Category Archives: Wellness

Living a Healthy and Active Lifestyle with Fibromyalgia

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Written by Teresa Giordano


At 47, I’m known by my friends and colleagues for my energy and enthusiasm for life. (Some clients call me ‘feisty little T’!) However, my success today is due to the struggle I have endured throughout the better years of my life and the commitment I made to myself 19 years ago.

Growing up, I was taught that hard work and perseverance were the keys to success. Unfortunately, from the same home where I learned such invaluable lessons, I was also surrounded by feelings of stress, tension, anxiety, sadness and fear.

Trying to make a name for myself, I decided to start a home-cleaning business. Through my hard work ethic and sheer determination, I soon developed a booming small business. For 15 years, I worked with chemicals on a daily basis cleaning houses with little regard for the
long-term effects of such products.

The First Signs of Decline

In 1993, at the age of 28, I had reached a point of exhaustion, complete fatigue and a body pain unlike I had ever experienced before. I assumed my symptoms were simply from being a single mom and working two jobs but the fact was undeniable: my body was shutting down.

Coincidentally, I began studying Nutrition, Personal Training and weight management at a local community college during the end of my cleaning career. My independence allowed me to understand the importance of making a decision for myself as well as my health, and I took a risk and switched career paths.

 A Long Road to Recovery

Around the same time, I was fortunate to befriend Lili Gray, a personal trainer. She was instrumental in my recovery for many reasons other than cementing my love for fitness. Firstly, I found encouragement in finding my sense of self-worth. I was nourished and supported in my efforts to become stronger, healthier and smarter. Yet, the most important product of this friendship was her suggestion to see a Rheumatologist, my first step in finding hope and answers to what doctors would soon call Fibromyalgia.

The Rheumatologists informed me that my exposure to toxic chemicals from home-cleaning products had only exacerbating my symptoms, and my diagnosis with Fibromyalgia would not mean the end of my struggles.

Unfortunately, the treatment program assigned was unresponsive to my body. Modern medicine had never been my first choice, and the year of unhelpful anti-inflammatory medication and unsuccessful trips to the doctor only frustrated me more.

 I sought out solace in friends and family and attempted myriad methods of healing. The path that brought the most comfort to my severe aches and pains was Eastern medicine and holistic healing. To heal myself I also worked with acupuncturists and massage practitioners and have found serenity with yoga in coming to terms with my condition and healing my body.

Through my own research, I have also learned that much of Fibromyalgia comes from the trauma and stress of life as well as possible arsenic contamination in well water. In the most recent years, Reynaud’s Syndrome, a Fibromyalgia co-condition, has become part of the challenge that affects your hands in cold temperatures and can cause a great deal of pain.

Achieving More Than Good Health

Although my road to physical and mental fitness has been a struggle, I am proud of what I have accomplished through my chronic pain and fatigue. In 2001, I built a personal training studio and named it The Power of Fitness, a reflection of my belief that exercise and a healthy lifestyle can help to cure any illness. In 2009, I expanded again by writing and publishing my very first cookbook. With the love and support of my clients, all being my ‘taste testers’ along the way, I published The Power of Healthy Eating, and am currently in the progress of publishing Fiber-liciously Fit, expected to release in early Fall 2012.

Although my exercise routine has varied over the years, I have grown to accept what my body can do physically so I can continue to feel my best. Knowing when to rest has been key in order to prevent inflammation.

Well-Rounded Healing

Another key component to my health routine has been diet: I removed sugar and dairy years ago and eat minimal gluten. I have noticed a decrease in the more chronic daily pain, which I owe to strict diet.

I do, however, believe that you must be realistic and have joys in life. Yet joys that I have come to find have been fitness oriented, like hot vinyasa flow yoga, acupuncture, and massage. The heat of vinyasa feels comforting, it helps my body move more freely and I have found it helps to increase flexibility and decrease inflammation (not to mention I sleep much better).

The final key in healing is embracing the love and kindness from family, friends and clients. Any form of stress or exhaustion when living with Fibromyalgia can start a cycle of pain, so it is important to love yourself and others and find comfort in healing yourself from the pain mentally and physically. My journey through life and struggles with Fibromyalgia so far have reaffirmed that you never stop learning and becoming a better person, and I am grateful for every day I have to teach others what I know and do best.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Teresa Giordano is a 47-year-old healthy mom, wife and small business owner of The Power of Fitness in Annapolis, MD. She is a certified Master Trainer, boot camp instructor, kickboxing instructor, TRX and Pilates Phase 2 certified. After 15 years of running a successful housecleaning business, she began to realize that the toxic chemicals she worked with had a negative effect on her daily health. Teresa’s struggles with Fibromyalgia have taught her much about health and fitness and what she has learned about the condition she enjoys sharing with her clients. Photo Credit: Debbie Woodcock Photography.

Faith in Action

Jesusloves

The Strong Man Jesus

 

1 Timothy 4:8 – “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.”

“For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” – Romans 1

 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” — Hebrews 11:1

Many people confuse “faith” with “blind faith” or “wishful thinking”.  Archie Bunker from the 1970′s sitcom All In The Family once said, “Faith is something that you believe that nobody in his right mind would believe.” Archie never failed to get a laugh but, in this case, it’s hard to endorse his theology. Hebrews 11 gives us a very different impression of faith then Archie Bunker’s. The opening passage – taken from the KJV (King James Version) –- describes faith as the “substance” of things hoped for and the “evidence” of things not seen. Other translations use equally concrete terms: words like, “assurance,” “conviction,” and “confidence.” Faith is not a tentative concept where the believer simply “hopes” or “wishes” something to be true. Faith means certainty. Read Hebrews 11: 1-39.

Hebrews 11 makes two statements about faith:

1) It is the substance of things hoped for.
2) It is the evidence of things not seen.

This might sound a little cryptic at first but the epistle writer spends the rest of the chapter explaining what is meant by each of these. Now, we’ll dissect some of the examples.

Verse 3 begins a discussion about how the world was formed – by “the word of God” (rhēma “the spoken word”). The creation was an event that no one witnessed. How can we know what happened if we didn’t see it happen? Many scientists today observe processes that are occurring in the present and use these to extrapolate what happened in the past. They are, quite literally, using the things we see to try to understand the things we didn’t see. Hebrews 11:3 tells us that exactly the opposite is true. The universe was not made by the things that we can see. God created the world ex nihilo (out of nothing). John 1:3 attests, “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” The things that God created includes not only time, matter, and space, but also the natural laws that operate within them. Natural laws are a part of the creation; they are not the cause of the creation.

So even though we weren’t there in the beginning, we can know with confidence how the universe was created. It is not blind faith. It is not wishful thinking. It is a certainty; an assurance. We know it is true because it has been revealed to us by the One who was there. By faith, we have evidence about an event we did not see. Likewise, by faith, we can also have certainty in things that have not yet happened, that is, “things hoped for.” The word translated in the KJV as “substance” is the Greek word, (hypostasis). In the Bible, it only occurs here but it was a common word used in business documents. It’s literally a contract or guarantee. It’s an absolute promise that what has been stated will happen.

Hebrews 11:7 says that God warned Noah about the coming judgment. Even though the Flood had not yet happened, Noah built the Ark in faith, knowing with certainty that it would come. Since God said it would happen, it was a certainty that the world would flood. Noah was as sure about the coming Flood as he was about anything. Because of his faith in God’s word, Noah and his family were delivered through the Flood. The chapter mentions several other notable characters of the Old Testament. This chapter has been called “the Faith Hall of Fame.” In each case, these men and women of old were obedient to God, knowing by faith that the promises He made to them would come to pass. Hebrews 11:39 says these people “gained approval” by their faith (NASB). Yet, in their lifetimes, none of them received the promise in which they hoped. It was not simply “faith” that saved these people but rather it was their faith in the promise of what was to come. What they believed in the most would come centuries after they lived.

People of the Old Testament were saved the same way we are – by faith in Jesus. The characters mentioned in Hebrews 11 could not know Jesus the same way we know Him. Nevertheless, they believed in the Messiah God had promised all the way back in Genesis 3:16, the seed of the woman who would crush the head of the serpent. Matthew 24:35 says, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.” If you are certain the sun will rise tomorrow, you can be even more certain that God’s word is sure. The word of God is not equivocal. If He said it, He meant it. Because of His revelation, I have incontrovertible evidence about things I did not see: things like the creation, the Fall, and the Flood. I also have absolute assurance about things that have not yet happened: like the return of Christ and His promise of eternal life to all who believe.

“Faith extends beyond what we learn from our senses, and the author is saying that it has its reasons. Its tests are not those of the senses, which yield uncertainty.” - Morris 

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Ask the Dentist

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Sara Solomon_headshotby Dr. Sara Solomon
photo by Paul Buceta

 

Q: Dear Dr. Solomon,
Why does my mouth burn when I rinse with mouthwash and is there a link between mouthwash and oral cancer?” -Jackie

A: Mouthwash has been used by billions of people worldwide for over 100 years to kill oral bacteria known to cause plaque, gingivitis and bad breath. Some mouthwashes may contain up to 26.9% alcohol (ethanol). The alcohol is a preservative and an antiseptic, and is also added to dissolve the other ingredients in the mouthwash. It is the alcohol that is responsible for the burning sensation experienced during the 30 second swishing session. Alcohol is a desiccant, which means it dries out the tissues in your mouth. This is not an advantageous property because we rely on saliva as a natural defense against bacterial overgrowth in the mouth. A dry mouth will have more odor-causing bacteria, which means an alcohol-containing mouthwash can actually contribute to bad breath. Seniors often have an increased risk of dry mouth and should consult with their dentist before using an alcohol-containing mouthwash. Alcohol also has a caustic effect. Misuse of mouthwashes containing 25% alcohol or more has been associated with oral tissue alterations such as ulcerations, inflammation and broken capillary blood vessels. Children, pregnant women, substance abusers or seniors should not use alcohol mouthwashes. Accidental consumption of a bottle of alcohol-containing mouthwash can be fatal to young children. It is possible to fail a Breathalyzer test after rinsing with an alcohol-containing mouthwash. Recently, there has been concern that using alcohol containing mouthwash may increase your risk of developing oral cancer. It is theorized that alcohol can make the lining of your mouth more permeable to carcinogens such as tobacco. It has already been proven that alcohol and tobacco users increase their risk of oral cancer. Although keep in mind that people who use alcohol-based mouthwashes are typically smokers and drinkers who are trying to mask their bad breath. At the current time, there is insufficient evidence to support a connection between oral cancer and alcohol-containing mouthwash. If you are concerned, then eliminate your risk by using an alcohol-free mouthwash.

 

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Photo by Robert Reiff***

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