Wednesday, August 16, 2017

My Second Trip to the Acupuncturists

Last week was my second appointment with my Acupuncturists. Now that I knew what to expect, I was able to relax and enjoy the experience. My fears of the needles being painful and uncomfortable were baseless fears, at least for me. On some parts of my body like the tops of my feet and my butt a couple of the needles gave me a slight pinch. I would say on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being a big OW! the pinch rated a 1 or 2 and quickly went away once the needle was in place.

So now I'm relaxed and in a pleasant state of mind. The first after affects of the first session had lasted a bout a week and even now two weeks later my legs/back felt better. The Acupuncturist inserted about the same number of needles in the same areas of my body. Plus she inserted a few around the scar in the small of my back where I had my back operation. Now here comes the good part.

After inserting the needles she heats them up using a bundle of a Chinese herb called Mugwort. It is shaped and twisted into a cigar like cylinder, lite with a lighter which produces a cigar like ember on the end of the herb. Then the lit end is quickly touched to the top of the needles. I know it sounds like an ancient torture, but there is no pain only a nice warm glow that spreads around the treated area.

It's now been one week since my session and I do feel better, despite spending two days installing shelves in a pantry, washing a applying sealant to our deck and hanging a door. This second treatment should last longer than the first. I have another appointment in three weeks.

Again this is my own personal experience, your's maybe completely different. However if you are tired of drugs that only mask the pain or surgeries that have failed to relieve your pain, acupuncture maybe perfect for you.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Be Prepared: Sh-t Can & Does Happen!

I while ago I wrote several posts about how vital it was to be physically fit enough so you could save yourself and others. The importance of this was driven home to me yesterday!

It was a beautiful day temp in the high 70's - low 80's. Not a cloud in the sky & calm. The lake was smooth as glass as my buddy & I launched our boat. The boat is a small 12 ft long aluminum boat with a small electric motor. Nothing fancy about 30 yrs old but it floats and gets us where we want to go. There are two pedestal mounted seat fore and aft. My friend was sitting in the aft seat operating the motor. I was in the bow.

We had just stopped about 10' from shore. I was facing forward getting ready to cast when I heard a yell and felt the boat shake. Turning around I saw my buddy, all 255 pounds of him, laying on his back in the bottom of the boat. Of course my first reaction was asking if he was okay. He said he was and that the screws holding the seat to the steel pedestal had popped out and he fell backwards.

I asked if he could get up and he said no. He was wedged between a tackle box and a cooler. His legs were on either side of the pedestal. Now as I mentioned my buddy is a big guy: 254 lbs and six foot. He's also not in the best of shape, a poor swimmer and 68 yrs old. Yeah I know he does read my blog posts or listen to his wife/doctor telling him to lose weight and get in shape.

I made my way to him and was able to get my arms under his and helped him get up. He was unharmed a little shaken, but we continued fishing. If he had fallen out of the boat the outcome could of been different. I can swim well enough to save myself & possibly to help him. The boat is equipped with life jackets and floating seat cushions so the chances of drowning were slim, plus we're only in about 6 feet of water.

The lessons learned was we need to check, repair and reinforce our seats. We had gone over the boat prior to putting it in the water, but failed to check the bolts that held the seat to the pedestal. Secondly, I was glad that I was able to help him. If he was alone we're not sure if he could of gotten up without capsizing the boat. He would probably have to wait for a boat to come by and help him.

Thirdly, you never know when an accident might occur. It was a perfect day, we're both experience boaters, the water was calm, but still the unexpected can happen. The one ting we can all do is to prepare ourselves. Being fit and strong enough to save yourself & family/friend is a critical fator in determining whether a minor accident turns into a serious life threaten emergency.

Saturday, July 29, 2017


Well it's been three days since my first acupuncture session. I wanted to wait a few days just to give the treatment time to take effect. But I'm getting ahead of myself, so let's start at the beginning.
My Acupuncturist is a medical doctor in her sixties. She decided to become an Acupuncturist because she was searching for an alternatives to drugs and surgeries and all the side effects.

She first had me fill out a medical report, much like at a regular doctor's office. Then she did something that a regular doctor wouldn't do, she asked me a series of questions about my likes and dislikes. Favorite color, did I like spicy or sweets and other such questions. I'm not sure the reasoning behind these questions. I have to ask her the next time.

As we went over my medical history and current complaints: sore back, restless legs, chronic leg pain & fatigue we decided to concentrate on the restless legs and fatigue for the first session.

Then I went into a room with a table, like a massage therapist would use. I laid face down, she lifted my shirt and began inserting the needles. I really didn't feel any pain in fact when she told me she had inserted fifteen needles, I was surprised because I had only felt 3/4 and only a very small pin prick. Once in I didn't feel them at all. Next she heated up a mugwort a traditional Chinese herb. It resembled a cigar. The she place the lit end to the needles. I felt a warm feeling radiate thru my back, very pleasant. Then she left me for ten minutes. When she came back in she removed the needles. Again there was no pain and very little sensation of removing the needles.

Next I turned over and she inserted needles in my legs, ankle and feet. I felt the needles go into my feet but again only slightly and once in no feeling of the needles. Finally she insert a number into my head. She didn't heat up the needles, but she did leave them in for another ten minutes.

All in all It was a pleasant, calming experience, no pain or discomfort. My body felt relaxed. She told me not to expect too much in the first session, but I could tell that the needles were doing their job. Also my Acupuncturist told me that usually the first session's treatment wears off in a week or so depending on how active I am. Of course the next day I went fishing in a boat all day and between casting and hauling the boat in and out of the lake it was hard to really tell how effective the treatment was.

However after three days I still feel better less pain and less fatigue. My next treatment is in two weeks and I can't wait. Here's a few things I would recommend to anyone planning to try acupuncture.

1. Find an experience Acupuncturists. Acupuncture is as much an art as a medical procedure. The more experienced the Acupuncturist the more knowledge and practiced they will be in their "art".

2. Be opened to the experience. It's okay to have some anxiety over the idea of needles being inserted into your body, but for 1,000's of years acupuncture has successfully treated all kinds of aliments. So be open to the concept that acupuncture maybe the solution you have been looking for.

3. Be honest and frank with your acupuncturist. Don't hold back important medical information. She can't treat you if you keep don't fully disclose all your aliments.

4. If you do experience pain let the acupuncturist know. Unless you are hyper sensitive to pain you should barely feel anything.

5. Plan on spend 1 1/2 hours the first time. You'll have to fill out forms, medical history and be interviewed so give yourself plenty of time. The last thing you want is to feel rushed and stressed.

6. Give the treatment time to work. How fast you'll notice relief depends widely from patient to patient. Some may notice immediate relief and some may take longer. For me I did notice some relief and the next day felt even better.

Acupuncture can be just the treatment you need to cure your pain and want ails you. Give it a try. I did and I'm glad I did!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Acupuncture and Back Pain

Can acupuncture cure back pain? Can acupuncture cure restless legs? How about fatigue and stress? Is acupuncture the cure all I've been searching for? I hope to answer these questions for myself and others as I go undercover to investigate and expose acupuncture. (Only kidding about the undercover stuff.)

First of all a little background. I'm pushing 71 years young, and for most of my adult life, I've strived to stay in shape, eat right, exercise, etc. In 2009 I injured my back requiring surgery and rehab. I have suffered from restless legs for years and take Requip at night, so I can sleep. Finally, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2014. I had a radical prostatectomy, no radiation and so far has been cancer free.

Since having my prostate removed, I've been suffering from fatigue. I haven't been diagnosed with chronic fatigue, but everything I read about it suggests that what I have. Now I have tried all the conventional ways of dealing with fatigue, restless legs, and constant pain, especially in my right leg.
Back in March, I started receiving massages about twice a month and although feeling great afterward haven't  had any long term relief. So my wife suggested acupuncture. I recently made an appointment and will report on my experience in the hopes it may help others considering trying acupuncture treatments.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Breathe: Just Breathe!

Breathing is something we all do without thinking. From the first gasp of air when we're born to the last gasp of life when we die. Breathing is one of a few things we do automatically, but we can also control how we take a breathe.

We can hold our breathe, take a deep breathe and pant. Pregnant woman learn a number of breathing techniques to ease their delivery. Most of us can't hold our breathe more than thirty seconds. Without  breathing we'd be brain dead in a very few minutes.

Despite the necessity of breathing, most of us don't really think about the breathe we take, but we should. Here are three breathing exercises everyone can do and should do several times a day.

Feeling Tired? Then try the Bellows Breathing. Here's how:
  • Rapidly inhale thru your nose, keeping your mouth shut. Make sure your inhales and exhales are the same duration. Keep your breathes short and exhale with some force like blowing out candles.
  • Only do three in and out breaths at a time expanding your diaphragm, then breathe normally.
  • You can repeat the cycle, but only do this exercise for 10-15 seconds and gradually buildup the time.
  • Try this exercise when you need a burst of energy, like in the afternoon when you're feeling drowsy.
2. Breathe Count:        
  • With this exercise you're going to count as you inhale and exhale.
  • With your mouth shut breathe thru your nose for a count of four.
  • Now hold your breathe for a count of seven.
  • Next open your mouth and exhale with a whooshing sound for the count of eight.
  • This is one rep. Start by doing four reps. This is a great breathing exercise when you want to relive some stress.
3. Breathing Meditation: This is a great tool to help you relax and practice a quick meditation.

  • Sit comfortably and take a few slow deep breathes.
  • Then take a breathe and count "1" when you exhale.
  • Then take another breathe, exhale and count "2".
  • Continue to the count of five.
  • Pause and take a couple of normal breathes then do another cycle.
  • I use this exercise to begin my meditation, but I also use it when I first lie down in bed as a way to relax and quiet my mind.
Doing these breathing exercises as needed during the day will relax you and at the same time energize you. So breathe, Just Breathe your way to a better you!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Aging And Attitude

My last post was about the Art of Aging. It's a fact that barring some fatal accident of illness we all will age. Some of us will be healthy and active and some will suffer debilitating illnesses. Some of these diseases and illnesses we can resolve thru an operation or meds. We are fortunate to live in a time of amazing medical advances. But some people maybe because of life style choices or genes find old age a struggle. It always amazes me how one individual in good health and financially secure ages badly while another in poor health and little money seems to thrive. What's the difference? It's ATTITUDE!

There's been mountains of books written about positive thinking and attitude. From Dale Carnegie to Tony Robbins millions have read their books, watched videos and/or gone to see them speak. I'm not going to try to reinvent the wheel here or compete with these giants. But Positive Thinking and a Positive Attitude makes the difference on how well you age.

In practicing the Art of Aging a positive attitude will be your secret weapon. But how do I get a positive attitude when I wake up with aches and pains? How can I feel positive when I look in the mirror and see an old person staring back at me? I can hardly pay my bills so how can I feel positive about the future?

Well I'm no psychologist, no doctor with degree, but as Aretha Franklin said it's all about respect. Respect yourself and the unique and special person you are. In order to love life and look forward to enjoying each day you need to like and respect yourself. That body of yours has taking care of you all these years despite the abuse, wear and tear you have put it through. With a little TLC it can continue to function for many years to come.

Like most journeys developing your Art of Aging starts with a single step and like most art forms in order to get good at it you need to practice. So practice the art of aging by working on one aspect of it each day. You know what the famous violinist said when asked how she got to play at Carnegie Hall? Practice - Practice - Practice!

So practice the Art of Aging. Join an exercise group or just walk around the neighborhood. Make a new friend. Work on your budget and get help if needed. Count your blessings. Be grateful for each day, each beat of your heart, each breathe you take! And Fake It Till You Make It!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Art of Aging

It may seemed funny to write an article about the Art of Aging. Some may say art? What art? You get old, feeble, lose your ability to take care of yourself and then you die. There's no art to it! But they are wrong. Sure all those things are going to happen if you live long enough. But it's how you face the challenges of aging that become an art. Like all form of art some of us are pretty good artist and some of us aren't. But with a little practice all of us can put some Art into our Aging.

So what do I mean by the Art of Aging? Quite simply it's this. Despite all the physical, mental, financial challenges aging can be a time of renewal. Aging as an Art to me means putting on a smile and facing the day with optimism despite an aching back. It's dressing with a little flare of style. It's having the wisdom to know that all things eventually pass: a rainy day, a headache, bad news, politicians, life itself. It's living in the moment and embracing life with all it's troubles, challenges and joys.

Here are some things that I use to put some art into my aging.

1. Have a sense of humor. Sometimes putting on a smile is the hardest thing I do. But as we all know it takes more muscles to smile than to frown.

2. Have a sense of  style. Remember when we all had to dress for success? Well being retired and old is no excuse to wearing old worn out clothes. Sure I have a pair of faded jeans and a favorite T Shirt. But I pair them with a nice belt, watch & sneakers or dockers. If money is tight visit the thrift shops. My wife and I usually stop by our favorite thrift shop every couple of weeks and usually find some nice brand name clothes and sometimes even brand new items.

3. If you're a man wear a fedora. Instead of a ball cap. Men's hats are making a big come back and a nice hat really adds to your style. If your a woman wear a red hat or something with color.

4. Get fit! Being in shape at any age helps you face the physical challenges of aging, improves your mood and makes you look younger.

5. Become an interesting person. Read some of the classics, start a hobby, buy a Harley or the cra of your dreams. I bought a 2007 Jaguar S Type for my 70th birthday. It's British Racing Green, low mileage and in perfect condition. It only cost me $8500 dollars far less than a new car. But I love it as soon as I get inside and turn the key I feel like a million bucks!

6. Volunteer: Find a cause you believe in and volunteer. Every organization needs volunteers and getting involved gets you out of the house and meeting different people.

7. Socialize: Get up off your couch and go out and meet people. Join a club, join a senior center, church, etc expand your circle of friends.

Most of all have fun! This can be your Golden Age despite all the challenges of aging. Practice the Art of Aging and thrive!