Combating Inflammation

by: Yvonne Madison, LMT / Researcher and Writer

*Applicable in-house Treatments and Services: Myotherapy Massage Therapy, Swedish Gymnastics, Mobility work, Contrast Therapy. Infrared therapies, Chromotherapy. (see disclaimer below as we do not treat, cure or diagnose medical conditions).

Taking care of our body’s and having the ‘know-how’ to identify what triggers certain conditions is so very vital for maintaining optimal health. Our day to day lives should be lived optimally, with the least amount of pain, and disruption as possible. This idea of it being okay to be in pain or to expect illness is so destructive and something that I’ve found that we really need to reverse. Let’s stop ‘normalizing’ sickly thinking’. Yes, there are very legitimate diagnoses that we have to consider, as time ages us and injuries and other factors become present, however, we have the ability to become more aware of triggers, habits, and tools that can help us become more in-tune with our health and wellness. It all begins with a stop by your doctor’s office for your next physical. Bloodwork and a physical are two great starting points for establishing a baseline for your health and knowing where to begin improving your current state of wellness. Like life, nothing is perfect. We are life. Our lives and health are a direct reflection of the lifestyles we’ve created. But no need to fear, Inquisitive Health & Wellness was created to help share knowledge and help clients feel better one day at a time through knowledge, awareness, and our wellness treatments and services. This week, across the nation, we’ve been hit with every weather pattern imaginable and with the change in weather comes a change in bodily function. Sometimes we ache more, physically. Emotionally, we may be in a more somber mood as the highlights of summer wind down. Mentally, we may also be more hypersensitive or more stoic as we think about the upcoming holiday’s. These common changes can be a bit distracting or even off-putting. I mean, hey, we all want a little bit of sunshine in our lives right? Well, I say all of this to say that Fall and Winter have been noted to be one of the busiest seasons for Myotherapists (LMT’s) like myself with helping those struggling, overcome these symptoms that can be associated with chronic pain. We’re here to help you!

Chronic and even acute inflammation is no joke! Even moreso, it’s one of those tricky conditions that can be spawned from so many lifestyle factors, including injury, diet, sleeping patterns, the immune system, or any other bodily function that could be contributing to this condition. Knowing your body inside and out can help you understand and create a roadmap for your body on how to address and improve it daily. Yes, you can manage chronic pain.

So I love me anecdotes, but in this case, I can give a real life account of what it means to live with chronic pain because I have for over 20 years. It’s tiring, it’s daunting, it’s debilitating, it’s everything BUT living. I remember going to my doctor and not even understanding why? Where could it have come from? Why at such a young age am I experiencing it? The doctor’s were baffled because they couldn’t really pin down the source of the problem. I recall taking a blood test to check for blood count and to make sure there were no irregularities of my immune system and …. well, nothing. How could that even be? Xrays and limited mobility told a different story. Now granted, there were a few injuries I had sustained and I figured the pain was residual from untreated injuries and areas where I had previously had surgery so maybe that had something to do with it. I was given some NSAIDs for the inflammation and sent home. This occured for several year. To manage the pain, I often worked out to get the numbing rush of energy and to even induce soreness which felt better than the dull aching of the underlying inflammation condition I had. Fast forward, I finally decided to introduce fasting into my lifestyle, which was NOT easy. But once I got into a grove (which was, again, not easy) I began noticing changes in my body which led to me identifying triggers. Some were dietary, and some were lifestyle and as simple as not stretching before strenuous works and adjusting things that were creating an inflammatory response in my body. Yes, the surgery areas that help much scar tissue were still at play but at least I had my answer. I was happy to report to my physician what I had been doing and my results and it will always stick in my head, something that the doctor told me. He said, not many people, or any that I’ve ever seen in my years of practice have come back to me proactively with a solution or part of one like you have. He said medicine wasn’t and didn’t need to be the 1st option, especially in cases like this were there wasn’t a medical emergency for me to need to take the medicine, but finding the root cause to avoid that was the question and answer. He said he was impressed and shuffled through my tracking logs and finding and compared xrays – to his surprise, also finding comparable differences in my bloodwork as well.

I’ll leave this by saying that we all need to get serious about our health. Stop self -diagnosing and wondering. Go and get a physical and bloodwork to see where you really stand and if anything is off that may be triggering an inflammatory response. Take a long hard look at your diet. I was a big dairy fan (mostly cheese), never milks or ice-creams though and realized that once I eliminated dairy alot of that triggered inflammation changed. Over 20 years later, I’m still managing my diet and my pain triggers. Now look, that’s just my story. Everyone will have their own, I just hope this inspires you to be more aware of your body. Don’t be scared of knowing. Then go, my friends, and take action. I will note that there were several more holistic therapies I was either prescribed (like physical therapy – which was my alternative to the medications that we had determined in my treatment plan should be used based on the pain scale. When we damn ourselves and submit to the ‘unknown’ we give up on our body’s and our body’s feel that. Literally. Let’s do better and live healthier!

I came across a pretty awesome YT video where Shawn Stevenson explains a few things around diet and inflammation. I enjoyed it and wanted to share to help you start the though process and discussion about this condition.

Not sure where to start on your Wellness and Lifestyle transformation journey? Give us a call for a Wellness consultation. I see many clients that struggle with chronic pain and massage therapy is so very manual and therapeutic helping work your body at a cellular level to help reduce the symptoms of this painful and nagging condition.

I remember in school we learned about the makeup of fat cells, the immune system and Pathology. This did a great job pulling those ideas together. Enjoy!

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Before this month ends, it’s so very important to show support to your loved ones and yourself by having the conversation about prevention!

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Happy Spring from Team IQH!

Here at Inquisitive Health, we have plenty in the works to offer a health conscious, exciting and transformative Spring! Let’s get going on those goals! Before we jump into goals, or revisiting them (since New Year’s Day)… let’s identify the 3 Main things we should all be doing in the Revamp!

Step 1: Reflection

Where are YOU at during this exact point in time in your life. (Don’t focus or where you’re going – just yet. We’ll get to that!)

In this period of reflection, I always find it useful to grab a pen and paper and write these things out. One section is scribbled – Things that made me happy, the next was Things that didn’t make me happy, and lastly, Thing that I wished I could have done, but didn’t. While you’re filling out this list, be extremely honest with yourself and say them out loud. Hear yourself as you walk through the past 3 months or even up to 6 months to understand how happy you’ve not been with a few things, and what has made you happy and even been a memorable moment for you.

Do not, and I repeat this suppress your emotions when you’re pulling together this list. Trust me, I know better than anyone that it gets easier reflection on things when you do this intentionally and often. Consider it a checkin! Cry, laugh and do what you must! Just don’t grab a handful of cookies or the biggest slice of chocolate cake! Be mindful of the new and healthy habits we are about to embark on during this emotional, spiritual, mental and exciting physical journey! Once you get this list together flip to a fresh new page and remind yourself often…

We become all too consumed with the word “failure”, but all failure is not a loss!

Yvonne Madison

Step 2: Awareness

This page should be in question statement. Don’t accuse yourself of not knowing what you didn’t know! Don’t inflict self disappointment for falling short of any outcome or finding yourself in situations on that list that “Didn’t make you happy”. Even for the things that did… become aware of why those things happened! Ask yourself a few questions like: “Did I know I would be laid off from my job?” “Was I prepared when it happened?” What should I plan for next time, knowing what I know now and how it has affected me? Where there any positive outcomes that came from that event? Don’t do this: I can’t believe I got laid off. I’m broke, I have so many bills, I don’t know what to do! I hate myself for not being able to figure this out or fix this! What am I supposed to do? Why am I so unlucky? Who can help? What do I do next!?

See how reframing the events into questions control the tone and emotion of what we’re trying to accomplish? Awareness is key to looking at how to not repeat past cycles of mistakes. It helps us troubleshoot our new transformative life full of intentional planning, conscious behavior, and new outcomes. When you wallow in despair, you live there and create new and negative habits of coping with failure and that’s not a park anyone should play in. Once you’re done writing down these questions for each or the things you listed in Step 1, flip to a fresh page.

“The purest form of happiness is in the innocence of childhood.”

Yvonne Madison

Step 3: Visualization

Now, some people put the buggy in front of the horse on this one, but we all have to remember one important thing – how do we know where we’re going, if we can’t see it? You don’t have to see it with your two eyes. Visualize how these improvements you’re willing to make actually feel? Are you trying to eat better? Visualize shopping at that new Market and grabbing foods for live. Image the taste of the fresh berries you’ve picked by hand. This is a lifestyle. Your new lifestyle. How does it feel

when you’ve cleared out your pantry of all things that aren’t conducive to a health body? Pretty powerful, huh? I had a client who did this and found it hard to toss fatty treats and snacks just because here attachment was to “not wasting”. Not wasting money (although the choice to purchase, wasn’t in alignment with her health goals), but also having grown up being taught not to waste food. Not a single bite. She asked me to come over to help since she had identified in Step 2, that her awareness and how it made her feel to do this was confused and conflicted. She felt that if she scarfed down the whole box in that day, it would be over and she’d never buy it again, but at least nothing was wasted! (My heart broke). In so many ways, I’ve been able to see my own attachments to things that became habitual, but there are things and behaviors that can be changes when you are bold enough to say, “That’s what I once believed, but now I know better!” Say this to yourself often to guide positive direction of your thoughts and to identify some things about you that you should be more mindful of with habits. Habits can be eliminated. Not changed. Eliminated. You can’t improve a bad habit and the many physical and psychological attachments that come with it, so nix it and find the new habit that you will now work on and associate with your transformed and higher self.

Step 4: Transform

Now is your shot! You know what it is, you know what it feels like, you know what’s blocking you… Now it’s time to put on your new shoes and go! Remember this.

The most worn running shoes tell the best stories. The dirtier and the more worn they are are a story of progress!

Yvonne Madison

So how do you put one in front of the other? Start by finding tools to help you along your way. Set up notifications on your phone to alert you when you need to take an action on something you’re building as a new habit! New workout routine? How about buying a single new outfit and put it alongside your workout gear you’ve had up until now… there’s something new but familiar to the lineup. Make those other workout outfits just as important as the excitement of the new buy! New eating habits? Call a local dietician or nutritionist? Our communities are packed with professionals that can give you a guiding hand and share their expertise to keep you knowledgeable and involved in your work on yourself. Part of transformation is creating new routines, new habits and seeing yourself differently. You’ve visualized that person already. Be that person. Embrace the innocence of not knowing it all, but the excitement of learning something new about your new self!

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This is not a race… you are not in a marathon, you are on the journey of your life. Now some may ask, but I have a family, kids, partners, spouses, pets, a job, responsibilities – things that you may consider as roadblocks or triggers to revisiting bad or comforting behaviors, but remember, this is your new life. We are only as good to the responsibilities around us as the health of our mental, physical, spiritual and emotional health. Make yourself a priority. Explain and be firm in your conviction to yourself. Blossom your confidence.

What does progress look like? Achieving the Goals you’ve set for yourself. Add a start date and end date, set a reminder on your phone. Plug it in on a whiteboard and revisit this daily if you have to. Your goals should be quantifiable. Put them into action statements and add a because. Instead of – I want to lose 15lbs in the next 30 days, say something like: I’ll be losing 15lbs because my new exercise routine is exciting and I’m ready to commit to it. I love music and have healthy snacks to help me stay motivated and replenished as my new body takes fit. Reframe and talk in your positive language.

Need help? Contact our Certified Holistic Wellness & Health Coach. We’ve got the tools you need to stay on track!