massage

Massage is amazing, but what are its benefits?

Would you like to improve circulation? Maybe you are interested in stimulating your lymph system to increase your body’s ability to fight toxic invaders? Perhaps you want to increase the number of endorphins released? These are common claims made by massage therapists, but are they true? Is there any science-based evidence supporting these supposed benefits? The answer is simple, most massage modalities have no proven benefit.

Life is already challenging, lets avoid increasing that difficulty. We achieve this by advocating for ourselves, one great way to start is by being critical about the advice we are given. We should be exceptionally critical of any treatment option we use, especially when it comes to our health. In this article we are specifically discussing the benefits of massage. In my research I have discovered two proven benefits:

  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 always reach for the stars. The best way to understand our world and the stars 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 have never been taught how to research or critically think, this paves the way for pseudo-medicine to continually nest within the massage industry. By and large massage therapists are undereducated, and they tend to cling to pre-science modalities or unproven ideas. This causes massage therapists to perpetuate myths and falsehoods. I want to help you protect yourself from this inaccurate information. The best way I know how is by showing you how to become your own advocate.

So how do I protect myself from low quality massage therapists? Finding the right massage therapist is like finding the right doctor. Now, by no means am I saying a massage therapist is equal to a doctor in education or scope of practice, but the way we approach our health should be universal.

Before using any massage therapist, we should review their website, or the company’s website they are employed by. This is done to see what modalities they use, and to determine if they provide evidence supporting the efficacy of these modalities. Contact the massage therapist and discuss their theory of massage, do their ideas match yours? If they don’t understand your needs, your needs will not be met. Not all massage therapists research and write articles, but if they do, this is a great way to see what their approach to massage is. If you can access a few, take some time to read them to determine if they are worth your hard-earned money.

Massage therapy makes all sorts of claims, here are some of the most common:

  • 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.
  • Increased joint flexibility.
  • Treats migraines.
  • Reduces post-operative adhesions.
  • Reduces edema.
  • Reduces scar tissue.
  • Helps eliminate lactic acid from muscles.
  • Removes toxins from the body.

It is easy to claim massage has a benefit, it is much more difficult to provide science-based evidence it plays a significant role in treating a disease or condition.  Some of the claims above might be possible,  but others are simply ludicrous.

Here are some more claims, take a look and ask yourself if you believe massage therapy could be an effective treatment option for the following conditions:

  • Whiplash.
  • Chronic pain.
  • Disc problems.
  • Pelvic floor dysfunction.
  • Neurological dysfunction.
  • Fibromyalgia.
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
  • Painful scars.
  • Scoliosis.
  • Vulvodynia.
  • Interstitial Cystitis.
  • Mastectomy Pain.
  • Menstrual Problems.
  • Painful Intercourse.
  • Urinary Frequency.
  • Problematic Breast Implant.
  • Coccydynia.
  • Endometriosis.
  • Infertility Problems.
  • Urinary Incontinence.
  • Lymphedema.
  • Urinary Urgency.
  • Episiotomy Scars.
  • Pelvic Floor Pain.
  • Pudendal Nerve Entrapment.

Conclusion

Massage therapy is great, it feels good and as a result it relaxes us. In a world of hardship, challenge and infinite obstacles, massage has a great slice of the wellness pie. We provide a healthy, ethical and effective form of instant gratification. A client doesn’t have to worry about adverse effects or addiction when receiving one. When we have such a wonderful niche, why are we so concerned with the release of toxins, improvement of circulation and the numerous other unproven claims? Embrace massage for what it is, an experience that feels amazing!


Research

Shawn White Blog

Clinical Massage

 

Rolfing

What is Rolfing? Its Painful!

What is Rolfing? This modality uses unproven techniques that claim to restructure fascia, muscles and other soft tissue to make improvements to a client’s posture. The techniques used in this modality are often very painful. Massage therapists implementing this modality use a considerable amount of force, enlisting knuckles, fists and elbows to dig deep into ligaments and tendons. In some instances a practitioner will place a client into a number of uncomfortable poses similar to assisted yoga.

The practitioners of Rolfing claim this modality may be used to treat a number of health conditions, such as: loss of balance, back pain, stress, anxiety, respiratory issues, decreased mobility, fibromyalgia, chronic pain and limited range of motion.

Unfortunately structural integration is still practiced. The no pain, no gain philosophy is an ineffective treatment option. Your massage should feel good during and after the session. If your massage therapist or health care provider is leaving your with bruises, consider letting this sadist go to seek out someone who actually has the education to help you.


Research

Shawn White Blog

Clinical Massage

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?

Eustachian ear ears

Ears? What could possibly be in there?

Bad things happen, and they will always happen. Sometimes we find ourselves in a bleak nightmare wrapped in despair. The key to navigating these terrible times is knowledge. With knowledge we can unlock the door and escape our hellish nightmare. We can learn from the past and prepare for the future and make the most of our moments. I do my best to be my own advocate, it can be a hard task and sometimes the job becomes overwhelming. In these moments it is great when someone reaches out their hand to help me stand. Normally I am not particularly interested in the ears, it doesn’t have much to do with my cancer or massage therapy, but today I want to help a great friend by offering him my hand to stand. Though the entire ear is discussed in this article, my primary focus is the Eustachian tube.

When pain locks us down and hopelessness begins to set in it is hard to imagine the hardship will ever end. In these terrible times we need a guide, to help us navigate these mad moments and remind us there is more than the scary sea.

Lets get this article into gear and learn about our ears.

The ear has many important parts: the outer ear, middle ear, inner ear and the eustachian tube. The outer ear is the visible area, it is the flappy  floppy skin and the hole, also known as the ear canal. Next, is the middle ear, this is the location of the tiny ear bones: stapes, incus and malleus. The inner ear, includes the chochlea and semicircular. Between the outer and middle ear is the tympanic membrane (also known as the ear drum). Finally, we have the eustachian tube, this important structure functions like a valve, controlled by the levator veli palatine, tensor veli palatine, salpingopharyngeus, and tensor tympani muscles.

What can you tell me about the External Ear?

The outer ear, also known as the auricle or the pinna is a structure primarily composed of cartilage. Its primary function is to gather sound and deliver it to the ear canal.

What do I need to know about the Middle Ear?

The Eustachian tube connects the middle ear cavity with the nasopharynx. It aerates the middle ear system and clears mucus from the middle ear into the nasopharynx. [1] The Eustachian tube is closed when it is at rest, and will open when we swallow, yawn or sneeze (or when performing the Valsalva Maneuver).  It helps equalize pressure between our external environment and our middle ear.

What is their to know about the Inner Ear?

The Inner ear is used to detect and interpret sound and balance.


What could possible go wrong with an our ears? 

External ear
  •  Otitis externa
  •  Wax impaction
Middle ear
  •  Eustachian tube dysfunction
  •  Otitis media with effusion
  •  Chronic suppurative otitis media
  •  Acute otitis media
Inner ear
  •  Sensorineural hearing loss
  •  Ménière’s disease

External Ear

Otitis externa

Wax impaction

Middle Ear and the Eustachian Tube

Eustachian tube dysfunction 

Eustachian tube dysfunction is a relatively common problem. Many otolaryngologists have patients who say their ears are blocked but show no severe pathology on examination, which often leads to a diagnosis of intermittent eustachian tube obstruction. This condition can wear down the eardrum, causing scarring or rupture. This in turn, may cause patients to experience hearing loss or cholesteatoma. [2]

There are various pathologies of the Eustachian tube, like Patulous Eustachian tube disease, otitus Media (OM), Acute Otitus MediaOM with effusion, Chronic Suppurative otitis media and Adhesive OM to mention a few.

Acid reflux and eustachian tube dysfunction 

Could ET dysfunction be caused by acid reflux? It has been reported that eustachian tube dysfunction was more likely to be associated with a higher number of nasopharyngeal reflux events and higher reflux finding score. Nasopharyngeal reflux may have a role in the pathogenesis of eustachian tube dysfunction. [3]  It has also been discovered that Reflux is likely present in a significant number of adult cases with otitis media and may lead to Eustachian tube dysfunction.[4]

What are some treatment options for this disease?

Eustachian tuboplasty

Balloon Dilation 

Eustachian Tube Bypass surgery

Drug-Eluding ET Stents 

Patulous ET

ET-Dialiation

Medicinal options

  • Nasal steroid spray (Flonase, Nasonex)
  • Anti-histamines (Claritin, loratadine)
  • Leukotriene Inhibitors (Singulair)
  • Corticosteroids (Medrol dose pack, prednisone)
  • Afrin (for short-term relief only)
  • Sudafed (for short-term relief only)
  • Anti-reflux medications (Prevacid, Zantac, omeprazole)

Inner Ear

Sensorineural hearing loss

Ménière’s disease


Research

Shawn White Blog

 

 

 

 

Orthomolecular Therapy, Mega Vitamin Dietary Supplements

Orthomolecular Therapy, Mega Vitamins and Dietary Supplements might be bad for me?

Food is our first medicine, but it is not our only medicine. In fact once we are sick there is little an apple, a steak or a pile of multi-vitamins can do. Aren’t dietary supplements good for me?  Some claim multivitamins, diet pills and energy boosters are beneficial. However, according to the New England Journal of Medicine an estimated 23,000 people are admitted to the ER each year after ingesting a dietary supplement.[1] There are many dietary supplements on the market. Some do nothing like those created from homeopathy, or next to nothing with marginal risks like the alkaline diet. However, there are others, like mega vitamins that pose a real threat with no benefit. Sometimes the use of megavitamins is called orthomolecular therapy, orthomolecular medicine, molecular therapy and nutritional therapy. If you are considering an orthomolecular option for your dietary needs, I strongly suggest you explore a science-based medical option first.

Orthomolecular therapy is a pseudoscience. Like others of its type  it sneaks into our diet because it guises itself as food while claiming to be effective as regulated medicine. With so many responsibilities and hardships on our plate it is difficult to research everything. We live busy lives and it can be challenging to lead a healthy one, but it is especially important to research the claims of anyone trying to sell you dietary supplements. There is a chance you’re paying a lot of money for nothing, or simply shelling out hard cash to hurt yourself.

So, what is Orthomolecular therapy?

In 1973 Linus Pauling and David Hawkins (a supporter of Applied Kinesiology) published the book: Orthomolecular Psychiatry. It defined the term orthomolecular as the practice of using substances normally present in the body to prevent and treat disease. Pauling and Hawkins claimed nutritional psychiatry could treat diseases like schizophrenia, the common cold and cancer, because they believed these diseases were caused by nutrient deficiencies.[2]

Pauling rallied the public to believe mega doses of vitamin C could be used to prevent colds and even fight cancer. Yet to this day there is no science-based evidence supporting this claim. Using beta-carotene, vitamins A and E to treat cancer has been found to do the opposite, often resulting in an increased risk of dying from cancer. [3] It has even been found  that vitamin C has no effect at all in the treatment of cancer. [4]  Sloan Kettering Cancer Center says: “Do  not take vitamin C if you are a cancer patient undergoing radiation therapy or chemotherapy. Vitamin C may interfere with these treatments and lessen their effect.” They continue by stating: most large-scale trials did not find vitamin C supplements useful in preventing cancers.”[5]

Are supplements ever good for me?

In specific instances, your medical doctor may prescribe dietary supplements. When I say medical doctor, this does not include acupuncturists, chiropractors and other naturopaths. If you want proven medical benefit consult those with a science-based medical degree that you trust. For help finding the right doctor click here. The link details specific information for people with NET cancer, but it may be boiled down into any medical specialist.

Can you give me an idea of who might need dietary supplements? Scurvy, pellagra and beriberi are diseases caused by nutrient deficiency. Though rare in the United States and Canada these deficiencies do occur. A doctor may adjust a patient’s diet or prescribe supplements to treat these illnesses. Food is the most effective method of treatment because it’s less toxic and leads to fewer nutritional imbalances than supplements. [6] 

Today the supplement industry encourages consumers to add Multivitamin/mineral pills to their diet to treat nutrient deficiencies, prevent chronic disease and promote health. However according to a study in 2006 Multivitamin/mineral pills did not reduce the risk of chronic disease.[7]

There are specific instances when someone might need a supplement, these include, [6]

  • Those who suffer with nutrient deficiencies or consume less than 1,600 calories a day.
  • Vegetarians, vegans and older adults with atrophic gastritis may require vitamin B12.
  • People who are lactose intolerant or don’t consume enough dairy may require calcium.
  • Infants may need vitamin D, iron and fluoride.
  • Pregnant women may require folate and iron.
  • Elderly individuals may need vitamin B12 and vitamin D.
  • People with heavily pigmented skin or those who do not consume enough milk may require vitamin D.
  • Anyone with a condition that interferes with the intake, absorption, metabolism or excretion of nutrients.
  • Individuals taking medicines that interfere with the body’s use of nutrients.

People who should not take supplements are, [6]

  • Men and postmenopausal women should not take iron supplements.
  • Smokers should avoid beta-carotene supplements given that high doses have been associated with increased lung cancer and mortality.
  • Postmenopausal women should not take vitamin A supplements.
  • Surgery patients should note take vitamin E, because it acts like a blood thinner.


  • [1] <http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMsa1504267>
  • [2] <http://skepdic.com/orthomolecular.html>
  • [3] <https://www.theguardian.com/society/2004/oct/01/medicineandhealth.lifeandhealth1>
  • [4] <https://www.theguardian.com/science/2008/nov/17/cancer-vitamins-risk-study-science>
  • [5] <https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/vitamin-c>
  • [6] <page 321-332, Rose, Nedah, editor. Understanding Nutrition. Wadsworth, Cengage Learning, 2013>
  • [7] <Huang H-Y, Caballero B, Chang S, Alberg AJ, Semba RD, Schneyer C, et al. Multivitamin/Mineral Supplements and Prevention of Chronic Disease. Evidence Report/Technology Assessment No. 139. (Prepared by The Johns Hopkins University Evidence-based Practice Center under Contract No. 290-02-0018). AHRQ Publication No. 06-E012. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. May 2006.>

Shawn White Blog

Research

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>

 

Applied Kinesiology

Applied Kinesiology

Knowledge is the greatest light of life. Put on your head lamp and crawl with me into the subterranean depths of applied kinesiology. This venom is the snake oil of life coaches and charlatans, seeking to steal control of your life and livelihood. Traveling deep into this rabbit hole we will discover the strange methods they employ to confuse and manipulate.

What is the medical definition of applied? To put to practical use; especially applying general principles to solve definite problems.[1]

What is kinesiology? It is the study of the principles of mechanics and anatomy in relation to human movement. [2]

If we combine applied and kinesiology together what does it produce? In the hands of pseudoscience, an unethical gold mine named applied kinesiology (AK).

What is applied kinesiology?

In summary AK requires the practitioner to press down on a patient’s outstretched arm. When doing so the test reveals the patient’s muscle resistance. A strong resistance indicates “yes” or “that’s fine” while weak resistance means “no” or “that’s bad.” [3]

Supposedly tests like these identify pathologies, nutritional deficiencies and the general health of patients. Additionally, some practitioners like David Hawkins believe AK may be used to detect lies, determine motive and identify how enlightened someone is.

To perfect one’s ability to diagnose they must have a working knowledge of chi, acupuncture meridians and the universal intelligence of the body.

 

How effective is AK as a diagnostic tool?

A systematic review of AK published in 2008 concluded: “There is insufficient evidence for diagnostic accuracy within kinesiology, the validity of muscle response and the effectiveness of kinesiology for any condition.” [4]

A double-blind randomized study in 2014 assessed the validity of AK and concluded: “The research published by the Applied Kinesiology field itself is not to be relied upon, and in the experimental studies that do meet accepted standards of science, Applied Kinesiology has not demonstrated that it is a useful or reliable diagnostic tool upon which health decisions can be based.” [5]

Edzard Ernst MD, PhD, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd, in his article: Applied Kinesiology: implausible, unproven, and yet incredibly popular; described AK as: “it is utterly implausible” and “there is no good evidence that it works” [6]

What danger does AK pose?

Like any pseudoscience it steers people with serious illness away from effective treatment. In this instance patients literally fall into the unqualified hands of practitioners using a subjective diagnostic tool to diagnose and treat illness.

This subjective diagnostic tool is the Ouija board approach to medicine. It is equally effective as locating water with dowsing rods or helping disabled people talk with Facilitated Communication. It is an abusive practice exploiting people with ideomotor effects.

Let’s imagine your dream is buying a plot of land far from society. You’ve spent countless hours learning how to cultivate the land, raise and slaughter livestock and live a completely self-sufficient life. You need a well and you don’t know how to find water. You have two choices, and both cost the same amount of money. The first choice is to put faith in a dowser, a person who waves two sticks in front of them to detect water. The second choice is to hire a hydrologist. This person is trained “in all of the physical, chemical and biological processes involving water as it travels its various paths in the atmosphere, over and beneath the earth’s surface and through growing plants…”[7].

Are you going to put your life savings and dreams in the hands of someone literally wiggling two sticks in the air to find water? Or, would you hire someone with an advanced education with access to satellite imaging and technology specifically designed to find water?

Using a practitioner of AK to diagnose and treat your illness is equally foolhardy. Especially when this diagnostic tool is used to identify and treat pain, cancer, diabetes, headaches, learning disabilities, osteoporosis, vertigo and Parkinson’s disease. [8]

Tools & Treatment of applied kinesiology

Our head lamps lit the twisting tunnels showing us the way through this shadowy cave. As we stepped around the corner of this twisting tunnel we learned things weren’t going to be ok. It was then, at that moment, we saw our hole was not burrowed by a bunny, but instead a hungry slithery snake.

We must keep our eyes open, always looking at where we are going, to ensure we are hoping into a healthy hole. By staring at the snake of AK we have already witnessed how illogical this viper can be, but we have yet to taste its venom. To truly understand the poison of the applied kinesiology snake oil we need to study how they claim to help others.

AK uses a variety of techniques to treat illness, here are a few:

  • Quantum Pendants
  • Counseling
  • Chiropractics
  • Craniosacral therapy
  • Myofascial release
  • Trigger point therapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Craniosacral therapy
  • Nutritional therapies
  • Homeopathy

 

Treatment of Quantum Pendants

Ernest the life coach and other charlatans love to twist and misinterpret placebo. They conceal their unethical practices with its warm wrappings. Perhaps these snake oil salesmen use the benefit of placebo to soothe their guilt for taking advantage of desperate souls.

This video shares the pseudoscience of AK and quantum pendants.

Treatment of Counseling

Sometimes Ak is used to counsel and advise patients on their personal lives. The very same muscle test used to determine the patient’s health is utilized to assess personalities of people they have never met. Imagine someone testing our worth, deciding whether we are a good person, if our spouse should leave us or if we should see our child, all by pushing or pulling on our significant other’s arm.

According to Rabbi Yair Hoffman, AK practitioners in his community have told their patients:

I am sorry, Mrs. Ploni, but the muscle testing we performed on you indicates that your compatibility with your spouse is a 1 out of a possible 10 on the scale.”

Your son being around his father is bad for his energy levels. You should seek to minimize it.”

Your husband was born normal, but something happened to his energy levels on account of the vaccinations he received as a child. It is not really his fault, but he is not good for you.”  [9]

In the following video we will observe how AK may be used to treat mental health issues.

While watching this video and others like it, notice how they call themselves kinesiologists. They do this to hide behind the veil of an actual scientific field. They falsely call themselves kinesiologists hoping to improve their credibility in the scientific community. If a practitioner doesn’t have the confidence to call their profession its actual name, how can we have confidence in their profession?

Lets look at AK in action.

There is an emotional thing that’s in here as well that’s connected itself, if you like, to the cheese. Lets just have a look at what that is.” She performed her diagnostic examination using her AK muscle testing.

“We’re looking on the five-element chart in fire, there’s metal, lung, large intestine, looking from the top to bottom. So, the emotions could be powerless, powerful, toxic shame, sadness.”

“Are there any issues at home that might be causing some sadness at the moment?”

The patient replied, “Oh well recently my grandfather passed and there’s been a lot of sadness home from that.”

Ok. So, your actually storing it in your body, actually in your digestive system. That emotion and that’s actually got itself connected to the food cheese, so when you’re actually ingesting it its like your body’s taking on board that sadness over and over and over again. So, I’m just going to give you a few drops of this virus essence under your tongue.” She drips some liquid into her mouth.

Let’s have another look and see how it is.” The practitioner returns to performing muscle testing and the patient expresses she feels better.

And how are you feeling about the issue with your grandfather now and the sadness we talked about?” The practitioner asked.

I feel lots more, light and a lot more calm.” Her patient replied.

That’s excellent, fantastic…” the practitioner replies.

A couple drops of water, some fidgeting hands and a few arm movements and this person is no longer sad about the passing of their father. Wow, they must not have been very close.

Treatment of Chiropractics

Applied Kinesiology often employs the pre-scientific belief of chiropractics. This practice claims to treat an array of illnesses by adjusting  subluxations, curing nerve impairment and innate.

Treatment of Craniosacral therapy

AK practitioners also use craniosacral therapy to treat their patients.

“A bump or other type of strain to the head can jam the skull bones, causing abnormal movement.  Improper nerve function may result that can cause problems in remote organs or other body structures. There are several methods for evaluating skull function that have been developed in AK examination. The doctor may test a muscle, apply a challenge to bones of the skull, and then re-test the muscle. The patient may be asked to take a deep breath and hold it, and then a muscle is re-tested to determine any change.  The doctor may have the patient touch various areas of their skull while a muscle is tested. Dysfunction of the skull is called a cranial fault.  If one is found, a specific gentle pressure, the direction of which is determined by the MMT examination, will be applied to the skull, usually with a specific phase of respiration.  If the correction is successful, there will be an immediate improvement of the MMT.” [10]

Here is an example of it in use:

 

Treatment of Nutritional therapies

Like most pseudoscience the best way to test their venom is to see how they spit their snake oil. So, how do practitioners of AK describe the tools of their trade?

According to Dr. Laura Sleggs, ND  she describes AK as “a non-invasive technique, it can help to identify nutritional deficiencies or excesses, imbalances in the body.”  She specializes in using AK to “test for bacteria, virus, yeast and parasites that may be affecting your body, food sensitivities and heavy metal toxicity.” [13]

How does Dr. Laura Sleggs discover harmful pathologies throughout the body with AK? I imagine the same way practitioners like Kamilla Harra does in the following clip.

She claims the nutritional methods of applied kinesiology are “extremely accurate at diagnosing food sensitives, even very, very mild and minor ones.”

When asked to describe the principles of AK she stated: “Every single particle in the universe, including yours cells, they consist of molecules and they consist of particles, they all have their own unique vibration and they have an electromagnetic field around it, and that’s pure science. So, when you take an essence of a food. Every vial has a particular electromagnetic field and when you place it on your body your brain would react to it, because everything that happens to us is registered by the brain. Then because the brain communicates with the muscles, the muscles will also react.”

In an article written by Dr. Stephen Barrett titled Applied Kinesiology: Muscle-Testing for “Allergies” and “Nutrient Deficiencies” he directs the reader to the bizarre claims of AK. Some of these include:

AK proponents claim that nutritional deficiencies, allergies, and other adverse reactions to foods or nutrients can be detected by having the patient chew or suck on them or by placing them on the tongue so that the patient salivates. Some practitioners advise that the test material merely be held in the patient’s hand or placed on another part of the body. A few even perform “surrogate testing” in which the arm strength of a parent is tested to determine problems in a child held by the parent. [11]

Many muscle-testing proponents assert that nutrients tested in these various ways will have an immediate effect: “good” substances will make specific muscles stronger, whereas “bad” substances will cause weaknesses that “indicate trouble with the organ or other tissue on the same nerve, vascular, nutrition, etc., grouping.” A leading AK text, for example, states:”If a patient is diagnosed as having a liver disturbance and the associated pectoralis major [chest muscle] tests weak, have the patient chew a substance that may help the liver, such as vitamin A. If . . . the vitamin A is appropriate treatment, the muscle will test strong”  [11]

Dr Barrett concludes his article by stating: The concepts of applied kinesiology do not conform to scientific facts about the causes or treatment of disease. Controlled studies have found no difference between the results with test substances and with placebos. Differences from one test to another may be due to suggestibility, distraction, variations in the amount of force or leverage involved, and/or muscle fatigue. If you encounter a practitioner who relies on AK muscle-testing for diagnosis, head for the nearest exit.

AK practitioners employ orthomolecular medicine to treat nutrient deficiencies and other ailments. This is not a type of medicine but a set of beliefs regarding the role of nutrition and supplements in human health and disease… not accepted by the majority in the scientific community. [12]

 

Conclusion

We have crawled down this dangerous snake hole to test the venom of applied kinesiology. I hope this journey has shown you the dangers of this poisonous practice and hope it will be enough for you to vaccinate against the harmful effects of pseudoscience.

 

The Placebo of Ernest the Life Coach

Sitting beside my friend Ernest we chatted the lazy morning away. We were in old town Saint Charles enjoying delicious coffee. Little birds scurried along begging for bread crumbs. Golden rays slipped through the fluffy cloud blankets creating kaleidoscope lightshows in the street.

Beside me was Ernest, he had a lean build halfway between a runner and a weekend warrior. His intensely bored eyes stared into the distance. He was tense and taut as a bow. “What did you think about the book I suggested?”

Watching the steam rise from my cup of coffee I placed my hand over the delightful heat of the freshly brewed deliciousness. Raising my eyes to his. “Oh yeah, the Mind Matter, You Are the Placebo book? It was boring with very little substance.”

Crossing his arms, Ernest’s face reddened as his brow furrowed.

I took a deep breath and continued speaking. “It was like four-hundred pages of pseudoscience garbage.  I get what the intent of the book is, but it’s the kind of message that can lead seriously ill people astray.”

Ernest shifted in his seat, his body movements sharpened, and began speaking faster. “I can’t fucking stand people like you. How can you just discount and dismiss what you read?” His words boiled with anger.

My eyebrow raised, I assumed he took my review as a criticism of him. I was kind of weirded out by his reaction. To ease the discomfort of the scene I raised the mug to my lips and took a sip; it was my favorite, highlander grog. Thankfully it had cooled enough for me to enjoy its exquisite flavor.

I looked at him, then back at the birds and the dark river in the distance. It took a few minutes of silence for his agitation to subside. As the air cleared his grimace lowered and his arms uncrossed.

You know I could’ve charged you when we first met?” He said with a stern face. “But, I value our time too much, so I didn’t…” Slowly he twisted his face into a half smile.  “…and I know you need our meetings.”

I shrugged and took a sip of my coffee. “I wouldn’t have hired you, so it wouldn’t have mattered.”

His half smile curled into a full fake smile.

Watching his reaction, I continued. “I’m sorry… I don’t pay for advice or for people to be my friend.” I said holding my hands on the sides of my warm mug.

A few moments passed. Ernest stretched his leg out, then sat back in his chair. The pallor of his face started to redden again as he pressed his lips together and narrowed his eyes. “So, what’s up, how are things?”

Eh, pretty rough, recovering from chemotherapy has been slow and hard.”

He stared off into space then back at me. “You know, the only reason you haven’t recovered is because you choose to stay sick. Right?”

Excuse me?” I could feel a warm anger in my stomach.

You’re choosing to be sick. As soon as you want to get better you will.” He paused for a moment. “That’s what Joe Dispenza is talking about right? This is all mind over matter.”

That’s not how it works, that’s not how chemotherapy or cancer works.” I was getting angry, but I was doing my best to remain calm.

That is how it works; if you tell your cells what to do they heal. If you chose to be sick, you stay sick. You have chosen to stay sick. Right? It is your decision; all of this is your decision. You’ve chosen to stay sick, just like you chose to get cancer.” His tone grated on my soul, like being stabbed by the splintered uneven edge of a broken spear.

My blood began to boil. How could this mother fucker actually believe this garbage? No one chooses to get cancer; no one wants to be sick.

He continued to explain. “I only get sick when I want to. I’ve been telling my wife and daughter this a long time. To prove it I told my wife I was choosing to get sick and I got sick. She used to have headaches all the time, now I’ve taught her how to choose not to have them, she doesn’t get them anymore. My daughter doesn’t listen though; she’s stuck like you and won’t accept she is in control of her health.”  Ernest’s smile and eyes became wide for a moment before continuing. “You are the placebo, if you want it hard enough, you can have anything you want.” He paused for a moment and looked at his phone. “I have an appointment, give me a hug brother, I’ll see you next week.”

I don’t like to see bridges burned, but I do like see boundaries enforced. To have a relationship with someone we must build a bridge from our island to theirs. It requires upkeep and understanding built from a foundation of empathy and respect. That day he was in the business of setting fires. There are certain things we don’t burn, just like there are certain things we don’t say. It felt like he was in the mood to set my island on fire, so I turned him toward the bridge. He first started by melting and discarding all his understanding, then set flame to empathy, and at the very end, once the bridge began to crumble and fall all my respect for him was gone. I could have stopped the conversation, told him how offensive his statements were, but why put out a flame when the arsonist is just going to set it ablaze again anyways?

Tell me about this book.

In the book: You are the Placebo, by Joe Dispenza he shared how he willed his vertebrae to regenerate after being crushed[1]. Where is the evidence? His followers claim things like x-rays and documentation aren’t needed to prove their prophet’s powers.

How did he heal his bones? Dispenza claims it was by becoming the placebo. In his words “The key is making your inner thoughts more real than the outer environment, because then the brain won’t know the difference between the two and will change to look as if the event has taken place. If you’re able to do this successfully enough times, you’ll transform your body and begin to signal new genes in new ways, producing epigenetic changes—just as though the imagined future event were real. And then you can walk right into that new reality and become the placebo.”[2

I have no clue what that meant, and I am sure he didn’t either. This is a common trait of followers and practitioners of pseudo-medicine, they love stringing together long unintelligible sentences.

Can we use the placebo effect to heal our body?

Harriet Hall, MD wrote: “Placebos are widely misunderstood. They don’t have any objective healing powers. Placebos have never been shown to change the course of any kind of illness; they have only been shown to temporarily improve subjective complaints like pain and nausea. You have a misconception about placebo surgery; no, it does nothing to activate the self-healing powers of the body. Placebo surgery is never used clinically for treatment. It has only been used as a placebo control in scientific studies, where it has been useful in demonstrating that a particular surgical procedure was ineffective and should be abandoned.”[3]

Harriet A. Hall is a retired family physician, former U.S. Air Force flight surgeon, and health advocate who writes about alternative medicine and quackery for Skeptic magazine, Skeptical Inquirer and Science-based Medicine.

 

The Life Coach

Life coaches and gurus speak about systems and methods to achieve a prosperous life. Don’t feel bad when they don’t work for you, most likely they don’t work at all. These people make a living by pretending to be your friend and selling you advice. If a trained psychologist or psychiatrist can’t heal you, how can this self-appointed life coach?

Hiring someone specialized in your field or need may be helpful or entertaining, but it is important to evaluate their qualifications. Many may claim to have insight or abilities that are simply untrue, these are charlatans selling snake oil. They have no genuine interest in helping you, their primary motivation is to take your money. Others may believe they have the capacity to transform your life, but most will do more harm than good. The final sliver of coaches represents a number who are qualified, capable and interested in helping you live a better life.

Surround yourself with the feather you want to be

Life coaches and gurus often say you should surround yourself with wealthy and successful people. They teach their clients to ride tailcoats and manufacture friendships. They want you to believe they are successful so you continue to pay them to be your friend and sell you advice.

Hanging out with wealthy people will not make you wealthy, unless of course they give you their money. Instead of paying people to be your friend, riding tailcoats and using others, just try to get to know people and make friends. Look for people with common interests and share ideas. Fake people suck and everyone knows it, the more artificial your are the more awful you become.

Surround yourself with the feather you want to be. This means spend time with good-willed, loving people with peace in their heart. The right people are the ones who encourage us to achieve our dreams and to live with purpose. They are passionate, confident and want to leave the world better than they found it.

An MLM isn’t the answer

There comes a time when we decide to take charge and become our own captain. We build a ship and set sail to explore the sea and discover treasure. We are ready and willing to invest ourselves fully, sacrificing freedom for fortune.

Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs are blown off course and get caught in the web of an MLM. These organizations leech the life from everyone caught in their pyramid shaped web. They are a caste system of wealth, serving as the literal representation of ‘the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

MLMs manifest in a multitude of ways, but all share a few commonalities; most of the money is made by the first members, the organizational structure is shaped like a pyramid, and they all sell an overpriced product.

They sneak into the lives of good-willed, loving people pursuing their dreams of entrepreneurship. After infesting them, they slowly eat them alive like a flesh-eating maggot. They achieve this by using underhanded manipulative tactics that trick even those with a strong will.

The sensational sparkle of success

Lurking in the tormenting tide outside of the MLM is the hunting ground of the life coach. These unregulated experts offer advice and friendship in exchange for money. What connection do they have with MLMs?  Earlier I mentioned how life coaches and gurus advise their clients to surround themselves with wealthy and successful people. They use the MLM as a tool to show off their wealthy, connected and powerful friends.  Your life coach may suggest you to join their elite organization, claiming you’ll have all the components needed to rise to success. Of course, when you fail, the reason will be simple, you didn’t want it enough.

The Golden Sliver of Good

If there is a sliver of qualified, capable and compatible life coaches, how do I identify them?

Qualifications

What is their background? In what way is their past relevant to your life? If you have cancer and are seeking guidance through these troubling times, could you trust the advice of someone who has never walked this terrible path? As an aspiring entrepreneur could you trust advice from someone who has never started their own business?

What is their education? In today’s world a degree isn’t what it once was. The job of your choice may require a degree, but the specifics of the certificate is rarely important. When it comes to coaching, their education must be relevant to the guidance given. This education doesn’t have to be a formal one, but it should be extensive and insightful.

Ask your potential life coach what their training is and demand examples of their competency. Avoid anecdotal evidence of success, word of mouth and written testimonials are easily manipulated and distorted.

A degree in counseling or psychology doesn’t guarantee quality. However, it does improve the likelihood they are in a regulated industry and have liability insurance. A coach may still serve a valuable role in your life even if they do not have a mental health related degree.

Capabilities

How capable are they? How will their advice benefit you? Do they posses the intelligence, empathy and charisma to be an effective guide? Is their insight original or could you buy all their wisdom in a book?

What challenges have they overcome? Its easy to hear and read the hardships of others, it is far more difficult to live them. Overcoming the odds and coming out on top is an even greater challenge. In what ways have they faced the impossible? Have they been burnt asunder and risen from their ashes like the phoenix? If your coach wants to guide you, make sure they have experienced the spectrum of terrible to terrific.

How have they overcome the odds? It’s a bold move to claim unfounded hardship, but it happens. How do we know if our coach is telling us the truth? One of the best ways is to listen to them tell their story. Listen to the subtleties of how they learned to survive and thrive. Ask for all the details of this, that and everything in-between. Speak to the people who were there when the coach crawled through the muck and the mud. Research everything in your coach’s story, investigate their past and trust your gut.

When I advise people recently diagnosed with cancer I suggest they use an oncologist specialized in their disease. A generalist may have a great understanding of cancer in general, but they don’t understand the specifics of your special needs.

Life coaching is similar in that you shouldn’t waste your money on someone who isn’t a perfect fit.

Motives

What is their primary motivation? What maters most to them?  Are they the golden sliver of good or a wolf in sheep's clothing?  How do you ascertain if they want to help us? By asking questions, investigating who they are and trusting your gut.

 

MEMEs

Memes aren’t Facts

MEMEs are not Facts.  They can be informative, perhaps even insightful, but they are not good sources of information. Today I am going to show two MEMEs, address their message then apply critical thought to each.

 

MEMEs aren't Facts

The other day I wrote an article about hair care treatment. Why did I write this article? For two reasons: 1. I love to research and 2. I want to promote personal advocacy. To have personal advocacy we must develop our critical thinking skills. Images like the Nioxin vs. Monat vs. Rogaine are underhandedly manipulative, their marketing strategies attempt to trick and intimidate us into buying their products. They do their best to break down our ability to use critical thought. The image encourages us to make a knee jerk reaction and cast away science in favor for pseudoscience.

How does it do this specifically?

  1. It compares apples to oranges – Showcasing ingredients in one column, stating no harmful ingredients or side effects in another, then showing side effects in the final column.
  2. It manipulates our perception – by placing their product in the center of the image, surrounded by negative space it compels us to feel safer with it over the complicated and scary jargon of the other products. It tells us their product has no harmful ingredients and no side effects while presenting the others in an inferior and negative light. Finally, it scares us with bold red words and exclamation points!
  3. It unfairly represents the three products – By providing inaccurate or incomplete data on each product they stack the deck in favor of Monat.

"big pharma" stereotype

Personal advocacy requires Hope. I love Hope, she guides me every day in my struggle against the crushing weight of the world. Hope is the ATP in the muscles of Atlas as he holds the earth above his head. We need more than Hope to protect us from the harmful manipulations of others. Hope must be accompanied by critical thought, this Wisdom grants us the sight to see through lies and manipulations, to search for truth and protect ourselves from falsehoods.

The next topic I would like to discuss is the abuse of stereotypes and the danger of unchecked bias.

I had conversation on Facebook the other week about bias and stereotypes. Everyone has bias, which is fine, however when we allow our bias to interfere with treating others fairly that is when we have failed to effectively critically think.

The above MEME was discussed, the original poster asked if this quote was true: “a patient cured is a customer lost”

My reply was chemotherapy might not be right for everyone, but it has saved many lives. That we should be wary of sources that apply negative generalizations about large groups of people.

I have encountered many who are against chemotherapy and the pharmaceutical companies. When they tell me “there is no money in a cure” I ask them two questions, 1. How many kinds of cancer are there and 2.  name 5 big pharmaceutical companies and the chemotherapy drugs they manufacture.

The information given and the sources they cite is an important indication to the amount of time they have researched and how effective they utilize critical thought. For example, someone using Wikipedia or a MEME as source for information may lack critical researching skills. Perhaps they know how to research but they are not concerned with using evidence-based data, maybe they embrace pseudoscience or simply make judgements based on feelings.

Critical thought teaches us to acknowledge our bias, to set it aside, to be fair and treat others for their qualities, rather than the actions of people unrelated to them. It is unfair to apply blanket opinions on other groups of people. When these blanket opinions are applied they create a stereotype which creates an atmosphere of unfairness.

Each pharmaceutical company is an organization comprised of dozens, hundreds even thousands of employees. There are dozens of pharmaceutical companies, how fair is it to say these people are concerned only with making money? Not all people are the same, not all companies are the same.

Instead of making blanket statements about groups of people you don’t know, research each company and judge them individually. Just like people, the ideology of one pharmaceutical company will change, one to the next.

Final Thoughts

Perhaps the next time we read a MEME and feel strongly about its message, we should consider spending some time to research its validity.

Nioxin vs Monat vs Rogaine

Nioxon vs Monat vs Rogaine

While perusing the land of Facebook I was drawn to an image (shown below) illustrating the advantages of one product over two others. With my interest piqued I spent the better part of an evening researching it’s claims. I believe we all fall victim to the whirlwind of information flashed before our eyes. There is so much knowledge at our fingers tips it can be challenging to decipher fact from fiction.

Errors and Clarifications

The first error the author made was when they classified Nioxin, a company as a product. I am assuming the author intended to compare Nioxin’s Hair Regrowth Treatment for Men and Rogaine to the Monat product: Intense Repair Treatment.

The second error was when it compared the three products unfairly. No attempt was made to compare each item in a like manner, essentially the author was comparing apples to oranges.

The next error was that the active and inactive ingredients were inaccurately listed. If you consult the following data you will see that Acetamide MEA, Cocamide MEA, PEG-150 distearate, Tocopherol, Cocamidopropyl betaine, Diazolidinyl, Sodium Laureth sulfate, Tetrasodium EDTA, Methylparaben PEG-150 distearate and Propylparaben are not on the ingredient list for Nioxin’s Hair Regrowth Treatment.
The active ingredient of Nioxin’s Hair Regrowth Treatment for Men is 5% Minoxidil. The inactive ingredients are Alcohol, Propylene Glycol and Purified Water. [3]

The active ingredient of Rogaine is Minoxidil 5%. The inactive ingredients of Rogaine are butane, butylated hydroxytoluene, cetyl alcohol, citric acid, glycerin, isobutane, lactic acid, polysorbate 60, propane, purified water, SD alcohol 40-B, stearyl alcohol.

The product I assume the author wishes to compare from Monat is their Intense Repair Treatment, which claims to be a patented biometric peptide formula, that has “higher proven results than other leading hair loss brands” and its “clinical results prove significant results in just 90 days” [1]

The Intense Repair Treatment does not use the terms active and inactive ingredients, instead the terms ‘key ingredient’ and ‘ingredients’ are used. The key ingredient is Capixyl [1]. However on the main Monat website this ingredient is not mentioned. On the main Monat website it states that the product’s ingredients are water, butylene glycol, acetyl tetrapeptide-3, Trifolium Pratense Flower Extract, hydrolyzed wheat protein, dextran, xanthan gum, pvp, cocamidopropyl-pg-dimonium, chloride, benzyl alcohol, dehydroacetic acid, fragrance.

According to another source the ingredient list of Capixyl is: Butylene Glycol, water, Dextran, Acetyl Tetrapeptide-3, Trifolium Pratense Flower Extract which matches up with most of the ingredients within the Intense Repair Treatment. [2]

How are the terms key, active and inactive ingredients defined?
According to the World Health Organization the term active ingredient is defined as:

“active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) Any substance or combination of substances used in a finished pharmaceutical product (FPP), intended to furnish pharmacological activity or to otherwise have direct effect in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease, or to have direct effect in restoring, correcting or modifying physiological functions in human beings.”

An inactive ingredient or vehicle is an inactive substance mixed with an active ingredient to give bulk to a medicine. [4]

I have found no pharmaceutical definitions for key ingredients.

What do these three products do?

Nioxin Hair Regrowth Treatment for men and Rogaine have identical active ingredients.
Active Ingredient: Minoxidil 5%.

“Minoxidil applied to the scalp is used to stimulate hair growth in adult men and women with a certain type of baldness. The exact way that this medicine works is not known. If hair growth is going to occur with the use of minoxidil, it usually occurs after the medicine has been used for several months and lasts only as long as the medicine continues to be used. Hair loss will begin again within a few months after minoxidil treatment is stopped. In the U.S., this medicine is available without a prescription.” [5]

Monat Intense Repair Treatment
Key Ingredient: Capixyl (not listed as an active ingredient, see above)

There is no information on Pubmed about Capixyl. [6]

There appears to be no evidence-based data to suggest Capixyl or the Monat Intense Repair Treatment has any affect on the regrowth of hair.

Conclussion

According to my research Minoxidil is the only drug proven to regrow hair. Monat’s claim that Capixyl (or Monat’s Intense Repair Treatment) can regrow hair is anecdotal at best.

[1] “Intense Repair Treatment” Monat Intense Repair Treatment. Hair Canada. Web. 8 December 2017. <
[2] “Capixyl TM” Propspector. UL. Web. 8 December 2017 < https://www.ulprospector.com/en/na/PersonalCare/Detail/4501/191081/Capixyl>
[3] ”Nioxin Hair Regrowth Treatment for Men” JC Penney. Web. 8 December 2017. < http://haircanada.net/index.php/monat-products/intense-repair-treatment-monat/>
[4] “Defintion of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient” WHO. World Health Organization, July 2011. Web. 8 December 2017. <https://www.jcpenney.com/p/nioxin-hair-regrowth-treatment-for-men-30-day-supply-2-oz/pp5005120081?pTmplType=regular&rrec=true&rrplacementtype=product1_rr> http://www.who.int/medicines/areas/quality_safety/quality_assurance/DefinitionAPI-QAS11-426Rev1-08082011.pdf>.
[5] “Minoxidil (on the skin)” Minoxidil. NCBI. 1 November 2017. Web. 8 December 2017. < https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMHT0011238/?report=details>
[6] “No result found for Capixl” < https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/search/?term=Capixyl>

Palliative treatment What does this mean? Part 3

Palliative Treatment

Palliative treatment is a term used to represent the care or therapy of a patient. More specifically it focuses on the their symptoms by addressing them directly and building a treatment plan that focuses on their needs.

The care plan aims to improve their quality of life through medical, emotional and spiritual support.  It’s a treatment that helps the patient live their life to its fullest, whereas hospice aims to make a dying patient’s final days peaceful.

I believe that palliative care should begin at the onset of a cancer diagnosis.  A team of experts and specialists should be brought together to assist in the patient’s treatment plan.  Nutritionists, physical therapists, massage therapists, chiropractors, psychologists and other members should be on a cancer patient’s super team.

The cancer experience often leaves you feeling like a child, overwhelmed and frightened.  It is at these scary moments that having someone educated, experienced and empathetic at your side can be the difference between a life of hell and one well lived.

 

Palliative Care

Palliative Care Video

Follow this fancy link if you would like to follow me as I discover my own personal health advocacy.

 

Comprehensive Metabolic Panel, What does this mean? Part 2

Comprehensive Metabolic Panel

Sources for Comprehensive Metabolic Panel can be found here at The Free Dictionary, and Lab Tests Online.

Blood Test

Explained

Glucose GlucoseBlood Sugar
BUN blood urea nitrogen Kidney Function Test
Creatinine Creatinine Kidney Function Test
eGFR MDRD, GFR

 

Glomerular Filtration Rate

 

Kidney Function Test

 

 T4

TSH

Thyroxine

thyroid-stimulating hormone

Thyroid Function Test

Thyroid Function Test

Sodium Sodium Electrolyte levels
Potassium Potassium Electrolyte levels
Chloride Chloride Electrolyte levels
CO2 carbon dioxide blood bicarbonate level
Calcium Calcium 1,  bones, heart, nerves, kidneys, and teeth
Protein Protein Liver test
Albumin Albumin Liver test
Bili Total bilebilirubin, Total Bilirubin; TBIL; Neonatal Bilirubin; Direct Bilirubin; Conjugated Bilirubin; Indirect Bilirubin; Unconjugated Bilirubin Liver Test
Alk Phos, ALKP Alkaline Phosphatase Liver inflammation and damage test
AST/SGOT

SGOT

aspartate amino transferase

Serum Glutamic-OxaloaceticTransaminase

Liver inflammation and damage test

ALT/SGPT

SGPT

alanine amino transferase

Serum Glutamate PyruvateTransaminase

Liver inflammation and damage test

The following video explains in great detail about the Comprehensive Metabolic Panel.

 

What does this mean? Part 1 (Introduction)

What does this mean, what does that mean, these are questions I found myself asking along the way.  Often I would see lists of abbreviations and acronyms that represented critical bits of information that did not exist within my vernacular. There is so much information in the medical world, it is easy for anyone to get lost in its sea of vast knowledge.

This series focuses on the abbreviations, acronyms and terms found on the different documents we see through our cancer journey.  This series is less entertaining and more informative, each post will have the subject matter after the part number in parenthesis.  My goal is to provide a comprehensive and easy to locate list to help you understand the difficult road ahead of you.

I want to leave off saying that I am not a doctor or a physician.  These definitions and explanations reflect my own personal research on the topic.  You should consult your health care provider when deciding your medical needs.  My goal is to give you some frame work to help facilitate those conversations.

Direction – Why do I need a specialist?

 

Sometimes it is a challenge to see our environment, it is difficult to make out exactly what it is we are experiencing.  When you are facing something as difficult as cancer it can be hard to find which direction is the right way to go. This is especially true of my cancer journey. When I started this road I put my faith into a group of professionals that I thought would lead me well. Unfortunately I discovered I was a blind man being led by another blind person.

In one of my last posts I made a comment about how upsetting it was that my oncologist knew very little about my cancer.  After watching this video it shed more light onto why he was so mistaken about the nature of my disease.

Why do I need a specialist?

Ignorance of something rare is excusable, but is it when the doctor doesn’t refer you out to someone who might be more knowledgeable? 

Bronchial Carcinoids

There are two kinds of carcinoid, typical and atypical.  I have the pleasure of owning the atypical variety.  I had a pneumonectoy on July 27, 2016.  That means that my right lung was removed in the attempt to stop the spread of my cancer.

In the following video Dr. Robert Merritt details some of the nuances of Bronchial Carcinoids.  If you have the time to listen to it its actually pretty fascinating.  If you have a carcinoid friend inside of you there is a chance it might get your gear going in the right direction.

Look here! This is another opportunity to read more about my cancer journey! If you would like to take some more steps with me, feel free to click here!