• Are your senior parents lying to you?

    elderly-seniors-hands
    Yep.

    My University friend did a study that made the National news that shows seniors are not being honest about their state of health.

    I could have told you that without any study. Heck I can tell you, that you are likely not being honest about your health if someone asks either.

    Seniors are wildly fearful that their Independence is going to be taken away if they are deemed to be medically unwell. Yet the opposite is true. The more we understand their state of health the more appropriate resources can be  apply to their situation. Lengthening their independence.

    I encourage all of us with parents over the age of 70 to have regular, honest, health talks. Prepare them for the reality of moving to a ‘retirement resort’. Do everyone a favor, get them in one before they need to.

    I remember my Grandparents, we moved them from their 5 level split home of 45 years to an apartment. I was amazed at how they complained until they got there and where just amazed how much easier it was to live in.

    Then as they aged we moved them into a ‘retirement facility’. Ow did they resist, but again after a few weeks, they loved it. A whole group of like minded people, meals cooked, activities, music…

    I think we are all scared of aging and dying. I think we should adopt a culture where our parents come to live with us and we are all more communal. But, that’s not how we do it in North America, the next best thing is get them around some of their peer group. Versus living alone and scared all by themselves.

    We are not meant to be alone. We are social beings. It can be hard to get your parents to be honest about their health but start early and show them you care. Remember they changed you diapers, you owe them.

    Be Well,
    Ward Willison
    allbodycare.com
    Kelowna Acupuncture & Other Natural Therapies

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/seniors-lie-about-health-1.3705171
    http://gerontologist.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2014/11/09/geront.gnu092.full

  • Calming with Temple Grandin

    Do you know who Temple Grandin is? She is a PhD. who has changed the cattle industry and Autism.

    She is a Autistic lady that grew up in the 60’s with a mom that would not put her in an institution (nut house). Instead she went to school and kept on going.

    There is a fantastic movie about her called “Temple Grandin” I urge you to rush out and watch it. It does a fantastic job of showing a different way to look at people.

    There are several lessons to learn from this movie, the one I point out is “Calming”.

    The ability to take a person from a high arousal state and bring it down to calm. How do you do that. Temple has an interesting way to do that, go watch the movie and see.

    I remember years ago watching a multi-multi millionaire business man speak about life at 75 and all his staff wants him to slow down, take it easy. He said NO WAY. I am not going to slow down I am going to ‘calm down’.

    I did not pick up on it then, I thought it was an odd statement, but now 15 years later I get it. At work I see most of us can use a calming mechanism, or several ways to calm ourselves.

    I have several things I have developed to calm myself down. I referred to it as ways to counteract periods of depression. Now I see it as ways to calm me down from an agitated state, which may be ‘depression’ or ‘anxiety’.

    I play guitar, read, have tea, breath, do tai chi or kung fu moves.  Sometimes I’ll watch some YouTube or TV and when it’s bad I clean the house, who knew that’s my go to calming thing.

    I use different ones for different levels of stress and I normally observe how effective they are and modify my approaches as needed.

    I hope all of you can work on building your ‘calming’ repertoire you will be glad you did.

    Be Well,
    Ward Willison
    allbodycare.com
    Acupuncture & Other Natural Therapies

  • Long term medication

    Recently I have been working with some older people who have very strange problems.

    I had the opportunity to speak with one’s GP, which I thought was very progressive for the GP. I mentioned the person was on blood pressure medication for 40 years and could that affect this situation. He thought it could.

    Now would the person be alive if they had not taken the medication in the first place all those years. That’s tough to say.

    Could they have done other things in those years to get their blood pressure in check? Again tough to say. However in 40 years you think something could be done.

    I have another client I get to speak to their GP about. I don’t know if it’s a trend but in 20 years these are the first times a GP has asked what I think. It’s a bit of a shock really, but I am happy to put in my opinion.

    Again my first question is on the persons long term medications. Don’t misunderstand me, I am all for properly prescribed, necessary medications. In the past I have taken my share and I would take them again if I needed them. I have no problem with the miracles of modern medicine.

    But, everything has a cost. Long term those costs will come to collect. I think there are ways that people can lessen and sometimes eliminate medications and for that matter “health supplements”

    An example of that is digestive enzymes, they are okay to take for a few months but not a few years. If you find you still need them after 6 months, further investigation should happen.

    All I am saying is, if you are on long term prescription medications, or supplements have a look at what they do for you and see if there are some ways to do the same without them. Let’s take sleeping pills, their use is on the rise massively.  Google how to get to sleep. Do some of what it says for a week and see what happens, or call me and I’ll tell you.

    Think about it and talk to your health team and start working on lowering your med/supplement load. I recently finished a case where the person was on 12 meds and 2 years later they are on none. It was a long road, with full involvement of their Doctor and family. But the results where worth it.

    Be Well,
    Ward Willison
    allbodycare.com
    Acupuncture & Other Natural Therapies

  • Daddy Daughter Day

    Last summer I took Mondays off to spend them with my daughter. This year I am trying Fridays. Running my own business it’s tough to take a day off. Many things from a work perspective don’t get done.

    However as all the parents say, “good for you Ward”.  Which is very nice of them.

    It is amazing how quickly my daughter seems to be growing up. On a recent trip we where doing a ‘rope’s course’. We are 60 feet up in the trees climbing and zipping from tree to tree and she wants to go first. We thought wow, two years ago when we did this she was shaking she was so scared, and now she’s leading the way. (and we where shaking…)

    We plan something every Friday and just the two of us go do it. Sometimes it is all fun and sometimes there is work involved with the yard or other jobs. We seem to like it and we seem to get to know other aspects of each other.

    I am fortunate I can take the day off and do this with her, as at the moment she is still excited to spend the day with me. Hopefully that will last for a few more years at least.

    I have read quite a few parenting books, none have many answers. Several have good ideas. I find that the more time I spend with her the more she trains me on what to do.

     

  • Willpower and sugar

    Do you suffer from decision Fatigue? John Tierney wrote this really looooong article on an interesting topic with a twist I had not see before. I summarize it below, for the full article click: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/21/magazine/do-you-suffer-from-decision-fatigue.html?ref=johntierney

    Basically willpower is limited, the use of it depletes it. Once it is depleted bad things start to happen. Once willpower is lower it is harder to make “trade-offs”, and view the nuances of the decision clearly.

    So we head down the path of less resistance. The famous example is the candy at the checkout. You have made all these decisions on what to buy. You get to the end and feel burned out and need a little snack. Normally you would not eat that “crap” but like magic it hops into your checkout basket.

    The interesting thing was have a shot of glucose and all is well again. I find that interesting but I do notice I eat all day at work. I don’t see how glucose can replace rest but they say the brain changes where it works once fatigue has set in, and the new spots are  not good for decisions.  A shot of sugar will do the trick short term but better food choices will make it a longer effect.

    Another item in the article was the added pressure of poverty in the decision loop. When money is tight, so our the options. To find good options takes more “trade-offs” and that quickly depletes willpower, leading to poor choices.

    What to do. Space out activities that will use willpower, thinking and concentration. Make sure your well fed and watered. Keep and eye on your fatigue levels and reflect on how the recent decisions are. If you notice you are not making your normal decisions. STOP and get some rest, food, water, change of scenery.

    Good luck and watch out for the candy bars in your shopping basket, it’s a sure sign you have depleted willpower and remember the person your talking to may be depleted also. Makes you think about giving your GP a sugar candy before they assess you.

    Be Well,
    Ward Willison
    allbodycare.com
    Acupuncture & Other Natural Therapies

     

  • Making the medicine go down

    Ever tried to get a little person to swallow medicine? It can be impossible. Here is a solution developed by a pediatric psychologist, I just heard on the radio. It’s brilliant!

    Three parts and a few ‘advanced’ ideas at the end.

    1. Have them suck on a ice cube, frozen fruit or a popsicle. It turns down their taste buds.

    2. Get three portions of something they like to drink. Smoothie, thicker juice etc. If liquid pour, if pill crush the medicine and mix it in middle glass of liquid.

    3. Plug their nose! It also turns down the taste buds. Do this FIRST. then swallow glass with no medicine, glass with medicine, and finish with glass with no medicine.

    Voila! medicine inside body.

    Why do kids refuse to take medications that can actually save their life or at least get them better quicker? I see it more with kids that have been sick. They get so much stuff done to them for their “own good”. But often it hurts, is uncomfortable and separates them from their peer group.

    When they get a chance to control something they do it. Like what goes into their mouths. If you have had a sick young person you know the stress it brings on everyone. But most of the people involved are “mature”. Imagine how the little person feels. They have a big lack of control.

    What can we do about that. Let them control what the drink is (no whiskey), how it’s made, how the pill is opened, crushed. Type of glass, how the nose is plugged. The countdown to drinking, what the celebration is afterwards. Things like that.

    I have spent years working to get kids to take, often terrible tasting herbs. I wish I had heard this speaker before. It still might be tough with some kids but the ice and holding the nose are really good ideas.

    And like the song says, “A spoon full of sugar makes the medicine go down”

    Be Well,
    Ward Willison
    allbodycare.com
    Acupuncture & Other Natural Therapies

     

  • 15 years and still going

    Well April 1st was All Body Care’s 15th year anniversary (we opened April 1, 2001), no joke. I started working on people in 1996 and Heather started in 1993.

    I would say it seemed like yesterday but it doesn’t. The memories, stories and experiences we have had in the last 20 years is really amazing. Some great successes and failures, some wonderful people and great times.

    Interestingly this year I am studying as much as when I was writing my licensing exams. Heather and I still find it so interesting and so many challenges we don’t have clear answers for. It’s good and bad. It’s good that we have so much to learn and I feel bad for the people I don’t have the answers for. Luckily I have a good Rolodex of other great practitioners in town.

    I find it really interesting/funny/disturbing how I have been around long enough to see trends recirculating. It’s not just in fashion, it’s in the health field also. This year it’s all about the gut microbiome. Which I studied in my Red Seal Chef days.  We called it ‘gut flora and fauna’ but it’s the same thing. I am enjoying seeing the progress in the field vs what we knew in 1987.

    I am enjoying seeing people I treated for fertility, now I am treating a couple of those baby’s as adults. I think I may be getting a bit old, just a bit.

    I think the first tips I learned in the health game are just a useful today as they were in the ’90’s. Eat regular, don’t work, read or run around when you eat, chew your food, have some friends, get 8 hours a night in bed, make time for you, this is not a dress rehearsal this is the game. Make memories with people you like.

    Anyway, thank you all so very much. Without the great people that have let us be part of their healing journey I’d still be working on a cruise ship. Which was not all bad either…. Let’s see how the next 15 years go.

    Be Well,
    Ward Willison
    allbodycare.com
    Acupuncture & Other Natural Therapies

     

  • Learning from Masters

    In North America we banter around the word “Master”. In Asia it is reserved for someone that really has it figured out. Not everything figured out but their piece of the pie, that they understand.

    I recently took a course on Neurology from a Master J. Yuen. He has a resume that is staggering. The short notes are, he’s the 88 generation Daoist of his lineage. How long is that! He has been working on people, on his own, since he was 11 years old.

    He sat there, no notes and just opened his mouth and it was like google was powering him. He just seemed to know everything and be able to explain it so anyone could understand. Then at the break I saw him holding the door open for a student. He just seemed so nice, normal and humble. A real treat to meet him.

    Then we had Suzanne Robidoux speak about pain. She has been living in China for the last 20 years and really must have been working hard. Her teacher is over 100 years old (picture of him). Now there is what you call the perfect picture of a TCM Doctor.

    Education is weightless and I like to get a lot of it. It takes years of learning and experience to piece together what to do with patients on any given day. It it the hardest jigsaw puzzle of them all. It was fun to go and see two people that have their pieces of the pie figured out.

    Here’s a pic of Master Yuen

    JefferyYeun

    Be Well,
    Ward Willison
    allbodycare.com
    Acupuncture & Other Natural Therapies

  • Spring to it

    Ah early spring, really early spring it seems. We have little flowers in the yard, well until the deer ate them last night.

    The golf courses are going, runners abound, it’s the magical time when we ski in the morning and rush down for a quick round of golf.

    But wait what happens the next morning, you hurt all over? How could that be? Ah it’s the waking from hibernation time.

    This is my favorite time of year in the clinic, not only is there some sun shinning in the windows but there is the most diversity in people coming into the clinic. It’s a big variety of injuries, tears, sprains and pulls.

    The longer I practice the more I follow the old texts on health in Chinese Medicine. They warn of approaching Spring with respect, slowly opening the body to the new season and DON’T GO CRAZY with exercise. Rushing out to dig the garden, plant the flowers, go for a run.

    Winter is still the most ‘hibernating’ time for us. Our body’s get a bit out of shape. We get a bit more rest than other seasons and that is a good thing. Our minds they seem to skip that and think we can just go back to exactly what we where doing in the fall.

    Do yourself a favor and take it easy for the first couple of weeks. Rake the lawn over the weekend not the next 4 hours. You will be glad you did.

    But for the other 98% of us, I will be standing by in the clinic.

    Be Well,
    Ward Willison
    allbodycare.com
    Acupuncture & Other Natural Therapies

  • Yuma AZ and snowbirds

    Did a winter vacation to see my dad, he snowbirds down in Yuma Az. it’s on the boarder of Arizona, California and Mexico. There is about 100,000 snowbirds that go there for the winter/spring. Let’s just say the average age is north or 75.

    It is flat, dry and is the sunniest town in the world! There are miles of RV’s of every type in all directions and all sorts of different types of houses. Some people take their RV and just park out in the desert and hang out, they call it ‘boon-docking’.

    I am stunned how busy my dad is. When I first showed up to Dad’s Casita/5th wheel lot, I asked why he had 10 couches, 50 chairs, enough cutlery etc for an army. Then the cars started showing up. We set up a BBQ in the lot and had a huge hot-dog party.

    Often there is a ‘bloody marry’ party. Where at 9am, 30-40 people will show up at someones house/RV/trailer and drink bloody marry’s till 10am, then 30 of us went for breakfast. Often at 4pm is happy hour where again 40 people show up and all are gone by 4:59. It’s like magic. One night we went to a fabulous house for supper with 15-20 people.

    On Thursdays they meet to go out to the desert and drive around to some old mine site, or look out or oasis. There is movie night’s, they go into the big city to see hockey or baseball games. It never ends.

    We went to Algodones Mexico and that is where things got interesting for me in the health business. The town of 5500 is about 1/4 pharmacy’s, 1/4 dentist, 1/4 eye glass shops and 1/4 everything else you’d think Mexico should have.

    The line up getting back into the USA was long and very social, everyone was visiting and most where carrying BIG BAGS OF DRUGS. Just not the kind 20 year olds think of. My dad’s been going down there for 10 years and after a couple of years I asked him what was surprising to him. His answer was how restricted some of the group was due to their medications and how many med they where on.

    I asked my dad what he thought his reason was for better health and he said the farm life. My dad farms about 4 moths a year. It’s not as hard a job as it once was but he’ll start at 6 am and normally turn into bed around 11-12 pm. He’ll do that in the spring for 6-8 weeks and in the fall harvest for 3 months.  He’s pretty tough for a 72 year old.

    When the group realized what I did for work the health questions started. I think I could be busy down there. To age well I encourage all of us to do the following:

    Eat well, learn what eating well for you means. It can take 10-15 years of casual study to get a food plan that works for you so start right away. Start small and just pick an area of study each year to get better at it. My first year was how to eat more vegetables, then we worked on finding better sources of meat. Last year was finding ways for me to eat more fruit. This year I am studying the microbiome (the bugs in us).

    Get active. Find things you like to do that work your muscles in a balanced way. I talked to a retired PE teacher in Yuma. He’s messed up. How we trained and stretched 40+ years ago was mostly a bad idea. There are a lot of 70 year olds that have terrible body structures. If it hurts regularly then maybe it’s not for you. I of course love Tai Chi but there are thousands of activities you can do to keep fit.

    Find hobbies that activate your mind. If they can involve other people that’s a bonus. You want to keep your mind nimble and quick. A good way to do that is to use it. Find things that challenge you. I pick up a new hobby every 5 years. It reminds me how crappy it is to be brand new at things, it gives me the chance to improve at it and notice I can get better at things and it stretches my mind/body in new directions.

    Heal your injuries, whether they are physical, mental, spiritual, emotional or nutritional. As you age they can come and ruin your life. Many of us are trying to do just that, well continue then. It can take years to fix some things. I am reading a book on healing the gut for ADHD, they talk in years not months in this book.

    Get better social skills because if your going to Yuma your going to need them and enough stuff to sit 40 people for supper.

    Be Well,
    Ward Willison
    allbodycare.com
    Acupuncture & Other Natural Therapies