davies's excellent book The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief (available from Amazon or other online bookshops).

This comprehensive manual is often cited as the definitive reference by physiotherapists. And whenever I decide to re-read a particular topic I invariably discover a little more about the root causes, symptoms and treatments.

Also see Fascia Understanding and Treatment and Fascia Repair Foods