Current reading...

I just started reading this book today and will post a report when I am finished. "Our Daily Meds" is packed with shocking statistics. So far, this one takes the cake: prescription medication kills an estimated 270 Americans every day. That's more deaths than either Diabetes or Alzheimers, and twice the number of deaths caused by auto accidents (p.7). 

I am not anti-medication, but I am anti-overmedication. Before you take a drug (for which you may need another drug to deal with the harmful side effects of the first one, etc., etc.), explore all possible conservative methods (diet and exercise usually does the trick) that will actually fix the problem. Pharmaceutical methods often mask symptoms and create new problems. Even though 'tis the Christmas Season, when sleighbells and snowmen dance in our heads, we aught to avoid pharmaceutical snowballing. 

More to come...


Does Exercise Really Boost your Mood? 

Check out this interesting article from the NY Times Wellness blog.

Last week I found myself singing in the shower for the third day in a row. I asked myself why I was feeling so happy and realized the answer is that I started running regularly again. So when it comes down to it, regardless of what the "literature" says the lab rats are doing, I know that for me, exercise is good for mind and body. I've ran that experiment in my own life many times, and although the study population size is small at only one, that one happens to be me so I weigh the results pretty heavily.
Another point; never base anything you think or do off the results of a single study. Wait for a solid consensus to be formed from a body of high quality research studies. Otherwise you will go crazy trying to keep up with the latest study and end up wandering down rabbit trails, or lab rat trails as the case may be.

Take care and keep moving!

Josh Penner, D.C.


Who's In Charge of Your Health?

I was driving down the interstate recently when I saw what is wrong with health care in America written on a giant billboard.  Beneath a picture of a forty something year old woman reclining on a beach and staring serenely off in to the distance, the sign read “Wouldn’t it be nice to never have to think about your health again.” Hmmm.

I could understand if the sign read “worry” instead of “think.” Worrying is never healthy, even if it is your health you’re worrying about! But is the major health insurance company that paid for this ad campaign really suggesting that people shouldn’t even have to think about their health?

Before we go blaming insurance companies for all our woes, it’s befitting to note that ads tell us a lot about the people being advertized to. After all, a good marketing director is one who’s able to tap into motivations that already exist. So is it true, do we choose to shirk personal responsibility and rely too much on doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies to take care of our health? If I took a poll that asked “Who’s in charge of your health; your doctor, your insurance company, your hospital, or you?” what would be the prevailing answer?

Decades of not thinking about health until after we get sick and then believing it’s the doctor’s job to fix us have taken their toll. This “fix me up doc” kind of health care just doesn’t work anymore. It might have worked better for our grandparents when infectious diseases like small pox, influenza, and tuberculosis were toping the mortality charts. But today, we struggle with chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and obesity, which are very difficult to get rid of. In fact, according to a study published in the Journal of American Medicine in 2008, if you get diagnosed with a disease today, there is a 75% chance that you will never, ever get rid of that disease. It’s yours for life and may even be the cause of your death. Clearly, the time to think about health is before you get sick and not after.

But here’s the good news: There’s something YOU can do! What’s going to either kill you or keep you healthy is a choice you make about what you put in your pantry. It’s how much you decide to use the bicycle hanging up in the garage. It’s how long it takes you to find that missing ball glove or tennis racquet. The next time you hear the words “health care reform,” think more about going for a run in the morning than about insurance companies. 


Happy Is Healthy

By Dr. Joshua Penner

Health is complicated. At least that's what they tell you at grad school when you are studying to be a health care professional. What makes us sick? Is it genetics? Environmental toxins? Stress? What's the epidemiology of pathophysiology? Pathophysi- what?!!

In the recent best-seller Outliers, Malcom Gladwell reminds us of a powerful example that illustrates something we all know but tend to forget: that very often, happy is healthy.

In the 1950s, heart attacks were to blame for one out of every two deaths in our country. Heart disease was epidemic all over America, with the exception of a little Italian immigrant town in Pennsylvania called Roseto.

Roseto caught the attention of a nearby medical doctor who noticed that the small town was bucking the national trend when it came to heart health. Astonishingly, further investigation revealed that as far as they could tell virtually nobody under the age of 55 in the town had ever died from heart problems, nor did they show any sign of the disease upon EKG and blood testing. But hearts weren't the only healthy thing in Roseto; there was no alcoholism, suicide, or drug addiction. There was very little crime and nobody was on welfare. They couldn't even find a single peptic ulcer in the whole town! It seemed the good citizens of Roseto, Penn., were dying from one thing and one thing only: old age.

So what was their secret? It couldn't be diet since a surprising 41% of calories consumed in Roseto came from fat (think pizza and biscotti). Genetics couldn't explain the mystery either, since the health benefits of living in Roseto did not follow its citizens if they chose to move to another town. People in Roseto were not particularly physically fit either. So what was the cause of all this health and happiness?

Researchers began to notice something else about Roseto. They saw people stopping on the street to talk to each other. They saw three generations of family gathering together around a table to share a meal. They saw people greeting each other by name, and inviting each other into their homes to share food and life. In short, they saw community. And with that, they saw happiness.

So the next time you visit with someone on the sidewalk, volunteer some time at a community event, or help a stranger in need, know that you are doing your heart some good, in more ways than one.


Rock-n-roll chiro

Back doctor took a musical detour before practice

By Myke Folger

Before he became Magnolia’s newest chiropractor, Joshua Penner was a musician with a record contract living in Nashville. Penner, far right, with brothers, Toby (center) and Marty, played for more than four years.

Joshua Penner has always had a fascination with chiropractic, even when he was on tour.

Yes, on tour.

Not as a chiropractor, but as a rhythm guitarist for the Alberta, Canada-based alt-rock band, Jake.

The members of Jake were himself, his twin brother, Marty (bass guitar), and his older brother, singer/songwriter and guitarist, Toby. The brothers got to be so good that they went to Nashville where they were given a record contract and recorded two CDs.

"It was incredible to get paid for having fun," Penner said. "We did a couple of coast-to-coast Canada tours then into the U.S. and did a quick tour of the U.K. - and Ireland."

Penner lived the life of a rocker for more than four years. While it was fun and thrilling, it wasn't what he wanted to do with the rest of his life.

His older brother, Toby, was the rocker. He wrote most of the songs, sang them, played lead guitar. It was clear who was the driving force. Publishing credits were shared accordingly, too. And while Penner was in Nashville, he'd befriended a chiropractor and it rekindled an interest he had.

Penner had always been interested in sports, physical education, sports medicine and therapy. And at a job fair after high school where he talked to a chiropractor, his career trajectory seemed headed that way, too.

Fast-forward to Nashville and he knew he wanted to pursue chiropractic full time. He enrolled at Tennessee State University at Nashville where he worked toward a degree in human biology. Penner then transferred to Western States Chiropractic College in Portland, Ore., where completed his degree and earned his chiropractic standing.

Penner graduated in 2008 and quickly landed a job in the Lake Union area. In unusual circumstances, the owner of that practice lived in Hawaii and commuted regularly. But Penner quickly became the go-to guy and put his training into practice.

'It was a great experience," Penner said.

Magnolia had been an unknown to Penner until his twin brother, Marty, who had also left the band and moved to Ballard, told him about Discovery Park. Marty liked to cross the Ballard Locks and jog in the park and when he told his brother about it, the beauty of the place was all it took.

"Now I run there all the time," Penner said.

In fact, Penner liked Magnolia so much, the small-town, island-like feel, that he and his wife, Wendy, began looking not only for a business location, but a residence, too.

They found some commercial property at 3150 West Government Way where they just opened Magnolia Chiropractic and Massage. Wendy is the bookkeeper.

They are in the process of hiring a front-desk person and an on-site massage therapist.

The timing of the opening was a bit "tenuous," Penner said, referring to the dour economy.

But he just felt ready to make a move and so the 31-year-old, former rhythm guitarist, did. And he has every intention of staying for a while having secured the location for at least 18 years.

"We wanted [the lease] to be long term and I can see myself retiring in this practice," he said.

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