Saturday, December 26, 2015

The Force is Alive Inside: We Can't Do It Solo

My wife, Jo, and I went to see The Force Awakens (TFA) on Christmas eve. I was excited! I loved Star Wars, and like so many parents, we had shared the Star Wars experience and memories with our children. We felt a connection! It was a family tradition!

But ... I wasn't knocked out. Entertaining, nostalgic, scary (for a woos like me), sure; but no block buster.

As chance would have it, my wife, being a lover of movies, had read a review of the 2014 documentary, Alive Inside (AI), the real-life story of how music awakens those with dementia. The following night, Christmas, we watched this film and observed profoundly demented elderly individuals come to life, dancing and singing.

Fifteen minutes into Alive Inside, it was clear that this film had already moved and awakened me beyond that which the latest Star Wars could ever hope to.

I'm not trying to be hard on TFA. But, so what if the Force is awakened in a multi-million dollar fiction film? Is a force awakened in you?

You've been entertained again. Is the world a better place? Is your life better?

Amazed by the special effects in TFA? Watch a bed-bound, institutionalized, aged person with dementia begin to sway to the music of his youth when channeled from an iPod to his headset. That's special effects!

AI shows us that there is so much force alive inside individuals, that most of us would see as empty. It shows us that many dementia patients can be happier, more calm, and more cooperative if they have access to music that moves them. It suggests that fewer expensive drugs would be necessary if inexpensive personalized music were provided therapeutically.

As I watched AI I thought:
  • if music is this powerful in people who are profoundly ill, or near dead, what could it do for the rest of us?
  • this is more profound evidence of the need for change in our disease-care system,
  • music powerfully uplifts me; but I don't engage with it often; time for change,
  • time for a monthly Dancing with the Doctor,
  • most of us know that we feel better when we hear music that we love; why don't we use it more?
  • I will ask around in Ojai, CA (my hometown) to see if our retirement and nursing care homes offer personalized music to their residents.
  • music therapy is a #FunctionalMedicine,
  • I am concerned that this film may imply that dementia is an unavoidable, bad luck condition, rather than one of many chronic degenerative diseases that are more common in those with unhealthy lifestyles,
  • though not covered in this film, I hope that lots of adults will realize that we Americans need to make profound change in how we take care of ourselves, for if we don't, dementia is one of a number of lifestyle-driven diseases that will bring our Country to its knees,
The film impresses upon us the importance for those with dementia, and in fact for all of us, of connection to ourselves, others, and music. The force is alive inside all of us, and with all due respect to Harrison Ford, we can't do it Solo.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Its Not as Simple as Hormones

Dysfunctional behavior in children, twos to teens, and in adults is incredibly common in America. Most Americans accept this as par for the course. How dangerous. An alternative would be to listen to a very brilliant psychiatrist. I'm just suggesting that we wake up. Click the link to Dr. Brogan. Life could get better. 

Photo: angry_mdanys_Flickr

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Fear Less

Just so you know, I am working on this too.

I am not talking about being fearless. I'm talking about fearing less.

Fear is great as a short-lasting, attention-getter to help us stay safe and alive. As a chronic experience, it is debilitating; makes us sick.

As you know, some folks react to their fears with anger. Probably not the most functional response.

What helps me fear less are: holding babies, petting dogs, singing, yoga, growing food, working with others who want for all people to feel safe.

What helps you fear less?

Sunday, November 1, 2015

13 Years on Ritalin

In March of this year I began treating an 18 year-old male who at age 5 had been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and put on Ritalin. It controlled him somewhat, but he did not improve.

When he and his parents came to see me, they all agreed that he was unable to concentrate and was both impulsive and aggressive.

I explained to the young man that the "problem" might not be him, but rather a mismatch between his lifestyle and his genes. He stated that he was interested and willing to try making some changes to his lifestyle. Here is what I asked him to do:

  1. remove all gluten and dairy from his diet,
  2. reduce sugar intake,
  3. take an excellent quality daily multivitamin,
  4. take 4000 mg/day of Magnesium Glycinate,
  5. take 3,000 mg/day of combined EPA+DHA from fish oil,
  6. take a daily probiotic,
  7. stretch 30 minutes per day.
Seven months later I asked him how he was doing. He said, "Great!" I asked him what that meant. He told me that:
  1. his grades had gone from D's and F's to A's, B's and a few C's,
  2. he was more calm,
  3. he did not feel irritated,
  4. he was less impulsive,
  5. and he had lost 20 lbs.
His mother confirmed the progress.

He is still on Ritalin. He had not been able to carry out all of the changes, but still has made remarkable progress. He has reduced gluten, but has not been off of dairy.

There is more that we can do, he knows it, and is optimistic about his future!

Imagine what might happen if changes like this were begun at age 5!

Functional Medicine

Saturday, October 24, 2015

How to Find a Good Chiropractor: Trick or Treat?

BEWARE!!! when looking for advice on the Internet about how to find a good chiropractor! On a site that looked legit, I found the following:

"A good place to start is to ask a primary care physician, physical therapist, or spine specialist for recommendations of chiropractors who they view as competent and trustworthy."

Now some of my best friends are primary care medical doctors, but WOW!!! If you were going to pick the 3 healthcare specialties that have had the worst bad blood with the chiropractic profession, you would be talking these three. So, this "legit" site recommends that we ask the fox for a recommendation for someone to guard the hen house.

Note also that the statement from the "legit" site as much as says that ALL primary care physicians, physical therapists, and spine specialist are competent and trustworthy, while you will have to filter the chiropractors to find those qualities. My advice is that one would be wise to filter through all of these groups to find the truly competent and trustworthy.

For clarity, things are changing; improving. I have treated dozens of medical doctors. And I am not saying that chiropractors have not contributed to the bad blood; we have.

If you are looking for a little more and want to find a GREAT chiropractor, click on this link!

#FunctionalMedicine #Ventura #GoogleReviews

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Diabetes on the Run through Functional Medicine

Fact: some Type 2 diabetics can become no longer diabetic. With no insulin or other glucoregulating medications.

I am not there yet with a current 68 year-old patient. But, in three weeks of active treatment he has been able to reduce his insulin by 1/3!

He is on 7 drugs for high blood pressure, and during the same 3 weeks his systolic blood pressure (the high number) has dropped from 150 to 120!

Yes, he has lost about 15 pounds at the same time!

How, you ask. No gluten. No dairy. Better diet. More veggies. Magnesium glycinate, B-complex, potent multivitamin/multimineral, fish oil, and lipoic acid. A change from hopelessness to a science-based awareness that it is probable that his health can improve. Real caring. And some good old-fashion chiropractic spinal adjusting.

This might be called Functional Medicine. As my patient and I choke back our tears, we call it a blessing.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

How I Became Addicted to Tums

As a child I had a sensitive stomach.

By 16 my medical doctor prescribed Maalox for my budding duodenal ulcer and recommended that I drink milk to coat my stomach.

My heartburn and gut pain continued and so did my multi-time per day use of antacids. I’ve lost track now, but somewhere between 16 and 40 I transitioned from Maalox to Tums. Maybe because I learned that one of the active ingredients in Maalox was aluminum hydroxide.

By age 35 it had become clear to me that all dairy products, including the milk that my medical doctor had recommended, were causing me gut pain and intestinal gas. I stopped all; completely. At the same time I realized that food from most all restaurants caused me digestive distress. Stopped that too; completely. My gut problems lessened.

When the year of my 40th birthday rolled around, having removed offending foods from my diet and begun taking digestive enzymes with my meals, my tummy was feeling so good that I cold-turkeyed the Tums on April Fools’ Day 1991. I sensed there was something auspicious about the occasion, and fortunately kept my half-full, last bottle of Tums for posterity and the educational value.

I write this history on April Fools’ Day 2015. Twenty-four years now without a single antacid after 24 years of daily use. No joke!

Morals: Listen. Think. Understand causes. Understand systems. Don’t cover problems with drugs.