Prescription Medicine’s Evolution: The Epidemic of Conventional Medicine.

Written by chris on February 14, 2012 – 5:16 pm - No Comments

KNOW that there is a time and place for EVERYTHING. There is harm in excessive medication, and its harm can be life altering. Turn on your body’s natural healing power. This is what makes us different!

The New Drug Crisis: Addiction by Prescription
By Jeffrey Kluger Monday, Sept. 13, 2010

Stephen Lewis for TIME

Update Appended: Sept. 17, 2010

It’s not easy to find a mother who would look back fondly on the time her son had cancer. But Penny (not her real name) does. Penny lives in Boston, and her son got sick when he was just 13. He struggled with the disease for several years — through the battery of tests and the horror of the diagnosis and, worst of all, through the pain that came from the treatment. For that last one, at least, there was help — Oxycontin, a time-released opioid that works for up to 12 hours. It did the job, and more.

The brain loves Oxycontin — the way the drug lights up the limbic system, with cascading effects through the ventral striatum, midbrain, amygdala, orbitofrontal cortex and prefrontal cortex, leaving pure pleasure in its wake. What the brain loves, it learns to crave. That’s especially so when the alternative is the cruel pain of cancer therapy. By the time Penny’s son was 17, his cancer was licked — but his taste for Oxy wasn’t. When his doctor quit prescribing him the stuff, the boy found the next best — or next available — thing: heroin. Penny soon began spending her Monday nights at meetings of the support group Learn to Cope, a Boston-based organization that counsels families of addicts, particularly those hooked on opioids or heroin. (See the top 10 medical breakthroughs of 2009.)

“Penny told the group that she actually misses her son’s cancer,” says Joanne Peterson, the founder of Learn to Cope. “When he had that, everyone was around. When he had that, he had support.”

Penny and her son are not unique. Humans have never lacked for ways to get wasted. The natural world is full of intoxicating leaves and fruits and fungi, and for centuries, science has added to the pharmacopoeia. In the past two decades, that’s been especially true. As the medical community has become more attentive to acute and chronic pain, a bounty of new drugs has rolled off Big Pharma’s production line.

There was fentanyl, a synthetic opioid around since the 1960s that went into wide use as a treatment for cancer pain in the 1990s. That was followed by Oxycodone, a short-acting drug for more routine pain, and after that came Oxycontin, a 12-hour formulation of the same powerful pill. Finally came hydrocodone, sold under numerous brand names, including Vicodin. Essentially the same opioid mixed with acetaminophen, hydrocodone seemed like health food compared with its chemical cousins, and it has been regulated accordingly. The government considers hydrocodone a Schedule III drug — one with a “moderate or low” risk of dependency, as opposed to Schedule II’s, which carry a “severe” risk. Physicians must submit a written prescription for Schedule II drugs; for Schedule III’s, they just phone the pharmacy. (Schedule I substances are drugs like heroin that are never prescribed.) For patients, that wealth of choices spelled danger. (See the most common hospital mishaps.)

“If someone is dying, addiction isn’t a problem,” says Dr. Jim Rathmell, chief of the division of pain medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. “But for prescribers, the distinction between a patient who has three or four weeks to live and one who’s 32 and has chronic back pain started to blur.”

The result has hardly been a surprise. Since 1990, there has been a tenfold increase in prescriptions for opioids in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 2007, 3.7 million people filled 21 million legal prescriptions for opioid painkillers, and 5.2 million people over the age of 12 reported using prescription painkillers nonmedically in the previous month, according to a survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). From 2004 to ’08, emergency-room visits for opioid misuse doubled. At the same time, the drugs have become the stuff of pop culture, gaining cachet in the process. The fictitious Dr. House and Nurse Jackie gobble them like gumdrops, as did the decidedly nonfictional Rush Limbaugh and Heath Ledger. And, like Ledger, some users don’t make it out alive.

In 1990 there were barely 6,000 deaths from accidental drug poisoning in the U.S. By 2007 that number had nearly quintupled, to 27,658. In 15 states and the District of Columbia, unintentional overdoses have, for the first time in modern memory, replaced motor-vehicle incidents as the leading cause of accidental death; and in three more states it’s close to a tie.

Read more:,9171,2015763,00.html#ixzz1mTFBjGah

Concussions and Bowen Therapy

Written by chris on February 9, 2012 – 9:30 pm - No Comments

Alternative therapy shows promise for faster and more complete healing from concussions

November 21st, 2011 by Stephen Stamp
Nathan White has been symptom-free for three months since receiving Bowen Therapy for his concussions.
Nathan White has been symptom-free for three months since receiving Bowen Therapy for his concussions.

Concussions have become a significant and growing problem in lacrosse and other sports, at the youth, amateur and professional levels. Players who have concussions suffer from a range of symptoms including headaches, dizziness, nausea and irritability. They can have trouble focusing their mind and often find it difficult to interact with others. It is a frustrating and hopeless feeling, and there is little that the medical establishment can do to help. Most players are told they have to just wait until the symptoms go away. This can be a matter of days, weeks or much longer. But an alternative treatment offers the hope of allowing players to return to the field and, more importantly, to their normal lives, sometimes in a single treatment. After the jump, read the remarkable story of this therapy and what it could mean to players suffering from the traumatic aftermath of concussions.

Bowen Therapy is not well known or understood. It was invented by Tom Bowen in Australia sometime in the 1940s but didn’t make its way to North American until 1989, according to a history of the treatment on the Bowen Therapy International web site. The therapy itself consists of a series of moves in which the practitioner uses their thumb and fingers to roll across muscles and connective tissues. No one seems to be able to give a complete scientific explanation of how it works, but there is ample anecdotal and clinical evidence that it does.

In fact, results achieved through Bowen Therapy can seem almost miraculous; they are often immediate or nearly so and they are long-term. The miraculous nature of the results could actually be a barrier to widespread acceptance, given humans’ sceptical nature and mistrust of things that seem too good to be true. But get ready to put your scepticism aside, because what follows is the story of one lacrosse player who recovered from multiple concussions with two one-hour Bowen treatments and who remains symptom-free months later.

Nathan White is a promising box and field player from Peterborough, Ontario. He has won Under-16 and Under-19 national field championships with Team Ontario and has played parts of two seasons with the Junior Lakers. White has scored 21 goals and 10 assists in 22 career games in junior. The reason he’s played so few games is he has suffered three concussions in the past two years. The first one happened when he was pushed from behind and wound up getting hit in the head with an elbow. The opponent who hit him was a friend from field lacrosse, and White says it wasn’t intentional, but that didn’t make any difference to his symptoms. He suffered headaches, nausea and trouble thinking, and he says it “felt like I had a real tight hat on all the time.”

White says, “I was always taught not to lay on the floor or ice cause it shows you’re hurt. That was the very first time I actually lay on the floor. I was still dazed and confused. I was really worried cause I just knew something was wrong.”

He began to feel better eventually and returned to playing. As is so often the case with head injuries, he didn’t realize until afterwards that it was too early. Shortly after his return he dodged to the net, dove through the crease and hit his head on the floor when he landed. The symptoms returned and stayed longer this time.

This summer White returned to the Lakers and played eight games. In the final one, he was cutting down the middle at Peterborough’s Memorial Centre “and as I shot someone came up with an elbow,” he says.

This time the symptoms returned and weren’t going away. White was finished for the season and had to watch his teammates as they made a strong playoff run, pushing the Orangeville Northmen to overtime of a seventh game in the OLA semi-finals. He says the “tight-hat” feeling remained and he had trouble thinking clearly, even six weeks after the injury. “It’s a real foggy feeling, nothing’s really clear,” White says. “It’s just foggy. That goes with emotions and everything, you’re not really sure how you feel.” He says that he felt the fogginess all the time right after the concussion and then on and off afterwards. “My feelings were as if I was in a snowstorm, i was very uncertain what was next, how i was gonna feel, what was gonna tick me off, what was gonna make me upset, what was gonna happen with lacrosse. It made everything seem so much more overwhelming.”

White’s treatment arose because of a happy accident. I have a friend who is a registered Herbalist. I knew she did Bowen Therapy but I didn’t really know much about it. Then I saw a Facebook status she had posted, saying how it was gratifying to have treated another concussion patient who got off the table after one treatment with all his symptoms resolved, but that it didn’t do much for repeat business.

I had written about the problem of concussions in lacrosse earlier in the year, when Merrick Thompson announced his retirement because of head injury issues. When I saw the Facebook post I almost immediately called my friend, Marianne Beacon, to talk about it.

Beacon explained the process and gave me a treatment to help with my neck, with which I’d been having trouble since a car accident several weeks earlier. After the treatment, as I was driving home, I turned my head to shoulder check when changing lanes. I was stunned by how freely and how far my head was able to turn. I knew that I wanted to get someone in to be treated by her for concussions, because I sensed how huge the implications were for treating athletes.

I had heard about White’s concussion problems, although they were always discussed in hushed tones and no one was really comfortable talking about it. It’s not something that people in sports want to talk about. Head injuries are really scary because you can’t just go to physio or have surgery and get better. The only approach western medicine really offers is rest, and plenty of it. Tracey Kelusky talked for my previous story about having to avoid using the computer and how he basically missed several months of his young son’s early life because he wasn’t really there. Ken Montour was still not playing a year and a half after suffering a major concussion. More importantly, he hadn’t been able to return to work as an education assistant with special needs children.

If there was something that could help, I wanted to find out about it and spread the word. I contacted White through the Lakers coaching staff and met with him to talk about the treatment and see if he would be interested in trying it. He and his parents were game, so I put them in touch with Beacon. White went to Beacon’s clinic, located just a couple of lacrosse floors’ lengths away from the Memorial Centre, for his first treatment.

In the first session Beacon speaks with the client to learn what issues they are having and determine the course of treatment. Approaches have been developed for dealing with concussions, but she wants to know about an individual’s issues to tailor treatment precisely. White then laid down on a massage-type table, fully clothed, and Beacon proceeded to do Bowen moves on him. The process involves gentle rolls across soft tissue—muscle, connective tissues and fascia. Beacon performs just three or four moves which could be described as similar to plucking a guitar string and then pauses for two minutes.

The pause is a critical element of the therapy, she explains. Bowen works in a similar way to the communication of the nervous system. It works with the brain. Beacon says the therapist is basically convincing the brain to heal the body, not forcing either brain or body to do anything. Because the brain works on a feedback loop, giving it more than four commands at once can overwhelm it and cause it to skip some and only complete others. Therefore, the system only works when the two-minute pauses are included between each set of moves. An entire session lasts about an hour.

After the first treatment, White said he noticed that the tightness in his head was gone, but he felt like he dwelt on what would happen. “I was thinking about it too much, worrying will it work will it work.” He returned for a second treatment a couple of weeks later, after which “it was like night and day. I didn’t dwell I just let it be and it was better right away. No tightness in my head and everything was pretty clear and I wasn’t irritated. I noticed that right away, and then a week into it I realized it was really working, that it wasn’t just a quick fix.”

The second treatment was August 2, more than three months ago, and White continues to be symptom-free. In that time he has helped Ontario to the national Under-19 field gold medal and has felt good while running and lifting weights. He started school at Sir Sandford Fleming College to upgrade and will be heading to Onondaga Community College for two years starting in January.

After that, he has committed to attend Stony Brook University on Long Island, NY,  on a lacrosse scholarship. Being concussion-free is a huge weight off his mind, and he is feeling confident about the future. White is happy to feel like he has his life back, and he is looking forward to playing lacrosse again, instead of worrying that he may never be the player he believes he has the potential to be.

Beacon says Bowen therapy is so effective because it “reminds the body how to heal.” She says she has had patients call to say they want to come in for a follow-up treatment but then call back to say they don’t need it because everything is fine again. With a little help to unlock tensions, the brain and body can remember their innate capacity to heal.

It’s unclear what will happen with subsequent concussions after Bowen therapy, as it is with anyone who recovers and then suffers another blow to the head. Beacon says, though, that she encourages clients to call immediately if they do suffer another head trauma so she can treat it within 24 hours. Addressing it quickly makes a huge difference.

The therapy is, of course, not just for concussions. Beacon has unlocked frozen shoulders and seen a woman with postpartum pain who was taking a bottle of Tylenol per week reduce her intake to just five tablets per week and then eventually to none. The key is that Bowen speeds the healing process and creates a more complete healing.

Beacon is also quick to point out that the Facebook post that led to this story was posted with tongue in cheek. While someone who requires only a single session after a concussion really isn’t great for repeat business, Beacon is a healer. She considers someone who comes in for a treatment or two and doesn’t need to come back a success story. Not all cases resolve this quickly. Concussions that have been lingering for a longer time tend to need more treatment. There are also other conditions that require more attention. Remarkably, often issues that have been the most difficult to treat traditionally will see results in a relatively short time.

She is hoping that word of Bowen Therapy will spread, partly from a business perspective but primarily because she knows there are thousands of people whose lives could be improved if they received the treatment. Beacon primarily practices in Peterborough and offers treatments one day per week in Toronto.

Nathan White’s story is just one example of a person making a full and lasting recovery, but it provides hope that Bowen Therapy could prove to be a revolutionary approach to dealing with concussions in the sports world.

Stamp is a TV sports announcer and lacrosse lover whose skill set made him a defender but who always dreamed of being a goal-scorer
Here’s the URL:

Architecture of Feet

Written by chris on February 7, 2012 – 11:59 pm - No Comments

If you have feet you can benefit from this article. The physiological correlations of the lower legs and adrenal glands are sweet bits of info that I love to pass on to clients.

Ask the Experts: Should I Be Concerned That I Pronate When I Run?

Posted on 19 August 2011

I have been to three different shoe stores here in the Bay Area, and each store person took a look at my current running shoes (I wear them during the day) and said that “I pronate.” One youngish guy (he had the look of an emaciated, long-distance college runner) wanted to sell me some “anti-pronation”, “motion-control” shoes and a pair of off-the-shelf orthotics. I politely declined his offer and later mulled my options at a nearby Starbucks. I am still kicking tires, and it seems that the minimalist shoe trend is less about the perils of pronation and more about the horrors of heel-striking. So, inquiring minds (and feet) want to know: what is the straight story about pronation?

by Dr. Steve Gangemi (aka Sock Doc)

Pronation has gotten a bad rap.This has been going on for years. But it makes little sense to point an accusing finger at pronation as the “cause” of many running injuries.

We all pronate.

During a normal gait cycle the foot rolls inwards, everts (turns out on its axis), and the arch flattens. This is pronation and the foot is very flexible and loose at this time, or should be. Then the foot becomes more rigid and turns outwards a bit and uses stored energy in the tendons and ligaments to push off the ground, hopefully as it is rolling over the big toe. This is supination. Any variation to this normal cycle of function can result in a problem.

These terms are often used interchangeably to diagnose why someone has a foot problem or injury. What about overpronation? The reality is that  it’s a symptom of a problem and may correlate with an injury somewhere in the body or be the result of overtraining. Overpronation (or lack of supination) as with most symptoms, is often treated improperly as the root cause of a problem, especially by those eager to sell runners orthotics or “anti-pronation” shoes.

Foot pronation is a necessary and important aspect of the gait cycle. It acts as a major shock absorber for forces that are applied to the foot. During pronation, the tibialis anterior and the tibialis posterior muscles are active in supporting the foot, especially the main arch. If there are imbalances in the lower leg muscles, particularly the tibialis posterior, then excessive pronation may result, or the failure to resupinate.

Artificially reducing normal pronation with orthotics and many types of rigid footwear decreases the foot’s ability to act as a shock absorber and adapt to the ground underneath. This can result in stress and injury to the foot and other areas of the body responsible for normal gait action – and that can even mean an opposing upper body limb whose natural movement is necessary during a normal gait cycle. That means if you don’t pronate and supinate correctly, you may end up with a shoulder problem, for example. In such a case, orthotics or motion-control footwear can now become the reason for a new injury as normal gait is disrupted and shock is artificially altered.

How do you know if you really overpronate? There are a few things you can do as a self test. First, look at the shoes you’ve been walking or running in for some time. If the outside of the heels are excessively worn out, then that is a sure sign you overpronate. Another test is to point your foot down as much as possible (plantar flexion) and then inwards. So point down and twist your foot inwards like you’re trying to point down to the ground with your big toe. If this causes some discomfort on the inside of your calf muscle, especially behind your tibia bone (the main bone of your lower leg), or in the arch of your foot, you may have excessive pronation. This movement is actually one of supination, but many people have a weakness in supination and therefore they excessively pronate. There is an imbalance between the two. A third thing to observe is how you stand. If you catch yourself standing on the outside of your feet (rolling one or both of your feet outwards while standing), then that is a sign that you overpronate. One last test you can do is have someone look at your Achilles Tendon. Normally the tendon should run straight down the leg into the heel. If the foot is overpronated, it will turn inwards.

If you overpronate what do you do? Don’t treat it directly because you are merely treating the symptoms and controlling your pronation will just land you another problem eventually. Many runners are told they overpronate because their podiastrist  diagnosed it or some guy at the local running shoe store told them so while recommending some trendy motion-control shoes.

You’re not going fix your overpronation with any orthotic, supporting footwear,stretching, or any other gimmick out there. Always look for the source, and since these common treatment regimens only treat the symptom, as overpronation is just that – a symptom – look to why you are not pronating correctly.

Muscle imbalances of the lower leg and foot are the main reason for improper pronation (and supination).  Wearing over-supportive shoes and/or orthotics will throw your body out of whack. Trying to control pronation and supination directly will only disrupt normal gait, balance, proprioception, and muscle response resulting in a new injury somewhere down the line. Correcting these muscle imbalances can be as simple as transitioning out of your orthotics or non-minimalist shoes to minimalist shoes and walking barefoot as much as comfortably possibly so your foot and leg muscles, and tendons and ligaments begin to strengthen and heal.

Another significant and perhaps more common reason for muscle imbalances resulting in pronation/supination problems is overtraining. Yup, too much stress will have a dramatic effect on the lower leg muscles, particularly the tibialis posterior muscle that supports the main arch of the foot. There is a common connection between this muscle and the adrenal glands, which is where the major stress hormone cortisol is produced. So high levels of stress result in high levels of cortisol and tibialis posterior problems and then overpronation. Shin splints and plantar fasciitis are two common injuries that accompany this problem too. Another adrenal gland hormone, aldosterone, is necessary for sodium regulation and electrolyte balance in the body.

If you’re training too hard and anaerobic too much then you’ll end up with cortisol and aldosterone problems, and you will overpronate as a result. So, chill out on the hard-core stuff for a bit, go back to more aerobic training, walk barefoot as much as possible, and get out of those over-supportive running shoes.

Bodywork Aids Muscle Recovery

Written by chris on February 1, 2012 – 10:45 pm - No Comments

Massage may release anti-inflammatories and improve muscle cell ability in producing mitochondria, the part of the cell which converts food into energy. Bodywork can have profound effects on people of all ages and energies.



Chronic Disease and Rigorous Exercise

Written by chris on January 26, 2012 – 4:51 pm - No Comments

Always on the edge and daring to overcome odds I went outside the asthma box and joined the wrestling team in high school. We ran, did constant motion drills, and wrestled every practice, there was no time for rest. Not to say that this is for everyone, but many people are overcoming their indoctrinated limitations and replacing them with sometimes something very dramatic, challenging and life changing on many levels.

To encourage overcoming “the box” MedicinEvolution sponsors the Tri-Valley Triathlon Club. Here’s the link:

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