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Rub Glop on Painful Hip, Achey Knee, and Call First Thing...

19 Oct

When in Chicago for our Surviving and Thriving beyond Cancer workshop (offered next in Alexandria, VA on Nov 6-8, by the way), who should be in the audience but the awesome Martha Howard MD, Medical Director of Wellness Associates of Chicago and an old friend who, long before it was the chic thing to do, was integrating Chinese medicine, acupuncture, guided imagery and herbal medicine into her Family Medicine practice. I met her at NICABM, where she taught Qigong. She speaks perfect Chinese, having gotten a degree in Chinese language at Harvard before she became a doc.  And she’s really, really nice – I’m not sure if that’s because of or in spite of her many accomplishments.

So, at the break, Martha asks me what’s wrong with my throat, and I tell her it gets creaky and scratchy when I talk too long.  She then whips out this little spray bottle of green powder and has me zap a wee bit of “watermelon frost” into my mouth and inhale.  Next time I talk, my vocals are smooth and easy, and it basically stays that way for most of the day.  “Keep it”, she says, explaining that this stuff is grown on the rinds of watermelons, then ground up to a fine powder.  How it occurred to anybody to do that for hoarse throats, she says, is a mystery to her, but there you have it”. It’s also good for cuts and wound healing without scarring, she says.  Who knew?

At the next break, she asks me, “What’s going on with your hip?” and I tell her I injured it, tripping over a bottom kitchen drawer that was unexpectedly open – and bonked it in the same place that got wrecked last year in an archeological dig in Turkey.  The next day, she shows up with a big jar of pleasant smelling glop, and instructs me to rub it on the achey hip a few times over the day.  I ponder and say, “Hmmmm…. how is something this topical going to help a deep muscle and joint injury?” She shrugs and suggests I try it and see. So I do. It seriously helps. I’m dazzled. So are the good ladies of The ConferenceWorks, who now want to take Dr. Martha home with them to Indianapolis. (The stuff is called Sombra, by the way, and you can track it down here.)

So even if I weren’t personally feeling waves o’ gratitude for Ms. Martha, I’d want to feature her on our Practitioners We Love page.  She totally belongs in that pantheon.  So here she is.  

And if you know a soldier, either on active duty or post-deployment, who’s troubled by posttraumatic stress or who has a family that’s very stressed, please point them to the Not Alone  page, where we explain what this condition is, and offer a few free downloads to help deal with it.  

That’s it for now.
Take care and be well!


Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award