Thursday, March 25, 2010

Is There a Cure for Arthritis (Aging)?

A very simple remedy that will cure many people's various afflictions, including arthritis and other body deteriorations (aging), is the inexpensive and readily-available guaifenesin (mucous relief), most people take when they have a cold or the flu, which also occurs with arthritis-like pains. Its major effect is that it thins the mucous in the lungs so that one can blow or cough it out

Mucous is the lubricant of the body -- and so like motor oil for the car, the greater viscosity, the better it works to provide lubrication, and functioning in the human body. Drugs that are effective, seem to do one of two things -- either thin the blood, or thin the mucous -- the two fluids of the body.

Throughout literature, the distinguishing characteristic of people as they age, is this thickening of the mucous, which is described as the condition of being phlegmatic, and no longer fluid as they once was. In 2003, I was almost crippled by the back pain that I had about twice a year for several months each time, which alternated with chronic bronchitis (persistent thickening of the mucous in the lungs), but chanced to see an article on the front page of the newspaper announcing that a doctor had "discovered" guaifensin as the cure for fibromyalgia.

I didn't know what fibromyalgia was, but I had noted in the '80s that Robitussin (guaifenesin) seemed to have miraculous curative powers as well as being an energizing tonic when I took it for my frequent bouts of bronchitis, which along with arthritis, were the conditions doctors had warned me I would experience throughout my life -- when they first pronounced I had childhood arthritis and would probably be crippled as an adult -- which seemed to come true in 2003.

Desperate for any answer or clue, I attended the free seminar describing the Guaifenesin
Protocol of Dr. Raymond St.Amand (What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Fibromyalgia), and since I had no doubts that guaifenesin had curative powers from my previous use of it 15 years earlier, my major take-away, was his assertion that after extensive use with high dosages over many years, guaifenesin was one of the few things that could be taken with no negative side-effects, but in fact, seemed to have nothing but positive impacts, including curing many of the auto-immune diseases like fibromyalgia.

Just think about it -- a drug with a known and proven effect for liquefying the mucous in the lungs for the congestion brought about by cold and flu, would in probability also thin the mucous throughout the entire body -- and not just target the mucous of the lungs, which effect cures and restores the body to healthy functioning -- as the body was meant to be.

So, walking out of that seminar, I commenced with regular dosages of guaifenesin, and have never again experienced either the condition of crippling back pain, or recurring bronchitis -- which has dramatically altered the prognosis for my existence, especially that pain is not a chronic obsession with me any longer, and one of the first effects I noticed on commencing this regular consumption, was that a nagging knee injury obtained in high school football 35 years ago that never fully recovered and became worse with age, also disappeared permanently at that time.

I've since adopted many other strategies for optimizing health and longevity, which was the natural outgrowth and continuation/actualization of my father's longtime interest and studies as a Tai-chi and Taoist practitioner, but the key to unlocking painfree fluidity of movements and functioning, is clearly traced to that revelation of the simple but miraculous effects of guaifenesin, which I share/suggest to people desperate for relief from their own painful conditions, which like me, nothing seemed to work.

Often, when seeing them a while later, even the memory of their once all-consuming painful existence, will have been forgotten, but they realize, the pain immediately starts to come back, when they miss their dosage of guaifenesin, and so they just get in the habit of taking it regularly, and ensuring they have a constant supply of it. It is incredibly a small price to pay for continued well-being for as long as one desires it -- and I can't think of a time one wouldn't.

Specialized medicine doesn't like the idea that there can be a universal explanation for why cells, tissues, and organs of the body begin to disfunction as some larger general principle for why the human body fails. This certainly would be worth investigating by anybody for whom the remedies offered by their medical practitioner fails to work and they are desperate for something that might, and in my own experience, has been one of the most reliable remedies that does. And since we live in the age of the Internet, it is easy to research that there is an absence of any study that documents any proven negative side-effects, while virtually everyone has experienced the effectiveness of its action if they ever had a cold, flu or bronchial congestion/inflammation.

I recently received an advertisement in the mail for an exotic new product, that replicates what inexpensive and readily available guaifensin does -- at a much higher cost, along with a longer, more elaborate and complicated explanation of the disease process -- and why their simple cure works. That was also the problem I had with following the guaifenesin protocol
and how "studies" were not conclusive in proving that it was effective -- when virtually the entire population, has experienced and can vouch for its effectiveness, in the specific and common relief for colds and flu.

That is inherent in the medical specialist's approach to the study of disease -- by which nothing is related to anything else, when surely, nothing else makes more sense.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Thoughtful Exercise -- A Little Goes a Long Way

The first time I thought about doing exercise differently from the conventional thinking of it, was in the late '70s when I first started experiencing injuries that seemed to overrun my abilities to recover from them, as well as discussing with an instructor of mine who was working with National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), who pointed out the problem that astronauts on long space voyages suffered from muscular atrophy from weightlessness and the traditional parameters thought necessary for maintaining strength, which is the resistance of working against gravity.

And while it is true that that factor of life that we take for granted living on earth, life still obviously continues, so it might be quite possible to develop an exercise program that was not abnegated by that necessity of working against the resistance normally provided by gravity. That led logically, to other alternatives for providing resistance -- such as hydraulic shock absorbers, and Bowflex technologies, or the natural resistance of materials to retain their original shape, including rubber bands, etc.

But the step beyond alternative external resistance technologies, was the consideration that the fluids and gases within the body itself, also provide this natural resistance, unless being activated to move, which is the challenge of moving fluids to where it can do the most good, because like everything else, they tend to want to stay where they are, unless forced to move somewhere else.

That is notably the problem of people with poor circulation -- that the fluids in their bodies, have no reason to move other than where they already are, and the advantage of liquids and gases, is their ability to move somewhere, to provide a medium of exchange in getting rid of waste products produced by the body's natural functions, and then, to bring in new nutrients and other life-enhancing byproducts.

Ancient exercise strategies, have called that process "chi," or "prana," which is this life-giving, life-sustaining, life-enhancing quality noted in healthy individuals, and in western science, was formalized only in the late 18th century by the "discovery" of oxygen and the understanding of the circulatory process -- that makes life wholly possible. Without it, the brain will first die in a matter of minutes -- which is acute failure, as opposed to the more typical experience of chronic, longterm failure which is the deterioration of life sustaining force.

When the body fails -- as in working it to "muscular failure" -- it is invariably because the brain fails first, because the effort cuts off the flow to the brain foremost, and diverts the flow to somewhere else the individual has decided, is much more important to sustain -- until the brain will invariably tell them otherwise, because it is the operating environment of the brain, that must be protected above all other functioning in the body. So there is no true muscular failure; it is the brain, that first gives up the effort -- because the oxygen debt to the brain, falls alarmingly low -- shutting down all other effort.

Therefore, one of the primary objectives in proper exercise, must be the priority of ensuring the flow to the brain -- which is not just the increased beating of the heart, but ensuring that there is actual full-range head movement that ensures the pumping (circulatory) effect. So rather than the notion that one can develop the physical part of the body separate from its mental considerations, they are linked -- because the primary function of the brain (mind), is not to produce thought but health. This is true of the brains of all living beings -- and failing that vital function, all else will be suboptimal, and mainly, substandard human performance and behavior.

But because we have allowed, if not created the dichotomy of health of mind (brain) separate from body, we think it quite possible, that one can function well without the other, and so many justify their otherwise disastrous health and functioning, which must be a genius in some manner not apparent but their rationalizations and explanations of that "superiority."

Otherwise, most of the outstanding I've met, were fully developed and actualized in every phase of their existence -- with that as their objective in life.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Discovering Oneself in the Age of the Media

Many people, on learning anything, think it is important that one learns knowledge sequentially from the oldest to the most recent -- but in such a manner, usually run out of time at the end to do the state of the art much justice -- and so what is usually learned, reinforced, and repeated, are the "old wives tales," or misinformation rather than the latest and most up-to-date and accurate about anything.

That is true in every field of understanding -- because one usually learns everything that is false, before discovering what is true, and then knowing what is true, doesn't bother learning the false anymore. But if one only knows the false, all will seem equally true -- until one recognizes, there is a huge difference -- that makes a difference, and every difference before that discovery, doesn't really make a difference.

That won't stop many from developing theories, explanations and rationalizations, of why what they think and know, doesn't work -- and so one must be more dedicated, put in more time, energy and conviction, to eventually obtain the desired result -- that were guaranteed -- but yet shows no sign of manifesting. In time it is hoped, all will turn out well -- because it usually has in time -- but also for a reason; so time alone, will not guarantee the results. In that ensuing time, one hopes to have obtained a greater understanding of that process, and improved their chances for success.

And so an important feature of any success, is this quality of perseverance -- or sustained interest and participation. In many things, one can have a burning interest and involvement with an activity, and then next year (or week), one has moved on to something else (burned out), and then something else again in a world of endless distractions and detractions. So to hear of a lifelong interest or involvement, is fairly rare -- especially at the cutting edge of discovery, that distinguishes the true student from the dilettante, or dabbler of that which is just the burning issue of the moment.

That is what "exercise" is for unfortunately many -- and invariably, those who would benefit from it the most -- and so, it should be made easier and more accessible, rather than only appealing to the most gifted and/or dedicated. Essential to exercise, is this learning of one's self, by oneself, for oneself -- and not the separation of the teacher/coach, from the student/athlete. That is an essential understanding of this activity -- that cannot be bought on the mass market -- that one foremost, has to learn how their own body (being) works. All the great teachers have said as much, "Know yourself," "Learn about yourself, as the key to understanding what the rest of the world is all about."

Thus, one begins near, to go far -- but beginning far, may never come close to finding oneself. This is especially true of those who have become or may have always been "disconnected" from their bodies and themselves, and have lived almost wholly in their thoughts. The best known of these are the "intellectuals," or as some people call them, "talking heads," because their heads don't seem to be connected to their bodies -- but merely pasted on to immobile bodies, or immobile heads.

The neck seems to be two strands of dental floss like material hanging loosely under the skin, that connects head to body, mind to body, rather than the vibrancy of a robust, fully-integrated being. On top of that, many even have plastic surgery so that their faces cannot alter their expression. And their eyes are affixed to a point away from eye to eye with any other. It's kind of disturbing actually.

All these expressions and mannerisms, are not incidental to the person one is, but is the manifestation of the person one is -- no matter how much one imagines oneself to be in other people's minds. One can also see these expressions in the words people express themselves with. It used to be said that the eyes were the windows to the soul -- and now everything is, in the expanded world of virtual reality.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

The Great Contribution of Nautilus Principles (Arthur Jones)

Every time I meet someone familiar with the Nautilus machines and storied life of Arthur Jones, it gets me thinking about my contacts with that individual and how he impacted the thinking of a whole generation of students and teachers in this field of physical culture, which up to that point, was largely a fringe subculture of people who liked to walk around in tight T-shirts -- constantly "flexed."

Since then, I feel fortunate to have gone on to develop the next great insight into these activities -- but the Nautilus principles was a key to reaching that next level of awareness and effectiveness. The key concept was the definitive proclamation by Jones, that "Nautilus machines allow one to provide variable resistance through the full range of movement of each muscle working in isolation," for it was thought that variable resistance was the key to permitting the full range of movement -- to which I questioned whether resistance was actually the hindrance to achieving the fullest range of movement -- and then realizing, it was the full range of movement, that actually and eventually produced its own resistance to further movement -- and nothing else is possible!

Getting to that realization would have been impossible without realizing that the ultimate objective, was not merely to obtain full range of movement, but actually, to achieve the fullest contraction, alternated with the fullest relaxation of a muscle -- mimicking the powerful and useful action of the heart, which is the muscle of the body that must perform unfailingly, in that singular action. Beyond everything else that muscles can do, and can be trained to do, that most basic function, of being able to achieve its greatest contraction, alternated by its greatest relaxation, produces the health effect of moving the body fluids, very powerfully, from the extremities, back towards the heart -- which is the weakness of the human body, and not pumping fluids out to the extremities, which is performed unfailingly by the heart.

That effect, we don't have to improve because it is a function perfected in millions of years of life -- in other animals as well as humans. But if we do not consciously or unconsciously (which is what we hope to achieve through conditioning), enhance the movement back towards the heart, the fluids don't push through the resistance of fluid already present in the extremities, but take a short circuit back towards the heart again -- because the resistance is much less.

Like the development of the lungs, tissue gets branched into smaller and smaller vessels, until at its most extreme, they allow only for the passage of single cells, which optimizes the exchange of passing cells with resident ones, but also provides greater resistance than the larger blood vessel circuits closer to the heart. Even the heart pumps blood to itself -- and if nothing else is happening, that is largely the extent of its circulation -- because the extremities are already full.

So when one produces these muscular contractions beginning at the extremities, it increases the internal pressure that moves fluid in the only direction it can flow -- back towards the heart, and upon relaxation again, there is space, and even a vacuum that draws in fluid from the heart to nourish growth. All this can be achieved without any apparatus, and movement other than
beginning a contraction at the furthest extremities of the body -- rather than merely speeding the flow through the core muscles -- at the expense of the flow to the much more important extremities and organs (including muscles) of the head, hands and feet.

There some health experts whose understanding of these functions are so ignorant, that they do believe that exercising the muscles in one's face, neck, hands and feet, can actually make any difference -- let alone be the key understanding to health, as fewer others have recognized in such esoteric disciplines as reflexology, acupuncture and acupressure. Understanding pressure differences is the key to understanding fluid and air movement in a body -- and that is what is being produced and modified in the action of the muscles -- and not that there is a magical quality to lifting weights, or spinning wheels.

Nautilus came the closest, to actually isolating this phenomenon -- which many other exercise and conditioning activities, still have no idea what is being talked about at the most elemental level of voluntary and willful movement to enhance the functioning, health and appearance of the human body.

They'll run on endlessly about machines, exercises, diets, calorie expenditures, pain and gain, while having no idea of movement at its most elemental level -- and its implications for the health and life of that individual. But in examining the claim that his machines could produce the maximal contraction in isolation, it became clear to me that such a possibility was not possible
in isolation, because a primary function in the work of any muscle, is to recruit a stronger, larger muscle to aid it -- in doing the work. That is as much hardwired into the muscular system, as the beating of the heart.

Therefore, the primary function of the largest muscles, is not to produce movement, but to provide great stability and support (anchorage) for the muscles that will be contracting towards it. A muscle contracts from the insertion to the origin, which is the insertion of the adjoining (supporting) larger muscle, which in turn, contracts toward the larger supporting muscle, etc. -- to the point of origin of the entire musculature, coincidentally at a point next to the heart.

Such efficiency does not automatically happen, when one only works a large muscle in isolation -- although one can design all kinds of exercises and machines to perform such movements, which if done, will strengthen muscles in ways that largely predispose them to injury. A good example is the leg curl machine -- which although can develop a muscle unused to such development, in a manner that will simply produce a disproportion to how nature intended. In no event, would one actually perform a leg curl to lift a weight meaningfully. One would choose every other alternative to perform such a task. Most "fitness" exercises, are similarly designed that way -- as to have no value but to disrupt the balance of natural movement and use/work the body in its most disadvantageous way, in the perverse thinking that such a challenge will produce a favorable evolution (miracle).

As far as I know, the only use of the leg bicep (hamstring), is to bend the leg -- so that it can be straightened out again in performing meaningful work, but it is not the ideal configuration for doing so arbitrarily -- just because it can be done, to lift a weight. It makes much more sense to identify the most natural and probable movements of the body, and strengthen them in that way -- to achieve maximal and optimal fitness.

And as the Man liked to say, "Nothing else is possible."