Frontier Movement, Health and Healing in Action

Meniscus Tears

A sports type meniscus tear is an injury that rarely happens in a gym. This tear comes from planting the foot, with a bent knee, and twisting rather violently. It is most often accompanied by a “pop” as the meniscus actually tears.  All of the experts will tell you that these tears are most often in younger athletes (under 30) playing soccer or football.

A degenerative meniscus tear is an entirely different animal. These may occur in the most innocuous of circumstances.  Dr. Donald O’Malley is (according to the Duke website) a knee expert. He says that something as “simple as turning to put the dishes away” can cause a tear. Houston Orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Mark Maffet says meniscus tears “can happen asymptomatically and only later begin to cause problems. The more common tear in people over 30 is from simply squatting in the garden or getting something from a lower cabinet. They don’t often give symptoms until later when the patient is more active. The knee will then hurt and often swell.”  WebMD, a popular internet health site echoes the others; “If you are older and your meniscus is worn, you may not know what you did to cause the tear. You may only remember feeling pain after you got up from a squatting position, for example”. Pain and slight swelling are often the only symptoms. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website says “just an awkward twist when getting up from a chair may be enough to cause a tear if the menisci have weakened with age.”  Possibly the most respected knee clinic in this country is the Steadman Clinic in Vail Colorado. Dr. Robert F. LaPrade is a complex knee and sports medicine specialist at the clinic. He says meniscus tears in older adults can occur “with minor or seemingly trivial trauma such as deep flexion or squatting”. My client Catherine M. has degenerative menisci in her family. By age 50 both of her sisters, her mother and Catherine had lost almost all of the meniscus in both knees.

Frontier Movement is designed to put the body through ALL movement possibilities in the full range of motion.  We have put more people “back-in-the-game” than any gym in Columbia.  We have many clients over 60 and even 70 doing full depth squats with no knee problems. In fact, I sense that regular full depth squatting has a connection to a healthy meniscus in the same fashion that loose pants will not tear when you squat. By lengthening tendons and ligaments and reducing joint compression one might indeed lessen compression on the menisci.

An easy test you can perform is to squat butt-to-heels. If you have not performed a squat this deep for years, you should hold on to something belly button high to control the lowering and assist you later in your effort to stand.  Settle fully into your squat, lifting the heels if only as necessary. Look at the face of the knee. The whole area will be white, indicating poor blood flow. As we train full depth, beginning with arm assisted squats, we notice that the knee soon loses this white and tight presentation.  I suspect that this increased blood flow is the primary reason that we see so much knee healing in general at Frontier Movement.

Many of you know that I was an Olympic trials cyclist but you may not know that because of a torn meniscus I retired. In truth, I was getting a little old but my knee was the decision maker. For the next 15 years I would feel knee pain when going hard on the bike.

When I began Frontier Movement there were several deep lateral movements that caused quite a bit of pain in my knee. I suspected that these were pieces of my torn meniscus getting into the articulate workings of my knee and I assumed the same movements would polish these pieces smooth or move them to the margins where they would cause no pain. Within two years, I had no knee pain regardless of the exercise. Three years into Frontier Movement, I tried hard cycling and for the first time in 10 years and found that no level of exertion can create pain in my knee.

If you have symptoms of a meniscus tear you should consult with a reputable knee Doc and decide if your tear merits surgery or if exercise alone might do the trick. If the pain is new, most of them agree that waiting 4 weeks or so is judicious as the pain may be greatly diminished or even gone.

Checking Your pH

     Your annual physical will no doubt contain your blood pH results. However, by the time your blood Ph is low you are already in serious trouble. Otto Warberg won the Nobel Prize for proving that cancer cannot live in a cell rich in oxygen and with a balanced pH. A balanced pH is required for safe elimination of bodily toxins and proper absorption of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. A low pH is an invitation for fungal problems as well as immune challenges of all sorts and has an undeniable connection to premature aging.  In fact, balancing your pH is the number one priority in your biological system and your body will draw calcium from your bones in order to buffer an acidic body and this is one way your blood pH levels may be maintained at a great expense. This is borne out by saliva pH testing of those with osteopenia and osteoarthritis and finding a high correlation with low pH.                                             

    We test saliva because urine testing is very reactive against what one eats or, in particular, drinks the night before testing. However, if one has a serious condition, such as cancer, your goal should be a neutral urine pH as well. This has required an alkaline diet with the most common choice being a macrobiotic or veggie juice diet until recently. (see Vaxa below) While blood pH should test between 7.30 and 7.45 (slightly alkaline), saliva should test between 6.8 and 7.2. On Enzymedica test paper, which we recommend, this would be a dark purple color. This paper is sold locally at Earth Fare and I would be happy to give you enough for 3 tests.                                                                                 

    To perform your pH test you must not eat or drink anything when you rise in the morning. This includes water. Clean your mouth THOROUGHLY with your tongue; front and back of teeth and gums. Swallow or spit this saliva. Generate saliva from under the tongue by repeatedly pressing the tongue down into the glands. Scoop and raise this with your tongue and lay pH paper in this saliva while pressing paper between upper lip and tongue. Move the tongue gently back and forth to soak paper.                                                                                                                                                                                            Deep purple is 7.3 and is the optimum result. Any hint of green, even dark green, is low (6.5). Any hint of yellow in a green test is very low or 6.0. A yellow test or 5.5 on the scale in commonly found in cancer patients or others with life-threatening disease. This test should be done 3 times on three different mornings to insure accuracy.  It is not possible to save the paper for others to interpret as the color will fade with time.                                                                   It takes most of us 30 or 40 years of a highly acidic diet to lower our pH.  Coffee, alcohol, heavy meat eating and other acid forming foods (all of our favorites!) are the culprits. To balance these foods we need a lot of veggies and large salads every day are my personal choice. All prescription drugs, including antibiotics are HIGHLY acidic and some of you may have lowered your pH while using them.                               

     Fifteen years ago, a homeopathic product came on the market which makes it easy and inexpensive to bring the pH up to normal without any dietary changes. The product is Buffer pH by the company VAXA and is also sold by Earth Fare. I also have it in stock here at the gym. Take this ONLY if your pH is low and only until your pH test paper is dark purple which indicates a perfect pH.                       

       My mother died of bladder cancer and when I first tested my own pH, it was 5 which is critically low. My research led me to the then new product Vaxa Buffer.   In two months my pH was normal and many positive things happened. Among them, the taste in my mouth became sweet where formally it was sour and the heavy plaque on the inside of my lower front teeth fell off while flossing. Heavy plaquing there indicates low pH as the acidic saliva secretions from the glands under the tongue etch the teeth plaque is called in for repair. Please note that this same process, arterial scarring and cholesterol patching, is taking place in the arteries of those with a low pH as well. This is how we clog our arteries, not by eating saturated fat.


Why Crunches Are Bad

Why Crunches Are Bad!

Here in Columbia, S.C crunches are considered a great way to build "six pack" abs. However the rest of the world does not necessarily agree and my clients stopped 6 years ago. On June 9th, 2009, Newsweek magazine published an article titled "Stop Doing Sit-ups: Why Crunches Don't Work." They quote the very man whose studies caused me to cease crunches forever; Stuart McGill, a professor of spine bio-mechanics. "If you keep flexing your spine and bending the discs over and over again, the disc nucleus slowly breaches the layers and causes a disc bulge, or a disc herniation. When people are doing curl up over gym balls and sit-ups they are replicating a very potent injury mechanism on their back." Even if you want to risk your back for some "killer abs" crunches are not the way. The same article quotes celebrity trainer Steve Marcesa who coined the term "aerobic abs" referring to those who focus on crunches and end up with abs that look good from the front but when they turn to the side, their stomachs are quite extended. "We stopped doing crunches a long, long, time ago," says Dr. Richard Guyer, president of the Texas Back Institute. That's because the "full flex" movement - the actual 'crunch' part of the crunches - puts an unhealthy strain on your back at it's weakest point. The section with the most nerves (and most potential for nerve damage) is in the back of the spine, which is the very part that bends and strains with a full sit-up." Stuart McGill's spinal studies revealed that a full crunch places approximately 730 pounds of compression on the spine which crushes on your invertebral discs and some people do hundreds of them!!  The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health has set the action limit for low back compression at exactly 730 pounds, the same as one crunch. Repetitive loading at this level is linked with higher injury rates in workers, yet this is imposed on the spine with each repitition of the sit-up!!

Are You Toxic?

What's Your Body Burden?

Have you ever heard the term "Body Burden"? Chances are that you will. In Sweden the government checks the populace for body burden as a measure of how well they, the government, are doing in regulating pollution and toxic chemicals. A Mt. Sanai  School of Medicine study found that the average American who is not working with chemicals or living near an industrial facility has 91 industrial pollutants, compounds and chemicals in their body. The study found a total of 167 of these in the participants. 79 were associated with birth defects and abnormal developement; 94 were toxic to the brain or nervous system and 76 were known to cause cancer.  Though you may expext that the government takes care of this; they do not. FIRST; the regulations were written for each toxic substance and most scientists now believe that the total body burden from this "toxic soup" has it's own set of newly emerging health problems. Professor John Spengler of the Harvard School of Public Health says that "We're concerned about the growing rates of cancer in our society, the growing rates of autism and in most developed countries, asthma has grown substantially for the past 20 years." SECOND; At the time most of our current regulations were written, it was thought that small amounts of these toxins were harmless. We now know that these small amounts are capable of subtle cellular changes leading to cancers and a host of other health problems. THIRD; Industry lobbying has had a large effect of what is allowable. While many simply throw up their hands accept their fate, I choose otherwise and I hope you will join me. As Sweden has demonstrated we can use our vote and voice to change health regulations. One must also endeavor to lower their "body burden" and that of their children. The majority of my diet consists of food that is free of alll of these chemicals. All of my household cleaning products are free of these chemicals.  All commercial hygiene products such as shaving cream, toothpaste, soap, (no shampoo for me, thanks!) and makeup in particular, are  loaded with toxic chemicals and I buy mine at the healthfood store. No doubt about it; this stuff costs more and a lot of it does not perform as well as it's toxic counterparts. But I perform well. I willingly give a disproportinate amount of my income to prevention and in return I have had only 5 perscriptions for drugs in the last 41 years (3 were antibiotics and I am not including the pain killers for my boo-boos). Recent studies of chemical body burdens in the state of Washington have found that children who ate organic food and were not exposed to pesticides in their homes has SIGNIFICANTLY LOWER body burdens. As Mick Jagger says " I don't wanna be your beast of burden."

Staff & Other Services

Sherri Greenberg
Stephanie Swann
Trainer, Massage Therapist
Blake T. Prince
Deep Tissue Massage Therapist
Nicki Anahata Musick
Yoga Instructor

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Columbia, SC 29205
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