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Archive for the ‘Health & Alternative Medicine’ Category

Help Save Three Bells Go Fund Me Hawaii Dog

Coconut Girl Wireless was named after my love, my life, my everything Malamute Chow Chow grrl dog Three Bells (though I always say I’m her dog). She’d look at you sideways if you threw a stick and expected her to fetch it – the only thing she’d ever fetch were coconuts! She’d run around the beach with coco’s twice the size of her head.

About two months ago she started coughing and gagging. I thought she had a doggie cold / kennel cough and was waiting for it to pass, but it only got worse. It ended up being Idiopathic Chylothorax, a not very common condition in dogs (it’s more typical in young small or over-weight large dogs). It was possibly caused by an injury or perhaps a fungus. Without getting into too much detail it causes the lymphatic fluid to fill her cheat cavity until her lungs partially collapse and she isn’t able to breath. We have to knock her out and drain her (half a gallon of fluid) but it only lasts a week until she’s uncomfortable again. We tried a diet change to low fat foods and many supplements without much success, and we need to act fast or it can cause fibrosis of the pericardium. She’s more weak after each draining, and the prognosis without surgery is not good.

Bells hob-nobs with local surf stars like Bethany Hamilton

Bells hob-nobs with local surf stars like Bethany Hamilton

Bells needs a Thoractic Duct Ligation, Pericardectomy and will have a tube inserted to help drain her chest cavity, which will cost around $7-8,000, not including other diagnostics (X-Rays, ultrasound, echocardiogram, testing of the fluids…). We’ve already spent thousands, but because this happened so quickly – and they offer no payment plan – we just weren’t prepared. Because there are no surgeons who can perform this on Kauai, we had to fly her to Oahu, (and all that entails).

Bells loves her paddleboard cruises up Kauai rivers

Bells loves her paddleboard cruises up Kauai rivers

The success rate for these surgeries is now around 80%, so if all goes well we’re hoping she can get back soon to what she loves most: swimming, stand-up paddleboarding, making people smile, and playing with kids on the beach!

We started a fundraiser to help with her bills. If you can help, it will be greatly appreciated. Include your address on our GoFundMe page http://www.gofundme.com/Help-Save-Three-Bells and we’ll send you some CoconutGirlWireless stickers! Mahalo nui loa for your kokua.

p.s. If anyone in Hawaii has an furry friend with Chylothorax feel free to contact us, so we can share our experience and hopefully save you time (it was a long road trying to figure this out!). Gentle Vets in Hawai’i Kai on Oahu (thanks Dr. Edhlund!) has a visiting board certified surgeon, Dr. Peter Vogel, VMD, Diplomate, who has 23 years experience and is very familiar with this type of surgery. Mahalo as well to our local barefoot country doc Scott Sims, for diagnosing Bells and relieving her symptoms; and Dr. Basko for helping with diet and nutrition issues.

bells swim2

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Only those who live near a GMO field can really express what it’s like to get sprayed by chemicals day and night. In Hawai’i, with our increased growing seasons, these biotech chemical corporations typically douse the land with 2-4 times the amounts sprayed on GE crops in other parts of the U.S. – 18 TONS of restricted use pesticides each year. It took a lawsuit in order to even find out this information, because the companies would not disclose it to the residents. And so we have learned that they have been lying about the types of pesticides, the amounts, and have indeed not been following the labeling. Doctors and nurses from the South side Kauai – where these faux-farms surround communities, schools and businesses – are testifying, kids are getting sick. These corporations have been putting residents lives at risk for a decade, and only plan to increase their operations to contaminate more of the island (GE crop fields already cover the  West, South, and center of the island of Kauai). The chemicals they use damage the fragile ecosystems here, from the land, air, water, reefs. It’s a small island, and many pesticides travel hundreds of miles in the rain – and it rains here a lot. From the mountains to the sea… so it goes. All the islands of Hawai’i are uniting against these companies to stop risking our lives for their bad business practices.

This is why we are doing it – Kauai Youth Speak Out About Spraying Pesticides Around their Homes & Schools:

MANA MARCH: STOP POISONING PARADISE – IN SUPPORT OF BILL 2491 • SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 12PM 

We will be gathering at the Vidinha Stadium in Lihue for an 11:30 pule and a 12:00 start. The March will start from the stadium and precede down Hoolako St turning right at Ace Hardware onto Rice St. As we were during the Poipu march, we will be escorted by the Kaua’i Police Department through Rice St. to the Council Chambers where we will rally in support of Bill 2491 being PASSED into LAW!

This will likely be the BIGGEST MARCH IN KAUA’I HISTORY!

John Cruz, Makana, Shiloh Pa, Kepa Kruse to perform!

Read more: www.stoppoisoningparadise.org

Give our Council Members the courage to do the right thing – to protect our children from the risks of pesticide exposure. Remind our Council that: The Hawaii State Constitution and case law impose a LEGAL DUTY on our County to protect the health and safety of our people.

Submit testimony: http://www.stoppoisoningparadise.org/#!testimony-pesticides-kauai-249/c3to

Be a CITIZEN REPORTER for the march and help us go viral! Use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and CNN iReport (set up your iReport prior to the march). On every update, tweet, post, story, video or photo… use the following hashtags:  #kauai #manamarch and include “Stop Poisoning Paradise” and “Protect Kauai” in your messaging.

Bring Your March Gear!: This will be the biggest march in Kauai’s history, followed by music and celebration — so bring colorful signs with Aloha messages in support of Bill 2491, flags, banners, comfortable walking shoes, water, drums of all kinds, pareos for sitting, and wear red and yellow or your hui shirt.

SHOW OUR DIVERSITY, so make banners that state your hui – i.e., “Nurses for Bill 2491,” “Teachers Support Bill 2491,” “Moms Support 2491,” “Ag Workers for 2491,” etc.”

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Despite the rain and wind, close to two thousand [not "hundreds" as per The Garden Island] showed up yesterday at the March in March to Evict Monsanto (and friends) in Poipu, Kauai, to protest the invasion of GMOs on Kauai and throughout Hawai’i. Energy was amazing, and the march led into a party at Poipu Park with live music and heaping platters of local non-GMO foods. The above slideshow of the event and related imagery was taken from a variety of sources including: Regenerations International Botanical Garden / Mac James; Carol Ann DavisSamuel Morgan ShawJamey KauaiDanny Hashimoto; Carol Ann Davis; Justin Zern; Forest Shomer; Geoff Morris; Bill Collins.*

This is a ripe moment, at least in the initial step of labeling GMOs in Hawai’i, as the labeling bill HB174 has made it through the House, and is now waiting on the Senate. Sure at this de-evolved stage the bill will now only label imported GE produce (essentially useless), but to keep optimistic we’ll consider it a symbolic beginning. And there are a number of important related bills on the table that range from pesticide usage, genetically modified organism quarantine, and water rights. We will soon learn if our representatives are indeed there to represent the people or the chemical companies. Hawai’i residents are watching, taking names, and no one’s vote will go unnoticed.  

At the same time, the heavily sprayed GMO fields are spreading from the West side of Kauai all the way into Lihue and the East side of the island (with similar pandemic scenarios occurring on all the islands). The Syngenta herbacide Atrazine (aka the 21st Century’s DDT), which is sprayed on all the GMO corn, has saturated the groundwater and is now present in the drinking water of Waimea. At a recent community meeting on the subject they discussed a few of the issues:

“If you are a male exposed to Atrazine, your testosterone goes away, so you’re demasculinized, or chemically castrated…. And you’re also feminized because you’re making estrogen, which you should not be doing as a male…. We know that the sperm goes away when you give a fish Atrazine, when you give a frog Atrazine, when you give a reptile Atrazine, when you give a bird Atrazine, when you give a rat Atrazine. Testosterone goes down and the sperm goes away and now this correlation says there’s an association in humans as well.” –Tyrone Hayes, Atrazine expert, Biology Professor UC Berkeley (Syngenta actually paid him to do studies, then tried to pressure him not to release them)

It’s also associated with birth defects, low birth rates, premature births, and the Atrazine legacy apparently carries on for generations. One might think it was necessary, but corn yields have gone up in Germany and Italy since it was banned in 1991. Swisse-based Syngenta can’t even use it in their homeland, as it’s been banned across the entire EU. Watch Huffington Post Investigative Fund’s: “How Safe is Atrazine”.

Even if you don’t drink the tap water, it’s in your shower (activated charcoal filters are necessary to remove it), you’re watering your garden with it, it’s in the rivers your kids swim in and the waves we all surf, and certainly some of the local fish we eat. Atrazine also evaporates quite well into the atmosphere in what they call volatilization drift:

After drifting, it comes back into our waterways via rainfall. Atrazine has been found in rainwater more than 180 miles from the nearest application area.

There ya go North Shore Kauai. Add to that mess some Round-up, 2.4.D Herbacide… and who knows what else, to what degree, and how they interact.

Thus far Synergenta, Monsanto, Dow, Pioneer, Dupont have limitless and unregulated dominion, and the islands are ripe for their rape and pillage. They are still maneuvering to gain control of the water on Kauai – seeds and food first, water next = dependency for all. (Click here to read about the cozy situation between State Senator Donna Mercado Kim, Senator Malama Solomon, Monsanto Lobbyist Alan Takemoto, the Commission on Water Resource Management, etc.).

These crops aren’t a part of some sustainability for the islands, as most of them are test crops / foods that are exported from Kauai. In fact, GMO seed is now the most valuable crop in the state (exceeding flowers, aquaculture, coffee, veggies and taro combined!). No, it doesn’t benefit the state as much as one might think, as like any good corporation they finagle their way around paying taxes:

About half the land used for GMO production on Kauai are public lands upon which zero property tax is paid.  But they refuse to disclose to the public what they are growing or what they are spraying on these public lands.  These large transnational corporations transfer their end products to related subsidiaries, benefit from Enterprise Zone and other GET exemptions and consequently pay zero GET tax on the products they produce. –former State Senator, current County Councilmember Gary Hooser

And despite what they want people to believe, these chemical companies import many of their field labor and specialists.

Biotech companies are operating on prime agricultural land without producing an edible crop, in a state that currently imports 85 percent of its food. ‘These crops employ a small number of biotech specialists and a somewhat larger number of field workers who could just as easily be employed growing food that we can eat,” says Paul Achitoff, a lawyer with Earth Justice. –Honolulu Weekly, “Bos GMO”

Locals who do work for them have to have a sit-down with their soul and ask themselves if a business immersed in poisoning the environment and unleashing seeds modified with viruses, bacteria and chemicals in open field propagation is worth their own personal gain. The term sell-out has never been more apropos.

Thanks to Dustin Barca, Walter Ritte, Ohana O’ Kauai, GMO-Free Kauai, Babes Against Biotech and everyone involved. Click here for the schedule of the upcoming marches scheduled consecutive Saturdays of the month on Big Island, Maui and Moloka’i. A`ole GMOs!

Dogs Animals GMOs Kauai Poipu

Don’t mess with a chow chow, or her food. Dogs don’t needs GMOs either! GMOs Bite!

Check out Leslie Larsen’s video of the event:

* We tried to credit each photo but because it’s in slideshow mode the specific credits only show up in the Google searches – if you’d like your image removed simply let us know. Mahalo!

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Mac Nut Hawaii 2

Mac Nut Trees Typically Drop Nuts From May Through December

What’s a girl to do when the guy at the farmer’s market has a couple bunches of basil left that he practically wants to give to you (sometimes it pays to arrive late). Well, if you’re a girl in Hawai’i with a mac nut tree that just won’t quit, you rush home to make a batch of Mac Nut Pesto.

Here’s our quick un-recipe (measuring cups be damned):

  • 2 bunches o’ basil
  • 2 cloves garlic. (Heck, I’d add even more if it was just for me. What, I’m obsessed!)
  • 20 mac nuts
  • Organic Oils

So in a nut shell, the hardest part of this recipe is the nut shell.

If you don’t have a mac nut tree, it’s good to buy your nuts in the shell. They last longer and are less likely to be rancid. Order online from Monika’s Mac Nuts in Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawai’i – they send them to you ready to crack. But cracking takes some finesse – we’ll get to that in a bit.

Hawaii Mac Nuts MK Wares Pottery

If you have tree access, don’t pick the nuts directly off of it. Instead, wait ’til they fall in their soft green husk. And though it’s recommended that you harvest the nut within a day or two after it has fallen, we often don’t get to it ’til the nut is part way or completely out of the husk. Cons: Potential mold, heat respiration, creatures nibbling on your nuts. Pros: less work, the unused nuts becoming natural compost for the tree. On the side of the tree that gets more shade, the nuts are sometimes moldy, but otherwise they’re typically fine.

Once you have the nuts de-husked, you want them to dry out a bit inside the shell. That allows it to lose some moisture content and shrink; making space between the nut and the shell. After that it’s easier to crack and separate.

Typically I put them in a flat bowl and for a month keep them in the window sill that gets some afternoon sun (it’s difficult to get things to dry in high humidity, especially if you live in areas with less sun and wind exposure). You can also use a food dehydrator over the course of a few days.

Give this job to your boyfriend or husband or someone with patience & muscles

Give this job to your boyfriend or husband or someone with patience & muscles

This time though I grabbed them right off the ground and wanted to use them as soon as I could. Solution? Stick them in the oven at a very low temp for a few hours. The idea is to try to keep it as “raw” as possible and not heat the oils. Sure, it’s not enough time to really dry and shrink the nut much but it sure makes the shell easier to crack. And though you’ll still have to nudge the meat out, in this case, keeping it whole isn’t a priority anyway.

Though hammers work, I splurged on a $20 Australian Crack-A-Mac from Monika’s. Tip: Crack it on the little dot that appears on the shell.

Once you de-husk and de-shell it’s pretty simple: throw it all in the food processor.

It got a little ADD when it came to choosing the oil and I ended up including a splash of: Dr. Bronner’s* Coconut, Epicurean Organics Olive, Udos, and Nutiva’s* Hemp (sign up for Nutiva’s newsletters – they have amazing Tuesday sales).

Mac Nut Pesto

Use whatever oil you have – even more Mac Nut – but you gotta have some olive oil for that Mediterranean flavor. Look for organic, cold pressing, extra virgin, and for the light sensitive oils always get them in a darker glass. Also because the mac nuts have a good amount of Omega 3, you’ll maintain a decent balance even if you are adding oils that are high in Omega 6.

Our mac nut pesto came out yummy – ate it on pasta, sprouted breads, crackers, added to more oil to make a salad dressing. Eventually got reconstructed into a cream cheese salmon spread for a few wayward poppyseed spelt bagels.

Mac Nut Pesto Toast

Cheap, yummy and healthy – what’s not to luv

* support companies who don’t use GMOs and helped fight for GMO labeling!

Note: If you want to grow your own mac nuts, they do prefer a decent amount of rainfall. Check out this video.

Quick plug, the cute lavender / blue / green stoneware in two of the above photos is from MK Wares who makes the most beautiful pottery. Check them out.

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Bloodletting by PhysicianAfter injuring oneself to the point it will likely swell, most of us fall to the doctor recommended RICE technique: Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate.

Today we’re going to simply add a few things to the concept, which will aid in the healing but will not spell an easy recall acronym. Anyway, sticking a big ‘ole “B” for bloodletting into the mix wouldn’t really spell anything worthwhile, and might just confuse matters.

Ice is great for reducing inflammation, it’s just that sometimes people either don’t use it soon enough after the injury, and the swelling has already happened and/or most use it for too long post-injury. While one to two days should be adequate, during the initial recovery phase you can apply ice after activity if the affected area gets more irritated (which usually means you shouldn’t be using it strenuously yet) or preferably in hydrotherapy types of treatments where you alter hot and cold to stimulate healing of the area.

Ultimately you will have to use your best judgment, but simply relying on ice alone for extended periods keeps the muscles stiff and slows down the body’s natural healing process. Initially it keeps the blood from moving into and reduces pain and swelling but the downside is that it also keeps the oxygen and nutrients from moving in and the Anatomical Bloodlettingacids and waste from moving out; scar tissue forms and overall it seems to take a longer time to repair with full function.

Followers of ancient healing traditions believe there is never good reason for using ice on an injury. The other side counters that these traditionalists are just following ideas based on “the olden days” when ice was more difficult to procure and therefore not a readily available option. Traditional Chinese Medicine World (www.tcmworld.org) elaborates on the wisdom behind the no-ice theory:

Any kind of injury…involves blood stagnation. In order to help the blood flow you need to increase the flow of energy (Qi), so acupuncture and herbs are used for treatment. Most important, don’t use ice! In the martial arts, most of the time ice is not used; heat is used on sports injuries. Ice will keep everything in the area frozen, making the circulation worse. The use of ice can cause arthritis later on. In the short term, using ice may be better than heat because you will feel immediate relief from the pain, but good treatment—good acupuncture, good acupressure—is much more effective than ice because it treats the root cause of the problem.”matsu

Although the RICE technique is typically utilized for accident related injuries, as opposed to muscle over-exertion, there are similarities in treatment. And it’s interesting to look at how ice is used as therapy to better understand its effectiveness.

Lots of athletes like to overdo the ice, so they can numb an area and “get back in the ring” so to speak. And despite traditional teachings, even many martial arts organizations utilize ice and topical “icy hot” sprays these days to better compete during tournaments. But many sports are starting to reevaluate the procedure. For example, there has been some debate over whether the Red Sox’ million dollar wonder, Japanese pitcher Matsuzaka, ices his arm after the games; he doesn’t seem to rely on it like American players do. People are starting to wonder, could that have something to do with his “superhuman” ability to throw longer, harder, faster and finish more games than most American pitchers?

Dick Mills on his blog The Baseball Pitching Rebel has been writing about baseball pitcher’s “ice abuse” problem for years now. Finally he has a tangible source to offer his readership. A 2006 study by Howatson, G., van Someren, D. A., Hortobagyi, T. very clearly concludes, “Ice massage [is] ineffective in promoting muscle function recovery following exercise-induced muscle damage.” “Pitchers,” Dick insists, “would be better off to do some running [or swimming] for twenty minutes or so while keeping their arms moving to aid flushing the waste products that build up around the joints after pitching.” He goes on to add that despite some slowly evolving protocol most ignore the recent findings. “So why do major league pitchers [continue to] wrap their arms in ice after games?” he deliberates. “Because they ‘believe’ it works. It appears that icing after games works about as well to aid performance and reduce injury as eating a favorite food before a game. It’s mostly superstition.”

In a sport that has a comparable rate of injury and surgery to the NFL, gymnasts are often berated into continuing their training despite over-exertion, lack of sustenance and even broken bones. They rely on heavy doses of anti-inflammatory drugs and ice baths to essentially help them ignore the problems. The goal of and result of an ice bath is not healing, but to get them through the competition; to get them to Olympic Gold. Quick cure vs. real cure. For these athletes, unfortunately, their ill-health, pain and physical disabilities will be dealt with…later (likely for the rest of their lives.)

Personally I have found a way that seems to utilize the benefits of both RICE and TCM theory after an injury. A technique that deals with the pain and inflammation and also stimulate the body to heal quickly. The element I add is based on the Theory of Counteractivity. I looked online for anything on the subject, which I learned about years ago from a book by Arya Nielsen entitled Gua Sha: A Traditional Technique for Modern Practice (my copy presently in storage.) Even in the beta “Scholarly” Google Search Engine this “Theory” is not to be found and possibly goes under some other scientific names, but since it’s pretty simple, we’ll do the layman summarization.

med006b-saved-the-foot.jpgI like to equate it to the saying “Things can always get worse” – which sounds negative but we’ll try to turn it into a positive. Imagine, you have a hangnail, and it’s driving you crazy. Where are your nail clippers! You’re in bed and it’s brushing against the sheets as you try to fall asleep, or gets snagged as you put your sock on in the morning. It bothers you until… dang, you bang your knee on the coffee table, and it friggin’ hurts. You no longer notice or care about your hangnail, instead you focus on your knee that is starting to swell. You know what the best cure for that is? Well, at this rate one can assume a bullet to the chest will give your mind and body more important issues to fixate upon. Okay, quite superfluous, but that’s the basic idea. (And the “positive”  of the equation is of course that your hangnail no longer bothers you!)

Physiologically speaking, the body will focus on the greater issue at hand, while the more minor issues become secondary. On top of that, the body’s priority is to focus first and foremost on areas closest to the heart. The torso, with all those major organs, is the priority, and after that comes one’s head and then limbs (i.e. you can survive without your legs or arms, and we see many a “brain dead” person live on, but you’re pretty worthless without a torso).

How does this play into treatment of injury? Well, instead of waiting for chance and circumstance, you can cause such an incident. Create a new irritation that is above the injury so the body will focus on it instead. If there is an infection or swelling at the site of your original injury, you could do something that brings the body’s attention to another area and essentially stop the blood from pooling and stagnating at the initial site. How can this be done? Let’s first look historically….

In the last few years there has been some discussion in the scientific community about why bloodletting may have actually worked. It mainly focuses on a time in history without antibiotics an the prevalence of bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus or simply “staph”, which needed “heme iron” found in blood to survive. Bloodletting decreased the iron it needed and therefore could realistically prevent the bacteria from thriving.

But there is another aspect to bloodletting which is less often discussed yet is well-documented. This historic therapy supposedly began 3000 years ago with the Egyptians (though who knows exactly when the Mayans first began utilizing obsidian blades and stingray spines; granted their use was possibly skewed towards ritual and sacrifice. And the discovery of ancient bian stone in China has provided powerful evidence that acupuncture/bloodletting originated early in that primitive society’s late New Stone Age). Bloodletting had its heyday in the 19th Century, ultimately becoming the foundation of modern medicine and surgery, yet today it is commonly discarded as archaic quackery. Many people don’t realize bloodletting was still utilized as a common treatment not very long ago, and that versions of it exist today, throughout the world. But perhaps some of the confusion (and outright disdain for the treatment) stems from lack of knowledge regarded its benefits and the different versions of the technique. There is general bloodletting, which includes venesection and arteriotomy (you know, slice a vein or artery and let it flow) and local bloodletting, which includes leeches and scarification with wet cupping (there is also dry cupping and therapies of a similar nature which imitate the action by simply drawing blood to the surface of the skin).instruments

In his article “Bloodletting Over the Centuries” (New York State Journal of Medicine, December, 1980) author Gilbert R. Seigworth, M.D. discusses the concept of this “localized bloodletting”:

Cupping may be wet or dry. Dry cupping is the application of a suction cup over an area of intact skin. The idea was to draw underlying blood and fluid away from the area of inflammation to the surface of the skin. This method relieved the congestion from the inflamed area, but did not remove fluid from the body…. Wet cupping involved scarification of the skin so that blood and fluid could be extracted. … Bloodletting counteracted the redness, heat, and swelling by relieving the vascular congestion.

Though the original hypothesis was that bloodletting would release evil spirits from the body via the blood and balance the “humors”, later it was used to cure nervous disorders, hypertension, and relieve abscess and swelling. The following quotation from Watson and Condie’s Practice of Physic (1858) gives more insight to the premise:

The main object of general blood letting is to diminish the whole quantity of blood in the system, and thus to lessen the force of the heart’s action. The object of local bleeding is, in most instances, that of emptying the gorged and loaded capillaries of the inflamed part. Sometimes the blood is thus taken directly from the turgid vessels themselves; more often, I fancy, topical bloodletting produces its effect by diverting the flow of blood from the affected part, and giving it a new direction, and so indirectly relieving the inflammatory congestion.

There was logic to the treatment, even though the hypothesis on which it was based might have been incorrect, it seems inappropriate to discard the whole therapy when proper use of certain techniques can induce beneficial effects. And though there have been obvious influences of Western Medicine upon modern East Asian Medicine, you can still find acupuncturists who utilize the benefits of bloodletting in their therapy.

Skya Abbate, executive director of Southwest Acupuncture College in Santa Fe, New Mexico writes in her Acupuncture Today article “Bleeding Techniques: Ancient Treatments for Acupuncture Physicians” (2003):

An ancient Chinese treatment technique that … the modern-day practitioner may be hesitant to use in his or her treatment plan is bloodletting. Perhaps there is reluctance to use this method due to the drawing of blood, which can transmit blood-borne pathogens; there may also be some concern about causing the patient potential discomfort. However, bleeding is a specialized technique for specific conditions that can produce effective and dramatic results when the patient’s condition is diagnosed properly and the bleeding method expertly executed.

For this technique regular acupuncture needles and lancets are used. But typically today acupuncturists utilize cupping and needling (without the deliberate bleeding) to create a similar affect. My favorite of this category though is the non-invasive, simple, easy to learn, overwhelmingly efficient aforementioned Gua Sha (pronounced gwa saw). Gua Sha is another Asian healing method, and so common a home remedy it’s like Chicken Soup, going by a number different names around the world (including Cao Yio, Kerik, Khoud Lam and Coin Rubbing). The idea is that you’re pulling the cold (wind) out of the muscles, bringing blood to the surface, increasing circulation and allowing whatever was stuck in the contracted muscles to leave through the blood. An excerpt of Arya’s book:

Gua Sha involves palpation and cutaneous stimulation where the skin is pressured, in strokes, by a round-edged instrument; that results in the appearance of small red petechiae called ‘sha’, that will fade in 2 to 3 days. Raising Sha removes blood stagnation considered pathogenic, promoting normal circulation and metabolic processes. The patient experiences immediate relief from pain, stiffness, fever, chill, cough, nausea, and so on. Gua Sha is valuable in the prevention and treatment of acute infectious illness, upper respiratory and digestive problems, and many other acute or chronic disorders.

whatis_r2_c2_f3.gifGua Sha not only has the benefits of removing blood stagnation but it also draws attention from other areas to it. The idea being that instead of needing to utilize the  bloodletting to distract areas from congesting and swelling and encourage the body’s blood to flow and injuries to heal, we have optional techniques with similarly positive results.

Ultimately, when we get down to it, the most difficult thing is taking care of ourselves after we get hurt. So in order to more easily tend to our own injuries or those of our loved ones, we need to keep it simple. I have come up with a solution that is easy to explain to someone, but depending upon one’s conditions, can be just as easy to do for oneself. The idea again is to create a simple “counteraction” that will cause your body to pay attention to and bring blood into an area other than and just above the injury, which we will assume is starting to swell. The answer? Heat! Well, more specifically it’s the combination of cold and heat at the same time.

The ice pack goes on the injury itself, while the heat, creating the counteraction, goes about six inches above it. I know it sounds simple, perhaps too obvious…it is! Though I couldn’t come up with a good acronym, we can still use RICE, as you take a clean cotton tube sock, fill it with uncooked rice and knot up the open end. Then if you get injured, you stick this sock in the microwave for a couple minutes and there’s the heat portion of your RICE therapy.

So now that you understand the theory behind it we can tie this all together….the more in-depth but still easy steps to best heal an injury:

#1) Immediately use ice (if it’s an open wound and/or there is bleeding, tend to that first. Use gauze if needed to protect from ice or I prefer a soft ice pack.) Keep area elevated; apply compression.

#2) Take homeopathic arnica pills if available (advisable to keep in every emergency kit and in purse). Topically apply arnica gel if there’s no open wound.

#3) Place a heat pack on the area just above your injury. Use either the kind you can boil to heat, an electric moist heat pad (if you can, invest in a Thermophore – just not the one with the automatic switch cause those have been known to break), or use the disposable Therma-Care (Costco has the best price) or Moxa. This heat should be act as the “counteraction” (but if not you can have someone punch you somewhere above the wound…or if you happen to have a bottle of leeches try those).  Note: If a hematoma is forming just above your injury, put the heat at least six inches above the hematoma.

#4) If you have access to acupuncture, acupressure, reflexology, lymphatic massage, cupping or gua sha – take advantage! If not, keep your blood flowing somehow. Elevation and/or little toe point-and-flex or ankle rotations can bring circulation through the legs for example (as long as it doesn’t do more damage, as perhaps with a torn ligament). Or get someone who loves you enough to rub your feet, hands, whatever needs da rubbin’. (Locals, this is when the availability of noni can come in handy, as the fruit packed on the body does heat to the bone, as well you can wrap the injury with noni leaves).

#5) Try to avoid those pain killers. You’re just going to feel it more the next day, and have to take more drugs. If you need to, pop an Advil or something that brings down swelling. But if you can handle, have someone get you a nice quality “no sulfites added”, organic red wine and sip a glass before going to bed.

#6) As you are improving use hydrotherapy. Alternating hot / cold therapies speeds up the healing time. These can be dunks, plunges, or with hot / cold packs (caution to diabetics).

#7) Post recover, discover ways in which you can strengthen your body, it terms of nutrition, balancing of one’s yin/yang, building muscles to help stabilize the weakened area.

Be safe, be prepared, and hopefully you don’t have to try these techniques out too soon.

Note: This article is obviously not meant to replace the advice of your physician. These are opinions and should be read with caution and at own risk, etc. Bloodletting is best done by a professional. ;) Ultimately the best medicine believes first and foremost there is a reason for every injury, and that often (even in cases of accidents) the area injured is already deficient or there is poor blood/energy flow which makes one more susceptible. As I am utilizing my heat and ice as we speak, with time to mull while recovering from the after-effects of a strangely torqued knee after trying (and painfully succeeding) to stall in the barrel of a nice glassy wave, I have reason to believe it true. Anyway, the idea here is that there are many ways to find relief from pain or panacea to avoid the root cause of one’s afflictions. But the ultimate cure comes from within, beginning with an awareness that there is more behind the injury then the injury itself. It is only when we tune into the higher essence that we can find balance and become truly whole. Yeah, well, in the meantime… I’ll just write about it.

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The spirit of marijuana is female. She is alluring, very seductive. In her presence time passes almost without one noticing. Her sweet fragrance intoxicates the senses and uplifts the mind. She is delighted by heroic men and sensual women. When a couple shares marijuana, they are allowing her participation in their relationship. Accepting their invitation, the spirit of marijuana adds spontaneity and humor, and also acts as a potent initiator. By bringing the couple into her dimension, the spirit of marijuana exalts and magnifies both love and sensitivity. – “The Pleasure of Pot and Sex“, High Times Magazine

420girls1

An insightful friend once mentioned to me why marijuana was so alluring to men. “It’s female,” he said, “the spirit of the plant is a woman. That’s why so many male pot smokers can’t maintain an intimate relationship with another women – because they already have a woman in their life who they are devoted to.”

Besides the initial youthful foray, I never desired smoking much. I wouldn’t buy it, and if I was given some it would either dry up sitting in my jewelry box, or would become a sort of emergency stash for friends. Commonplace for the Hawaii surfer, sometimes you join in when the waves are small, and a little creative inspiration to boost ones imagination helps alter reality enough to make the session more fun (or challenging). Really though, unless in a relationship with a smoker, rarely do I partake. Though it obviously heightens certain attributes, overall pakalolo doesn’t work well with my constitution and doesn’t make me perform at my best. Instead it seems to lower my metabolism and make me socially dysfunctional, hungry, and sleepy; while realistically I’d prefer to be awake, aware and able to hold elaborate conversations without losing the thread (somewhat of an anomaly in many surfing circles).

I’m certainly not trying to disregard the benefits (though many of those are found in more infrequent use – or in cases of serious illness). It is the ultimate first step mind opener… it’s just once the mind is opened, users habitually go back to the step of putting the key in the door, instead of actively utilizing what it’s already showing you. It’s obviously a better option than other more available hardcore drugs, as observed in Hawai’i, where we have the largest number of “ice” users per capita (which has evolved hand-in-hand with big dolla’ federally subsidized marijuana enforcement). Unlike meth, pot doesn’t seem to make one want to beat their kids, or spouses, or spend the rent money to get high, or rob their neighbor (despite what conservatives of the refer madness generation may want you to believe). And personally, I’ve had positive experience with the benefits of utilizing marijuana medically. In my case, to ween myself off stronger drugs; prescribed pain killers that were, post-debilitating-trauma, necessary for daily function – but certainly ate more brain-cells and created a more psychotic mentality than pakalolo ever did. That said….

As rasta as some want to be, as much as one convinces themselves there are no side-effects to smoking, it’s ignorant to believe. Sure it varies with each individual, with the amount and consistency of use, including when and why you use it. Most obviously, unfortunately, you can become less inspired. It’s similar to when one has too much sex, or masturbates too often – as if they can’t figure out how to capitalize on their energy, so they release it, so they can be in a relaxed state. There are deeper connections with sexuality and pot, which helps explain why more men regularly use, and rely upon it, then women.

* * * * *

I smoke my weed, I love my weed, I eat my weed, it’s Sickening
I smoke my weed, I love my weed, I sleep with my weed, it’s Sickening
— “It’s Sickening” by Classified

We have all heard the studies, opinions, diatribes from both sides of the legalization debate, discussing whether or not pot is addictive (marijuana being illegal simply indicative of a government’s arrogant, controlling nature). Whatever. Doesn’t really matter. Call it what you will, users may deny addiction but certainly feel the need to partake in their daily dose. I’ve never heard the (above quoted) song, but even if there are some women who relate to pot this way – odds are, 99% of the time, this is the mentality of a man and his relationship with weed, not a woman talking about hers. Of course there are better writings than a chorus to express the depth of the desire, like these excerpts from “Ganja” from Deep Spirit & Great Heart: Living in Marijuana Consciousness:

June 9, 1993

My wings take me a place where the sky is green and the earth is blue. Naked women appear before me, holding thorn apples in their left hands, marijuana buds in their right hands, speaking words of truth and passion whether I be on earth or in heaven, and radiating bliss from their musk scented thighs.

June 14, 1993

You do not know me, but I am your lover. Take this message to yourself. You, being space, are female, and I, being time, am male, and you and I are everywhere. No matter where I walk, the path leads to you, where the Light of Light resides in the shrine of your heart, emitting illumination to all of creation, and showering me with the bliss to be found in joy and happiness.

December 2, 1993

Closing my eyes, I see myself sitting beside a pond with water lilies and blue green algae floating on its surface. I ask for help to make it through life’s journey, and she takes my hand. I weep, and she comes to my side. I listen for singing, and she fills my ears with the lilting sounds of her voice. I pine for love, and she takes me within her. I wish to return to the body in which I was born, and she leads me beyond time into eternity.

Though the symbolism is up to interpretation, and from what I understand these are from a dying man who was dosing medicinally, still, in these marijuana meanderings the connecting with the female is quite prominent. This plant, which ironically reproduces sexually, seems immersed with a sexual mood and a history in sexual culture.

* * * * *

Folk medicines in 19th century Serbia relied on cannabis preparations, which they called nasha. Female virgins were given mixtures of lamb’s fat and cannabis on their wedding nights, to decrease the pain of their first intercourse. Such use echoes modern practices in India, where newlyweds drink bhang beverages and eat bhang candy. Indian prostitutes are reported to eat lots of bhang sherbet, which helps them feel sexually aroused even when their customers are fat, ugly and stupid. -Cannabis Culture

enjoy sex marijuana

Guys are oft eager to share their pot with girls, because it offers an “in”, so to speak. A girl slightly high might find herself a little less able to control her faculties, and there is a chance she might be more “amenable”. Certainly, some women want that experience, because they feel more able to let go when they are a little drunk or stoned. And sensitivities are heightened to the point greater pleasure and intimacy seems to be achieved — but there are the down sides.

In an article regarding sex and drugs on the informational web site About.com, it gives some Western facts and figures on the subject:

* In a study, 75 percent of men said that marijuana increased sexual pleasure and satisfaction, 68 percent reported that it enhanced their orgasm, and 39 percent found that it increased the duration of intercourse.

* Women are even more likely than men to report enhanced sexual desire with marijuana use. In one study, 90 percent of women reported that marijuana increased feelings of sexual pleasure and satisfaction to varying degrees, and 40 percent of women reported that marijuana increased the quality of their orgasm.

The Bottom Line: While we don’t know why marijuana has positive effects on sexual satisfaction in men and women, research and anecdotal evidence consistently show that in small doses, there are perceived positive effects.

Then we see, with increased intake, over a greater period of time, results from the studies change dramatically.

Using marijuana more regularly or habitually is related in men to increased risk of erectile dysfunction, and in men and women it may be linked to overall reduced interest in sex. Marijuana, in higher doses, has detrimental effects on fertility and even in smaller doses can have negative impacts during pregnancy for the fetus. Also, because sex is more than just a physiological process, drugs may impact your psychological and social experience of sex in unpredictable ways.

weeds mary louise parker

Sexually, marijuana interferes with sex hormones, cuts testosterone levels, and depletes the ability to produce healthy sperm. And while it may make one feel hornier at the onset, unfortunately this is actually a sign one’s sexual essence is being exhausted (though less so for those who practice tantric sex). Those who habitually use become drained, as they are tapping into -and releasing- their life force (and combined with sex, ultimately draining it even more). At the same time, the act of sex becomes, in part, an effort to tap into the source of their partner’s life force.

* * * * *

The “it’s all good” mentality of a smoker might keep them from ever pondering possible consequences. Smoking da herb – it’s all good. Even the obvious negative effects of the smoke itself is often defended. For the surfer, especially when paddling out on a good-sized day, we require all the lung-power we can muster. In those scenarios -cardio interspersed with a need to hold one’s breath underwater- the rolled joint verses the vaporizer is no longer a question: the vaporizer, which produces less smoke, is a much better choice! Still, no matter how you inhale, there are risks.

Scientists have identified more than 150 chemicals in marijuana smoke and tar. Marijuana smoke contains cancer-causing chemicals such as benzopyrene, which occur 70 percent more in marijuana smoke than in tobacco smoke. Examinations of human lung tissue exposed to continuous marijuana smoke in laboratory testing show precancerous cellular change. In laboratory tests, the tars from marijuana smoke produce tumors when applied to animal skin. These studies suggest that prolonged marijuana use causes cancer. Through studies like these, scientists have learned that exposure to marijuana smoke interferes with the work of white blood cells. White blood cells in lung tissue remove debris from the lungs. When exposed to marijuana smoke, these cells cannot remove bacteria and other debris. Smoking marijuana significantly reduces lung functions. -Narcanon

But that’s a Narcanon perspective – seems you can always find “studies”, or at least theories, to prove the opposite. So I asked my acupuncturist his opinions about pot… though he has a personal preference that differs from the traditional Chinese applications, he explains:

Pot is an oil-based toxin. The liver deals with any oil-based toxins. It seems to raise blood pressure on a lot of people – I think due to the vascular constriction caused by almost any smoke. Most people in Chinese medicine are down on smoking pot. I have my permit for my back pain, and I enjoy it, and it doesn’t seem to cause me any problems that I notice. We use the hemp seeds in Chinese medicine mainly for constipation.

Actually, I got a more classic rendition via this comment from a practitioner, found on a TCM forum online, regarding the harmful effects of any smoke entering the lungs:

When hot smoke is inhaled it instantly starts to affect the lung qi and yin. At the same time the liver becomes stagnant over time because of the overload of toxins. These are the first organs to become affected by smoking herb. As time goes on, that damage to the lung qi begins to reach the spleen qi, weakening the body’s defenses and digestive capabilities, and the heat from the smoke doesn’t only damage the lung yin, but also begins to affect the kidney yin. This is evident in some chronic (no pun intended) smokers who suddenly wake up with night sweats.

I’ve tried to explain to male users -especially those who are already on their way to considering the Kelly Slater buzz cut- that adding fire into their the body might not be the best idea. The excess heat rises -as heat is apt to do- exiting through the top of the head, frying not just the brain cells but singing the hair follicles (adding more heat via smoke is also a concern for “hot-heads”, alcoholics, fire-signs, those prone to shingles or eczema, and anyone who challenges their liver daily). While DNA plays the overwhelming role in baldness, there are certainly ways and means to speed up the process.

* * * * *

Every drug has its own nature. It has a unique set of properties that can be described by a very specific curve of benefits and drawbacks. Marijuana’s benefit curve, whether you take it by prescription or otherwise, will at first seem to give you more than it takes. Over time, though, this curve reverses, and it will begin to take more than it gives you. If you’re addicted to marijuana during its taking phase, your high will get weirder and emptier every time you take it. It will also take you longer and longer to recover from it. psychedelic marijuana leafThat’s part of the process of developing tolerance for marijuana. It’s also when long-term damage begins. Your Kidney System is responsible for your long-term health. By the time marijuana affects the level of your Kidney System, it is altering the course of your life in a serious way. – “The Physical Effects of Marijuana, from the Perspective of TCM”

Sure, a little toke now and again, could inspire a new vision or perspective. Unfortunately, the one thing that seems consistent with habitual drug users, is the ability to live in some sense of denial. Whether it be denial that they are overdoing it (that they “don’t smoke that much”…at least compared to their friends), that there are any ill-effects (to themselves or those around them), or that their drug of choice is often used as a means to smooth over the rough edges and assist in avoiding the things in life that they don’t want to deal with. They may lose quality attributes, like unconsciously covering up behaviors and actions with an innate proficiency in rewriting reality to suit their needs. If you are the sober one, speaking to the marijuana smoker (male or female) about serious concerns, it becomes difficult to relate. What once seemed a heightened awareness, superhuman powers of creative insight, and a deeper connection to the spiritual and unknown, often slowly manifests into a dulled impotence, and a loss of connection and motivation to excel to one’s potential. As with anything, there are exceptions, like the strong constitution / spiritually advanced / high IQ types who are actively pursuing knowledge. Still, constant efforts must be made to keep the body/mind in balance. Typically the end-game result is a weakening of the kidneys, mental acuity is diminished, communication becoming garbled. The user may find their a little too burnt out to deal with their loved ones fully and completely.

When marijuana’s beginning to claim your Kidney System you’ll experience a loss of memory. This often takes the form of impaired or reduced short-term memory, and impaired or reduced comprehension of what’s happening in your world. You’ll also lose your ability to listen effectively. Marijuana can so damage your learning and attention skills over time that you may wind up with no ability to get back from the place it’s taken you to.

When marijuana first begins to burn up your Kidney Yin it will make things seem hysterically funny to you. As your Kidney Yin gets more depleted, the funniness will end and paranoia will begin. Depending on your constitution, your burning Kidney Yin may leave you feeling speedy or sleepy.

When marijuana is affecting your Kidney System on a more profound level things seem like they’re happening in slow motion. Time seems to go on forever. What’s really happening is your perceptions are moving very fast. This is when marijuana is burning up your Jing Sexual Essence. When marijuana’s Toxic Heat spends your energy and deep Yin Fluids at this level it creates very substantial damage to your long-term health and wellbeing.

…The Chinese medical classics state that Jing Sexual Essence, Qi and Blood are the physical foundations of your mind and Spirit. Traditional Chinese Medicine views the body as if it’s an amazingly intricate alchemical cauldron. This cauldron distills the substances you eat and breathe into concentrated subtle essences. Your body continually refines these essences into higher qualities of matter and energy. Your physiology then uses them to support its different functions. Jing is the highest level of physical refinement in this system….a storehouse for your life potential…your reserves. Itmarijuana addition determines the quality of your life experience and possibly even the length of your life as well. You may be trading a portion of your life potential for your relationship with marijuana. – “The Physical Effects of Marijuana, from the Perspective of TCM”

* * * * *

So back to the initial concept, of the man and his love marijuana. All I’m saying girls, is that you may want to think twice when deciding to be with a guy who makes smoking a regular part of his life. At least keep in mind the reoccurring themes that may continually come into play, including that he is: already immersed in another serious “relationship”, exhausting his energy (you may get the leftovers), often exposing to the world a mellow personality but may find himself prone to “snapping”, unable to deal emotionally, unable to recall conversations, and otherwise may only be partially available for another person. If you decide to make an intimate connection with this guy, you might as well do it fully aware of the situation, that Ms. Sativa is a controlling woman, and will only let you into the manage a tois on her terms. Ultimately it seems, in order for the relationship to work, if your man is a dedicated smoker, you must also make a commitment to her. Otherwise you may find you’re having an affair with a man who is already committed to another woman.

Perhaps it’s better summed up in the article “Marijuana and Sex: A Classic Combination on the web site Cannabis.com, where an anthropologist notes the philosophy of cannabis religions on the metaphysical potential of the female cannabis plant:

Cultures with sacred cannabis use tend to be cultures which recognize the ‘goddess’. That could mean mother earth, yin, or female beauty and virtues. People who bring marijuana inside themselves are engaging in a type of sexual union with the plant. It is a very sexual act to have a molecule of THC implant itself into your brain.

Since cannabis is associated with female deities like Kali, we could say that when you use marijuana sexually, you are bringing a very special ‘woman’ into your bed. Make sure you’re ready for that relationship!

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Thought this an interesting way to advertise health insurance to those who surf; direct-marketed to me on MySpace. So I curiously clicked, and found the Platinum Kaiser Plan is just $195.00 a month (!), for an average Hawaii surfer, who might like swimming with sharks (I’m assuming the sharks in the ocean, not the sharks in the medical insurance industry).

Health Insurance for Surfers

annual death causes

Actually, it is the same story for many shark attack victims – if they’re lucky they deal with a deductible, but a large number who have no coverage are ill-prepared to experience the second stage of the feeding frenzy: bill collectors coming after them for hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical expenses. The helicopter ride alone can cost nearly $10,000 (depending on location/remoteness and many plans do not cover medical evacuations). And typical policies don’t often cover needed prosthetics either (a cause Bethany Hamilton has championed – and a bill mandating coverage is nearing passage). It doesn’t have to be a shark attack obviously, surfers get themselves in many other predicaments: from reef to the head to close encounters with a donkey on a longboard. And we need efficient, specific surfer coverage, because it’s not like a car accident – there is no personal info exchanged at the scene, no 1-800 numbers to call. When you’re injured surfing and you’re out for a week, a month, a year -your fault or no-fault- even if you have regular medical insurance it won’t pay the rest of your bills!

So, for the living in the moment surfer, is it worth it to be cautious and protected?

At the very least you want some form of emergency or “catastrophic coverage – which doesn’t include regular doctor visits -or has a huge deductible- but does include major hospital and medical expenses. And if you’re on a surf-safari, especially to a foreign country (for that trip you’re taking this hurricane season to Indo or the Mentawais), it’s worth the peace of mind to get yourself some traveler’s insurance (yes, even on top of your medical – as many insurance companies won’t cover you abroad, and don’t include all the things that can go wrong when traveling). Even many pro-surfers neglect the obvious – and they’re regularly touring around the world, continuously introducing themselves to lovely new forms of bacteria their bodies are not used to. For example, sweet-styley goofy-foot pro Ryan Carlson had to learn the hard way via some staph courtesy of a Puerto Rican sea urchin… and the sh*t-load of bills that came with it.

You’d think pros could afford top-notch health insurance (or perhaps some surfing association would cover them), but unless you’re in the tippy-top rung, often you’re only scoring free gear and some spattering of contest money. Luckily -at least for those well-known in the sport- they seem to be able to rely on the compassion of other surfers, who help out with benefits, surf contests, and other fund-raising efforts. But us regular Joes, usually there’s no big benefit concert waiting for us when we get home from the hospital.

And though many surfers are actually functional citizens, there are a few, ehem, beach bums out there. Those who would opt to spend their last buck on a bar of surf wax before buying a box of band-aids. Many surfers, and athletes in general, rely on the fact that they are decently healthy and fit – yet that doesn’t necessarily protect you from unforeseen. Aussie surfer Richie Lovett had insurance – but with limits (read that fine print), which left him with over $200,000 in bills. Many surfers, like four-time cancer survivor and pro Dean Randazzo, have discovered this the hard way. He started the Dean Randazzo Cancer Foundation to help surfers with or without medical insurance who have to deal with cancer and its side effects – it’s hard to focus on your fight for survival while the bills are mounting up.

It’s not just skin cancers, suffered by pro Rowen Barrett and pro-mom Jeannie Chesser- we see many with rare bone cancers as well. The skin cancers seem obvious and common side-effects; surfers feel impervious. It’s almost as if they have to – it’s not like they can stay out of the sun while enjoying the sport (and for some reason many wrongly believe their sunscreen lasts more than an hour without reapplying!). For those who get cancer that causes pain in the hip, leg or, like Jason Bogle, their back, often they don’t get it checked out right away, as our mind opts to associate it with some past surf injury, over-exertion, or the joys of trying to bust the moves while getting a lil’ bit older. And since early detection is essential – that’s not a good thing.

Though the medical insurance list of “injuries people are at risk for” includes drowning and shark attacks, it doesn’t include what may be much more of a hazard for surfers, and that is polluted water. Sure, us surfers like to think of our sport as cleansing -and spiritually it always is- but in reality, physically, it really depends on the spot we surf. Often surf breaks occur in run-off zones laden with fertilizers, pesticides, sewage, and all the bacteria the environmental imbalances create, which obviously puts more than 1 in 64,453 -or a yearly total of 64- surfers at risk. If a company were to offer an efficient insurance plan that was specifically designed for surfers, it would have to be a complete package which would include the wide-range of factors surfers contend with every day we go out in the water, wherever we decide to safari. Though there are some companies in Australia and Britain that seem to better understand the coverage needs of the sports enthusiast, for now America is laggin’ behind.

If the life experiences of the surfers who came before us can be a lesson, don’t leave it up to fate. If you surf enough, if you take chances (if the people surfing around you take chances), you’re eventually going to get injured. Surfers consider it part of ‘paying your dues’. Hopefully you’re not faced with a major accident or illness, but if so, the bedridden dreams of getting back into the waves may inspire you to recover in record time, better than you were before. Odds are you won’t need insurance if “the big one bites” but chances are you may find yourself in a situation where you’ll be absolutely stoked you’re covered.

* * * * *

Since plans vary depending depending upon individual needs, age, location…you need to search out what is best for you. Here are a few added links to possibly help – plus some that include alternative therapies. If you are a student there are additional options you should research.:

• If you are a regular surfer in the UK you should consider membership in the BPSA, full membership at 20 pounds a year includes Personal Accident Insurance +£5,000,000 Public Liability Insurance.

• American Specialty Medical Networks My Life Plan Alternative Care Discounts for those with Blue Shield of California

Blue Cross – types of coverage (includes options for international travel) The Blue Cross Health Care Bank a reader mentioned in the comments section.

USA Health Insurance, ehealth insurance, insure me – brokers give you multiple quotes (not available in all states).

International Health Insurance (out of U.S.)

Alternative Insurance (Health Care broker for Cali and Il.) – includes discount card for alternative medicine tratment and services from participating practitioners..

• Check out Benefits Check-up to see if you qualify for benefits in your state.

[Note: if you have a favorite alternative care practitioner, ask what insurance they accept, and then look into those.

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