With the current practice of social distancing, which really should be called physical distancing, those of us in the healthcare and healing professions have already noticed the recent trend of our patients losing the human touch.
With the current practice of social distancing, which really should be called physical distancing, those of us in the healthcare and healing professions have already noticed the recent trend of our patients losing the human touch.
We’re just about a month in to being quarantined. The news is driving us mad. Working from home is more stressful than you could ever imagine, especially if you have students suddenly learning online and you have no idea what they are learning to be any help. Maybe you’ve lost your hours at work. Maybe you’re wondering if that cough is pollen or plague. Whatever it is, there will eventually be a stress explosion. If it hasn’t happened already, it will.
I know I’m guilty of it. I’ve yelled at my daughters, my husband, the dogs, the cats, the t.v. and even myself. It’s all ENERGY and that energy needs to get OUT.
We call emotions energy in motion. When we can’t release that energy or that emotion in an efficient manner, it becomes stuck in our body. The muscles and organs hold various emotions. Often during massage or chiropractic, I can touch a tense muscle and when the energy is right, healing and safe, the emotion comes up to be released. Sometimes it’s released as crying, coughing, laughing, talking, moaning… I could go on. Just know that it leaves the body in some way, shape or form.
You’ve got to be able to acknowledge that dark and scary stuff. Some may call this your Shadow Self or your Trials and Tribulation. It’s all those negative emotions that most people don’t want to deal with. There’s a saying in the healing world: That which you resist, persists. You don’t have to name it or blame it. Just FEEL it.
Journaling Set aside about 20 minutes with just you, a pen and some paper. Start writing. Start writing whatever comes to mind. Don’t worry about spelling, grammar or penmanship. Write down all those pent up feelings, no matter who dark and grim they may be. Just GET IT OUT. When you’re done, you can either re-read it, tear it up and toss it, burn it, save it, share it. It doesn’t matter. Just do it. With the darker or negative emotions, you have to allow yourself to acknowledge them, but not dwell on them. Do this writing experience 3 times per week, until you feel you can manage those emotions better. You can still journal the other days of the week, but the shadow work needs to be limited to 3 times per week.
Car Tunes Have you realized yet just how therapeutic driving used to be? For me, that’s when I crank up the tunes and sing, loudly (and usually very off key). So if you have nowhere to go during this quarantine time, just go out in your car, turn up the music and sing. Singing activates the Vagus Nerve, which is the main nerve of the Parasympathetic (rest and digest) Nervous System. The louder you sing forces you to really contract your core muscles and gives your diaphragm a work out. All things that help you relieve stress.
Ground yourself Now is the perfect time to go outside and just BE. Doing yardwork can be highly therapeutic because you’re moving your body and you’re outside. Walk barefoot in the grass. Better yet, lay down or sit in the grass. Just connect with the earth beneath you. There’s a reason so many people are flocking to the parks – just PLEASE keep your distance from the other people, or better yet, go for a walk around your neighborhood. Amusingly, because my husband and I have been doing a lot of yardwork in the backyard, we’ve established ‘over the fence conversations’ with our neighbors.
Reach out If you’re feeling so overwhelmed that you cannot manage your own emotions, please don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Telehealth with your therapist. I’ve been told co-payment have been waived during this time when you use Telehealth. Reach out to me if you need someone to just talk to. I can direct you to the appropriate resources if needed.
Be Patient Be patient with yourself and others. You might notice some people pushing your buttons just to have an argument. That’s their way of trying to release pent up frustration and you just happen to be the pawn. You might be picking on someone just to engage in an argument. These are all those signs that you need to release your feelings. Do your best not to engage in an argument. Or find someone who will allow you to rant and not take things personally.
Fusion Chiropractic remains open during these challenging times. Chiropractic is not just about the physical body, but also the mind and the spirit. Patients are seen by appointment only and scheduled so that there is enough time between people to maintain safety, social distancing and time to disinfect according to CDC guidelines. Stay Safe. Stay Healthy. Get Adjusted.
We have been in a Quarantine for 7 – 8 weeks now. We had to adjust to a “new normal” of sheltering-in-place to slow the spread of the virus and not overwhelm our healthcare systems. At first, we had plenty of celebrities entertain us on our computer or phone screens, and we even had some people to entertain us with everything from home exercise programs and cooking.
The one thing no one has really mentioned is the mental health aspect of being part of a global pandemic and what do we do to keep our sanity. Most people are highly resilient to tough and challenging times in our lives. There is always that sense hope for the future and the strength to persevere despite all the challenges we may face.
But this is different…
Back in the year 2000, I was still pretty new in my massage therapy practice when I became pregnant in November. I had received some aromatherapy training during my massage school, so I knew there were some properties in essential oils that would not be safe to use during pregnancy. Thank goodness for the internet back then and I was able to find out which essential oils (eo’s) I needed to avoid. Apparently my favorite massage lotion had Sage eo in it, and Sage (Salvia officinalis) is known as an abortifacient, which means it causes an abortion. Well I certainly didn’t want that!
I also had high blood pressure during my pregnancy, so that meant I could not use anything that could potentially raise my blood pressure such as rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) or juniper (Juniperi communis). Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea) is also an essential oil that needs to be avoided during pregnancy because it acts on the body just like estrogen.
Have you noticed that every time I write out the name of an essential oil, it’s followed by a name in parenthesis? This is the scientific or Latin name of the essential oil. It is always written in italics with the first name capitalized but not the second. Why is this important?
Most people are quite familiar with the benefits of Lavender essential oil. But how many different types of lavender are there? Quite a few. The Lavender that is most commonly used is Lavandula angustifolia also known as true lavender or common lavender. This type is what gives us those wonderful properties of the essential oil that we all love so much. There are other types that are less potent and less expensive, so any time you want to purchase Lavender eo, make sure you see (Lavandula angustifolia) after the name.
My favorite story to tell about essential oils, and the history of how essential oils became the healing products that we know today, is the story of a French chemist and perfumist, Rene Maurice Gattefosse. In 1910, Monsieur Gattefosse was burned in a laboratory explosion, which left untreated would have caused gangrene. He applied the “essence of Lavender” to his hands which he claimed “stopped the gasification of tissue”. He later wrote a book in 1937 called Aromatherapie, which was the first time the phrase aromatherapy was used.
To this day, Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) essential oil is always kept in my kitchen so that it can be applied to a burn instantly. Try this the next time you burn your hand on the toaster or oven. Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and Tea Tree (Mellaleuca alternifolia) are the only two essential oils that can be applied neat, meaning directly to the skin without needing a carrier oil. Carrier oils are used to dilute essential oils so the eo’s can be applied directly to the skin. These are usually extracted oils from nuts, seeds or kernals of plants such as almond, olive, coconut, etc. For massage oils in a pinch, I’d use the olive oil from my kitchen cabinet and blend the eo’s directly from there. This is the easiest, most readily available, however, olive oil, including extra virgin olive oil, still has a mild scent to it and can therefore, effect the desired scent of the essential oils. My personal favorite now is to use extra virgin coconut oil, which sometimes still has that scent, but I like it better.
Now, because I’m “old school” with my aromatherapy teachings, I still hold true to these two oils being the only oils I would apply neat to the skin. Almost 20 years later, it seems that everyone is willing to apply essential oils neat to the skin. Young Living is an essential oil company who created an entire Raindrop Technique which applies quite a few of the savory essential oils neat to the skin along the spine. I am NOT in favor of this, nor do I recommend this, however many people swear by this.
I am rather a connoisseur, okay let’s face it, I’m a SNOB when it comes to essential oils. I tend to really resonate with the rather expensive and rare oils and resins and I know what to smell for when judging the appropriateness of an essential oil. I guess I am a bit of a sommelier (wine steward) of essential oils. I also love to tell the stories about how some of the oils came to be.
I had an aromatherapy company in the early 2000’s where my partner and I would do “Home Fragrance Parties”. Similar to a Pampered Chef party or a Tupperware Party, we would have a hostess invite all of her friends and we would tell the stories about the essential oils to include the physical healing properties, emotional and even spiritual properties. We made products such as whipped body butter, lotion bars, anointing oils, etc. When the tsunami of 2004 hit Sri Lanka and the Pacific Rim, many of our raw materials became too expensive to buy and make products, so we closed the company and I focused on my massage practice instead.
I have finally decided to partner with DoTerra oils because I like their oils and how they are cleanly cultivated. Unfortunately, their oils are on the more expensive side compared to what you can purchase at Whole Foods, or now even Target sells essential oils. The old adage of “you get what you pay for” plays an important role in this. You are getting a rather high quality product, enough that I am impressed to provide these oils in my practice.
Disclaimer. Integrity is one of my highest values and I do not believe it is appropriate for a doctor to be involved in what is essentially a multi level marketing company. I have no problem selling products directly to my patients, but I will not ever try to sign up a patient to sell products under my name. Unfortunately, this is the only way that these companies do business, therefore, it’s utterly important to me to find an individual who knows just as much, if not more, about essential oils as I do. I have found this person. She is Brenna Gregg.
Brenna will be presenting in the next Empowered Patient Series on Wednesday, September 19, 2018, 7pm, at the Fusion Chiropractic office. This is a free event and there is never an obligation to purchase anything at these events. The Empowered Patient Series is all about educating people about their options and communication in healthcare. Brenna will be available to tell her story and how you can use essential oils in your life. If you are interested in further information, we will have that information available for you so that you can meet with Brenna at a future time if you are so interested.
Please invite your friends to this event. You do not have to be a current patient to attend these events. Snacks and drinks will be provided. If you are interested in how to make some of these essential oil products such as whipped body butter or lotion bars, just let me know and we will schedule that class as well.
The Empowered Patient
The patient that is highly in tune with the subtle energies of the body is an empowered patient.
We tend to wait until our symptoms are overt and overwhelming before we seek assistance.
By this time we are deep in the throws of ‘need of care’ and recovery can seem overwhelming and often impossible.
By teaching people how to tune in to the physical and emotional side of the human body, we can often address issues well before they turn into full blown emergency states.
Knowing the body and taking account of your daily, weekly, monthly ‘body status’ not only helps us nip issues in the bud, it helps our care givers have a more accurate starting point for diagnosis and treatment.
The result of which can be multi-fold….
Don’t worry…tuning into the subtle energies of the body won’t make you ‘Psychic’. You won’t quit your job and become a Medical Medium. You’ll simply know your body better and find a strength in empowerment that can lead to faster healing and more effective personal change.
Knowing your own body, your own biological needs is something that everyone has within them, we just tend to ignore this process and defer to experts. No wonder why we hate going to the doctor so much…intuitively we know they are often looking for a needle in a haystack.
But what if we could help them pinpoint a specific area that the needle was located? What if we could eliminate a significant amount of guesswork in the diagnosis process? What if we could see ourselves as an energy system and determine at least, which areas of that system seem stagnant or simply not functioning at full capacity? We’d be empowered and two steps ahead of the standard process…which as mentioned, can result in many benefits.
So how do we do this? Do we need to take classes on spiritual development or train with some sort of guru? Do we need to go to medical school? NO. All you need to do is slow down, tune in, pay attention and learn to become aware of your body’s rhythms, norms, standards and make note of anything that is not in your definition of 100% healthy and effective.
This process will give your care giver a much more detailed portrait of you to start with. We like to blame doctors for not knowing what’s wrong with us by just glancing at us or running a few tests, but the truth is, we are so complex that giving them a leg up with detailed information on our energy (no matter how subtle) can only yield more effective results.
So let’s get to it! Let’s start with very simple processes of ‘tuning in’ to ourselves.
Simple processes include….
Daily observation and attention.
Logging and charting.
Learning to describe subtle body differences and simple ‘body scanning’.
You should keep a journal of your observations.
Each person’s health goals will help determine what they should be paying attention to and what they should be logging.
The empowered patient isn’t just empowered because they know what’s ailing before the doctors do, they are empowered because they are paying attention to, and keeping a log of all things that are effecting their health, from stress levels, to nutrition, to environmental exposures, to simple every day things like the way we sit in our vehicle or carry our handbag.
The Empowered Patient Series is presented by Dr. Cynthia Seebacher, D.C. and Samantha Hall, psychic medium and women’s empowerment coach.
Psoriatic (Sor-ee-at-tic) Arthritis is an autoimmune inflammatory arthritis, similar to Rheumatoid Arthritis, but with a negative RA factor. When we talk about ARTHRITIS, most people think of the good old fashioned wear and tear arthritis where the joint has lost it’s cartilage or lubricating factor, so that it’s bone on bone grinding. This kind of arthritis is known as OSTEO Arthritis.
There is another kind of arthritis, at the other end of the spectrum, called INFLAMMATORY ARTHRITIS. These are the AUTO-IMMUNE types of arthritis where your body attacks it’s own tissue, thinking your own tissue is a foreign invader. The immune system goes in to over-drive as it attempts to fight what it thinks is a bacteria or virus. White blood cells flood the area, in this case the joint, and this creates inflammation, which causes swelling, redness, heat and pain. In this realm of inflammatory arthritis, there is a further separation into two categories. On the one side is the Rheumatoid Factor, RF or RA positive, which includes Rheumatoid Arthritis, Systemic Lupus, Scleroderma, etc. On the other side is the “Negative RA Factor” side, meaning there is no RF antibodies present and is called SPONDYLO-ARTHRITIS (spon-de-low). The blood test that indicates this side of inflammatory arthritis is called HLA-B27 (Human Leukocyte Antibody) and includes the inflammatory arthritis categories as Psoriatic Arthritis, Ankylosing Spondylitis, Enteropathic Arthritis, and Reactive Arthritis.
I was first diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis in 2003. I was fortunate enough that my Primary Care Physician listened to my complaints and referred me to a Rheumatologist – a doctor who specializes in musculo-skeletal disease and systemic (whole body) auto-immune conditions. Having psoriasis (red patches with silver scales) does not necessarily mean you will have Psoriatic Arthritis. Psoriasis itself is an auto-immune condition caused by inflammation, and usually indicative of liver congestion according to the nutrition specialists and functional medicine specialists. When I was diagnosed, I had psoriasis on my elbows and there was a 5-10% chance of developing into Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA). Today, that number has increased to 30%. This is a clinical diagnosis, which means its a careful collection of symptoms, including a positive HLA-B27 genetic marker, joint pain – usually in the hands, feet and along the spine, particularly the Sacro-Iliac joints (SI joints) and the neck. The GOLD STANDARD for diagnosis is the SAUSAGE DIGIT, where one of your fingers or toes along the entire length of the digit becomes hot, swollen, purple or red and very painful – looking like a sausage.
PsA is a long term condition that waxes and wanes, but essentially becomes progressively worse by damaging the joints. My Rheumatologist (affectionately written as *Rheumy from time to time) explained to me at the time that any time there is pain and inflammation present in the joint, there is damage being done. Of course, I had to have this conversation because I am, or at least I was, the kind of patient who did not like to take medication no matter what… until he explained it to me as damage. The pharmaceutical options include anti-inflammatory medication (NSAIDs or steroids), a DMARD – disease modifying anti-rheumatic drug, and finally a Biologic – injections or infusion of medicine that targets a specific cell called TNF alpha – Tumor Necrosing Factor alpha.
The non-pharmaceutical prevention and care plan is where the magic happens, which I share about on my website, blogs and Facebook Live. You can follow an anti-inflammatory diet, get adequate sleep, exercise on a regular basis, and my all time favorites: chiropractic and massage. For me, my maintenance care plan is to get adjusted once per week and get a therapeutic massage every two weeks. I had to change my sleeping habits, which is challenging enough as it is, and I was in chiropractic school when I had to make my change. Basically, the more hours of sleep you can get before the midnight hour, the better your sleep hygiene. I had to learn how to pace myself, balancing high energy days with days of recuperation and rest. I had to become aware of the ebb and flow of the disease, also known as FLARE UPs and take extra self-care measures when I would have a flare up. Most people with these types of chronic pain illnesses (this includes Fibromyalgia) will notice a rather big flare up around January when the weather changes to cold and damp, and the stress of the holidays is over. A flare up always seems to rear it’s ugly head AFTER the stress has subsided. It’s just the nature of the beast.
With PsA, when it affects the fingers and toes, it’s usually the most distal joint, closest to the finger/toenail. PsA attackes the ENTHESIS (en-the-sis), which is where the tendon meets the bone. When this becomes inflamed, it’s called ENTHESOPATHY (En-thes-o-path-ee). This, to me, is such an intense, sharp, stabbing, electric-like pain in the edge of the finger when it is barely brushed against something. PsA also attacks the SI joints on either one side or both sides. It also loves to attack the neck.
The disease progresses either rapidly or slowly, depending on your environment, stress levels, self-care and how well you can manage inflammation. The first 10 years of my diagnosis, I rode horses, taught yoga and Pilates and worked as a massage therapist. I am often asked how can I do all of that without my hands hurting or my body hurting. For me, staying physically active, especially with giving massages, always made me feel better. When I give massage, it’s not just my hands, but my entire body goes in to my work. The other major contributor to managing this disease is to get regular chiropractic care and regular massages myself.
There are several more symptoms that go along with an inflammatory arthritis, which is why these are called systemic auto-immune diseases. There can be inflammation of the iris of the eye, called UVEITIS (you-vee-eye-tis) or IRITIS (eye-ry-tis), which is quite painful causing your eye to turn red and vision is blurry. There is definitely the factor of sleep disturbance where some people may not be able to get fully in to REM sleep, tossing and turning all night, or having pain that wakes you up at night. Fatigue is also a problem, mostly during a flare up, but also associated with chronic pain. There are also a lot of gastro-intestinal problems such as diarrhea, bloating, constipation, or all of the above.
If you have a family history of an inflammatory arthritis, or psoriasis, and you are experiencing joint pain, please don’t hesitate to contact me to discuss how chiropractic care and therapeutic massage can help you. At Fusion Chiropractic, we discover together what positive coping skills will keep you managing a functional lifestyle with pain relief.
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Happy Summer! Happy Sunlight!
When I was kid, way back in the 1970’s and 80’s, I used to lay out in the sun covered in Baby Oil with lemon juice in my hair. I was a sun goddess. When I got older, I was a lifeguard and a swim team coach. When it came time to work indoors during the summer months, I thought I’d die without my sun exposure. Fast forward a decade or two and this whole skin cancer scare came about. We started covering ourselves up with the highest SPF we could find, only to learn that all that SPF wasn’t good for us either. As the pendulum swings and returns back to center, we now know that there has to be a decent balance of getting sunlight to create Vitamin D, but not too much that it causes skin cancer.
I’m sure everyone has seen the 100’s of uses or benefits of coconut oil floating around on your Facebook feed or on the internet. I use pure coconut oil for everything from giving massages to cooking. My favorite use of coconut oil is to use it as a sunscreen. About 10 years ago, I slathered myself up with coconut oil and laid out in the sun, much like I had done as a kid, and hoped I would I have a nice tan after several hours. NOPE! Not one shade of golden beauty came through because of how effective the coconut oil was at blocking the sun. Now, when I make my annual trip to the beach, I slather on the coconut oil before leaving the hotel room, while the rest of my family chooses to use a commercial sunscreen product. Guess who doesn’t have that painful burn after day one at the beach? You guessed it, ME. I still had the tan shine through simply because I spend the majority of my time in the water. The key, however, is to RE-APPLY every time you come out of the water. If you don’t re-apply, you can still burn. This is true of your favorite sunscreen products as well.
So, for a natural sun protectant, consider using coconut oil. Don’t forget to re-apply. Allow yourself at least 15 minutes per day of the morning sun to stimulate your body’s natural Vitamin D. Most importantly, enjoy your summer vacation!
“Doc! I can’t move. I can’t get out of bed. I can’t even get in the car!” When the pain is so bad that it hurts to turn over in bed, or changing positions from sitting to stand, or even laying down to sitting up, it’s time to seek professional help.
Low back pain and pelvic pain tend to go together. A strain is what happens to the muscles or tendons when they are pulled or stretched to extreme measures. A sprain is what happens to ligaments when they have been stretched beyond their limit. Pain happens with both. The muscles in your hips and low back contract so hard in an attempt to stabilize the hurt area, whether it’s in your lumbar/low back region or your pelvic region and hips. Your core muscles (pelvic floor muscles, rectus abdominus, transverse abdominus) suddenly go offline and become weak in order to protect you from doing further harm. The brain and your nervous system find many different ways to do the same job that your core muscles were supposed to be doing.
Now, simple tasks such as turning over in bed or going from sitting to standing become much more difficult. Pain is your body’s way of saying something is wrong. You don’t have to figure out what is wrong, but your chiropractor, massage therapist or doctor will figure that out for you.
Remember, the type of professional from whom you seek treatment will always suggest the treatment based on their profession. So, if you go to a medical doctor, you will likely be prescribed pain medicine or a muscle relaxer. If you go to an orthopedist, you may be told you need surgery. If you go to the chiropractor, we will suggest adjustments, massage therapy, physiotherapy and therapeutic exercises.
In the case mentioned above, you may be given a Trochanter Belt to wear for a few days. This special kind of belt is worn below the waist and just at the level of where the femur attaches to the pelvis. You will wear this for approximately five days, 24/7, except when bathing or bathroom time. The belt acts as a support so the surrounding muscles don’t have to overwork into spasm. Depending on the injury, your chiropractor may lessen or extend your time in the belt.
Once your low back or pelvic injury is healed, keep the trochanter belt around for times when you know you’ll be pulling a heavy load or doing a lot of walking. Be sure you re-learn how to activate those muscles that neurologically went off-line and learn how to move with proper bio-mechanics to avoid further injury or relapse.
If you would like a consultation for your back pain, you can text, call or email Dr. Seebacher. Crawl-ins are welcome too. Dr. Seebacher has created a FUSION of chiropractic, therapeutic massage and therapeutic exercise to help reduce pain and restore function to your life.
Traffic in Atlanta is one thing we all tolerate to the best of our abilities. Why not make the most of your time while at a standstill?
My favorite is to use the headrest, situated to the middle of your head. Press your head back and in to the headrest, slightly tucking your chin under as you press and hold for a count of 5. This gives a nice stretch to the suboccipital muscles at the base of your skull and it activates the deep flexor muscles in the front of the neck. This will also release some tension in the back of your neck and maybe even in your shoulders. Next you can turn your head as far as comfortable and press your head back and in to the headrest. Be sure to do both sides equally.
Need some shoulder therapy? Try pressing your shoulder back, one at a time, holding for a count of 5, just as you’ve been doing. Be sure to do both sides equally. Now you’re working the muscles between the shoulder blades, squeeze those shoulder blades together behind you and make sure the back of your head is touching the headrest. Don’t allow your head and neck to creep forward. You can also work on those external rotator muscles of the shoulder by squeezing your elbows towards your rib cage, elbows bent at 90 degrees, now open your arm out away from your body, attempting to touch the back of your wrist to either the door or towards the passenger seat. Let’s not forget shoulder shrugs and shoulder rolls as well.
Again, make sure you are safe while in your car. These are quick and easy to do at a red light. While the car is moving, see if you can keep your head touching the headrest. We have this bad habit of thrusting our neck forward as if we could actually see things better from that position.