Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Anxiety - Covid and Social Unrest

 I write this after being locked down during the 2020 pandemic.  There’s been a great deal of upheaval.  Many have lost jobs and businesses.  Just when we thought we were getting a reprieve we entered into a great time of social unrest following the death of George Floyd.  The entire nation watched in horror and unbelief at his death. 

What followed immediately was a public outcry – from pretty much everyone.  Politics did not matter the left and right and everyone in between was shocked, horrified, and even angry.  I was personally glad to see the universal response and was hoping and expecting a wonderful time national healing.  Instead the incident was hijacked by anarchists, Antifa, White Supremacists, and the Marxist lead Black Lives Matter movement to create yet more social unrest. Now there is the added death of a Supreme Court justice and even more unrest.

 I’ve seen the horrific toll of these last few months in my friends, patients, social media, and on television.  Like everyone else – I’ve been anxious, worried, and concerned.  I use these words because they are Biblical.  Many would have used the word “stress.”

 It’s often hard for a Christian to find the help they need in the scriptures if they don’t know what they are looking for.  The word “stress” does not appear in the Bible.  It uses other terms – notably anxious and worry.  If we are not aware of these words we may well miss the help that can be found in its pages.

Scripture has much to say on these topics and I’m going to cover a small part of that material.  I’m going to cover what has been of the greatest help to me.  My prayer and hope is that these words might point you in the direction of the word of God as revealed in the Bible for your own comfort and hope.

 Time after time, I keep coming back to the words of the Apostle Paul in Philippians 4:4-9:

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if  there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about  these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

I kept coming to those words in verse 6 “do not be anxious about anything.” I found these words to be quite comforting.  I don’t have to be anxious.

 As I shared this passage with others I found many of them had a quite different response.  They felt that this passage did not apply to them because they had good reason to be stressed!  What usually followed was a particular incident, situation, or experience that invalidated this passage.

They had a “triggered” type of response.  Perhaps you might have such a response as well.  It’s not generally thought that telling a grieving, hurting, traumatized, and or hysterical person to just calm down.  Unlike television – a good slap across the face rarely does the trick.  So what does?

 I think this particular passage gives a few clues. I know that these concepts have been of immense help to me.  After the apostle said “do not be anxious about anything” he immediately said, “but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”  Thanksgiving? 

My initial thought was the story of Corrie ten Boom in “The Hiding Place.” She was in a Nazi prison camp with her sister.  Her sister brought up this passage and told her that she needed to be thankful for the fleas that infested their living space.  She found out later that the reason the guards left them alone was that the guards did not want to be infested by fleas and so they left the alone!

That is certainly an interesting story.  It comes to my mind often.  Yet, I really think that this passage is saying something quite different.  I really don’t think we are to be thanking God for the pandemic, the death of George Floyd, the social unrest that is seizing the nation, and all of the personal suffering we see all around us.  I don’t think that is godly, kind, or warranted.

 So what are we to be thankful for?  I think the key is in verse 4 “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.” We are to continuously be rejoicing in the Lord.  What does that mean?

It means that we need to be thinking of him and what he has done.  We can’t rejoice in him if we are not thinking about him. In chapter 2 we learn something of who Jesus is:

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Did you see that Jesus is:
  • exalted
  • that every knee will bow
  • that every tongue will confess

Thinking about Jesus focuses us on who is and what he has done.  By doing that we can be thankful!  In the midst of all of the horrible things that are happening now we can live – as the saints always have – in the firm assurance that He is mighty and that he can be trusted.  We have a promise and it does us good to dwell on these things.

 Now that we know something about thankfulness let’s see how we ought to be dealing with our anxieties; “but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. “We are to be praying to God!  This prayer actually has some important content.  In the midst of our struggle and uncertainty we are to be thankful for his blessing us with the amazing gift of Jesus and the benefits we have from his life, death, and resurrection as we pray.  This focuses our prayer life during our struggles.  It gives us the confidence that our prayers will be both heard and answered.  It changes us.  I like to think of how Moses face glowed as he left the presence of God and how it was known that the disciples had been with Jesus.  Being in the presence of God changes us.

 In verse 5 we read, “Let your reasonableness be known to everyone.” This is said immediately after we are told to rejoice in the Lord.  Some translations say gentleness.  Rejoicing in our Lord changes us.  People see it.  It really does have an effect.  We need this daily, moment by moment, always.  It’s one of the ways people can see Jesus in us.

I love verse 7, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” We start with anxiety and end with peace, an amazing peace that the world does not understand. How could they?  It only comes by deeply considering the person and work of Jesus.  They don’t do that.  The peace that comes from that is how God guards our hearts and minds from the cares/anxieties of the world.  This is a very common theme in scripture.  God offers and actually commands that we do the things that lead to our peace – that deal with our anxiety.  And the apostle is still not done. 

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is     just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if      there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about     these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Thinking is key to the believer.  Meditation on what is good is important.  We have God’s works of creation and providence to occupy our thoughts as well.  We can hear beautiful music, see vast landscapes, and contemplate works of art and many other things to occupy our minds.

Or we can focus our thoughts inordinately on the problems at hand.  We need to see and acknowledge problems and seek out solutions – but always in the context of faithful mindfulness of out God and what he might have us to do.  I often tell people they need to severely limit their intake of news, television, and social media.  We do need to live in this world but we need to abide in Christ while we do it. I find a certain expectation when praying about the circumstances in which I find myself.  God answers prayers in ways that I never thought.  These answers drive me back to him.  I hope this is of some help to you.  I’ve barely touched on the subject of anxiety but hopefully pointed you toward Christ and something of what he would have you to know.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Pain Relief via 02 Derm Oxygenated Gel

This article was originally prepared for publication in the NAMTPT Newsletter.  The 02 Derm tab at the top leads to a page where a patient presentation is given.  It also includes a link to go to the company and place an order.

O2 Derm™ Relief Healing Gel – How I Use it in My Practice

I was sitting in my office minding my own business when a good friend walked in.  Ron is a guy that when he speaks – I listen.  We had been meeting for years at breakfast to discuss business stuff and how to market.  Now he was marketing a new product and I listened.

He described a new oxygenated gel that he said was good for skin.  He told me later that I looked at him like he was just plain nuts.  I’m sure that I did. 
I care about pain – not skin!

I agreed to try the product – after all – it was Ron and he had asked (Ron doesn’t make mistakes!).  I still was not ready for what came next.

I approached a friend who had become a patient and asked her if I could but this along her upper back over the thoracic spine.  She was willing.  I rubbed only over the spinous processes.  Her eyes got really big.  She looked at me and said, “I’m breathing better!”


I certainly did not expect a reaction like that from a person with a pretty nasty spinal stenosis in the area.  I tried really hard to control the expression on my face.  I explained, in a very professional manner, that I wanted her husband to apply it daily over just that area for a month and to return and let me know how it went.

She did return and gave a much fuller report that I had asked for.  Her body temperature went from 95 up to 97 degrees.  Her fibromyalgia pain was gone.  Her breathing had improved and if she had to cough it didn’t make her cry anymore!  I certainly was not expecting that.  I started to experiment.

I started with muscles.  I’m a Myofascial Trigger Point Therapist – it’s what I do.  I tested muscle length.  I then applied the gel.  Then I retested.  Almost without fail the application of the gel was followed by an increase in muscle length.  That was pretty impressive since I didn’t even press a trigger point.

What would happen if I applied it systematically?  I found out that when I used it instead of compression in my pelvic stabilization protocol that it did the same thing that I usually did with my hands.  That was impressive.

I then wondered if it might possibly have an effect neurologically.  That was easy to do.  I asked a student if I could do an experiment.  She complied.  I tested the ROM of all of the muscles in the upper extremity.  Then I applied the gel to the lower cervical area from C5 – T1.  I retested.  Every motion improved as if I had applied it to each muscle!

At this point I decided that I really needed to make a video for the company so that others could see what I was doing and how to apply the gel.  As I drove to the shoot I remembered that I had not yet tried it on acupuncture points.  A friend of mine has a massage studio; as it was on the way I pulled in. Once inside I asked if I could conduct a therapy experiment.
A patient with some back pain volunteered.  I tested her ROM for the QL and the Psoas.  I then applied the gel to the points on the toes that corresponded to the low back.  Her pain was gone and both muscles had improved ROM with less than a minute! 

I now had something else to include in my photo shoot.

I was interviewed by Corrina Rachel, holistic health coach associated with popular wellness channel PsycheTruth. She is also known for her ASMR videos on the secondary channel ASMR Massage Psychetruth. The video is in the link below.

My experience is that the muscles seem to relax faster and become more flexible.  My clients often tell me that they have more pain relief.  The primary effect of the gel is to put oxygen into the skin. 
I believe the oxygen has a positive effect on the nerves in the skin.  I have rubbed gel into the back and into painful muscles and the clients have reported these results.

To see my two videos on how to apply the gel you can click the following links:

1.   A combined step by step demo of the toes, QL, and lumbar spine application –

2.    A combined step by step demo of my treatment of a man with cervical stenosis.  I start with spinal application and then move on to acupuncture points on the finger tips, and finally to the muscle –

Other Effects of the Gel

The inventor of the gel loaned me a thermography camera.  I wanted to see if the gel had an effect on inflammation.  Here is what I found in the first shoulder that I used the camera on:

 In the photos below, the white area is inflamed.   In the first picture the temperature is 92.9.  It is taken at 10:51.  The second picture was take about a minute later after the application of the gel.

Description: C:\Users\Dell\AppData\Local\Temp\Temp1_pics.zip\IR_0574.jpg

The temperature dropped to 89.5 in less than a minute.  This is without any intervening bodywork.  This may be a part of the explanation for why the changes in pain and ROM are so immediate.

In the second set we have a person with chest pain.  The beginning temperature is 94.5 and we can see the inflammation.  The second picture was taken about 9 minutes later.  There was no intervening treatment. 

Description: C:\Users\Dell\AppData\Local\Temp\Temp1_pics.zip\IR_0580.jpg

It was observed that inflammation decreased and temperature was reduced by 7.7 degrees,  demonstrating that the inflammation is gone for a period of time.  This allows the performance of
self-care stretches and routines that may have been less effective without the application of the gel.

How to Apply the Gel

People are always asking me how to get the best results using the O2 Derm™ Topical Gel.  The first thing to do is to apply the gel liberally and allow it to sit for about 5 minutes for optimal effect. I have rubbed it in as well and saw results also but the sitting time really seems to add to the effect.  There are 3 distinct methods that I have found to be useful in relieving pain.

1) Trigger Point Application

 Just like your instinct tells you – rub it where you know that the trigger points are located. That is the first thing all of us do.  Your patients get one of the great self-treatment books that are available and apply gel in addition to using pressure.

2) Spinal Treatment of the Associated Dermatome

The second thing that I have found useful is to rub it into the area of the spine that controls the nerves in the skin where the pain is felt.  Refer to the image shown on the right.  The numbered side shows where the nerves come out from on the spine. On the other side of the picture you can see where the nerves come to the skin. 

Rub the gel at the level of the spine where the pain is felt in the body. I usually see an increase in flexibility when I use  the gel. The increase in flexibility provides the opportunity
to move. That is what I tell people to do.  Movement is the key to keeping the blood moving and the body in less pain.

3) Acupuncture Points

The third area I have seen work is to use the gel on finger and toe acupuncture points. I think this works because the nerves from those areas terminate in the extremities.  I have also seen this work in the back by rubbing the gel over the area where the ribs attach to the breast bone.

Hand Points                                                             Toe Points

Really Important Concluding Thoughts

I really love the gel.  It does a lot as a supportive treatment.  It is not a replacement for good hands on work.  It generally does not “fix” the problem.  What it does is provide an opportunity for the patient to actually move.  The brain gets to learn that movement is actually possible and that it feels good.  Application of the gel at home and in the office should always be followed by movement. 

Movement is the really big part of the treatment.  Many patients have complained that the gel does not work as well when they get it home.  That may be due to them not moving and expecting the gel to do the work.

Another thing that you can ask is for the patient to apply the gel in your office so that you can see what they are doing.  They often get it wrong.  This is just like asking them to do their stretches in your presence so that you can see what they are actually doing.  Dr. Travell taught us to do that with stretches and it should apply equally to other self-care activities.  This is the coaching part of our work.

I recommend trying this and seeing how it works for you!