Issue #32, February 2011
In This Issue:
The Power of Music - The Complexities of Chronic Illness - Mercury vs. BPA?
A Note to Our Readers
As you can see, we've given our website a makeover: a bright new look, updated content and tools that make it easier for you to find and share content. After you read this issue, take a look around and
A big thank you to Wendy M. Chisholm for her help with the technical aspects and visual design of the site. Wendy, we couldn't have done it without you!
JoAnne's Motivational Minute: Music / Magic
By JoAnne Boettcher-Verigin
I recently went to the local grammar school to see and hear my youngest grandchild perform with her beginning band members. Through the years, each of my kids played in similar concerts. We went through drums and trumpets, flutes and tubas, piano and guitars. Beginning band concerts were followed by other school concerts; county, regional and state honor bands; and, of course, those teenage "get-togethers" in the small studio off our house, replete with drums pounding, guitars wailing and lots of off-key singing.
My first memory of music is much quieter: my grandfather rocking me in his squeaky wooden chair, teaching me songs in German. Grandpa was a great singer and had even been a choirboy in "the prince’s church" back in Germany. My dad inherited that musical gift. He sang in the church choir and always sang or whistled as he went about his work.
It was a great day when I was told that my parents were getting me a piano – quite a financial sacrifice - and I got to go along with them as they inspected and bought the old upright. We drove into town and arrived at a huge house with this big, wonderful piano sitting in the hall where the deal was struck. Years later, I found out that this house was actually a "house of ill repute." I guess my piano must have had a pretty interesting history!
As I began my music lessons, whole new world opened up to me. I never minded practicing, although my mother complained that I maintained my best practice hours from 9 pm on.
I loved playing for its own sake, but maybe the most valuable lesson was learning how to appreciate music and the effect it has. When you're stressed, music can help soothe. When you're tired, it can pep you up. Music can make you laugh as easily as it can make you weep. It can even help you heal.
When my kids were young and listening to their favorite music, I sometimes wondered, "How can they enjoy that noise? Music was so much better when I was younger!"
Of course, my parents said the same thing to me when I was a teen – just as Nietzsche griped in the 19th century, "Only sick music makes money today;" just as Catullus moaned before the birth of Christ, "Oh, this age! How tasteless and ill-bred it is!"
Each generation has its own sound, and the music of our own is especially powerful to us. Think of how certain songs instantly bring up special memories and even rekindle feelings: lullabies from the cradle; Sunday School songs sung with gusto; your high school fight song; songs linked to events like prom and graduation and weddings; songs that bring back memories of good times with good friends.... Each of us could probably write our biography by the songs that have accompanied our lives.
As a musician of my grandkids' generation – Green Day's Mike Dirnt – has said, "Music's awesome. It’s the closest thing we have to magic."
Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I shall have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it, even if I may not have it at the beginning. - Gandhi
Dr. Verigin's Comment: Healing as Process
Part 2: Understanding the Complexities of Chronic Disease
By Gary M. Verigin, DDS, CTN
While every person who contacts our office is unique, there are some commonalities that appear as early as the first phone call. Consider a typical conversation with a prospective client who has found our office through online search for a dentist well versed in the total body concept of health:
Caller: I've been dealing with several chronic health issues diagnosed by several physicians. For years, I've been plagued with chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, chronic sinusitis, urinary tract and bladder infections, along with digestive problems, allergies and multiple chemical sensitivities.
Office: What kinds of physicians have you seen?
Caller: I'm 49 and have been going to an internist ever since I got married in my mid-20s. She's referred me to several specialists the last couple of years – a GI specialist, an ENT, a women's health specialist. She even referred me to a counselor who said my problems may be mainly psychological because I'm a perfectionist with teenage children living at home, and because I'm in the throes of menopause. So then I decided to see some alternative health practitioners – a couple of acupuncturists, some naturopaths...
Office: Why have you seen so many different practioners?
Caller: I wasn't getting as much help as I thought I should. And the treatments were all so different from each other. Some of them seemed like they were really going to help, but after a month or so, my symptoms would plateau – just not get any better, no matter what we did.
Office: And what made you decide to go outside of mainstream medicine? What made you choose alternatives?
Caller: My appointments with mainstream docs were all very short – like, 10 minutes. Then a PA would just give me some prescriptions for things like antibiotics, fungicides, statins, pain killers, antidepressants...
Office: How would you like us to help you?
Caller: I've been researching online, looking for help, trying to understand why I'm not getting much better, even though I'm spending a lot of time, effort and money in the process. In one health and wellness group I joined, several members were urging others to have their teeth thoroughly checked for disease, hidden infections, mercury poisoning. They said that after they got their mouth in top shape, their overall health drastically improved.
And yet, as I mentioned in Part 1 of this article, we all too often see clients who did just that – got their mouths cleaned up with top flight dentistry – but didn't get the improvements they were led to believe they would experience based on what they read and saw on the Internet. What's going on here?
Typically, dentists and physicians are trained in definable disease. The premise is that one symptom has one cause, resulting in one or, at most, two treatments per symptom. If a patient doesn't fit the doctor's rules for diagnosis - complaining of so many symptoms, they have to write them down to help them remember - they may be referred for psychological consultation. They may be told, "It's all in your head." Frustrated doctors may label the patient as "resistant" to treatment. They tell the patient that they just have to live with it, "managing" their illness with drugs for the rest of their lives.
Complicating matters in the tendency for clients to think of chronic diseases such as CFS, MCS and MS as results of the aging process. After all, they never had such problems in youth.
But in fact, such problems begin before birth, when the child is still in its mother's womb. It's why pregnant women are counseled to avoid alcohol, caffeine, tobacco and other substances that can interfere with healthy fetal development. Yet they still live in a highly toxic world, exposed to numerous toxins every day. Consequently, the child growing inside her is, too. According to a USA Today report of a study published earlier this year in Environmental Health Perspectives,
The typical pregnant woman has dozens of potentially toxic or even cancer-causing chemicals in her body — including ingredients found in flame retardants and rocket fuel.
* * *
These chemicals include certain pesticides, flame retardants, PFCs used in non-stick cookware, phthalates (in many fragrances and plastics), pollution from car exhaust, perchlorate (in rocket fuel) and PCBs, toxic industrial chemicals banned in 1979 that persist in the environment.
Many of these chemicals pass through the placenta and can concentrate in the fetus, says lead author Tracey Woodruff, director of the University of California-San Francisco Program on Reproductive Health and Environment.
Other researchers have discovered some of these chemicals in babies' umbilical cords, Woodruff says.
So, if babies are born with already polluted biological terrains, are children consigned to lives of chronic illness?
Consider: Children today typically suffer from three to eight colds a year. Is this just a part of childhood?
Ask any veteran school nurse in America, and you'll hear how today's kids just aren't the same as children of even 30 or 40 years ago. The nurse will go beyond things like latchkey kids, iPhones and video games. There are behavioral and physical signs that children are sick. Their parents provide inhalers, nebulizers and EpiPens for their kids to access as needed at school. They have prescriptions for psychotropic medications such as Ritalin, Adderall and Strattera.
School nurses can describe how so many more kids today have dark circles under their eyes, as well as the reddened cheeks and eczema that commonly accompany allergies and environmental sensitivities. They can rattle off a laundry list of behavioral issues they see on display every day: hyperactivity, oppositional-defiant disorder, noncompliance, inattention, depression, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, conduct disorder....
Kids get sicker by the year, and their illnesses are not always well-managed.
I think we can agree that chronic disease today has become an epidemic. No one is spared from the threat of an attack of multiple illnesses or a recovery gone wrong.
So when a new client calls in, wondering why their nagging symptoms didn't get better when their amalgams were removed, we might want to ponder what is really going on.
For chronic disease is not just one disease. Consequently, it will not respond to the current concept of one-size-fits-all diagnosis and treatment. You must look to the regulative ability of the Basic Regulative System according to Pischinger. You must consider the state of the biological terrain.
In Part 3, we shall continue to explore the multiple risks that cause the regulation rigidity and immune system dysregulation that facilitate chronic illness.
We should begin it today. Today is the only real day of life for us. Today is the tomb of yesterday, the cradle of tomorrow. All our past ends in today. All our future begins in today. - William Jordan
From Our Blog:
Mercury vs. BPA?
For years, the standard line of argument for mercury has been something like, "Mercury has been used for more than 150 years without any problem." Of course, this notion has, over and again, been proven false, most recently by the FDA's own expert panel, which has urged FDA to bar the use of mercury amalgam in vulnerable populations. So a new tactic is needed to try to defend the indefensible: placing large quantities of a highly potent neurotoxin in people's mouths, where the normal mechanisms of chewing and swallowing ensure constant, gradual erosion that allows mercury vapor and particulate matter free entry to the circulatory system, where the poison can wreak havoc on any number of organs, including the brain.
One possibility that we've been hearing more frequently: Maybe mercury is bad, but white fillings (composites) are bad, too, because they contain BPA.
Of course, BPA is a concern. We're constantly exposed to this known endocrine disruptor through a wide array of consumer products - including some composites, as well as dental sealants. You can read a full summary of its health effects here.
That said, acknowledging BPA's toxicity doesn't make mercury any safer. Mercury, after all, is one of the most toxic elements on earth. It damages the brain. It has been implicated in autoimmune disorders, as well as conditions such as autism, asthma, fibromyalgia, MCS and chronic fatigue. That there are other poisons in the the world does nothing to reduce the toxicity of any single one, such as mercury.
But more importantly, while all amalgam fillings contain mercury, not all composites contain BPA, and there is concentrated effort now on creating even more BPA-free restoration materials, even as research continues to be done on the effects of those that do contain the substance. Those concerned about all toxicity issues with respect to their dental work - especially important for those with long-term, chronic, "enigmatic" illnesses - we encourage to seek the services of a qualified and conscientious biological dentist. Such a specialist will be aware of toxicity issues and can provide biocompatibility testing to help ensure that whatever restorative materials are used in your mouth will support your health, not subtract from it.
For a brief outline of the BPA issue in dentistry today, we point you to this article from Dr. Bicuspid (registration may be required). While it somewhat downplays concerns about BPA, it does give a fair overview of the state of the issue in current dentistry.
For more articles like this one, as well as health news, tips and video, visit our blog, Know Thy Health.
This is the beginning of a new day. You have been given this day to use as you will. You can waste it or use it for good. What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever; in its place is something that you have left behind...let it be something good. - Anonymous
Image credits (via Flickr)