Explaining Nightshade sensitivities to busy waitstaff can be a nightmare… so I made these handy cards. This way they can bring one back to the kitchen for the chef to review. I’m not going to say they work perfectly – I still get cherry tomatoes in my salads! – but they definitely help.
Print these out on card stock and keep a few in your wallet. Bon appetit!
I’ve talked about fascia before in this blog, but I wanted to share this video: It explains the work I do beautifully. It’s so frustrating to me that fascia is unknown by average people, and ignored by so many types of healthcare practitioners. It’s ESSENTIAL in understanding biomechanical dysfunction and healing.
Once I bought a rotisserie chicken from a regular grocery store. As I was taking it apart, I was stunned at how bound up the bird was, compared to the free-range chickens I was used to. A lifetime of forced inactivity had created fascial adhesions all over – you know, that white sheeting? The muscles were all shrink-wrapped in place. “This poor chicken needed a massage!” I told Robert. I felt so bad for it. Just another lesson on how important light, frequent movement is for our bodies.
Tight fascia will pull on our muscles and bones, preventing free movement and potentially causing misalignments. In severe cases, it can constrict nerve and blood vessel function, creating swelling, pain, or numbness & tingling.
For hard-to-reach areas, you can use a foam roller to soften the adhesions. I advise people to use it against a wall, rather than lying down on it, because you can control the pressure better. Remember you do NOT want to cause intense pain – that will spark an alarm response. The body will think you have a new injury and will send sticky connective tissue to glue up whatever is torn or bleeding – which means the adhesions you just broke up will just reform themselves. It’s best to use the roller gently, then move. Go for a walk or do your usual workout. Movement will help release those weakened adhesions.
GREAT NEWS! At the office, in addition to my usual high-potency arnica for bruises, and anti-inflammatory spray (great for arthritis, sunburn, etc) I will have CBD salve! I did a lot of research and gave samples to patients before deciding on a brand, and I really like this one, from Frogsong. It’s CBD from hemp, no THC, so you won’t get high and it won’t show up on drug tests. It’s completely legal, in all 50 states, so you can take it on road trips. I’ve been getting strongly positive responses from my test cases, especially for nerve pain (neuropathy, neuralgia, shingles, sciatic pain, etc).
The CBD oil is in a base of shea butter, coconut oil, argan oil (a Moroccan nut), sweet almond oil, beeswax, and essential oils. Ingredients are sustainably grown, non-GMO, preservative free, gluten free, cruelty free and packaged in BPA-free containers. It comes in regular or double strength, in 3 sizes.
Tinnitus (ringing or roaring in the ears) is one of the few things I can’t reliably treat with acupuncture. It can be mildly irritating or absolutely maddening, depending on the frequency, volume, and pitch.
Here’s a use-at-home method that just requires your hands. I can’t test it personally since I don’t suffer form tinnitus, but two of my friends who do reported this gave them temporary relief. I suspect it has to do with the impact affecting the vagus nerve. Anyway, here’s the video: Good luck!
Explaining your PhD thesis with interpretive dance sounds like a joke, but every year, the American Association for the Advancement of Science hosts the contest and doles out $2500 worth in prizes to the winners in four categories: physics, chemistry, biology and social sciences. This is a lovely visualization of the magic that happens inside us… The others are wonderful, too, and you can see them here.
NOTE: I am not getting paid by Instant Pot (or Amazon), nor do I have any other reason for this post other than to make it quicker and easier for you to cook healthy food at home. I work long hours, and sometimes I lack the energy / time to cook a traditional dinner. The Instant Pot ensures we eat out less, which saves us both cash and calories.
An Instant Pot is a digital pressure cooker. It’s well engineered to be safe and simple to use, unlike the terrifying stove pressure cooker my Mom used to make jelly when I was a kid. There are a few other brands out there that make similar machines, and if you have one of those you can use these same recipes with minimal changes in fluid amount and times.
The IP can:
Make hard boiled eggs that peel like a dream, even when fresh.
In the past, when people called me with a cold, I told them to come in. Acupuncture is great for the immune system! In the last few years, I have changed my policy. I now prefer you stay home if you’re contagious (how long is that?). I have patients who are immune-compromised*. This means I want to prevent their exposure, and also that I can’t work if I am sick at all – and losing a week or more of income is pretty rough (despite all the kitty snuggles).
So – here are some handy dandy acupressure points you can use for yourself. In all cases, press firmly with a fingertip for a few seconds, on both left and right sides. Continue reading →
Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition that makes your feet hurt, especially with the first few steps after being off of them for a while. What’s happening here? First, we have to understand fascia. It’s a system of connective tissue that holds us together.
Connective tissue (white) and muscle fibers. In plantar fasciitis, those fibers get tight and brittle.
It may help to picture a muscle fiber as a new drinking straw in a paper wrapper. The straw is actually the muscle cell, while the white paper is fascia. At each end, that flap of fascia becomes our tendons. It attaches to bone – or, more precisely, to the fascia surrounding bone. These sheaths of fascia are supposed to slide past each other as muscles move. With long periods of no movement, if the muscles are tight, or if there’s an injury, they can stick together and form a fascial adhesion.
When the plantar fascia (the fascia on the bottom of the foot) doesn’t move, it gets stiff and brittle, causing plantar fasciitis. When you do move, it hurts like crazy! The immediate answer – the one most old-fashioned podiatrists give – is to stop the movement. They prescribe stiff orthotics and walking-boot-type shoes that prevent your feet from flexing. That approach does give short-term relief, but in the long run it just sets you up for more pain.
Instead, advanced podiatrists like Dr. Ray McClanahan recognize that our feet evolved to be mobile. For millennia, they were a wide, stable base for our bodies that responded to uneven ground. Most modern footwear is too stiff and constricting, which restricts both toe movement and foot flexing, and reduces us to balancing on a solid block. The best long-term fix for plantar fasciitis is to get things moving again!
The entire bottom of the foot can hurt, although pain is usually focused in the heel.
2) Strengthen the feet with exercises (more here!). The muscles that create the arch of your foot are actually in your lower legs (they have long tendons down to the bones in the foot). Myofascial release for your legs will be helpful, too. With a little work, your legs and feet will support you as nature intended.
3) Break up the adhesions in the feet, using any combo of myofascial massage, acupuncture, rolling with small balls, etc. You have to do this a little bit at a time. Some people like to get in and dig the adhesions apart, deep-tissue massage style. That works well in the short term, but it also causes inflammation… which causes scar tissue and fascial adhesions to form… putting you back where you started. Myofascial release uses a more subtle massage approach to slide the layers apart. I love doing this type of work because the result is immediate freedom of movement and no boomerang side-effects.
The bad news: This is the only treatment I do that hurts.
The good news: It stops hurting immediately, and the relief is powerful and swift.
NOTE: This is how to treat the underlying problem – stiff fascia. If you are in a painful flare right now, we need to treat the “hot” injury first. That means (just as with any tendonitis) rest, ice, acupuncture and anti-inflammatory help via the diet or a topical medication.
Come see me and let me treat your plantar fasciitis. Won’t it be nice to go for a walk without pain again? I’ll be happy to help you assess your current shoes (sometimes there are tweaks we can make to give you more space in them) or pics of those you are considering on the internet!
You may have seen the news coverage of Michael Phelps and other Olympic athletes getting cupping. What the heck is it and how does it work?
Despite what that ridiculous article says, it IS ancient Chinese traditional medicine. The Chinese have been using heated cups for millennia. Practitioners warm the air inside the cup, then place it on the skin. A seal is formed. As the air cools, a vacuum is created. Standing cups are left in place. Another technique, moving cupping, involves sliding the cups around without breaking the seal. In both cases, the point is for the vacuum to separate the layers of skin and muscle and break up fascial adhesions.
Yes, it absolutely works! The reason I don’t do it in my office is that the dark circles are actually bruises – they are visual proof of broken capillaries bleeding under the skin. The vacuum created in cupping is strong enough that it does a little damage along with the good. I personally prefer to use myofacial release to break up the adhesions, sticking to the rule of “First, do no harm.” I get the same great results without any blood vessel trauma.
Next time you’re in the office, ask to see the cupping equipment. I keep a few cups around because they’re great conversation starters and they are beautiful, but sometimes modern innovation can provide a better solution.