Andrew’s Blog

The MRI Cannot Tell You Posted on June 18, 2018, 0 Comments

what you had for dinner last week
or that you had a fight with your spouse
or that you go to bed too late
or that you don't like your job
or that you don't drink enough water
or that a parent said "X" runs in the family
or that you exercise too much/not enough/inappropriately.
or that you're worried about finances
or that you have a dysfunctional breathing pattern.

It can only tell you one of the reasons you are in pain--and that's likely not even the main driver...

Does Rheumatoid Arthritis begin in the Gut? Posted on October 16, 2015, 2 Comments

2007 Feb;83(976):128-31.

Is rheumatoid arthritis a disease that starts in the intestine? A pilot study comparing an elemental diet with oral prednisolone.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

This pilot study aimed to determine if an elemental diet could be used to treat patients with active rheumatoid arthritis and to compare its effect to that of oral prednisolone.

METHODS:

Thirty patients with active rheumatoid arthritis were randomly allocated to 2 weeks of treatment with an elemental diet (n = 21) or oral prednisolone 15 mg/day (n = 9). Assessments of duration of early morning stiffness (EMS), pain on a 10 cm visual analog scale (VAS), the Ritchie articular index (RAI), swollen joint score, the Stanford Health Assessment Questionnaire, global patient and physician assessment, body weight, erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), C-reactive protein (CRP) and haemoglobin, were made at 0, 2, 4 and 6 weeks.

RESULTS:

All clinical parameters improved in both groups (p<0.05) except the swollen joint score in the elemental diet group. An improvement of greater than 20% in EMS, VAS and RAI occurred in 72% of the elemental diet group and 78% of the prednisolone group. ESR, CRP and haemoglobin improved in the steroid group only (p<0.05).

CONCLUSIONS:

An elemental diet for 2 weeks resulted in a clinical improvement in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis, and was as effective as a course of oral prednisolone 15 mg daily in improving subjective clinical parameters. This study supports the concept that rheumatoid arthritis may be a reaction to a food antigen(s) and that the disease process starts within the intestine.

Original Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17308218

Recommendation for vitamin D intake was miscalculated, is far too low, experts say Posted on March 18, 2015, 0 Comments

Recommendation for vitamin D intake was miscalculated, is far too low, experts say
Date:March 17, 2015
Source: Creighton University


Researchers at UC San Diego and Creighton University have challenged the intake of vitamin D recommended by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Institute of Medicine (IOM), stating that their Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin D underestimates the need by a factor of ten.


In a letter published last week in the journal Nutrients the scientists confirmed a calculation error noted by other investigators, by using a data set from a different population. Dr. Cedric F. Garland, Dr.P.H., adjunct professor at UC San Diego's Department of Family Medicine and Public Health said his group was able to confirm findings published by Dr. Paul Veugelers from the University of Alberta School of Public Health that were reported last October in the same journal.


"Both these studies suggest that the IOM underestimated the requirement substantially," said Garland. "The error has broad implications for public health regarding disease prevention and achieving the stated goal of ensuring that the whole population has enough vitamin D to maintain bone health."


The recommended intake of vitamin D specified by the IOM is 600 IU/day through age 70 years, and 800 IU/day for older ages. "Calculations by us and other researchers have shown that these doses are only about one-tenth those needed to cut incidence of diseases related to vitamin D deficiency," Garland explained.


Robert Heaney, M.D., of Creighton University wrote: "We call for the NAS-IOM and all public health authorities concerned with transmitting accurate nutritional information to the public to designate, as the RDA, a value of approximately 7,000 IU/day from all sources."


"This intake is well below the upper level intake specified by IOM as safe for teens and adults, 10,000 IU/day," Garland said. Other authors were C. Baggerly and C. French, of GrassrootsHealth, a voluntary organization in San Diego CA, and E.D. Gorham, Ph.D., of UC San Diego.


Story Source:
The above story is based on materials provided by Creighton University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.
Journal References:
Paul Veugelers, John Ekwaru. A Statistical Error in the Estimation of the Recommended Dietary Allowance for Vitamin D. Nutrients, 2014; 6 (10): 4472 DOI: 10.3390/nu6104472
Paul Veugelers, John Ekwaru. A Statistical Error in the Estimation of the Recommended Dietary Allowance for Vitamin D. Nutrients, 2014; 6 (10): 4472 DOI: 10.3390/nu6104472
Cite This Page:
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Creighton University. "Recommendation for vitamin D intake was miscalculated, is far too low, experts say." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 March 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150317122458.htm>.

Props from one of my PGA clients, Jason Dufner Posted on January 22, 2015, 0 Comments

http://www.asapsports.com/show_interview.php?id=105735

"I talked to a pretty specialized guy in Atlanta, his name is Andrew Johnston, a friend of mine had had some chronic back issues and I got with Andrew in Atlanta and Andrew's kind of a holistic guy, he does the whole thing, diet, PT, working out, he does the holistic approach to your health.
"I kind of specified that I was interested in what he had to offer as far as eating better and the diet.  My friend Lane Savoy had great results with him changing his diet.  With his back he had some really chronic back issues, so I gave it a go and feeling pretty good about it." --Jason Dufner

 

http://www.eyeonthetour.com/?p=17970

The mad scientist that put all of this together is actually a young personal trainer in Atlanta who does something called Triumph Training and had worked with a friend of Dufner’s.

 

http://espn.go.com/golf/story/_/id/12216602/jason-dufner-turns-corner-health-issues-humana-challenge-golf

...but consultation with Dr. Andrew Johnston in Atlanta led to an approach to reduce inflammation.

and for the record, I'm not a doctor nor do I play one on t.v.

Guy Voyer on the creation of ELDOA exercise Posted on October 07, 2014, 3 Comments

 

I've studied with Dr. Voyer for a while now, and the education never stops.  I'm headed to L.A. later this week for some more work with one of the men who has changed how I and other health practitioners around the world work with their clients and patients.  ELDOA, myofascial stretching, and many of the other techniques I'm learning under Dr. Voyer's tutelage are what the fields of rehab and performance have been missing.  As a SOMA practitioner, I'm happy to be able to provide them to the clients of Triumph Training.

Questions about muscle spasm and "weak knees" Posted on August 07, 2014, 0 Comments

Question:

Any suggestions for back spasms and weak knees?

--L. Brown

Answer:

Back spasms are quite often a sign of instability and the muscles are attempting to splint the area to keep movement from being excessive (and, thus, causing more wear/tear).  I would recommend a thorough assessment by a qualified practitioner.  Once that has been accomplished, both the TVA progressions (p. 212) and the Horse Stance Vertical (p. 155) in my book (available in print or digital format here: http://triumphtraining.com/pages/holistic-strength-training-for-triathlon) will likely be good starting points for you.  And even if the spasms have a different root cause/causes (nutrition would be an obvious suspect as food sensitivities can create inhibition of the core secondary to inflammation of the intestines), the muscles being targeted during both movements are essential for your orthopedic integrity. 

Weak knees?  Since no part of the body works in isolation, I would say it's not the knees so much as the legs; and not the legs so much as the body.  Training the hip extensors will likely benefit you.  But you would need to progress appropriately.  So, I would again recommend obtaining clearance from a qualified professional.  Then I would work on length/tension relationships and optimal core functioning.  In fact, it's likely the knees feel week as they don't have a solid foundation (i.e. back) off which to exert force.  L1 through L4 could all be compromised, too, so pathology here needs to be ruled out and/or addressed.  Lastly I would begin a strengthening program which progresses from a non-axial loading position (i.e. supine/floor based) to more neurologically complex/axial loading exercises (hands and knees, knees, standing) to mimic the functional demands of the real world.  All 3 planes of motion should be addressed with a focus on maintaining your balance over your center of mass.  Let form and pain free range of motion dictate parameters like sets and reps and make sure to include periods of unloading both in your training week and your training cycle so that the body has a chance to super compensate and get stronger/healthier. 

 

Question about Chronic Pain in an Endurance Athlete Posted on March 18, 2014, 0 Comments

Question:

I just did a 6 hour mtb race this past weekend. It was awesome. My writeup is below.  Another reason I'm reaching out is because I still have some nagging pains on the left side of my body (primarily) that I've been unable to fully address with stretching, chiro, and the massage I occasionally get. I've even gone as far as to stop running for the last month and a half, but it doesn't seem to be the root of the issue (just exacerbates it). 

I'm thinking I need to go to someone that's cycling and/or running specific to really dig into the problem spots. There's a couple that I've seen people talk up, but I thought I'd see if you have someone you'd recommend. Any info is appreciated!

Answer:

Sounds like it was a good race despite the issues.  And as far as those issues are concerned, I think you need to consider:

--nutrition/lifestyle: you've done some work with me, so you should have a good background.  But I question your choice of fuel for the race--GS cookies and granola bar being the main issues.  Of course, nutrition outside of competition is even more important.  Then there's thinking, breathing, hydration, movement, and sleep, too.  How are you doing here?  If you tax the system too much in relation to these principles, it's only a matter of time till the body revolts.  And to get really deep, hip flexors are closely tied to the adrenals.  And the left side of your body is the female side....

--length/tension relationships: we've never done a full physical assessment, and it might be worth your while.  You're stretching, but are you stretching exactly what you need to be stretching?

--core function: is it working, and are you strengthening what needs to be strengthened and in a functional way which supports your performance goals?

--proper program design/periodization: you might want a 2nd opinion on what you're doing (and remember: the higher your level of stress, the lower your tolerance for exercise).

--bike fit (best guy I know is Matt at Podium).

 

--equipment choice (i.e. shoe, pedal, etc).

 

Jeff Trotti is an excellent massage therapist and the guys at First Choice Health Care are skilled Chiro's and ART practitioners.  But until you address the underlying cause as mentioned above, you're likely just chasing symptoms and will have to continue seeing these folks regularly.  Ultimately, you need to be your best therapist. 

Know that endurance athletics, especially EXTREME endurance like what you're doing, is rough on the body.  And anything which is not perfectly aligned/functioning gets magnified by the volume of training/racing.  It can be something small which simply adds up until it reaches your particular breaking point.  And the better your nutrition/lifestyle/program design, the higher your threshold and the more straws your back can handle before it breaks. 

Lastly, if your issues don't seem to be responding to stretching, chiro, massage, etc, those are good clues that it's likely something else which needs to be addressed.  I've mentioned a few of the obvious suspects above.  Let me know if you want to pursue any of them with my assistance.  And good luck!

 

Much Chi

--A

Arthritis and Coconut Oil Posted on March 17, 2014, 0 Comments

2014 Mar 5. pii: S1567-5769(14)00080-0. doi: 10.1016/j.intimp.2014.02.026. [Epub ahead of print]

Polyphenolics isolated from virgin coconut oil inhibits adjuvant induced arthritis in rats through antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action.

Abstract

We evaluated the protective efficacy of the polyphenolic fraction from virgin coconut oil (PV) against adjuvant induced arthritic rats. Arthritis was induced by intradermal injection of complete Freund's adjuvant. The activities of inflammatory, antioxidant enzymes and lipid peroxidation were estimated. PV showed high percentage of edema inhibition at a dose of 80mg/kg on 21st day of adjuvant arthritis and is non toxic. The expression of inflammatory genes such as COX-2, iNOS, TNF-α and IL-6 and the concentration of thiobarbituric acid reactive substance were decreased by treatment with PV. Antioxidant enzymes were increased and on treatment with PV. The increased level of total WBC count and C-reactive protein in the arthritic animals was reduced in PV treated rats. Synovial cytology showed that inflammatory cells and reactive mesothelial cells were suppressed by PV. Histopathology of paw tissue showed less edema formation and cellular infiltration on supplementation with PV. Thus the results demonstrated the potential beneficiary effect of PV on adjuvant induced arthritis in rats and the mechanism behind this action is due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

 

Original source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24613207?dopt=Abstract

General Advice Regarding "Degenerative Disc Disease" in the lumbar region Posted on February 10, 2014, 0 Comments

A friend of my wife who cannot get in to see me asked for my insight regarding a diagnosis of Degenerative Disc Disease.  Specifically, she asked me about chiropractic or anything else I might suggest.  My response is below in italics.  NOTE: I do not recommend any of the below activities without a thorough assessment by myself or another qualified professional. 
Chiropractic is likely not going to be the (permanent) answer. 
I'd suggest ELDOA (at least the one pictured and maybe my class when I start it up).  Here are the instructions for her:

Lie down on back with butt and heels against wall.
Dorsiflex and invert the feet.
Take arms overhead and in line with the shoulders and externally rotate them.
Push sacrum to floor.
Look down with eyes and flex chin down without lifting head.
Push heels up toward ceiling.
Push hands away from shoulders.
HOLD for 60s, continually checking to see if you're doing all of the steps detailed above. 

There are other ELDOAs she could use, but this is a good one with which to start.

I'd cut out all PUFAs or at least all veggie oils (including what's in processed food--read labels).  I'd also Minimize/eliminate alcohol, soy, and probably gluten.  Removing these things will help with inflammation (pain), core function (helping to prevent further degeneration), and blood sugar handling (healing).
I'd drink water with a pinch of salt to help with hydration, histamine (pain/swelling), and up regulation of thyroid (healing).  Stainless steel or glass and not plastic.  In fact, I'd get rid of all plastics so that the exposure to xenoestrogens is minimized (see list).  This will help prevent excess laxity when stability will be key.
I'd add bone broth and/or gelatin (www.greatlakesgelatin.com) frequently/daily.
Specific core work needs to be performed.  My book would be a good resource, but I would probably suggest:
--TVA work (daily)
--Lower Abdominal #1 (daily)
--Horse Stance Vertical (daily)
--Oblique Raise (i.e. side plank, every other day)
Variables such as reps/sets/rest intervals I haven't specified as I haven't assessed her, but I'd err on the side of conservatism and do less rather than more.

Possibly also Prone Cobra every other day, but without a full assessment I'd recommend caution.  All the above movements are available in my book which she can download off my website or we could get her a physical copy (http://triumphtraining.com/pages/holistic-strength-training-for-triathlon). 
Posture is key, of course.  So likely stretching of:
--Pecs
--Lats
--External Hips
--Internal Hips
--Hamstrings
--Hip flexors
--Quads
Again, all in my book.

Sleep from 10-6 would maximize anabolic/repair hormones. 
Nasal/Diaphragmatic breathing would help balance the ANS and keep her healing 24/7.
A lot of info and sans assessment, but I know much if not all would help her.
Hope she finds something useful.

I Want to PUMP You Up! Posted on January 29, 2014, 1 Comment

I recently returned from California where I was studying Pumping of the Trunk and Pelvis. I thought I had skills after 18yrs with my wife--but she's the one who said I should go....

Our teacher was Dr. Guy Voyer (http://www.guyvoyer.com/eng/index.htm).  And though my first experience with him in Dallas last year had me seriously questioning if I was ready for the level of knowledge he was unloading on me, this course confirmed a few things--1) I could eventually understand his thick French accent, 2) Like most of us, I learn best in layers, and 3) These techniques were really going to help my clientele.

Articular pumping (and there are over 600 different ones) is a gentle but extremely effective method of re-hydrating specific structures of the body.  From bursa to ligaments to tendons, all the tissues of the body need to be well hydrated with various bodily fluids to remain healthy.  Indeed, I'll quote Dr. Voyer when he says, "the day this fluid stops moving is the day you die."  You probably don't need such a bold statement to convince you.  After all, pain is a good motivator.  And pumping can help you alleviate and even eliminate years of pain and dysfunction such as

  • Arthritis
  • Bursitis
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Sciatica
  • Sprains
  • Tendonitis
  • and much more
One of the most important reasons to use articular pumping is that it helps normalize the tissues.  So, even if you aren't currently suffering from any symptoms or known pathologies, these techniques can prepare the body so that you benefit more from your stretching and corrective exercise program.  That means more health and more performance.  Though, for me, that's probably a bit redundant--I consider those two terms synonymous.  And if you're curious as to why I feel that way, ask some of my clientele or come in and experience Triumph Training for yourself.     

Random Client Questions with Answers Posted on September 25, 2013, 0 Comments

1.  Am I to try and avoid all PUFA's?  (Looks like you had avocados on one of your recipe)
2.  Can you give me examples of good protein/carbo/fat snacks?  You said I need a good mix, so I am trying to figure that out.
3.  You said to include raw items with meals because of their life giving qualities.  Can you provide examples?  It seemed like you were steering me more towards fruits.  Raw veggies not such a great idea?
3.  How should I start my venture back into dairy?
4.  Can you tell me my beneficial produce and the produce to stay away from one more time?  So salads are bad?  What about baby greens?
5.  If I have my hip/glute/back pain, should I not do my corrective exercises?
6.  I need more advice on myofascial work.  I think this could be really beneficial to me!  All the muscles surrounding my iliac crest, and on the sides around the notch of my femur seem to hold SO much tension.  I think from all the skateboarding, snowboarding, and mountain biking I've done, with NO stretching.  
7.  Could I potentially have parasites in me?  Are parasite cleanses a good idea?
8.  My Dad has been recommending Aloe water at his clinic.  He wants to know your thoughts on it.
9.  My girlfriend recently gave herself a coffee enema.  She wants to know if those have the health benefits they promise.
ANSWERS:
1--it's not one of your action items, but it would serve you well.  Avocado is high in PUFA's, but it's one I would be o.k. with using as a garnish and not a staple (like most do with nuts/seeds/veggie oils/etc).
2--I think you can come up with some on your own (you're a smart guy), but I've attached a list.
3--Raw fruit (ripe) though some are better than others, carrots, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes.  Otherwise, I cook most of the others.
4--Above ground veggies except for the ones mentioned above are ones which should  be limited and/or cooked and/or eaten with saturated fat.  Add squash/zucchini to the above.
5--stretches always.  DAILY core movements always (and shouldn't hurt).  Other movements at the threshold specific to your situation (reps/sets/weight/frequency of workout).  You should find that the workout makes you feel better.  If not, you're not ready for that particular movement and we need to go slower/fill in holes in your development.
6--we can work on that next time, but golf ball/tennis ball/foam roller/stick--I have some explanation/examples in my book (http://triumphtraining.com/pages/holistic-strength-training-for-triathlon).  You can download a copy off my website or get one from me directly.
7--You probably do.  Don't want to go there yet.  Besides, some parasites have a symbiotic relationship with us.
8--don't do bells/whistles until you get the basics down.  And that bell/whistle is one I wouldn't recommend.
9--as #8.  And if you're eating/living in a way to support health, you don't need to resort to enemas.

M.D. Anderson Update Posted on August 13, 2013, 4 Comments

Hope is a healing agent, and I am happy to deliver it. 

There was nothing definitive to report.  But with 41 years of care invested in me, my mom had a right to some news.  So I called her as soon as I left the doctor's office to tell her what I had learned.

Dr. Cortez wasn't fully convinced that Gleevec had stopped working for me.  And if it wasn't broken, he was determined not to fix it.  So he recommended staying at my prescribed dosage and testing again at three and six months.  If the results of the second lab don't show me to be back in molecular remission, he'll change the chemo I'm on to a third generation TKI--one that even my hematologist here in Atlanta hasn't heard about.  It has an 85-90% success rate for those whom Gleevec has stopped working.  And the side effects are less severe than some of my other options.  I was encouraged.  More than happy to give Gleevec a second chance.  After all, it had given me one....

I had hardly hung up with my mom when I got a text from my sister.  "She had gotten the good news", she wrote.  "So glad all the thoughts and prayers worked."  

And even though nothing was truly different, the thoughts and prayers had worked.  I cannot tell you how many calls, e-mails, and texts I received--each one of them giving me more than the giver will probably ever realize.  I left for M.D. Anderson with my mind in a good place.  And all those personal messages of love and support helped place my heart in congruence with my head.  But as I stared at the words on the screen, the factory that is M.D. Anderson running at full steam all around me with patients being called like patrons at a restaurant, I started thinking:

Worked.  E D.  Past tense.

It's not over.  I'm not out of the woods.  None of us are really.  Hate to be a downer, but each one of us has an expiration date.  Some people like me are blessed to die while still alive.  We get to learn how others feel about us.  And that experience is kinda like attending your own funeral.  Except it's a celebration of who you are rather than who you were.  And it's shared by all the people in your life yet never get to see enough--even people you've never met.  You realize the true impact of your own existence.  Like a wave, crashing hard against some shores.  Gently changing the shape of others.  And it's a reminder that, before the chance is swept away, we should live on the side of Love.

What would Love do now?  That's one of my Mantras.  And I think one of the things Love does is it makes itself known.  One of my clients told me that he appreciated my blog post about going to M.D. Anderson but took exception to one thing.  I wrote that I felt alone, and he told me I wasn't--that I should know that.  And I do.  I fully realize I'm not alone.  That's been one of the many gifts of my diagnosis.  Even without all the people who reached out to me and Diana, I know I have a mountain of support.  One I can stand on.  One which allows me to see horizons of hope and possibility in the darkest of times.  When I wrote that line, I was just trying to express how I felt.  Yet in so doing, I didn't acknowledge the love I feel from each of you. 

I want to do that now.  Cause that's another thing Love does.  It helps us heal.  And sick or not, we could all use some healing.  One of my goals in life is to use my experiences, good and bad, to help others.  That's why I do this blog.  So I'm writing this post to update everyone who reached out with thoughts, prayers, or otherwise and let them know the latest.  I hope that some of you reading now will take this as it was intended.  Perhaps it will inspire you to recognize all those who share your life.  Who compliment your presence with theirs.  Like really does attracts like.  And as far as I'm concerned, we're all connected.  Health shouldn't have to be lost before we realize that--before we find each other.  Because when we do, that's when we fully find ourselves. 

Let the healing begin.

   

Gratitude Holds No Comparison Posted on August 05, 2013, 15 Comments

I’m no longer in remission.

Actually, I haven’t been in remission since early February.  But I had just had a horrific crash (which you can read about here: http://triumphtraining.com/blogs/blog/7233404-reality-crash.)  So when my BCR/ABL tests came back, I thought the trauma of my injuries might account for the slight increase in levels.  Determined to convince myself, I looked back over my health records and found a BCR/ABL from 2009 where my numbers jumped up but dropped back down to undetectable on the next test.  An anomaly, my doctor called it.  Yet part of me knew that just because my cancer can’t be found doesn’t mean it’s not there.

Still, the latest test showed a minor bump.  From undetectable to .001%.  The test from 2009 saw an increase to .009%.  So I quieted the voices which try to champion doubt in my head and waited to see what April’s results would show.

.002%.

Two in a row.  A minor increase.  But for the first time since I had gone into molecular remission in May of 2006, the numbers were going the wrong way. 

My hematologist advised me to increase the chemo I take every day back to the standard dosage.  For years I had been weaning myself down.  Ever since my liver enzymes exploded off the charts as a plea against the onslaught of chemicals they had to face daily, I had decided I wouldn’t let the treatment kill me.  Besides, the healthier a person is, the greater a response that person will get from a particular intervention.  So I followed my intuition and gradually decreased my dosage after each BCR/ABL test proved my theory to be true.  But now my belief was starting to crumble. 

And that may have been the hardest part.  Everything I stand for centers around belief in the body.  Belief in the mind.  It’s what I preach every day.  It’s the foundation of my practice.  Both with my clients and with myself.  I knew the chemo polluted my body.  And the fact that I could be so absolutely dependent on it to stay alive sickened me.  I felt like a hypocrite—warning people against the dangers of drugs and conventional medicine and encouraging them to trust in Nature and the infinite capacity of the body to heal.  Yet I couldn’t even do that myself.

“These pills have Love in them.  And that Love is what helps me heal.”  This had been my blessing before I swallowed the orange colored tablets each day.  I wanted to put the power not in the pills but somewhere else—anywhere else.  Yet when the follow up results from July’s BCR/ABL came back, I just wished the pills were still working.

But they weren’t.

.004%.  Three increases in a row.  And though small, it was the rate of increase troubling my doctors.  The shelf life for Gleevec was typically three to five years, and I was at eight and half.  So that this day had come shouldn’t have surprised me.  But I had convinced myself that it was my lifestyle which kept me healthy, not the damn drugs. 

Darkness like I hadn’t felt since I was first diagnosed threatened to overwhelm me.  I thought of my son growing up without his dad—wondering if he’s reached an age yet when he’d remember me if I'm not around.  The massage I give him before he goes to bed at night.  The games of soccer or dodge ball or made up ones with made up names.  Will Di have enough money when I’m gone?  We got life insurance on me right before I was diagnosed, but it’s a trivial amount.  How can she handle raising our son by herself?  Maybe she’d find someone.  And she would deserve so much to find love again.  But—God Damn It—who gets whom in Heaven?  And while I know that’s not how it all works and my thoughts are probably childish, I can’t help myself.  I got dibs!

Diana and I shared some fears in common, but I still felt terribly alone.  Maybe some of that was harboring our secret for six months.  We hadn’t told anyone since nothing was definitive.  And even when the second BCR/ABL gave our worry validation we didn’t tell anyone until the tests came back in July.  My family and Diana’s family were the first to know.  But others would catch Di in tears when she thought she was by her self, and I can’t lie for shit.  Soon word would spread.  It already has and many of you have humbled me with your words of support.  And though I know healing is found within, the voices of love and encouragement help nourish the soil from which it grows.       

We’re off to M.D. Anderson tomorrow to see what our next steps should be.  It will likely be a second generation Gleevec—a Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor like the one I’m on now but more powerful.  Similar side effects with a few doozies just to keep you on your toes.  A few of which could put you in the grave, but I plan on focusing on what I want rather than what I don’t want.  Cause the truth of the matter is, it could be worse.  I was supposed to lose all my hair with Gleevec.  So if I do on this new drug, I can just blame it on old age.  After all, I’m 41 now.  Don’t really feel it, of course. 

And that’s one way I realize I’m so fortunate.  Most people with CML don’t race triathlons.  Most Leukemia Survivors don’t win Ironman races or qualify for Kona.  Hell, just being able to swim a length of the pool, ride around the block, or run after my son is a gift.  One for which I should be grateful.  And I am.  But I’m not grateful because there are others who can’t.  That’s not Gratitude.  I’m grateful because I can.  To me true Gratitude is predicated on nothing.  It stands alone.  It supports itself. 

The median age for onset of my disease is 65.  I’ve gotten a quarter century jump on coming to terms with mortality.  Maybe more even, compared to some who never give a thought to their days on this earth.  And while there is a gift to knowing that every moment is precious, I sometimes can’t help but long for the innocence of youth.  A week ago, Di and I were at the pool with Declan.  Tired of introspection, I started looking around.  And I saw all these people, many of whom were obviously not the most healthy in the world.  All of whom probably had their own stories--we all do.  Yet, I bet there were only a handful if any who were giving thought to dying right then. No one should have to bear that.  But all of us should get the chance.

To use passion and profession interchangeably is a blessing I never thought I’d have when I was forced to put down the bike.  Professional cycling had been my dream.  So when that third concussion convinced me to hang up my wheels, my identity was lost.  I had lost my equilibrium and couldn’t seem to right myself.  Yet through that experience, I realized that it’s my role in this life to show people how to live.  I get to do that every day.  And each day I wake up I get the chance to pursue my new dreams.  My mentor once told me that it may be my destiny to show people how to die, too.  And if that’s true, I hope to do so with grace.  Not because I’m trying to be something that I’m not.  But because I’m grateful for all that I am.   

I may no longer be in remission.  But I am finally cured.

Don't Be Hamstrung! Posted on July 24, 2013, 0 Comments

Did you pull a hammie?  Be careful.  The recurrence rate in the first two months is approximately 22%.  But you can improve those odds by combining some knowledge of anatomy with your passion for training.

See, the hamstrings act on both the hip and knee, extending the former and flexing the latter.  During sprinting and other explosive movements, the hamstrings are typically lengthening while under tension.  This is what's termed an eccentric contraction.  And, unfortunately, concentric contractions (which predominate in most strength training programs) don't easily transfer to eccentric strength.  While there are many movements which can effectively train the hamstrings in the manner in which they're challenged, a simple one which can be implemented with no equipment is called the Nordic Hamstring Exercise.

With feet anchored (or using a partner as in the above illustration), pivot forward from the knees while maintaining core activation.  You should aim for one straight line from ears to knees, concentrating on not "breaking" at the waist.  Move only as far as you can (and it probably won't be far at first) with a goal of reaching the point where you almost get stuck and can't pull back.  The image of the figure in the middle above is likely as far as most people will go with good form.  Some people like to drop to the floor and then explosively push back up with the arms to the start position.  But the difficulty, along with the excessive loading and development of the internal shoulder rotators, makes this aspect of the exercise contraindicated in most cases.  

Studies show up to a 60% reduction in new hamstring injuries and up to an 85% reduction in recurrence compared to controls when incorporating this movement into a training program.  But go easy at first.  Otherwise, soreness will leave you walking funny for several days.  But at least you're walking.  And that's what you have to do before you run.  And you can't do that well unless you're hamstrings are strong and smart.  So train them to be that way. 


Blood Tests and "Normal" levels of Thyroid Posted on June 22, 2013, 0 Comments

 

Should I Shoe or Shouldn't I Posted on June 12, 2013, 0 Comments

 NOTE: my emphasis of Dr. Rossi's points can be found in bold.

Why Shoes Make "Normal" Gait Impossible

How flaws in footwear affect this complex human function.

By William A. Rossi, D.P.M.


Each year, consumers spend hundreds of millions of dollars for "walking shoes" promising to help the wearer walk "right" or more comfortably. Each year, additional hundreds of millions of dollars are spent for orthotics designed to "normalize" foot balance, stability, and gait. Podiatrists and other medical practitioners are constantly applying therapies and ancillary products to correct gait faults and re-establish "normal" gait.

While such therapies provide some relief from gait-induced distress symptoms, they are largely ineffectual in re-establishing natural gait. Why? Because natural gait is biomechanically impossible for any shoe-wearing person. Natural gait and shoes are biomechanically incompatible because all shoes automatically convert the normal to the abnormal, the natural to the unnatural. And no therapy or mechanical device, no matter how precisely designed or expertly applied, can fully reverse the gait from wrong to right.

Let's now see if these seemingly presumptuous statements can be substantiated by the evidence of the shoe/gait conflict.

Gait is the single most complex motor function of the human body. So complex, in fact, that it is the only motor function for which a definition or standard or "normal" does not exist. It involves half of the body's 650 muscles and 200 bones, along with a large share of the joints and ligaments. And despite all the serious gait studies that have been done since Hippocrates to the present, all the mysteries at human gait have yet to be revealed.

First, it's important to distinguish between "normal" and "natural." Normal is defined as an accepted standard, a mean or average. For example, everyone occasionally catches a cold, hence the common cold is "normal," though it is neither healthy nor natural. Conversely, natural means the pristine, ideal state, the ideal of form and function stemming from nature itself. Hence the difference between normal and natural is essentially the difference between what is and what can or ought to be.

Applying this to human gait, we can say that in shoe-wearing societies many people have what appears to be "normal" gait, while in shoeless societies they have "natural" gait. And there are pronounced differences between the two both in torn and function.

In shoe-wearing societies a visibly faulty gait can often be corrected and made normal, but it can never be made natural as long as conventional shoes are worn. It is biomechanically impossible because of the forced alterations from the natural in foot stance, postural alignment, body balance, equilibrium, body mechanics and weight distribution caused by shoes.

Let's now see some of the specifics of how these inevitable gait faults are caused by shoes.

The Role of Heels

The role of heels or heel heights has been given much attention in the literature because their influence is so obvious, especially on heels two or more inches in height.

Barefoot, the perpendicular line of the straight body column creates a ninety degree angle with the floor. On a two-inch heel, were the body a rigid column and forced to tilt forward, the angle would be reduced to seventy degrees, and to fifty-five degrees on a three-inch heel. Thus, for the body to maintain an erect position, a whole series of joint adjustments (ankle, knee, hip, spine, head) are required to regain and retain the erect stance.

In this reflex adjustment scores of body parts -- bones, ligaments and joints, muscles and tendons -- head to foot must instantly change position. If these adjustments are sustained over prolonged periods, or by habitual use of higher heels, as is not uncommon, the strains and stresses become chronic, causing or contributing to aches of legs, back and shoulders, fatigue, etc.

But the alterations are internal and organic, as well. For example, when standing barefoot, the anterior angle of the female pelvis is twenty-five degrees; on low, one-inch heels it increases to thirty degrees; on two-inch heels to forty-five degrees; on three-inch heels to sixty degrees. Under these conditions, what happens to the pelvic and abdominal organs? Inevitably, these must shift position to adapt.

Does the wearing of low, one-inch "sensible" heels prevent these problems of postural adaptation? No. All the low heel does is lessen the intensity of the negative postural effects. Hence, the wearing of heels of any height automatically alters the natural erect state of the body column. (Note: millions of men habitually wear boots or shoes with heels one and a half to three inches in height, such as on western boots or elevator shoes.)

But shoe heels have other, lesser-known influences on gait. For example, any heel, low to high, requires a compensatory alteration or forward slant on the last, which is translated to the shoe. This slant is known as the "heel wedge angle." This is the slope or slant of the heel seat, rear to front, to compensate for the shoe heel height. The higher the heel, the greater the angle.

On the bare foot there is no wedge angle. The bottom of the heel is on a level one hundred and eighty degrees, with body weight shared equally between heel and ball. Inside the heeled shoe the wedge angle shifts body weight forward so that on a low heel body weight is shared forty percent heel, sixty percent ball; and on a high heel ninety percent ball and ten percent heel.

Under these conditions the step sequence is no longer heel-to-ball- to toes and push-off, as with the bare foot. On heels two or more inches in height little weight is borne by the heel of the foot, an step push-off is almost wholly from the ball.

On medium to higher heels, due to the reduced base of the heel top-lift, the line of falling weight shifts, causing a wobbling of the less-secure ankle, which tilts medially. The shift in the body's center of gravity alters the equilibrium of the body column and prevents a natural step sequence,

One consequence is that heel strike moves to the lateral-rear corner of the heel top-lift. This is not natural. The heel of the shoeless foot receives its initial heel strike not at the lateral-rear corner but in the center at the site of the plantar calcaneal tuberosity. The natural plantar path of the step sequence -- heel to lateral border to ball to hallux and push-off -- is forced to shift, further affecting natural gait.

Let's add one further influence of shoe heels, low to high. The shoe's elevated heel shortens the Achilles tendon and accompanying shortening of the calf muscles. Both the tendon and the muscles are, of course, vital to step propulsion and gait stamina -- which may help to explain the performance dominance of marathon runners from nations where the barefoot state is common from infancy to adulthood.

The heeled shoe "steals" much of this propulsive power from the tendon and leg muscles. This not only places more stress on them to achieve needed propulsion, but power must be borrowed from elsewhere -- knees, thigh muscles, hips, and trunk. A small army of anatomical reinforcements must come to the rescue of the handicapped tendon and calf muscles.

Thus a shoe heel of any height sets in motion a series of gait-negative consequences, making natural gait -- meaning the barefoot form -- impossible. But this is only the beginning.

Toe Spring

If you rest a shoe, new or old, on a table and view it in profile from the side, it reveals an up-tilt of the toe tip varying from five-eighths to one inch or more. More on worn shoes. This is known as "toe spring" and is built into the last.

On the bare, natural foot the digits rest flat, their tips grasping the ground as an assist in step propulsion. Inside the shoe, the digits are lifted slantwise off the ground, unable to fulfill their natural ground-grasping function.

So why is toe spring built into the last and shoe? To compensate for lack or absence of shoe flexibility at the ball. The toe spring creates a rocker effect on the shoe sole so that the shoe, instead of full flexing as it should, forces the foot to "roll" forward like the curved bottom of a rocking chair. The thicker the sole, such as on sneakers or work boots, or the stiffer the sole (such as on men's Goodyear welt wingtip brogues), the greater the toe spring needed because of lack of shoe flexibility.

With toe spring, the toes of the foot are constantly angled upward five to twenty degrees, depending upon the amount of shoe toe spring. Functionally, they are "forced out of business," denied much or all of their natural ground-grasping action and exercise so essential to exercising of the whole foot because 18 of the foot's 19 tendons are attached to the toes.

The combination of the up-tilted toes caused by the toe spring, and the down-slanted heel and foot caused by the heel wedge angle, create an angle apex at the ball where the two angles converge. The angle apex has a dagger-point effect on the ball. This is certainly an important contributing cause of metatarsal stress symptoms and lesions.

But equally important, the natural gait mechanics are affected. Because the hallux and other digits are largely immobilized by their uptilted position, the step propulsion must come almost wholly from the metatarsal heads. This not only imposes undue stress on the heads, but forces an unnatural alteration of the gait pattern itself.

Gait Hazards of the Last

The shoe's last, the form of mold over which the shoe is made, is not visible to the consumer. but it bears much influence on the shoe and gait. There are several built-in design faults with most commercial lasts, but two in particular have relevant influence on gait.

First, almost all shoe lasts are designed with inflare, whereas almost all feet are designed on a straight axis. This automatically creates a biomechanical conflict between foot and last (or shoe). This is the prime reason why virtually all shoes go out of shape with wear -- because foot and shoe are mismated. If, because of this conflict, the foot cannot function naturally inside the shoe, it cannot take a normal or natural step.

A second common fault of the last is the concavity at most lasts under and across the ball, which is automatically "inherited" by the shoe at the same site.

Why are lasts made with a concavity under the ball? Tradition. About 80 years ago a shoe manufacturer discovered that the foot could be made to look smaller and trimmer by allowing it to "sink" into a cavity in the shoe n a cavity that no one would see -- thus reducing the amount of foot volume n n visible above. It was so successful in its mission of smaller-looking feet that it was quickly adopted by other manufacturers. It has long since become a standard part of last design.

This cavity is further accentuated by the construction of the shoe itself, wherein the space between outsole and insole must be filled with a special filler material (ground cork, foam rubber, fiberglass, etc.). However, the combination of the foot's heat, moisture, and pressure forces the filler material to compress and "creep," deforming its original flat surface.

The combination of the concave-bottom last at the ball an the compression and creep of the filler material sinking into the cavity, creates a sinkhole into which the three middle metatarsal heads fall as the first and fifth heads rise on the rim. We thus have the classic "fallen" metatarsal arch. The application of a metatarsal pad, whether in the shoe or via an orthotic or strapping, provides relief -- not because it "raises" the arch but simply by filling in the cavity and returning the heads to their natural level plane.

Thus the important role of the metatarsal heads as a fulcrum and the toes as grasping-gripping mechanisms for step propulsion is seriously diminished. The step push-off is now almost entirely from the ball, and weakly so because the metatarsal heads are pushing from a cavity rather than from a flat surface. A propulsive energy must now be drawn from other sources --legs, thighs, hips, the forward tilt of the trunk and shoulders -- with undue strain on all those body sectors. The gait loses natural form and function.

Shoe Flexibility

On taking a step, the foot normally flexes approximately 54 degrees at the ball on the bare foot.

But all shoes flex 30 to 80 percent less than normal at the ball. This obviously creates flex resistance for the foot by the shoe. The foot must now work harder to take each or its approximately eight thousand daily steps. The required extra energy imposes undue strain and fatigue on the foot.

Why are most shoes inflexible? First, the average shoe bottom consists of several layers or materials or components: outsole, midsole, insole, sock liner, filler materials, cushioning. This multiple-layered sandwich poses a formidable challenge to bending or flexing. Second, many types of footwear -- athletic, sneakers, work and outdoor boots, walking, casual, etc. -- have thick soles which add further to inflexibility.

Many elderly people whose feet have lost elasticity and flexibility over the many years of shoe wearing have difficulty climbing or descending stairs. They must use stair rails for pull-up power and security.

The National Safety council reports that in 1994 (latest figures) 13,500 fatalities occurred from stair falls -- and 2,500 of the victims were over age 65. An even greater number or casualties from stair falls resulted in serious injuries (fractures, sprains, etc.), occurring with people of all ages. Climbing and descending stairs requires both foot flexibility and the lift power from the Achilles tendon and calf muscles. If both have been diminished and handicapped by habitual shoe wearing, then the stability and security of the gait itself are diminished and handicapped.

Most people, including medical practitioners and shoe people, test for shoe flexibility in a wrong manner, by grasping the shoe at both ends and bending the sole. But that flexes the shoe behind instead of at the ball. If the foot were flexed in the same manner, the five metatarsals would be fractured.

To properly test for flexing, rest the shoe sole down on a table or counter. Insert one hand inside, using a couple of fingers to press down on the ball. With a finger of the other hand, lift the toe tip of the shoe. If the toe end, tip to ball, lifts easily, the shoe is flexible. The degree to which it resists toe lift is the degree to which it is inflexible.

The more inflexible the shoe, the more flat-footed the gait manner. With inflexible or semi-flexible shoes (which include most) the step push-off is almost wholly from the ball, thus fulfilling only half to three-fourths of the natural step sequence.

Shoe Weight

Most shoes weigh too much. The average pair of dress shoes weighs about 34 ounces; a pair of wingtip brogues about 44 ounces; some work and outdoor boots up to 60 ounces or more. Women's dress and casual shoes average 16-24 ounces a pair; women's boots about 32 ounces.

A lightweight pair of 16-ounce shoes amounts to a cumulative four tons of foot-lift load daily (16 ounces times 6,000 foot-lift steps). If the shoes weigh 32 ounces, daily foot-lift load is eight tons; 44 ounces adds up to 11 tons a day. every added four ounces of shoe weight adds another one ton to foot-lift load.

These foot lift loads impose an energy drain not only on the foot but the whole body. It is a common though little recognized source of foot and body fatigue -- which is why, after a lone day on one's feet, one arrives home feeling "dog-tired" and kicks off one's shoes.

You can walk several miles carrying a four-pound weight on each shoulder. But you can barely manage 100 yards with the same weight attached to each foot. The reason is simple physics: the farther the load from the center of gravity, the heavier the energy and "lift" strain.

No footwear, with certain exceptions, should weigh more than 12 ounces a pair for women, 16-18 ounces for men.

Excessive shoe weight forces an alteration of natural gait form. The drag effect and energy drain of the shoes creates alterations in the natural step sequence -- a smooth, easy movement heel to lateral border to ball to toes is disrupted. The common descriptive expression "dragging one's feet" aptly applies here.

Shoe Fit

There is substantial and incontestable evidence that no commercial footwear fits properly, regardless of type, brand, style, or price. This is because of a combination of inherent faults in the lasts, shoe design and construction. Even the shoe sizing system itself is riddled with faults (we are, incredibly, still using the "system" introduced 630 years ago and "updated" 117 years ago).

One example is width fit. A recent study was conducted by Dr. Francesca M. Thompson, chief of the Adult Orthopedic Clinics at St. Luke's Hospital, New York, involving several hundred women. The average measurement across the ball of the foot was 3.66 inches, but the shoe measurement at the same site measured less than three inches. Thus, almost all were wearing shoes 20 percent too narrow at the ball.

Too-narrow or "snug" width fit occurs with about 90 percent of men's and women's shoes alike. In the stores it has long been the contention that snug fit is right because the foot needs "support" and also because the snug fit allows the shoe to "conform" to the foot with wear. It is also regarded as proper fit by most doctors and consumers.

Snug or narrow fit has a negative effect on gait because the natural expansion of the foot with each weight-bearing step is prevented. The normal plantar surface at the ball is diminished, affecting foot balance and the security of the gait itself.

Reduced Foot Tread

One of the most insidious of the numerous negative effects of footwear on gait is loss of foot tread surface. With the shod foot, 50 to 65 percent of the foot's natural tread surface is lost, This is easily seen by examining the sole surface of a worn shoe. Most of the wear is concentrated at the rear-outer corner of the heel top-lift and the center or medial undersurface of the ball. The rest of the sole is usually unworn or only slightly worn. A footprint will show 50 to 70 percent greater tread surface.

Under these conditions we automatically have an unbalanced foot receiving excessive strain on small portions receiving the brunt of the wear. It is impossible for such a foot to "walk right," meaning with natural function and full tread.

A dog (or any other four-footed animal) has a much greater and more stable base beneath its body than does a human. We humans stand erect with a relatively tiny base beneath us and with the center of gravity about hip high. The dog has a much lower center of gravity, plus a much larger base area beneath its body balanced on four legs.

It's the difference between balancing a small cube in the palm of your hand, then trying to balance a long, thin pencil on its end in the sane manner. This is why half of the body's 650 muscles and 208 bones (plus most of its joints and ligaments) are required just to stand and walk. They are necessary to keep that long pole of body erect.

To further jeopardize this fragile balance of the body column by denying it half of more of its base tread surface is pushing the biomechanics of gait to extremes of risk. Yet, that is exactly what happens because of the various tread faults of the shoes we wear.

Sensory Response

Podiatry, unfortunately, along with all the other medical specialties, has given little attention to the role of the earth's bioelectromagnetic forces relative to sensory response of the foot, which bear enormous influence on gait. It is a field begging investigation by podiatry, because the foot is so intimately involved.

The soles and tips of the toes contain over 200,000 nerve endings, perhaps the densest concentration to be found anywhere of comparable size on the body. Our nerve-dense soles are our only tactile contact with the physical world around us. Without them we would lose equilibrium and become disoriented. If the paws or feet of any animal were "desensitized," the animal could not survive in its natural environment for an hour.

Says orthopedist Philip Lewin, "The foot is the vital link between the person and the earth, the vital reality of his day-to-day existence." City College of New York anatomists Todd R. Olson and Michael E. Seidel write, "Because the sole is so abundantly supplied with tactile sensory nerve endings, we use our feet to furnish the brain with considerable information about our immediate environment."

Thus there is a sensory foot/body, foot/brain connection vital to body stability, equilibrium, and gait.

Yet, much of it is denied us because of our thick-layered, inflexible shoes that shut off a considerable amount of this electromagnetic inflow and our sensory response to it. B. T. Renbourne, M.D., of England's Brookside Hospital, has done considerable research in this field. He writes, "Modern shoes give good wear, but they also impair the foot's sensory response to the ground and earth, affecting the reflex action of the foot and leg muscles in gait. This sensory foot contact is essential for stable, sure-footed walking."

It is well known by both common experience and clinical testing that infants are able to walk with much more confidence and stability barefoot than with shoes on. In fact, thc same can be said of adults. This is not only because of the foot's biomechanics (flexing, toe grasping, heel-to-toe step sequence, etc.), but also because of the neural energy assist from the sensory response.

However, when several layers of shoe bottom materials are packed between foot and ground, a certain amount of sensory blockage is inevitable, and the gait loses some of its natural energies and functional efficiency.

The Role of Orthotics

The foregoing comments concerning natural human gait require a completely fresh perspective concerning the use of foot orthotics -- especially those designed to establish or re-establish "normal" foot balance and stability of gait.

To put the conclusion first: natural gait is impossible for the shoe-wearing foot -- at least shoes as traditionally designed and constructed. And it is equally impossible for any orthotic to achieve "correct" foot and body balance and gait stability with the orthotic inside the gait-negative shoes, no matter how correct and precise the biomechanical design of the orthotic.

A secure, stable superstructure cannot be erected on a design- defective base or foundation (the Tower of Pisa is a classic example). In regard to "restoring" natural gait, shoe and orthotic are biomechanically incompatible. While orthotics may assist as therapy in more extreme gait faults, they are not suitable therapy to correct or stabilize gait and return it to its natural, unadulterated state.

Summary

We have always assumed that most people in modern shoe-wearing societies walk "normally." It is true only if we use the term "normal" in its liberal context, meaning to conform to an accepted standard or general average.

But natural walking -- the pure manner without faults of form or function -- is quite another perspective. All ambulatory creatures in nature walk naturally, hence with maximum efficiency. That includes all shoeless people, who are the only "pure" walkers on the planet. All the rest of us, by grace of the shoes we wear, are defective walkers in varying manner or degree. And who knows how many of our foot problems stem, directly or indirectly, from those shoe-caused postural and gait faults.

Does all this suggest that the only means of retaining or regaining the natural state of gait is to go barefoot? Unfortunately, yes. That is, until the "ideal" shoe, devoid of all the faults of design, construction, and performance of traditional footwear, is made available. But, throughout all history to the present, nobody has yet designed such a shoe while at the sane time providing the esthetics and styling desired by consumers.

But how about modern custom-made, custom-fitted shoes? Certainly they should permit natural gait. Not so, While they provide custom fit they also include the usual biomechanical faults -- the use of heels, lack of flexibility, toe spring, excessive weight, etc., which largely nullify the custom fit.

Ironically, the closest we have ever come to an "ideal" shoe was the original lightweight, soft-sole, heel-less, simple moccasin, which dates back more than 14,000 years. It consisted of a piece of crudely tanned but soft leather wrapped around the foot and held on with rawhide thongs. Presto! custom fit, perfect in biomechanical function, and no encumbrances to the foot or gait.

The vital importance of the foot to gait is only too obvious: no feet, no gait; the lower the functional performance of the feet, the lower the functional performance of the gait.

But the foot's role in gait has even greater significance which most podiatrists themselves don't fully realize or appreciate. The foot's architectural design and its consequent biomechanical function was responsible for our distinctive erect manner of gait, walking on two feet with a stride.

That accomplishment -- perhaps the single most significant development of bioengineering in all evolutionary history -- was responsible for making us human in the first place and the spawning of the human species. More than any other distinctive human capacity -- the huge brain, language, conceptual thinking, etc.- our unique form of gait, unduplicated in all evolutionary history, was the very seed of our humanity.

The noted anthropologist Frederick Wood-Jones states, "Man's foot is all his own and unlike any other foot. It is the most distinctive part of his whole anatomical makeup. It is a human specialization; it is his hallmark, and so long as man has been man, it is by his feet that he will be known from all other creatures of the animal kingdom. It is his feet that will confer upon him his only real distinction and provide his only valid claim to human status." To that, Donald C. Johanson, paleoanthropologist and chief of the Institute of Human Origins, Berkeley, California, adds, "Bipedalism is what made us human," Thus, man stands alone because only man stands.

It took four million years to develop our unique human foot and our consequent distinctive form of gait, a remarkable feat of bioengineering. Yet, in only a few thousand years, and with one carelessly designed instrument, our shoes, we have warped the pure anatomical form of human gait, obstructing its engineering efficiency, afflicting it with strains and stresses and denying it its natural grace of form and ease of movement head to foot. We have converted a beautiful thoroughbred into a plodding plowhorse.

True, despite all these shoe-induced handicaps or gait, the human species is doing fine. But we might make our lives a shade better if we could find a way to regain our natural manner of walking and at the same time keep our shoes on our feet.

Original article found here: http://www.unshod.org/pfbc/pfrossi2.htm

Alternatives for NSAIDs Posted on May 19, 2013, 0 Comments

Proteolytic enzymes, such as Bromelain or Papain, can be good pain relievers because they work as anti-inflammatories if taken on an empty stomach.  When taken in the presence of food, these natural substances (Bromelain is an enzyme from pineapple, for example) help break down proteins in your gut.  However, when taken without food, these same substances break down excess fibrin in your circulatory system and in other connective tissue (i.e. muscle) which often deprive the tissue of the essential blood necessary for healing (via oxygen delivery and the removal of metabolic waste).  Besides, countless studies show that NSAIDs actually slow down the healing process: http://www.electrotherapy.org/downloads/Modalities/nsaid%20delay%20healing.pdf

 

Question from a Runner with Knee Pain Posted on May 10, 2013, 0 Comments

I'm following a training plan for a race I'm running next month.  But the past few runs I've noticed some discomfort around my knee.  It doesn't bother me too much, but I wonder if I should rest it or just continue with my run schedule.  I really want to PR at my race, so I'm hoping you'll suggest the latter.  What do you think?

from K.Myers 

Answer:   

Whether it’s running, cycling, swimming, or tiddly winks—if it hurts, don’t do it.  Pain is a sign that something is wrong.  Your body is sending you signals all the time, so pay attention.  As athletes, we develop the ability to ignore physical and mental demands to stop as that’s what is often required to meet or even exceed our performance goals.  However, the skill of listening to the body can be easily left underdeveloped as we grow increasingly reliant on heart rate monitors, power meters, and GPS systems to tell us how we’re feeling.  The cost often sidelines us for longer than would have happened if we had just heard and addressed the body’s early attempts to alert us that something wasn’t right.  Injuries occur to bring us back into our bodies and into the present moment.  Avoid them by honoring your body with rest if/when it’s necessary.  As your body responds, you can resume training at the volume you were using before symptoms appeared.  Don’t worry about the delay or getting behind in your preparation.  It’s all about getting to the starting line healthy!

Emotional Eating Posted on April 30, 2013, 0 Comments

It starts young.

Surrounded by family and friends at the Thanksgiving dinner table, you feel like you belong.  After a shot at the doctor's office, the pain disappears as your bravery is rewarded with the sweet taste of a sucker.  And even before you had the capacity to form explicit memories, a breast or a bottle or even a well-timed pacifier taught you that someone cared.

Then the food manufacturers step in and take it to a different level.  They know how your sense of smell is the most powerful trigger of memory.  They've been studying the science of taste since long before you could even wield a fork.  With top secret recipes, they manipulate the ingredients in your food.  A little more salt here.  A sprinkle of sugar there.  Like mad scientists, they play with different combinations, trying to find ways to control an old part of your brain called the appestat until you literally “can't eat just one." 

Or can you?

Look down at your hand.  I’m pretty sure you won’t see any strings attached there.  That an outcome is predicated on something outside your power to influence can be comforting.  Blaming government or your parents or just dumb luck allows you to shrug off any role your own actions may have played in getting you to where you are right now.  But the truth is, as much as you may not want to admit it, you do have control.  Yes, your parents gave you a genetic road map.  Circumstances may dictate the actual driving conditions on any given day.  But you’re the one who ultimately controls where your vehicle goes and how it gets there. 

Taking responsibility for yourself and what you’re creating from moment to moment is a scary idea.  It puts all the pressure on you.  The moment you realize that you’re wearing the results of every decision you’ve ever made can be intimidating.  Yet, having a bunch of experts or doctors or even patterns of behavior you turn to every time Life happens can easily keep you from recognizing your own guru—you.

And you is where your power lies. 

In various scenarios where life hangs in the balance, one of the characteristics which separates victims from survivors is the idea of control.  Survivors innately believe they have some sort of power.  They think they can affect the outcome of a particular situation.  And right or wrong, that belief allows them to become key players in their own destinies. 

You are a survivor.  You come from a long line of survivors or else you wouldn’t be here.  And regardless of the programming you have around eating; despite any memory you may have which binds you to a certain food or creates some culinary cage from which you can’t seem to escape—you are the one in control.  And that thought alone should empower you.  And if you allow them to, all of your thoughts can serve you the same way.

Trade in scapegoats for allies.  Rid yourself of blame and strengthen yourself with belief.  Your thoughts create your reality.  And while the past may have taught you how to use food to control your thoughts, that perspective is not only inaccurate—it doesn’t serve you anymore.  To survive now, allow yourself to take charge of your thoughts.  Own them and recognize when specific ones no longer contribute to the dream you want to create.  The one you want to live right now. 

The dichotomy of the Universe tells us that for every negative thought there must be a positive one.  Otherwise the negative would cease to exist.  So focus on what you want rather than what you don’t want.  It may not come easy at first.  You’ve had a lifetime of learned behavior which is literally programmed into you at the subconscious level.  Some habits may be so deeply ingrained that they could take years to reverse.  But like anything else, success is predicated on consistency. 

So try being your own expert.  Seek guidance from the healer in you.  Practice being the optimist.  For when you do, every cell in your body shares that identity with you.  You can literally impact their chemical make up simply by changing the way you think.  And the most powerful nourishment you can offer your cells are ideas of Love, Gratitude, Health, and Chi.  More than food then, your body feeds on thought.  Feed it well, my friend.  And, more importantly, feed it Good.

From Centre to Circumference Posted on January 08, 2013, 0 Comments

HERING'S LAW OF CURE

1. Symptoms move from above downwards.
2. Symptoms move from within outwards.
3. Symptoms move from a more important organ to a less important organ.
4. Symptoms heal in the reverse order of their coming.

 

1--Healing begins in the head.  One must first believe in one's own vitality and potential to heal.  Stinking thinking never prevents disease; it only spawns it.

2--Addressing only what you can see often ignores the true issue.  For example, an obese person may have to have a change in diet (inside) before a change in body (outside) becomes apparent.  And for this transformation to occur, a change in thought/belief (inside/above) must precede action by the body (outside/below). 

3--What part of a watch tells time?  The reductionist approach to health (and nutrition) ignores the fact that everything in the body (as in Nature) is connected.  Treating or removing the offending organ/gland/part often overlooks a deeper, more important, even systematic problem.  Thus, to heal, care should begin globally to impact locally.   

4--Healing takes time.  And while progression of the Whole may not be as easily recognized as progression of a part, a holistic approach to wellness often allows for immediate benefits followed by Effective Cure and possibly Chronic Health.