Category Archives: Healthy hints

On Dancer on Prancer….

I take great delight in the joy in movement I see when my grandchildren dance. Despite, or maybe because of the genetic anomaly that runs through the family hypermobility is both blessing and curse. The youngest, given a death sentence when he was six weeks old, dislocates joints at the drop of a hat, but he, who wasn’t given 6 months to live, just performed in his first Nutcracker. His oldest sister does backbends,  split leaps, and is an amazing dancer…. not just for a 10 year old but amazing….period.

When faced with instability, core strengthening and dynamic stabilization activities are the key to optimizing function. if the joints don’t hold shape because of ligamentous laxity, strong tendons and muscles that have developed the skill to optimize different fibers for different purposes allow for grace and stability.

North County Academy of Dance has done an awesome job of looking after the unique needs of each of my grandchildren involved in their programs.

hypermobility plus trained strength =grace

hypermobility plus trained strength =grace

strange shoulders (3) ribs

The entire arm rests on the ribcage

the shoulder girdle is only attached to the sternum

Your two arms are more attached to each other than they are to the rest of the body.This is either a terrifying or very liberating thought.

Your arms were designed to work in concert with your rib cage…

I like the term concert because sometimes the ribs and thoracic units have the same melody and purpose. Sometimes one takes the high note and the other takes the low note and harmonize, sometimes one is supposed to just take a rest and let the others carry the movement… and if a small instrument lets say a piccolo (or muscle) is too tight, too loud, off key, sharp and piercing is disruptive to the whole movement, well that’s a concert I don’t want to listen to.[easyazon-image align=”none” asin=”B00SFVPINK” locale=”us” height=”500″ src=”” width=”333″]

In strange shoulders (4) I will explain why I dislike the term rib cage and prefer the term rib slinky, but the image lets you see how unattached the shoulder blade is to the body. it is capable anatomically of many motions, many angles, many resting positions based on gravity and posture and usage.  Any one of those three corners can go up, down, inside, outside, rotate, be adhered to the tissues that connect to the rib cage underneath them,  Resting position can be affected by the fit and style of bra a woman choses to wear, how heavy items are that are routinely carried, by bulking up of muscles anywhere around the joint.

Going back to Wolfe, Davis, and Starling , the bones, connective tissue and blood supply to the entire area are affected by usage, and by default, non usage.   A shoulder can have just as much pain or dysfunction caused by a weak, poorly initiated muscle as it has from a muscle in spasm so strong that it has shut off its own blood supply…..and all the time, it, they rest on the ribs whose movement or lack thereof affects the function of the shoulder.

Want to try a new shoulder exercise? close your eyes and breathe…. feel the connection. Breathe deep sitting, standing, in a recliner, in your bed, lying on your stomach…. discover the magic of how breathing can change your shoulders.


strange shoulders…. (1)

I have been fascinated by shoulders for a long time.   I have two of them one has had chronic problems and when I went for diagnostic testing and the only offer I got was “surgery to clean it up in there” but with assurance my arm wouldn’t fall off if I worked on it myself, I revisited anatomy, what I was taught in school,  and my own dyslexic interpretations of pictures and explorations I’ve done on my own.

  1. Most people have no idea where the only bone on bone connection of the arm to the body is, I’ve surveyed clients, colleagues, and friends and less than one in fifty responses are even close….. think about it …. the answer will be in strange shoulders… (2)
  2. Shoulders are very connected to the pelvic girdle and most shoulder rehab programs I’ve participated in when I worked in PT totally ignored the pelvic and lumbar vertebral origins of the Latissimus dorsi [easyazon-image align=”right” asin=”B017AYJLXK” locale=”us” height=”500″ src=”” width=”333″]
  3. In swimmers, this muscle is seen in the front and is what some call the ‘flying squirrel muscle’….0…1c.1.64.img..1.17.1674.3iVJ1fAAv58#imgrc=2SdJugHTY_3zsM%3A
  4. In my experience, when people with shoulder problems do not realize how their arms are connected to their backs and simply do arm exercises, the likelihood of of full, painfree motion is reduced.

Can Cuss, Concussed

I haven’t written for quite some time, why you may ask…or maybe not, I’m not sure there is anyone reading what I write except the spammers, and since I’ve stopped writing, they are even slowing down.   Why did I stop writing?  I fell, hurt my dominant hand,  gained a new concussion, lost my ability to come up with coherent written thoughts.  Not good for a writer, not good for a manual therapist. but who am I to questions God’s timing or my klutziness.

My daughter didn’t let me drive for three whole days. I’m not allowed on my inversion table for a month. Swinging a golf club hurts as does poi.I saw my doctor and she mentioned post concussion syndrome…. I asked, what can I do? she said “time” is the only medicine. sigh…. this could be discouraging… I asked for a handout, she recommended I google information I did…guess what, by the common descriptions… yup, the symptoms describe what I’m going through to a T: Lethargy, apathy, headache, light-sensitivity,   dizziness, tinnitus, poor concentration, sleep disruptions, easily fatigued, impulsivity, poor judgement, increased stubbornness, mood swings… every article I’ve found says that time and rest are the only things that help.

I don’t like that answer…no, I am not stubborn, argumentative, unable to focus, distractible…lol, my daughter would laugh at that, but, I do have experience in working with other people with severe head injuries who unfortunately have these symptoms piled on top of physical disabilities and hope to use that experience to help me in my recovery process.  Once again, I have to go by what I know not by what I feel.  I know the concussion is only part of what I am dealing with. The fall also resulted in spasms along my neck and back and some neck injuries mimic concussion signs as well.  How can I tell which is which? it doesn’t matter.  Brain fog is brain fog.  If y’all could see how many typos I’ve made in just these two paragraphs you’ll laugh or cry with me… yup it’s messed up.   I’m making this list for you, but I’m making it for me as well, so I can come back to this list when I remember that I am still healing and that therapy tools are actually helpful

I’ve spent the last two weeks resting….very important

  • when I rest, I lie down and immediately feel like I can breathe better, showing me that my diaphragm  and postural muscles also need time to recover from the impact.
  • for that part I am using my ma roller[easyazon-image align=”right” asin=”B000H1VBX2″ locale=”us” height=”55″ src=”” width=”75″] to help stretch my connective tissue and encourage spinal segmental motion.  Opening my back and neck up may help decrease the unfocused-ness in my eyes
  • I wear a hat when I go outside…when I remember, if I forget squinting and headache remind me…so now I keep a hat hung next to the chihuahua’s leash and in my car.
  • I gargle and do my saline snuffs because of the acrid taste that has been added to my post nasal drip,
  • I practice my twirly thing exercises from the legs up instead of the head down.
  • No inversion table, downward dog, aggressive cardio because those things all exacerbate the volatility  of my heart rate and blood pressure.   In the ER when checking for neuro-signs, my heart rate was 37…no joke thirty-seven. Low heart rate can be a sign of excellent conditioning, but it can also be a sign of intracranial pressure…. I never knew that.
  • I need to go back to doing my vision therapy exercises.   The optic nerve has brain tissue in it, I need to remember that using my eyes and forcing them to focus really does change what they do automatically.  I slacked off  n the months before this fall, 3-d sight was automatic more than half the time,   In the ER one of the things that made me realize I’d hit my head (that’s right, I didn’t even know it) was the extreme difficulty  I had in creating single image. My eyes were not working together at all.  I am not remember to do this on my own, so I have my tool box  in my living room. my brock string, red green glasses, finger lights, marching clock poster, and am playing my vision therapy video games.
  • I am not wearing my balance challenging sketchers…my balance is already compromised I do not want to fall again.
  • I am crawling, doing rotisserie exercises, singing
  • since I’m not at the golf course there’s about 15 hours a week of sunshine I’m missing so I keep reminding myself I should probably eat more fish and get some vitamin D sources included in my diet.
  • brain is made of a lot of fat, so I am allowing myself more good fats
  • ginger has helped with tinnitus before, so I got some now to remember to use it
  • vibrator to my belly and armpits to help with the inflammation
  • and rest…I don’t remember  to do that on my own…I set alarms to remind me when to do stuff.
  • I’m looking at my neuro-sculpting group, or visit them on facebook, because they always have suggestions for brain changing activities.

Warnings about little things

Little things…Deadly things.

Bugs and blood clots.

I almost lost my brother this year.  He had what he thought was a cramp in his leg. He massaged it til it felt better. Then he got sick.  His doctor said “Bronchitis” and gave him antibiotics. He kept feeling worse until a midnight trip to the bathroom that left him breathless on the throne prompted the trip to the Emergency Room, ICU, and a week-long hospital stay.   The cramp had been a blood clot, the Shortness of Breath was the clot had broken up and had plastered his lungs with obstructions.

Last week I was stung or bitten by an insect or a spider. I thought nothing of it…..It grew, I felt sleepy. I slept. I went to the golf course for my Saturday morning marshal gig, got there at 6 (yes, a.m.) I, who usually play a 3-5 hour round after watching the course for 6 or so hours, had to leave by 8 because I didn’t think I could make it home if I didn’t. Hours of sleep later, my sisters words…”don’t get dehydrated”,…”your nephew got pneumonia from a spider bite” prompted me to make some tea.   I got light-headed in the kitchen. Started drinking my tea and felt myself tighten and violently reject the fluids.   During this wretched time, friends called to check on me. By the time they got there I was ready for the emergency room…triage wouldn’t let me come to urgent care.

I got taken to the back quicker then I ever have before. they patched me up with fluids and the dreaded antibiotics instructions to get a thermometer…Little things. Infections, blood clots, medicines, friends. sunshine (which I get to miss for 10 days)

Take care of yourself…but know when to ask for help, and when to get a second opinion.  Friends are good.




When was the last time you crawled?

Most people stop crawling when they learn to walk. walking is faster. Parents brag on their kids  who get up and walk at early ages. The term crawl tends to have negative implications, slow, inefficient, leading impatient impulsive frustrating behaviors, when in actuality, crawling is an important step in development. The predictable sequential patterns in which infants progress from womb behaviors to functional adult patterns has many small steps that affect brain function, co-ordination, even the ability to read. It follows after any event or disease that impacts a person’s ability to function physically   a rehab program that at least visits steps such as eye tracking, rolling over, stretching in hands and knees, exploring quadruped weight shifting, finding balance in the kneeling position practicing getting up and down from floor or at least the bed, would be a good idea.

Chronic back pain will frequently respond well to crawling and other quadruped activities. Muscle imbalance helps perpetuate pain. Working muscles in an alternate gravitational plain allows and encourages a change in the diagonal pulls of the muscles, encourages lymphatic drainage away from the front side of the back bone, allows abdominal contents to shift positions in the pelvic cavity, stimulates neurological processing, and encourages proper reciprocal integration of movements between the shoulder girdle and the pelvis.

There are studies that suggest school aged children with reading and concentration difficulties would benefit by game play that included hands and knees mat work. Crawling helps develop co-ordination because it calls for diagonally oriented muscles to kick in and to get  pelvic girdles and shoulder girdles to separate themselves from the expansive capabilities of the ribs while maintaining a separate movement path that leads to the base of the spine and eye control

Several yoga poses travel through these same plains, the rewards of Pilates regimens is that the short postural muscles of the torso get to work in a tight reciprocal  pattern, and several therapy programs encourage weight bearing in alternate positions. For many persons even taking a short time to lie on their bellies in preparation for crawling is just what the doctor ordered.. Massage or bodywork are not usually done in a quadruped position but can be profoundly effective in re-balancing a person’s center of gravity. So go on, get four on the floor…

Get in touch with your inner pre-toddler and re-learn how to crawl in a way that improves your walk




Happy New Year

Don’t like your body?….change it! Postural awareness and adaptation changes the stresses and strains gravity places on your body…and thereby your bones.   Bones restructure and rebuild themselves constantly til you die…expand or crumble, how you sit, breathe, lie, rest, and move… all affect your structure.   Being mindful is medicine.



Glow in the Dark: More than Cool

[easyazon-image align=”center” asin=”B00AQP33SK” locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”” width=”160″]Glow in the dark stuff is cool. Posters lit with black lights were one of my favorite things as a kid . What I didn’t realize at that time was how bad my vision was and part of the reason i liked black light and glow sticks so much was that it was so much easier to see that anything I looked at during the day.  For people with ADHD, visual tracking problems, stroke,  traumatic brain injury (TBI) or problems with focus in general, glow in the dark or L.E.D. ‘toys’ may help to bring back focus in their lives, by literally bringing back focus to their eyes.  [easyazon-image align=”right” asin=”B0032CUTFO” locale=”us” height=”110″ src=”” width=”73″]

Glow in the dark is also helpful for people with peripheral neuropathy because when a person lacks sensation visual feedback can help with body awareness. Shoelaces, gloves, rings, bracelets, ankle bracelets, cups designed to hold glow-sticks can help a person practice motions becoming aware of how knee position or elbow position determines where feet and fingers lie.

Anxiety, stress disorders, people who feel they have no or little control over their lives can find relaxation and intrigue by playing with lights that they can control. Poi are easy to manipulate for simple movements and ‘mistakes’ are pretty. It is an easy distraction helpful for people with OCD and for those trying to quit smoking cigarettes poi provides and alternative activity when you just have to go outside and do something different.

[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”B00AYPM80G” locale=”us” height=”110″ src=”” width=”110″]Besides being fun for a rave, radiant  mohawks can be used to increase awareness of head and neck positioning, Fun make-up made for teenagers can be used by adults rehabbing at home. Poi are fun things you swing around, the easiest moves look cool and help improve balance and coordination.


The following is a lil video from YouTube of someone enjoying their Pod Poi



A friend asked me to share my perspective on fever.

People are so quick to reach for aspirin or another temperature reducing agent when they start to feel bad or have a low grade temp.   I tend to do the opposite. On the rare occasion that I get sick now, ( I was a sickly child troubled with constant ear infections) I flood myself with fluids & citrus,  make chicken soup using bones and vinegar, use vibration to help stimulate my lymphatic system, and artificially increase my fever.  Fever is a natural defense mechanism. Fevers keep viruses from multiplying and are used by the body to clean up noxious waste products left by bacteria. As long as High natural fevers are kept in check (most sources I’ve read indicate over 104 should be treated) Short term, deliberate raising of the temp is actually a desirable thing to do.

I believe fevers are designed to be helpful. Even when not ill, I jump in the Jacuzzi on a regular basis because of these benefits. Warmth changes fat,  (I’m melting) Heat chemically  changes the bodies ability to put waste products into solution (just as when making rock candy it is heat that allows you to create the super saturated solution that enables the crystals to form when they cool and have an attracting agent) this difference in solution is part of the reason drinking extra liquid is so important, the extra fluids enable you to  excrete waste products that would otherwise cling to the joints, inside the cells,  irritate nerves, compress capillaries and create an environment where disease flourishes. Heat makes some cell membranes more permeable so nutrition can get in more easily and waste products can leave the cells with greater ease so they can be carried out of the body through even more avenues.

Fever is usually accompanied by a raised heart rate, so higher temp equals more blood equals more oxygen.  There’s a little axiom I tell my clients…Without oxygen there is no healing without blood there is no oxygen. Fever is an oxygen delivering system…so breath deeply, exhale completely. Ever notice that people’s breath get’s gnarly when they are ill? That’s waste products trying to leave via their lungs or fomenting up and out of their stomachs. I do deliberate exhaling when I’m fighting something off.

Fever induced sweat has that same sickly smell. If you’ve heard of people using dry brushing, loofahs, or even salt scrubs to aid the healing process.  Scrubbing not only works by removing outer layers of dead skin so the waste products to not have as strong of a barrier to keep them in and under the skin, but scrubbing brings thae blood closer to the surface so it can dump waste products into sweat glands tat are only closer to the surface of the skin.  Heat helps you sweat more and better.  If you want illness to leave your body, you want to make it easy for it to exit.

My favorite way to raise my temp is Jacuzzi, but when I do not have access, a very warm tub, or even a shower can do the trick. I get in let my temp get high…relax until the warm water makes  me tired and my limbs feel heavy and I get pruney toes. I wrap myself up and take myself straight from tub to bed and sleep will usually overcome me and the fever/sleep cycle that people try to fight becomes medicine for me.  

I let myself be sick and battle my illness with every tool at my disposal until I am well.


PS. If anyone asks for my sick soup recipe, I will remove this line and share how I make soup