MBLEX

Massage: MBLEX, Body Mechanics & Communication

When I went to massage school very little was spent on body mechanics, technique or communication. Instead the class room experience focused on the MBLEX (the licensing exam every massage therapist must take to become a licensed practitioner). I understand the weight this test is supposed to play in a massage therapist’s career and public safety. However, when put on a scale with body mechanics, technique and communication, we quickly see how this kind of educational practice is not in the best interest of the community, industry or the massage therapist.

Body Mechanics is essential, if we don’t know how to massage someone without hurting ourselves we won’t be massaging very long. When I went to massage school there was very little time spent on body mechanics. If you asked the teachers they would claim they were focused on ensuring students were given the skills necessary to protect their body.  How can an instructor be teaching students to have good body mechanics if they aren’t watching them? During the class room portion of my education the teacher would sit at their desk grading papers or talking while the students massaged on their practice tables. Little to no observation was employed to ensure students were using correct mechanics. During clinicals, when students performed massages on the public or each other, the instructor’s ability to observe was greatly diminished because they were required to help other students study for the MBLEX. Massage therapy is a hands on learning experience, requiring an incredible amount of observation and repetition, without these kinds of practices a massage student will have a difficult time becoming a massage therapist with a long healthy career.

Practicing massage in the class room should begin early, be performed regularly and have a fair amount of instructor involvement. When going through school we rarely performed massages, when we did it was irregular and the instructor seemed disinterested in maintaining a constant role helping students learn, explore and become more effective. When I asked why we didn’t practice massage very often, the answer was “we would get our hands on experience while doing our clinical work“. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case, most our clinical experience was just a continuation of the classroom and nearly every hour was spent studying for the MBLEX.

The MBLEX is not the end all be all test of massage therapy. It reflects some aspects of our ability to showcase our academic knowledge. More specifically it tests a person’s ability to access obscure information, apply critical thought and sit patiently in front of a computer. These skills do not easily translate into practical massage applications. I am an avid researcher and I love knowledge, passing the MBLEX was a breeze and though I thought the test was fun I have discovered its relevance has little to no value. With a few changes the test could be made a lot more valuable to our clientele, the massage industry and the therapist. One being the elimination of questions supporting pseuodoscience, others would be to test a student’s research knowledge, writing and literacy. These are all valuable skills a massage therapist needs in the field. Unfortunately no time was spent in my  schooling teaching students how to research, critically think or write effectively. In class our teacher spoke a lot about how to write SOAP notes, but no time was spent teaching us how to write them or testing our ability to write.

The biggest and most important part of massage is communication. Great massages happen because a massage therapist knows how to effectively communicate. If a client doesn’t feel comfortable telling us how the pressure is, if the table is too warm, if a heat pack is too hot or they want a specific area massaged, we will never be able to provide them with the experience they are looking for. When I went to school we had a course on communication, but it wasn’t very involved and there was very little participation for a communication course. When I heard we were going to do some role-playing I was excited, this kind of learning is a lot of fun and can be a great way of discovering how others explore life. Unfortunately we only spent about 2 hours on communication with maybe an hour of role-playing.  Most of the time was spent justifying why we did what we did instead of trying out a bunch of likely or hard situations. If more time was spent on communication I believe we could more easily meet the expectations of our clientele, reduce workplace conflicts and make life more enjoyable for everyone.

The MBLEX is an important test, but in many ways its has a negative impact on the industry. I believe with a few changes it can occupy the purpose it was meant to. By removing the pseudoscience it supports, adding questions that evaluate research knowledge, writing and literacy, we can begin moving our industry forward. This would be the first step with later steps involving the removal of the Provisional License (which is a grace period that encourages lower quality education in our massage schools.) and the creation of policies that enforce massage schools to provide the education they are selling.


Research

What are the Benefits of Massage

Bowen Technique 

Looyen Work

Rolfing

Pain Science

Shawn White Blog

bowen technique

Bowen Technique? What the heck is that?

What is the Bowen Technique?

The Bowen technique also called the Neurostructural Integration Technique uses a combination of soft tissue manipulation and energy work. Supposedly through a series of gentle movements at precise points the therapist promotes the flow of energy and creates vibrations throughout the body. This modality utilizes a variety of gentle strokes that may be applied through clothing. Within a typical session there will be many breaks, practitioners claim this is because the body needs to assimilate the new energy and vibrations.

The practitioners claim this modality will help treat the symptoms of asthma, migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, infertility and other reproductive problems.

With bold claims like these there is no wonder the scientific medical community looks down on massage. How in the world would a massage have any effect on asthma, IBS and infertility? This pseudoscience is equally ineffective as its snake oil cousins of acupuncture meridians and the Inate vitalism of chiropractics. This modality just like all pseudomedicines are placebos wrapped in a complex web of ritualism.

If you are suffering with infertility, asthma or migraines I strongly suggest you save your money, time and health by seeing a medical doctor specialized in these kinds of issues. A massage therapist rubbing on your body zones may feel great but it will do very little to treat serious health conditions.


Research

Shawn White Blog

Clinical Massage

What is Rolfing?

Massage is Amazing!

Hope 27

Words of Hope 27

Remember it’s fun to swim and dance with glee, cause when you do it sets you free. Truth be told, if I may be so bold, being silly makes me smile. It gets rid of the waste by making my day taste sweet and tart as it warms my heart. It is especially great when its late and we feel old and cold. We can scrape off the stress as we are impressed by the marvelous melodies of our magnificent moments. So as you sit, sleep or stand wiggle your feet like you are listening to a band. Shift your hips from side to side like the electric slide. Laugh, love and live your life to the fullest. Use your clever mind and pull joy’s lever and surely you will have fun forever!

Words of Hope

Shawn White Blog

NCAN

Dungeon Crawl for the Cure

Hope 26

Words of Hope 26

Most times when I breathe it hurts, like a knuckly knot tying off the life to my lung. Sometimes when I breathe it feels light, gentle and soft like a soothing sheet cuddling us asleep. Tonight as I lay in bed waiting to dance my sleepy time tunes my heart bounces behind my chest. It’s a rhythmic lullaby, a soothing story, a ballad of better times. The air is easy and for a change I do not feel queasy. My heart feels loved and I’m not being shoved. I feel good, great and even better now I am in a sleepy state. This is a marvelous moment, a comfortable time and a sign of a soothing scene that is coming to me in the land of dreams.


Words of Hope

Shawn White Blog

NCAN

Dungeon Crawl for the Cure

Looyen Work

Looyen Work? That’s a strange name! What does it have to do with Adhesions?

What is Looyen Work?

This modality may be described as a combination of physical therapy and psychoanalysis.

Looyen Work practitioners claim to have the ability to penetrate deep into a muscle to reduce tension, remove adhesions and improve range of motion. This modality uses a variety of techniques and pressure levels, from mild traditional Swedish strokes to brutally painful Rolfing techniques.

Massage therapists who claim the ability to detect and break apart adhesions with their hands are woefully mistaken. Massage therapists do not have the ability to affect an adhesion in any meaningful way.

So then, what is an adhesion? Adhesions are fibrous bands of scar tissue that form between internal organs and tissues, joining them together abnormally. An example of an adhesion would be Endometriosis, which is a condition in which the endometrial tissue that lines the uterus begins to invade other parts of the body.

How is an adhesion actually removed? Adhesions are permanent without a surgical procedure called adhesion lysis or Laparoscopic Lysis, this procedure is used to disrupt or remove the tissue. Here is a great video that explains adhesions in greater detail and how to treat them.

Practitioners of this modality are also known for attempting to council their clients through any emotional release that may occur during a massage session. This is outside of a massage therapist’s scope of practice. As soft tissue manipulators we are not allowed to treat your mental health issues. Be wary of any massage therapist who attempts to diagnose or treat any mental health issues you may have.


Research

Shawn White Blog

Clinical Massage

What is Rolfing?

Massage is Amazing!

Hope 23

Words of Hope 23

There are so many things we can do, but only if we are wearing blue shoes. If you want to know what to do, it will only take a few, we can take a cake from a pan and stand it up in the shape of a man. Surely, whirly maybe so, maybe his name will be Sterling Stan.

If it is, then we know, that we have to share with him how it goes. According to the band we have to play, a melody that celebrates this fine ol day. In this time it must be magical, a momentous moment that is fantastical and fun.

So without further a do, let me show you what can be done.

When you wallow in the shallow water inhabited by swallows you can call out to the walruses, malls and crosses.

You can play with Waldo by tossing your ball but only if are willing to confess you threw it over the wall. You can smile for awhile but only if you pet a goose like you’re a cast member of Foot Loose.

You can wine and dine Kevin Bacon but only if your willing to do some shake and baking. Be like Ricky Bobby at Taledega Nights and race like you’re going to out pace everyone to take first place.

These are some things you can do, but only if you are wearing blue shoes. Now you know what to do, it will only take a few, we can bake a cake and make a man, and name him Sterling Stan.

Now you know you can start to glow. You may embrace the silly till it’s stuck and play life like it’s a hockey puck. Slide and stretch, stride and glide cause in the end life will find a way to abide.


 

Words of Hope

Shawn White Blog

NCAN 

Dungeon Crawl for the Cure

 

Hope 22

Words of Hope 22

What makes you feel right? Is it a dark scary night? A woeful wind? A roaring rain?

Do you feel at peace when your heart is teased, when you can’t find release, perhaps when your bound in bondage?

Are you free when you can’t see or are in agony?

What is harmony? Is it a moment of dancing with glee? Perhaps when you discover your destiny? Is it a moment when you can simply be?

Can you reach inside yourself and find the things you need? Are you a circle that is complete? Are you ready to be set free?

Are you ready to breath?


Words of Hope

Words of Hope 21

Memories

NCAN

Shawn White Blog

 

Stand Strong

Monsters Everywhere! Words of Hope. Stand Strong!

Within each and every one of us is the ability to inflict terrible suffering and bestow greatness onto the world.  We are a complex and magical matrix of roots fed with hurt and health, we tend to make mistakes, spread misery and inspire marvelous feels in others.  Our range of potential is vast and incredible, sometimes even unbelievable.  We hurt and help without ever knowing it, taking actions with uncertain fates and make decisions not knowing where they will take us. Simply put, the common person moves through life without any purpose, they are unprepared and unpredictable. This is normal, this is fine, it is the nature of existence. We like the fae creatures of the wild are enigmatic and spontaneous, sometimes we live in the now and take actions with uncertain outcomes.

Living life to its fullest means practicing mistakes, doing things by the seat of your pants and making a party of it.  You and I will do great things, good and bad without ever meaning to.  When we live in a world of forgiveness life becomes easier.  When the soft droplet of water splashes into the pond, the effects vibrate and impact everything else around it.   It is a subtle vibration but its gifts are enormous, our legs are lifted as our weight diminishes and the desire to walk on eggshells is reduced.  We can breath and speak, laugh and love, explore and see that life is more than a bore. When we are willing to forgive the world around us, we increase the likelihood we will be forgiven when we stumble and break every glass piece in the store.

This does not account for every kind of person there is, certainly there are more. There are all sorts of human creatures walking this beautiful blue orb.  Not all of them are the gems we hope to find in a treasure trove of tremendous times, some of them are bad, brutal and monstrous monsters. They swim through the waters like a hungry shark seeking to eat the souls of wayward spirits. Some of their victims are simply drawn from a hat, selected to be sliced open and served as supper.

These are the worst creatures of the world. They make life a living hell, they take the bad and boil it down until it is nothing more than a hellish frown. The people who lie, cheat, steal and destroy for their own pleasure, often with little gain are truly insane, for it is a simple pleasure, fleeting and false, one they do by climbing over other people’s walls. Once there they slice and stab into a victim’s skin to twist their face into a sadistic grin. These are the monsters who find their way to our lives, who pick and pluck like a buzzards beak, seeking to snip away our ability to see.

What do we do when we meet these monsters and they stomp on our feet? We stand our ground, be rigid and strong and never allow these monsters to spread their message of wrong. It will hurt I know, but this is how these things go. These people who smash and slice and try to eat everything nice will continue to consume until there is nothing new.

We need to stop giving into the monsters, their voice may be maddening and loud but they lack logic, reason and love. They hate the world, or it seems like they do, cause at every turn these humans are hitting and hurting others with their heavy hands.

We must put on our shoes and fix the world like glue, be a nimbus light and make the dark world bright. If we want to make the world a better place we have to spit into evil’s face. Nothing great is born from nothing, it is forged and pressed under great duress.  It is not a matter of becoming the best, but instead, it is a quest, a march against madness, a war against the antagonist, a crusade to love life and to live  it to its fullest.


Words of Hope

Mistakes and Fairness

Discovering forgiveness

Rationality 

The Glory of Hope

Shawn White Blog

hope 21

Words of Hope 21

Jump into the air and be joyously jolly.  Live, love and wear your heart like a glove.  Stand  with those who lift you high into the sky and dine on life like its a dreamy delight. Be better than before and flourish your beautiful light with all the might of a star. Let no bar barricade you from the gate of your divine destiny. Stand with me and become all you can be, a harmonious human, a happy heart and a silly soul swimming through the sea of destiny.


Words of Hope

Shawn White Blog

Dungeon Crawl for the Cure

Words of Hope 20

Words of Hope 20

Words of Hope 20

When storm clouds thunder and rumble, let your bellows blow. Reach into your chest and let your sadness go and perhaps the silly fun times will be begin to flow. Inspire someone’s soul with sun shine smiles. Give great intentions and subtly  guide them a mile.  Grant sweet spirits, grin ear to ear and glow with gooey goodness as you live with purpose.

Our insides can be sweet and sticky thick, like candy bits inside our spit. They may be empty and oily, perhaps slippery and slick, like a recently born yellow, cute little chick.  But in the end, if we treat them right, simply put we wont have to fight. Our emotions will be true and our judgement fair, in our life we will live with little despair.

When we take the time to care, life becomes a great little lair. It is a cozy good place, where sadness has no base and our heart is happy, without any fear. So come with me now, look to the sky and prepare yourself to fly, cause no matter how the storm clouds rumble, we’ll be ready to give, by taking great strides to live our life.


Words of Hope

Shawn White Blog

Words of Hope 19

Clinical Massage

Cancer coach

Cancer Coach: Treating Cancer with Nutrition, Reiki and Meditation?

Cancer coach  Kathy Bero claims that she was able to cure her cancer using  anti-angiogenic foods, reiki and meditation.

There is real science that is going to be there” This woman says, as she makes it clear there is no science-based evidence supporting her claim that diet alone can cure cancer. She is giving advice to people based on her anecdotal evidence, which is the lowest form of evidence. This is extremely dangerous. These kinds of activities put the lives of sick people at risk, leading them down ineffective treatment options and horrific agony. Unfortunately when the blind lead the blind, people get hurt. This is a perfect example of this. The advice given to these people  might lead them to refuse science-based treatment options to pursue the untested anecdotal testimony of one person.  A testimony that ignored all the prior treatment she received.

Kathy Bero underwent extensive chemotherapy and paid the price in pain for its healing properties. Once the pain became too much she stopped taking it.  I can empathize, when I was going through chemotherapy it was one of the most horrific experiences of my life. I would rather die than do it again, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work.  When it comes to our life it is up to us to determine how much we are willing to pay.  When it comes to cancer we aren’t paying in money, we are paying in pain, how much pain are we willing to pay to live.

In her situation there are two likely explanations for her current health. We could say it was the reiki, meditation and nutrition, or it was the invasive and scientifically tested chemotherapy medicine.

I have never read or heard of any scientific studies with controls that support reiki, meditation or nutrition as a means of curing cancer. On the other hand, I have read the science-based evidence supporting the effectiveness of chemotherapy.

If we apply Occam’s Razor to this situation, which is a problem-solving principle that, when presented with competing hypothetical answers to a problem, one should select the answer that makes the fewest assumptions. Chemotherapy and its effects can be measured. Its benefits can be compared against placebo and it has been proven under rigorous testing to have a benefit to people with cancer. On the other hand, practices like reiki have never been proven to have any effectiveness greater than placebo when controls are applied. Nutrition may improve wellness, but it does not have the ability to eliminate tumors and no amount of meditation will cure your cancer.

To believe nutrition, meditation and reiki cured this woman’s cancer requires a lot of assumptions. Simply put we must ignore the fact there is no evidence these practices have the ability to destroy cancer cells, especially metastatic cancer. She admits in her own interview that she believes her beliefs will be validated by science.

So which treatment option was responsible? The answer is simple, her chemotherapy. Had she not of underwent the terrible journey of chemotherapy, she wouldn’t be alive today. She can pretend her recipes and pseudo-medicine diet cured her cancer, but at the end of the day there is no science-based evidence to support her claims.


Discovering Hope

Shawn White Blog

Orthomolecular What?

 

 

 

benefit

Massage is amazing, but what are its benefits?

Why do you get a massage? For most it’s to feel amazing, get pampered or alleviate some ache or pain. Some go for the human contact, others want a holistic guide. Ultimately, we go to relax and feel better. It is a luxury, a costly endeavor, but worth every penny.

Often the massage industry sells unrealistic expectations and false hopes. Chains and businesses deify their therapists and claim benefits beyond their ability and scope. This creates a problem for the massage market. Through a cocktail of falsehoods and ineffective practitioners the public’s faith in our abilities will slowly deteriorate until there is no market to massage.

Where is the problem most often found? If you look closely you will see it within the modalities pushed as continuing education units throughout the community.

What are Modalities

A modality is a massage method employed to achieve a specific result, using branded techniques and underlying theories.

There are many modalities, such as: the Bowen technique, Looyen Work, myofascial realease, Rolfing, Swedish Massage and applied kinesiology. Dozens and dozens of modalities exist and all are equally ineffective and based on make-believe.

What makes them based on make-believe?

Would you like to improve circulation, stimulate your lymph system or increase your body’s ability to fight pathogens? Well look no further! My catchall generic massage modality has you covered!

These claims are made by nearly every massage modality. With a few sciency sounding words they expand the supposed benefits of massage. They attempt to convince the public a massage therapist’s role is equally important as doctors and nurses. Some target people with serious illnesses like cancer, ALS, MS and women suffering with endometriosis. Claiming their modality can treat and sometimes cure these illnesses.

I find these claims deplorable and so should the massage community, but by and large they don’t.

Why don’t they have a problem with it?

Most are so under-educated they don’t understand why these claims are terrible. Others are selfish and will do whatever they can to get an edge and some just don’t care.

The best way to resolve this is to eradicate the modalities, but that will never happen. Instead we can educate the public and future therapists to advocate for themselves and embrace science-based knowledge. Lets start by addressing the actual benefits of massage.

What are the benefits of massage

  1. It can down regulate the sympathetic nervous system.
  2. It feels great.

I believe it is natural to search for the truth, and I believe we should reach for the stars. The best way to understand our world and the celestial bodies beyond is with the scientific method. This process has paved the way for society to engineer lifesaving technologies that have saved countless lives.

It is healthy to desire knowledge and to ask why. Unfortunately, not everyone knows how to ask why or what science is. Many massage therapists are never taught the scientific method, how to research or critically think. This is a serious problem and it paves the way for pseudo-medicine to continually infest our industry.

What are some claims massage modalities make?

I have created a list of the most common claims made by massage modalities. The lined out entries are those not supported by science-based evidence.

  • Increased circulation.
  • Increases stimulation of the lymph system to increase the body’s ability to fight toxic invaders.
  • Releases endorphins. 
  • Improved range of motion.
  • Relaxation of injured muscles.
  • Increased recovery time after exercise.
    • Massage has no effect on delayed onset muscle soreness
  • Increased joint flexibility.
  • Treats migraines.
    • Massage has only been proved effective in the treatment of tension headaches.
  • Reduces post-operative adhesions.
    • Only lasers and scalpels have an effect on adhesions.
  • Reduces scar tissue.
    • As per adhesions.
  • Helps eliminate lactic acid from muscles.
  • Removes toxins from the body.

An assortment of modalities claims a variety of benefits, here are some.

  • Whiplash. 
    • You should consult a Medical Doctor, Orthopedic doctor or physical therapist.
  • Chronic pain.
    • Massage has not been proven to be effective in the elimination of chronic pain.
  • Disc problems.
    • Consult your Primary Care physician for a referral.
  • Pelvic floor dysfunction.
  • Vulvodynia.
    • If you have this disease and need more information visit NVA’s website.
    • This video gives great detail into this disease and the treatments available.
  • Interstitial Cystitis.
  • Menstrual Problems.
  • Painful Intercourse.
  • Urinary Frequency.
  • Endometriosis.
  • Infertility Problems.
  • Urinary Incontinence.
  • Episiotomy Scars.

Research

Shawn White Blog

 

alkaline diet

How effective is the Alkaline Diet? Should I have any concerns?

Do you believe an alkaline diet or a sodium bicarbonate infusion is an effective way to treat cancer? Are you considering an alkaline diet? Are you doing it because you want to live a healthy life, perhaps to fight and prevent disease? If that is the case then adopting the alkaline diet would be a step in the wrong direction. It does not cure, treat or affect disease in any positive way.

If you’ve read any of the pH Miracle books or are considering adopting an alkaline diet, I strongly suggest researching its inventor.

The Father of the Alkaline Diet, Robert O. Young and author of the “pH Miracle” books claims acid is responsible for all disease and the cure is alkalinization. Preying on the fear and desperation of the terminally ill he made millions of dollars with his diet plans, books and treatments. In 2014 he was charged with conspiring to practice medicine without a license and multiple counts of grand theft. As of 2017 he was found guilty of practicing medicine without a license and was sentenced to over three years in prison.[1]

Taking calcium has no effect on blood acidity. You could pour an entire bottle of calcium pills down your gullet and it would have no effect what-so-ever on your blood acidity. Sure it may neutralize some of the acidity of your stomach, but homeostasis would revert it back within a few minutes.[2]

Robert O Young “treated” seriously ill people with unproven and potentially dangerous procedures without a medical licence. Under his “care” many have paid the price of their life in addition to thousands of dollars for ineffective treatments.

In 2012 Naima Houder-Mohammed paid Young $77,000 for treatment, where he infused sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) into her blood stream. She was treated by him for three months, during which her health worsened until she died. [3]

When we are desperate we often take great leaps of faith in the pursuit of survival. It is important we are armed with the right information to protect ourselves from charlatans and snake oil salesmen.

If it is too good to be true, it probably is, the alkaline diet and the treatments of Robert O Young is a great example of this. Unfortunately, some believe the alkaline diet is the magical cure for everything. Like any magical cure, its effects are placebo at best. Its a nonsense idea created by the convicted felon Robert O Young. This supposed expert on biology and diet is not a microbiologist, hematologist, medical doctor, naturopathic doctor or trained scientist. In fact he doesn’t have any post high-school degrees what-so-ever[4].

Many seriously ill people have lost thousands of dollars and their lives due to Young’s pseudo-science treatments. If you are considering a new diet, consult your licensed health care provider and thoroughly research your options before committing to a new lifestyle.


Research

Shawn White Blog

The Placebo

Orthomolecular What?

Words of Hope 15

Words of Hope 15

Sometimes we are coated in oil and everything is slippery and sloppy.  Our inside zones burn and boil and desperately we seek to soak our souls in the soil. We reach out our hand to hold someone close, but often we are cloistered and closed away.

One day you will shake off that slippery, slick, sloppy sludge and sing a song of silly smiles. You will reach into your inside zones and touch your heart bone.  You will no longer toil and desperately seek to soak your soul in the soil, because you will be happy, harmonious and peaceful.


Words of Hope

Shawn White Blog

NCAN

Words of Hope 14

Words of Hope 14

Words of Hope 14

The world can be a dark and dreary place and sometimes it can feel like we are constantly washing the muck off our face. Our lips turn sour becoming an upside down crown as it forms into a frown.  Our hopes and dreams fade, we feel lost, sad and sorry.  As our soul is saturated with dismay, our nerves begin to fray, so we sit and wait for the end of days.

There comes a time when we tire of the night and we rise. With a beaten and battered soul we muster all our might, attempting to fight the waste of this dark and dreary place. We punch, kick and scream, doing everything mean, but in the end we settle back in our seat, because once again we are beat.

We stand again, this time driving forward, pushing with all our strength, attempting to master the night, to defeat its dreariness and darkness. But, no matter how hard we push, now matter how strong we are, it is stronger. It defeats us because we cannot master the dark snippets of our soul.

Many of us never learn this lesson and we continually flex and force until we collapse under the strength of our own will. Each time we try to become the master, our life becomes a disaster, as we walk waywardly into an unwelcome wilderness. It takes a lot of walking, but eventually we learn we cannot master our emotions, we cannot make our heart zones cease to be. Until we can see how to achieve harmony we will never find the ease we need.

You are an amazing creature filled with so many magical moments and feels. Tend to your heart feels with loving care, find a purpose in their presence and love each for their beautiful uniqueness.


Words of Hope

Shawn White Blog

NCAN

Words of Hope 13

Words of Hope 13

Words of Hope 13

What is my purpose in life? When I tell people the answer they get excited. There is a certain thrill to hearing someone definitively tell you their purpose. Why is this exciting? It is because it gives them hope, in that moment they realize they too can achieve awareness of their purpose.

My purpose is to help others walk the twisting, dark road of life. To use my hardships to illuminate the land with beams of light showing them the right place to walk. My purpose is to inspire, bring joy and help others help themselves.

You too have a purpose and with it you will find the person you were meant to be. You will build the life you were born to weave. In the end you will see that if you take the lead, the world will become a better place indeed.


Words of Hope

Shawn White Blog

NCAN

Words of Hope 12 

shyness social anxiety know

Caught in a NET? Shyness, Social Anxiety and finding the right doctor

Finding a new doctor is like dating. We get to know who they are, what they believe and how they approach life. We want to make sure we are compatible and can spend a large chunk of our lives together. This doesn’t mean we are crossing professional boundaries, quite the opposite, this approach enables us to look deeper into who they are as a practitioner by learning about their professional accomplishments. While in their office we must believe they are listening to us, that we are safe under their care and they know enough to help. We need to make sure they are the best person for the job. Just like dating, we want to pair with this person for a long time, perhaps even the rest of our life, so it is important to make sure this doctor is the right choice.

How do I know if I have the right doctor for me? You must get to know yourself and discover what is important to you. You must set and enforce personal boundaries and become an unstoppable force.

I think I can take some time to get to know myself, but I’m not good with personal boundaries and I don’t think I could ever be an unstoppable force. How can I do this? Where do I even start? You start right now and every moment thereafter. Force of will is a tempered tool folded and pounded to perfection. Every day we have opportunities to become the better version of ourselves, seize those moments and move forward.

There was a time in my life when I was shy, I had a hard time talking or standing up to others. If I had to walk my NET cancer journey when I was shy, this would have been impossible. But don’t fret, just because you are shy now, doesn’t mean you will always be.

Shyness and Social Anxiety

Shyness, it sucks.  That’s how I would describe it in three words. People are often surprised when I tell them I used to be very shy.  Sometimes they ask how I overcame it.  Well here is the first step of my fancy story.

In my mid-twenties, just after my mother had passed I was at a local dinner sitting with a couple friends waiting for our food.  A few booths over was a group of young ladies, one in particular caught my eye, I was entranced by her beauty and I wanted to meet her.  Unfortunately, I was frozen in fear and glued to my seat.  “What is going on?” I thought to myself. I couldn’t muster a reason why I felt this, why I was so afraid? If she was so intimidating why would I be attracted to her?

After several moments of being teased by my friends for not approaching her, I rose from my seat and walked to her table.  My hands were shaking, and my heart was pounding in my chest.  When I opened my mouth to speak, all my charm fled, and I found myself completely unable to articulate my words.  I stood there at the end of the table for several moments, I could feel their judgement piercing my soul.  In a burst of what little confidence I had, I tried to introduce myself to her, a moment passed, and they were all quiet so I walked back to my seat.

I could hear them talking about me, describing how my hands were shaking, and how weird I seemed. As I sat there eating my meal, I reflected over the moment, and I came to the conclusion that I must have appeared completely insane.

At first, I saw this as a failure, but then I realized it was a success.   I was unable to bridge my introduction into a conversation, but I was able to overcome the fear of talking to her.  I set out to do something, and I did it.  It was from this I was able to build my confidence.  I spent some time thinking about how I could eliminate my social anxiety, and over several years of pushing myself I was able to become the social butterfly I am today.

Overcoming anything requires force of will, but we are simply unable to eliminate our hardships in one fell swoop.  We must dedicate ourselves to a purpose and stick to it.  My social anxiety didn’t disappear in this moment. I had to work on it daily.  One of the first methods I used to fight my shyness was to smile and say hello to every person I saw.  When they didn’t smile back or say hello, I copped by saying to myself they were the ones missing out.

If you are a person like myself who loves people and wants to have as many great friendships as you can, then challenge yourself, talk to others. Eventually you will realize there is nothing to fear.  Most likely the person you want to talk to was wants to speak to you as well.

How does this help me with talking to my doctor and learning if they are right for me? In the beginning it may be difficult to directly talk to your doctor, but each time you stand your ground the better your footing becomes. Talking to a stranger can be daunting and by all accounts your doctor is a stranger. To complicate matters more we tend to deify their standing leading to a vast power differential. If you start making small changes in your life, these baby steps will improve your force of will and the effectiveness of your medical care. Be strong, know you’re amazing and make the most of your moments.


Discovering Hope

Shawn White Blog

Caught in a Net? 4

NCAN

chapter 1 deep breath

Life’s Beautiful Cacophony, Chapter 1, Taking a deep breath

Life’s Beautiful Cacophony

The Journey Begins

Chapter 1

 

Once upon a time…

Nestled within a mound of blankets, I listened to the muffled sounds of my bedroom. Individually they were annoying, together they were an orchestra, a comforting cacophony, a loving lullaby.

Outside my cave of warmth, was a frigid bedroom. Like a vampire, the morning air leeched the warmth from my room. Leaky air whistled from a poorly sealed window. An electric hum played with a rhythmic rattle. The ceiling fan spun, releasing sounds like tearing paper with an occasional crunchy click.

Blissful was the moment, safe and comfortable within my sanctuary of warmth. As the sun rose, my inside parts advised me to wake from my slumber. Lying in bed I relished the comfort of my cocoon. I yawned, and with a deep breath I felt something, an uncomfortable itch, a juicy-sludge within my chest.

I coughed to clear whatever it was. Instead, it moved a gurgle of something, a certain something somewhere. Again, I coughed, the slick thickness found its way into my mouth, it was a viscous, coppery, sticky… slickness.

The taste forced open my eyes, something strange was happening… I needed to spit this out, to get this mystery liquid from my mouth. Reluctantly, I reached my arm beyond the barrier of blankets.

Intense barely describes the cold sensation that wrapped my arm. The temperature contrast was excruciating, so cold, so shocking… it made me gasp for air.

The deep breath rattled my insides. I erupted into a coughing fit and with each hack, a glob of thick, mysterious, goop filled my mouth.

My fingertips discovered and grabbed a tissue box. Eagerly and with haste I pulled it under the covers. Slowly my flesh thawed, warmth returning to my skin.

After a moment of recuperation, I placed a tissue against my lips and spat into it. Cough after cough I went from one tissue to the next.  It hurt, it was a dry pain scouring my lungs for this neverending nastiness. I continued to hack until all the tissues were sopping wet. “What is going on?”  My heart worried, I needed to see what was on these tissues.

Raising my head from my cocoon I looked down. It was cold, but the chill paled compared to my terror. My heart sank into my stomach, the world slowed, and my heart raced. It was at that moment I realized every tissue was soaked in crimson, red, blood.


Words of Hope

Shawn White Blog

NCAN

Essential Oils

Essential Oils and Aromatherapy

Recently I was involved in a conversation with someone claiming essential oils could be used to help induce labor. I was interested in hearing more, because a scientific mind is creative and open. In my research I have never read any science-based evidence supporting this claim, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. If someone has data supporting essential oils can help induce labor I want to read it. If they can’t provide science-based evidence, then my opinion will most likely remain the same. Those who don’t question the science or effectiveness of their ideas are pseudo-scientists and are a part of the problem in society. If we want to remain forward thinkers working hard to improve our lives we must engage in critical thought, debate and research.

Others participating in the conversation claimed there were no studies on aroma therapy and pregnancy. It was as if they were so locked in their beliefs they were unwilling to check PubMed to see if their claims had any weight. With a five second search I found an article on  labor pain management and aroma therapy. It wasn’t directly related to the labor inducing claim, but it did show research existed.

Essential oils are discussed a lot in my professional circles, that is because I am a massage therapist. Unfortunately, with essential oils we are visited by the local parasite, the MLM. Shawn White, why do you speak so negatively about this type of business? The answer is simple, if a company is an MLM it is operating with an inherently unethical and unsustainable business model. MLMs, like cancer are bad for society, they destroy hopes and dreams, empty savings accounts and push people to desperate lengths, often leading them to terminate longstanding and healthy relationships. If you find yourself invited to an MLM, take this fancy test to see what kind of pyramid presence they are presenting.

What is Aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy proponents describe this modality as “the therapeutic use of the essential oils of plants.” The term was coined by Rene Maurice Gattefosse, a French chemist in the 1920’s. When the term essential is used it is not describing the nutritional value of these plants. Instead it is the volatile, aromatic components that are the “essence” of the plant. This essence is believed to embody the plant’s life force and contains hormones, vitamins, antibiotics, and antiseptics. These oils are supposed to be administered in small quantities via inhalation and massage, though occasionally they are taken internally. [1]

Aromatherapists claim essential oils have the benefits of [2]:

  • They are convenient, quick and easy to use. – You can wear them during the day, diffuse them in your home or work place, or simply keep them in your pocket.
  • Are organic substances from the volatile liquid of plants. – The essential oils support healthy body functions such as healthy immune system function.
  • They can penetrate the skin and affect the emotional center. – Oils cross the brain-blood barrier and reach the amygdala and other limbic parts of the brain that control our mood, emotions and beliefs. So they can help us with our ability to handle stress, anger or any other emotion.
  • Soothes muscle discomfort after exercise. 
  • Helps animals.
  • Support healthy digestion.

What are my thoughts on Aromatherapy and Essential Oils?

Convenience is great, Americans love getting stuff right now, we are obsessed with fast food and instant gratification. Its fair to want medicine we can easily take, fortunately most simply require a small cup of water and the ability to swallow. The more important subject to discuss is aromatherapy’s claims involving the immune system. What do they mean by “The essential oils support healthy body functions such as healthy immune system function. [2]

What part of the immune system are they supporting and in what way? What research has been done and where can I find evidence supporting these claims? Are these studies only in vitro or have they been performed on animals and humans? Are these results meaningful, have the researchers proven the outcome was statistically significant? This article presented by Mark Crislip at Science Based Medicine, is an in depth critical analysis of products and procedures claiming to support the immune system.

I read and hear a lot about the benefits essential oils have on mood, but where is the science-based evidence? If you have access to a double-blind study observing the effects essential oils have on mental illness I would love to read it. As of yet I have not found any evidence except anecdotal testimonies.

When someone says their product soothes muscle discomfort after exercise they referring to a condition called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, aka DOMS.  People have tried many methods to eliminate DOMS. Massage, ultrasound, light exercise, glutamine, stretching, icing, electrical nerve stimulation, Epsom salts, drinking water, cherry juice, compression garments and vitamin D have been used to combat DOMS. Unfortunately, these methods just like Aromatherapy are ineffective [4]. “To date, a sound and consistent treatment for DOMS has not been established. Although multiple practices exist for the treatment of DOMS, few have scientific support. [5]” 


Research

Shawn White Blog

Clinical Massage


 

[1] <https://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/aroma.html>

[2] <http://www.experience-essential-oils.com/essential-oil-benefits.html>

[3] <https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/boost-your-immune-system/>

[4] <https://www.painscience.com/articles/delayed-onset-muscle-soreness.php>

[5] <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12580677>