From the category archives:

book review

Book Review: Healing Skin Disorders

by Ed

Last week, someone emailed me with a question about a skin problem. After replying with a few suggestions, I remembered a book I have on the bookshelf in my clinic. Healing Skin Disorders, by Andrew Gaeddert is a great book for healing your own skin condition. He talks about everything from acne to diaper rash to eczema to psoriasis to warts. Western and Chinese herbs that are good for the skin are covered, as are other natural forms of treatment. For each condition he gives symptoms and causes, self treatments, professional treatments, and case studies. He also talks about the importance of the digestive system in healing skin disorders. There is a digestive cleansing protocol at the end of the book. This is a great book for any lay person wanting to heal themselves, as well as for practitioners who want to improve their skill in treating skin disorders.

Andrew Gaeddert studied Chinese Medicine after his colitis was healed by Chinese Medicine. He has gone on to become one of the foremost herbal authorities in the West. He is the president of Health Concerns, a company that specializes in Chinese herbal formulas for health practitioners.

The following Anti-inflammatory Program from his book is useful for anyone with chronic inflammatory conditions, not just skin conditions.

  • Consume fish three or more times per week

  • Eat lean meats, poultry and game, and also use vegetables such as beans and nuts for protein.

  • Eliminate margarine, butter, and shortening.

  • Each day use 40 to 50 grams (3 to 4 tbsp) of polyunsaturated oils (avocado, hemp, flax, olive, walnut) as a dressing for salad or cooked vegetables

  • Supplement with 1 to 3 tsp of cod liver oil daily.

Buy in Canada: Healing Skin Disorders: Natural Treatments for Dermatological Conditions

Book Review: Avoiding Cancer One Day At A Time

by Ed

“One out of every two American men and one out of every three American women will get cancer over the course of their lifetimes” That quote, taken from Avoiding Cancer One Day At A Time, is probably the reason the authors wrote the book. If you want to be among the ones who don’t get cancer, I suggest reading this book. They have thoroughly researched everything known to increase your risk of getting cancer, including the stuff that we aren’t 100% sure of, yet. They also discuss how to avoid those things and how to strengthen your resistance to cancer, in general. They say that they don’t want their readers to become fanatical about avoiding all of the risks, but with all of their statistics, it could be easy to get fanatical.

There are chapters on environmental factors, lifestyle, nutrition, and medicine. The chapter on medicines talks about medications that can cause cancer as well as medical conditions that raise your risk of cancer. There is also a chapter just about the infectious diseases that raise your risk. Each chapter talks about the risks and about what you can do to lower your risk. For instance, in the chapter on environmental risks, there is also a section on which house plants best clean the air of carcinogens like formaldehyde. The last chapter is full of great cancer preventing recipes.

They list many resources and references, and the appendices list all known carcinogens. I love statistics and this book has lots of those. For instance, did you know that 25% of cancer deaths, worldwide, are related to infectious diseases, such as HIV and hepatitis? There are also many tables, making the information easy to find. This book is easy to read and thorough, everyone should read it.

To Buy in Canada, click here.

Computer Ergonomics: Form vs. Function

by Ed

There are two aspects to maintaining a pain free experience while working at a computer all day; posture and functionality.

One way to look at the importance of posture is to think in terms of friction. If you have new shoes that rub your ankle, you will get a blister from the friction. The same sort of thing happens with carpal tunnel syndrome and other computer related pains. If you move your fingers while in a position that causes friction on your carpal tunnel, you will develop pain there. However, the source of the pain is not at the wrist. The position of the upper back, shoulders and arms determine the position of the wrist, and whether or not there is friction there.

Functionality refers to our ability to move our bodies appropriately. If you are sitting at a desk all day long, certain posture muscles grow weak and unable to do their job of maintaining your posture. Other muscles, not suited to the job, attempt to compensate. Two problems result from that. One is that the the muscles doing the work get overworked and sore. The other is that with the wrong muscles doing the job, the body’s structure gets pulled out of alignment. This can set up conditions for the kind of friction mentioned above, as well as creating a negative spiral of dysfunctionality.

So we need to both have “proper” posture at work and maintain functionality of our bodies. The former being largely dependent on the latter. Much of current ergonomics is designed to help with posture without taking function into consideration, which can lead to a worsening of the condition in the long run. The net effect of most ergonomic advice is that you move less. You need to move more.

Exercise programs like yoga and Pilates will work for most people to regain and maintain function. However, if you are already symptomatic, you probably need an exercise program tailored to your body. If you are in a small yoga class with a very good teacher, you may get the exercise you need. The best choice though, would be to have an exercise program tailor made for you by a postural alignment specialist, such as one trained in the Egoscue Method.

Although some of the following suggestions may be silly or ridiculous, they get you thinking about how you tend to move less and less in a modern work environment, and about how you can move more.

  • Move the waste basket to a different spot every day (never within easy reach).

  • Place the phone on the far side of your desk.

  • If you are right handed, answer the phone with your left hand.

  • Never use a telephone headset.

  • When possible, take calls standing up.

  • When put on hold, inhale and exhale deeply using your diaphragm for the duration of the wait.

  • Make it a point to stand when a colleague enters your work area to conduct a conversation.

  • Stand up at the end of each discrete task.

  • Change the height of your chair every day.

  • Change the style of your chair every week (and the less chair the better).

  • Change your monitor position each morning and afternoon.

  • Raise or lower your keyboard every day.

  • Place working materials and references on the floor so that you must bend over to get them.

  • Rearrange the furniture in your work area once a month.

  • Place frequently used materials on the top shelf of a bookcase.

  • Place frequently used materials on the bottom shelf of a bookcase.

  • Use a restroom that is on a different floor or in an inconvenient place.

  • Take a walk or get some other exercise for half of your lunch hour.

  • When the boss isn’t looking, lean back and put your feet on your desk.

My last tip, today, is to read Pain Free at Your PC, by Pete Egoscue (which is where the above tips came from).

Available at


The Master Cleanse

by Ed

The Master Cleanse is a lemon juice fast created, as far as I know, by Stanley Burroughs. You can read about it in his little book, The Master Cleanser.

One thing I’d like to say is that the master cleanse is not for everybody. If you are underweight, I would not do it, unless you are under the supervision of a qualified health professional who has experience with the master cleanse. Other people who generally do not do well on it are people with what Chinese Medicine calls a cold stomach. If you have a hard time digesting cold foods, raw fruits or vegetables, or cucumbers, you have a cold stomach.

If you don’t have any of the above conditions, and you feel in need of a stronger cleanse than the one in my earlier post, then definitely check out the Master Cleanse.

Book Review: Pain Free

by Ed

I became interested in Pete Egoscue’s work when a number of people I knew started benefiting from therapists trained by him. When I started reading his book, Pain Free, I realized he came from the same assumption that I come from, in treating pain. If the body’s structure is out of alignment, eventually there will be pain. If you correct the structure, the pain and related symptoms will go away, in most cases. The Egoscue method treats structural imbalances through exercise therapy.

After three chapters explaining how and why his method works, he goes through the body, in detail, from foot to head. He gives a set of exercises, he calls them menus, for pain in each area. I think that “recipe” is a better word than menu. You do not pick and choose your exercises, and it is important to do them in the correct order. Each exercise builds on the previous one, and you get faster results if the hips are aligned first. The pelvis is the foundation of the body, and it is usually at the center of the problem, wherever the symptoms might be. Once the pelvis is aligned, other parts of the body fall back into place.

“The Egoscue Method is unique in recognizing that therapy programs succeed only when they treat the body as a closely integrated unit.” That may be true in exercise therapy, but Chinese Medicine also agrees with that statement. Often I have seen physical therapy fail for that very reason. There is too much emphasis on the site of pain with out taking into consideration all of the underlying factors.

Pain Free is a very readable and very practical book. Most people who read it and do the exercises get great results. If you buy it and it does not work for you, don’t throw out the Egoscue Method. A book can not see all of your dysfunctions. Pete has treated thousands of people, so he knows the most likely scenarios for any given symptom, but you are unique. I have known many people to benefit from doing the exercises in the book, and I have known some people who needed more individualized treatment. The book is cheaper, so try it out first. It is also an enjoyable and educational read.

Anthony Robbins said, “This book is extraordinary, and I am thrilled to recommend it to anyone who’s interested in dramatically increasing the quality of their physical health.”

Deepak Chopra said, “Pain Free is based on a very sound understanding of human physiology. It shows how we can break the circuit of pain and naturally heal one of the most significant disabilities of our time.”

In Canada, you can buy Pain Free: a Revolutionary Method for Stopping Chronic Pain here.

In the USA you can buy Pain Free: A Revolutionary Method for Stopping Chronic Pain here.