Kanawa Canoe Magazine Article

November 14th, 2009 — 6:22pm


“Do you want the last smoked oyster?”

“No, you have it, Studge.”

We are ten days into the trip and the repetition of tripping lunches, not to mention too much sun and a long morning in the boat are all starting to take their toll on my appetite. We pack up the wannigan and slip back onto the water, heading south to Great Slave Lake. We are on the Beaulieu River in the Northwest Territories and the afternoon is warm and nearly windless. Its one of those days up here where you look at the sky again after an hour and see exactly the same cloud formation in the same place. The next three hours will see us across the ten miles of Watta Lake so we settle into our rhythm as the canoe slides over the glassy surface. I am paddling in the bow, my eyes closed to the reflection of the sun on the water and the post-lunch stupor beginning to take up residence in my brain. After 25 years and hundreds of thousands of strokes, no conscious thought of the process is required. Reach forward, but not too far. Slide the paddle through the surface tension, matching the pace of the boat. Pull, then follow through on the glide and then start it all over again. And again and again and again……

My eyes pop open and my first thought is the realization that I’ve been sleeping; and not just for a few seconds, either. Next is surprise at the fact that I’m still paddling and in perfect rhythm no less. I steal a peek back at Studge and see that he has no idea I’d checked out for awhile.

We travel on and as I reflect on the experience I begin to understand something. A chiropractor by trade, I work with the stuff of nerves and patterns, searching for the frequency of adaptation in the body. When I paddled and dozed, I was playing out a basic truth; that life is expressed as an infinite number of wave patterns. In mammals, some examples of this are the contraction and dilation of the heart, the rise and fall of respiration, the pulsing of cerebro-spinal fluid and the peristalsis of the intestine. Even the time-line from conception to death follows a single wave pattern. In nature, the repeating cycle of high pressure systems alternating with low pressure, the movement of water from the sky to the surface and back and the cycle of the seasons are some of the seemingly endless variations of this universal motion.

For me, paddling has become one of these life frequencies. There are days deep in a trip when the cycle of the paddle stroke makes me feel so whole and perfectly right that I imagine it to be akin to what a buddhist monk experiences after years of being “present” from meditation and fasting. The rhythm begins to sustain and enable me not unlike the rhythms elemental in nature. It is so deeply rooted in my core that, under the right circumstances consciousness would appear to be optional. The inner beat begins to act as a bridge to my awareness of the subtleties and infinite variations of the rhythms all around me in this remarkable place.

The undulation of a grayling as it glides upstream in a shallow section of the river, the powerful winging of the bald eagle as it takes off from the bank ahead, intent on leading us down the next section of water, the rows of waves stretching to the horizon on one of the big lakes and the rhythmic sound of their breaking on the rocky shore, the vibration of the wings of a dragonfly as it perches on the gunwhale of the canoe, poised for flight. And over everything, this dream-like hum which seems the very frequency of the land itself, binding it all together.

I come back here time and again to simultaneously find and lose myself in the embrace of this place. Deepak Chopra says that all addictions are really just our attempt to re-discover pure joy. If so, I must be a canoe-tripping junkie, catching the waves again and again.

“Pasta or rice pilaf tonight, Studge?”

Stuart M. Grey

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Blue-green Algae

November 13th, 2009 — 9:02pm
Super Blue Green® Omega Sun® is the heart of the algae with the cell wall carefully removed via our special separation process. Omega Sun is an abundant source of raw materials for enhancing activity in the brain, the most nutrient-demanding organ in the body. The amino acids found in Omega Sun are the building blocks of the healthy nerve cells and neurotransmitters vital for proper brain function. Omega Sun also provides essential omega-3 fatty acids (which may be limited in the vegetarian diet) necessary for cardiovascular health. Omega Sun helps maintain normal, healthy blood chemistry—Omega Sun feeds the blood that feeds the brain. Each capsule or tablet contains 250 mg of Aphanizomenon flos-aquae.

Omega Sun Capsules: Blue-green algae (Aph. flos-aquae), vegetarian capsules (plant fiber, water).
Omega Sun Tablets: Blue-green algae (Aph. flos-aquae), croscarmellose sodium, magnesium stearate.

Suggested Use
Four capsules/tablets, or as needed, each day. You may wish to start by taking one with meals and gradually increase based on your individual needs.
Keep in a cool, dry place.

Nature’s Extraordinary GiftAlgae is the basis of the entire food chain—the foundational nutrient source for creating and renewing all life on earth. Aphanizomenon flos-aquae is the crème de la crème of all algae, one of the planet’s most powerful foods. Tucked away in the Cascade Mountains of Southern Oregon, fed by a network of mountain streams and springs, anchored in deep volcanic soil and 35 feet of mineral-rich sediment, Upper Klamath Lake is one of nature’s most miraculous nutrition resources of Aphanizomenon flos-aquae. This single- celled organism is richly endowedwith a vast array of easily assimilated nutrients including: essential fatty acids, active enzymes, vitamins, amino acids, minerals, proteins, complex sugars, and phytonutrients.

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Sacro-Occipital Technique

November 13th, 2009 — 8:54pm


What does SOT stand for?

SOT stands for Sacro Occipital Technique (or Technic). “Sacro” means “related to, or associated with,” the sacrum. The sacrum is the foundation for the spine. The sacrum is often called the tail bone though this is not exactly correct. “Occipital” means “related to or associated with the occiput. Occiput means “the back of the head”. So, SOT is a method of normalizing the relationship between the foundation of the spine and the top of the spine. It is this relationship and how these two bones get along with one another, that has been proven to be so important in the normal functioning of the brain and spinal cord.

The word “Technic” is another way of spelling “technique”. Either word means “the way to get the job done, scientifically and in a short period of time”.

How is SOT different than ordinary chiropractic?

SOT (Sacro Occipital Technique) is composed of highly accurate and effective procedures. Dr. Major B. DeJarnette spent most of his life conducting clinical investigation into what works in chiropractic and what makes chiropractic work. Many of the experiments he first tried on himself so that he was aware of the results first hand. He also recruited others to be patients while he tested the procedures. By means of these repeated, peer-reviewed tests, he determined the true nature of the spinal subluxation* and how it could most efficiently be corrected. He also determined when the correction of the spinal subluxation was not enough and devised visceral manipulation procedures. Visceral procedures are used to help normalize organ function without the use of drugs or surgery.

SOT also recognizes the important role of normal cranial function in health and disease. The cranial bones and other cranial structures can cause central nervous system problems that are often overlooked or ignored by most other chiropractic systems.

*Spinal subluxation: A disorder of the spinal, pelvic or cranial bones which is interfering with, or prohibits the correction of, the secretion, fluctuation and absorption of cerebro spinal fluid.

Exactly what function of the body does SOT correct?

SOT concerns itself primarily with the cranial sacral respiratory mechanism. This is a wavelike oscillation in the covering of the brain and spinal cord. Although quite subtle, this motion is essential for the normal functioning of the brain and spinal cord, and thereby the rest of the nervous system and the rest of the body. It functions much like breathing air, in that it has a cyclic tightening and loosening phase. Ordinary respiration – breathing air in and out – also affects and can be used to normalize cranial sacral respiratory action. The normal function of the cranial sacral respiratory mechanism is recognized as a primary function of life in the body and must be normal if all functions of the body are to be normal.

Like other chiropractic techniques, SOT also corrects abnormal spinal mechanics and any associated nerve problems. These can include back pain, headaches, dizziness, arm and leg pains.

Through the use of Chiropractic Manipulative Reflex Techniques, your SOT practitioner can help normalize organ function in your body, including high blood pressure, digestive problems, urinary problems, toxicity, female reproductive dysfunction, etc. The list goes on and on.

Many head-related symptoms can also be treated by your SOT practitioner, including, but not limited to:

  • Vertigo
  • TMJ
  • Headache
  • Visual disturbances
  • Ear infections, etc.

Will it make the pain go away?

Getting rid of pain is important. At all times, during an SOT adjustment, the comfort of the patient is considered. But eliminating or killing the pain is not the main goal of a chiropractic SOT adjustment. The true goal of an adjustment, and particularly an SOT adjustment, is to normalize the function of the entire body. The central nervous system – the brain and spinal cord – is the avenue of approach. The brain and spinal cord are used for this purpose because all studies of the human body show that their function is the primary function of the body. They act to control all other functions of the body as well. So, normalization of this function is the primary goal. As this goal is obtained, the pain will go away. But elimination of pain is simply a side effect of normalizing the cranial sacral respiratory mechanism.

Will I have to keep coming back?

SOT is proven to obtain lasting results in a short time. These results are demonstrated as reduced pain and improved function in all parts of the body. A patient just starting with SOT care will often notice such a great improvement in a short time that they will feel they are completely healed. But with the precise diagnostic methods of SOT, problems in the body can be detected even though they are not causing pain. So it is a wise investment on the patient’s part to stay with a program of care which detects problems before they start to hurt. The old saying attributed to Benjamin Franklin applies: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of Cure.”

Is this a proven method?

SOT has been shown to be clinically effective in thousands of offices worldwide. This method of health care is constantly improving and finding new proof of it’s effectiveness. Many of the other chiropractic techniques use principles that were originally discovered and written by Dr. DeJarnette. The validity of Dr. DeJarnette’s research is proven every day by the practice of these techniques. As specialists in Sacro Occipital Technic, the chiropractors listed on this website are trained in SOT and diligently apply all of their skill, knowledge, and judgment to every adjustment they give. Their effort is to apply SOT as Dr. DeJarnette developed it. This is the proven method and the one that is most often found to be effective.

Will it make me healthier?

Yes. Any SOT adjustment will improve the functioning of the body, which is health. This improvement may not be readily apparent to the doctor or the patient, but it is there. Since it is very difficult to predict what is going to happen with one’s health, it is doubly difficult to say that a particular procedure prevented a bad occurrence in one’s health. But, clinical experience and scientific investigation over the years have shown that SOT is in the forefront of those procedures which improve health.

Does SOT require nutritional changes?

Often. Any effort to restore health in this day and age on this planet requires improving nutritional intake. This is due to what is called “overconsumptive malnutrition.” Our current food supply is structured in such a way that people eat a lot of empty calories. So, specific nutritional supplements and changes are usually necessary.

Does the adjustment cause pain in the body?

No. SOT works to a great extent by specifically positioning the body to use the weight of the body to correct the body. This occurs because of an interaction between the specific position the body is in and the motion of the body caused by normal breathing. Many times the patient will feel very relaxed during the adjustment and even take a nap. There is some pain when specific points of correction are located. This is more like a “good pain” than a “bad pain” and serves mostly to let the doctor and patient know that a point needing correction has been found.

Is there a chance of being hurt by the SOT adjustment?

The chance of injury during any chiropractic adjustment is very, very small. Recent research has shown the likelihood to be less than one in 6,000,000. Most of the injuries which have occurred have involved the neck and happened during non-SOT visits.

The average chiropractor pays about $1,000 to $2,000 per year for malpractice insurance. A medical doctor can pay $1,000 per week for malpractice insurance. This gives an accurate indication of the relative danger involved.

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November 13th, 2009 — 11:50am


wonderful: Dr. Grey has perhaps the best bedside manner of any doctor I’ve had the pleasure of visiting in my life! He is extremely knowledgable about traditional medicine in addition to his knowledge about his own field. He is interested in all aspects of a patient’s life in order to pronounce the most thorough diagnosis possible, and works diligently to correct the problems he diagnoses. I had suffered from acid reflux for YEARS, and after 4 months with him, it was almost completely unnoticeable. His rates are affordable, and he works to make you better, not to make you dependent on him for further visits. I would recommend him to anyone, even if you’ve had previous unpleasant or unsuccessful experiences with a chiropractic doctor.     K. Vroomin 

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“Health” is not the lack of symptoms

November 13th, 2009 — 11:41am
In my 17 years in practice I have witnessed a growing anxiety and concern among people about their health and the possibility of developing some dis-ease state. This observation seems to parallel an ever increasing focus on the part of mainstream medicine and the media on chronic sickness and ill health. While it is certainly important to acknowledge the advances medically, in treating disease, my concern is the substantial imbalance in the preoccupation with sickness as opposed to wellness. The media’s tendency to play to people’s fears for ratings purposes is a direct factor as well. We, as individuals and a society need to reject a mindset where the absence of feeling bad equates with good health. Given the fact that about 97% of function in the body is not experienced by the conscious mind, using symptoms as the dominant barometer for health is highly suspect. Pro-active lifestyle choices are the key to enjoying real health. These include diet, exercise, rest, attitude and engaging in support systems designed to remove internal interference in the body (chiropractic, shiatsu, acupuncture, etc). I acknowledge that virtually all of the people who initially seek my help are attempting to relieve a “condition”, but its critical to point out that I cannot adjust a symptom away. If you experience a good outcome under spinal care it is because the adjustment removed interference to the nervous system, allowing the body to express its true capability in terms of healing and homeostasis. The change in the symptom is a “side effect” of the adjustment. In my opinion, in order for us to truly become a healthier society we must adopt more of this mindset. So I encourage everyone to take steps on their own behalf. Come in periodically to get your spine checked and adjusted, whether you feel badly or not. You will be truly healthier for having done it.

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H1N1 Update

November 13th, 2009 — 11:16am

A large number of my patients have been asking questions about H1N1 and I thought it would be helpful to provide information on my blog.

The most frequent inquiry regards my position on the issue of H1N1 vaccination. While I agree that this is a very important consideration, it is critical that any opinion of mine be understood in the context of what we know and don’t know about this virus and its behavior so far.

First, some history about the disease to this point. Swine flu is not a new illness. There is lab evidence that generations of many humans working in close contact with pigs have antibodies to the virus, which indicate prior exposure to H1N1 in those individuals.  What is new (since last spring) is the ability for the virus to spread from humans infected by contact with pigs to other humans. It’s worth noting that many epidimiologists have been predicting for some time that this modification of the virus to be able to spread through the human population would occur; not “if” but “when”. And “when” appears to be now. The main reason swine flu has been such a concern over the years is because it has always had specific characteristics which make it more capable of “jumping species”. 

There is a larger issue of how viruses jump from animals to humans in the first place and while there is some debate on the matter, it is generally thought to be tied to increasing human population and mobilization, coupled with stressful environments for animals that we breed and grow for food. There is still much we don’t know about this complex process, but there are probably some practical things we could be doing which would reduce the chance for future events like H1N1. Needless to say, as a health care practitioner focused on prevention and pro-active health I believe this to be an extremely important matter, but not really relevant to what we can and should be doing regarding H1N1 now.

The H1N1 virus made the clear jump to human-to-human transmission back in the spring. Since then it has been rapidly spreading throughout the globe and the CDC estimates that one half of the world’s population (2.5-3 billion people) will be exposed to the virus over the next 2-3 years. Since the onset, the virus’s virulence (the measure of complication and death per number of cases) has been similar to that of the seasonal flu. However, this flu is different in two significant ways; the total number of suspected cases and the age group it most affects. The large number of cases is the result of the high communicability of this virus coupled with the fact that it is new in the human population and thus there is no “herd immunity” from previous exposure. The affected age group is primarily 0-50 years old, with few cases 0-2 years old, steadily increasing and peaking number of cases 8-15 years old and gradually decreasing and then becoming steady, 25-50 years old. The over  50 set seem to largely get a free pass with this virus; ironic, as the seasonal flu kills on average 36,000 people in this country annually and the significant majority of them are over 60. It is strongly suspected that the primary reason for this is that there were several seasonal flu strains from the 1930’s through the 1950’s which were similar enough in profile to H1N1 that many people alive during that time have antibodies close enough of a match that they avoid significant illness when exposed to H1N1. What is less clear is why children are so disproportionally affected. Remember, “affected” refers to cases resulting in complications and/or death, not the total number of cases of exposure; it is expected that all age groups are exposed, just unequally affected. As is the case with elderly and the seasonal flu, the majority of complicating cases of H1N1 are younger people with identified, pre-existing health conditions. It is not clear to me from any statistical data to this point that H1N1 is causing complications in a higher percentage of “healthy” people per total number of cases than the seasonal flu does on average each year.

This raises a critical question and concern for me about the description of people as “healthy” in these situations. Dorland’s Medical Dictionary defines Health as…”an optimal state of mind and being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. To describe a child with no pre-existing health condition who gets sick and/or dies of the flu as having been “healthy” prior to the illness would assume, as a parallel that a 45 year old man running for the bus, who’s never had chest pain in his life and suddenly has a massive, life-threatening heart attack, was “healthy” up to the moment of his catastrophic MI. This misrepresentation is, in my opinion very dangerous and at the end of this report I will come back to the issue in a more practical and useful way.

So, having described the virus and its behavior to this point in time, I’d like to look at the way we, as a culture and particularly our governing institutions have responded. Until about five weeks ago, my examination of the data provided by the CDC closely mirrored what was being substantively reported in the media as a public service outlet. Then, in early October there was a run of news stories regarding high profile individual’s concerns and negative attitudes toward the swine flu vaccine. This mostly centered on the fact that it is a new vaccine being rushed into production and the question of whether or not there are safety issues (has it been “vetted” well enough). There is some concern within the medical community itself (see Dr. Mercola’s website for specifics) though certainly not “mainstream”. Immediately on the heels of this, there was a distinct shift of tone and divergence from the context of the data being generated by the CDC as far as news about H1N1 in mainstream media was concerned. The script changed very clearly to the goal of generating fear and anxiety in people in order to get them to take this virus and the need for the vaccine seriously. Now, news stories primarily talk about numbers out of context; “ 44 children have died in the US since August, 119 children have died in the US since the virus started last spring, 11 last week alone…”. These are the headlines, but they mean little without the broader data to interpret them in. I could just as easily say that 44 kids will die in car accidents in the next two weeks and I would be technically correct, but without data about total number of kids in cars per miles driven during that time its rather abstract (remember, there are 300,000,000 people in this country; being a child and dying in a car accident this week is statistically equal to winning mega-millions). I am very angry that media as a public service outlet for information has abandoned merely informing us and is now attempting to persuade us to think and behave a certain way through fear and intimidation as a means to an end. If people cannot trust the process, there is great risk in them not trusting the motive.

Health officials are no longer confirming suspected cases of swine flu through blood analysis; only those resulting in complications and/or death. This means that statistics about the virus’s virulence (again, the rate of problem cases as a percentage of the total number of cases) are estimated. I feel confident in the science used to generate these estimates that it is likely accurate. As I indicated earlier, I have seen no data which suggests that, so far the virulence of H1N1 is different than that of the average seasonal flu. Because it is a new virus in humans and because of certain characteristics in its make-up there is some concern that it may become more virulent over time as it spreads through the population. This is not a prediction, just an acknowledgement of the potential for it to occur. Given the large number of people expected to be exposed to H1N1 over the next few years, any meaningful increase in its virulence will be very significant in terms of the total number of injuries and death and in assessing individual risk.

This brings us to the issue of the H1N1 vaccine. Availability problems aside, public health officials are aggressively promoting the vaccine for children, pregnant women, people working with children and health care providers. The vaccine is created using the same model and technique as for the seasonal flu vaccine and I do not believe there is any evidence to suggest that it is less reliable or safe.  Many of you know that I have broader concerns about vaccinations overall as an intervention, but I am choosing not to bring them into this discussion. Parents of individual children and young to middle-age adults need to make individual decisions about whether to vaccinate or not. Again, the critical criteria are the ongoing assessment of the virulence of the virus and the health status of the individual in question.

Now, back to the matter of interpreting one’s health status. I am appalled that virtually all the public health information about how to protect yourself from H1N1 revolves around exposure to the virus itself; washing your hands regularly, avoiding people who are sick, removing yourself from others if you are sick, etc. These are all meaningful recommendations for how to avoid the illness, but I haven’t heard word one about how to reduce one’s chance of a bad outcome if you do become exposed. If the statistics overwhelmingly show that it is sick people who make up the majority of bad H1N1 cases, then logic would dictate that being healthy substantially reduces your risk of a bad outcome. And since being healthy is not merely the absence of symptoms, but an optimal state of physical and mental well-being, then how about some promotion of behavior which inherently supports a good baseline for health. This would include: sufficient amount and quality of sleep, fresh air and reasonable amount of physical activity, consistent and proper amount of hydration (water), good nutrition (both what you put in and what you don’t), effective stress management (maybe the most important of all) and support therapies which help the body from the inside out to be more resilient and adaptive. As a chiropractor I have a particular focus on the role a properly functioning nervous system, free of interference from the spine has on baseline health and certainly encourage people to get adjusted for constitutional support and not just for problem-solving. But I have a great appreciation and regard for many other disciplines as well; massage, shiatsu, acupuncture, reiki to name a few. Being healthy is not a roll of the die; it is substantially about the choices we make.

To review; H1N1 is a significant event that should be taken seriously and monitored carefully, but not over-hyped and taken out of context.  Individual decisions regarding vaccination should be informed and not fear-driven. And we should all be supporting ourselves and those we’re responsible for in being healthy and adaptable.

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November 12th, 2009 — 2:45pm

“As a people, we have become obsessed with Health. There is something fundamentally, radically unhealthy about all this. We do not seem to be seeking more exuberance in living as much as staving off failure, putting off dying. We have lost all confidence in the human body.”

-Lewis Thomas, “The Medusa and the Snail”

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