Welcome back to
Active Life Health Clinic's October Newsletter.
recently celebrated Thanksgiving Day. While I do
enjoy a good holiday meal, this particular
holiday always reminds me to think about the
things that I am grateful for. The list is long!
I’ve shared some of my gratitude list on my
Facebook page and
blog, but I’ll share with you here that I’m
thankful for you! It’s because of you that I
love what I do. Without you to read my
newsletter and blog, I wouldn’t share what I’ve
learned and I’d be less inclined to keep
learning. Without you to treat in clinic, I
would not be able to share my passion for health
and celebrate your improvements.
So, thank you!
Pain, Pain, Go Away
October. It’s definitely not summer anymore. In
Vancouver it’s the rainy season, so the song
“Rain, Rain, Go Away” comes to mind. But if pain
is something you’re suffering from, you may want
to change that song just a bit to “Pain, Pain,
recently attended a pain conference, so this
month I have written some tips about how to
reduce, treat, and prevent pain. My colleague,
life coach Anne Whitmore, has also written about
pain, but from a different approach. See articles
A Visit By Dr.
Health's media launch was a great success! We
had Dr. Andrew Weil present to talk about how we
are the first clinic in Vancouver to have fully
trained integrative MDs working, not just
alongside, but fully participating in
integrative consultations and programs with TCMs,
chiros, RMTs, mind-body practitioners, trainers,
I was able to sit for
dinner with Dr. Weil to learn about his
experience in establishing and continuing to
lead the field of integrative medicine,
something that has put him on the hot seat for
decades. He's a Harvard trained MD who's a
prolific writer on the topic of health
(nutrition in particular), founder for the
Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, and now
widely recognized face of integrative medicine
(maybe you can't recall his name, but I'm sure
you've seen his face).
Want to hear what I've
learned from him and see some of the pictures?
Check out my
I will continue (at least for now) with my
monthly health-e-newsletters, but suggest that
you sign up for Connect Health's e-newsletter.
Through them you can learn from other health
professionals that I will be working with about
ways to further improve your health. Sign up at
www.connecthealthcare.ca and look for "join
our email list" near the top left of the page.
Join me on
to learn and share health tips
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Helping you help yourself!!
This is active
To work in partnership with you to
bring you to your optimal health.
health, not just temporary
job is to tell you, “Pay attention!” Your
job is to discover how to address the cause
of the pain. Do you need to rest or move?
Should you use cold to decrease swelling or
heat to relax muscles? What therapies can
I’ve been treating pain
for 10 years, but because there are many
types of pain and each can be complex, last
month I attended the American Academy of
Pain Management conference to find out
what’s new in the field.
What I saw was that there
were a number of medications and surgical
techniques and complicated monitoring
systems and fancy machines and support
devices….ahhhhh [deep breath]…all to treat
or manage pain. What I also saw was that
some of the longest standing and simplest
methods of managing pain are still very
relevant and effective: acupuncture, good
food, restorative sleep, breathing practice,
the damp, cold weather of Vancouver sinks
in, many feel the weather sinking into their
joints. Traditional Chinese Medicine calls
this Damp-Cold Bi Syndrome. “Bi” means
“obstruction” in TCM, and that means “pain”
because according to TCM, all pain is caused
The connection between
people feeling more pain in their joints or
scar tissue when it’s going to rain has long
been reported. I used to feel impending rain
via a scar on my lip! And changes in
barometric pressure used to give me
headaches. But, as much as I, and many
others, have felt like living barometers,
the research does not seem to explain it.
TCM, on the other hand,
can explain it. We believe that elements in
nature—wind, cold, summer-heat, dampness,
dryness, and fire—can enter the body and
cause blockages. Where there is “wind”, the
pain may move around the body. Where there
is “cold”, the pain can be severe and
stabbing. Where there is “heat” or “fire”,
there is redness and swelling. Where there
is “dampness”, there is swelling, stiffness,
and heaviness. Where there is “dryness”,
there may be insufficient lubrication for
the joint and movement may be impaired.
The first key to
preventing weather-impacted pain is to
protect yourself from the elements. Get
outside still to take in nature, get some
exercise, and absorb some vitamin D sunlight
when you can. But if you have neck pain,
wear a scarf. Low back pain and/or menstrual
cramps? You may like those low-rise pants,
but prevent exposure of your low abdomen and
back. Don’t allow your feet to stay wet if
stiffness, heaviness, and aching pain are
Supplements and foods can
help manage and treat your pain.
Cooling foods to treat hot inflammation
include cabbage, cucumber, celery, tofu,
- Warming foods to
improve circulation include fennel, onions,
pepper, quinoa, nutmeg, cinnamon
- Anti-inflammatory foods
include turmeric, ginger, fatty fish
(mackerel, herring, sardines, wild salmon,
tuna, cod, halibut), papaya, pineapple
Of course one of the most
recognized natural treatments for pain is
acupuncture. In fact, when I input
“acupuncture pain” in the Google Scholar
search box, the results numbered 75,000! Of
course not all of those are going to show
positive, but pain specialists almost always
bring up acupuncture treatment as a
treatment option because time and again it
has been found effective for a variety of
Finally, cover the
basics. Get enough sleep to allow your body
to repair and recover. Learn what exercises
will help and not hinder your healing.
Remember that your mind is a powerful tool
that can be used to your benefit (or
detriment). And, ask for help when you need
I’m always available to
answer questions, so feel free to ask away!
Drcarr@activetcm.com. Now at my new
clinic, so call 604-733-4400 if you’d like
to book an appointment.
The Gift of
by Anne Whitmore
Now you may be
thinking, "Isn't that just like a coach to
try to spin the good into every
situation..." Pain is one way that our
bodies communicate with us that things
aren't going well. Regardless of the type of
pain - physical, mental, emotional,
spiritual or how you experience it - there
is information there.
The gift of pain is
an awareness that all is not right in our
world. It's like
the fire alarm going off on one floor of a
multi-story building. One
alternative is to close off the floor and
not go there anymore. Another is to turn off
the alarm and continue business as usual. Or
run around yelling about how the building is
on fire. Or sit in hopelessness that the
fire is probably going to spread and burn
down the whole place. Or call in the
firefighters... Or an electrician to examine
the wiring... Or...
How we are with our
pain is related to what we do about it.
Emotional pain is often ignored
or suppressed. The expression "Time heals
all wounds" gives hope that the sharpness of
the pain will fade and soon disappear.
The thing is that
unless the cause of the pain is resolved, it
will eventually pop back up again, often
when we least expect it and with a
vengeance. Sometimes with
physical pain, we take painkillers or try to
'push through it', hoping that our body will
resolve the issue on its own. Or we can
choose to seek out the help of a specialist,
like a doctor of TCM, to find the source of
the injury and heal it.
You get to choose.
Coaching is one way to really
feel your area(s) of pain, explore the
possibilities and then choose how you want
to address it.
The ultimate gift of
pain is the opportunity to connect with
ourselves, choose a path and seek healing.
Personal Coach &
Design the life you
love - and love the life you are living.
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