“The Old Man and the Pool”
An old man, appearing to be in his early to mid-80’s, walked back and forth in the pool next to Biscayne Bay. Looking reasonably fit and quite tan, he looked good for his age. (When anyone tells me “You look good for your age” I appreciate the compliment but realize they still told me I look old.) This elderly man was putting the work in, having a regimen of swimming that he performs regularly. When told he looked good for his age, his responded with a hearty, “As long as I stay independent and free, I’m OK. Lose my independence and I want out of here ASAP.”
As we age, independence is a worthy goal and like any other accomplishment it requires putting the work in. I have met so many people who feel being healthy, including aging well, is a matter of luck and circumstances. While some good fortune is involved, it is more a result of three things: a healthy consciousness that attracts health, being an overcomer of life’s obstacles and defeats that arrive for all of us, and lastly, disciplined action. You don’t have to be a Navy SEAL to be healthy and independent but it requires some of the SEAL attitude.
The old man in the pool was doing a lot right. He was keeping his weight down without being obsessed about it. He was exercising regularly as daily movement tends to keep us moving more easily. And, he was experiencing one more bonus over the challenge that we face here in Western PA – regular doses of Vitamin D3. In this gentleman’s case his exposure came from the best source, the sun. Getting outdoors in the fresh air and sunshine is the way to supercharge your immune system. Exercise or moving regularly, quality of diet, and taking Vitamin D or getting it from the sun are ways to keep your unique nervous system working more efficiently. Patients who chose chiropractic check-ups to their spine and nervous systems seem to have a naturally expanded health consciousness. Kudos to them and you.
“Hit by a Boomerang”
A recent accident had the medical doctor recommending I take a blood thinner. Never one to readily take any medicine including over-the-counter pills, I was quite resistant. When sharing with a friend the doctor’s recommendation to take this medication touted so often on TV commercials, he gave another perspective. It seems an acquaintance I met years ago also had a similar recommendation. His side-effects were an unfortunate brain bleed that left one side of his body severely incapacitated. Walking normally again is now a goal of Herculean proportions.
When discussing blood thinners with a patient, she shared how often she sees the commercials by lawyers wanting to sue the pharmaceutical company for misrepresenting the side-effects of this highly advertised drug.
Any drug, even antibiotics, have side-effects that can be severe. I’ve seen people develop constant bowel problems due to antibiotics. Years of running to the bathroom to keep from going in your pants is too high a price to pay to get rid of an infection that likely would have recovered with improved rest and diet anyway.
This opioid epidemic is so disheartening, as we lose one young adult after another. Most were innocent victims of a doctor prescribing pain pills for a problem that could have been helped with other, safer solutions they were never made aware of.
My kids had a foam boomerang when they were little. Throw them and they come back. If it hit you, it was painless. With all medicines, there is a boomerang side-effect. Sometimes, the kickback is minimal. Too often it is extremely harmful, sometimes even fatal.
“Doctor’s pills give you brand new ills.” Who knew Joni Mitchell was so prophetic as our opioid victim’s leave behind brokenhearted friends and family members. It starts with the awareness there is a better way.
THE WOMAN WHO CHANGED MY LIFE
You’ve heard the story 1,000 times. Boy meets girl. They fall in love. If the boy/young man is willing to get some discipline and get his act together, they just might have a future together. He does, love grows as does their family. Actually, this isn’t one of those stories.
I was vacationing at a condo in Miami when a middle-aged woman rolled up to the bay side pool in her wheelchair. She was instantly engaging, not surprising since she runs one of the most successful salons in the world. Her salon attracts movie stars and models wanting her skills to enhance their style. Still she was in a wheelchair.
How did such a lively woman end up in this wheelchair? She shared how she was recovering from major knee surgery. It turns out she suffered from a genetic condition that caused her to have unstable joints. Her body was actually too flexible and readily vulnerable to joint damage. Pain and recovering from surgery was a regular part of her life. “Ever been to a chiropractor?” I asked. She stated, “My joints can’t tolerate chiropractic. I get too sore.”
This woman had wealth, status, brains and yet no health. I had to find out why. It took me two years to find the answer. The answer was just the beginning of a learning journey to discover and understand genetic variants, epigenetics and methylation. This was the explanation I was seeking for over 30 years. It helped me understand so many of you with so much clarity. The exciting news is science, of which chiropractic is in the forefront, is providing solutions like never before. With Big Pharma seeking to develop and market more powerful pain killers, there are healthy solutions that can become game changers in your health and life. We are blessed to be living in an age of powerful solutions.
“There Are No Shortcuts to Good Health”
On a recent trip into the office during morning rush hour traffic, a middle-age woman caught my attention. It wasn’t her appearance that caught my eye, it was her driving skills. Peacefully I pulled out on Route 19 but like a magnet she was on my tail in no time. As I proceeded in the slow lane moving slightly above the speed limit, she was tailgating so recklessly I felt as if she was sitting in my back seat. She sped over to the passing lane repeating the same tailgating behavior. I watched her shift from lane to lane, tailgating someone the entire way up Route 19. We eventually ended up next to each other at a red light.
Unfortunately, this woman’s erratic driving pattern became a part of my morning routine. Twenty years ago, I might have angrily sulked over her driving habits. However, the lesson of learning to slow down (“stop and smell the roses”) has finally developed roots.
Tailgating, lane-changing speeders are similar to people who want health changes fast. “I want to be better now,” complained an elderly woman recently with months long low back and leg pain. “It’s still there,” she stated on her second visit. Yelling at the body to heal faster is like yelling at your garden to grow faster. I have learned through years of experience that the patient person heals twice as fast. Relax. Give your body a chance to heal and let nature get to work. Your chiropractic care trains your nervous system to relax so your super nature can do its amazing thing! So slow down and leave space for healing.
“Antibiotics: Friend or Foe?”
Colon cancer has been in the news lately. Our national morning news shows featured a story about colon cancer affecting younger adults more than ever. The doctor who was being interviewed gave two main reasons for this happening, the first being processed foods. It appears a crappy diet full of man made instead of nature made food irritates the colon. The second reason the expert referred to was our tendency to use antibiotics. He mentioned that antibiotics irritate “the biome of the gut”. The biome is the life-giving germs that live in our gut and help us digest what we eat.
A young woman shared her story of growing up with an uncle who was an MD. Whenever she was feeling sick, be it with a sore throat or an earache, her mom would call her brother who would then come over with antibiotics for her to take. “Ear infection, swollen tonsils, or lymph nodes? No problem. Just take an antibiotic.” The woman stated this process was repeated often throughout her childhood. A mother’s attempt to protect her daughter is a natural response when her child is sick. Still, we must let the nature within our body have a chance to learn to be healthy.
By the time this woman grew into adulthood, she said she became “sick and tired of always being sick and tired”. Realizing the antibiotics had weakened her immune system, she shut off all use of them. It took a while until she gradually regained a natural state of health.
Wanting a symptom-free child is natural. However, wanting a healthy child requires that our children sometimes need to experience sickness and discomfort. Our body is a healing machine. To be well sometimes requires patience and persistence.
Take Charge of Your Health
The middle-aged woman completed her intake forms at the doctor’s office and handed them to the nurse. It was time for the patient’s annual physical as required by her health insurer. “Wait,” said the intake nurse in an irritated tone as she reviewed the patient’s forms, “you didn’t list your pharmacy.”
The patient failed to understand why the nurse appeared frustrated, as if she was causing her trouble. “We need a pharmacy,” the nurse repeated. “Put down CVS since they cover drugs under my plan,” responded the patient. What followed next was quite humorous. The nurse requested the phone number for the pharmacy even though she was told the patient wasn’t taking any medication.
Those who choose not to take medications are what could be called outliers – as in they exist outside the norm. Approximately 10% of our population does not take medicine. Notice I used the word “choose” to describe taking medicine. Life can be messy, and every one of us could take a pill for this or that. Fortunately, in this information age we live in things are changing. People are now choosing to say no to prescription drugs and surgeries because they realize the side-effects of each can cause more and longer lasting side-effects than any benefit.
I’ve taken medication in the past to help me through a rough patch. Fortunately, it’s been rare and only for a brief period of time. Discontinuing taking medicine was always a negotiation between me and the MD who was open to an intelligent reason for stopping.
The point is to stay in charge of your own health and your health choices, including your right to decide whether or not to take medicine. Steer towards improving your lifestyle as a solution. Bruce Springsteen isn’t the only boss in town!
“Got Any Gluten-Free Bread?”
As I patiently continued moving forward in the communion line at a recent morning mass, the priest suddenly turned and retreated towards a table in the back. He quickly grabbed a small container with the gluten-free hosts. He gave one to the young woman in line then resumed passing out the regular hosts.
Hallmark carries a card with a cartoon of Jesus preparing to turn a fish and fragments of bread into enough food to feed thousands. Out of the crowd, a man yells, “Would you mind making my bread gluten-free?” Now that’s funny.
How did we get to this point of being allergic to spring, fall, peanuts, bread and so much more? As our environment has changed, exposing us to so many mildly hazardous substances, our bodies have changed as well. We now have to work so much harder to adapt to the environment we live in. Our nervous and immune systems are in a frequent struggle to avoid being overwhelmed.
The chiropractic adjustment is a natural way of resetting your system, like turning on a tripped fuse in a breaker box. Keep your power on.
“Feeling Blue? Good For You!”
While driving into the office recently, a young man on a podcast I was listening to was discussing his recent trip to Greece. “Are you going to visit the Blue Zone?” a native asked while he was vacationing. The young man had no idea what a “Blue Zone” was and neither did I.
After doing a little research on Google, I had my answer. A “Blue Zone” is an area – of which there are only 5 throughout the world – where the residents are unusually healthy and thus live much longer than the average person. They are so healthy they stand out above the norm.
What does it take to have an abundant health consistent with a Blue Zone? The population generally avoids all medication and medical procedures. They have turned shunning medicine and surgeries into a choice they make consistently. The populations of these areas tend to maintain a healthful diet consisting of natural foods derived from plants, like fruit and vegetables, and incorporate constant moderate physical activity daily.
Is it a coincidence that a healthy Blue Zone requires eating healthy foods and shunning drugs? Sounds like a perfect plan to empower your unique nervous system to function at an optimal level.
Parenting isn’t easy and unfortunately there is no go to guide that shows the step by step path to success. With that in mind, I asked a local school teacher with 25 years experience and an excellent reputation, how the students of today compare to 25 years ago.
There was no hesitation in her answer. “The kids haven’t changed much, but the parents have.” In what way I obviously asked. “Kids today aren’t allowed to fail, screw up, make mistakes and struggle. Hardship is not allowed to readily be seen.”Doesn’t that sound a lot like Facebook where so many post their so called perfect life?
She continued “Parents ride in and clean up their kid’s messes and mistakes. They too often interfere with the child recovering from their own mistakes”. Since we send our kids to school to learn, learning from their mistakes is a most important learning experience, if parents don’t interfere.
I loved her last sentiments. “Kids need to toughen up. They need to get some grit. That will never happen as long as their parents do everything for them.” I loved her dedication and passion. You are lucky to have a teacher like this, and so many other great ones teaching your kids and grandkids.
Now let’s talk about your health. Many people think their MD is supposed to clean up their health mess after the side effect of a messy lifestyle. MD’s are not trained to help you get healthy. They are trained to help you have less symptoms. We would not have an opioid epidemic if they were trained to get you healthy. As an experienced MD lamented to my friend, a functional medicine chiropractor, “Help me get healthy. We are not taught in medical school how to be healthy.”
Develop the “grit” it takes to be in charge of your health. Chiropractic care can be a huge part of the process of you taking charge of your posture, diet, activity level, sleep regimen and breathing pattern of a loving, grateful, joy filled superstar.
“Health Begins from Within”
While discussing her purpose on a recent podcast, a young “life coach” said the goal is to get people living from within. This isn’t an original purpose since Christ, Buddha, and even Shakespeare had the same message.
If the best you begins within, remember health begins within you as well. In a world that teaches us we need something outside ourselves, including the right car, phone, jeans, hair color and so much more, medicine and even recreational drugs are sold the same way.
The ads on TV tell us the right pills can take away all our symptoms, but they don’t tell you that you will be healthier. Why not? Because it isn’t true. Remember how in high school, the “cool kids” smoked marijuana or cigarettes? How “cool” is that perspective today?
The beauty of working with the nervous system as a chiropractor is checking the most unique part of you and the truest reflector of you. Keep in mind the power of self-discipline. Look at the word “discipline” as “disciple”, with self-discipline meaning being a disciple of you. That means honoring your dreams, missions, and goals uniquely found within you.