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Are You Causing Your Pain?

A client and I were having a conversation as I worked on him. He stated that years ago, a doctor told him to get a large towel and roll it up. Then place it under the small of your back when you go to bed, to support it and encourage the natural curve.

Sage Advice?

Sounds like pretty sound advice doesn’t it? You’d tend to think that a doctor would know, right? But, if you thought that was sound general advice; a sort of one size fits all of common sense, doctoral advice to fit the masses; you’d be wrong. Why?

First of all, are you exactly like anyone else? Unless you are a twin, you are completely uniquely you. Even identical twins have their own unique identities. So do you think a one size fits all, generic answer is right? What about the action that is most typical of people who are suffering from low back pain? What is the first thing most people do when their low back starts to hurt? They bend down to touch their toes. After all, if your back is hurting, you just need to give it a good stretch, right? Wrong again.

The Right Track?

For that reason, I will now return to the purpose of this article. The purpose here, is to shed some light on some standard trains of thought or (medical) advice that should have been derailed a long time ago.

If you suffer from low back pain, should you roll up a large towel to rest your low back on while you sleep? Is this going to help the natural curve of your back? Is it going to alleviate your pain because it’s helping the natural curve to come back?

And, what’s wrong with bending down and touching your toes to stretch your back? Why is that doing more harm than good, even though it sometimes makes you feel a bit better from the stretch? What if you can’t reach your toes or even your shoes for that matter? How does that affect your back pain in trying to bend down and touch your toes to stretch out your back?

The problem with these types of approaches is that first of all, these ideas came from a source that has no understanding of what causes pain in the body in the first place. It was probably one of the following “professionals” that came up with these alternatives as an at home remedy to low back pain.

The “Professionals.”

Chiropractors are trained in the study of bones and structure, predominantly the vertebrae. They believe that everything stems from the vertebrae, and the body is affected as a result of subluxations in the vertebrae. It’s a convenient concept that suits their business. This theory of thought is true, in the sense that vertebral misalignment can negatively impact the body. However, it is usually not the core reason for pain, but more like the end result of the other reasons that pain happens. The vertebrae is one of the body maps utilized to return the body to balance, but it is not the only one.

The Fitness industry and their “experts” appear to know a lot about muscle, but theirs is an industry that is based on ego, not health. And, how much could they really know about muscle if their prime directive encourages a muscular condition that is the exact opposite of the definition of healthy muscle tissue?

What about the doctors? From what I can tell from all the poor advice, remarks, comments, and essentially abuse from doctors and their staff that I’ve heard about from clients and patients; I don’t see where doctors are the end all in knowledge about the body. I don’t revere them to the god-like status that most people do in entrusting their health and lives completely to them without using the one resource God gave to everyone…a brain.

Orthopedic doctors are also supposed to be bone specialists, but they are predominantly surgeons because that’s where the big money in medicine is. Additionally, they may be able to diagnose the problem, but they usually can’t provide a sound, logical reason for why your condition is as it is, unless it was an accident that caused injury.

What is truly frustrating, is that the majority of these alleged “health” professionals completely dismiss massage therapists with regard to knowledge of the body. Granted, as in all professions, there are therapists that aren’t really people oriented. They do the basic standard required only because it’s just a job to them.

However, there are some that have a real purpose to help people. In the dismissal of massage as just a spa treatment, the vast history of the therapeutic benefits of certain modalities within the massage profession, and of massage itself, have been all but forgotten due to the onslaught of luxury franchises.

The shame is that none of these “professionals” truly work together with mutual respect for both holistic and medical. It’s more of a dictatorial pecking order that only benefits the medical industry’s bottom line, and does not really benefit patients.

What Is The Right Track?

So what are the answers? Let’s look at the questions again?

If you suffer from low back pain, should you roll up a large towel to rest your low back on while you sleep? Is this going to help the natural curve of your back? Is it going to alleviate your pain because it’s helping the natural curve to come back?

The answer is…it depends. There is a certain body type that this would help; but there’s a body type that this would hurt too. When I say hurt, I don’t mean the towel itself will hurt you. What I mean is the placement will, because your body type already has sufficient curvature of the low back, or excessive curvature.

In such cases, that advice is not helpful. You would have to know the type of imbalance you have, in order to know if that suggestion would have any merit in your case. Doing this may temporarily alleviate your pain, but it’s not a fix for no curvature of the low back.

And, what’s wrong with bending down and touching your toes to stretch your back? Why is that doing more harm than good, even though it sometimes makes you feel a bit better from the stretch? What if you can’t reach your toes or even your shoes for that matter? How does that affect your back pain in trying to bend down and touch your toes to stretch out your back?

191315_xmpuimzcklc1ughih91gfwu8gWell, let’s look at this logically. Man is always trying to progress…to move forward; and that is just how we move, isn’t it? We reach and ambulate in a forward moving motion, right? We don’t reach backwards, nor do we walk backwards typically. In order to move any part of our structures, at least one or more muscles must contract to enable us to lift and move this skeletal frame of ours that has tissue attached.

The Progression of Contraction

So for every movement we make, there are muscles contracting. Now think about this. How many body parts are you moving during the course of a day? How many muscles have to contract in order to make those movements that we take for granted, happen?

Now, how many times a day are we contracting those muscles to make all those movements? Think about this. Every time you raise an eyebrow, grasp something with your fingers, wiggle a toe, sit down, get up, walk etc; the list goes on, but the point is, there is at least one muscle if not 3 or more contracting for virtually every move we make.

I’m just trying to get you to realize the unbelievable number of times muscles are contracting anywhere in your body, just in the course of one day. If you can fathom that; take all the contractions of your muscles that you imagined happen in one day, and add one week, one month, or one year to that number.

How Does This Affect Us?

What you need to understand is that through all this repetitive contracting, the muscle is shortening. Now triple that effect if you work out with weights, especially if your purpose is to get bigger. What have we established?

First is the fact that 99% of our movements are forward. The second is the fact that any movement causes muscle contraction and subsequent shortening of the muscles over time. So what can we conclude?

If we are always moving and reaching forward, and this movement requires contraction to happen and results in shorter muscles; then it stands to reason that the anterior or front side of our bodies are over-contracted or shorter.

What happens on a seesaw when one side goes down? The other side goes up, right? So if one side of the body is over-contracted and shortened, what do you think is happening on the opposite side, the side where you are feeling pain? If you said over-stretching, then you are getting the big picture.

balance-seesaw-1940x900_35779So now that you understand this, go back to the original questions. How much sense does it now make to reach down to touch your toes to stretch out your back if you are having low back pain? Not a lot, right? So what should you do instead?

Homework

I worked on a neighbor of my mom’s. Actually, these neighbors are like family to us. The husband, Dennis, was suffering from very severe low back pain. As I worked on him, I explained to him the reasons for his back pain. I told him what the imbalance was that was causing it, as well as everything I just explained to you above, to help him understand the cause first, so he could clearly understand the solution.

After releasing his back, I gave him homework – one trick; just one stretch to do whenever he started having this low back pain. It’s not a stretch that is unknown, either. Some people listen to me and do the homework I give, and others don’t. That’s the difference between a few weeks of relief from the muscle release, or ongoing relief from it.

I told him to reach down to grab either his ankle; or, if you’re like me and can’t quite reach it, grab the back of your sock, or shoe. Pull your ankle and leg back and up as far as you can, and bend foward to straighten the spine. Make sure you pull that leg back and up as high as you can, and hold it for one to two minutes. Remember, this homework was given based on his particular imbalance.

Why are we pulling back and up instead of down and forward? I already gave you reasons why we don’t need to pull forward, and we don’t need to add to the downward gravitation pull either.

It’s been over one year since I released Dennis’ low back pain, and still today, if I ask him how his back is doing, his answer is invariably, “My back is fine. Now if you want to know about my neck or shoulders, that’s a different thing…just pain; but my back is good.” Why?

Well, according to Dennis, “Ever since you released my back, and showed me that stretch, I do it everywhere…in line at the grocery store, at the bank…anywhere I go. The minute I start to feel any discomfort in my low back, I just do that stretch you taught me, and my back is fine. No more pain.”

Things are not always as complex as some “professional” make them out to be. Once the eyes of your understanding are opened, I believe you will make smarter choices, because who wants to live in pain?

The Basics of Muscular Dysfunction

To continue on our journey of understanding muscular pain and dysfunction; we must first define and understand a few words, and how these words that seem unrelated, are, in reality, very related in regards to meaning and/or function.
To explain this idea, we must start with defining these base words so that we can get to the correlations of them with regards to pain. Let’s start with a word most people have heard before regarding a particular muscular condition.

(Muscular) Dystrophy:

  1. Medicine/Medical. Faulty or inadequate nutrition or development.
  2. Pathology. Any of a number of disorders characterized by weakening, degeneration, or abnormal development of muscle.
In Greek, dys means abnormal, bad, difficult, or disordered; trope means “a change, turn”. So in the case of Muscular Dystrophy, there is a change or turn in the strength or development of the muscle.
active-vs-inactive-muscle-300x240The same would be true of the word Atrophy,
coming from the Greek word “a” meaning “to do without” and the word trope, which or course means “a change, or turn.”
So Atrophy means that your muscles are without change, which is the same as saying there is stagnation. It means that there is insufficient movement; you are too sedentary. This is because movement produces a change in the condition of the muscle, which is why exercise is so important; it promotes movement. However, what is even more important is the type of exercise you do, and the methodology you use in doing it.
 
Movement produces heat. When you move, the muscle expands and extends, but when you don’t move, the muscle contracts and shortens. Additionally, movement also causes increased circulation of both the blood and the lymph fluids.
 
I realize that it sounds crazy that your muscles contract when you aren’t using them. One would think that muscle contraction happens only when you do something like pumping weights, like bicep curls. The truth is that any time you bend any part of your body, whether at the waist, or an appendage, like your fingers, arms, legs or feet; any bend causes a contraction in which the muscle retracts from an extended position. That action is a contraction which causes the muscle to shorten. 
 
So think about it. How many times do you contract your muscles in any given day when you are home or in your element? If you could calculate each and every time there is a contraction, and keep track of what muscles are contracting in the course of your day; what I’m saying now might be easier to understand.
 
But, when you think about this, try to then calculate how many times those contractions happened from your childhood until now; however old you are. Now try to add in how much more you contract them when performing skills related to your occupation? Are you starting to get the picture?
 
This image, from www.tutorvista.com, demonstrates the difference in the muscle when it is contracted, versus when it is not.

This image, from www.tutorvista.com, demonstrates the difference in the muscle when it is contracted, versus when it is not.

No doubt, by now, you are starting to see how much  your muscles are being contracted over time. Even if you are sedentary most of the time, sitting at an office cubicle or in front of a computer, you are in a contracted state; and for how long? The longer the period of time, the shorter the muscle gets, which explains why, when people get old, they say old age is horrible, and full of pain.

Their muscles are all over contracted because they never took care of them properly by stretching regularly (and I don’t mean the type of stretching a cat does). When they get older, they cannot move without pain and/or shaking because they no longer have the same range of motion (ROM) that they formerly had. All their muscles have shortened and gotten hard, and they cannot fully extend anymore.
 
Your arms are contracted at the elbow if you are writing or typing, your fingers are contracted for those two movements as well. Additionally, you are sitting, so your abs are contracted along with your calves and quads, while your hamstrings are overstretched; and even if you have a chair with a back support, your posture could still be bad.
 
If your hamstrings are overstretched, your gluts and back are also. When the front side is contracted, the back side is overstretched, just like when the right side is over-contracted, the left side is overstretched. This is the seesaw theory.
Releasing these muscles requires first, a knowledge of what muscles directly affect certain areas or segments of the body causing pain. This is the only way to correct the problems with over-contracted and over stretched muscles, because where you feel the pain is not always the source.

What Is The Connection Between The Gut And Low Back Pain?

If you were to study all the great nations in history, you might find a disturbing pattern emerging – that as the nation rises, excess in all areas rise as well. Evidence would typically be in advances made, but has anyone ever noticed that as a nation rises, so do waistlines? Has anyone ever looked at pain or health problems rising in conjunction with the rise of a nation? I think this is especially prevalent if the nation becomes an economic super power for a good number of years.

large-1464362223-1273-diet-drinks-linked-to-expanding-waistlines-in-older-adultsI’m reminded of the King of Bashan in the biblical book of Deuteronomy. The name Bashan means “plenty,” or “fat.” When I read about that nation, I was reminded of the U.S. I wondered if people in that country were suffering from low back pain. I mean, even if I factor imbalances out of the picture, I still see a problem developing.

How Much You Eat Matters
Depending on how you eat, you could be causing or exacerbating the back problem you have. What do I mean? There are several factors related to diet that can affect your back. The first one is an expanded waistline.

It’s not just what you eat, but the volume or quantity that you eat as well. There are very active, slim people who don’t understand that sometimes, being overweight is a cultural thing. It’s not an excuse, but if you come from a background of an island nation, food is pushed on you in large quantities. Not eating a full plate and asking for seconds is an insult to the cook. For people with that type of family tradition, they have to have the self confidence to break tradition, and bear the brunt of perceived insults in order to try to maintain their health. This can be a battle by itself, and cause significant stress, which does not help a pain problem.

Additionally, high quantities gives the digestive system excess work, especially if proper food combining was not done, and the foods are unnatural, prepackaged foods. In such cases, the food you ate could sit in your stomach as long as 12 hours, unable to be properly digested. If that happens, the food is spoiling – rotting and fermenting in your stomach, especially because more improperly combined foods are added throughout the course of the day; so the cycle of rotting, undigested food doesn’t end.

This in turn, depletes your storage of energy. Your digestive system has to work overtime trying to get rid of this rotted food while you are consistently dumping more improperly combined foods in large quantities into the mess that your system is already fighting with. Eventually, the system becomes overwhelmed, and as a result, you’ll suddenly become very sleepy in the middle of the day.

What You Eat Matters
The amount you eat matters, but as you see above, the content matters too. Remember the words made immortal by the artist, Barry White.

“Too much of anything is not good for you, baby,”

He’s talking about love, but I see that statement as a reference to an imbalanced state in any area. Most pain is the result of imbalances first, and foremost. So if you are a meat and potatoes eater, and the question, “Eat anything green?” makes you cringe; chances are high that you are out of balance. This brings us right back to the issue of culture and tradition.

In America, capitalism rules. Companies and medical professionals only care about, and/or push real, healthy lifestyles and dietary habits, if they can find a way to make it profitable for themselves. Monsanto is proof that thus far, sickness, disease and death is more profitable than health as far as big business is concerned.

Thus far in this country, the culture is, and has been towards unhealthy lifestyles; and treated with unnatural foods and medical treatments that are symptomatic not healing. To say that our culture is imbalanced is a colossal understatement, that is evidenced by the overwhelming amount of obese people, and the rampant onslaught of disease and sicknesses that plague this country, and any other with the same culture and dietary habits.

How Does This Affect Or Cause Low Back Pain?
First, the high sodium in prepackaged foods can cause an escalation in your blood pressure. If you are overweight, that’s a real problem, because there is already excessive pressure on the blood vessels due to the excess flesh of your body compacting and basically crushing them.

This, I believe, is the reason that heavier people tend to have much more pressure sensitivity when getting a massage. Everything is so much more sensitive when it’s compacted and crushed together. It used to surprise me when I’d work on some petite person, and they liked very deep pressure.

Yet, many overweight people I’ve worked on could barely stand to be touched, because of the pressure already present on inflamed trigger points. I, myself have some sensitivities when being massaged; but for me, it’s not so much about pressure than it is the technique of the therapist working on me. I love pressure. I don’t like to be poked and jabbed. This is why I work on myself, predominantly.

The Cabbage Soup Catastrophe
My point, however, is that too much self-imposed pressure can cause pain. Case in point, my misadventure with the cabbage soup diet. Years ago, I tried the cabbage soup diet, and it did cause me to lose 15 lbs., the first week. However, upon continuing the following week, I ran into a problem.

Even now, I’m not sure if this diet works better if the cabbage is completely blended up, and the soup is consumed as a liquid only. My understanding at the time that this diet was popular, was that some was supposed to be blended up, and some cooked until soft, for easier digestion.

Personally, I love cabbage, and I also loved the cabbage soup. However, as Barry told us, too much is not good for you. In particular, too much roughage can cause inflammation in the intestinal tract. So while I was losing weight, I hit my body’s limit of roughage, and my colon became enflamed and swollen from the irritation of too much roughage from the cabbage soup.

The result was severe low back pain, that pretty much left me immobile for several days. “ Ok,” you say, “ So I won’t overdo it with cabbage.” But, let me give you another wake up call. You see, I know that some of you meat and potato folks are elated that I’ve just proven that too much vegetables can be harmful, but remember, Barry said, “Too much of anything is not good for you.” Excess in anything can be harmful.

What About Constipation?
So while you meat and potatoes people are enjoying your moment, let me provide another example to you. My sister-in-law used to have an ongoing battle with constipation. I don’t know that it is still an issue, because she increased her intake of vegetables, and eats lots of salads now.

However, her cultural background is Mexican. Her family loves cheese. They put it on pretty much everything, much like Italians and several other cultures. Diary causes excessive mucus formation, which is horrible if you have any sort of sinus or bronchial problem. It’s especially problematic if you live in a part of the country that has a high amount of pollen floating around.

In addition to mucus formation, which is also the result of meat or flesh consumption; diary not only causes inflammation in the body, but it also causes constipation, especially if you eat a lot of cheese. This sounds funny, but consuming diary products, especially eating a lot of cheese is the equivalent of plugging your anus with a large cork. The reason that I say this is because the baby calf that that milk was made for grows into an animal that weighs about a half a ton.

So what does that say about the expansion rate of our waistlines if we consume that same product?  There are a ridiculous variety of “foods” containing dairy products that would result in people consuming excessive quantities of it. We’d be ever expanding, and constipated and/or impacted; thus the corking concept. And FYI, being impacted can also cause low back pain.

I had a client that this happened to. I had to advise him on his diet and some supplements that helped break up the constipation. Shortly thereafter, his bowels moved and his low back pain, which had kept him housebound on the couch for several days with ice packs, dissipated.

We were made from part earth and part spirit. We grow like plants, looking like walking trees. Many of our organs and body parts look like vegetables; the cerebellum looks a bit like cauliflower; there are “broccoli” shaped “trees” in our lungs that help us breath. So it behooves us to eat to feed the plants within…the plant we are. After all, as the saying goes, you are what you eat. Garbage in, garbage out. Toxins cause pain. Think about it.

Do You Take Better Care Of Your Car Than Yourself?

Many people take better care of their cars, than they do of themselves. They don’t seem to realize that just like a car is a vehicle that enables you to move, so is your body. It took me years to get this understanding; and to stop taking my body for granted, as if will last forever even if I am negligent in maintaining it. Imagine how much worse off the people who don’t maintain their cars at all are! Imagine how little they do to take care of themselves.
If you want your car to last, you take care of it; you do maintenance on it regularly to ensure smooth, efficient functioning. Same goes for your body. So like many people, I am still in the process of restoring my health to optimal levels.
With a vehicle, you must be careful to put the correct type of fuel, and periodically, you must use a fuel system cleaner to clear out sludge and chemical deposits. Same thing with the body. If you are utilizing the best natural foods, that “fuel” will have enzymes that keep your engine running clean and humming. Sometimes with the body, a detox is required.
Likewise, a vehicle has axles, ball bearing joints, gears, shocks and so forth which support the frame and body of the vehicle, and allow for seamless motion. Our bodies are similarly built. This is because man(kind) bases everything he does and builds off of himself. For instance, look at the shape of our space shuttles. Look at the shape of things around you and perhaps you will see what I mean.
marktwain-dancingtreeMy point is that mankind patterns everything after himself, but then, look how God patterned us. Sure we reflect His image, but we are walking plants physically. And what happens to plants when toxic chemicals come into contact with them? They die, if not immediately, then soon after depending on the level of exposure or length of time of the exposure.
Why do I say we are like walking plants?

Mark 8:24 (KJV)
And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking.

Additionally, have you ever looked at our body parts? We are made with parts and organs that resemble plants. Our brains look like cauliflower. There are trees in our lungs that look like broccoli. There are trees in our brains called dendrites. We have body parts that resemble a variety of fruits and vegetables. We are like walking plants that require a lot of water, and good, healthy nutrients. We need to be rooted in good soil; a good environment that nourishes our bodies so that if a limb gets bent or broken, we can heal.
We cannot heal by dousing our bodies with chemical poisons and toxins. That is only time wasted on something that will put you in the grave much faster than you anticipated, which is the plan of The Powers That Be. Their goal is population control; and their means of accomplishing this is through plagues, sickness and disease, and war; the four horses of the apocalypse written about in the book of Revelations.

This is a crooked system, and a wicked world we live in. The media is bought and paid for, and directed, not to educate, but to distract. The goal is to keep us in the dark, ignorant and confused, and convinced that there are no other options. If we don’t actively aspire to educate ourselves so that we can take care of ourselves, than this scripture will apply to our lives, whether or not you believe in it.

Hosea 4:6 (KJV)
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.

When people wonder and question why God allows people and children to be destroyed, or why there is pain and suffering; it is for this reason that it happens. Some people are seeking knowledge, but only that which satisfies their choice to dispute God; or their choice to be lazy or irresponsible; or even, their choice to live lawlessly in rebellion against God.
People who make such choices always have or seek justication for their choice, so they can excuse it away when a person, situation, or life itself challenges that choice, or leads them down the path of their own choosing. Such is the case for people who refuses to manage their own health, but choose instead to rely on someone with a title to tell them what to do, and how their money (insurance) should be spent per procedures, prescriptions, or inserted pain killers. I’ve seen many people that have told me horror stories about doctor’s offices, and how they are treated. So many of them live going from Doctor to doctor as new symptoms and side effects crop up from the many medications and shots they receive for pain issues. Its a vicious circle, and certainly no way to live.
Should you get a professional opinion? Absolutely. Get tested, but when your options are explained to you by that ” professional,” understand that those are simply his or her recommendations. You are not obligated to take them, nor are you prohibited from seeking more than one opinion. You have the right to choose. You have the right to research the options given; and furthermore, you have the right to seek out natural alternatives.
If your doctor gets angry or annoyed because you choose to seek another opinion or more natural methodology, or because you don’t like or want the drugs, shots or surgical alternatives he’s pushing on you; just remember that his medical practice is a business first and foremost.
Patient care should be more individualized, and it should be a whole body approach, but in Western medicine, it often is not. We all have to make decisions on a daily basis. However, when it comes to our health, most people want to be devoid of responsibility. They go to a doctor’s office with the expectation of being told what to do. I can’t think of any other service industry, in which people are so careless with how and what they spend their money on, even if insured; or in choosing what services they will receive. This is why it is your responsibility to seek alternatives, because many doctors recommend what is best for themselves and their pocket, versus what’s best for you and your health. The system is set up this way, which is why a Naturopathic or Osteopathic Doctor is a better choice.
People think their doctors really care about them, and some do; but here’s how you test the fruit and see what the real agenda is. Does your doctor get upset or talk down to you like you’re ignorant if you refuse a particular treatment, like shots or drugs? If you found a valid, natural alternative that would effectively treat your problem or condition, does your doctor encourage you to seek that more natural path to recovery? Would your doctor have a problem with consulting or collaborating with a natural, Osteopathic or Homeopathic Doctor to help you recover?
Would your doctor object to a treatment you researched and found that had valid results, just because it was outside his scope of practice? In other words, is he/she concerned enough about your health and recovery, that he/she advocates for what is truly best for you, even if that means sending you to a doctor that is outside his circle of friends or associated doctor’s network?
What I’m saying is, stop viewing your doctor as a god through intimidated eyes. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or push for alternative treatments. It’s your body and your life! Your doctor can only recommend. He can’t force you to take treatments you object to. However, don’t be lazy. Do some research for yourself. It is your quality of life that will be affected in the long and short run.
Drug therapy for pain may seem like a resolution now, but only if you don’t THINK ahead and consider your future. Putting toxins and poisonous chemicals into your body will only shorten your life. Remember, we are like plants, and as such, should STRETCH towards the light.

Personal Care

Paying attention is, I think, something that requires diligence and practice. An area of major importance that this needs to be practiced regularly is personal care. Have you ever noticed that as people age, a certain percentage gets very, very, very relaxed about their appearance. I understand the reason for this. People start to put more value into that which is truly important, and what may have been a shallow more vain focus, dissipates into a settled state of contentment. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of long term laziness that simply gets more amplified as people age. Sometimes, however, in the more belligerent folk; it becomes a state of total indifference.
It is this state of indifference, wherein some people get a little too relaxed, that is my focus today. What am I talking about? I’m talking about snake skin. I’m talking about hygiene and social standards; and in all honesty, this isn’t limited to the aging.
norwegian-scabies-4First, let’s talk about snake skin, as I’m sure, no doubt, you were wondering about that statement. Nothing is more disgusting than to see a person who appears to be shedding skin like a snake. Yes, I said it – flaking dead skin in and around the ears; crusty dead skin around the sides of the nose. It is simply disgraceful, and usually when I see this, the person has an odor as well. This is a sign that the person does not wash or clean themselves well.
This is just as bad as seeing someone with eye boogies, or with a dry scalp problem, who’s been scratching and digging it all up. Then there are flakes in their hair or at the edge of their hairline. It’s repulsive to see. This is simply a matter of washing properly, and frequently.
Being on the cusp of the baby boomer generation, I can relate to the more relaxed and settled attitude, however, that’s for within the home. If you are so comfortable or even busy at home, that you decide to skip showering for more than a day, you should know and realize that leaving your home is not an option until you fit that well-needed shower in.
Being older does not excuse anyone from common standards of hygiene and etiquette. Then again, some of these young bucks could stand to get some standards too. Deodorant is never an ” option.” Its mandatory if you want to live in society. Mountain hermits have an ” option,” but everyone else needs to adhere to the basic hygiene standard.
So if you are a person with either excessively active sweat glands, or are seriously obese, or both; you need to put in extra effort to maintain yourself and be clean. This may mean more frequent washing, and or additional products to assist in reaching areas that are more closed, or lacking air flow.
antifungal-creamFor instance, as a therapist I have seen fungus on people with large stomachs, or women with large breasts. I’m not referring to the fungus being on the stomach, but beneath it. Likewise, the fungus isn’t on the breast, but beneath them in the crease and on the surrounding skin. I’m not referring to women with implants. If you are a woman with large breasts, and have been noticing a redness, experiencing itching and irritation in the crease area under the breast, you have a fungus. Likewise, people can also get a fungal growth between the legs in the crease of the groin and the legs. All of these areas are subject to fungus because they are closed in, and there is a lack of adequate ventilation and air flow. Being overweight contributes greatly to these sorts of conditions, which require more frequent cleansing and even some powder with baking soda to help maintain dryness in those areas.
Additionally, I have noticed many clients with a skin condition known as Tinea Versicolor; also known as Pityriasis Versicolor.

This is a skin condition in which the skin develops splotches of discoloration; much like a tree with a fungus has. That is because Tinea Versicolor is a fungus too. If you are developing fungus on your skin; this is a sign of an immune system imbalance. You do not want to ignore this, because immune imbalances cause diseases like cancer, which is also a fungus. Therefore, it is imperative that you begin to examine your dietary habits, and make strides at moving from a highly acidic diet, into a more alkaline one.
There is however, an over-the-counter cream, but it is not a natural choice. Any anti-fungal cream will at the very least, control the itching, but I cannot say that those will eliminate the condition. There are also several natural topical remedies to treat and kill fungus.
Tea tree oil, if applied regularly to clean, dry skin in the affected area, with eliminate a fungus. The tea tree oil will eliminate all of those fungal related issues, but the areas affected must be kept clean and dry. Garlic oil is also effective against fungus, as well as apple cider vinegar. Those are the best natural remedies I’m aware of that will eliminate a fungus problem. The tea tree oil can even be used in the scalp to help a dry scalp issue. These natural products and the ones mentioned in the link below, will treat the condition simply and easily; however, bear in mind that those treatments are topical only, and you will still need to address the real issue of your dietary habits and your impaired immune system.
tinea-versicolor-1000As for the flaky skin in or around the ear or nose can be addressed in two ways. A strong facial scrub like St. Ives will slough those dead skin cells off. Depending on how severe the flaking is, washing at least 2-3 times per week with the scrub should keep it under control, but just make sure you vigorously scrub the area with the scrub, and use a good moisturizer.
One of the worse personal hygiene problems I have encountered is B.O., or body odor. I was in the public library one day, and there was a boy, about 15 sitting across from me; but one computer terminal over. He stunk so badly that not only did I smell him, but the guy next to him actually had to tell him that he needed to take a shower because he smelled so bad. He immediately denied having any odor, so I joined the guy who told him and and confirmed it. Now, in part , I thought it was necessary to confirm this, because this was an African American boy, and the man who told him was either Caucasian. I think a large part of his denial and disbelief that it was true, stemmed from the fact that it was a Caucasian man telling him this. Since I am multinational, but have brown skin, I confirmed it, so that he would realize the statement was true.
To combat heavy odor problems like those typical of teenage boys, a mixture of baking soda and shaving cream is very effective. You squirt the shaving cream onto your wash cloth and spread it to cover all corners. Then sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda on top, and spread it from corner to corner as well, rubbing it into the shaving cream while spreading it around the entire cloth. Then wash all of the more enclosed or private areas, including areas that may require deodorant. Rinse your wash cloth and soap it up to a good lather on the entire cloth and wash with that. The baking soda and shaving cream will rinse off with the soap, and the odor issue will be washed down the drain with it.
As mentioned above, washing and using deodorant is crucial, but even more important for any sort of social or business communications; is good dental hygiene. As a manual therapist and body worker, I have to deal with clients one on one, in a rather personal way, since my job is to release their pain and assist in facilitating healing. There is nothing as disgusting as having to be in close proximity with a person/patient who doesn’t brush their teeth. It’s just nasty! You wouldn’t believe the number of people who have the nerve to come to the pain clinic where I work; to receive therapy, in this condition.
Not only is it tremendously inconsiderate, it’s just nauseating to have to be in a small enclosed room with that person, doing therapy to try to eliminate their pain, when their personal hygiene is so offensive, it’s causing the therapist pain. First of all, the rooms are not ventilated, and secondly, the most talkative people seem to always be the ones with the nasty looking teeth and foul breath. I had one a week or so ago, that even had the white crusty ring around his lips, apparently from some measure of drooling while he slept the night before.
Foul breath can also be the result of smoking, drinking, and even the result of a compromised immune system. Improper gut health will tell on you in this way.
Even dehydration can affect the way someone’s breath smells.  I have encountered people whose breath smelled like a garbage dumpster (literally); and they were several feet away from me at the time. The tongue is a carrier of a lot of bacteria, viruses and germs, which plays a large part in producing the odors in the mouth.
While I realize that people buy generic products to save money, this is not an area of personal care that thriftiness should be applied to. I see this quite often with older people who use a toothpaste for more sensitivity, but these toothpastes lacks any real, effective breath freshener. That issue is further complicated by the fact that many people have not been taught the importance of brushing the tongue. Depending on one’s dietary habits, odors can come from both the tongue and the gut. Gut health is such a crucial thing. It took me more than half of my life to figure out this important fact, and there is still a large segment of the population that hasn’t gotten it yet, despite the vast amount of information available. If the immune system is compromised, the body is full of toxins and bacteria, and this can manifest in the mouth as bad odor.
Even health oriented people can have an issue like this. A former boyfriend of mine had very strong breath because he was constantly eating raw garlic. The garlic was so strong in his system, it was literally coming out of his pores in the same way the smell of cigarettes is all over smokers.
There are several ways to naturally counteract problems like these. Chewing on raw parsley will eliminate strong odors from heavily odiferous foods like garlic. Another natural and healthy approach is to take liquid chlorophyll. The chlorophyll is what makes plants green. It has many benefits for the body; and absorbing or nullifying odors is one of them.
If odor is a problem, this is a great solution because it’s like the chlorophyll cleans you internally, thereby killing any odors you may be producing externally. This includes and is not limited to halitosis (bad breath), body odors, and even odors from flatulence (gas).
Another effective treatment for the oral cavity is oil pulling. Oil pulling is something I recently learned about, and is a treatment people used to do prior to the advent of toothpaste in the 1930’s. This treatment is explained fully here.
Taking care of your personal hygiene is not only considerate of others, but shows respect for yourself as well as others. Remember, your appearance and personal hygiene says a lot about you and leaves an impression of who you are to those who come into contact with you. Using some of these tips may improve the overall perception and help you to leave a more positive impression on people.