Tag Archives: joint pain

Does a Blood Type Diet Work?

Gentle Reader,

How do we know if a blood type diet works?  How do we know if vitamins work?  How do we evaluate health claims?I recently checked in on a new customer to see how her vitamin regimen was going.  We had talked at length about the value of the Shaklee supplements and the ease of the Vita strip in Vitalizer.  She had not reordered.

Her husband decided Vitalizer was too expensive and she should stick with the many bottles of individual supplements recommended by the local health food store.   My friend suffers from aches and pains as well as other health issues and is taking a goodly number of vitamins and herbs.

I thought of them when I read about a recent publication in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. A group of Belgian scientists did a systematic search of the literature to see if there was any evidence to support the basic premise behind Eat Right 4 Your Type, published in 1997 by Dr. Peter J. D’Adamo.  This book has sold in the millions.   Perhaps you are among those who have bought, read and followed his recommendation based on your blood type.

Have you found it makes a difference?  Do you stick to it?

blood type diet

Dr Steve Chaney, Dr. Richard Brouse, Dr. Frank Painter, Dr. Bruce Miller are all students of the latest claims about diet and eating that promise life-changing results.  What each of these men study is the research behind the claims.  The question to ask of a blood type diet is whether it could be that simple, given that there is tremendous variation in the human genetic makeup?  Is a blood type related to the health outcomes of different diets?

Where is the evidence?  

Out of 1415 articles with blood type diet in the title, only one matched their criteria

  • Did the study start with human subjects grouped according to blood type?
  • Did the study have an intervention in which the subjects were required to adhere to a particular type of diet?
  • Did the study measure a health outcome of the dietary intervention?

You can read the study here, and the newsletter about it from Dr. Chaney here.  The one study that met the criteria was based on an entirely different way of typing blood.

The take-away from this discussion is the question of evidence.  Why follow a diet based on blood type without doing the same research you would do before buying a new car or paint for your house?  If you truly purchase and consume products based only on price, evidence may not sway you to search further.  If you purchase your products based on the recommendation of a trusted friend or professional, you may or may not be getting the best value.

I have not followed the blood type diet.  I started a Shaklee nutritional program and felt better in many surprising ways.  Then I called the company and asked for 2 clinical studies published in peer-review scientific journals.  My body told me I had taken a positive step with vitamins and a protein smoothie.  Now I wanted scientific evidence.  A thick packet arrived with the articles.  I knew how to read the studies and evaluate whether their set up, process and conclusions were valid.  Their studies follow the above criteria.

  • Group the subjects according to the criteria
  • Track the intervention
  • Measure the results

Whether it’s a blood type study, a pain relief study, a vitamin delivery system study, it must follow clean scientific protocal and the results must be accepted for what they are.  All of Shaklee’s products are tested in this way.  I trust them.  Don’t take my word for it.  Google Shaklee science yourself.

Finally, if your body doesn’t give you strong signals that a new regimen or product is effective for you, ask yourself if you have given it enough time and if you have been consistent in following the program.

There are a lot of fads in the health and wellness world.  Some of them may be harmless.  Others may harm.  If you are working to increase your mobility, lessen your pain level, or just want to prevent illness and have more energy, check the quality of the product.  Do your research.

Let me know what your criteria are when deciding what to eat and what vitamins to take?

Be well, Do well and Keep Moving,


206 933 1889

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Vitamin D may prevent Diabetes II

Gentle Reader,

Vitamin D, seems to be the miracle supplement as research turns up more benefits. In my recent travels, along the Inside Passage in Alaska, I worried about the many “round” people from the cruise ships.  They may not have gotten a diagnosis of diabetes from their doctor.  But they may, like many of us, walk around leading what seems like normal lives with pre-diabetes.

Dr. Steve Chaney describes the condition in his recent newsletter.  [To read the whole letter, go to Resources: Diabetes is a deadly scourge.]  He says that when we become overweight our tissues become insulin resistant. Initially our pancreas responds by pumping out more insulin to keep our blood sugar levels near normal. It also starts releasing fatty acids into the bloodstream.

At this stage our blood sugar levels are pretty well under control, but our blood levels of insulin and fatty acids are higher than normal. We are asymptomatic for the most part, so many of us never realize that we have a problem.

And lots of us are pre-diabetic!

When the normal range goes to pre-diabetic and beyond.

My grandfather on my mother’s side was diabetic.  He was a Swede-Finn, emigrating to New York City in around 1900 and joining the dock builders union.  He worked hard, driving piles, helping construct the Brooklyn Bridge and the piers along New York’s maritime harbor.  Then he sat down.  His knees hurt.  His hands hurt. His back hurt.  He had arthritis and moving his body hurt.  Then he developed diabetes.

My mother was never diagnosed with diabetes.  I suspected her of being very close to slipping from pre-diabetic to diabetes in the last 10 years of her life.  Her shoulders hurt.  Her hands hurt.  She had old age arthritis at 55 and began taking Motrin.  I remember her and my father both taking drugs for their aches and pains when I was in high school. They both slowed down, walking less and less.  She was never diagnosed with diabetes.  She died of pancreatic cancer.

This family history is a major driver for me to stay slim and active in spite of major arthritis.

Dr. Chaney points out that there are several published clinical studies showing that lifestyle changes (weight loss, exercise and a healthy diet supplying all of the essential nutrients) can significantly reduce the progression of
pre-diabetes to type 2 diabetes.


Supplement with Vitamin D3 by Shaklee

This is a blog about managing arthritis.  See how stiff joints, slowing down, mild and more severe osteo-arthritis, the kind that comes with aging, can be part of the pre-diabetic cluster of conditions?  The primary focus of Dr. Chaney’s article is the research about the benefit of Vitamin D on keeping the pancreas healthy.  Make no mistake, however, Vitamin D by itself will not prevent diabetes.  

Do not let your aches and pains keep you from moving.  Keep those joints active to the maximum extent of their flexibility.

Take Vitamin D if you are over weight and suspect you are pre-diabetic.  But there is no magic bullet.

I was talking with a young woman today who says she doesn’t want to take pills.  I’m all for avoiding medicines if possible.  It was a major challenge for me to understand vitamins are food supplements, foodlets, if you will.  Yes, they are in pill form.  I seldom refer to my vitamins as pills.  They are my supplements.  I take them to fill in the gaps and to compensate for the sluggish utilization of nutrients that comes with age.  We do not make Vitamin D from the sun the way we did when we were 10.

We are going into the winter months when those of us in the north will get less and less sun exposure.  Why not supplement with Vitamin D3?  Especially if you are little round in the middle.  Then, by all means, consider the 180 Turnaround program for losing those extra pounds.  You’ll be thrilled with how much easier it is to move with even 10 pounds less to carry around.

To your good health,

Be well, Do well and Keep moving,


206 933 1889

PS If you would like to comment or ask a question, please email me at betsy@hihohealth.com.  I’ve had too many spammy comments and have limited access to the comment section, but I would still love to hear from you.




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Out of the exercise habit: bad for arthritis pain

Gentle Reader,

Funny how you can be diligent with your daily back health exercises and stretches when you are traveling, IMG_0520but get too busy at the desk to do them when you get back home.  Then suddenly the pain shows up.  I do know what to do:

1.  Get to bed earlier so rest can heal.

2.  Walk every day, no matter what

3.  Weight lifting and other core strengthening exercises are a must

4.  Get back to the sugar and gluten-free diet

New York was a blast with Ellie. Here are some pictures.

Ellie and I hung out in Times Square’s hustle and bustle visiting the Disney store, Toy R Us where we rode the ferris wheel, the M&M store with irresistible branded items from coffee mugs to bed linens (she bought an M&M covered basket ball!).  We sat on the bleachers and watched the flashing lights from every building and all the people speaking every language on Earth.  She got herself on the big screen for a few seconds. IMG_0457 Madame Tussaud’s wax museum is a history/pop culture lesson.  For her, American giants from George Washington and Lincoln to the Obama’s came alive.  For me, she introduced me to the TV stars, singers and comedians who perform today (and I never watch).

We went to see Annie on Broadway, her first such production.  Fabulous.IMG_0453

A friend of mine who volunteers as a Big Apple Greeter toured us around China town, but the real thrill for this girl who has been exposed to Mandarin in her elementary school since she was in kindergarten, was recognizing the spoken language as we waited in line for the New York Harbor tour.  In her extreme shyness, she managed to say a phrase in Mandarin to the young woman who just graduated from a US university and her parents who came from Shanghai to witness this big event.  They were thrilled and I think she was, too.   IMG_0555

Central Park and the Museum of Natural History were walking distance away from my friend’s Riverside Drive apartment and the IMG_0451weather was wonderful for strolling.  Probably the most exciting thing Ellie did was make a Muppet at FAO Schwartz.

Our host, Mary Ann, has two lovely cats which Ellie befriended.  One afternoon several writing friends came to “write with Ellie” whose teacher often had the 5th grade students write on topic, never lifting the pen until the time is up.IMG_0542

A highlight for me was our trip with Mary Ann and her friend Jan to Brooklyn for brunch in a funky restaurant that had been completely under water during the hurricane and served the best breakfast we’d ever eaten out.  We also visited the Brooklyn Art Museum where we spent time with the extraordinary women IMG_0523depicted in Judy Chicago’s famous Dinner Party.  On our last day there we went out to Saint John the Devine.  Blue-gowned graduates of Columbia Teachers’ College were just leaving the Cathedral and their ceremony.  Proud parents and grand parents took pictures as we sat on the steps.  Later when I asked Ellie if she would ever come back to New York, she said maybe she’d go there to college.

Ellie is the next to the last child to take on a trip.  Charles Grant Finney is 10 so it will be a couple of years.  Perhaps her older sister will decide she’d like to take a trip with Grandma, but so far it hasn’t seemed like a good idea to her.  What a glorious series of adventures it has been.  Sixteen children altogether; 13 trips so far.  I am one lucky grandma. For more pictures, click here.

My hope for you is that you, too, will be able to keep moving into your 70s.  Don’t let your busy-ness distract you from those exercises that keep your core strong so your back and joints don’t have to do all the work.  Our bones and joints get tired and worn out, but the capacity of our muscles depends on our diligence.  We keep them supple and strong or let them get flabby.

Take a moment to leave a comment about travel and managing your arthritis when you are on the move.  Or about anything else you care to share.

Fondly, Betsy

Be Well, Do Well and Keep Moving

206 933 1889

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Your pain: could MSG foods be the culprit?

Gentle Reader,

A friend and long time customer says “MSG and I are bitter enemies.  Sometimes I get very wiggy in my heart and whole body, as I do when ingesting it, but don’t know why.  Guess I’ll have to take these lists with me shopping and eating out!”  She sent me this link to a blog post about MSG and MSG food.  I thought I would pass it along.  Clearly eating out and eating packaged foods, even labeled organic, could trigger wandering body and joint pain.  Perhaps this post will help you avoid the problem.  You, like Carolyn, might print out the list and carry it with you.  That is, if you eat out often or shop for packaged foods.  I love the picture of real food, which contains the same culprit protein, but because it is balanced with the other nutrients, does no harm. 

Here’s the list. If any of these names appear on the package, watch out.  For restauants, you’ll just have to ask the cook, who may or may not be truthful.

Hidden names for MSG and free glutamic acid:

Names of ingredients that always contain processed free glutamic acid (7):

  • Glutamic Acid (E 620)2
  • Glutamate (E 620)
  • Monosodium Glutamate (E 621)
  • Monopotassium Glutamate (E 622)
  • Calcium Glutamate (E 623)
  • Monoammonium Glutamate (E 624)
  • Magnesium Glutamate (E 625)
  • Natrium Glutamate
  • Yeast Extract
  • Anything “hydrolyzed”
  • Any “hydrolyzed protein”
  • Calcium Caseinate
  • Sodium Caseinate
  • Yeast Food
  • Yeast Nutrient
  • Autolyzed Yeast
  • Gelatin
  • Textured Protein
  • Soy Protein
  • Soy Protein Concentrate
  • Soy Protein Isolate
  • Whey Protein
  • Whey Protein Concentrate
  • Whey Protein Isolate
  • Anything “…protein”
  • Vetsin
  • Ajinomoto

I do not eat any processed foods except for those made by Shaklee.  I seldom go out to eat in restaurants.  But I do eat soy protein, and soy isolate.  I think of the Shaklee products that have soy in them or are primarily soy as in the 180 smoothees mixes.  I have submitted a querry to the Shaklee health sciences department about this issue.  In the meantime, I happily continue to consume at least 2 servings of our protein power/bar products every day and feel only wonderful.  I’ll keep you posted.

Please take a minute to tell us what reactions/problems/issues you have had with MSG and how it has effected your joint pain levels.

Be Well, Do Well and Keep Moving,

Fondly, Betsy

206 933 1889

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Who is Peggy Cappy?

Gentle Reader,

Whether it is the new exercise classes or the intense gardening, I cannot say for sure.backcaremed (1)  What I am sure about is increased pain and then the magical release from it.  Here is the unexplainable magic.  I have mentioned it to you several times in the past.  It is a 20 minute meditation tape by Peggy Cappy about Rejuvenating the Back.   She talks in a soothing voice about how every cell in your body is capable of reproducing into a fresh, new creation, whole and healthy.



I come in from the garden hurting in every lower back, hip and knee joint, shoulders and hands, as well.  I turn on the Ipod to her voice and prop my knees over the Back2Life machine (I have described this contraption several times in previous posts) and when the tape is over, I stand and walk without pain.

BAck2Life machine






The third thing I do is take an herbal tablet that inhibits the pain path.  The Pain Relief Complex is helpful but does not bring such complete results by itself.


I urge you, if you suffer pain, to invest in Peggy Cappy’s cd.  You might want the Back2Life machine, too, but it probably is less important than her relaxation/rejunvenation message.


I’d be interested in hearing your techniques for curbing acute pain.  So let us hear from you.  If you investigate these techniques and like what I have shared, please pass the message along to your friends. While you are at it, like my facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/BetsyBellsHealth4U.


Be Well, Do Well, Keep Moving


Injured at 52. Diagnosed and sentenced to a wheel chair at 55.  Hiking, skiing, dancing and walking at 75.  Read my story

206 933 1889  betsy@HiHoHealth.com   www.GrandmaBetsyBell.com

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Watch out for the metal detectors!

Gentle Reader,

His long legs and narrow hips will soon carry him back to the gym.  He will be back on the machines and lose the ‘love handles’ that have crept on from lack of exercise. The long process of identifying what caused the sciatica, the sharp pinching pain radiating down the leg, making his once strong stride impossible is over.  It took months to identify a worn out hip as the culprit.  He has a new one now.hip replacement

No more arthritis pain from that degenerated joint.  His bones were healthy enough at 70+ to give the surgeon something to work with.  Other joints–knee, shoulders, ankles–still hold.  No advanced osteoarthritis everywhere.

Rehabilitation takes time.  His spirit is good.  He hates hurting or talking about hurting, so he will use the special chair lifters, the raised toilet seat, and take the procautions he must take to avoid damage to the new joint as the supportive muscles and tissue and tendons readjust to the trauma of surgery.

This world traveler will soon set off the alarms in the airport again.  What joy.  What thanksgiving.

Here are some tricks to rapid healing that his doctor may not tell him.

1.  Lecithin is an oil that helps emulsify, make more liquid, substances that are sticky.  After an incision or any wound to the body, our own mechanisms for repair rush to the task of healing.  This healing process causes lots of swelling, too many repair cells for the space.  To help bring this swelling down quickly, an emulsifier makes the spent repair cells easy to slough off through the normal waste stream.  Several lecithin capsules a day, not just one or two.

Caution: not all lecithin is the same.  Granuals or huge jars of capsules can go rancid quickly like any oil exposed to the air and light.  I prefer a small jar with 180 capsules.  There should be no smell of rancidity.  A rancid fat causes more damage than you can imagine, so take care what you buy.

2.  Alfalfa.  This food for horses and cows is King of Vegetables and helps all systems in the body with its nutrients.  In this case when the hip joint and surrounding tissue need held, it is there to do the job. Here are a few of Alfalfa’s contributions to our body:

  • a great aid in digestion, aids in peptic ulcers, great diuretic and bowel regulator,
  • effective barrier against bacterial invasion, anti-inflammatory, anti-histamine.
  • Natural body deodorizer, helps support the natural ph of the blood .   
  • High in protein: 18.9% protein as compared to beef 16.5%; milk 3.3% and eggs 13.1%.
  •  Remember, muscles are composed of protein and the lack of it causes them to break down resulting in fatigue and weakness. 
  • After surgery, naturally replenishes joints and tissues with its healing properties.

How much Alfalfa?  Lots and lots.  It is like eating peas.  Take a big spoonful and wash the tablets down with your favorite smoothie.  Or make a hot tea.  Or chew them up.

Caution:  Not all Alfalfa is the same.  Often genetically modified, the brand I use exclusively is grown by a very picky company’s organic farmers in Antalope Valley.  The leaves are picked at sun-rise.  No stems are included in the tablets.  Open the bottle and take a whiff of the farm land where it grew.

If I had to pick only one supplement to take, it would be Alfalfa by Shaklee.  Dr. Shaklee felt the same way.

Happy healing to my friend, the best travel leader I have ever known. And Happy Travels.



Be Well, Do Well and Keep Moving,

www.GrandmaBetsyBell.com    206-933-1889


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Oh, my aching hamstrings

Gentle Reader,

What a ski season it is here in the Northwest.  The snow conditions surprise us every Wednesday as my band of 16-24 friends head up to the pass on a big bus (potty included).  It’s a good thing to use this bus company for January and February when the road conditions are dicey and icy.  The bus drivers have gotten stuck twice!  The ladies who ski are mostly over 65.  Yesterday I learned that one companion, a tall, slim brunette with impeccable make up and style is 80.  We are still climbing logging roads and snow plowing down, but we have become partial to the groomed Nordic tracks, of which there are a few.  One of oldest members skis with the blind across the US and Canada.  We do have a special club here with a pair of set tracks for the blind skier and her companion guide.  We often see dog teams, although mid-week is a quiet time to ski.  People-watching happens on Saturday and Sunday.  Yesterday the only viable skiing was on the reclaimed rail road track which snakes its way up from Seattle, through the pass and on East.  Long ago this track was pulled up and remaining bed has become a favorite mountain bike and Nordic ski trail.John Wayne track

Pushing and gliding for 3 hours and 8 miles along this relatively flat track awakened muscles I had not used so strenuously.  This morning I have been on the floor getting the creaks and groans out of my joints-back and hip and knee pain are no fun, nor are arthritis flare-ups.  Several techniques work well.


1.  tie a strong flexible tubing around your thighs, squat and walk to the left 20 steps and then to the right. In the picture, the tubing is around the ankles.  I find the tubing stays put better at the thigh.squat walking with tube







2.  Lying on your side with your knees pulls up part way, lift one knee up and then back down in a clam-shell move.  Several reps on each side.Clam shell exercise








3.  Put one end of the flexible tubing in the door jam and loop the other around your foot.  Stand side ways to the door and take the outside foot, lifting straight legged 10 reps.  Turn and draw the foot away from the door across the body.  This is a classic standing Pilates move.  Change legs and repeat.  Years ago I bought a heavy steel foot stool off Ebay to use for this exercise as it works better if you are standing a few inches off the floor.  Gyms have portable durable plastic steps that can be used.  Personally, my little upholstered foot stool would never be taken for an exercise prop as it sits by the front door.  This is the best picture I could find.  Imagine the end of the theraband as a knotted tube in the door jab, the bottom around your shoe.Hip-abd-with-TB-finish

4.  face the door and, with the foot in the loop of the tubing, push it away from the door while standing erect, in perfect posture, on the other foot.  Several reps on both legs will help.



I am glad I climb stairs every week (200), going up and down sideways with the grape vine step.  I found yesterday that straight way skiing tired the knees.  Most women have slightly knock-knees and prolonged straight walking, hiking or skiing stressed them.  Whenever you have the opportunity to go up or down stairs side-ways, one foot behind, then in front, do it.  Your knees will not stress on the straight-away as much. I am going to get someone to film me doing this.  There are no pictures on the web that I can find.

Avoiding arthritis pain in the knees, back and hips can be challenging, and fun.  Get out there and enjoy the winter weather if you are lucky enough to have snow.  Don’t let the diagnosis of osteoarthritis or spinal stenosis keep you from moving.  Browse the techniques I have offered in my blog postings and try some of them.  Better still, leave a comment about the techniques you have found work well.


Be Well, Do Well, Keep Moving


Injured at 52. Diagnosed and sentenced to a wheelchair at 55.  Hiking, skiing, dancing and walking at 75.  Read my story

206 933 1889  betsy@HiHoHealth.com   www.GrandmaBetsyBell.com


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Is it Woo-Woo?

Gentle Reader,

Climbing up a long snowy track on cross country skis yesterday, my companions and I talked about little miracles, ‘woo-woo’ magic, the unexplained healing that sometimes occurs.  The husband of one friend has suffered from arthritis in both ankles for about 5 years, so bad that he could barely walk.  He is in his late 50’s.  The friend herself worked a stressful tech job that required her to bend over patients.  She suffered from excruciating pain from her head down her neck, along her shoulders and down her arms.  In time the pain reached down her back.

The man, slim, fit, an avid cyclist who couldn’t walk without extreme pain, got one of his ankles fused, a newish operation for arthritis.  They chose the more painful of the two to work on.  The operated ankle no longer hurts.  The ‘woo-woo’ miracle is that the other ankle no longer hurts. He can walk 5 miles.  The x-rays indicated that both ankles were equally damaged by the disease.  Hum. . . . . .

The friend with the pain from bending over at work?  Her doctor’s diagnosed fibromyalgia and offered drug therapy.  After much consideration, she retired from her job.  All the pain has vanished.

Were the x-rays wrong?  Were the doctors missing something?

In my own case, I hurt my back badly at age 52.  By the age of 55, I was diagnosed with a severe condition that my doctor said would put me in a wheel chair.  At age 75, I am pretty much pain free.  I haven’t had any of the operations they suggested.  A check up with more pictures at age 65, the doc said, “If I didn’t know you, I’d say you should be in a wheel chair.”

What’s going on here?  These three stories, my friend with diagnosed fibromyalgia, her husband with arthritic ankles and me with a back condition so bad I should be in a wheel chair all have to do with pain and the skeletal structure, nerves and pain messaging.  Compelling research has been done with thought, intention and cancer.  Here is a short video about this healing work. Do Thoughts Have the Power to Heal? Could similar healing happen with skeletal and nerve problems?  Even if you don’t direct intention to the condition such as with my friend’s husband?  He’s not interesting in discussing the ‘miracle’ healing of the second ankle.

You can read my story and what I’ve done to be pain free today in past blog posts.  Perhaps the most important thing is hope, belief and action, in that order.  I seldom miss my morning routine to limber everything up.  I listen to a CD meditation that declares night after night that my cells have all the right nutrients to recreate themselves new and healthy, even the ones in my back that are supposed to be all messed up.

Miracles of healing?  As the doctor says, “whatever you’re doing, keep it up.”  And so I do.  How about you?


Be Well, Do Well, Keep Moving


Injured at 52. Diagnosed and sentenced to a wheel chair at 55 and 65.  Hiking, skiing, dancing and walking at 75.  Read my story.  

206 933 1889  www.GrandmaBetsyBell.com   Betsy@HiHoHealth.com


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Are you feeling less alert?

Gentle Reader,

If you are suffering pain from arthritis, osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, the regular wear and tear of life, you need good deep sleep to help you heal.  I’ve written about Feldenkris, a therapy that helps with these painful conditions.  I’ve mentioned Becci Parsons, who got me on the road to sitting/standing/walking after herniating a disc.  Today I am posting her helpful solutions and suggestions for next steps for anyone who suffers from lack of sleep. Read on….  


Change Your Sleep.  Change Your Life.

Are you feeling less alert?

Are you unable to think clearly or sustain your focus?

Do you have difficulty falling asleep or problems with frequent awakening during the night?

If so, you may be suffering from insomnia.

We tend to think of insomnia as the constellation of symptoms that we experience just before sleep or during the night when we awaken with our mind racing and the bed sheets twisted.  The process of insomnia actually begins much earlier in the day for most of us.


Through the choices we make about how we spend our time.

The obvious culprits:

That afternoon pick-me-up latte or caffeinated green tea smoothie.

It could take between 9-14 hours to fully metabolize the caffeine.  Even if you have no difficulty falling asleep, the caffeine could undermine the quality and duration of your sleep.

Evening computer use or cell phone email/texting, watching tv or reading using an e-reading device.  Blue light from many of these devices is as bright as daylight and activates the nervous system sending the brain and body into “wake up mode”.

And what about the emotional responses that are triggered by these late night, last minute, urgent communications?

Life in the twenty first century is stressful and fast paced.  A full, zoom-zoom workday of 8-12 hours is often followed by a long commute and sometimes a cocktail or a glass of wine to take the edge off.  We eat late, do a few more email or text messages; watch a movie, read or log on to Facebook in an effort to wind down.  Unfortunately very few of these activities actually promote relaxation and set the stage for a good night’s sleep. Most of them tip the nervous system far in the other direction to a state of hyper-arousal.

Hyper-arousal is a chronic over-activation of the body’s stress-response mechanism.  There’s no instant ON/OFF switch. When these pathways are repeatedly excited, they become the default setting.  We essentially travel a well-worn path leading us in the direction of elevated blood pressure, holding our breath, clinching our jaw and lifting our shoulders, without respite.  Many of these sensations fly below the radar of our self-perception and become the background noise of our busy, over stimulated lives.

What to do?

“For fast acting relief, try slowing down”. –Lily Tomlin

On the one hand, we can increase the quality and duration of a good night’s sleep simply by making better choices.  Following a good sleep hygiene program is an empowering start.  For more detailed information about sleep hygiene refer to the following link:


We also need to hit the pause, re-set button during the day to get off of the cortisol/ adrenaline high that many of us associate with feeling good and being productive.  Functioning under the influence of stress hormones is not a sustainable practice. Biological systems thrive with ebb and flow. Metabolically speaking, we need to interrupt the cycle of prolonged excitation and dial things down to a more balanced, calm and functional neutral.

Learning to move more fluidly between states of stress and relaxation is key.  It is positive motion in the direction of re-establishing the natural biological rhythms of exertion and recuperation.  Think of it as self-regulation with applied intelligence.  When we develop the capacity to meet the demands of a stressful moment and the flexibility to return to a state of equanimity in a relatively short amount of time, not only will we sleep better, but we’ll also be a kinder, gentler, version of ourselves.

Becci Parsons offers workshops and private coaching in the techniques of the Sounder Sleep System® in the interest of helping to create a more sane and peaceful world.  Restful sleep is necessary for the healthy function of every system in the body and helps to regulate mood, energy and emotional intelligence.

The Sounder Sleep System® is comprised of a variety of calming and sleep inducing techniques to be used during the day and at bedtime, taught while sitting or lying down. The simple exercises are designed to restore our natural capacity to rest, recover and heal from the stress of daily life, one breath at a time.  They are elegantly simple and simply profound.

For more information about private sleep coaching or to inquire about the introduction to the Sounder Sleep System® Workshop in February 2013, contact me:

Becci Parsons, Authorized Teacher, Sounder Sleep System®

Guild Certified Feldenkrais Teacher®

MotionSense Movement Education





Thank you, Becci.  Be sure to leave a comment or suggestion of your own.

Fondly, Betsy

Be Well, Do Well and Keep Moving

BetsyBell’s Health4u


206 933 1889  1 888 283 2077













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Your friend said WHAT?

Gentle Reader,

I don’t know about you, but the talk around me is about the latest aches and pain and what to do about it.  We’ve had foggy weather and below freezing temperatures out here in the Northwest.  One friend declared she couldn’t possibly so out because she might slip and fall.  Another friend wants to lose some weight but complains that she’s heard a lot of bad things about soy and can’t get into any soy smoothies.  Another friend’s husband is putting off getting his knees done by getting synovial fluid injections into his achy knees. Keep that arthritis at bay.  And still another friend’s husband ignored a bad cough for days until finally going to the doctor and ending up in the ICU for over a week with serious pneumonia.  One more friend who has player geezer

basket ball but is suffering from serious sciatica, shakes he head a 

head and says, “This cane will keep me going while the physical therapist fixes me up.”

I could go on and on.  You have similar stories.  We’re all trying our best to keep our bodies going for a few more months or years.

Where do you go for advice when you’ve got something that’s not working right?  Do you just stay indoors out of fear and trepidation?  We’re all over the web doing our research to see how other people are coping with our deal.  Who do you trust?  How do you judge the best solution?

When I first got introduced to the stuff I take 26 years ago, my problem was that I was running on nervous energy and every time I sat still for a few minutes, I fell asleep.  The product changed that.  So my body gave me a testimony.  Not content with physical data alone, I researched the company, ordered a couple of its peer-reviewed, published research articles and did a library search for back ground information.  (This was back in the days before the internet.)  All my due diligence confirmed my own experience.  I developed brand loyalty over the next couple years, the way people line up for the next Apple product.

I have never left my brain in the closet.  Company ownership changed several times and I researched each new team as if I were a complete outsider, you know, not going to other convinced sales people for their opinion.

Am I still influenced by my friends and family when they talk about their latest ache, their latest gadget, their latest restaurant?  Of course.  But I don’t leave my brain someplace else when deciding to follow their deal.  I hope you don’t either.

Before you go, my readers would enjoy hearing your discernment process.  Everyone evaluates with their own criteria.  What are yours?  Let us know.

If you’ve enjoyed this, pass it on.  Come on over to my face book page and hit the ‘like’ button.

Fondly, Betsy

Be Well, Do Well and Keep Moving

BetsyBell’s Health4u


206 933 1889  1 888 283 2077


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