Tag Archives: Peggy Cappy

pigeon pose pain free

Gentle Reader,

I had a plan for this week to bring you the information Julie Donnelly eveloped about muscle strain. and the myth that strenghthening the muscle can heal the pain.  I can not find the sequel to my last posting.  Stay tuned.  The information may show up through further research.  At least one reader was eager to hear what she had to say about that.

Instead I will tell you about my own unexpected healing from severe arthritis in my hips. I can recognize the healing because when I went to yoga on Tuesday, the instructor led us through an opening of the first shakra.  The idea behind this came from her reflection about St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th.  What was the pot of gold that brought good luck all about?  The pot of gold found at the foot of a rainbow.  Our seven chakras are energy centers in the body located along the spine.  They have been associated with the full spectrum colors of the rainbow, beginning at the base, or shakra #1, Red.

We lucky humans are the pot of gold when we open, connect and release our chakras. Our primary chakra is found at the base of the spine, the tail bone, floor of our body when we sit on the ground, sits bones creating support for all the other six chakras.  This is our root, where issues of survival reside.  Survival in terms of money, a place to lay our head, sufficient food to sustain life.  When chakra #1 is healthy, we feel stable in life, supported, able to manage.  Perhaps my own sense of security around these foundation elements contributes to the lessening of arthritis pain in the hips.

pigeon pose

Our yoga instructor began her guidance with us lying flat on our backs.  Layer upon layer of complexity opened the base, pelvis and hips.  After an hour she asked us to find pigeon pose.  I have not done pigeon pose for 8 years because of the terrible pain in my hips.  This is a posture which requires the right knee to fold in front of the body, the left leg stretched out behind, the hands and arms lifting the torso to find a comfortable position.  Once this position is stable (I put a block under my right hip to support it as forcing it to rest of the floor is painful), you see if you are able to rest your elbows on the mat in front of your bent knee.   I was amazed that I could find this pose without pain.  Two days later, there is some ache in the hips, but nothing a couple of the herbal pain relief tablets can’t handle.

What has happened over the last few years?  It would be hard to pin point all the actions and attitudes that may have contributed to more pain-free mobility in my hips.

Let’s explore some possible causes of the lessening of arthritis pain.


I have a dear feiend who suffered so much from arthritis in her hips and especially one knee that she took the drastic steps to see if she could eliminate her pain.  She has cut out all dairy, all grains (that’s right, ALL grains), all night shade plants which include potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and eggplant.  She does not deviate from this diet.  She does not cheat.  I eat with her often so I can testify to this.  She was on a heavy duty prescription pain killer.  She takes no medication today.  And she is gorgeous.  A side benefit.

Personally, I am not rigidly adherent to my dietary rules, but I avoid dairy (no cheese or ice cream, no milk except in my coffee), and I avoid grains, especially wheat.  I do eat a mixture of steel cut organic oats, barley and rye during the cold winter months when I am going skiing or feeling the need of comfort against the weather.  I eat brown rice.  Raw tomatoes seem OK for my body, but those tiny red, yellow and orange peppers that  I love are not so good.  Roasted, they seem to be less bothersome.  I am absolutely convinced that diet has a great deal to do with arthritis.  If you haven’t tried the extreme measures practiced by my friend and you are in pain, by all means, give these dietary suggestions a try.


Over-exercising does not seem to help arthritis pain.  Rather too much exercise exacerbates the problem.  I have been working with a new-to-me program since before Christmas.  The program is the invention of JP Glassey.  His three facilities here in the Puget Sound area are called Xgym.  This this approach to excercise is completely different from anything I have ever experienced.  Today I dressed for the day, which includes dinner and theater with friends later on.  In these clothes I showed up for my 21 minutes guided workout. My wonderful trainer, Clayton, watched over me with care, encouragement and ruthless insistence while I made slow, measured progress through 5 muscle groups until there was not one more move left.  Complete muscle failure.  No sweating.  No strain on any joint, absolutely none.  No impact.  Just pure muscle development.  I jokingly ask for a wheel chair assist to get to my car.  Doing this 21 minute workout twice a week is what it takes to change your muscle strength.  Not hours in the gym lifting weights.  I am not bulking up, either.

I decided to work with PJ and his trainers in order to keep my bones healthy.  Bones get stronger when muscles make demands on them. A side benefit is the loss of 5 pounds of fat.  The weight loss only showed up last week.  Three months of fat-to-muscle conversion came first, then the excess pounds are disappearing.

If you can’t go to the Xgym, buy PJ’s book, Cracking Your Calorie Code.
He describes the science behind his methods, his approach to food, exercise and dieting.  He describes the five basic excercises and how to begin, plus one progression to the next level.  A person could easily do these at home.  I do.  The only problem is that is very hard to force yourself to complete muscle exhaustion on your own.  You could find a buddy.

Exercise: Part II

Walking is still one of the best ways to keep the body moving.  PJ’s approach to cardio can best be described as a burst of effort.  He has a couple machines that we are invited to use, however they are not necessary.  Find your self a stair case and go up for 3 -4 minutes as fast as you can until you think you are going to have a heart attack.  Rest a minute or less and do it again.  A couple repetitions are enough.  How efficient is that?

Snow shoeing along Commonwealth Creet, Snoqualmie Pass, WA

I still love walking, or snow shoeing, or cross country skiing for long steady breathing and enjoyable movement and as long as time allows, I’ll be outdoors or a long day on Wednesdays.  It’s more about the forest, the quiet, the friends who share the experience than the fitness goals.  PJ claims, and to look at him, it must be true, that he can maintain his level of fitness with one or two cardio moments a week along with one or two 21 mnutes muscle grouip workouts.


Suffering from arthritis pain is a real downer.  My 81 year old friend was in such pain in her apartment, she could barely get to her bed, much less get in it.  Going to the bathroom was an big “ouch!” all the way.  So she stopped moving.  Her grandson is her personal trainer.  “Grandma, you have to keep moving!”  Today she’s at her doctor’s and will hopefully find out what the origin of the pain is.

Her grandson is right.  The absolute worse thing you can do is sit down.  Avoiding the wheel chair requires that we keep moving.  My neurologist told me back in 2004, after he looked at my xrays, that if he didn’t know me, he would expect to see me in a wheel chair due to the advanced arthritis in my hips and lower back.  I am no where near a wheel chair.

Without any scientific evidence to support my belief, I am convinced that listening to Peggy Cappy’s “Back Pain relaxation” cd every night as actually helped to heal my joints. She reminds us that our cells die off and new one are formed regularly and that over time, given healthy nutrition, our new cells can be healthy cells.  The joints can change for the better.

So, Gentle Reader, I hope these personal experiences help you in your journey to better, pain-free mobility.  If you have your own experiences to share, let us know.

Be well, Do well and Keep moving,


206 933 1889



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Sleep and Arthritis Pain

Gentle Reader,

What’s up with not getting a deep, long sleep at night?  I have heard from several of my customers that falling asleep is no problem, but they wake up in the night and can’t get back to sleep afterward.  Not getting a good night’s sleep is a serious concern in our modern busy world and it seems to worsen when we develop arthritis aches and pains in our later years.  Read on for a thorough discussion of arthritis and sleep.

What are the health risks of interrupted, inadequate sleep?

Turning to WebMD we get a lengthy discussion about 10 things to hate about sleep loss.

In a nutshell:

1. Sleepiness causes accidents:  100,000 a year resulting in 1550 deaths.  Mostly people under 25 were driving when drowsy, not to mention  the 1979 nuclear accident at Three Mile Island, the massive Exxon Valdez oil spill, the 1986 nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl.

2. Sleep loss dumbs you down.  You just can’t think well when you are sleepy and without deep rest, your brain cannot store and catalog all the things you learned today.  Nighttime is memorization time.

3.  Serious health risks of chronic sleep disorders

  • Heart disease
  • Heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes

4.  Lack of sleep kills the sex drive.  Need I say more?

5. Sleepiness is depressing.  May I add that it is depressing to the sleepy person and to those who would like to play, work, and enjoy life with that person.

6. Lack of sleep ages your skin. It is the cortisol produced by stress that causes those extra lines and dark patches under the eyes.  And missing sleep is stressful.

7.  Sleepiness makes you forgetful.  Maybe you don’t have early onset Alzheimer’s; you only suffer from poor sleep.

8.  Losing sleep can make you fat.  When you are sleepy, you crave fat-laden carbs.

9.  Lack of sleep may increase early death.  Read the report to see the study.

10.  Sleep loss impairs judgment, especially about sleep.  We cannot see how impaired our brain function is.

Since this is a blog about arthritis, I wanted to see if lack of sleep affected our joints.  Turns out there is a vicious circle of pain and lack of sleep going on when you have painful arthritis.  From a study reported in the Daily Mail about this problem,

Experts say insomnia is common among the ten million arthritis sufferers in Britain, with some estimates suggesting that nearly two in three experience trouble sleeping. However, until recently restless nights were viewed as a secondary and almost inevitable problem for people with arthritis.  But now scientists are realising that this problem is a two-way street: not only does joint pain cause sleep loss, but sleep deprivation makes joint pain worse, and can even accelerate joint damage. There is growing concern that sleep disturbance exacerbates osteoarthritis (wear-and-tear arthritis) and rheumatoid arthritis (where the immune system attacks the joints), and experts believe that treating insomnia could lead to an improvement in the condition.

Osteoarthritis develops when cartilage that protects the surface of bones becomes damaged and starts to break down. The exact causes remain unknown, but genes, weight and age are all thought to be involved. Much of the pain and swelling is caused by inflammatory molecules in the body travelling to the joint. 


For reasons that are not fully understood, disrupted sleep leads to increased numbers of these inflammatory markers, which further aggravates sore joints. One of these markers is called interleukin-1 (IL-1), which is made by white blood cells. One expert thinks IL-1 is the ‘primary trigger’ of osteoarthritis.  Lack of sleep causes arthritis pain and visa versa.

Osteoarthritis develops when cartilage that protects the surface of bones becomes damaged and starts to break down
Osteoarthritis develops when cartilage that protects the surface of bones becomes damaged and starts to break down

 Professor Peter Wehling, an orthopaedic surgeon whose Dusseldorf clinic has become a pilgrimage site for sports stars seeking to prolong their careers, says even a limited amount of sleep disruption can cause the immune system to ‘go into overdrive’. It then begins to ‘flood the body with white blood cells in a vain attempt to address exhaustion-related distress’, as he puts it in his book The End Of Pain.

Many of the IL-1 producing white blood cells lodge in the joints and cause ‘discomfort and gradual erosion of cartilage’, he says. Professor Wehling warns that even one bad night’s sleep can set this in motion. 

Professor Silman from Arthritis UK agrees that inflammatory compounds play a role in arthritis. ‘Sleep disturbance can change the body’s natural cycle of hormones as well as possibly adversely affecting the underlying levels of inflammation,’ he says. He agrees that IL-1 is ‘an important player’ in the development of inflammatory arthritis, but says other cytokines — inflammation-causing chemicals — may also be involved.  He adds that some of the symptoms of osteoarthritis, especially in its early stages, may be a direct consequence of inflammation.

And while loss of sleep may release damaging inflammatory chemicals, it also means the joints miss out on the healing benefits of sleep.

Sleep is the longest time during which the body has low levels of inflammation and opportunity to heal. Around 15 to 25 per cent of it should be deep sleep — this equates to around 1½ to two hours every night. During this time, energy levels are restored and the immune system strengthened. But it can take up to 45 minutes of sleeping to enter deep sleep — and these deep phases seem to occur only in the first half of the night, for reasons not understood.  This means that if someone is tossing and turning they may have very little deep sleep. This not only increases the number of inflammatory markers in the body, but it can also disrupt the workings of hormones vital for joint healing, says Professor Wehling. Perhaps most notably it lowers production of human growth hormone, sometimes called the ‘master hormone’ because it is vital to many processes in the body including tissue repair, weight management and continuing replacement of bone and collagen. Though human growth hormone is produced in small surges during the day, by far the biggest burst comes 60 to 90 minutes after falling asleep as we enter deep sleep. 

 Inflammation suppresses human growth hormone — and so deep sleep causes levels to surge. 

But without much deep sleep, we may not produce enough growth hormone, speeding the decline of tissue and bone, causing it to become worn in joint areas.  Furthermore, weariness makes people more sensitive to pain, and can lead to them becoming even more immobile. 

Professor Kevin Morgan, director of the Sleep Research Centre at Loughborough University, explains: ‘Moving involuntarily in the night can wake you up with a lightning shaft of pain and a cracking sensation. ‘This sleep disruption makes pain worse the next day, and makes a person less inclined to want to move around.  ‘However, movement and activity makes joints hurt less.’ 

Arthritis Research UK is funding a study by King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, which aims to identify and treat the issues preventing patients with rheumatoid arthritis from being physically active and sleeping well. Around 200 people with the disease are taking part in the research, which it is hoped will lead to new techniques to tackle inactivity, sleep disruption  and pain.

A similar study by the University of Washington in Seattle involving 375 patients with osteoarthritis is also being held and is due to report next year. It is examining whether targeting pain and sleep problems is more beneficial than a regimen focusing on pain alone.  The researchers have hypothesised that the dual approach will have greater long-term benefits for sleep and pain, increase physical activity and lead to a reduction in healthcare costs.

Jo Cumming, head of helplines at Arthritis Care, says the charity speaks to 12,000 people a year, and 63 per cent say they don’t get a good night’s sleep.

‘It is a huge burden to bear. When GPs are considering medication or joint replacements one of the things they ask patients is whether the pain stops them sleeping,’ she says.

 But Professor Morgan argues that previously GPs have considered insomnia as an unfortunate consequence of another health problem, rather than an important health problem in itself.

This has led to patients not always receiving the best treatment.

‘You have to put in a lot of work convincing clinicians that sleep problems are not just collateral damage from the main disease,’ he says. 

So what can help those with joint pain achieve a good night’s sleep? 

Tips include cutting out afternoon naps, using lamps rather than ceiling lights in the evening, avoiding caffeine after 3pm and not drinking alcohol after 9pm. 

Professor Wehling also recommends ‘keeping a consistent bedtime and rising within an hour of sunrise’. 

Avoiding midnight snacks can also help.

An estimated 50 per cent of our body weight is carried by the menisci, small pads of cartilage in the knee, so piling on the pounds adds substantially to an already considerable strain. Excess body fat can also heighten arthritis directly because our fat cells expand and produce more cytokines, which fuel inflammation.

However, a lack of sleep can lead to weight gain, which is known to make joint pain worse.

Levels of melatonin, the key hormone in regulating our daily body cycle or circadian rhythm, are also disturbed by sleep loss, and this in turn upsets the balance of two other hormones.

The first is ghrelin, known as the ‘hunger hormone’.  Elevated levels of ghrelin at night can prompt people to raid the kitchen, craving carbohydrates in particular. It also causes extra insulin production, making the body store more fat.

The second is leptin, which usually helps regulate appetite, but may be disrupted by loss of sleep. Studies in mice also suggest that leptin may itself have inflammatory effects.

What are some solutions to this problem?

Talk to your doctor and help him/her see that lack of sleep is important enough to work through the available medications to find one that works.

If you are like me and prefer to solve this problem through alternative methods, I have found a number of strategies that work for me.  While I still wake up in the night, I can nearly always get back to sleep and return to a deep, untroubled sleep, waking up well rested.

Shaklee makes two supplements which help induce a restful sleep at the beginning of the night.

Gentle Sleep Complex  swallowed all at once or made into a tea about 1/2 hour before bed along with

Stress Relief complex.  Taking 2 seems to be the best amount for helping with sleep at night.

Lavender oil dabbed on the bottoms of the feet. (I know, sounds woo woo but it seems to work.  You can also buy a little chimney with a dish on top for the Lavender oil.  The odor wafts through the bedroom and helps with sleep.)  WebMD has information about lavender oil.

oil dispenser2There are some other oils that some people use like Rescue Remedy. You can find these oils in most stores that sell supplements.  I have used a drop of Rescue Remedy under my tongue when other methods did not result in a return to deep sleep at that 2 a.m. hour.

Insomnia Relief Audio CD
Peggy Cappy’s sleep meditation

I also have used Peggy Cappy’s soothing voice on her mediation for back rejunvenation.  I have it on an Ipod which I keep at the head of my bed.  Peggy Cappy has a CD for sleep which I just ordered.  I’ll give a full report when I have used it.  I often begin my night listening to her Back Care CD and fall asleep immediately.  I swear my back pain has lessened considerably over the years I have been listening to her.  I have blogged about Peggy Cappy in the past.

Another thing I do routinely is make a note of anything I must do the following day so I know they are scheduled and I can trust that I will get back to them.

​​I recently discovered that my trusted Feldenkris practitioner addresses this problem with a new series/private consultations/workshops.  http://www.becciparsons.com/Sounder_Sleep_System.html  I haven’t taken her classes, but she is the practitioner who got me walking/sitting/standing/bending again after herniating my L5 disc in 1989.  Becci Parsons has been a guest blogger for me.  Please read that post for more information.

Happy Dreams,

Be Well, Do Well and Keep Moving.


I would love to hear from you how you manage sleeplessness.  Please send me an email.


206 933 1889

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Gifts for arthritis

Gentle Reader,

Who do you know who suffers from sore, painful knees, hips, fingers or shoulders?  You love this person who has arthritis and you are going to go shopping to buy them something for Christmas.  Why not combine a cozy lap blanket with an herbal pain reliever and a deep-tissue cream that could bring comfort as well as warmth?

I’m not a shopper so I was stunned Wed. night when a friend and I went to a movie in Seattle’s endless mall area with a big AMC.  We were thinking the parking would be easier.  Whoa! People are out shopping already—in droves and into the night.  In this blog, I’m inviting you to shop.  ‘Tis the season, right?

You might appreciate choosing gifts that bring better health to those you care about.  This is an invitation to shop for health.  Bring meaning to every purchase.

Have you watched Annie Leonard’s Story of Stuff?  Take a minute to watch before piling up a mound and consider the necessity of each purchase and how it got to the store and what the received is going to do with that gift later.

I make an argument for buying a Shaklee product over something else because I believe in the company’s philosophy of living in harmony with nature in every aspect of their corporate life.  In the end, stuff is stuff, and all the great suggestions I have for you about things you can add to a Shaklee product to make a sweet, health enhancing gift still accumulates stuff.  It is tricky being a fierce environmentalist and a sales person of goods I love and buy myself.

So, having suggested you buy nothing this Christmas here goes my suggestions for what to buy for someone who has been complaining of arthritis.  After all, I know you and I are going to buy some stuff anyway.

Joint & Muscle Pain Relief Cream with a microwaveable comfort pillow.

Pain Relief Complex and Physique After Workout Recovery Drink with Peggy Cappy’s DVD “Easy Yoga for the Rest of Us” especially for arthritis.  Add a yoga mat to make this gift special.

Joint Health Complex and Peggy Cappy’s CD meditation for back health.   I listen to this CD nearly every night and I’m convinced her quiet words have helped heal the arthritis in my lower back.  You can add an orthopedic pillow.  This is the one I have used for the last 15 years and I love it.

I have a lo-o-o-ng list of healthy living gifts on my resource page www.GrandmaBetsyBell.com.

If you decide to do any of these suggestions, I’d love to hear about the results.  You can shop for the Shaklee part of the gift at www.GrandmaBetsyBell.com/shop.  Or you can click on the links above.

Have a great Thanksgiving, pain free and full of love.

Be well, Do well and Keep Moving,


206 933 1889

Enjoy the list.  I hope you get some great ideas.  Let me know if you have questions.

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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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