Sorry, You are Just Getting Old!

There is nothing that grinds me more than when I go to any medical professional because I am having a problem and they tell me that it is inevitable. “You are getting old.” Because I am in my mid 60’s, should I or anyone be treated differently than someone 40? Or 30? Have we done this to ourselves? Have we just figured that as we get older, we should be weaker or not move as well? We shouldn’t climb a ladder because our balance isn’t as good? Why isn’t it as good? Because we are older or because we aren’t challenging it the way we used to? Do many health care providers now expect less of your health just because you are older?

I don’t think that should be a given. If I go to a health care provider who doesn’t help me the same they would a 30 year old, I would have to find someone who will give me that care. My passion is balancing the body of any person that comes to me. I don’t care what their age or problems, we will set goals to get them to the best level possible. I expect a lot from my patients and I hope that any caregiver that I have will put that energy into my care. And you should expect that also.

It is not inevitable that you will get more decrepit as you get older. That is why we should look at the body as a whole. To balance it. The sooner we look at the body as a fine tuned system that will keep going if we put the right fuel in it and we keep it balanced and tuned like a fine sports car, the longer that body will purr and perform for us. This body is the only one we have and if we take care of it, we need to be able to have caregivers who will use passion to teach us and help us keep it tuned.

Think about it. If your knee joint, for instance, is biomechanically balanced the cartilage won’t wear down and the joint will stay healthy. If it is unbalanced anywhere in the leg, hip or back, you will have pain and wearing down of the joint. That goes for any joint in the body. How can that joint be saved? The sooner you notice pain, get help in balancing the system. This includes releasing the fascial restrictions and strengthening in a balanced way. If you need to stretch things out,work with someone to learn how to do this properly. You will know if the person you are working with is helping you if you are doing what they tell you and you know why you are doing it. Most of all, if your pain resolves, you are seeing the right person.

Every person is different. You may be given some of the same exercises as the person next to you but if those are the right exercises, your pain should be getting better. You should feel more balanced and stronger. If you are more balanced, you should be more flexible because your fascia doesn’t have to work overtime to try to hold you in balance. That’s it. If you aren’t getting that care, call and schedule a consult with me. I expect people to move toward balance and I teach them why. I watch them exercise and correct them. I have passion and don’t use that excuse - “you are just getting old.” !

Too Much Information !?&@#!>! What Do I Eat and How Do I Get and Stay Healthy PART 1

When I was 45, the calendar flipped over to read 2000. It seems almost hilarious now that we were all going crazy with worry. There were about whether the electricity would work for some reason after the bell tolled 12:01. Our date systems at the time were digital as they are now. However, everything ran on a system that was set up something like 01/01/00 instead of 01/01/2000 . So when the digital systems flipped to the year 00, would everything shut down. We now always put the whole year on all digital dates.

We have come a long way since then. Or have we? Now there is so much digital information out there in the world that most of us aren’t sure what to eat to stay healthy or what we should do to stay strong and pain free. As we move into the last year in this decade, le’ts not get caught up in all the digital ?!@#> out there. Don’t listen to the little ads on the social media and the websites they refer you to on how to exercise and how to eat. Listen to that brain you were given!!

  1. Eat PURE Food. I hear patients and clients and friends complain all the time that they try this eating plan and they try that eating plan and they still have aching bellies, IBS, aching bodies. It really isn’t your fault if you are one of these people. The amount of information that is found on the internet makes it hard to know what is good and what is bad information. We get confused and then start to combine all sorts of information as we try to assimilate this. STOP READING.

    The truth is that all you need to do is eat food the way it is harvested. No processed foods. None. Don’t do it. It is that simple. Cows and other living things should be grass fed (if you eat meat). And veggies ,beans and fruit should be organic (grain should also be organic but not eaten often and only if you can tolerate it).

    So, eat only whole unprocessed food and make it organic.

  2. The Way We Grow, Process and Bake Grain Products is not healthy or good for your gut. Our gut holds 80% of our immune system and yet we mindlessly push food through our gut. In Europe, grains do not have chemicals sprayed on them just before harvesting to help them dry better and prevent mold. Chemicals that are being challenged in court for their properties that cause cancer!. Fermentation of breads in Europe is performed the age old way and take hours and days to process. We have spread that up and even “artisan” breads are processed in a very short time so that you can buy and eat these.

    So, the only grain you should eat , again, is unprocessed and organic.

In the next article, I will address exercise and biomechanics because - you don’t have to have pain as you age. REALLY!

Seeking Balance.......Body, Meet Your Fascia, Part 1


By Martha Quiroga, MHS, PT

I want to write an article about fascia but I am dragging my heals. Why, oh why am I having problems writing? OK, you can laugh when you hear this…. I love fascia! I am passionate about fascia! I have been working with fascia and studying fascia for about 25 of my 31 years as a Physical Therapist. I just don’t love therapy, I am IN LOVE with it! So, why am I having such a difficult time writing about it? Well…. I want you to love and understand fascia because it will help you be a healthier runner with less overuse injuries. There is so much to learn about fascia that there is the chance that I could bore you. There, I said it. Go ahead and laugh. Fascia is a very important part of anyone’s life and it is even more important in a runners life.

“Why?”, you ask. Fascia plays a huge role in any kind of overuse pain that people get anywhere in their body. Most people have heard of plantar fasciitis. Well, that is an inflammation of the fascia on the bottom of your foot. Then there is ITband syndrome - that is fascia. Tennis elbow? Fascia. Golfer’s elbow. fascia. Fascia is everywhere! Where do I begin?

Let me start at the beginning - the chicken. What has fascia got to do with a chicken? Well, since the beginning, I have always learned to compare our fascia to chicken’s fascia since all animals have fascia and we know what chicken looks like. See, if you take a raw piece of chicken and try to pull the skin off of the chicken, the translucent slippery stuff that holds the skin so forcefully on the meat is the fascia. Go ahead. I will wait. Go get some raw chicken. See for yourself.

Fascia in a chicken, a dog or a human is the same and plays the same complex role in our bodies. Actually, fascia has more than one role. The first role of fascia is that it allows one muscle to slide on another or over a ligament or tendon without irritation. That works only if the fascia is functioning properly. That slippery, slimy material that we call fascia covers each muscle fiber in our body. It covers each muscle. At either end of each muscle, all that fascia comes together to form tendons that attach the muscle to the bones.

Why the heck do you need to know this? Well, what do you think would happen to the fascia if it didn’t allow the muscles and other tissues to slide on each other? Ouch! Kind of like an internal chafing all over your body. You would experience it as an aching all over. When there is not enough fluid in the system, like if you don't drink enough fluids or the day after you drank too many alcoholic beverages (the alcohol is very dehydrating) fascia doesn’t have enough liquid to allow it to be slippery and slide. The side effect is “muscle aching” or as I say, “internal fascial chafing”. (Or until your body is rehydrated.)

Make sure that you rehydrate after exercise or during a long run, or after you go drinking at the bar. Drink extra fluids in the winter when the air is dry. The “fascial chafing” can begin quickly so stay on top of it. For good water retention in the body, electrolytes should be included in the fluids when you work out for long periods or are in the heat, especially when you are not accustomed.

This is only one minor problem that can cause fascial pain. When fascia is working properly, we don’t even know it is present in our bodies but it has a way of letting us know when it isn’t working properly. So, be nice to your fascia and it will be nice to you. Drink up, my friend!





“What a brutal winter. Here comes a record breaking cold spell. The roads are impassible.”


These are heard daily on the local TV and radio stations. The broadcasters almost seem to enjoy bringing record breaking weather to our attention.


“ When is this winter ever going to end! Snow. Cold. Heavy clothes! Boots. Nowhere to run outdoors! Dogs don’t even stay outside. Blah! Blah! Blah!……”


The above are only a few of the words that are pouring out of my mouth lately. It was almost as though I were enjoying the torture of this winter’s weather by advertising the negative aspects out loud. To everyone and anyone who would listen.


Until this morning…..I was reading a Jeff Galloway article in Runners World magazine. Such a nice man! No, I never met him in person but I have been reading his articles since he began. When others are warning you not to walk during training runs or even races, Jeff tells you it is OK. Be nice to yourself. After all, you are doing more than most people in the United States. You won the battle when you walked out the door to run today. Such a nice man! 


You might expect these training pearls of wisdom from someone who sits at a desk all day and has never run a mile in his life. After all, all of the other articles I read about training warn you not to stop and walk! And these are written by famous people, mostly runners. No nice from them….run until you can’t run any more. And then the next day rest by running only 15 miles. So, Jeff could not possibly know what he is doing. He can’t possibly be a famous runner. 


But he is and was a famous runner. This is what the be all end all of references, Wikipedia, says about Jeff Galloway. “ lifetime runner, Galloway was an All-American collegiate athlete and a member of the 1972 US Olympic Team in the 10,000 meters. He remains a competitive athlete, continuing through a successful masters running career.” And it should say, “and a nice man who emphasizes the positives in life and sport.”


So, back to my original topic. There I was reading Jeff’s article right after I took my dog outside and grumbled for five minutes about the weather as I through the ball for her to catch. As always, he talks about doing a walk/ run thing and then I see the paragraph that changed my day…. It said (in paraphrase) that we shouldn’t say we HAVE to go running because that makes it seem like a chore. There are many people who cannot run and wish they could so we should feel excited about running. We should say,” I get to go out and run.”


OH MY. This changed me. He is right. I am normally a positive person but this winter it took Jeff to kick me in the butt and make me  start seeing winter (and life) in a positive way again! Thank you Jeff. I remember deep down inside, standing on the patio and looking toward the trees in the surrounding woods and telling myself many times this winter, “How beautiful nature is.” Or hearing a solo bird chirping in the below zero weather and thinking, “Amazing1” I remember laughing at my dogs as they stuck their heads in the snow to look for God knows what and then coming up for air with snow all over their face. I remember watching the dogs run through the first snow like it was something they never saw before. Thank you Jeff. I AM ALIVE! 


My positive thinking is re-energizing me and I have a new energy - to go downstairs and get back on my treadmill. I can go outside to play with the doggies without cringing about the cold and I think my renewed positive attitude has re-energized my dogs. They are back outside playing again! Go ahead, people. Start with one positive, enthusiastic winter thought. Start looking at seed catalogs, and before you know it the snow will be gone and the grass will be green again. You can do it!


Don't Go Crazy- Holistic Thoughts to Keep You Sane and Healthy in March and April

I am up early watching the weather on TV. Who cares that there is a warning for freezing rain tonight. I can live with that after this severely brutal winter. Freezing rain means warming temperatures. The weather man just said that the average temperature since January first is 9 degrees. That makes the 40 degrees predicted one day this week seem like swim suit weather.


What does this have to do with balance in life? My dogs could tell you if they talked. As the days move through this winter, they have stayed outside for shorter periods of time and inside, they are ready to drive me crazy. Gracie is chasing the kitty more and her barking is brutal to my ears. Earl refuses to go out many times and anyone who knows him can tell you that this is not normal. I think he is just sick and tired of the cold and snow. 


Most people are reporting the same lifestyle changes. It is easy to stop walking outside for health when it is dangerously slippery. And for those of us who have shifted to a treadmill, we can truly say that the four walls around the treadmill are getting very boring. I am going stir crazy and this leads to more sitting and less movement. I start craving sweets because they give me some happiness- until I step on the scales! I go to the supermarket and look at the produce. It looks worse every week because it has to come from so far away. Hmmm. Tater Tots are looking pretty good for the vegetable at every meal. Salads made from hard, tasteless tomatoes and week old lettuce not only lack appeal but in reality is missing many of the vitamins of summer, fresh vegetables.


Well, what can you do? We won’t see green grass for another month. Here are some ideas…..


Mix up your exercise. Running or walking on the treadmill are good for your heart health, but….. as you grow older, you lose muscle mass and become weaker. So this time of year it is good to kick up the strengthening portion of your workout. Take a class for core strengthening or take a gentle yoga class with a teacher who is trained specifically for yoga, not an exercise teacher who has taken a couple of weekend courses. The reason I say this is that as talented as many exercise instructors are, yoga takes someone who knows more about how to adjust poses to make them safe.  You could stay home and just turn on a DVD for kickboxing or some great music and dance. Add some light weights and its strengthening.

If you golf and are dying to get  on the links, try some indoor golf. The positives are that you can get your swing in shape and you can choose from hundreds of courses. 

Pick up a gardening book and plan a garden or patio garden. I am ordering seeds for my garden and patio. We are in zone 6 for planting now so we should be able to plant most plants by mothers day. What I learned from a farmer is that you can safely plant many veggies earlier than that. The veggies for early planting include spinach, peas, beets, carrots, potatoes,kale and other greens. You can always buy a grow light and plant seeds about 6 weeks before moving outside. That means we can begin to be productive next month. In the meantime, draw up your garden and order your seeds and supplies!

Now, lets clean up that diet. After all, shorts weather is just around the corner and you want to look good. Most people don’t know that frozen veggies maintain more vitamins than canned or “fresh” produce at this time of year. Buy a recipe magazine and mix up your recipes so that the food doesn’t seem so boring and this may help keep you from snacking or opting for fast food every night.

Many times we may be dragging in March because we have been inside the house for several months. Most people in the midwest have low levels of vitamin D and it is worse when we don’t expose our skin to the sun for months. Recent research reveals that low levels of vitamin D are associated with Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD- seasonal depression). A link with MS and fibromyalgia has also been found. Many experts suggest taking 1000 - 2000 IU Vitamin D3 daily.


So, now all you have to do is ask someone to give you a nudge out of that LazyBoy and get moving! Restore your balance!


Keep an eye on for spring classes including essential oils for gardening and summer herbal tea making. Other classes in the future: functional nutrition to improve health. 


How to Find Your Way Around the Modern Grocery Store (Not)


I teach nutrition classes. In these classes we talk about staying away from processed foods and many of the people have no idea what the difference is between processed and unprocessed foods. This confusion is not surprising for several reasons:


1. For several years, nutritionists have told their clients to “shop the outside rows”of the grocery store. Traditionally, produce, meat and other lesser processed foods were placed long the outside rows. Not today. When I enter my local store (no names, please), I go straight to the Starbucks for my free birthday drink. Although this is along the outside wall I hardly think this can be unprocessed food. While I am waiting for my latte (of course I choose an unhealthy drink – it is free), I look around the outside rows at the front of the store. Hmmm, single bottled drinks, the deli, bakery, processed cheese spreads....hardly unprocessed offerings. Then I see the produce has moved inward and is no longer along the outer wall. The nightmare in my mind begins to unfold. I see my students running with glee through this store filling their carts with sugary drinks, cheese spread and crackers and lunchmeat with white “homebaked” bread. Surely these foods are good for you because they are strategically placed where healthful choices should be. What a nightmare!


2. I then find my way to the “health food” section. What? I can't believe my eyes. No wonder my students are confused. In this section I find cereal products by self proclaimed producers of healthy products. The ingredient labels show that sugar or honey is the second most plentiful item in the box. But it does say that they used honey or cane sugar and this is a better choice than corn syrup and that is more healthful, isn't it? No, it isn't. Anything with that much sugar should be in the candy aisle!


I am still in the “health food” area looking for their lentil products. I pass a full half aisle of protein and health bars. If you look at the ingredient labels, it is hard to tell why these are not labeled candy bars. The contents are not remarkably different than a Snickers Bar (and truthfully, Snickers bars taste better than many of these bars). The whole length of the other side of the aisle is filled with snacks like chips and veggie chips, etc. WHAT? These are not health foods by any stretch of the imagination! Get these out of this section! Oh and by the way, the organic lentils were with the dry beans in the regular food section. No wonder why I am in the store for hours trying to decipher their plan for stocking healthful foods. They are hiding them.


3. By this time, I am still only about a quarter of the way through the store and have been there for almost an hour. I then come across a very nice lady who is giving samples of organic foods the store offers. She hands me a cup of vanilla yogurt, with honey and trail mix on top. I didn't have the heart to tell her that 80% of the ingredients in this little bowl of organics were sugar....Arrrgh! As I walked away I heard a man mumble “too much sugar and this cup probably has plastic with BPA in it”. Yay, people are learning and noticing! Well, maybe one person.


Don't get me wrong. I don't blame the lady giving the samples or the poor people stocking the shelves who are really trying to help people find the foods they are looking for. But I do blame the food companies and stores that allow this confusion. For me, it is back to the drawing board to refigure my nutrition information before my next class. Maybe the only way is to take the class to the store, pitch a tent for a week of camping. It will take that long to help them understand this confusing mess.





Have a Ho Ho Holistically Healthy Holiday


by Martha Quiroga

Oh, the weather outside is frightful..... Hack...Cough...Ah Choo!...People pushing up against you where ever you go. Ewww! Are you really going to touch that shopping cart handle? How can you possibly stay healthy when you can't get away from the germs. And do I even have to say that the germs are getting much more virulent (they are getting stronger and harder to get rid of). If you are someone who catches everything that is thrown at them (like me), what, oh what, can you do to stay healthy? I could blog about getting enough sleep and get your vitamin C.....yawn. Didn't work for me in the past so let me give you a new swing to staying and getting healthy. I know you have to get ready for the holidays so I will make this quick!


1. Drink a tea that has peppermint leaves and/ or green tea as part of the make up. These help your body adapt to the daily stresses placed on it. Peppermint has a calming effect and will help you sleep at night. Green tea has caffeine and it will help you wake up and stay awake. They both are what we call adaptogens. There are other herbs that help your body adapt to stress including lavender, ashwaganda, astragalus, and ginseng. And if you are looking for a stress relieving tea at the store, they may include some of these.


If you are like me, you may NEED that first cup of Joe in the morning! Thats fine, but then throughout the day you should drink 2-3 cups of this tea. And do it every day. You can change up the other ingredients but unless you know your adaptogens and how to blend teas, stick with the basics above. You should feel much more calm within a couple of days. Cheers!


2. Take good care of your gut (your belly, your digestive system). Right, you say. “I feed it and give it all sorts of gifts like alcohol, coffee, cake. What does my big old belly have to do with catching a cold or the flu, anyway? I think you are out of your wellness mind, Martha!” Not so fast! I am not going to go on a soapbox and say you must eat pristinely over the holidays, but, let's establish some ground rules. Fifty percent of your immune system is actually IN YOUR GUT AND INTESTINES! Screw with your gut and you are just asking for a virus or two.


To make a very long (like a whole book long) story short, when we don't eat right, one of the things that happens is that the pH balance of the digestive system gets too acidic and then we are vulnerable for virus takeover. No, I am not even suggesting that you should take something like Prilosec to stop the acid production because that causes a whole heap of other problems that none of us need. We still need an acidic balance in our gut, just not as acidic as we allow it to be now a days.


One way to restore the proper pH in your system is to eat many different fruits and vegetables. There are some that you shouldn't eat but for the sake of the short story, lets just say if you eat a variety of fruits and vegetables your pH balance should improve. On the other side of the story, cut back some on things that cause the balance to slide toward too acidic. These food items include sugar, processed foods (including breads and desserts), meat, dairy, coffee, soda pop. Holy cow, that IS what holidays are all about, right? I won't dispute that. All I am saying is that if you want to stay healthy, the least you should do is to keep your gut as balanced as possible. Eat more fruits and veggies and less of the “forbidden” foods.


3. The last and best is a remedy and prophylactic. Elderberry syrup or tincture can be gotten from the local health food store. Studies are showing that this could be the miracle cure you are looking for. Elderberry concoctions can actually prevent the flu virus from entering cells and spreading. There is also promising evidence that it will work similarly with colds (and even Ebola). I think that covers most everything! I take ¼ teaspoon daily and when I get ill increase that to every 3-4 hours. There are ways to make your own but with the holidays approaching quickly, you may just want to purchase it to have on hand as it takes a while to make it from scratch.


Before I get in trouble I had better tell you statements made on this website regarding herbal information have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration as the FDA does not evaluate or test herbs. This information has not been evaluated by the US Food and Drug Administration, nor has it gone through the rigorous double-blind studies required before a particular product can be deemed truly beneficial or potentially dangerous and prescribed in the treatment of any condition or disease. 


The information presented on this site is provided for informational purposes only, it is not meant to substitute for medical advice or diagnosis provided by your physician or other medical professional. Do not use this information to diagnose, treat or cure any illness or health condition. If you have, or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your physician or health care provider. 


And with that …....Happy and Healthy Holidays!


P.S. I will be having a class in making and putting together your own herbal winter wellness first aid kit in January so watch my website and/ or find and follow my Facebook page for weekly updates!









The Pothole and The Excuse (or excuses keep you from solving problems)

As I was driving home today, my mind wandered. Cold weather has arrived and I harkened back to last year and the weather that encouraged pothole formation in the roadways. There was an outstandingly deep pothole close to my home. The area was not lit well, making for a challenge to keep my car's tires, wheels and axles in working order. It became a test every night as I drove home in the dark... could I intuit the hole and swerve before feeling and hearing the nauseating ka-chunk that meant damage to my car? I, luckily, never did hit the pothole or the millions (not an exaggeration) of other potholes on the roads around my house.


At the time I went to talk to the supervisor of my township to ask why this hole, that had been present for over a month, had not been filled with some cold patch. For goodness sake, I would fill it in if they would just give me a bucket of the patch. The answer I got was not an answer. It was an excuse and a poor one at that. We are working on a total road solution....there are so many.....the money to fix roads is meager....etc....etc. I don't want excuses and I imagine that you feel this way too. My mind kept returning to visions of my mom. She was the township supervisor for many years. If someone complained about a problem she would dive in and solve it somehow, working with whoever she needed to to get the problem fixed. She NEVER made excuses. She found solutions.


Why am I digressing to the topic of potholes and excuses and fixing problems? Well, I have worked with people for many years, first in physical therapy and for the past several years in nutrition and physical therapy. My one and only goal is to help people feel better. People, quite frankly, now a days feel atrocious thanks to our lifestyles and eating habits. Many people are like my mom. They are grateful to hear what they can do to change their situation and make their lives better. They do their exercises and change their diets and lifestyles. Granted, this takes many months and it is my job to point out improvements made and remind you where your are and where you have come from. It is important to focus narrowly on one small goal at a time. I am so there for you! Annie and Susan (you know who you are) are two women who are going to feel much better because they are ready to move forward. You go ladies! You are amazing! You have found your war plan and are pursuing it. You may have set backs but we will work together to help you accomplish your goals.


Unfortunately, there are people who make excuses for their poor health. Are you one of these people? This keeps you from setting goals, let alone achieving them. The pothole in the road took months to fill. The person in charge could have filled it easily because it was a relatively small but allowed themselves to become a victim of excuses. Are you a victim of excuses or can we work together and find a way to set goals and achieve them. Do you hear yourself saying any of the following? I am too family won't eat like that.....I forget....I don't cook.... ______________ (fill in your custom excuse).


You can only move forward when you quit making excuses. You can only solve problems when you quit making excuses. When you make excuses, you unknowingly shut out any solutions. Are you ready to stop making excuses? When you are, give me a call and we will break down the wall of defeat one small step at a time. You can be successful!



If I Could Only Run Five Minutes a Day.....

I was watching television this morning and I heard,”People who run 5 minutes a day will live longer.” And my first question was, “Do they live longer than those who don't run or those who run marathons?” My second question was, “Really? Come on, what did you use as your control group, people who sit all day, people who lay in bed all day, who...who...who?” Then the physician commentator, “the expert”, was asked, what does this mean? And he basically came up with some extrapolation and said that running any distance is better than not doing anything. I am sorry but my cat could have figured that out. My dogs who were watching with me were laying on the floor laughing their guts out. Even they knew that if you did would probably burn more calories than if you didn't do anything.

The sad thing is, that isn't what this research found. It only found that if you RAN 5 MINUTES you lived longer. That might not be true for people who walk or bike. We just don't know. “The expert” is leading you on.

If you are one of the lucky people who never had to read research articles and write annotated bibliographies (basically, writing a paper about whether the article was researched properly) on them for school, let me bring you up to speed. There are many “scientific” papers that are written where the research is flawed. That means they proved what they set out to prove but made mistakes (on purpose or not) that helped them come up with the answer they wanted. For instance, sometimes they don't use enough people, or maybe they use the wrong math formula. (This would be kind of like using geometry to try to solve an algebra problem on a test at school. To the person who never had math, the answer may seem pretty brainy.) If you are not trained to sort out the data in the research study or if you aren't shown the data, it could be all misleading. First of all, most people aren't trained to do that and secondly, they don't give you enough information if you are trained. You need to rely on... “the expert”.

The sad thing about this type of reporting is that the person who is the authority, like the doctor, should tell you that this is a well researched study or not. They should tell you that there are so many other articles that also prove the same thing or maybe the articles all prove the opposite way of thinking. In the research world, one article does not mean anything. The research “hypothesis” that you are trying to prove must be backed up by several other studies to make it valid.

And when reporting, the expert isn't correct when he tells the public that the article means you should get up and do something. The article only, we assume, “proved” that running 5 minutes will help you. Not just doing any activity.

So, when you hear a story on the news that says people who run five minutes a day live longer, make sure you ask yourself, “Who do they live longer than?” “How much longer do they live?” “How many other studies have been done on this?” “If I walk five minutes a day could I live longer, too?” “If I am hispanic and I run five minutes a day, will I live longer or did you only use caucasians for this study.”


After all, you should know the whole truth of the story before you decide whether to lace up those new $100 running shoes and go out running on those arthritic legs. Oh, and by the way, please don't believe everything you hear.

Ravings and Rantings of a “Health Care?” Professional

My son sent me a website that he thought would be interesting. The website was “Brain Pickings” and the article was on the placebo effect and new research on this phenomenon. After reading this article, I began to look at other articles on the website and one piqued my interest. It was on anxiety. This piece was also interesting, but as I was reading I encountered a link to a person within the article. Of course I clicked the mouse and was instantly transported to this website, my third in about 5 minutes. (No wonder we have difficulty focusing these days!) Excitingly, this woman named Tara Brach performs meditation and has free (yes, free!) meditation sessions on this site.

I lead a class in “Seeking Balance” at my studio. The reason I call this “Seeking” is because no matter how hard I try, I myself – the one who leads this class – get pulled into the cortisol producing now world. I am like many (can I say most and be correct?) of all millennium dwellers who get caught up in the constant pounding and stress of this life. At this writing, I am still working a full time job as a physical therapist at a hospital as well as my dream business.

I remember the laughing and antics we had when the Sisters of Mercy were ruling our health care system. That was thirty years ago. We had a break cart that rolled into our department two times a day. They really looked out for our health and they truly cared about getting patients well and treating employees like they were special money was incidental to getting the patients well. The CEO knew everyone by name and truly listened to ideas from everyone. It was special.

I don't quite understand what started this spiral downward to where we are now. Let me just throw out some words and go from there. Greed, MBA's, Insurance Companies, Greed, Money, Greed, Lack Of Respect For Caregivers. Did I say greed? Even more important, did I mention patients at all? Ah Ha! Health care became a business that Was not about health or patients – but about MONEY! So now the health care workers need more health care because we are so stressed out and this increases the cost of health care and on...and on..... and on. As a matter of fact, I think we should change the term Health Care to Medical Care because it certainly isn't about seeking health!

Wow! Did I digress? But that leads me back to the reason why I am having classes to help people seek balance in their lives! I am moving into this business full time in a few weeks and I find myself smiling more. I want that feeling for others who are working in this harried world. A few minutes out of a day where you can relax and laugh with others. And find ways to relax and reset occasionally.

This brings me back to the meditation of Tara Brach. I realize that I am still clenching my teeth until August 7th when I leave the world of “medical” care to continue developing a small little world of “health” care for myself and others. I was listening to Tara's Guided Imagery and I relaxed my jaws. Then she told me to relax my eyes and let the orbs float like they were on a layer of water and I realized that even when I smile I am tensing my eyes. I know I have a ways to go and I bet you feel that way too.

Good Luck with your journey and feel free to check back in to this website and check out the calendar in the month of August as I gear up for classes and get them listed on the calendar. Feel free to come and have fun seeking more balance in your life. See you soon!

Should I Worry About The Future of The World? (Or Should I Keep Going to Yoga so I don't Give a D__m?)

I was listening to NPR today and the writer of some vampire movie was taking about how this movie stands for the sad shape the world is in. Really? What exactly was he talking about? I wondered, did he really think there were vampires running around ruining the world? Its not a wonder that I don't read the newspaper...well, I do read the local obituaries once a week but I have never seen a vampire listed. I digress, though. I probably would know that vampires are ruining the world if I would read the newspaper once in a while. 

CNN leads me to believe that the world is falling apart because Russia is on the move and the US legislature is comprised of a majority of people who think there is no such thing as global warming and the middle class isn't falling off the edge onto the top of poor people. 

I NEED MY YOGA.....I NEED MY YOGA.... I will be downstairs doing yoga if anyone is looking for me. There, I knew that would make me feel better... Breathe out as you raise your leg and inhale as you lower it.... watch your mountain head, Martha.....Cobra pose to downward dog.

Savasana.................................................................... What? Did I fall asleep? I was snoring? Whoops?

Camomile and lavender tea. Yoga and tea and, there, now..... The world is changing. I see it. There ARE more and more people who are leaving big business or staring down the establishment - THE MAN! Yay, not taking it from the man. They are showing that they can make a difference in this world. There are people in this world who are not stressing, but are aware and making decisions that are socially and environmentally responsible and would do that even if it means they won't get rich. They are finding that this movement is changing others social consciousness. Poison food is bad so we can do better than that or lets help people make gardens and show them what good food tastes like and that people care about other people. 

The world through my yoga eyes is coming back into focus. Thank you yoga. And thank you to my dog Earl for helping me with my yoga and allowing me to realize that laughter and yoga do go together. Earl, that downward dog does include licking your dog mom on the face and making her laugh. What a good life I have.

Oh My Aching Feet (Or Why Are My Dogs Biting Back)

Its an epidemic! People have aching, hurting and abused feet! Do you? Lets do something to keep those doggies from biting you back.

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I am weird. I like to go to the mall to watch people walk...probably the same genes that led me into physical therapy. I see many things (some I wouldn't put on paper). There are people wearing old worn out shoes that should be thrown out. We put alot of miles on our feet everyday and much of that is on concrete or other punishing surfaces. Shoes have cushioning in the soles and this wears out in about 300-500 miles. That is about 6 months if you are sedentary and less if you are active. So, tell your spouse - I am giving you a reason to get new shoes!

The summer is coming and we all get out those little skimpy shoes and sandals. They sure are cute but they make our feet cry out after a day of walking. Don't dispare! I can help you keep your feet ready for action with just a few exercises. 

1.  Find a friend who plays tennis and ask her for a tennis ball (they only use them for a match or two and look pretty new).  Hold onto the counter and place the tennis ball under one foot. Oh, I forgot, you have to take you shoes off. You want to put as much weight on the ball as you can tolerate - it should be slightly uncomfortable.

Next, roll your foot over the ball and just behind the balls of your feet, then along the outside of the foot to the middle of your heel. Make sure you stay in front of the heel bone though - that could be painful! Last, roll your foot over the ball and along the outside of you foot to the starting point. This will release the fascia on the bottom of your foot and keep you from getting plantar fasciitis. Repeat with other foot.

2. When our feet are mistreated, they stop talking to our brain. This means that our foot muscles stop doing what they were placed on our body to do, walk with good form. Who is in charge here, anyway, your feet or you? Hopefully the answer is you. So, try this exercise to bring your feet back into the fold. Remember, they will not listen at first but keep working on it and they will get better!

Stand up with your weight equally balanced on your feet. Spread your toes but keep them on the floor. Do this 10 times. Remember, your feet will try not to do what you are telling them. Keep trying.

Next, lift your big toes and keep your other four toes on the ground. repeat 10 times. Then lift your other four toes and make your big toe stay on the ground. Keep working. You can do it!

3. When you get good at these exercises, share them with the world. I call these exercises "The Foot Party". So, Have a party and get everyone doing "The Foot Party"! And then go out and walk in those cute shoes without pain.

Is Your Car More Important Than Your Body?

Lets say your car just hit a pothole. Not such a wild thought with the winter many of us have experienced this year. Two minutes after you hit the hole, you see the air pressure alarm go off and then immediately your car starts limping along and you know that your tire is flat. You have it changed and then the next day you take the tire to get fixed and the man says the hole is on the sidewall and can't be fixed. You sigh and pull out your credit card.

You make sure you get gas every week. You change the oil and rotate your tires when needed. You wash your car and vacuum it out when dirty. You do this because you know your car will last longer if you take care of it. Right?

Why is it then that you don't apply the same principal to your body? We ignore the maintenance that we need to get through life in good condition. I don't know how many people I see in the parking lot of the mall or grocery store walking with a wobble or bent over in the middle due to back problems. They get out of a clean, relatively new car and waddle their poor neglected body into the store. 

It goes farther than that. We wouldn't even think of not replacing our brakes because a lack of braking when we really need it might cause an accident and seriously injure or kill us or somebody else. But I see more than a third of the population walking around with excessive weight and are not doing anything about it. 

If we filled our cars up with Koolaid instead of gas our car wouldn't run so we buy gas even if it is expensive nowadays. We hear that processed foods are bad for our bodies  but buying processed foods are cheaper than buying good fruits and vegetables so we keep filling up on the "Koolaid" that we wouldn't think of putting in our car. 

Our bodies are a temple...the only temple we will have for our whole lives. We complain about how expensive it is to eat right or how expensive it is to pay out of our pocket for good one on one therapy or massage to keep our body healthy or get it healthy after an injury.  

When your body is damaged it never fixes itself to 100%. After you have had a heart attack or have diabetes, damage is done.  Please take a little time and spend a little money to keep your body healthy. You can't trade it in on a new model. Don't wait until tomorrow - it may be too late.

Love yourself as much as you love your car. Find a good mechanic for your body!

Getting Older Does Not Equal PAIN
three ways to improve body balance and decrease pain

You are getting old and you hurt. That is what happens when we get old, right? You hurt in places you didn't even know you had. You see other people your age and they are worse off than you. Helen is waddling back and forth and complains about her aching back. She can't stand in lines at the grocery store anymore. And what about Don? He walks around bent over at the waist and is on pain medicine constantly. Well he is 65. And then there is Patty. She worked at a factory and had to retire early because her feet hurt too bad.

Par for the course. You have pain when you get older. Right? Well, what about the man you see at the park? He has to be 75 and when he runs by you he smiles and says hi. What about that older lady you see at the coffee shop who just walked a mile to get her coffee with no outward signs of pain and she must be 85?

So, everyone doesn't have pain as they get older! It isn't written in stone that everyone over forty will develop pain. Some people are extremely lucky because they don't do anything and they don't have pain. A great many others have taken care of their bodies and done the proper exercise and eaten right their whole lives and they deserve not to have pain. But so do you. Most people don't know what they can do to help themselves. If given the right education some people will follow through and they will feel much better. Others will get the information and do nothing about it and they will continue to have increasing pain as they grow older. I'm not being mean, I know this from my experience as a physical therapist and nutritionist. Some of my clients realize that to feel better they will have to put a little work in. Others aren't ready or can't for some reason and still other just don't.

What is the answer to feeling better? The answer is BALANCE! And I will give you a few very important ways to improve your balance and feel better. If you are 40 or even 50 you may follow my plan and become pain free. If you are 60 or older, you may still experience a pain free life but even if you have lingering pain, it won't be as bad.

Now, I do have a disclaimer to make.... There are many things I can't help you fix without evaluating you in person but there are a few things that will help most people feel much better and balanced.
  1. CHECK YOUR FEET. Take your shoes off and sit down. If your feet have a substantial arch along the inside of the foot, make a mental picture of this. Now stand up. Shift your weight to one leg. Does your arch almost flatten to the floor? Make a note of this. Next, shift your weight off that leg and look at your knee cap as you place the weight back on that foot. Does the knee cap move from pointing straight ahead to pointing inward? Make a note of this and then repeat with your other leg. If your arch almost flattens or your knee caps point inward, you could probably benefit from a good pair of orthotics. There are many very good over the counter orthotics now a days. These can be found at many running stores or specialty shoe shops. Correcting foot problems can help your little doggies feel better as well as knees and backs!
  2. TAKE THE RIGHT SUPPLEMENTS AND EAT RIGHT. For years dietary fat has taken the blame for almost everything that went wrong with our bodies. From heart problems to obesity and diabetes, we have blamed poor innocent little fat. Now that we eat packaged foods that have been pumped up with ungodly amounts of sugar, studies are proving that most of the problems listed above are from consuming too much sugar. I will not go into everything that sugar has or will do to our bodies (that is the subject of another blog to be sure) but I will say that SUGAR causes inflammation in our bodies. Yes, SUGAR! Sorry, I know that it lights up the addiction part of our brain like we are taking cocaine every time we eat a glazed donut or snitch from the box of chocolates in the kitchen at work. I know it tastes wonderful, but if you have a bad back or knees or a shoulder that hurts, sugar is making it worse! So cut down on the sugar. Also, take 1,000 mg of EPA and DHA in a fish oil capsule every day (as long as your doctor says its not going to interact with any medications such as blood thinners and as long as you don't have any medical problems that would keep you from taking this). Fish oils, and more specifically, the omega 3's in fish oils decrease pain by decreasing inflammation in your body
  3. ACTIVATE YOUR PELVIC FLOOR AND CORE MUSCLES. When these muscles are active and contracted when you lay down, sit or stand (or for that matter, whenever you do any activity) you put less stress on your body. When these muscles get strengthened, you are working at balancing your whole body better. So, contract pelvic floor muscles. These are the muscles between your legs that hold up all of your guts. Visualize this area and pull it upward toward your waist line. Obviously, you can't pull it up that far but it will help you activate it. If you have a very large curve in your low back, you next may want to add a little backward pelvic tilt to that. There are exercises to add while holding this. These will help to reinforce the core strength but again that is another blog. For right now, just try to hold these muscles and breathe. When you get good at that then try it while you are sitting, standing and laying. Wait, that's your whole life. Right, so try holding this with everything you do and especially while lifting things and standing in long lines.

Well, these three things should help you have less pain in your life. Its funny, because they also help to balance your body. Oh, right, that is why I named this blog site Seeking Balance! If you need hands on help with your pain, try seeking out a holistic physical therapist in your area. If you are in the Toledo, Ohio area, please feel free to contact me for an appointment. My information is on my Facebook page, Moving into Freedom, LLC.


 Do you ever get up in the morning and moan? Pain is a way of life and you should expect to have aches and pain as you get older. Right? After all everyone talks about it. “It's hell to grow old.” “And they call these the Golden years?” I hear it all the time. People come to physical therapy with pain in their back or knee that has been getting worse for many years. When I ask them why they waited so long to see a physical therapist inevitably they tell me they thought it was just part of growing older.

Today I was driving into my local shopping center and saw a man walking. I think you could call it walking. Both knees were bent at least 30 degrees and his hips were bent 45 degrees. To top it off his upper back had a severe curve forward. Why, oh why did this man let himself get like this? Did he really think that this was just part of growing old or did he not know that he was truly like this? Even more frightening is the thought that he probably went to see his physician while looking like this. Why doesn't someone help this person? He is only a couple of years from needing a wheelchair. He has to be in so much pain. I tell people that if every person their age has the same pain, then it is part of growing old. Otherwise, it is probably not related to their age. It is related to loss of balance in their body. This happens over time and like the man I mentioned, can get very bad and very painful.

Why does this happen? We start out looking pretty balanced as we enter into adulthood. Lets go way back to birth. We are all cute and cuddly. Then a couple of months go by and we start to move more, learning how to roll over and sit up. As our muscles develop enough by our early activities, we then challenge ourselves to get up on all fours. Through this progression, we develop our muscles AND the stability in our trunk to allow us to stand and then to walk. What an amazing progression and most of us don't even know there is a rhyme and reason to it.

When I was a child, most of the kids in the neighborhood left the house in the morning when there was no school. We seldom stopped or came indoors until our parents stepped out the front door and yelled our names at the top of their lungs. (That was how communication was in the pre-cell phone era.) If it was warm out, we would be outside playing a game of chicken against each other on our bikes or climbing trees or playing a pickup game of baseball or football. If it was cold out, we were sledding down the hill that seemed so big back then or skating or having snowball fights. Now that I am actually putting this down on paper, I see how archaic this would seem to children now. Times were different and we didn't have to worry about being abducted or other scary things happening so our parents rarely knew where we were. Our parents were safe in knowing that we were with a group of kids and if something happened, they would find out quickly because someone would run hellbent for election to get them.

My point in telling this story is that we were so active that without knowing it we working all of our muscle groups and this maintained the balance and stability we first developed as toddlers. But then we became teens and noticed that the children we once played with were cute or handsome and our lives changed. Back in those days, we sat around and listened to music together (among other things). We began that downhill slide to imbalance in our bodies. Most people then began living their adult lives and got busy with their kids and work. Most importantly people were not paying attention to what was happening to their bodies.

I am a physical therapist and I am seeing this. Clients are coming with back pain and total knees and hips. They are coming with rotator cuff tears in there shoulders and neck pain. If these people had a balanced body, many of these problems would never have started. In the weeks and months to come, I will give you the tools to balance your body physically and nutritionally. My partners Tom and Nicole will help you balance other aspects of your life. No matter what your age or how imbalanced you may be, you will see improvement in your body balance and your life balance. As always, with anything we tell you, respect your limitations. Any discomfort means that you should back off and ask us for help.  

Martha Quiroga, MHS, PT, AFPA certified nutritionist