Saturday, May 17, 2008

A good goal

I believe that, in life, one of the most important goals is to try and understand things as they are. When we create, we should not create in order to fix, but to help. Help ourselves and others understand, enjoy, and appreciate the beauty of life. This is a good goal.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Science is upside down. I want to stay upright.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Egoscue Commentary: Pain Free: Chapter 3

This continues my summary and commentary on the literature put out by the Egoscue Method

'Pain Free' by Pete Egoscue.Chapter 3: The Egoscue Method: getting personal to stop chronic pain.

This chapter focuses on the practical aspects necessary to implement the Method in your life. And, it hammers home points introduced in earlier chapters.

OK, everyone repeat after Pete: "Bones do what muscles tell them to do" (p.30)

Now, everyone: wake up to your pain. Ouch. Start to listen to the subtle variations in your body. Instead of quenching them with caffeine and television until all hell breaks loose. Stand up straight and focus.

Muscles remember. Imagine your first date, yeah, you remember that, don't you? Well, muscles remember how to run, jump, do backbends. Why do they remember? So that you can know what you can or cannot do right now. Just like your first date. You remember so that you will know what to do on the second date, if there is one. Another term for muscle memory is 'kinesthetic sense'. The Method re-introduces healthy, positive, aligned memories to your muscles. It's like going on a first date again, except this time your date arrives on time with flowers! Another important aspect of the Method is that it requires you, and only you. You are not subject to anyone else's 'higher knowledge'. You've got enough, don't let other people push your muscles and bones around when you can do it yourself.

How do you learn the Egoscue Method? Here is how Pete plans it out: 1. Your head: read the book, try to understand the concepts. 2: Your body: apply it to yourself, feel and recognize the changes that take place 3: Use it to understand how and when your body is functional and or dysfunctional in daily life.

Pete emphasizes that pain and dysfunction are not normal. It is not normal to suffer aches and pains on a daily basis, no matter your age. Pete reminds us of a principle that most statisticians at biomedical research centers neglect to take into account: even 'normal' controls that are dysfunctional are not necessarily normal. Let's drop the stats and focus on posture.

Pete makes a very important philosophical point: If we look for causes of problems via XRays and MRIs, we will find them. Not because they are there, but because we can only see what we look for. It has been a conundrum in the physical sciences for the last century but has not yet transferred to the biological / medical sciences.

What are the e-cises? E-cises are muscular retrainment. They are good stuff. Trust me.

Thank you Pete, for your ability to develop and design the Egoscue Method in the face of an inverted and dangerous medical psychology.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Egoscue and Web 2.0!

I'm hoping to get the Egoscue Method more talked about in the social networking sites around the web. If you belong to Myspace, Facebook, or Tribe, there are groups there you can join to talk about Egoscue. If you are a therapist, client, or just interesting in building a life that is pain free, I highly encourage you to join.

Thoughts on studying and life

(This post is reprinted from my original blog on

How did I do so well in school, people often ask? I must be such a nerd, nose in the books all the time. Well, I can't disagree with that. But, I actually studied a lot less than most of my peers and did very well. How? Very simple: for subjects like the maths and sciences, memorizing facts and formulas is usually a waste of time. It may seem like the easiest way to go, but it isn't. The way to go is to understand concepts, where the formulas were derived, not the general how of phenomena, but the why. Because, if you understand the logic behind your subject, you will always excel as you will have a basic method of understanding from which to make your assumptions and conclusions.

On to life. It's a bit trickier. Let's narrow it down to health. Still tricky, but workable. My 'test' question is: how do I care for my health? Here is what western medicine tells me: eat a balanced diet (fruits, veggies, meats, grains, depends on the source), watch my cholesterol, exercise 30min 3x per week, socialize, get 7-9 hours of sleep, take a multivitamin, take a pill, etc, etc. In other words, it gives me facts upon facts to memorize and carry out in my life. To confuse matters, the 'newest' developments often displace previous advice, different sources can give opposite recommendations, and credibility of sources is often an issue, considering the high stakes involved in the promotion of pharmaceutical and agricultural goods.
Someone like me, who hates to memorize but loves to try and understand, is left groundless. I begin to realize that there is no underlying basis from which to work from to understand what is best for my health. And unlike a test handed out to an entire classroom, my life is too unique to apply a generic set of facts to.

Here is where our medicine miserably fails and where we can learn a lot from traditional medicines like Chinese Medicine. In Chinese Medicine, the basic premises of yin / yang and the five elements, once understood, can be applied to any lifestyle situation, be it nutritional, emotional, physical, or all of the above. Of-course, there are facts to memorize with regard to specific treatments and imbalances. But, most importantly, there is an underlying theory from which the facts and ideas spring from. I have applied this theory in my own life and have found, for the first time in my life, a firm philosophical ground upon which to walk and base my decisions. Of-course I will always continue my study of this philosophy, as my understanding of it will never be complete. But, I have enough of a working knowledge to make wiser decisions than I have previously. And yes, my health is the best it has ever been. Small coincidence, no?
So, my advice for those of you who are struggling with your health, approach this topic as you would a quandary upon which to build a philosophical foundation. If you find a system that provides you only with 'branches' of knowledge for generic symptoms but no 'root' upon which to make your own decisions, it is a groundless and dangerous system. If you find a system that provides you with foundational roots as well as branches, go to it, as you will go far. Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine, several religious philosophies, Egoscue, energy medicine - there are many systems to explore, with several intriguing overlapping philosophies. Go out, find your system. Because when you do, you will know, as the tests you will be presented with will suddenly become do-able, no matter what the subject may be.

The concept of health

(This post is reprinted from my original blog on

I am currently reading 'Imagery Healing: Shamanism and Modern Medicine' by Jeanne Achterberg. It was written in 1985, but it is really one of the only erudite works that I have read that speaks about the psychological origins of healing through a historical and philosophical lens. Most other works, if not classical philosophical 'treatises', are often advertisements for their services in our current society, and so it is difficult to know who to trust. This book is full of gems, but I would like to share one passage which deals with defining health in a society that took my breath away."The function of any society's health system is ultimately tied to the philosophical convictions that the members hold regrading the purpose of life itself. For the shamanic cultures, that purpose is spiritual development. Health is being in harmony with the world view. Health is an intuitive perception of the universe and all its inhabitants as being of one fabric. Health is maintaining communication with the animals and plants and minerals and stars. It is knowing death and life and seeing no difference. It is blending and melding, seeking solitude and seeking companionship to understand one's many selves" (p. 19).To note, Dr. Achterberg is a practicing Buddhist, and many of her concepts of health parallel the Buddhist notion of spiritual development more so than specific shamanic philosophy. That being said, I still think that a definition of health like the one above, which emphasizes spiritual development, may serve as a guide to those searching for a meaningful philosophy from which to build their lives. I'll continue the passage to its end..."Unlike the 'modern' notions, in shamanic society health is not the absence of feeling; no more so is the absence of pain. Health is seeking out all the experiences of Creation and turning them over and over, feeling their texture and multiple meanings. Health is expanding beyond one's singular state of consciousness to experience the ripples and waves of the universe" (p. 19-20).Now here is my question - where in our society is such an aspect of health promoted, if it is? It can arise in the most unusual of places...

The medicalization of menstruation

(This post is reprinted from my original blog on

The FDA has recently approved a new drug from Wyeth Pharmaceuticals that stops menstruation indefinitely. Here is a great article describing some of the pitfalls of this drug. There are so many issues with bringing such a drug to the market that I am too jaded to go into. But there is one thing I will point out: clinical trials usually do not run longer than one or two years. It is already known that use of the birth control pill causes many women to have irregular cycles and difficulty getting pregnant after discontinuing use. The problems associated with HRT, including increased risk for heart problems, is well documented. And now, a completely unnecessary, and I would say 'cosmopolitan' drug with no long term clinical trials is being put on the market. My prediction: women WILL take it, in hoards. Five, ten years down the road, we will see what kind of burden they will present on the healthcare system.