We are taught to strive for balance. How many times have you sworn that you’ll do better, be better, and “get more balance” in your life? Google “living a balanced life” and you’ll find over 8 million results in only .92 seconds so I’d say it’s something people are really interested in. If that weren’t true there wouldn’t be books, blogs, coaching events, and Facebook posts galore about “ how to achieve balance.” This isn’t another one of those articles. This article isn’t a “5 steps to a completely balanced, perfect, unobtainable life.” It’s designed to ask a few questions, maybe raise a few more and spark a healthy conversation about what we are all looking for.
Functional Medicine is an integrative, science-based healthcare approach that medical doctors, doctors of chiropractic, osteopathic doctors, nurse practitioners, and nutritionists use to treat illness and promotes wellness by focusing on the bio-chemically unique aspects of each patient, and then individually tailoring interventions to restore physiological, psychological, and structural balance.
Although, functional nutrition seems to be more accurate as everything is food. Our primary foods are what we put in our mouths and our secondary foods are how we nourish our bodies. A balance of primary and secondary foods is imperative for optimal whole-body function.
“Laughter is inner jogging.”—Norman Cousins
“If you can sit quietly after difficult news, if in financial downturns you can remain perfectly calm, if you can see your neighbors travel to fantastic places without a twinge of jealousy, if you can happily eat whatever is put on your plate and after a day of running around fall asleep without a drink or a pill, if you can always find contentment just where you are, you are probably a dog.” (Jack Kornfield)
If you can laugh at a good joke, a witty aphorism or comic visual you are probably a human. But are you human enough to generate a wholesome laughter opportunity?
Daniel J. Siegel, M.D., BRAINSTORM, The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain (Penguin Random House, NY, 2013).
My teenage daughter is recovering from foot surgery and is not as active as she usual. She has been complaining that whenever she eats sugar her neck and upper shoulder area hurts. The doctors are baffled. Can you make a connection between these seemingly unrelated yet absolutely consistent and nagging complaints?
You have given me several clues. First, a teenager probably does not have the greatest diet. Second, the recent inactivity is likely significant. Both of these clues lead me to a possible conclusion. That it may be her lymph system is overloaded by poor dietary byproducts. Many people who are active excrete these toxins by sweating through exercise. This enables them to ride the line and walk the tightrope of symptoms, no symptoms. They feel a little yucky, sweat, exercise, feel better. Inactivity closes the gap and topples the apple cart. Then minor dietary infractions cause symptoms. Sugar as a toxin is insulting to the system anyway, especially if it is in the form of high fructose corn syrup. Sugar does also make a temporary and immediate shortening of the muscular tendons where they attach to the bones. Together the over saturation of the lymph with toxins, the lack of excretion, the shortening of tendons and additional toxic input; more sugar, could very likely present itself as neck and shoulder pain. Especially when eating sugar under the
circumstance of being immobile. My recommendation is healthy, live greens, organic fruits and vegetables, lots of waterand perhaps a detoxification diet. Manual lymphatic drainage is a massage technique that flushes the lymph system and a sauna would all be very helpful. Myofascial release may be needed to encourage full release of these muscles as well as posture awareness of head position and the stress on the neck muscles in sleeping and awake postures.
Q: I notice you recommend Yoga often to your clients. I had a strange experience in Yoga that was described to me as my Kundalini Rising. I had severe uncontrolled jerking at this time and am afraid to meditate or do Yoga again. It left me very sore.
A: Yoga is a very telling practice. It is an opportunity for you to get to know your body and all of the areas that are tight not just physically but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. In your practice you are not only striving for symmetry of muscular length and strength and proper bony alignment but balance in your thought processes and connection with the energetic aspects of Being. Kundalini rising is the energy (Prana ) moving up the spine, this canal, the (Shashumna) and through all the Chakras or Energy centers along the way. If there are blockages, belief systems or patterns of trapped energy these will be revealed and be expressed many different ways.
The Kundalini Rising does not necessarily make you jerk however the nervous system and any tethers or resistance in this system will present that way. It is helpful to coordinate Transformational Bodywork, Craniosacral therapy and Myofascial therapy with your Yoga regime so that blockages and restrictions can be moved more gently. You can stop kundalini rising instantly, so it is imperative you have an attentive and experienced teacher until you master this more advanced energetic aspect of Yoga practice.
Ann is an award winning writer,teacher and speaker. Ann is the personal body worker of Her Holiness “Sai Maa”. Ann practices osteopathic physical therapy and has helped thousands of patients. Ann is also an expert on the use of healing foods, homeopathic and herbal consultations, and therapeutic horseback riding. Ann treats her patients in a beautiful country setting which enables her to utilize all of her learned skills as well as some of the healing properties that only Mother Earth can bestow .Ann is available by appointment and can be reached 302-656-7882. The farm is also available for birthday parties, women’s circles, and retreats.
While the wind blows, and the rain
Lashes against the windows
The lights flicker and are gone,
The storm grows worse….
We sit quietly watching the fire,
It hisses as the rain comes down the chimney,
The lights come back,
The storm grows worse.
The wind whirls around the roof….
Daylight comes, the clouds are gone.
The sun is shining.”
Hurricane Bob, by Mary Hoxie Jones, 1991; in
Tracing the Rainbow, Manchester Ctr, VT, 1995.
This month, families are encouraged to implement healthier eating habits. "Eat more fresh vegetables," has become an organizing focus for me to keep upgrading my nutrition. Eating more vegetables will unequivocally boost your family's nutrition. Here are some ideas to inspire your journey towards a healthier lifestyle and a more attractive physique.
I have neuropathy. My hands and feet are go numb and wake me several times in the night. It is getting worse over time. What help is there for me?
There are several angles for which to approach such a problem and sometimes this issue must be approached from all the angles at one time for full recovery. We will start small and work toward a bigger picture. First, the cellular aspect or more specific the biochemical influence on the body.
Most all of us, at one time or another has experienced heartburn. Heartburn is a common symptom of acid indigestion.
Have you ever wondered what was going on inside your body to cause this annoying sensation? Heartburn occurs when the acidic contents of the stomach are refluxed into the lower esophagus. Since the cells lining the esophagus are not able to withstand exposure to acidic conditions, irritation and inflammation result; hence the burning sensation. Individuals that are at greater risk for experiencing acid indigestion are those with hiatal hernia, weakened valve between esophagus and stomach (lower esophageal sphincter) and those with an impaired ability to clear liquids or food from the esophagus into the stomach.
Q: I have been limping in fairly severe pain 8/10 for three years. I have had therapy of every sort. It seems no one is really sure if the pain is coming from my back, hip or knee. My gut tells me there is something deep
Rubbing, scrubbing, scratching, brushing, petting, patting your dog, cat, hamster, horse, sheep, parakeet, cockatiel, chicken, iguana, snake or turtle is a feel good time for both of you. Beyond that, much has been researched and published about therapeutic benefits interacting with a "companion animal."
I've felt exhilarated swimming with a dolphin holding its dorsal fin at a Key Largo rescue center, observed the deLIGHTING of nursing home residents and staff when pets visited, and have seen physically challenged children transform astride a gentle horse.
Rolfing is a therapy that methodically rebalances your body. It frees your body from restrictions as it releases stresses, strains and tensions held in your physical structure. Rolfing improves and restores flexibility and range of motion, releasing bound-up energy. After Rolfing, your body expends less of its vital energies against gravity. This restored freedom leads to a sense of increased physical vitality with less effort, noticeably higher levels of energy, improved health and physical appearance.
Q: My daughter has had symptoms of autism since her 15 month old vaccines. She does not talk well and has many behavioral difficulties. Is there any treatment techniques in osteopathy that are helpful with this diagnosis?
A: I have had several children come to me with developmental delay or autism that had minimal speech and multiple behavioral disorders. True osteopathy performed as it was created, utilized nature and animals in the treatment process. Many prescriptions included activities out in nature or interaction with animals. I use myofascial release and craniosacral therapy to balance the structure and then ask nature to help with the rest.
Spring into joyful celebration of change.
What an exciting season. Mother Nature dazzles every one of my senses in Her spectacular performance of rebirth and renewal. Last month’s little green nubs are today’s kaleidoscopic tulips and golden daffodils. The delicious aroma of freshly mowed grass inspires me to pause for some really deep breaths. Barefoot stepping over lush, cool moss not only delights my feet, but also brightens my already good mood. Songbirds serenade me into wakefulness each morning like those endearing opening scenes of Walt Disney’s Cinderella. The exquisite taste and crunchy texture of the first fresh-picked asparagus from the garden is irresistible.
Q: You have requested I stop caffeine in order to help my arthritic pain symptoms. This is very difficult for me to do, can you be more specific as to why I should comply with this request?
A: Look caffeine up in the Physician’s Desk Reference, you will be shocked to find out what a serious drug it is. When you imbibe caffeine, you do not just wake yourself up but overstimulate every nerve in your body, including pain fibers. Just as important as the biochemical side effects of this element, is where it falls on the scale of alkalinity and acidity.
Q: I have had a great deal of myofascial release over the years and I would like to wrap up my need for treatment, how do you make the results last?
A: When are you ever done with myofascial release is a great question. Personally, I have found that I was living a good life in pain fairly early on. Treatment relieved pain gradually over time as though I was an emerging ice sculpture. Treatments were expensive and being young I had a great deal to learn before I put myself first.
Q: You worked on my horse with osteopathy last month and it won a race later that day. The results were immediate and now I feel inconsistency in his training sessions a fluctuation where some sessions are like race day and some are really off . It seems if I am stiff or I have missed my stretching sessions it affects him, do you think I need to be treated to enhance his performance?
A: Many injuries for animals or people come from what we perceive as minor incidental occurrences that are easily overlooked. A twist or a kink that we feel will work it's way out. Sometimes after a fender bender or such symptoms are not felt for months.
The approach to health differs between the western model and holistic models. In the west health, is defined by conventional or allopathic practitioners as the absence of disease. Very little time or resources or committed to looking at the whole person and the connection between mind-body-spirit. Yet, these very same practitioners do recognize that some connection exists and that those with mind-spirit disruptions do not fare as well with treatments. These are often those with chronic illness who continue to resist treatment or life style changes and those who seem unable to heal. This is not absolute of course. Many succumb to a multitude of diseases that are very strong in mind and spirit. The nature of healing is a complex process and is not an event. It involves the role of the patient and practitioner(s) in a complex process. This process of integrating healthy life styles into the essence of life often involves using multiple avenues by the patient with the assistance of one or often more practitioners. No set time frame can be applied since this is a very personal process with a unique purpose for each person involved. This includes the healer/practitioner.
Touch + Intention + Attention = Healing
You have used your hands for a myriad of tasks today, but most likely none of them have involved healing. That’s about to change. It is both simple and easy to transmit healing energy using the very hands that zip up your jacket, open doors, hold a phone or hand over a credit card.
Touch is a powerful catalyst for healing energy.
Put this magazine down for a minute, and place your palms and fingers lightly together in the classic prayer position ~ not to pray, but just to feel. Focus on their temperature for a moment. Relax a bit. Maybe take a satisfyingly full breath. Be present with your experience. Is there even the slightest shift in temperature? Now concentrate on sensations shared by those hands. A slight pulsation perhaps. Any buzzing, humming or prickles? Be patient. Pay attention.
Power Wash Your Energy Field!
You surely know that feeling good generates healing chemicals and activities in your body. You might know that the law of attraction brings us more of what we’re feeling. But do you know that positive emotions cleanse your aura? Energy flows into us clean and clear, and it outflows as emotions. When your emotion is positive, the flow of that energy “power washes” your portals. When your emotion is negative it carries all kinds of sludge and debris that clogs up your field.
“Every cell is a little sentient being.” ~ Deepak Chopra, MD
Grasping that half-gallon carton of juice to lift it out of the refrigerator, my hand launches up like a rocket because the carton purchased yesterday is practically empty. Nerves, bones and muscles involved in the maneuver had geared up for the weight of a full carton. Yes, a miscalculation, but the prefix doesn’t negate the fact that some calculation did indeed take place. Who made that calculation? My intellect was occupied with the ominous dark cloud filling the sky above my laundry on the clothesline.
“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894)
The symphonic cicadas are an audio background while the sound studio in my mind plays that old tune, “It’s summertime, summertime, sum, sum, summertime….” I LOVE THIS SEASON! Fun opportunities abound ~ from a simple lunchtime picnic during a busy workweek to a sublime summer at the shore. Mother Nature entices us to savor the outdoors, to stroll the neighborhood on a cool evening, to chill around the pool on the doggiest of days.
Q: I am a patient who has recovered from a chronic pain problem. My pain is greatly reduced but my world is upside down. I have lost my career and spouse. My eating habits are terrible and I cannot remember the last time I exercised. I cannot take medication anymore because I developed an ulcer. Where do I go from here?
Alternative therapies are the new pioneers in changing the landscape of the health profession. The healing arts have been around for centuries but for most of us, we are just beginning to recognize its creditability.
In the alternative realm, we use energy forces, affirmation, breath and manual techniques totreatourclients. Holistic and energetic cures have been applied with positive healing results(homeostasis). The best results occur when the healer takes the time to listen to the body and then apply techniques to assist the body in its own healingprocess. Zero Balancing (also called ZB)is a perfect example of one of these whole body,holistic modalities.
Q: I have had episodes of dizziness that comes on intermittently and seems to be occurring more frequently and it seems to happen whenever I lie down. I have been getting treated for a car accident that occurred earlier this year, could they be related?
A: There is a chance you have benign paradoxical vertigo. This is caused by an unequal distribution of inner ear matter. There are very simple exercises that can be done in sitting. Turning your head to one side and falling to the opposite side touching the part of your head beneath your ear to the surface count to 30, up and follow the same directions to the other side.
Whether you’re among the 86% of polled Americans who favor retaining “In God We Trust” on currency, or the 14% that want it deleted, here’s some down to earth encouragement to get help for living well from a powerful higher resource. Whether you are religious, agnostic or atheist, believing in and utilizing some power greater than one’s mortal self is a topic worth exploration during these challenging times. It’s an enduring investment with guaranteed dividends.
Q: I seem to frequently fall on my right side. I have had several injuries over the last ten years but it seems whenever I fall it is always on the right side. Do I have some type of neurological problem?
A: Sometimes when someone has an injury there can be an imbalance created at the pelvis. Especially if one leg went out in front and the other went backwards or if the fall was on one buttocks or the other. The ilia which is like a wing of the pelvis rotates on the sacrum, the ball and socket joint becomes compromised in that the leg for which the ilia is rotated in the forward plane appears longer to the rest of the body as compared to the other side.
Q: I fell off my horse two weeks ago and broke my rib. My hip and shoulder are sore on that side to. I could use treatment on the hip and shoulder however, can osteopathy help with the broken rib?
Q: My daughter has an incredibly heavy back pack. How can I help her ward off pains when she grows up that may occur from years of this on going stress on her posture and muscles?
A: One thing to keep in mind, is that a long duration, low intensity stress is as damaging as a quick, high impact injury. The back pack is a low impact, repetitive, long duration stress. Carrying a heavy backpack long term, can make imbalances in the postural muscles such that the scalene muscles, pectoral muscles and psoas muscles are shortened causing forward head, rounded shoulder and lordotic low back posture.
Earl’s raspy breathing often preceded him on his visit to the doctor’s office. “Darth Vadar!” the receptionist would kiddingly say as he opened the office door. This, plus his shortness of breath, fatigue and depression sent him repeatedly to his family practitioner, cardiologist and pulmonary doctor.
When Earl came to see us at the Center for Integrative Health, he was ashen, gray and wheezing. After an extensive interview, we put him on a regimen for his symptoms. A week into his treatment he felt better but when his studies came back he was seen to have a severe Vitamin D deficiency and was immediately put on 5,000 IU daily of Vitamin D3.
“We urgently need to find practical ways of reestablishing our conscious sense of connection with living nature.” RUPERT SHELDRAKE, one of the world’s foremost biologists
Tending a simple little plant can be a doorway to enchantment in your everyday life. Nature’s rhythmical entrance into the season of rebirth is a perfect time to align with the physical and mystical energies of rejuvenation. Whatever state you may perceive your life to be in right now, you can experience the thrill of a new beginning just by tending a new, simple little plant. Synchronize with natural forces and proceed without doing any research. Just follow your intuition.
World class athletes use holistic visualization to enhance learning and performance, and you can, too. Here's proof. Recall--as vividly as you can--holding a fresh lemon in your hand. "Feel" its weight. Imagine tossing it in the air. "Hear" it land in your palm. "Examine" the knobbly texture and colors of the rind. "Hold" it close to your nose. "Smell" the aroma of pure lemon oil. Imagine lifting a knife and halving it. "Pick up" half and look at the little sacks of juice. "Squeeze" it slightly and "lick" the juice.
Tah dahhhh! Your salivary glands respond like you really licked a lemon! And that puckery feeling at the sides of your throat is equally real.
“Nobody can be exactly like me. Sometimes even I have trouble doing it.” - Tallulah Bankhead, 40’s Film Star
Are you still in school “daze,” now that all the paraphernalia has been wrestled into a dorm cubicle? Or now that sending your baby off to kindergarten just tugs at your heartstrings rather than breaks them? I’ve been beaming healing energy to all of you ~ from preschool to college, students and families. Such a big transition!
Maintaining bone strength as we enter mid-life and beyond is an important goal, not just for postmenopausal women. Men may experience declining bone strength as they age, although generally later in life than women. Most people know that adequate calcium intake is important for healthy bones. It is not widely understood, however, that bone is a complex living tissue continually undergoing a process of building up and breaking down. Strong bones require a constant supply of a variety of nutrients, not just calcium.
Q: I have Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy in my back and right leg. This presents as temperature changes, burning, pain and spasm as a result of a complication of an injury. Can you treat this problem and how do you treat it?
Winter dehydration has greater consequences than just dry skin. It may also be the source of your seasonal blues and flues.
“Drink at least one quart of pure water a day” was one of the first self-health assignments for students in my holistic practitioner classes. Over 30 years and more than 12,000 reports from 600 students, along with my professional observations, and I can say quite confidently that drinking pure water has miraculous healing effect.
Our month of May gleams with renewal. Fluorescent green continues to sprout from rich, dark earth after a restful winter and chilly spring. Flowers blossom little and large, brilliant and aromatic to seduce pollinating insects—an ingenious strategy to enhance a future for all of us. What a spectacle. Do you ever marvel at Nature’s seasonal cycles of soughing off the old for the new to emerge? I’ve witnessed this spring rebirth 64 times, and continue to be delighted with surprises brand new to my awareness.
"In the last fifty years, the concept of an holistic approach to wellness, - integrating spirit, mind and body into the health paradigm, has been called many things, some of them unrepeatable in polite company. It has morphed from alternative to complimentary and finally integrative medicine. This includes spirituality, stress modification, exercise, diet and micronutrition. "
Dr. Gerald Lemole, Medical Director Preventive Medicine & Rehabilitation Center and Center for Integrative Health
Many centers are emerging around the country primarily because the public demands empowerment and a more proactive role in their own health.
Q: I own a business that requires a lot of lifting boxes from 10-50 lbs. Owning this business has required me to give up my workout time. Can lifting the boxes substitute for working out ? I did wrench my back pretty bad on a bigger box, I should mention I am a woman also.
Q: I have been a patient of yours in the past. One thing always fascinated me that I was wondering if you could explain. Sometimes I would not tell you where I was hurting and even if it was not the complaint I came to you for, you would drop your hand right on it. How is it possible for a practitioner to know where the pain is without being told?
A: There is a great deal to this life time and this world we live in, that we cannot see. A great deal of our world lies in the realm of quantum physics. This aspect of living which the old time osteopaths were very aware of, has much to do with electromagnetic exchange of information that lies in the realm beyond bombarding of electrons: in the elements yet smaller than the electrons, protons and neutrons.
Q: I am having a chronic problem that seems to go back and forth between my neck and my shoulder. It seems when one hurts the other one does not and vice versa. Why would this happen?
A: Neck pain can occur in conjunction with shoulder pain for many reasons. The simplest reason is that a muscle in the neck becomes overused or strained to the point that it develops a trigger point. Trigger points may develop in for instance the scalene muscles located at the lateral aspect of the neck on both sides that can cause symptoms that radiate into the shoulder even down the arm mimicking rotator cuff symptoms.
Celebrate! Maintaining Health and Weight
Balancing feasting with fasting is my secret for ebulliently enjoying holiday festivities to the max. (I’ve heard, however, there are more restrained levels of holiday enjoyment. Choose what suits you.) Yes, I can party hearty with a free conscience and keep my svelte physique. And you can, too. Here are the details for you to emulate or adapt respecting your personal physical condition to boost your holiday pleasure without diminishing your health or adding inches to your waistline.
“Take rest; a field that has rested gives a beautiful crop.” OVID, Roman Poet, 43 B.C. – 17 A.D.
When was the last time you experienced a deliciously refreshing night’s sleep? Or a deeply restful hour with loved ones. Or a quiet moment of solitude relaxing into your spiritual self? If you need to look beyond the past 24 hours for the answers, let me help you rest right now.
Longer days, abundant local produce, and outdoor activities make summer time a great opportunity to joyously upgrade your health. It can be easy. It can be fun. It can be lasting.
Tiny improvements in health habits accumulate into huge benefits over the years, like a penny doubled every day. Involving family and/or a few friends to formulate their individual choices for an upgrade creates a contagious momentum. Do more of the healthy things you love rather than forcing yourself to struggle towards some idealistic “should.” (Don’t should on yourself!)
An attitude of gratitude is a valuable holistic tool.
Dancing joyfully between your life’s mission and your daily tasks, the big picture and the details, your long-range aspirations and recycling your trash is one way to describe holistic living. When I’m in that holistic zone, I’m feeling really good, dancing inside like Snoopy’s best cartoon
jig. Then there are those times when I’ve morphed into a Velcro ping-pong ball on a Velcro table: stuck, stuck, stuck. Doesn’t matter whether it’s the big picture or the little, stuck is characterized by frustration, or angst, or despair, or ___________. (I invite you to fill in your “favorite.” Seriously, why not grab a pen right now and get personal? Moving muscles demonstrates willingness, which in turn opens new nerve pathways for new thought patterns.)
Just what does “holistic” mean?
Let’s postpone this “what” question, and start out with questioning “why” even explore this topic? Answer: to learn something valuable you can easily apply for Living Well. Whether the value is simply considering a new perspective or whether it’s cultivating a new habit, you will experience direct benefits from applying it. These benefits build and grow and sculpt your being, and consequently your life, for the former inspires the latter.