Enzymes!

Enzymes are so cool. They are these teeny tiny little hungry things! What are they hungry for you ask? Let's talk about that!

I'm going to take a wild guess and assume there are tons of different kinds of enzymes- but I'm just going to say that they mainly break down into 3 categories. There's the fat eating, the starch eating, and the protein eating ones. I'm only guessing on number because I'm not a biologist- but I think it's safe to assume. I am guessing that with so many unique and complex proteins that (because they make enzymes) there are enzyme kinds aplenty. 

Most people who made it through grade school biology know that you get enzymes from our food- proteins, amino acids, etc., that help our bodies break stuff down and move things around. Our saliva has them, our stomach looses them on our food, and our blood uses them to defend our bodies too. Our organs make a certain multitude of transactions in the chemical economy of our microcosm worlds. Like I said- I'm not a biologist- but I figure I can finger-paint a background for us.

Where else do you see enzymes? Any Hands?? Yes! You there! What have you heard? Ah! Yes! That's a good one! Essential oils! Have you ever been warned by someone to keep essential oils away from synthetic fabrics and coverings? If not- now you have. Enzymes will eat that stuff right up! Essential oils are alive- and most of their medicine like qualities come from their concentrated enzyme population. Some medicines hope to squeeze out some enzyme action for the effect- but Essential Oils bring their own party to the problem.

Real simply now: Enzymes do 3 things.
They help break down our food,
They speed up the building up of our bodies,
And they protect us from bad stuff.

Now- a quick word from our proprioceptor focused sponsor- The Muscle Smith.

Do you have any ideas, besides general health, why a 'muscle person' would be interested in enzymes as a possible breakthrough conversation? Well my initial answer is... a lot! Let's hop on one topic that makes some people squirm- scars! 

Now scars can be a big deal. They aren't a problem for everyone, but still you might have friends who still have pain from an old injury or a surgery that still has some 'tugging' feeling in the joints or skin. Even if you don't have them on the surface they can hold things underneath from being free. What is a scar you ask? It's collagen protein caulking that's holding on as a safety mechanism from wounds or injuries.
Some of that scar tissue can really be old stuff that needs to be torn down- but with all of the other body projects you are working on maybe it just doesn't have enough resources devoted to it. That's where we get into the proteolytic enzymes. Some proteins are hard to break down- especially strong proteins!

Let me try and 'break this down' for you. Proteo-lytic: (proteo= protein) lytic- (anylize, pull apart) they are protein pullers!

Great. So i guess we'll assume these enzymes are like tiny robots and they are the only ones with authorization to pull apart the strong proteins that hold us together. When we don't have enough of them they focus only on pulling apart the protein we eat instead of fixing problems and moving ones that are in the way- because digesting a meal is an immediate survival need and well- scars can just sit there. Imagine also that sometimes scar tissue builds up as a protective barrier in organs to contain damage. If that initial damage is fixed but the scar scaffolding is still in the way- that can be a problem!

Now that we've established them as protein pull-apart-ers let's apply this to digestion and muscle growth! Let's not assume that everything you eat is properly digested. Yes- you've got powerful acids that really do break things down... but what if you had the help of those fantastic proteo-destructors to give you more bang for your buck? How's this for a picture: when you don't have enough enzymes in your digestion, your body converts (or tears down) some of your soft muscle tissue and changes it into active enzymes so you can... break down your food and build up muscle. Sounds like a bad exchange rate! Well- you be the judge!

Now for the protection part. Here's the nitty-gritty piece where I talk about bad bacteria and parasites.  Though this isn't a fun thought to explore- it doesn't have to be so bad. Many people have mild infections in areas of their body where blood and the supplies it carries is hard to come by. The size of one cell vs the size of your body- it's a rather large expanse to have put into good order by your white blood cell space cowboys. Those parasitic invaders are sometimes hard to make un-welcome in the body once they've made their little nest and feel right at home. Part of this is because they have a thick protective protein coating that hides them from our immune systems' search. Throw in some enzyme protein destroying robots and you've got some "aha" moments for your body and some epic "danger Will Robinson!" (Lost in Space) action going on for your body ecology! 

Let's review. 

1. Enzymes are living workers that your body can't live without. Some of them are proteolytic that allow you to break up old pain causing scars.

2. They help you break down your food so you get more out of what you eat! Huh- what a money saver! Who knew?

3. You get rid of nasty intruders by employing these handy helpers to start ripping away the baddies' protective shielding and super powering your white blood cells.

Cool! Well that's about it for my explanations I could try to break it down more for you- but I'll let the enzymes of your subconscious mind do that for me. My last plug- which I don't get paid for making just yet is that the best enzyme products I've found yet are from the company BioOprtimizers. You can check them out and all of their fancy explanations- but I assure you- however long mine is- theirs is longer.

Cheers!
Kevin.

The Basics

What if I told you that a lot more problems with the body can be solved by getting to the root issues? They can. Hm- that's "basically" it!

Okay, okay- I guess I'll expand a little more.

Most people have a few aches, pains, or pieces of them that they wish were just a liiiiiitle bit better off. For just 3 easy payments of-...

Let's forget that happened. Moving on:

With all silliness aside- there are ways to make life better for most people. Some of it's a chemistry and supply conversation to help the cells do a better job. Today, however, we are going to focus on the kinesthetic proprioceptor system. Though there are laundry lists of body issues we may face- and we can return to those thoughts- most pressing issues are often those of musculo-skeletal pain. 

I have great news: a lot of help can be accomplished in 10 minutes or less. These tips are for you- whether you're on the practitioner side or the recipient side. That means if you have a fantastic D.C., O.T., P.T., M.T., or even someone with two hands that get tired in 5 minutes, here's a few tips to make the most of your therapy time of any form.

Tip #1: Move.
Have you seen the Lemurs' dance in the movie Madagascar? "I like to move it- move it" If you haven't, and this comment makes you look it up, then you may have just gotten your best value out of this little letter. Great.
Whatever is being worked on should be moved into different areas while the squeezing and pushing is happening. This forces the muscles through its different phases and resets your pain receptors. 

Tip #2: Observe
Check out what's weak. Seriously- this is most of my advantage right here. 
If you move slowly and gently gauge both sides' capability to move without shaking- usually one is just a bit weaker. This allows you to focus on the "weak link" and possibly iron out some things you didn't know were connected.

Tip #3: Breathe
Yeah I know that's simple- but I'll just throw in one thing I didn't know about until I took a class on stress and PTSD. There's this thing called "The Magic Breath" that really helps your brain and nervous system. It's really easy- here's the detail I didn't know: When you breathe in through your nose put your tongue on the roof of your mouth. When you breathe out through your mouth- relax your body and pay attention to what it feels rather than what random thing you're thinking. When you exhale your brain does stuff- so try not to confuse it with other cognitive tasks.

I could go into a lot of really cool science about this that I've heard- but I'm not going to put it up on this page today- because sometimes it's better just to take a small bite and chew on it. I guess that's Tip #4 then isn't it? Really though- going fast, pushing hard- it's not all there is in the progress conversation. You can get a lot done in a few minutes with simple tools. Don't underestimate what can be found when you are looking in a small area. 

My last word for today is this: Go easy on yourself. Sometimes one step in the right direction is all you need to do for one day. Giving yourself permission to rest in the space of a good question- like "what do I have going well for me right now?" can be something that gets to the root of deep things that can change your life for the better- little by little. 

Thanks for reading!
Peace, and many blessings-
Kevin.

Inflammation is what?

I like etymology- the study of words. I have much appreciated learning Greek and Latin root words at an early age and having them help me break down the related meanings in words- and make up a few of my own.

Inflammation is the restoration work site of the white blood cells as they try to bring back integrity and order to a damaged organ system. Sometimes this means they concentrate on picking up clutter, and sometimes they are trying to build new structure. Other times they are trying to fight off the invasion of a non-approved biological or cellular entity. 

The first thing I think of when I see the word in-flam-ation is the word flame. Have you ever seen a small flame grow from a smoky ember to a flickering source of heat? Really flame is just a chain reaction of fuel being melted into gas, and ignited, heating the source of the gas again. That heat and smoke have to move somewhere- so hopefully you've got a good ventilation process for that. This is why things get swollen. Not only are there more workers in that area than normal, but they are hoping to move around each other. So making the extra space is necessary.

You'll see the aforementioned redness on people's skin if they are scratching, have a rash, or recently hit something that would bring excess blood and debris to the area. It swells up, the structure expands and it feels hot to the touch and 'angry' or sensitive. If you see a twisted ankle- there's more puffy swollen area pumped full of inflammatory cells to come in and assess the situation and do their best to restore those powerful ligaments. 

You'll see the code-reference for inflammation in other words: the suffix -itis. Arthritis, pancreatitis, gingivitis, etc. Ortho is the word for bone, so ortho+itis is arthritis. Pancreas+itis= ... you get the idea. So whether you're building new tissue, cleaning up old junk, or fighting an epic cellular battle, you see the flames of work and war.

A lot of people live with low grade inflammation all the time. Often times when people are going through a cleansing cycle- whether due to diet and exercise or simply their circadian rhythm (talking about monthly cycles of cleansing males and females alike do) you may think "hmm, something seems more 'well' about you. You look more 'crisp' around the edges." This is where the body has inflammation in balance and has successfully turned off the signals and putting things through the right channels as to not get so worked up about them. Usually this happens when people are losing weight, or their body is getting ready to.

I beg to say it's sometimes hard to determine when it's helpful inflammation or just a "mandatory response" like when you're very tired but still pretending to be extremely interested in a kids' book they want to show you. Like due process- sometimes inflammation isn't perfectly helpful. This is because sometimes we don't have the resources to complete a job that we start when we come to it. The job sits in a quasi working state where when it's asked to perform a duty it can, but it re-damages the tissues by the work. More building materials are ordered, and the job stays open longer than its season. This is why good nutrition- or 'building materials' are necessary for good health and a happy body.

Don't worry- I won't leave the story there. I'm just saying that sometimes this is the state of our body's projects when they don't have the right resources or the right help at hand. For instance Omega 3's and A.L.A. are counter inflammatory. They pull the cord for the yard whistle and tell the crew to go home or take a lunch break. They say "you painted this wall 6 times already- take a break, then move on!" 

Unfortunately, (on the surface) seemingly only for the sake of keeping the crew back on their toes- Omega 6 is in a plethora of unhealthy oils often used for frying foods, cracks the whip and says "Why are you being so lazy? Back to work! When I grew up we had to cook our own lunch, and eat it going uphill both ways, backwards, in the snow in less than 10 minutes!" And so on.

Other things I use to bring down inflammation is a curcumin (tumeric extract) supplement that is in a liposomal form (for best absorption) and on occasion- DMSO. DMSO is similar to Iibuprofen in the fact that it is an NSAID- a Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drug. The advantage to DMSO is that it can be used topically, concentrated on the issue, instead of having the digestive system govern where the inflammation relief should go. These things have other uses too- but we'll leave it alone for now and focus on the topic at hand.

Again the reasons for inflammation are injury and tissue stress, immune system response, sitting toxins, and repair of these things. 

It's the last part that I want to focus on now. When I work on people and scrape or rub the tissue to break up toxic deposits of old blood, pump muscles that haven't had enough new materials to get fresh supplies, or even just break up old scar tissue- i'm causing inflammation to come in so things can be healed. This is why, for some, things seem to get worse before they get better again. 

This next part I have no way to prove- so let it be a postulation- that perhaps when people feel good immediately after and for the next few days after being worked on, that they are experiencing better flow in the bodies due to muscles pumping the blood more effectively. The inflammation is gone so the restoration and good feeling then tapers off over time as things normalize. Whereas other people who feel worse initially after treatment are experiencing a toxic flood that had been previously stagnant in their tissues, releasing an inflammation causing cloud, and they feel increasingly better as time goes on as those things are processed out. 

This brings me to my last point. You can have an effect here. Whether you are trying to help this through diet and exercise, drinking ample fluids, or going the extra mile and using helpful herbs, you may be able to upgrade your healing process and add just a few more overlooked yet very effective and inexpensive things to your restoration journey. Taking baths and (seperately) using activated charcoal internally or externally to pull out the toxic waste is one of my most suggested additions. I use a special mineral bath- much different than epsom salts (more on that later.) If your skin is your largest organ, then it can be the largest help in getting rid of stuff you don't want to stick around.

I hope this was helpful!

Happy Health Hunting! (or gathering!)

My conversation with the Body

So many people ask me "how did you get this skill- how do you know what to work on?"

I feel like what I know can be learned easily by anyone who is willing to have a conversation. Yes, I have many years of experience in this conversation- but it doesn't mean you can't become diplomatic and problem solving yourself! The reality is that there is always a permission involved in every area of working with people. If you work on emotions with a therapist, or if you work on things in your medical history with a doctor, there are permissions given to access the areas to be worked on. With a therapist there is rapport to build, and safety and non-judgmental culture to be established. With a doctor you allow them a view into the history and symptoms so reasons can be found out for the current state.

For someone who works with bodies- I'm not talking to the conscious mind as much. For me to start a good conversation with the body, first I must be talking to the right part in the machine. You can't just start poking the shoulders and yell "HEY! Everyone will be happy if you just CALM DOWN!" First off- I haven't met anyone with ears on their shoulders... well not literally. The way your muscles get their communication goes through a sensor-filter on the connector of your muscle called the Golgi Tendon Organ which has something called proprioceptors. If there's only one thing you get from all of this- it's this next part. It's the key to this advantage.

Your proprioceptors are a communication conduit mainly in charge of 3 things:
1. How much pain you are in
2. Where you are in space relative to your body  
3. And how much power or pressure you're allowed to load that muscle with. 

To break this down simply- I've heard it said this way: think of it like a bungee cord. Stretchy in the middle, and hard hooks at the end. Your muscles are made in a similar fashion where the muscle is stretchy and the tendons are hard and attach to the bone on "hooks." Now- inside those hooks are the sensor which- if the hook isn't strong- it won't matter how strong the stretchy part is when it's dangling from space. So it self determines the amount of weight that can be carried in that muscle band.

This science on how to interact with these through Proprioceptive Neural Facilitation (or PNF) has been around for quite some time. The method was mostly developed in the 1980's but then again- some of its origin of concept dates further back to 1557 by Julius Ceasar calling it "sense of locomotion." As much as this is nothing new- improvements have been made even in the last 30 years. Through the influence of contributing sciences- (Chiropractic methods, case studies from massage therapy and physical therapy,) we find ourselves "at hand" *chuckle* with a much more clear and versatile approach called Muscle Phasing or Muscle Tempering.

This method was mostly pieced together by Rick A. Johnson who is a researcher and body-worker, and a keynote speaker for Chiropractic events- Loren Stockton. I would note that further refining has been done by my mentor Jon Thompson. The idea of "phasing" a muscle is that it goes through several back and forth phases in the brain communication process. The muscle self determines its current place, how much it can hold/ move, and re-assesses its capability by "proving" of movement without pain. Think of it this way- the brain sends a request, the muscle judges the possibility of that request being fulfilled (and rates how fast the project can be done) then tries it. If it does well, the estimate for future jobs are affirmed or even improved. The nervous system reassessing part is where we get our advantage with this method.

The benefits of this phenomena is that with most injuries or lack of power or range of motion, the pain is not an acute issue- meaning it's not a recently created problem. Chances are your body has had enough time to make the tissue in the area stable again and since the inflammation is (circumstantially) less it would do much better with full movement again. (Of course- in this method the goal is to create *some* inflammation- but more on that later.) So with accurate action (scraping, pressure or vibration,) on the most restricted areas (bilaterally and synergistic muscle action-wise) there is a much faster restoration of range of motion, allowing the muscle to move more smoothly with less pain and to move powerfully without being disrupted by obsolete danger signals from the brain. 

You might say "yeah- but how do you know where the problem is?" That's a great question- I'm so glad you hypothetically asked! Many therapists and well-doers (of all sorts) can wrongly assume that the best idea is to dig in to the biggest lump of mess and start grinding away. (I admit it- I was there!) The problem with that assumption is thinking that just changing the structure is going to fix the problem. In one sense- yes- but no. If that really were the case- then chiropractors would have the easiest jobs and wouldn't have much return business as people wouldn't come back because of being all fixed up and perfectly healthy. Rolfing makes the same assumption- which the intention is good- but downplays a really big factor: the nervous system's self determination. 

Your nervous system is like the editor in chief of the news print room that commissions new cells and designates whole departments to take on different jobs. If the editor doesn't feel great about a story- the story is thrown out and they go with a safe choice. If your nervous system feels unsafe about the changes made (in say a PAINFUL situation like Rolphing) So if the story is all doom gloom, grief and agony- no one is going to want to read it. It's much safer to go with a stirred up version of the same ol' same ol' with a touch of improvement. This is what happens when traumatic therapy happens. The body protects itself, despite the assuming therapist's best wishes, and tries to revert as close as is reasonable to what was before. Yes some benefits are lasting (thank goodness!) but the cost is OH so high! Sensitive people seldom return for a second dose of bone crunching assumptions. No one pays for that edition with complete peace. 

Now have a take two. A CONVERSATION happens in this story. Someone new comes in to the editor- hands everyone in the department a healthy snack, asks around and tells them to take a few minutes to stretch and breathe. Then they connect with the story of pain at its source- gently- but firmly. They follow the lead next door. Working in some kindness from several directions- the feedback is what changes the conversation- you ask who is being bullied. You throw in some compassion and let it sit. It starts off as a small story, but you revisit it in just a little while. You add some more movement. A whole bunch of little stories become bigger stories, which become the new found reason for the tension somewhere else that started the whole big mess! Now that you've got your source, you take it all the way to problem as everyone else sees it. Since you've made room for empathy and restoration the big mess doesn't feel so intimidated at the idea of some change if it's positive!

Still not convinced there's enough evidence? Pain is the best communicator with the proprioceptor. Even if you're not aware of a pain consciously- you are at some level- that's right- the proprioceptors have the down low. A muscle will exhibit shakiness, a general slowness to engage, or weakness when experiencing pain in a movement. You give the muscles some oxygen, some helpful movement, and some fresh blood at a site that's been starved out due to a pinch on its supplies- and you get an opportunity to apologize in a language a muscle/ proprioceptor can understand! So once you hear out the issue and resolve it you have a lasting solution rather than a temporary payoff from a few extra resources. This is where the drastic difference between most methods of body therapy and Muscle Phasing/ Muscle Tempering sits.

I'm sure you're thinking at this moment about things to bring down inflammation and pain. Those are a part of my conversation- but for today let's just mention them. Don't worry though- I have lots of products, foods and therapies that amplify the benefits of my work in mind. Like I said- i'll mention them here and you can anticipate those conversations to come. 

All that said- looking at the proprioceptor (sensor) action, comparing bilaterally (both sides of the body,) in muscle chains (synergistic patterns,) we identify a problem. Then by giving that same system feedback and reset opportunities we help clear out defunct reflex patterns, and eliminate the severity and longevity of issues. Then you have less pain, feel better longer, and I get a job well done. 

Thanks for reading! More coming soon.

Til' then-

Peace and Blessings.