Saturday, December 4, 2010

Gutsy Health Moves

This article is excerpted from my Keeping in Touch Newsletter.
As beneficial and effective as it is, Hellerwork Structural Integration cannot resolve every type of musculoskeletal pain. Even though the holistic approach of Hellerwork encompasses the relationship of body, mind and spirit, the source of dysfunction can be more systemic. Several clients have had breakthroughs in their pain by turning their attention to their guts. This is the story of their successes.

A healthy diet is imperative for anyone with pain or injury. Lack of Vitamins B and C and folic acid perpetuate trigger points, but these are not the only vitamins needed. One client had nagging upper back and shoulder pain. Hellerwork helped, but the pain returned with activity. A physical exam in August revealed that she was severely deficient in Vitamin D, even after spending every summer day outside wearing shorts and tank tops in the year we had record-breaking sunny days. After a week of Vitamin D supplements, she was pain free. Another client’s pain diminished after receiving Vitamin B12 injections.

Minerals play an important role, too. Magnesium and potassium supplements relieve muscle cramping and soreness. But if digestion is poor, nutrients aren’t absorbed by the body. That’s one reason I give clients a combination of Epsom and Dead Sea salts; in a bath, they penetrate the skin directly into muscles and connective tissue.

Enzymes can also be taken as supplements with good results. Digestive enzymes help the small intestine break down food so the large intestine can better absorb the sustaining elements and expel waste. Enzymes are also essential for muscle action. One client gained control over her muscle soreness after trying an enzyme combination product recommended by a friend.

A complex chemical balance is required for optimal physical function and improper inputs can create havoc. Food sensitivities cause the intestines to leak digestive waste, which accumulates in the body and burdens muscles and organs. Reactions to food are completely individual. I have difficulty with soy, dairy and gluten. A colleague achieves optimal athletic performance when she avoids all starches. A client has muscle pain if she eats broccoli or potatoes. (Believe it or not, she is as sad about not eating broccoli as I am about not eating bread.)

Many dietary factors affect muscular health. Processed foods lack antioxidants needed for cell regeneration. Food sensitivities put digestive waste into the blood stream and outside the muscles. Vitamin deficiencies deplete general energy levels, upset chemical balance, and deprive muscle cells of vital nutrients. How do you know what strategy works best for you? I recommend consulting with a professional who specializes in digestive issues to create a plan based on your symptoms. We are fortunate to have many qualified, naturopathic doctors, nutritionists, and even chiropractors who have extra training in nutritional healing available locally.

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