Thursday, June 23, 2011

Reflections on Crooked Walking

While traversing the cobblestoned streets of Oaxaca, my husband commented that his back wasn't hurting as much as it usually would be if he was to walk this distance on the level straight roads in Victoria. He has found over the years that he can walk for kilometres on trails or rough ground but as soon as things turne level, trouble begins.

It set me to thinking. Is walking on even ground a bit like a repetitive stress injury, rather like carpal tunnel syndrome? On the straight and narrow we use the identical muscles for each step, the same tension, the same degree of extension and contraction, the same muscles working together in the same way. Same, same, same same. Eventualy some muscles get stronger while others become weaker, we hold our bodies in habitualy the same posture. The same areas are continuously stressed. No wonder so many people end up with chronic aches and pains that they can't identify an original source for.

I also recalled a newspaper article I'd read a few years ago. A couple of artists had been given a grant to build an anti-aging house. Photos of this house were quite amazing. Not a solitary horizontal surface was flat. To traverse the route from the fridge to the stove would require a thought out plan of action, and, would engage more than just your legs.The premise being that uneven surfaces caused us to continuously, physically compensate. That ongoing compensating, or physical 'problem solving' resulted in different neurones firing. Ongoing problem solving in the physical dimension. We exercise both our minds and our bodies when we're moving. But put any of us on a treadmill, day in and day out, eventually problems result. I have no desire to live in that anti-aging house, but I'm alot more aware now of making sure that I move my body in different ways. And if anyone ever asks me about town planning...I'll recommend cobblestones.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Journey Through MS

When any of us first encounter a life altering state of health the first reaction is often one of fear and resistance; a battle ensues.
In retrospect,  encounters with significant illness mark a point of change that start an individual on a new path;  a path with challenges and discoveries.  A path that reshapes your being. In short, the gift of a new richer perspective in life.
This was my experience with MS. In 1998 i was diagnosed with an aggressive, progressive form of MS. The condition left me exhausted. Physically I lost all fine motor movement and walking was becoming increasingly difficult. I lost all sense of where my body began. Unless I was actually looking at them I had no idea of where my hands and arms were. At night I would soak through the linens with sweat. My symptoms were advancing rapidly. Doctors predicted a year before I would be confined to a wheelchair.
Exhausted I withdrew from the fullness of the life that my husband and I had created. At that time we lived on a 40’ sailboat in the idyllic waters of Vancouver Island. We ran a mothership kayaking eco-tourism business in the summer and in the winter months I worked as a Registered Nurse.
For me the prospect of not being able to hike mountains and sail across oceans was soul crushing. To have my thirst for adventure imprisoned was horrifying. As an RN I knew what to expect with conventional medicine, an outcome that I was determined to avoid.
The Path Less Travelled.
Thus began my journey. With the support of my family I dove into research and created my own course of treatment. The path I took included the designing of a diet that supported every aspect of my nutritional needs and excluded anything that was detrimental. A régime of; herbal teas and tinctures, a 5 month intensive course of acupuncture, Reiki, hours of meditation and prayer, removal of mercury fillings and heavy metal chelation.
Basically my treatment plan centred on cleansing my body, mind and energetic being and then giving all of those aspects optimal support. In this way I set the stage to give ‘the healer within’ every advantage to become whole and well again.
After 8 months of intensive treatment and exploring alternatives, my health was once more vigorous. Contrary to Doctors’ predictions of sitting out life in a wheelchair, my family and I set sail and went cruising for three years in the South Pacific.
Where is the Gift?
You might be asking yourself, “Where is the ‘gift’ in all of that?”
Going through the experience of acupuncture , of a strict diet, body work, all of it. I got to experience how my body responded on a daily basis. I discovered for myself that there is an energetic factor at play. I could feel my own energy…it’s rise and fall with various treatments. I learned to trust my body and to listen to it. Knowing something on the experiential level is far more impactful than learning about it from a textbook.
 This ‘language of the body’ revolutionized how I looked at health care. The conventional means that I had spent years training in felt stagnant.
My gift, is coming to understand that we each have an inner healer, that our body’s own intelligence is the surest route back to wellness.
 All of the homeostatic mechanisms that define life are meant to be supported. This is where wellness and prevention lie.
This journey has defined my purpose in life. I am a healer, and what being a healer means is that I help other’s to mobilize the healer within them. I don’t actually do any ‘healing’ I support an individual’s own exploration of the mind-body connection and guide them in supporting their own ‘inner healer’.
As an RN my role was one of intervention. I treated ‘patients’. I treated their bodies and manipulated with pharmaceuticals and surgery. The whole concept of supporting and empowering an individual in their healing is foreign to conventional medicine. I’ve gone from a place of power over another to a place of empowering others.
This then is my gift. To begin to understand the synergy of our bodies, our minds, our spirits and the foundational role of energy binding us holistically together as a being that encompasses all of this magnificence”
Another turn in the Path.
After many adventures we returned to Vancouver Island, this time living in a house. Here, I run a successful practice as a Reflexologist, Instructor, and Reiki Master in Sooke BC.
In 2008 I began to have a recurrence in symptoms, differing symptoms that I approached with the same tools that I had come to trust. My health improved but I couldn’t restore full use of my right leg. Again it looked as if my hiking days were coming to an end. A friend introduced me to a new energy tool. With skeptical curiosity I experimented. 
This is my experience with Zero point energy:
“For a period of about two years I had begun having some numbness in both my feet and a decrease in sensation. Enough to be noticeable but nothing that was altering my lifestyle. In retrospect I believe that my energy level was beginning to slide as well. After sometime I also began to lose some balance and then strength. Finally I realized that I was being very cautious on any uneven terrain. I could no longer lift my right leg high enough to clear any obstacle over a few inches high. This was making hiking very awkward. My eyesight was also giving me increasing problems.  My vision would become ‘foggy’ with exertion. Another MRI showed that my initial lesions (myelin sheath denuding) had healed but there were a new bunch present. I began having regular body work, and acupuncture, herbs and tinctures and improved my diet. Many of the symptoms corrected to being tolerable but my right leg was still limiting me. I couldn’t lift it beyond a few inches.
My first encounter with zero-point energy was through a client, another person with MS. I had seen some amazing progress in her in a few short days so my curiosity was piqued.
During a session that I was giving to her I wore a zero-point energy pendant that was apparently emitting a field of zero-point energy. The effects were subtle but profound. At the time there were a great number of stress factors in play within my household which I was pretty reactive to. After having worn the pendant for an hour I noticed that I had moved from a position of being reactive to one of being responsive. It was like I was once more grounded and centered with the inner strength to creatively problem solve. I was no longer reacting from a stressed-out frame of mind.
Next, I experienced a full body wanding. I felt absolutely nothing. A few hours later I noticed that I was lifting my right leg a little more. As I experimented I found I could easily raise my foot onto the dining room table. I had full range of motion restored. I was truly amazed. Not amazed that energy could work in such a way. I was amazed that such a simple tool had been created and that it worked. I immediately purchased these remarkable energy tools and now incorporate them into my life and into my practice.
It is a true joy to work with someone and have the look of amazement appear on their face when a chronic pain has just dwindled away to nothing. Although it’s tempting to take the credit for ‘healing’ them, I have to tell the truth and let them know that it’s their own body getting the message of where their energetic balance point is and engaging their own homeostatic mechanisms to bring them back to that balance

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Vision of Big Pharma: Your health of their profit???

If you have a long, drawn-out, incurable but treatable disease, it's unfortunate for you but great for pharmaceutical companies. While you're suffering indefinitely, you're also buying expensive pharmaceutical drugs to make the disease "manageable."  Dani Veracity

It seems to me we’ve come to a place in our evolution where we consider an absence of illness as being healthy. Or in the presence of illness if our symptoms are managed pharmaceutically we’re considered healthy.
This is not health; this is hovering at the edge of the abyss. The drop into the abyss is filled with escalating side effects and an erosion of the quality of life.
Health, vibrant, radiant, health is jumping out of bed in the morning feeling refreshed and energized with a desire to meet the new day. When stresses of life come at you, you don’t turn and bite off their head, you are able to deal with things calmly, rationally. Balance is the signature of your life. When your head hits the pillow at night you fall into blissful sleep with ease. This is health.
Did you note that this day was not full of pills or pain?
How have we collectively come so far from what we consider being healthy?
When did the effects of accumulated years of poor nutrition, lack of exercise, and neglect become the norm and referred to as the aging process?
It wasn’t always so.
Take a step back into ancient Greece, the cauldron from which our modern medicine springs. The names Hippocrates, Asceliupsus, Hygiea, Panaceia, might be ones that niggle at the back of your memory as stories you once heard.
These were the names of the most famed healers of ancient Greece, so famed that they were eventually given the status of demi-gods. Their temples and teachings were famous for dietary cures, water cures, exercise, body work, rest, spiritual and emotional counseling, and attending the theater.
Some of these names are sworn by in the Hippocratic Oath. The oath that all Doctors once took.
Medicine was based on prevention. Intervention began with this admonishment “ First do no Harm”
So how did we get so far from our roots?
I think the responsibility for that lies in two camps. Fear and Greed.
The fear is longstanding. Fear of pain, illness, death. Loss of loved ones. That fear has spurred us into every imaginable avenue. The power of fear to make us conceive of things that are preposterous in the light of day should never be underestimated.
Greed is a different story. To get a really good look at greed we’re going to go back to the turn of the previous century. The closing of the 1800’s saw an atmosphere of highly charged, incredibly exciting scientific research. The theories that were developed during this period were remarkable and showed great promise in alleviating human suffering. They were beginning to explore the relationships of the body and energy, the body and the mind. Profound healing at man’s fingertips.
Then came the year 1939, the depression is coming to an end and the next world war is raising its head. 1939 was the year that the award of the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine went to Gerhard Domagk. He was honoured for the discovery which meant nothing less than a revolution in medicine. He was the discoverer of sulpha drugs, the very first antibiotics.
Not only were the possibilities in curing disease dreamed of but vast profit as well.
It was at this period that many of the drug companies of today were first established. They have evolved into the Big Pharma multinationals of today.
We have pharmaceuticals to be thankful for many, many things. Drugs have saved many lives. But to see anything clearly we must look at it from all sides.
The sides in the Shadows. Drugs yield many benefits, great profit with little patient interaction for one. Diagnose and prescribe. Drugs had become synonyms for Medicine and treatment.
Time consuming, simplistic treatments were trampled at the wayside. They may be effective but they were (and are) time consuming and unprofitable. Doctors and the new medicine have replaced the old Gods.
In small letters after the indications of what a drug is for, appear the side effects in small letters. Why small letters ask myself. Side effects of prescribed drugs are the 5th leading cause of death in the US.
Deaths due to medical mishap are equivalent to  6- 747’s loaded with passengers crashing.
…on a daily basis
 .....all year long.
For example let’s take a quick look at Vioxx. It turns out that the drug company Merck was aware of the side effects when the FDA released the drug into the public. Vioxx and its contemporaries were block buster drugs used to control the symptoms of osteoarthritis, menstrual cramps, and adult pain. But its side effects proved fatal for at least 25,000 people before it was voluntarily recalled. 25,000 people, that’s a death tool higher than the combined death tolls of the war in Iraq and the 9/11 bombings. Yet the US administration sat by and did little. Could that be because contributions to the Republican party from Big Pharma increased by 600% from 1992 to 2002?
Then there’s the amount of money spent on drug advertising, in the US. Beyond the absurd amounts budgeted to sway the public consumer, there is 10,000 earmarked for each physician per year. That’s 10,000 per doctor per year. Do you think that might have just a wee bit of influence on how, when and for what prescriptions are given?
And then there are the 100’s of millions spent on lobbyists swaying government. Is this a good time to mention that a known career path for professionals in the FDA and the Canadian counterpart the CDA to jump from seats of government influence to the boards of Big Pharma!
Did you know that the advertising budget of Big Pharma exceeds its research budget?
The CEO of Merck stated in an interview with Fortune magazine that he regretted that there was a ceiling on profits for drug companies
…they couldn’t create product for healthy people. Well that’s changing now as well. Drugs are now being prescribed for diagnosis which aren’t even diseases. Our next block buster drug profits will lie in the realm of vaccination.
Drug companies are also responsible for 90% of research-I’ll let you guess what gets researched-it’s not the effectiveness of nutrition.
Further more Big Pharma funds hospitals, universities etc. etc. This should make us question who determines the curriculum. Who is going to say that it’s not the only tool in town if Big Pharma wants to stay as the dominator of a 28 trillion dollar industry? Ever ask yourself why in the face of ever rising health care costs are insurance coverage for preventative and alternative treatments largely excluded?
Research shows that despite the 200 billion spent annually on cancer research we are only 5% ahead in terms of cures than we were 50 years ago. But wait. There were studies done 50 years ago that proved conclusively that cancer is preventable. Best bury that study. It could cost the corporate world 100’s of billions, if not trillions of dollars.
So what am I trying to say to you?
Health is not an absence of illness, just as peace is not an absence of war. But peace costs money-not as much as war, not nearly as much, the same goes for wellness. Wellness will cost you. It will cost you in terms of buying nourishing foods, and spending the time to prepare them it will cost you in terms of regular bodywork and regular exercise and the time to pursue these. But the cost of both peace and wellness are well worth the price I think you’ll agree.
So the best way to foil the profiteers is to stay healthy, after all allopathic medicine is the treatment of disease. Well people can just stay away.
Sometimes the God’s don’t like to be usurped, you’ll meet some resistance as you change your allegiance to prevention and away from Big Pharma and Big Business. But you’ll find a lot of support along the way.
I hope I have given you pause to stop and think. Time to reevaluate whose responsible for your health and quality of life. And I hope you’ll join the growing ranks of individuals who know that allopathic medicine isn’t the only game in town. It’s only a tool and you can make choices

Saturday, January 16, 2010

New course dates and Web page up and running

Due to some technical difficulties I have had to change the dates for the upcoming course to March and April. Also the web page is finally up and running. It is still a work in progress, so check back once in a while for changes. Feedback and comments are welcome!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Opportunities in Reflexology

According to WHO, World Health Organization, reflexology is now the fastest growing complementary health practice in North America. You might be asking yourself why. The short answer is that it's effective, very effective. And it's applicable not only to a wide range of disease-both chronic and acute, it's also an excellent component to a personal wellness plan.

Whether your aim is to become a full time practioner or to limit your practice to family the RAC (Reflexology Association of Canada)certification course is undoubtedly the best reflexology course being offered in Canada today. As a RAC certified instructor I offer the RCRT (Registered Certification Reflexologist Therapist) course, covering the fascinating world of foot reflexology.
It consists of 37 hours classroom instruction, 15 hours of homework and a 60 hour practicum. To help defer some of the cost of becoming a RCRT the last 20 sessions that you complete you can earn up to $400.00.

I'll be running two foot courses this spring.
The first one will be held at the Ocean Wilderness Inn. Dates are alternating weekends beginning in March 2010.
So that will be March 20/21, April 3/4 and April 17/18 beginning at 9:00 each day. This location is nestled on 5 acres of oceanfront on the wild west coast of Vancouver Island. As it's the sleepy season the Inn Keepers are offering rooms at 50$ per night based on double occupancy. This makes it a fabulous opportunity to sneak away with your partner or a friend and while your engrossed in studies they can go and explore the Juan de Fuca Trail, spend hours beach combing or curl up with a book.Even your child or pet came come along! When evening comes you can meet in the hot-tub to share your day. Sooke is home to several exceptional restaurants which allow you to make this learning experience a mini holiday as well. Travel time is about one hour from the Swart Bay Ferry terminal if your driving over from Vancouver. Click here for ferry information.
The second course is geared for people who can only get away for isolated days. This one will be run on Mondays (9-5) at the Farmer's Daughter as well as 2.5 hours on Friday evenings (6:30-9). We'll start on Monday Febuary 22 and finish on March 19. The Farmer's Daughter is a vibrant restaurant and local food store which is supporting reflexology by having their premices used as a classroom outside of their normal hours. Located in central Sooke it's handy to shops, restaurants and transportation. An easy commute from anywhere between Naniamo, Victoria and Sidney. For more information contact me at 250-664-6492 or link directly to the RAC web site to register.
Please note that registration is limited to 6 people per class.

Reflexology Explained: The physical element.

There are many theories on how reflexology works. I'll blog on each of them as they each will illuminate your understanding of why such profound results are possible. But first I thought I'd begin with the simplest, most straight-forward, cause and effect explanation.
Our feet are remarkably made. Twenty-six bones, brilliantly articulated, tendons joining these bones to major muscle groups in the lower legs, innervated with 7,200 nerve endings per foot. Those are our remarkable feet.
Now if you think deeply about the function of your feet you'll be struck by just how much work they do. Try standing on one leg (foot) and maintaining your balance. Go ahead,try it, do you feel the slight adjustments as the bones glide in relationship to each other? The minuscule movements performed by the foot to make balance possible? Fortunately with two feet working together balance is less precarious. It is this fine tuning of balance that allows us to conduct our life in an upright position. Balance begins at the feet. Everything else is built on top of that. When our feet loose there ability to balance us with fluidity in their motion we begin to compensate by altering our posture. The alterations in posture cause a misalignment of spine, shoulders, neck, legs etc. The compensation leads to increased muscle tension which in turn leads to strain which leads us to pain.
By working on the feet at the physical level I'm loosening the muscle tension there, which allow you to regain you natural balance, walk a little taller and feel a lot better. To get a better feel for this idea, and another opinion check out this podcast and pay special attention to the piece on barefoot running. It's the third part of the podcast on this site. This isn't just for runner's, although they'll get a lot out of it, this podcast is for anyone who wonders how the feet affect the entire body.
When you're feet are complaining to you with aches and pains. Listen. See a reflexologist. You'll find that paying attention to the warning signs the feet give you can save you a lot of pain down the road.
PS Did you know that reflexology can treat plantar fasciitis? Plantar fasciitis can ultimately lead to bone spurs. so listen to those sore feet and get them treated sooner rather than waiting for permanent damage.

First Encounters

If you've never had reflexology you could find yourself somewhat surprised at the results. My first encounter was strictly by chance. I hadn't booked an appointment, in fact I'd never even heard of the practice. It was with some reluctance that I gave my feet over to a visitor in my home.  At that point in my life I was working 60+ hours a week in the emergency department of a Vancouver hospital and would have said that I was in excellent health. The practitioner performing reflexology on my feet almost had me in tears, I had to beg that the session end. But 30 minutes after the session ceased  I was hit by what I can only call an energy wave. It started at my feet and ascended rapidly to my head. The energy level was remarkable. I felt supercharged I was excited with an enthusiasm for life that I hadn't recalled feeling in years.
I was ready to take on anything.
I hadn't even realized that I wasn't operating at peak capacity anymore.
The feeling of wellbeing I experienced left me with the distinct impression that feeling 'fine' was a choice. I definately prefered feeling 'great'.
Please remember that my practice at that time was as an experienced hospital based RN. I was baffled. Where was the science? The science behind why I would feel a renewal of life, a felling that persisted for at least a week. How could pressure on my feet be so profound and what else could reflexology do?
That was 15 years ago.
I'll give you a bit of the theory in future posts and encourage you to find the practioner that suits your feet.