A few weeks ago I had the privilege to attend a Functional Health Team Meeting and learn about music therapy. Chris Helmick is a Music Therapist. He's worked for Giant Steps School for Autism and is currently at Maryville's University working with Alzheimer's patients. Music therapy can be utilized in many areas of wellness for the benefit of those recovering in medical facilities, students learning in school, individuals in assisted living and hospice, and for those undergoing behavior, occupational and physical therapy.
I first learned about music therapy at Logan University while studying concussion injury and recovery. Music therapy can be used as an adjunct to help those recover, to improve brain healing, and to decrease stress. We knew that the rhythm of music and the type of music (classical vs. pop or metal) could facilitate learning. That's really as far as we got though.
Chris taught us about two principles of music therapy Entrainment and Iso.
Qualities of music can also have an effect. For instance Pitch can raise a person's energy or can be grounding. A high pitch usually increases activity, whereas a low pitch can relax and slow activity. Rhythm can also have an effect on energy, being fast and having a beat vs. slow or without a beat. Repetition of music can be used to learn a routine that one unconsciously follows and layering be used to incorporate sounds and voice.
My previous experience with music therapy had been with Maura Markister, a music therapist and doula who specializes in using music therapy for pregnancy, birthing and post-natal bonding with baby. Maura's own experience with music to assist with her births were very powerful and lead her to develop St. Louis Birth Rhythms to aid other expecting moms in their journey. Music therapy during birth can help with labor pain and stress, ease and calm mom and baby, aid in the progression of the birth, and help with nursing. You can learn more about St. Louis Birth Rhythms and their holistic approach on their website or Facebook page.
Music can certainly have profound effects on our life and our journey to wellness. Even neuroscience says listening to this song reduces anxiety by up to 65%. Listen for yourself and let us know how you feel.
The word LASER is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Cold Laser Therapy or Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) is a treatment that utilizes specific wavelengths of light to interact with tissue and is thought to help accelerate the healing process. It can be used on patients who suffer from a variety of acute and chronic conditions in order to help eliminate pain, swelling, reduce spasms, increase functionality, unblocking clogged arteries, eradicating infections, and other therapeutic purposes. Low Level Laser Therapy is often used interchangeably with the term "Cold Laser Therapy," meaning the laser does not produce heat, and is only therapeutic. It does not cut skin or intended to heat or burn skin.
How Do Cold Lasers Work?
There are many different types of cold laser devices. Many used by clinicians are often the size of a flashlight. and may be connected to a larger unit (computer), or may be a handheld device. The laser may be placed directly over the injured area for 30 seconds to several minutes depending on the size of the area being treated and the dose provided by the cold laser unit. Some may move the laser around, move the joint or muscle during treatment, and some may remain in contact without movement of either unit or patient.
During treatment the non-thermal photons of light that are emitted from the laser and pass through the skin layers (the dermis, epidermis, and the subcutaneous tissue or tissue fat under the skin). This light has the ability to penetrate 2 to 5 centimeters below the skin. Once the light energy passes through the layers of skin and reaches the target area, it is absorbed and interacts with the light sensitive elements in the cell, such as the mitochondria. This process can be compared to photosynthesis in plants - sunlight is absorbed by plants, which is then converted to usable energy so that the plant can grow. The mitochondria absorbs the light, which is used to make energy in the form of ATP.
When cells absorb this light energy, it also initiates a series of events that is theorized to eventually result in healing damaged or injured tissue. Some of these events include increasing the movement of immune cells from the blood vessels, into the area of tissue injury. Increase lymphatic flow and drainage, as well as increased blood flow and drainage can occur. In short, laser therapy can assist in reduction of pain, inflammation, edema and an overall reduction in healing time by increasing intracellular metabolism.
What conditions can cold laser help?
Cold laser therapy can stimulate all cell types including muscle, ligament, cartilage, and nerves, so a number of conditions can be treated by cold laser therapy. Some conditions improved or treatment aided by cold laser therapy include:
Dr. Diana's Experience with Laser
I knew right away the I wanted to incorporate laser therapy in my practice based on my experiences with laser, both personal and professional. I first learned about laser therapy when I worked in the veterinary industry. After attending an 8 hour lecture on laser use in animals I was intrigued. Lasers were being used to help heal surgical incisions and fractures, treat ear infections and abscesses, and decrease pain in animals with disc injuries and arthritis. Laser therapy was new, and it was exciting to be on the cutting edge of using such advanced technology.
While at Logan some students weren't quite as impressed with the technology and to be honest, other than seeing it used in animals. I hadn't experienced laser therapy for myself until my last year at Logan, the year that we get to treat patients that aren't students, I broke my arm. I immediately researched treatments that would be helpful and laser was one. I was given some pretty intense pain medications, and I didn't want to take them. I used laser therapy to treat my pain, and after three days, I no longer needed pain medications. I used laser therapy to help manage pain, and accelerate healing. My fracture was healed in 6 weeks, and while typical healing time is 6-8 weeks, I appreciated the shorter time frame. I was fortunate that as a student without insurance, I was in the right place at the right time as we able to get the care I need at school, with little intervention aside from a trip to the emergency room. If your curious, I also used massage therapy, essential oils, nutritional modification, and chiropractic care as part of my recovery. Dr. JC Maier, who now practices at Convergence Dance and Body Center in Brentwood was my student intern at the time and did a great job taking care of me.
Another time I personally used laser therapy was when I injured my knee. I ended up driving up to Virden, IL for BioMat Infrared Therapy training with Dr. Todd Austin. While my massage therapist had initially introduced me to BioMat Infrared Therapy, Dr. Austin is the local authority on their use and introduced me to the full length mat. After 20 minutes on the mat, my knee pain had decreased by 80%. Using a combination of laser and infrared therapy with BioMat, I was able to treat myself in my own office to heal my knee.
Is Laser Therapy Right for You?
Who should NOT get laser therapy?
Any provider should go over the benefits, risks, and alternatives to laser therapy. Informed consent should always be obtained prior to treatment. The provider should be knowledgeable of these, and assess a person's health, contraindications and appropriateness of treatment prior to treating.
If you are curious about laser therapy to help with a condition, my best advice would be to schedule a consultation with a provider. Laser therapy may be an option alone, or in combination with other modalities such as chiropractic, essential oils, infrared heat therapy with a BioMat, nutritional modification, etc. I rarely use laser therapy alone to treat patients, but other providers may treat differently. I have had to tell individuals that I didn't think laser would be appropriate for their condition due to inaccurate diagnosis, scope of practice, or due to the severity of their condition other interventions were more appropriate. An appropriate diagnosis is important when deciding laser therapy.
Why do you have your "cleaning products" on display? Don't they belong in a closet or under a sink? Well sure, you might keep them there, but I want to start a conversation. One about our environment, and our health. In one of my recent blogs, we talked about the complexities of chemical interactions - interactions between medications, supplements, foods, and even cleaning products. Consider each time you clean, you are exposing yourself to chemicals. Every time you shower, wash dishes, and dust. What products are you using? Well, I was totally a Lysol fan, until I learned about Norwex.
I first heard about Norwex from my mom, who lived in Goshen, Indiana, an area highly populated with Amish, Mennonite, and German Baptist. At first I thought this was an "Amish" thing. You know, they don't live or enjoy the conventional items that most of us enjoy. My mom bragged about not using soap anymore -- like on her body. I cringed at the thought of being a stinky, filthy mess without soap, but my mom didn't smell, and she didn't look dirty. We let it go at that. My mom continued to use Norwex while I went on thinking she'd lost her mind.
Then I met Lanette Gerau (Hi Lanette!!!). She was a Norwex consultant. She was telling me about Norwex and it clicked in my brain that's what my mom was using. I didn't buy anything. I called my mom and asked her about it. She used the laundry soap, the wool balls, the body cloths, the enviro clothes.............you see where I'm going with this. When my mom came down to St. Louis, she gave me my first Norwex body cloth and the experiment began.
Learning to wash without soap was odd at first. I had to remember that I didn't need it, that the cloth would collect and contain the dirt, excess oils, cells, and bacteria that my body was shedding. I became even more interested and when the world's most awesome DJ Dana, hosted a "party," well, I had to go. That's when it all became a little more obvious what Norwex was doing. Little by little, it would transform our lives.
I'm not going to write about the history of Norwex, or how it works, you can read more about Norwex on your own. This is what I love about Norwex.
1. It uncomplicates my life. It takes time to learn how to do almost anything, but learning Norwex was more about unlearning. Just water and Norwex. Rinse with hot water. Mild detergent to wash. It can be used on almost everything, with exception of a few things that they have specialized cloths for.
2. I reclaimed sink and closet space from the copious amounts of cleaners: windex, scrubbing bubbles, pine sol, tilex, CLR, windex (did I say that already) and now just have Norwex, dish soap, Nature's Miracle, white vinegar, and bleach (which are rarely used).
3. No more toxic fumes! Growing up with asthma, allergies, a smoker, and pets, we were always cleaning and inhaling something toxic, whether paint fumes from repainting yellow tinged walls, or bleach from cleaning up after dogs. I love that I don't have those smells anymore and can breath easier!
4. No more running to the store for cleaners, and no more throwing away mountains of plastic containers! You buy it, lug it home, use it and throw it away. Not anymore. I pretty much buy food only at the grocery, and enjoy NOT having to toss out tons of plastic containers from cleaning products - especially the laundry detergent! Everything is packaged to be eco-friendly and have a decreased impact on the environment. You can even return spent cloths (which I have yet to do) to be recycled!
5. The impact on the environment is monumental. I'm not buying plastic containers, I'm not throwing them away. I'm not buying toxic chemicals, I'm not putting them in our water. I'm not inhaling them or putting them on my skin.
So, what are my favorite products? I'll show you, and why.
1. The body cloths - We only wash our cloths once a week (or every two weeks), and our body towels like once a month. SO MUCH LESS LAUNDRY!! They are also super absorbent! They are also embedded with silver to prevent odors and bacterial growth. We just hang to dry after each use.
2. The entire laundry collection - It's no joke. It's not heavy, it's crystal clear, it comes in minimal packaging, it dries clothes faster, it helps with static, it helps extend the life of my washer and dryer due to less residues, it decreases wear on my clothes and keep laundry from looking dingy after being washed -- you know how clothes kind of fade after a washing. Best thing ever - I'm not lugging home those huge bottles or boxes or laundry detergent. I can carry all the bags in one trip!
3. The Enviro cloth - I use this on EVERYTHING!!!!! Seriously, I used this to wash the "back-mobile." No hose, no suds - just this cloth and water. Yes, I rinsed it a lot. But that was it. Norwex has a few different versions of this cloth - with a magnet to stick on the fridge, with a scrubby side, with a scrubby corner, in "mit" form, etc. This is thee most used cloth in our house. Combined with the window cloth for polishing windows, it leaves a streak free shine without inhaling <cough, cough> all that windex!
4. See that green long thing up there? Yeah, that thing. I used that to clean the ceiling fans. As a short gal, I HATE this task, and getting the husband to do it is well, lets just not go there. I love this because I can reach places I normally can't get to. I used it the other day to clean my Jeep, and cob webs from the awning of our house. I can use it on mini blinds, vent grills, etc.
5. The mop system - I love it. It's so easy and I can quickly mop the entire house and be done. Use the rubber brush (to the right), or hand vacuum to suck up all the debris, and then I can snap on the wet mop and mop each room. All I have to do is rinse the wet mop in hot water. I can use the mop on the walls by locking the handle, I can use it on the ceiling. I can even take the handle off, and snap the enviro-wand on the end to clean the ceiling fans! For a short person, this is such a huge help! The brush works great for getting dog hair off the sofa, the car upholstery, and dirt from the trunk of my Jeep.
7. Cleaning Paste - I'm a little OCD about cleaning my stove. I can't help it, I like it looking clean as the day I bought it. Many cleaners can cause scratches, or injure the paint, but not the cleaning paste! Using an envio-cloth, cleaning paste, and a little scrubbing, I can completely clean my stove-top to my liking! This stuff is elbow grease in a jar and can be safely used on many surfaces. I also use this on my counter top, that gets stained regularly with tea in making kombucha. A simple scrub does a great job and keeps my husband happy since the tea stains annoy him.
8. The "Pet to Dry" - If you've been in my office, you've seen these in the restroom. The "Pet to Dry" hangs in your bathroom, kitchen, mudroom, or where-ever you need to dry your hands. It's the answer to countless paper towels and dirty damp hand towels. They are ultra cute for kiddos and come in a variety of colors. What's so great about them? They contains BacLock, an antibacterial agent for self cleansing. The agent is solely designed to inhibit bacterial odor, mold and/or mildew growth within the product.
9. Blue Diamond and toilet bowl brush - conventional toilet bowl brushes fray, rust, sit in the watery muck you just cleaned, and are a breeding ground of yuck. This brush doesn't rust, is embedded with silver to prevent microbial growth, and is suspended so it can dry out! The blue diamond cleaner works great with it, is gentle, and only takes a small drop to clean! Use this in the toilet, sinks, and bathtub - it saves on products, time, and know that you aren't using products with harsh fumes.
10. Straws.....one of the worst polluters of our planet. Did you know that by not using a straw, we could save a lot in plastics being produced and discarded and save a lot of wildlife? Norwex straws are great to keep at home, in your desk at work, or in your vehicle. Never throw away a plastic straw again!
I recently had a good friend of mine ask me, "Is detoxing really a thing? I mean, doesn't your body already do that?"
The short answer is yes. Your body has built in detoxifiers.
Now, most people only think about the liver and kidney when it comes to detoxifying, and they work 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to do this. But actually your entire body participates.
Your liver packages things for disposal and sends stuff out through numerous outlets - kidneys via water soluble components in your blood, the intestinal tract via fat soluble components, lungs in the form of volatile chemicals like ketones and ammonia, and even a mixture of water and fat soluble components via your skin in the form of oils and sweat!
When I address this with patients, they'll tell me they've had lab work to let me know everything was fine, but the sad truth is that these lab tests only tell us when the majority of the organ is struggling, like when we've lost 60-75% of its functional capacity. How well does your 4 cylinder car run if it's only got 1 cylinder working?
Depending on your stress level, activity level, eating habits, age, and the amount of medications one takes, and presence of chronic illness, a little break may be good. We take vacations from work, but can our liver go on vacation? You wouldn't want it to! So, treating it nice goes a long way.
So what is detoxifying? Essentially, it's allowing the liver a lighter workload. One of the best means is intermittent fasting. A 24 hour fast is great for detoxing. The liver isn't getting slammed with work from the digestive tract, it's using stored components to provide energy (think of this as cleaning out the pantry), it's mobilizing fats to use for energy, and using some stored proteins and it's using glycogen stored in the liver and muscles. We can also see utilization of some components that we need to get rid of like homocysteine, and cholesterols that aren't good to have lying around for long periods of time.
Now we don't have to go to extremes to detoxifiy our bodies, but many practices help lighten the workload for our bodies. Regular activity, even if in 10 minutes increments, is actually much more beneficial throughout the day than the 60 minutes workout after sitting 8 hours. Activities that reduce stress and promote relaxation are beneficial like a bath in Epsom salt, or a massage. Taking 5 minutes to breath deeply with our diaphragm helps perfuse organs, aids in digestion, and helps circulate blood. Drinking water helps move fluids and toxic components out. Eating high fiber foods, especially vegetables, helps keep our digestive tract (and the microbes that live there) happy and moving. Eating foods high in antioxidants greatly helps the liver to reduce free radicals, and lower oxidative stress from being a living, breathing organism. Sleep helps the brain recover and reset, helps the body repair, and helps perfused areas of our body (like our vertebral discs) that don't get perfused during awake hours.
Some of the best things we can do to help our liver is to cut out alcohol, decrease use of medications like NSAIDS and Tylenol, and decrease consumption of high-fructose corn syrup, which is found in many sodas.
If we aren't doing these things regularly, or if things get out of balance, than a little spring cleaning in the form of a "detox" maybe helpful, and may even encourage one to adopt better habits. Be kind to your body, and it will be kind to you in return. Need help? That's what Dr. Diana is here for.
<nod and smile>
Can you say that again?
Ears To You!, LLC is a mobile hearing test and hearing aid device service owned and operated by Jane Manhart, a business woman after my own heart! She's mobile, and will drive to you, perform hearing tests, and then consult about hearing aid choices that not only fit your need, but also your budget. Yeah, like who budgets for hearing aids??
One of the first questions I asked Jane was how a person knows they need a hearing test? What does one look for? She told me many times they don't. Often a spouse or loved one initiates the process, or complains that they can't hear them. It's not always selective hearing!
Sadly though for many, a sign of hear loss is social isolation. They don't go anywhere, they don't want to be out in public, etc. They're afraid of being embarrassed by not hearing, so they just don't go or do anything that isn't necessary. That has a lot of other health ramifications as social isolation has been linked to depression, addiction, and other health problems that increase the risk of death and disability.
I know from my own experience of not being able to hear in my right hear for a month, how isolating and difficult it was to communicate. I didn't want to talk on the phone. I didn't want to go anywhere. I had to make sure people talked into my left side. I didn't even like listening to music or watching TV. It was not pleasant and really gave me first hand experience of what it's like to just not hear well!
Okay, so she comes to your house. How else is she different?
This is where Jane really got me hooked on what she does. She's a bit of a rebel like myself. After working in big box stores, selling the latest and greatest hearing aids for top dollar, and learning the ins and outs of the market, she really just wants to help people.
She learned that not everyone needed the newest model hearing aid. Many people suffice with a less expensive version or an older hearing aid. A person in a nursing home may not need a lot of background noise filtering technology - they just need to hear their nurse, family, and TV.
She saw that many times people were told their device needed to be updated and they had to get a new one. That wasn't always true. A hearing air, when cared for properly, can live much longer beyond what many places recommend, and according to her experience, can last well past 3 years - many times 7-9 years even!
Other times Jane has found that she's able to make repairs to hear aid devices that other big stores won't repair. They tell you it's obsolete, unrepairable, and you just need to buy a new one.
I mean can you imagine having to buy a new hearing aid at $3000 versus a $50 repair?
Not only does she make the process easy and convenient, she makes sure the hearing aids are fitting to a person. Are they uncomfortable? Do they ring? Are they being cared for correctly? She provides cleaning and checkups for hearing devices so you get the full use of your hearing aid. Full service, not just a transaction.
Jane literally goes anywhere. Nursing homes, homes, your work, etc - any place where the sound level is below 40 decibels to perform the hearing test.
Not only was I able to get so much information about Jane and Ears To You, but we also bonded over functional medicine, nutrition, and other mobile services.
So, have a loved one who can't hear you? Do they just nod and smile? Uh huh.....
Check out Jane Manhart with Ears To You!, LLC at 636-448-6760