90% or more of my clients come to me for help with acute and/or chronic pain. Though I have a broad range of skills within the framework of massage therapy, I have, from early on in my practice, been committed to learn as many adjunct therapies and techniques to enhance the healing process as possible. I have found in practice there is not simply one way that works for everyone or in every situation. The body is complex and the healing process is complex. One modality may achieive a certain level of healing and another modality or technique will take it to the next level of healing, with the goal being complete resolution of the condition and underlying issues keeping it active.
So it is within this context I am thrilled to have another tool to enhance the healing process, the Low Level Light Laser.
For over forty years, low level laser (light) therapy (LLLT) and LED (light emitting diode) therapy (also known as photobiomodulation) has been shown to reduce inflammation and edema, induce analgesia, and promote heling in a range of musculoskeletal pathologies. (1)
Inflammation certainly has a role in healing, but when not properly resolved in a appropriate amount of time, inflammation can be a double edged sword causing pain (thus creating a self-perpetuating cycle of pain-inflammation-pain) and eventually creates a build up of scar tissue (that in itself causes restriction-pain-inflammation cycle). Left untreated the resulting biomechanical compensations for the pain (limping, altered posture, using other muscle groups not specifically intended for the task) lead to further pain and restrictions. The use of pain killers over an extended time adds another layer of self-perpetuating issues.
So what is LLT and how can it be of help?
Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) sometimes known as Low Level Light Therapy or Photobiomodulation is a low intensity light therapy. The effect is photochemical not thermal. The light triggers biochemical changes within cells and can be compared to the process of photosynthesis in plants, where the photons are absorbed by cellular photoreceptors and triggers chemical changes.
LLLT is the application of light (usually a low powered laser or LED typically power range of (10mW-5oomW). Light with a wavelength in the red to near infrared region of the spectrum (660nm-905nm), is generally employed because these wavelengths have the ability to penetrate skin, and soft/hard tissues (see graph in referenced article) and are proven in clinical trials to have a good effect on pain, inflammation and tissue repair. The power density (irradiance) is usually between 5W/cm² and is applied to an injury or to a painful site for 30-60 seconds a few times a week for several weeks. The result is a reduction of inflammation, pain relief and accelerated tissue regeneration. (1) (Note: I highly recommend reading the full article referenced for the list of conditions and treatment of pain with references)
To simplify (for the sake of this post) some of the conditions LLLT has been shown helpful in resolving:
The Allergy AntidotesTM lasers contain light emitting semiconductor chips, driven by a low voltage power supply with a wavelength of 635nm or higher. These lasers are used in low level laser therapy (LLLT) to accelerate tissue repair, including wound healing, and for the alleviation of skin conditions such as acne, scarring, and wrinkles.
The essential feature of healing lasers is the refined, single wavelength of the light beams. The wavelengths are measured in nanometers (nm). Shorter wavelengths have lower nanometers, such as those in x-ray equipment, which have nanometers in the single and double digits. Alternately, the higher the nanometers, the longer the wavelength. In lasers with a wavelength above 600nm, like the SL50 Home Laser, SoftLaser Plus, and e-Tox laser, the light will not damage DNA and is extremely safe for therapeutic uses – Low-Light Laser therapy is also used successfully on animals (dogs, cats, and horses), both at home and in veterinary treatments.
Furthermore, healing lasers at 635nm are the exact vibration of a healthy living cell. In acupuncture, lasers with a beam at 635nm are the equivalent to using a needle, and they have been used in acupuncture for years. Using a laser beam at that frequency heals the cells of the body and easily stimulates acupuncture points (Meridian Points).
Remarkably, LLLT can also reduce both acute and chronic pain. Although many of the reports of pain relief following exposure to LLLT are anecdotal, there have been a number of reports based on trials aimed at assessing LLLT as an analgesic modality.(Excerpted from, Low Level Laser Therapy, Mary Dyson PhD, FCSP;Softlaser Guide: p.23, 2011) (2)
Other interesting info and resources:
(1) The Use of Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) for Musculoskeletal Pain: Howard B Cotler, Roberta T Chow, and James Carroll. https://www.ncbi.nim.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4743666/
(2) Sandi Radomski, Allergy Antidotes: https://www.allergyantidotes.com/about-healing-lasers/
Photobiomodulation Lecture 2015 (Low Level Light Therapy) https://youtu.be/46oBjzW5OJM?list=PL3T11MDoeflaIxYT8inKQ0lrOa569jFpL
Mechanism of action; chart; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4639680/figure/F1/
Pub Med; US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health; 6478 articles with a simple search: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=low+level+laser+therapy
Do you need vitamins and nutritional supplements? Ideally no, however the short answer to this question is, for most people I believe yes. We would not need vitamins and nutritional supplements if the following conditions are consistently met:
- you have access to, and regularly eat, a balanced whole foods diet that includes a full range of nutrients(preferably organic) in balanced quantities, daily, year round that includes a balance of carbohydrates, proteins, fats & oils specific to your own unique genetic metabolic requirements.
- you are able to properly digest and assimilate all the nutrients in your diet.
- you have not been exposed to pesticides, harmful chemicals, or heavy metals.
- you do not have any genetic deficits that attribute to assimilation or utilization of nutrient’s or in your detoxification pathways.
- you have a balanced lifestyle that includes adequate rest, exercise, balanced social life, and managed stress.
- You do not consume processed foods that include preservatives, stabilizers, flow agents, coloring, processed sugars, detrimental packaging, denatured fats and oils.
- Antibiotics & many medications deplete key vitamins and minerals and friendly bacteria that produce vitamins in the gut.
- Surgeries, accidents, prolonged illness, all require additional nutritional support to help our body rebuild and recover. It’s difficult to eat enough of the foods we would need, even the very best of foods, to accomplish this.
Your first thought may be “are you kidding, who can do that”? Well, most people can’t, and that’s why I stated earlier I believe most people can benefit from nutritional supplements and vitamins. The truth is every one of our trillions of cells came into this world knowing what to do and how to do it. They are in a constant state of functioning doing their part of the whole organism, tearing down and building up, nourishing, detoxifying, creating energy, facilitating other co actions with other cells, organs, systems, in the body. In order for this process to work smoothly and effectively they all need a constant supply of fuel (nutrients), clean water, and oxygen as well as proper detoxification and elimination. Failure to do this will almost undoubtedly lead to a disease process. The mind blowing complicated process that are taking place at every moment, whether we are awake, or asleep, totally requires all of the necessary building blocks and nutritional support or else something does not work right. When things start going wrong it creates stress in the body. The body will do everything it can to compensate but over time the consequences add up and take their toll. We begin feeling more tired & fatigued, more aches and pains, don’t sleep as well, don’t function as well. This is when many people turn to coffee, soda, sugary foods, and vitamins to help prop them up. But is this really the way to do it? No, of course not.
Just to illustrate the importance of nutrients using a very basic diagram of the Krebs Cycle. The Krebs Cycle (a cycle of enzyme-catalyzed reactions in living cells that is the final series of reactions of aerobic metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fatty acids, and by which carbon dioxide is produced, oxygen is reduced, and ATP ( cellular energy) is formed). Each of our cells is like a small powerhouse in and of itself. Doesn’t matter if its a hair cell, heart, liver, lungs, skin, or wherever. Ever cell takes in oxygen and nutrients and creates energy. Looking at this basic graph you can see the importance of simple nutrients within the cycle. If any of these nutrients are missing or depleted it causes a break in the cycle, meaning function suffers.
William Wolcott, author The Metabolic Typing Diet, and leading authority of metabolic individuality states the following:
Our Food – Not What It Used To Be
For many reasons, our food today is sorely lacking in vital nutrients. Methods of storing, processing and preserving food often severely devitalize the food of its nutritional value. In addition, many of the modern techniques used to grow food faster, larger and on nutritionally depleted soils has destroyed the original, natural quality of our food supply. What appears to be an ear of corn, or a tomato, is in many cases quite different from the corn or tomato of 75 years ago. Some research into the differences between organic and inorganic foods has shown as much as a 2000% difference in some of the nutrients.
Our food today simply does not contain sufficient nutrient content to meet the demands of our modern lifestyles and to keep us in a state of good health. But suppose that you had the rare possibility of obtaining all of your food from natural, organic sources — beef and (raw) milk and butter from range fed cattle; fertilized eggs and chicken from home-raised, non-chemically fed or hormonally-treated chickens; fruits and vegetables from an organic garden and orchard, comprised of soil brimming with all the nutrients that should be there, homemade bread from whole, natural, organically-raised grains.
Certainly this would be an excellent source for your food supply, although for most people it would be impractical, if not impossible, considering the time involved. Even if it were possible, the chances would still be slim that you’d be able to obtain all of the necessary nutrients from your food, particularly if you have a health challenge. There are several reasons for this: _ First, the genetic requirement for nutrients varies tremendously between people. There can be a 2, 5 or even 10 fold difference in the need for certain nutrients. To meet this wide variation in need through just food could be quite difficult. _ Second, a busy, on-the-go lifestyle makes it almost impossible to eat your wonderful, organic foods at all of your meals on a daily basis. Time away from home, eating on the go, traveling, all sabotage your efforts at regular, healthy eating. _ Third, if your health is not optimum, the chances are excellent that there’s some deficiency in your capacity to digest and assimilate your food. So, if your food is already lacking in nutrients, and if the food you eat is only partially digested, and if what you digest is only partially assimilated, then you’d need to eat an awful lot of food to compensate for the nutrient deficiencies already present in the food along with your faulty digestion and assimilation.
It is important to understand that there’s a big difference between just getting enough nutrition to keep you going and in getting optimal nutrition for your Metabolic Type on a daily basis. The skyrocketing rise in degenerative diseases over the last 100 years is clear evidence that most people do not meet their optimal nutritional requirements.
Take Advantage of Supplements
In view of this predicament, nutritional supplements have a lot to offer – they supply a concentrated form of nutrients which can easily compensate for the lacks in our food supply. Supplements may also provide many additional advantages as well: _ Help Meet Daily Requirements If you have a lacking appetite, nutritional supplements can provide an excellent means of making sure that you get enough nutrients on a regular basis, without having to eat a large amount of food. _ Conserve Your Energy A major factor in building health is the creation and conservation of energy. The digestion of food, particularly if you consider the large amounts that may be needed to make up for a deficiency, requires far more energy than the digestion of a few nutritional supplements. _ Zero In On Metabolic Processes The various nutrients can be attached to different “carriers” which can greatly assist in getting them to specific sites in the body where they are needed. _ Overcome Food Aversions Supplements are an ideal way for you to get certain necessary nutrients from foods which you might find objectionable in taste, such as liver or bee pollen. _ Compensate For Lacks Many people, due to the nature of their work and their fast-paced lifestyles, find it difficult or even impossible to eat whole, natural food. They must often eat out, and may not be able to totally fulfill their Metabolic Type dietary requirements. Nutritional supplementation can compensate for such deficiencies in their diet. _ Stimulate, Substitute, & Support Nutritional supplements recommended in our metabolic programs work to stimulate weak areas, as well as to support rebuilding processes by supplying required raw materials. In addition, supplements can substitute for some function in the body that is currently inefficient. For example, hydrochloric acid supplementation can be used if your natural hydrochloric acid secretion is insufficient – a very critical issue. Without sufficient hydrochloric acid, it is very difficult for your body to digest and assimilate valuable nutrients, especially minerals. _ Avoid Reactive Foods If you have digestive weaknesses or allergic reactions to foods, nutritional supplements can allow you to readily and easily acquire nutrients which you may otherwise have considerable difficulty in getting. For instance, if you require certain amino acids available in red meat but you’ve lost the ability to readily digest and assimilate meat, you could acquire the amino acids in supplement form. _ Neutralize Environmental Adversities Compared to the pure and pristine world of less than a century ago, our modern environment itself poses a challenge to your health. Industrial air pollution,10,000 chemicals in our food supply, sick-building syndrome, holes in the ozone layer, chemically-treated drinking water, electro-magnetic pollution from appliances, cell phones, computer monitors, etc., chemical exposures in the workplace and at home, and high stress lifestyles, all place an increased demand for nutrients on your metabolism that may only be met through nutritional supplementation. _ Adjust Biochemical Processes Supplements, by providing concentrated forms of single nutrients, can provide delicate, fine-tuning adjustments to your body’s fundamental control systems. Your Metabolic Type not only needs sufficient raw materials from your diet, but it also needs specific balances of nutrients to activate your enzyme systems which control all of your body’s biochemical processes. For example, the Fast Oxidizer Metabolic Types need plenty of protein and fat in their diet, but the oxidative processes within the cells must have specific quantities and balances of nutrients in order to function efficiently – something which supplements can often provide when food can’t. _ Customize Your Nutrition Finally, and perhaps of greatest significance from the standpoint of balancing your body chemistry, nutritional supplements allow for the capacity to design multivitamin / mineral formulas that address the needs of the specific Metabolic Types, correcting imbalances in all the Fundamental Homeostatic Controls that are unique in each person.
So in a nut shell, we can use supplements and vitamins to help support the deficits we encounter, and as preventive measures, and as corrective balancing measures. This becomes more and more important in modern day lifestyles and environment, increased corporate mega agriculture, the decreasing nutritional value of processed foods (that not only do not provide adequate nutritional value, but actually put a huge additional burden on the body to breakdown, detoxify, and eliminate).
So this leaves us with the questions; what do I really need to support my health? How do I choose between the millions of choices available? How do I know what to take and when and for how long? How do I justify the expense? How do I know if these are really helping or hurting me? These are just some of the questions I will be addressing in the next few post on this subject as well as touching more on the categories listed earlier. Keep an eye out for the next post.
“Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food” Hippocrates
Introducing Battenkill Brittle & Crumble
High Energy Snack and Breakfast
I’ve often wanted a healthy snack option for my clients after their massage therapy session. Many people can relate to feeling a bit ungrounded after their massage, and rightfully so. During a massage treatment we move a lot of energy around, get oxygen, blood, and circulation moving, loosen tight muscle groups that actually shift posture and balance (for the better of course). Why wouldn’t someone feel a bit ungrounded. Then you need to drive home, make dinner, help the kids with homework, yes you need to be able to function. So, I’ve wanted a snack option that would provide a sustained energy lift with a good protein source that wouldn’t be taxing to the digestive system or include the typical processed ingredients found in most all protein snack bars like processed sugars, colorings, preservatives, soy, carrageenan, dairy, gluten, or other health detracting ingredients.
So, I’m happy to announce I am now stocking Battenkill Brittle from a small company in Vermont.
Battenkill Brittle… Instant Energy That Lasts!
Battenkill Brittle and Battenkill Brittle Crumble are made with organic sunflower seeds, organic sesame seeds, organic pumpkin seeds, organic brown rice syrup, pure Vermont maple syrup and pecan meal.
Battenkill Brittle is a high energy snack and Crumble is the perfect addition to yogurt, oatmeal, waffles and salads. It is packed with nutrition and provides sustaining energy for any kind of physical activity, as a snack for students, or a pick-me-up at the office. (quoted from the company web site)
Seeds are natures energy & nutrient powerhouse to help get plants off to a robust start. Science has shown the health benefits of seeds and sprouts for many years. Seeds are loaded with protein, healthy oils, fiber, and provide significant sustained energy.
For further info (highly recommended) check out this great resource from whfoods.org:
Sesame Seeds: http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=84
Sunflower Seeds: http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=57
Pumpkin Seeds: http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=82
The Brittle comes 3 to a pack. I was amazed at how satisfying and sustaining one of these squares can be. I now use this to help me sustain my energy and focus thru my long days of massage therapy.
So, next time you are in for a massage check out our new display and try some for yourself. You may be as excitedly surprised as I was when I discovered these.