Tuesday, October 27, 2009

All the Birds with One Stone

Occasionally I run across a real stroke of luck.

I was feeling pretty good on passing my 60th birthday 9 days ago, but there were a few things that bothered me that I was uncertain how to proceed in finding a cure for.

For the past year, I've become increasing aware of poor quality sleep that left me feeling very tired all the time. The major syndrome was sleep apnea, or a disruption or cessation of breathing while sleeping that causes one to awaken, and in some unfortunate cases, die while sleeping. But usually, the stoppage of breathing causes one to wake up. I noticed it was caused by the collapsing of the airway, accompanied by an extremely dry throat.

For a while, I thought to have water always on hand to drink, but I didn't like the taste of plain water because of the bad taste in one's mouth one usually has on awakening, and so I thought to make it more palatable by adding tea, and even lemon juice to make water more palatable. Then I started having sore gums that made drinking anything quite painful. It seemed like I was trapped in a weird conundrum.

But because I felt like celebrating my birthday, I thought I'd go down to the Dollar Store and look around specifically for liquid acetaminophen, and check out everything else. One of the first things I spotted was those mesh back supports that were being sold at the state fair for $20 each, with another thrown in for free. They seemed like a good idea but at $20, it was above my threshold for trying all those products one can obtain at such events -- but when I saw it for a dollar, I bought two, just in case they worked enough to make a difference.

When I got them home and tried them skeptically, I felt very positive that they did eliminate back pain -- and so I was overjoyed by that realization because back pain had been a major problem for me for most of my life, until I discovered the guaifenesin protocol almost eight years ago. Then, I no longer had debilitating back pain -- but just the common variety most people have.

While there, another product I took a chance on, was instant dissolving strawberry flavored TUMS powder, in 24 premeasured packs -- because it seemed like a good idea and way to flavor my water to be more palatable, while reducing stomach acid (a problem for most people) and obtaining calcium, which is difficult for me to obtain because I cannot tolerate dairy products with the exception of cheeses. My major concern was that it might contain trace amounts of sugar that would cause cavities -- because it lists sucrose and dextrose, while providing 5 calories and 1 g of sugar.

As the week wore on, I first noticed that my gum pain was gone, and there didn't seem to be a major problem with sugar, because I'm actually quite sensitive, if not allergic to it. I seemed to enjoy drinking my antacid solution very well and no longer had a problem with sleep apnea or parched throat, and then today, when I wasn't certain whether I wanted to be up yet, I was shocked by the transformation I saw in the mirror -- at first because it seemed my hair was darker and manageable, and then the slight bag under my right eye had disappeared -- after I thought it might have been my imagination that the one under my left eye was shrinking yesterday, and by today, was completely gone, and the one under my right eye was becoming virtually undetectable also.

My entire body seemed to have taken 15 years off -- in a span of a week, by the addition of this antacid drink -- they must have been clearing out at the Dollar store, or test-marketing. By the packaging, I'm sure this was intended to sell for $5 a box at least (24 packets -- 2 packets per pint bottle enhanced with 2 saccharine tablets.)

I'm really quite amazed at the things I've been able to glean from the Dollar Tree store -- just by looking at everything and being openminded enough to try these things. A few things don't work out, but far and away, I'm amazed at how many life-changing things I've gotten there -- for only $1. I went back and bought 6 more back supports and 6 more boxes of antacids.

Almost exactly a year ago, I was working the Salvation Army table at the home remodeling fair when some children came by to offer a free cup of water, along with a description of a water filter whose primary task was to convert the water from acid to base, and I thought that water was remarkably good tasting, for a filter/treatment another distributor claimed couldn't do the miraculous things claimed by simply changing the PH of the water -- because supposedly, that effect was nullified by the acid produced by the stomach. However, the water does taste a whole lot better to me -- and while I kept that thought in mind, this antacid, was my first opportunity to test this thesis is a fairly uninvasive way I thought would be a godsend if it addressed just one of my afflictions/concerns -- rather than seeming to have addressed them all at once, and then shocking me, when I noticed the transformation in myself after a week on the project.

I was just hoping I could tolerate it -- and it wouldn't have the negative side-effects like causing more tooth decay. Instead, it seems to even have strengthened the enamel, by always immersing my teeth in a base solution of calcium. Oh, and I never seem to have any digestive upset -- which I suppose is what this product was specifically designed to do.

As people get older, one of the telltale signs of that aging effect is that their cells no longer seem to hold water as well, to give that full, robust look to the tissues anymore. This manner of ensuring adequate hydration seems to address those problems as well, as well as eliminating digestive upset and problems -- which is what it was specifically designed to do as most people have increasing digestive upset with age, and no effective way of countering this drawn look of a body operating at the edge of its capacities.

Instead, there is the familiar look of a person optimally hydrated so that the tissues, particularly the muscles, look full and vital. The dryness of skin also goes away. The skin becomes soft and smooth again -- along with the hair.

I think this addresses most of the problems of aging -- physically.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Like Brushing One's Teeth

One frequently reads about people like Jack Lalanne who works out for two hours every day to keep and maintain his fitness levels -- as though that is going to inspire people doing nothing to want to do it also. But if it took only five minutes a day, most people would conceivably do it -- or at least give it serious consideration, because even the busiest person in the world, must have a five minute block of downtime to spare.

The most obvious times are preparing breakfast or warming food or beverage in the microwave -- usually requiring 3-5 minutes -- plenty of time for a full body inventory of preparedness for optimal functioning. In any sporting activity, or preparation for an event, a person will usually go through a routine, preparatory to making an attempt, or even before "working out," when if done properly, it can be all of the above.

In the warmup, one could have completed a workout in those movements. For any athlete, a warmup has to be what will be able to access their full range of movement and potential, while not unduly exhausting them. There is that fine line not usually understood by novice participants -- so, many exhaust themselves prior to their event, which is a catastrophe. One desires to perform their best at the peak moment -- and not prematurely.

All this does not require lengthy programs of activities and movement in itself, before getting down to the serious business of what they think is so productive. The warmup can be this complete movement and workout in itself -- but people have these myths and fallacies they believe to be the truth -- because that is what they are conditioned to believe, and that is the function of most people's conditioning program -- to believe what is not true, and hope by the constant affirmation of this, to overcome reality. But it doesn't do them any good, because the truth is still there -- waiting to be addressed.

Much of conditioning in the past, was of these beliefs, rather than the actualities -- and so the harder one believed, the more likely they were to see it come true -- when the reality of the matter, is that a better understanding of the process, immediately makes it so. It is important to distinguish this difference -- between belief and wishful thinking, versus doing what is self-evidently true.

Obviously, if one is articulating the full range of movement at the extremities of the body, it requires the engagement and activation of everything in between the origin of all the muscles (which has been noted in ancient observations to be the point below the sternum next to the heart and diaphragm) and those distant (distal) points. Every individual muscle has its own distal and proximal point -- but in every case, the distal (insertion), always moves towards the origin (proximal) closest to the center of the body.

If one "fires" a muscle from its most distant point of the body, it has to set off a chain reaction back to the origin of the musculature system. Nothing else is possible -- except one can learn all kinds of movements and position that defeat that hardwired wisdom -- which many conditioning practices unknowingly or knowingly do, depending on the premises of their belief systems.

Many people's belief systems is that the harder, the better, when in reality, the intelligence is in making the difficult easy and eventually, the impossible, doable. That won't happen if one always makes the easy, harder, and eventually, even the simple, impossible -- yet that is the underlying belief of many so-called conditioning programs that of course, people abandon as soon as there is no authority forcing them to do them.

That's why the authority is so necessary to such conditioning programs -- to convince one to persist in their beliefs against what is true, as though by doing that, they can overcome any reality -- rather than simply, going more each day into denial, and being battered by realities which are a large part of the aging process -- of struggling eternally, against an environment that should be one's ultimate support system.

So rather than designing exercise programs to be as difficult as possible and requiring extraordinary efforts to continue, it would rightfully be designed to be as easy and simple as brushing one's teeth and combing one's hair each day. Most people will do at least that.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Exercise: You Don't Have to Kill Yourself

Three people died over the weekend running (competing) in a marathon -- and all were reported to be in excellent shape. That's not surprising, because when I pioneered work on high-intensity exercise in the early 70s, what we found pretty consistent is that the best conditioned athlete was the one most likely to become extremely impacted by an assault on their momentary capabilities rather than the worst conditioned participants, because they apparently were capable of pushing themselves momentarily beyond their body's capacities -- which is the intent as well as product of that conditioning.

People who were untrained and in poor condition, didn't have the ability to "hurt" themselves in that way. That is true, in most activities; most of the injuries are caused by people who have the formidable ability to hurt themselves -- because they can push their bodies to the limits normally not experienced by most.

And so that power, creates a need to use it responsibly and also understand the risks involved with having that greater capacity and confidence, that if misjudged or misused, can be disastrous. So one of the great lessons one learns in increasing one's capacities, is the ability to use it judiciously and responsibly, because having great power, is a responsibility and does make a difference.

People who can't make a difference, don't think any actions of theirs makes a difference and can have wide-ranging impacts and implications -- which those who do have that power, must learn to use and control responsibly. Thus it is often noted by those in the presence of large and powerful athletes, about how extremely gentle and precise they seem to be -- rather than knocking over all the furnishings as many more average persons are much more likely to do. It is because they have that power and capacity and must be aware of it at all times -- or they would destroy everything and never be invited or allowed anywhere, or would be constantly berated and have their confidence undermined as youngsters growing up.

Instead, they tend to be extremely precise in their movements and aware of the abilities of everything else in that environment to bear their impact. They don't take it for granted that each chair will support them; they will test a chair out prior to using one to see whether the chances of being supported are reasonable.

In this way, supremely conditioned athletes are so not because they can push themselves beyond their limits, but they are acutely aware of them -- whatever they may be. If they sense impending distress, they take the precaution not to test those limits unnecessarily. They know that there will be times enough when they will find themselves not in a position to control those factors (risks) -- so when they can, they opt to survive and maintain a margin of reserve that ensures their survival and success. That is also the conditioning advantage -- of knowing one's limits, knowing when there is greater risk, and knowing that area in which life itself is at stake, and there is a time when one has to take that door, and when it is a needless risk.

Normal conditioning activities, needn't expose one to even the chance of those risks arbitrarily and unnecessarily, because they arise often enough simply in the course of one's daily activities. One's conditioning, is to allow one to experience the greatest amplitude of those possibilities that define one's unique life -- but one need not be foolhardy and reckless to garner that respect from oneself and others. That is a large part of what it means to mature fully in life -- that one no longer takes unfounded and unmerited risks, but does not hesitate and can accurately measure the risks and act prudently even while others around may not have the slightest inclination of what to do and how to respond. One simply does, because he has that capacity to.

So when there is a large number of participants in a marathon, every individual brings their own unique capacities and qualifications for them -- and while it is nice to be able to run a marathon at least once in one's life, it is not necessary for one's well-being ever to do so, and in fact, one can probably obtain superior conditioning in other less intrusive and demanding ways.

Originally, maximum heart rate was determined to be important not because it was necessary to function at that capacity represented by that threshold at which imminent failure was probable -- but that was what was to be avoided. And so from that calculation, one could determine what was the safe thresholds to maintain -- which then was assessed to be at 65% of that theoretical maximum -- a level which can be achieved doing practically anything, including often, just measuring one's heart rate.

So the far more important question to consider, is not rate at which the heart beats, but the optimization of the circulatory effect -- regardless of the rate, which is the thoroughness in which circulation can take place -- particularly to the extremities of the body, and not just to the heart itself, which is not likely to be a valid indicator of the overall development of that individual -- at the extremities in which individuals differentiate and become accomplished in their many proficiencies -- either in thought, words or actions. These are neuromuscular abilities supported by the cardiovascular system, and not cardiovascular activities primarily.

The proper understanding of this essential difference, is the key to optimal condioning.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Overlooking the Obvious

When the human body breaks down, it happens most obviously at the extremities of the head, hands and feet, which are those areas most impacted by poor circulation -- yet the tendency is to think that poor circulation is due to some impairment of the heart, rather than the lack of functioning at the extremities, at which most people are surprised they have the range of movement I demonstrate to them.

In performing those movements of rotation at the wrists, ankles, and neck, even 85 year old women who have never "made a muscle" before in their lives, are surprised to see the appearance and movement of muscle that they've never witnessed before -- simply because they've never thought to make such movements. Yet these are the very movements that are required, if one wants to exhibit such development -- and it is this articulation of these movements that maximize the circulatory effectiveness, if that contraction is alternated by a relaxation phase.

That is usually the problem of hypertense people, as well as bodybuilders, of whom the observant person will usually remark, that they never seem to relax but maintain a constantly contracted muscles -- which not incidentally, often causes the constriction of blood flow to the brain by which many seem to pass out or become light-headed and not functioning well otherwise.

What to me seems to be the distinguishing feature of those with diminished brain functioning, is this lack of head movement, just as those with grotesquely swollen ankles and feet, have no movement that properly done in the full range of possibility, would push the fluid back to the heart and organs of filtration, thereby eliminating the waste products that ordinarily accumulate if not evacuated effectively by these muscle contractions, which are compressive in action.

That is why these people with obviously painful swollen extremities frequently have them wrapped in compressive bandages -- to reduce the swelling, in the absence of this muscular action. For most people, these muscle actions are possible, but simply done, because they have never been witnessed before, or brought to their attention -- except when a home run king or basketball player claims that it is all done with the wrist, and what others, describe as a follow-through, as though it is incidental to the action, rather than its primary focus and intent.

Instead, it is usually thought that the objective of such movements, is to move the major muscles, when in fact, useful work is not expressed except through the fine motor action at the extremities of the body designed as the highest expression of the human body -- whether it is athletics, art, or writing. Those neuro-muscular connections must be kept at the highest level of responsiveness, or they wither from disuse and become disfunctional. But in an inactive or otherwise gross motor life, one doesn't notice such deterioration except to comment that one's memory isn't as good as it used to be, no longer smiles as they used to, can no longer thread a needle as well as one could, or has trouble maintaining one's balance on one's feet.

But it usually never occurs to such people making these comments, that there is something directly they can do about it -- to maintain optimal functioning in those organs. Instead, they are misdirected to the lack of proper functioning at the heart, which is more than likely to be operating well -- if it is operating at all. That's usually not the problem; the problem is that which is not operating at all -- except as the immovable stumps people come to regard the extremities of their bodies because they do not articulate the full range of movement possible at the wrist, ankles and neck -- that are usually not given attention at all, in most conventional and traditional conditioning and exercise programs heretofore, and it is this lack, which I point out, is the direct cause of deterioration beginning at these sensitive and vulnerable parts, that given even minimal attention, produces the greatest transformation in the performance, appearance and functioning of the body! -- so much so as to seem miraculous by what we have commonly experienced in this arena.

This is most obviously seen in the many elderly seen "walking" invariably with walkers, and shuffling their feet while articulating no real foot movement in relationship to its supporting structure of the lower leg. For all practical purposes, the foot is regarded as a pad for moving the body around, instead of regarding that the range of movement of the foot, the hand, and the head, are really what characterizes and distinguishes distinctly vital human behaviors and functioning -- unlike the heart which is pretty similar in all species of animated living, because it has to unfailingly fully contract or fully relax as its only function and purpose.

The human hand is like no other, and in its absence, some have been able to master those tasks with the human foot even to the point of painting and writing with no discernible difference in quality. And the human head, face, houses the largest brain in proportion to bodyweight, and contains the senses of speech, sight, smell, taste and hearing that is vital to maintain, of which the most important function, is the maintenance of the circulation to those areas -- that are largely determined by the same muscular contractions that increase and direct the flow to everywhere else in the body -- and not just by "mental exercises," that do not provide the actuality of this function.

And so I've long maintained, that if one assures the best circulatory performance to these areas, the rest of the body is well-maintained because that is their proper role as supporting structures to the vital tasks performed only at the hands, feet and head. All other movements, have no real meaning otherwise -- yet that is usually the entirety of the focus of conditioning programs of little value and interest for most, and will be abandoned as soon as possible because it is purely arbitrary -- rather than the necessary mastery of the vital skills necessary to maintain all one's life for maximum performance, enjoyment and meaning in life.

What could be more obvious than that?