If you’re an athlete, outdoors enthusiast or clumsy and prone to injuries, you’ve probably heard of RICE. It’s something that most of your doctors know, and what they have commonly told you to do: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation.
Sprained ankle? RICE it.
Torn rotator cuff? RICE it.
What to do with your rice cooker? Rice it.
Ok, joking on the last one. But in all seriousness, there is now a big revolution in the way we think about injury, inflammation, and what should we really do?
Introducing MEAT: Movement, Exercise, Analgesia (pain relief), Treatment (alternating hot and cold, acupuncture, etc.).
What’s the big change? Well if you look at the details of those acronyms, they’re almost opposite.
What was Rest is now Movement.
What was Compression and Elevation (so sitting laid up somewhere) is now Exercise.
These are some common recommendations that those of us in the alternative medicine field have known of and have been using for a long time. But now it is nice to know that my hesitance to fall in line with RICE recommendations is now more scientifically proven and that MEAT really is the way to go (sorry vegetarians, I didn’t make it up).
And the last important details (or disclaimers, whatever you want to call it):
-A sprained ankle may not just be a sprained ankle! There could be ligament or tendon tears, or a break in one of the many small ankle bones, so get it checked out by a healthcare professional.
-Don’t push yourself to recover so quickly that you end up hurting yourself further. Yes, movement is beneficial after an injury, but that means some gentle walking or yoga-like activity, not a half-marathon the day after.
I do offer a lot of support and treatments for acute injuries in my office, and also work closely with acupuncturists, massage therapists and chiropractors, so if you have any questions about this, please let me know!
Hoping you recovery swiftly and fully,
Further reading on the research and clinical findings of MEAT- check out this website.
Know what I love about HeartMath?
Ok, so that's not very helpful.
Let me explain.
HeartMath really addresses the root of my patients' stress-related issues.
I feel that this particular type of biofeedback, which uses guided intervention in heart rate variability patterning, gets to the bottom of issues which are so prevalent in our society (feeling stressed out, exhausted, nervous wrecks, overwhelmed, constant fatigue, the list goes on and on).
So here's the whirl-wind intro, though you're always welcome to call for a complimentary 15 minute introductory consult... you can meet me and talk further about how I can help you achieve a better state of health.
First, why would someone use HeartMath? Well, one of the most common reasons is a stress-related condition, such as anxiety, depression, insomnia, hypertension, attention disorders and chronic pain.
Take a look at the many ways stress ruins your body and mind
If the image above is a little blurry, here's the original
Yes, in general, stress is bad. A little is ok, but most of us have waaaay more than a little stress in our lives.
So how does HeartMath work? What is it doing?
It's harnessing your innate heart-brain connection, and using that internal power for good (relaxation and restoration) instead of evil (panic attacks and out of control emotions).
It is optimizing the communication between your nervous, cognitive hormone and immune systems to balance out any mis-signaling.
Through this process you will learn to identify and remove all internal signals that, perhaps subconsciously, are working against you instead of for you.
The end result?
Common effects are increased happiness, more positive outlook on life, little or no stress reaction from what was before stress-inducing issues (work, relationships, finances), a full release from prior feelings of overwhelm and burnout and the ability to finally overcome a physical or hormonal issue (like those listed in the graphic above) just to name a few.
This technique is simple, powerful, and transformative. Everyone should give it a try.
How does this whole process work?
You can learn from the decades of research and look up conditions and information important to you on the HeartMath website. They offer biofeedback devices to anyone, though working with a healthcare professional such as myself ensures proper monitoring, assistance and its optimal placement within a comprehensive wellness approach.
I use HeartMath biofeedback during office visits and program check-ins for those who could benefit from its use as well as offer shorter stand-alone sessions.
To best learn and implement the biofeedback techniques in your everyday life above and beyond the few times I guide you through the process.
Most patients benefit from an initial round of 4-6 sessions which will be part of an all-inclusive integrative plan where all your healthcare issues are addressed and attended to.
My current weight loss and stress reduction program, 'slim down & happy up,' includes HeartMath sessions during as many of the bi-monthly check-ins as you'd like.
That means up to 6 HeartMath sessions are automatically included in the program, no extra cost at all!
The next 'slim down & happy up' program will run 3 months, starting September 9th.
Registration begins on our next session Monday, August 19th, check out the full details here.
To your good health,
There are over 300,000 people in the US who suffer a stroke each year, especially those with a personal and/or family history of heart disease, diabetes and clotting disorders.
The aftermath is uncertain and often ranges from paralysis to difficulty speaking and other far-reaching effects. Since the damage is already done by the time someone knows they have a stroke, prevention is key for this potentially devastating disease.
Research published last week in the British Medical Journal found that those who ate fish 2-4 times a week had a 6% less chance of a stroke, and those who ate fish 5 times a week had a 12% less chance of having a stroke.
Fish has been long recognized as an "anti-inflammatory" food, meaning that it reduces, rather than stimulates an aggravation of your immune system when you eat it. Just remember, that there is a wide diversity of fish out there, and be cautious in your choices.
Wild-caught Alaskan salmon, for example, has higher amounts of Omega 3 fatty acids and bioflavonoids than farmed Atlantic salmon- which is "pinked up" by artificial dye to look as healthy and fresh as its wild counterpart.
And when considering species of fish and fishing practices, over fishing and other environmental concerns (not to mention heavy metal content such as Mercury), it can at first be difficult to find a healthy source of fish that you feel good purchasing. Take a look at Environmental Working Group's Safe Fish List and this Sustainable Seafood Shopping Guide for pointers, recommendations and further reading.
Here's to your good health.
Take time to stop & smell the flowers.
Most people have more inflammation (what we may call "pro-inflammation reactions") happening than their body really needs. Too much inflammation increases the severity of all those diseases and medical conditions we discussed in Part 1 (few diseases are really free from inflammation's influence), as well as leading some seemingly minor health complaint (such as occasional achy joints or a mild skin rash) into more severe disease categories all together (developing Rheumatoid Arthritis or Ezcema).
High levels of inflammation also lead to other diseases or conditions hopping on for the ride and serve to worsen your overall health (high blood pressure, then coronary artery disease then heart attack). To combat this, one must identify what actions and circumstances lead to more vs. less inflammation.
Inflammatory causes are a lot farther reaching than simple traumas. Most of your body's inflammation actually comes from all those factors in your day to day life that stress you out and make you less healthy overall. These include dietary and exercise choices, as well as pretty much any thing you surround yourself with that exhausts you and makes you irritable and on edge (work? relationships? daily commute?).
And anti-inflammatory helpers include a much larger list than just that Aspirin or Aleve in your medicine cabinet. Every choice you make to lessen stress and strengthen your health are working on your side to decrease inflammation in your body. Calm, nutritious, leisurely dinner with loved ones? Put that in the anti-inflammatory column. Cramming down a burger and cola while fuming about the rush hour traffic you're trapped in? That is upping the inflammatory responses in your body.
So continue to make choices to support your health and lessen your stress.
Lastly, feel free to contact me any time to continue this discussion further. I'm also open to topic suggestions, particularly related to health in the news. Send me an article link, or other topics that have come to your attention, and I look into writing a piece about them here.
Thanks for reading!
Inflammation- you've all heard of it, but few understand what's really going on. It's a lot more than just the swelling that happens after you twist your ankle or slam your finger in the car door. It's a very complex and dynamic interplay of many immunologic compounds interacting with each other in your body- on an almost constant basis.
It all starts with some type of trauma- an injury like listed above, or something a lot more subtle like blood vessels getting stressed out by too much tension (high blood pressure), or areas of the body becoming hypersensitive to invisible particles in the air (allergic reactions like hay fever). What happens then is a directed cascade of immune reactions where some guard molecules alert others to make reaction, and the message keeps getting passed along to more and more immune cells until you start the visible signs of inflammation like swelling or getting itchy eyes.
So is it all bad? Not really. There's a certain low amount of inflammation that is helpful when you really do injure yourself, to prevent overuse or strain of the recently injured area. But as for the rest of the inflammatory reactions we experience day in and day out, it's really better to decrease these as much as possible.
So how do you know if you have more inflammation than your body needs? Well, there's some well established medical conditions that will always be associated with high levels of inflammation. Some listed above are allergies (hay fever, allergic skin reactions/ ezcema, etc), high blood pressure (or having a strong family history of high blood pressure) and all other forms of Coronary Artery Disease signal high levels of inflammation as well as some other common conditions like asthma, migraines/ tension headaches, rheumatoid arthritis, PMS, problems with proper bowel function such as colitis and Irritable Bowel Syndrome- the list goes on and on.
In Part 2, we will talk more about inflammation, what it leads to and what can increase and decrease your body's amounts.
Please leave any comments or questions below, or see the Contact section to write me a note.