In-sight

It’s amazing what you notice when you literally can’t see…

A few weeks ago, I went in to my optometrist’s office to have my eyes checked. I needed an updated prescription in order to get new contacts. What I learned was that my vision had been grossly overpowered for pretty much my entire young adult life (Math: Aged 15 through 38 makes for 23 years of wearing contact lenses, kids)

I left his office wearing a prescription I think I may have had when I was 10. All of Park Slope looked slightly out of focus with a diffused fuzz surrounding lights and street signs. He told me my brain needed time to get used to this downgrade. My eyes had been conditioned to over focus. This got me thinking about my painful at times issue of noticing the little things that others miss. Conversations I can’t seem to filter my attention away from, scenes that play out in the far corners of train cars when people are staring deeply into their smart devices and smells that no one else seems to pick up on, but send my olfactory bulbs into overdrive. This is the story of my life. I fantasize about what it must be like for the people who do not notice; who aren’t capable or do not care to notice. I envy their ability to walk through life oblivious to all that detail.

I still couldn’t see shit hours later. How long was it going to take my brain to acclimate?

I woke up the following morning and popped the tester contacts back in. When I got to the city, I realized I could not discern clear facial features of anyone more than ten feet away from me. This walk down one of the longest city blocks to get to my work is like an American Ninja Warrior gauntlet. I’m in a constant battle for space, bobbing and weaving through people staring up or down but never straight on, exaggerated arm swings with lit cigarettes that narrowly miss burning a whole into my side and those people who literally just STOP without warning (yes, there is such a thing as rear ending a pedestrian). Since I couldn’t anticipate people’s movements, I had to just go with the flow. I got knocked into by a guy carrying a humongous Starbucks disaster drink. Ask me what he looked like? I have no freakin’ clue. It’s easier to let moments like that go when you don’t have the afterimage of his face stamped in your memory.

I rushed down the subway stairs and made my train just as it was pulling into the station. The bright orange circle was the letter B to my downgraded eyes. It was, in fact, a D. Getting off a few stops later, I waited until the next train fully pulled in and squinted to see the letter clearly. I almost doubted myself. I almost asked the teenager sitting next to me what the letter was. I didn’t. I gazed at our reflections in the darkened window facing us. We looked the same age. My eyes had now become a Photoshop filter. I smiled not really caring what part of Brooklyn I might end up in if my vision had tricked me.

After a week of this, I started to feel like those people I envied. I realized just how much mental real estate I give over to details that honestly take the joy out of my life at times. There is an expression “the devil is in the details” and it rang true for me. Learning to pay attention to what matters most instead of getting lost or despondent over every micro element of what I’m seeing, hearing or inhaling is my take away from this experience. My eyes may have found their focus now, but I feel like I inadvertently got a dose of exposure therapy in the process. And I’m not mad about it at all.

 

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Bringing Balance One Adjustment At A Time

Outside of spa work and my private clientele, I also provide massage at a Wellness Center in midtown. This little den of health offers chiropractic care, massage therapy, holistic health & nutritional counseling and postural exercise. The approach is corrective and the result is a stronger, pain free and more erect version of your former self.  In order to understand fully what the corrective approach entails, one must first comprehend what chiropractic care is. Many people hear the term Chiropractor and immediately shudder. Images of having one’s head placed at odd angles for the “cracking” of bones turns the fear-o-meter up high. Worse yet, is the notion of chiropractor as being a fake doctor, sadly due to the gads of crooks that run insurance scams and give the profession its bad rep. I recall being eleven years old and walking past this man in the street with a little skeleton propped on a table advertising a Chiropractor’s office. Five years later, when my mother had a car accident and was advised to get chiropractic adjustment for her case, into that same office we went. During each visit the doctor did the same thing to her back and neck , which left my mother feeling much better than she went in. However, within a few days, the pain and stiffness would return. When she had brought this up to the chiropractor, he told her that she would need chiropractic adjustment for the rest of her life if she wanted to remain pain free. This sounded unfathomable to my mother and once her case was settled out of court, she stopped going.

What that chiropractor told my mother would only be true IF the approach was not corrective. His care consisted of giving people quick fixes for their pain, so they would keep coming back. This is no different than popping a pill. It is not dealing with the root issue(s). The body is comprised of superficial and deep layers of muscle all covered by connective tissue. When a joint is misaligned, say in the vertebrae of your back for example, then the muscles surrounding that joint try to stabilize it and protect its position, even if it causes them to function improperly. They are like the dutiful bodyguards of a volatile criminal – the more they support his activities, the more they plunge themselves toward certain destruction. I know I am making a rather “dramatic” analogy here; however, this is serious stuff. No one should be okay with being in chronic pain and having limitations in their mobility and life activities. When the joint is adjusted which is basically giving it a little help to go back into its proper position, not “cracking” as we all like to refer to it, the muscles can let go. Depending on the individual’s condition, the muscles might have a hard time settling into their new normal, which is why massage pre and post adjustment really helps to flood them with the nutrients and support they need to move in their proper way. Take a look at the videos below where both doctors explain the corrective approach and especially the client testimonials, some of which were in dire physical straits when they first came in.

and client testimonial

I’m really lucky to be able to work with this group of medical professionals and it has taught me so much about a comprehensive approach. We all work as a team, consulting one another to find the best way to bring a client/patient’s body back into balance. If you are within the NYC limits and dealing with chronic pain resulting from an injury, lifestyle or some unknown factor, definitely make it a priority to visit the office, where you will get a complimentary spinal screening, along with adjustment and report of findings to let you know what is going on underneath those layers and what your treatment options could be. Everything in its proper place, starting from the inside out.

BIBC team candid Jan 2014
Our little wellness family 🙂

Flu-like respect

The last time I had the flu was back in the year 2000. Despite the trials and tribulations I put my body through since then, I have yet to fall victim to the influenza virus again. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the rest of the world. The national news has declared an “epidemic” and warns that all who think they may be infected or have come down with full blown flu should do their best to stay within the confines of their homes. Flu vaccinations are in short supply and unless you literally feel all of the below symptoms in full force, you should steer clear of any ER, where an even worse condition could befall you.

All this talk of contamination and germs reminds me how much of a risk a hands on profession like massage poses to both the therapist and client.

Having a slight sniffle should be grounds for staying out of work, but often, massage therapists are forced to suck it up with doses of Vitamin C and over the counter medications and show up rather than risk the economic repercussions. Sadly, every body touched comes into contact with their germs and runs the risk of catching whatever they have. Even when all surfaces are wiped down with anti-microbial agents and protective aesthetic masks are donned to cover the nose and mouth, germs can still spread. Getting sick is not the feel good service clients came in for. Same applies for clients that show up with a full blown situation in their respiratory tracts, sneeze into the face cradle, nasal drip and cough in every direction. Universal precautions like washing hands between clients or using hand sanitizer after doing facial, neck and head work (big germ cloud in that region) can definitely reduce the likelihood of catching their germs, but it’s no guarantee. Coming down with the flu is the tip that keeps taking.

Despite not having any of the above symptoms, I decided to do my potential clients the service of staying home today. That is how much I respect my livelihood and the health and wellness of the people whose bodies are entrusted into my care. We should all give each other the respect of keeping our germs to ourselves; the NYC Subway is already Petri dish enough!

Influenza…yum!

Lord of the flies

My enemy – the blow fly.

The intense heat and humidity that is August in NYC breeds all kinds of unbearable infestations. The rats in Chinatown seem hungrier, the mosquitoes travel in thicker clouds and the flies are relentless. Recently, I noticed a blow fly in my apartment and immediately swatted it dead. Within a minute, two more flew past me. Killed them too. I walked into my bathroom and about 5 were doing a crazed flight pattern. I freaked and began looking for the source of their entry. I grabbed a bottle of RAID and sprayed the bathroom, shutting the door behind me. In the bedroom there were two in the light fixture and three more on my windowsill. More spraying and shutting of the windows to trap the fumes. I left my home and upon return many hours later, I found them all upside down buzzing their last bits of life on the windowsills of both bathroom and bedroom. When I carefully inspected the windows, I made a shocking discovery. The entire outside screen panel was covered with clinging blow flies waiting for the second I would open up to make their way in. To say I was horrified is not a truly strong enough statement because the blow fly is not your regular little “shoo fly, don’t bother me” house pest. This type of fly is only present when there is freshly rotting flesh, garbage and raw sewage. Yes, blow flies are the ultimate FILTH fly.

The blow fly’s distinct characteristic is its metallic, shiny coloring in hues of green, blue or black. They lay their eggs in carcasses and corpses, which then hatch, burrow out of the body 6 to 11 days later and into the ground. They then emerge as adults 2 weeks after that to repeat the cycle all over again. Blow flies are the first to arrive when something has died. They can smell decomposition in its early stages from over a mile away. Forensic scientists use the presence of their eggs/larvae to determine a time interval of death. Amazing tool for them. Horrific house guest for me.  They feed on anything that smells like rotting meat and obviously rotting flesh itself. They are known carriers of such diseases as dysentery (extreme fever and diarrhea) and salmonellosis (Salmonella bacteria turning your insides out and for some people, death). Don’t let these guys land on any food or drink. Hence, my not really wanting them to hang out in any part of my apartment.

This all being said, why are these creatures in my home and how am I supposed to get rid of them???

Three likely scenarios would bring blow flies into the home. The first is a break and/or crack in a sewage line because the poop attracts their appetites. The second is not taking out the garbage enough, especially in summertime. The heat and presence of rotten vegetables or meat is a perfect environment for the laying of their eggs, which will hatch amongst the refuse and then emerge from the garbage can overtaking your home. The third scenario is a dead animal present in or around the home. Even a small mouse can produce a large number of blow flies. In my case, all three could be very true. The garbage cans containing mine and my landlords’ waste are situated adjacent to one of my windows. Although the lids are on, it is summer and as I mentioned before sultry hot out, which could be hatching up a swarm of these flies right into the easy entry that is my window below. I do not keep any garbage in the apartment and I am always wiping down surfaces with Clorox Cleanup Wipes. Last month, I had a mouse emerge from a hole in the wall. After a lot of cajoling and sleepless nights, the holes were plugged up and the apartment thoroughly cleaned. No sign of a mouse since and no stench of death. However, it is not entirely impossible for a family member of the original mouse to have died somewhere in the wall and through a micro crack, the blow flies are coming in. The final bit is the presence of two drains by each window that filter rain water and other natural materials. When you combine all three of these scenarios, it’s as if I invited them in.

Not wanting to become their Extended Stay America, I bought a bottle of bleach and a monstrous can of spray. I poured the bleach by the drain near the bathroom (the other drain in not accessible to me) and then sprayed the whole area surrounding that window with the insecticide. I noticed three blow flies lodged in the screen facing inwards. They were already dead. I then poured the remaining bleach down the drains in the home and sprayed near the plugged up holes. I was still nervous to open the window and aerate the apartment, lest they come in. So, I STUPIDLY suffered the fumes and barely slept. (WARNING: Inhaling the bug spray can cause respiratory issues (burning eyes, nose, throat, coughing, tightness in chest, etc) and in high concentrations neurological damage. It can cause seizures in children if they have prolonged exposure.)  This morning, I am happy to say, the window is now open sans buzzing.

I am taking this experience as a sign it may be time to find another place to live; blow flies uninvited!

Additional information provided by:

http://lancaster.unl.edu/pest/resources/blowflies.shtml

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002763.htm