Fleet Week 2012

Early in October, during the waning days of summer, the windows of San Francisco’s skyscrapers will again rattle as the Navy’s Blue Angels roar into town for Fleet Week 2012, scheduled to run October 4 through October 8.

For thirty years, Fleet Week has celebrated the young men and women who gallantly serve in our Armed Forces. It has traditionally been the largest maritime and aviation event in northern California (although the America’s Cup race in 2013 may rival it).

It has been estimated that a million people are attracted to the Bay Area during this four day celebration. Regardless of the actual number, this event generates a lot of patriotic pride and rings the cash registers for a large number of businesses throughout our communities. There are numerous festivities associated with Fleet Week but the most popular is the air show over the bay and the parade of ships along the City waterfront.

This year’s event kicks off on Thursday afternoon when the six powerful F/A-18 Hornet jets of the Blue Angels conduct a one hour reconnaissance and practice flight over the bay. On Friday, other planes involved in the weekend air show also rehearse, along with the Blue Angels. The air show itself, featuring heart-stopping, high-speed encounters between planes, takes place over the bay for safety reasons.

Saturday typically has the busiest schedule. To comfortably follow the day’s action, visitors should arrive early to stake out a great viewing spot, wear a warm fleece and bring a good pair of binoculars. In the late morning, thousands of spectators normally line the northern City waterfront around the Marina Green to watch the parade of ships. The exact number and names of the ships has not been revealed yet, but they will be led by vessels from the U.S. Navy’s Third fleet, based in San Diego. Later that day, the ships open for public tours at their berths, usually from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

That afternoon, at 12:30 p.m., the initial air show will be presented, with interesting aircraft flown by the Coast Guard, Marines, Air Force and many others. Last year, the Marine Corps V-22 Osprey put on a particularly awe-inspiring demonstration of its vertical hover capability. But the ambient noise and crowd excitement level escalates severely at 3 p.m. when the Blue Angel jets make their appearance after taking off from San Francisco International Airport. For an hour, using various formations, the aircraft scream across the bay, making several high speed passes directly in front of the spectator stands (and over a myriad of private and commercial boats cruising the bay). Like a NASCAR fan, if you like the adrenalin rush that comes from the noise and speed of high performance vehicles, and dare-devil maneuvers, this is a dream come true.

On Sunday, the aircraft perform their final flight appearance, a repeat of the Saturday schedule. The naval ships remain open for free tours along the waterfront. Air shows and practice flights may be changed or canceled if the weather turns bad, such as one of last year’s Blue Angel demonstrations that was overcome by our fabled fog, creeping in through the Golden Gate in a not-so-subtle manner (did I mentioned you should bring a fleece jacket)?

The Sunday air show also competes for attention with the 144th annual Italian Heritage Day parade (aka Columbus Day Parade). This is the City’s oldest civic event and the nation’s oldest Italian-American community celebration, as the floats and bands wind their way from Fisherman’s Wharf to North Beach.

Of note, this year the Commander of the Third Fleet has requested that Fleet Week also reach out to East Bay Area communities. Other exhibits and events will include:

October 5-7 from 9 AM – 5 PM: The Marine Corps (13th Marine Expeditionary Unit) will display equipment and weapons exhibits at Alameda Point adjacent to the USS Hornet Museum located at Pier 3, Alameda, CA.
October 5 – noon: A “Salute to East Bay Veterans” Navy Band Concert near the Oakland City Hall.

All things considered, the first weekend in October promises to provide serious excitement and entertainment for the citizens of the SF Bay Area courtesy of the US Navy and US Marine Corps.

Editor’s Note: Bob Fish, a Trustee of the USS Hornet Museum and frequent contributor to ALIVE Magazine, attended the University of Virginia on a Naval ROTC scholarship and served his active military duty in the Marine Corps during the Vietnam War. So, he is “somewhat” passionate about the Fleet Week events!

Catching Up with Pat Boone

It’s been six years since Pat Boone graced the cover of ALIVE Magazine — the first time ALIVE featured a personality on its cover and because it was our Mother’s Day issue, it seemed appropriate. Boone was a major recording artist and popular film star of the 50’s and early 1960’s and we devoted six pages on his career with an exclusive interview by Antonia Venezia. That special May Mother’s Day edition was our most popular issue up to that time.

I caught up with Boone recently in Omaha, Nebraska, where he was appearing at film historian Bruce Crawfords’ showing of the classic 1959 movie, Journey to the Center of The Earth, which starred Boone. Coincidentally, Boone had just come from his 60th high school reunion in Nashville, Tennessee.

While decades may have passed since the peak of Boone’s career as a hit singer (second in sales only to Elvis back then) TV variety show host and movie star, he vividly remembers making Journey to the Center of The Earth, in which he co-starred with James Mason and Arlene Dahl.

Years ago, I worked in the film industry and for a while as a publicis for 20th Century Fox, Boone’s home studio. I fondly remember working at my very first real job as the assistant manager of the Alex Theatre in Glendale, California, where Journey to the Center of the Earth played first run.

I asked Boone how he happened to be cast in the film.He explained, “I did not want to be in the film. It was science fiction and I wanted to do romantic comedies, with music. The producer promised to add a song for me to sing (My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose) and even offered a percentage of the movie’s profits, but that was not my deciding factor — my manager and agent said they would ‘strangle’ me if I didn’t take the role! And I’m glad I did. It was the best part and some of the best singing I did in my whole career.”

Boone also shared some wonderful ‘behind the scenes, on the set’ stories with me. “The one that cracks me up the most was from a climatic scene in which James Mason, Arlene Dahl, Peter Ronson and I were on a raft, caught in a giant whirlpool. It was a tricky thing to shoot — the raft was on a revolving platform that tilted when it went around. It had to look like we were being tossed violently. Hundreds of gallons of water were being dumped on us to simulate a stormy sea. The noise was deafening, but not enough to drown out Dahl, who started screaming as she held on for dear life. She screamed at the director, Henry Levin, ‘Get me off this thing. Get me down. I’m going to pass out!’

She kept yelling. Mason had little patience for it. He thought Dahl had already overplayed the role of a dainty creature when we had to wear very heavy parkas, feigning winter amid very hot July weather, for another scene (Dahl complained then of heat prostration). Mason was not amused as this time he yelled back at her, ‘Shut up woman! We’re going to have to do this ten times if you don’t keep quiet.’ We were going to have to dub dialogue anyway, and they got the shot.”

Boone said that Dahl was hauled away to the infirmary on a stretcher. Boone added, “I got along tremendously with James Mason. I was in awe of him as an actor, and he was very helpful to me and very friendly. I liked the way he hummed a lot before a scene would be shot. He never hummed any tune I could recognize, but I think he was making sure that famous voice of his was warmed up and ready. He was thoroughly professional.”

Journey to the Center of the Earth may have saved 20th Century Fox,” Boone said, “the studio was in danger of being bankrupted by the filming of Cleopatra until Journey became a solid box office hit. It definitely ranks as one of the true adventure classics that had a profound influence on many future filmmakers, such as Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. Brendon Fraser, eat your heart out.”

Boone’s boyhood idol and career role model was Bing Crosby, who had parlayed a singing career into a Oscar for Going My Way.

“Honestly, I never hungered for a movie career,” Boone said, “but they wanted me to do what Dick Powell had done — a singer who became a very dramatic actor. And I was in it up to my neck.”

Boone even gave up a successful TV variety show to pursue movies, but dramatic roles were hard to come by, as his pal Elvis Presley also learned. “Elvis and I were two Tennessee boys who visited back and forth,” Boone said, “I was the All-American boy and Elvis was the rebel. I was the conformist and he was playboy. We had a lot of the same fans, but we appealed to different instincts. Elvis once confided that he wanted to play roles like those in Journey to the Center of the Earth. Similarly, Boone desperately wanted to play the lead in the Sand Pebbles, but Steve McQueen got the part. “Rightfully so,” Boone added,

Boone did, however, turn down a meaty role with Fox’s reigning star, Marilyn Monroe. It was to be called Celebration based on a William Inge play. Boone wouldn’t compromise his Christian upbringing. Monroe had recently starred in Inge’s Bus Stop. Celebration was released a couple of years later with a title change. It was now called The Stripper with Joanne Woodward and Richard Beymer (in the role originally slated for Boone). It was one of Fox’s biggest flops. I think Mr. Boone made the right decision.

Pat Boone, known then as now for his conservative Christian values, said he turned down roles that would have required him to play corrupt hypocrites or pushed the envelope of on screen taboos. “I couldn’t conscientiously do those roles,” he said, “but you turn down a few and they quit coming.” For the film Journey to the Center of the Earth Boone said, “It was a milestone in my career — not just my movie career but my whole 55 year-long foray through the entertainment business. It was expensively produced, artistic and entertaining, and the whole family could enjoy it. What a concept! It was an honor (and a lot of hard work) to be in that film with people like James Mason and Arlene Dahl.”

Catching Up With Pat Boone – An Interview by Antonia Venezia

AV: Are you working on any new album projects currently? If so, please let us know about your new project or projects.

PB: I am so glad you asked. I’ve just recently finished and released an album of tribute to the fabulous Ink Spots, the seminal crossover black group who inspired the Mills Brothers, the Platters, and other great groups who would follow. They had so many big hits that were both R&B and pop, including, If I Didn’t Care, You Always Hurt the One You Love, We Three, and Java Jive. Millions of us love those songs and the group that made them so popular but they’ve been gone for years now. So I have recorded them with the help of Take 6, the equally fabulous a-cappella group out of Mississippi. It was incredible fun for all concerned and it’s tasty, historic and entertaining. And on one track, you hear me singing with Ella Fitzgerald, who recorded, Cow Cow Boogie, with the original Ink Spots and joins us posthumously on my record. You’ll get a kick out of it, I guarantee.

AV: Will you be speaking at any events in Northern California in the near future or in Southern California?

PB: I am heavily involved in this monumentally important political campaign. I’m doing robo-calls, video emails, and articles for World Net Daily, News Max and the Washington Times. I will do as many speaking events as I can and I am hosting our third annual Beverly Hills Tea Party event in front of the Beverly Hills sign on Santa Monica Blvd. We’ve had five or six hundred Beverly Hills residents at the first two and are expecting an even bigger crowd in October for this next one.

AV: Are you hoping for a positive change in November with the upcoming election?

PB: I’m hoping and praying, and hoping some more! In the last four years our national debt has tripled to over sixteen trillion dollars – a debt there’s no reasonable way to think we can pay – and has taken over healthcare as a government Big Brother program, while promising to take over five hundred billion dollars out of Medicaid. These are insane policies and programs but he manages to make them sound attractive. So millions and millions of us are praying for responsible leadership, a sensible and rational approach to keep us from becoming enslaved to our debts and becoming a prosperous free society again. Obviously, the Romney / Ryan ticket is the only alternative to the “wrack and ruin” current administration.

AV: How do you feel about the music business today?

PB: I love the diversity in the music business; anything goes today. I am concerned about the subject matter and lifestyles of some of our big music headliners, however. Young kids tend to emulate the stars and many of them aren’t wholesome examples, to say the least.

AV: What do you think your greatest accomplishment has been since the beginning of your career in music and acting in films?

PB: My biggest accomplishment is staying active and relevant in each of these fields of endeavor for over fifty years now. I’m still recording, doing television, and turning down movie scripts – until I get the right one.

AV: Will you be visiting the San Francisco Bay Area any time soon?

PB: I’m looking for excuses and reasons right now – maybe there will be a political one or two.

ALIVE and Antonia Venezia thank Pat Boone and his assistant, David Diggs, for making this interview possible.

Speaking from the Heart

Unspoken, painful feelings often lurk quietly in the shadows of our primary relationships. These unaddressed hurts and frustrations may silently create a wall—brick by brick—that blocks feelings of closeness.

For instance, do you have a friend who calls you to tell you how angry she is at her husband, son, daughter, or sister? You probably listen patiently as your friend rants and raves about someone’s behavior that hurt her. After you listen for a while and empathize, do you ever suggest that she talk to the person she’s upset with and let him/her know she’s disappointed, hurt, or whatever?

If your friend is uncomfortable with confrontation, then she’ll probably “vent” to you (and her other confidants) as a way to avoid sharing her vulnerability directly with the people with whom she’s upset. She’ll “blow off steam” with everyone except the person she’s upset with.

Can you relate? I can. And, the truth is, most of us have likely been on both sides of this communication dynamic — sometimes as the “ventor” and other times as the “ventee.”

Unfortunately, sharing vulnerabilities directly through communication is a skill not often handed down from one generation to the next. Instead, what is commonly handed down is a major barrier that blocks healthy and direct communication: triangulation.

As the word implies, triangulation happens when communication is indirect, behind someone’s back, and involves three people (thus creating a triangle). Triangulation becomes an over-used form of communication when someone lacks the awareness or skill to directly communicate personal feelings and needs to another person. In this way, triangulation becomes the opposite of heart-to-heart talks.

In my private practice, I often teach my clients assertive communication. Direct communication — assertiveness — is a skill, like a muscle, that needs to be developed and strengthened before we leave the gym and “take it on the road.” And of course, it’s important to consciously decide when to let “the small stuff” go and focus on issues that feel truly important.

Speaking your truth with compassion and honesty requires great courage. As you have undoubtedly noticed — speaking your truth with a loved one is no easy endeavor. Getting up the nerve to have a revealing heart-to-heart talk is stressful.

One reason for not pursuing a needed heart-to-heart talk is a fear that doing so will damage or end the relationship. Or, you may simply be afraid that you will hurt the other person’s feelings. Although these reasons may or may not have some validity, the danger is that when you repeatedly avoid the important heart-to-heart talks, the resentments may pile up and eventually cause a decline in the quality of the relationship.

However, when you trade “triangular communications” for a compassionate, assertive communication style, you courageously heighten the authenticity in your life. In addition, you develop direct connections with others and allow in deeper levels of emotional intimacy. Disengaging from indirect communication—and triangulation—awards you the opportunity to speak from your heart and strengthen your sense of personal empowerment.

If you feel that it’s time to heighten or refine your communication skill set, then consider contacting me about Assertiveness Training. My Assertiveness Training offers interactive communication exercises that are educational as well as inspirational. During the training, you can practice communicating assertively in the safe environment of my office. Humor and playfulness are integral parts of this important educational process.

In addition, through hypnotherapy experiences, you will receive an opportunity to strengthen your connection to your own inner wisdom and authentic voice. As a result, you’ll learn how to communicate with others by speaking compassionately from the heart. Thus, inviting the isolating “walls of silence” … to tumble down.

Join Trina and attend her Walnut Creek workshop for women and men: Managing Emotional and Compulsive EatingJohn Muir Women’s Health Center: Wednesday, October 17, 6:30-8:30 pm. Cost: $40. Seats are limited—register today for this inspiring workshop: (925) 941-7900 option 3. For more info, go to www.TrinaSwerdlow.com & click on “Private Sessions & Workshops.”

Trina Swerdlow, BFA, CCHT, is a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist, an artist, and the author and illustrator of Stress Reduction Journal. She currently has a private practice in downtown Danville. You can reach her at: (925) 285.5759, or info@TrinaSwerdlow.com.

Certified Clinical Hypnotherapy services in California can be alternative or complementary to licensed healing arts, such as psychotherapy.

Financial Planning Week™ 2012

Financial planning encompasses much more than just investment management and it is not just for the rich. That is what Financial Planning Week™ is all about. The Financial Planning Association (FPA®) is excited to be celebrating the eleventh annual Financial Planning Week™, October 1-7. During this week, the FPA® strives to build public awareness of the financial planning process, enabling individuals to make prudent financial decisions to achieve their life goals and dreams. So what is financial planning?  Financial planning is the long-term process of wisely managing your finances so you can achieve your goals and dreams, while at the same time negotiating the financial barriers that inevitably arise in every stage of life. Remember, financial planning is a process, not a product.

The FPA® is a non-profit member organization that believes that everyone is entitled to objective advice from a competent, ethical financial planner to make smart financial decisions. We have one of the strongest chapters in the nation right here in our own backyard. Our local chapter, The FPA® of the East Bay, has a membership of over 350 local financial professionals representing some of top financial planning minds in the Bay Area. Our members demonstrate a professional commitment to education and a client-centered financial planning process.

The FPA® offers some excellent resources to consumers. Please visit www.fpanet.org and explore some of the free resources available that include: Find a Planner – The FPA offers consumers an easy way to search for a CFP® professional in their area. Ask a Planner – Use the Ask a CFP® professional hotline to ask a general personal finance question by email. Free Literature – The FPA offers a number of free brochures, guides and worksheets on a variety of personal finance topics. Career Center – The FPA provides a wealth of information for those interested in a career in financial planning.

 20 Ways to Celebrate Financial Planning Week

  • Balance your checkbook
  • Make a monetary contribution to your favorite charity
  • Start a savings account for a child, vacation or a gift for yourself
  • Help teach your children how to save and spend wisely
  • Get your estate in order: Create or revise your will and other estate-planning documents
  • Call your financial planner and share your appreciation for their service
  • Pay off a credit card
  • Get a head start on college — investigate college planning options
  • Establish an emergency fund
  • Evaluate your employee benefits and begin planning for open enrollment
  • Develop your holiday spending budget
  • Plan for year-end tax strategies
  • Purchase a session with a financial planner for a relative, friend or colleague
  • Give a relative, friend or colleague a subscription to a personal finance magazine
  • Invite a financial planner to speak at your workplace
  • Review your insurance coverage
  • Write down your financial goals and revisit them periodically
  • Start using personal finance software to help you better understand your money
  • Look up three financial terms that have baffled you and resolve to understand them
  • Talk to a relative about their plans for long-term care

Financial Planning Week™ is an excellent time to asses your own personal finances and to discover the value of financial planning. I strongly urge you to do one of the things on the list above and visit the site to take advantage of the free, objective content made available by the Financial Planning Association™. Happy Financial Planning Week™!

Damien helps individuals invest and manage risk. He is a Certified Financial Planner™ professional and a principal of Walnut Creek Wealth Management. These are the views of Damien Couture, CFP®. Your comments are welcome. Damien can be reached at 925-280-1800 x101 or Damien@WalnutCreekWealth.com.

Significant Change in MLB Playoffs – Giants Bid Farewell to SRVHS Grad

As this is written in early August, the Giants and A’s have a good chance to be in the MLB playoffs in the same season for the first time since 2003. A major change in the playoff setup enhances their chances of getting there, but may dampen their chances of staying long.

From 1903-1993 only first place teams advanced to the baseball post season tournament. Until 1968 the team with the best record in the National League would simply face the team with the best record in the American League in the World Series. In 1969 each league separated into two divisions and those division champions would face in the League Championship Series with the winners going on to the World Series.

After a work stoppage canceled post season play in 1994, the top second place team in each league was invited to meet one of the first place teams in a three-division setup in a best-of-five Division Series beginning in 1995. Five of those wild card teams went on to win the World Series, proving that there was very little difference in being a division champion vs. a wild card qualifier.

That has changed. This season baseball has added a second wild card team and the two wild card teams will square off in a one game playoff to qualify for the Division Series. This gives teams finishing first a significant advantage, and according to University of Chicago economist, Columbia University professor and Society for American Baseball Research President Vince Gennaro, goes along way towards rewarding regular season excellence.

“The new playoff format rationalizes the postseason for MLB—it provides appropriate playoff advantages and disadvantages based on regular season performance,” said Gennaro in his Diamond Dollar$ blog. “Under the old format (1995-2011), it’s fair to say a postseason berth was a 1-in-8 lottery ticket to a world championship. In the new two wild card system, the teams with the best regular season will have a decided advantage.

“Since the two wild cards in each league will meet for a one-and-done play-in game, this cuts the probability in half that a wild card team will reach the final eight teams.” Teams assured of winning at least a wild card berth will no longer coast into the playoffs and will instead strive to win their division, perhaps leading to more compelling regular-season stretch drives.

As you pull for the Giants or the A’s this month, remember that now a division championship is far superior to a wild card berth, and that just making the playoffs could be a one-game-and-out affair for any second-place qualifier.

Schierholtz Complaints Lead to Trade

On July 18, San Ramon Valley High School product Nate Schierholtz made it known that he felt that his future with the Giants was limited, leading to a July 31 trade to the Philadelphia Phillies that netted the Giants outfielder Hunter Pence.

Schierholtz had been in the Giants organization since 2003, in the big leagues on and off since 2007, and was a member of the team that won the 2010 World Series. He also felt the only organization he had known as a professional had been jerking him around for most of his time in the majors.

“I think sometimes the standard of my play is different from other players,” said Schierholtz to the San Francisco Chronicle. “…I came in with the expectation to play a maybe a little bit more than we’ve seen. A weeklong slump kept me back on the bench for two months.”

Despite being the only player through July 31 to twice hit two or more homeruns in a game for an offensively-challenged team, Schierholtz was on the bench far more than he played. In 2009 Giants General Manager Brian Sabean told a group of season ticket holders, including this reporter, that the Giants did not see Schierholtz as an everyday player due to what they judged as insufficient power and an inability to get on base often enough. According to the July 18 Chronicle piece, manager Bruce Bochy said something similar to Schierholtz in a private meeting this spring.

So it was probably time for Schierholtz to move on. The Phillies ballpark is more favorable to hitters, and at 28 Schierholtz is in his prime baseball earning years. His contract is up at the end of this season, and it will be interesting to see if the Phillies offer him a new deal or if they non-tender him and Schierholtz becomes a free agent.

Between having two contenders for the new-style MLB postseason and a local favorite in a new home after a high-profile trade, Alive East Bay baseball fans will have a lot to watch between now and the end of October.

I’ll Have What He’s Having – That Bar and Grill


With the not-so-recent explosion of food exposure on television, dining out too often ends up with that “been there, done that” flavor — that is until you venture into That Bar and Grill in Danville. The bottom line is: If you haven’t been there, you haven’t done that!

The theme is dueling pianos, and yes, if you have never been to New Orleans, it is literally the coolest thing west of the Mississippi!

Owner / Operators Stephany and Ashley are everything that one can hope for with a newer enterprise. They are not the women behind the curtain but rather a hard working, hands-on duo that spend their valuable time tending bar and forging the ever-important personal relationships that living in a small town require. Being local themselves not only gives them the know-how but the drive to make sure that we will know them for a while.

The piano bar motif is the difference but the food is the comforting familiarity….with a twist.

That Bar just recently added “and grill” to remind all of us that beyond the place to go for any of your televised sporting events, brown bag beer specials on PBR, sing along entertainment, corn hole tournaments (call and ask), or goldfish races (also a good reason to call), they have food. Good food!

Chef Francisco Ruiz, formally of Blue Footed Booby Canoe Club and Fat Cactus, has done his work and done it well. This man never went to work, he went to school, learning tricks of his trade as he went along, finally entering an arena where he could flex his culinary muscle.

A few notable things set Chef Ruiz apart. First, with barely enough room in the small kitchen for him to spread his wings, he did his work in advance. (I know because I went and visited him there a month before they opened and he had the look and the sweat of a man who was serving a party of 300). He was already fine tuning each individual dish to fit into that illusive category of “different yet familiar.” That frees up his day-to-day to create specials at will—and create he does—one dish, one ingredient at a time.

  • Not just a kids menu, but a Little Rockers Menu
  • Not just fries, nachos and wings but Clams, Pizza Bites and Goat Cheese Dip.
  • Not just grilled cheese and BLT’s but Monte Cristos and Caprese.
  • Not just roasted chicken breast, ham steak and beef stew, but Scallops, Risotto, Ahi Tuna Steak and Ribs.

And Burgers? How about the eating challenge that has gained national notoriety—five pounds of melty, meaty goodness.

Fine dining flare in a relaxed environment with grill prices! Yes Please!

It seems almost silly to say, but sometimes you just want a good salad, and there’s nothing more dismaying than opening a menu and getting to choose between mixed greens or Caesar…blah!

My favorite lunch dish at That Bar and Grill is the Popcorn Chicken Salad with avocado as an ingredient, not just an “add-on.”

People are talking about That Bar and Grill and for good reason. The owners have their plan and execution in working order. They care and take great pride in what they do — and it shows. They fly in piano talent from all over the country and don’t try to get the expenses back on the menu. They are the Sam and Diane of Danville and quite simply put, if you have not been there before then you really must find out what everybody is talking about. This isn’t a bar and grill…It’s “That Bar and Grill.”

Sciatic Pain Getting on Your Nerves?

Exploring Class IV Laser Pain Relief for Low Back Pain and Sciatica

The condition known as Sciatica is one of the most common conditions that we treat at Align Healing Center. Some of the common symptoms of Sciatica are sharp pain in the low-back and/or buttocks accompanied by numbness, tingling, and aching or burning in the back of the legs. In severe circumstances, weakness in the legs may also be seen.

The Sciatic Nerve is large and travels down the back of the leg to the foot. The nerve is buried deep within the muscles of the buttock and leg making it difficult to treat with common physical therapy methods. The Sciatic Nerve is composed of several smaller nerves and originates from the low back. It passes under the piriformis muscle (underneath the main buttock muscles) on its way down the leg. Irritation of the Sciatic Nerve at any point along its path is commonly known as “Sciatica”.

Understanding Sciatica
Let’s talk about nerves for a moment. Nerves are the electrical wiring of the human body. They carry the signals that allow us to move, feel, digest, detoxify, respond to our environment, and so much more. Plain and simple, if the nerves do not work the body will not work. That being said, it is important to understand that unlike other tissues, the primary blood supply to nerve tissue is actually located WITHIN the nerve itself. So, if a nerve becomes impinged or compromised, so does the blood supply to the nerve. Without proper blood supply, the nerve does not receive the energy and nutrition that are needed for the nerve to heal itself. Over time neural impingement leads to a painful chronic condition called Neuropathy. The definition of neuropathy is a disease or injury affecting nerve cells. The common symptoms of Neuropathy include sharp pain, burning, muscular weakness, numbness or tingling either at the site of the nerve injury or wherever the nerve travels. The condition known as Sciatica is a form of Neuropathy that specifically affects the Sciatic Nerve.

How can Class IV laser help my Sciatica?
For the past eleven years Align Healing Center has been offering many different modalities to reverse Sciatic Neuropathy. In 2009 we began using Class IV Laser Therapy and the results have been outstanding! Class IV Laser Therapy allows the practitioner to stimulate healing within the nerve tissue by delivering the necessary energy directly to the injured area. During each painless treatment laser energy increases circulation, drawing water, oxygen, and nutrients to the damaged area. Laser therapy is a photochemical process that is able to bypass the arterial “highway” that was damaged as a result of the initial injury. During Laser Therapy the infrared laser light interacts with tissues at the cellular level and metabolic activity increases within the cell, improving the transport of nutrients across the cell membrane. This initiates the production of cellular energy (ATP) that leads to a cascade of beneficial effects, increasing cellular function and health. This creates an optimal healing environment that reduces inflammation, swelling, muscle spasms, stiffness and pain.

Dr. Niele Maimone, DC of Align Healing Center in Danville, CA has been active in natural health & wellness since 1999. For more information or to set up a consult call 925.362.8283 or visit www.alignhealingcenter.com.

Mindful Exercise is Essential for Success

Here are a few of the ways Koko encourages mindful exercise:

  • The Pace Bar- even I can’t explain exactly why, but the Koko pace bar is absolutely mesmerizing and we all try very hard to follow it. No more racing through reps. No more daydreaming. Following the pace bar results in optimal time under tension for your muscles, making the most out of every rep.
  • Koko Points- They are little rewards at the end of each Smartraining session or ways we compete with ourselves and others to stay motivated. Bottom line is, the more engaged you are in your workout, the more points you’ll earn. Maybe even 1000!
  • Smartraining Form Tips- Available for every exercise, every workout, with a reminder about how important the right form is to your results.
  • Michael Wood, CSCS- The awesome Boston baritone of our Chief Fitness Officer has coached Koko Nation through hundreds of thousands of hours of Koko Cardio workouts, and we can’t help but pay attention! (Even our Louisiana contingent has grown fond of his “Yankee” accent, haven’t you?) Shoulders back? Arms pumping? Abs in? Always positive, Michael keeps us thinking and encouraged.
  • No TVs- No need for the distraction. We are too busy following the pace bar and listening to Michael.
  • Variety- Every workout is different so you never go on fitness autopilot, repeating the same exercises over an over without a second thought.
  • FitCoaches- They make sure you feel welcome, supported, and well oriented. Most importantly, they are your BIGGEST cheerleaders!
  • Spa-like Atmosphere- There really is nothing worse that trying to exercise in a giant warehouse full of equipment, noise and REALLY LOUD MUSIC. And let’s not even talk about the smell. Koko FitClubs are intimate, attractive, quiet and clean. Perfect for mindfully reflecting on you and your workout.

All this is designed to help YOU get and STAY STRONG!

A Natural Diet Will Enhance the Quality of Your Life

Everyone has to eat. Since eating, unlike smoking and drinking, can’t be totally avoided, the key to good health is the choices that we make about what we eat and how we eat it.

The closer one can get in their choices of food to what we humans evolved with, the better. Some are referring to this as the “Caveman Diet”, or Paleo Diet. Throughout human existence, vegetables, berries, nuts, roots, eggs and wild animal meats were the basic foods that were available. When I first studied “Caveman Diet,” I was happy to see that there is evidence that the caveman also cooked his food. This “Caveman Diet” is readily available on the Internet, book stores and nutrition stores.

Needless to say, processed foods are not a part of the Caveman Diet. Studies by the Price-Pottenger Institute in the 1930’s found that natural native populations became ill when given “foods of commerce.” After a few weeks of eating these processed foods they craved them, almost like a narcotic. I have not eaten processed foods for years and, when I unknowingly do, I become ill.

The benefits of an ideal diet are so wonderful that, once you overcome the craving, you feel so much better that it is more than worth it. To go back to what those around you are eating loses its temptation. I no longer have to even think about my weight. For years I suffered from arthritis due to old athletic injuries. Now that I carefully eat only natural foods my arthritis no longer bothers me at all. Dr. Colon Dong wrote the book, “New Hope for the Arthritic” in the 70s. He used diet to control the blood alkalinity plus the elimination of some very irritating foods. By doing so, thousands of people found themselves free from arthritis symptoms as long as they were on his diet.

Natural foods are not always a free ride, which is where taking care comes in. The dangers of dairy products were well documented in Milk-The Deadly Poison written by Robert Cohen. The problem with gluten products (wheat, barley and rye) is that they have not been around long enough for humans to efficiently process the quantities of these grains that they eat. To make it worse, the processing of these grains into flour eliminates most of the fiber and nutrients available when gluten products are in their natural state. In archeology, the Egyptian farmers were found to be of smaller stature and suffering from diseases not commonly found in the hunter-gatherer Egyptians. The main staple of the farmers was wheat. Essentially, the Egyptian farmers were poisoning themselves.

Some say that even cancer can be avoided or controlled through proper nutrition. In 1931 Dr. Otto H. Warburg received the Nobel Prize for discovering that low blood oxygen and low blood alkalinity were major causes of cancer. Many alternative medical clinics are now treating cancer by applying techniques that treat these factors. Increasing the pH of the blood to the alkaline side using the bodies own, naturally occurring, bicarbonates causes the release of oxygen being held by the hemoglobin. This can be accomplished with diet and with proper breathing.

There is probably more misinformation on the subject of nutrition than there is information. Remember the food pyramid most of us public school alums had to memorize? Until recently the food pyramid created by the federal government gave us requirements for proper nutrition that included dairy and grains. We now know that was a mistake. They still lump fruits with vegetables when the experts feel strongly that fruits should be limited due to the high amount of sugar found in them. Vegetables, on the other hand, are fabulous nutrition, especially when eaten raw or barely cooked.

My suggestions to readers of this column is to take responsibility for your own well-being by studying nutrition online or by purchasing and reading a book or two on healthy natural eating. Jack LaLanne, for example, had a lot of good things to say about what to eat and how to eat it. Set aside some of your Google time to read what some of the learned men I have discussed earlier in the piece have to say about what you should eat and how you should eat it.

I won’t kid you; there will be short-term cravings when you transition from the typical American diet to the natural, sensible eating recommended here. Chances are you will live a longer and healthier life of a higher quality of life if you dedicate yourself to nutritional eating. Feel free to drop me an email if you need someone to talk to about your cravings or if you have questions about what you should or should not eat. It will be my pleasure to help you.

Robert Brown, DDS has a TMJ and sleep apnea practice in Danville and thoroughly enjoys discussing holistic medicine. You can contact him at 925-837-8048, at info@aodtc.com, or visit his web site at www.aodtc.com.