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In an article titled “Tracking your family health history“, Dr. Lori Wiviott of Harvard Medical School suggests that it’s not only important to keep track of your own medical history, but also to create a medical history of your family, since many diseases are genetic. 

The article contains a simple guide on how to create a medical family tree. This seems like the logical extension from the importance of keeping personal medical history information.  I wonder if the My Life Log includes a place for family history?

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While I’m a big proponent of self-knowledge for helping with personal wellness (e.g., having a good sense of how you are personally affected by stress in your life), I have been haphazard with my own medical record-keeping.  If I had to come up with all my medical records, including a hospitalization years ago in another country, I would be in big trouble.

I just came across a very simple, but potentially hugely valuable tool: MY LIFE LOG

MY LIFE LOG, A Medical and Personal Diary, can help provide valuable information for doctors and prevent medical errors in treatment and diagnosis. Doctors are like detectives. The more clues they have, the quicker they can diagnose their patient’s problems. A patient who has kept a personal health diary that includes their family medical history and makes that information available to healthcare providers is being pro-active in their own healthcare.

You can buy the logbook — which looks nice; and sure beats the folders of paper I have scattered about.  Would encourage me to consolidate the information.  They also offer the option of downloading a PDF with all the pages (I assume) that are in the book, so you can print what you need and put into a binder.  I like this idea because:

  1. Less expensive, and saves on shipping costs ($ and carbon output)
  2. You can print only the pages you need
  3. You can print extra pages that you may need that might not be in the bound version

I’ll consider this as an option to help me declutter and get organized, and support my Everyday Wellness.

My Life Log: www.mylifelogbook.com

HealtyToes.com

What are those things?!?!?  They are toe stretchers.  They help stretch out toes that are cramped together, and help release and relieve sore feet and ankles. 

I’m writing about this today because I’ve recently had healthy toes and toe stretchers on my mind. 

  • WEAK ANKLE: The ankle I fractured last year still bothers me occasionally, and my first reaction is to spread my toes (on both feet).  Why do I do this?  Because I feel great when I spread my toes: I take a nice deep breath, my feet feel more relaxed, my ankle feels better… and I actually feel good all the way up my legs to my back.  Toe stretchers would allow me to spread my toes–and get the benefits–without effort.
  • BUNION: I asked my mom about her problem ankle.  She showed me her feet, and lo and behold, the big toe on the foot with the problem ankle turns in; she’s starting to get a bunion.  The toes on the other foot, however, are lined up nicely, and she doesn’t have any ankle problems on that side. I think toe stretchers would help her toes align better, which will stablize her foot and strengthen her ankle.
  • PLANTAR FASCIITIS: A student in a wellness class asked about addressing plantar fasciitis.  I think toe stretchers can help address this.  (Also, rolling your feet over a tennis ball can help relieve some pain, too.) 

I have to say that I personally have not used these, though I’ve tried them on once and they felt great.  You can read the account an MD has written about her decision to try them to prevent stiff feet, and how they beat her trip to the orthopedist.

They are available in several brands, which look pretty similar: Yoga Toes (which you can only buy on their website), Healthytoes (which is available on Amazon and less expensive than Yoga Toes) and Genki-Kun (which claims to be the original from Japan; their sizing is confusing).

To Buy:
Healthytoes BLUE color, Small or Large
Healthytoes PINK color, Small only

  • SMALL fits Women’s shoe sizes: 5.5 to 10.5; Men’s shoe sizes: 3.5 to 9.5
  • LARGE fits Women’s shoe sizes: 11 and up; Men’s shoe sizes: 7.5 to 10+
  • (SIZING TIPS: Sizing is approximate and may vary according to width of foot. The majority of Women with medium-width feet will wear a size Small. 99% of Women new to toe stretching should order the size Small.  — From the Healthytoes website.)

Genki-Kun products are available, too, but their sizing is confusing.

Yoga Toes sells directly; more expensive individually, but there’s a discount on volume.

TENNIS BALL TRICK? A tennis ball can reduce stress and fatigue, as well as address shoulder and neck issues

[blip.tv ?posts_id=1108085&dest=-1]

This is part of Elephant Pharmacy’s Share the Wellth program.  To leave a comment or a question about this tip, click here.

See more videos.

The class is being offered by one of my teachers at the Acupressure Institute, Anasuya Batliner.  I took her class on Women’s Health Issues there, and learned a great deal from this gifted teacher.

Yin, Yang, Qi & Blood: Phases of a Woman’s Month

September 3, 7pm – 8pm
a free teleclass
with Anasuya Batliner, NC, Dipl. ABT, CST, My Body Wisdom
for anyone interested in acupressure and women’s health

The energies of Yin, Yang, Qi and Blood naturally ebb and flow through the weeks of a woman’s menstrual cycle. Learn to support this rhythm with appropriate acupressure points, foods, and activities for each phase.

-Increase fertility
-Reduce PMS
-Ease menstrual cramps

This free teleclass gives you a preview of the Women’s Health Issues class taught by Anasuya, September 16-17 from 9am – 4pm at The Acupressure Institute in Berkeley, California.

To register for the free teleclass email Anasuya directly at anasuya@mybodywisdom.net. You will be given a conference phone number and PIN number to join the call.

I realize that quitting a long-term smoking habit can be a huge endeavor.  Once in a while I’ll meet someone who quit cold turkey, but that is likely an exception to the rule.

The thing about any habit is that it’s familiar and comfortable, so letting go of it is a difficult thing to do.

Therefore, the LETTING GO point is a wonderful point to hold, if you are thinking about or working on quitting smoking.  It’s a great point to use on a friend of relative who is going through this, too.  Fittingly, it’s the first point on the Lung meridian, so while it’s really helpful for letting go in many areas of life, it’s so appropriate for letting go of something that pertains to the Lungs. 

To learn more about this point, see this post.

I wrote a while back about the sweet craving-comfort food connection (in cookie monster post) and how traveling can be a trigger.

Well, here I am, traveling for the holidays.  I’m on vacation, and tempted by the wonderful sweets here in Mexico.  Flan.  All kinds of cookies and treats from the bakeries.  Churros.  Hot chocolate.  Yum. Yum. Yum. 

Why is it that my hand didn’t go out at all the fruit stands?  Hmmm… However, I did buy whole fruit–apples, tangerines and guavas– at a market — which was a bit of a walk out from the center.  Fortunately, I was staying in an apartment with a kitchen, so I could wash and cut these to eat.  Today, I’m in a new town, and no kitchen or knife, either.

This is all to say that in addition to missing home and being drawn to sweetness, there’s a convenience factor that goes with a sweet tooth on the road. 

Reminder for future travels. 

  • Bring along a plastic knife, or pack a real knife if I know I’m going to check my luggage.
  • Load up on fruit whenever I can.  It satisfies the sweet craving, before I feel the urge for flan.
  • Bring or buy dried fruit.  (Difficult for me now since I’m wearing braces, but normally a great alternative.)
  • Awareness and intention.  I can’t use the excuse that I’m on vacation to take a vacation from taking care of myself!!!

This recent New York Times blog post on The Migraine Diet has obviously hit a nerve. It’s the most emailed article, and there are hundreds of comments.

The blogger writes about her own experience of migraines and of trying out a plan to heal herself that includes 1) stopping medications, 2) identifying and eliminating triggers that can be addressed, like food, alcohol, smoking, and 3) daily preventative measures, which I guess would include things like exercise.

A few comments were about success with acupuncture.  From a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective, the connection between diet and headaches has been understood.  It’s fairly easy to see the connection for people who tend to get headaches when they are constipated, or overdue for a regular bowel movement.

Among acupressure/acupuncture points, the Hoku point is the one most often suggested for dealing with such a headache. It is on the Large Intestine meridian, which suggests an energetic connection with the Large Intestine organ.  So, if you suffer from a headache or migraine, try pressing/rubbing the Hoku point, which is described here. Also, when you are constipated, try this.

For a strong headache, you may need to hold the point for a while.  Make sure you do not overdo it; that is, that your other hand does not get tired from holding the point.  You can hold the point on both hands.  Hold for one or two minutes, take a break, then hold again.  If you can get someone else to hold them for you, that can be helpful, too.  And try acupuncture if you can.  It can address a point more powerfully than acupressure.

There’s no guarantee that this will address your headache, especially if there is something else triggering it or it’s a migraine.  Of course, you should see a medical professional for a serious condition.

Please note, Hoku is not safe for women who are pregnant. An alternative, which anyone can try, is to squeeze and massage the toes, and the rest of the foot. But especially the toes.  In reflexology, your toes are associated with your head.

Earlier this week I wrote about Earth imbalance in my Cookie Monster post.

Lisa commented on that post about her own experience with Earth imbalance.  And she wrote up a longer even more delicious description of her cravings for all kinds of scrumptious delights on her blog, which you can read here!

I went to the doctor yesterday to get my ankle checked.  It turns out that I’ve been more gentle with my ankle than I need to be, since the bone will heal on its own.  Isn’t the human body wonderful?

This brought me to think about the Metal element in Traditional Chinese Medicine, and how ideas of structure and support are associated with it.  I have a lot of mental and structure now: aluminum crutches and an ankle walker brace.  But non-tangibles like ideas and attitudes can also provide structure and support.  For example, rules and laws often support a society and community; think about what would happen on the roads if people didn’t know and follow traffic rules.  Chaos!

But sometimes too much metal can be a problem, too.  So I thought about this in terms of my rigid ideas about my ankle.  Because I was so concerned about protected my poor ankle–which has suffered a lot of sprains and discomfort over the years–I was not moving it and using it in a healthy way.  It turns out that I can walk on the foot with the security and support of the ankle brace.  It supports me.

This is a good lesson for me, because I can get pretty rigid in my rules.  It makes me a law-abiding type, but sometimes uptight, too.

So, it’s a good idea to think about what’s enough support?  What’s enough structure?  And when does it impede growth and wellness?