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May 30, 2013

Movement as Medicine: Tilley Hats & CT Scan Dangers

Happy Thursday To You!

In this blog, I share:

1. Movement As Medicine; Natalia Mammadova Training

2. My Favorite Hats

3. CT Scans Increase Cancer Risk In Children!


Movement is an integrated process, in which we express our thoughts and desires actively. Though we are use to expressing ourselves physically, most people are unaware of the entangled body-mind relationship that constitutes the human reality.

As you can see in my diagram above, there are many influential forces that result in our postural self-expression. We often are unaware that 55% of communication comes by way of body language, or that our posture has an incredibly far-reaching effect on:

– Our ability to breath optimally

– Our mental-emotional flow/function

– Our internal organ and gland health

– The ease and efficiency with which we move

– The unconscious message we send to others

Natalia Spine mob
Here you can see me coaching Natalia and Boris (her trainer) on the fine art of spine mobilization with a 4″ ethafoam roller.

Like most professional athletes, Natalia’s seasons are long and grueling. She has to travel a lot and play a lot at the highest level of volleyball athletics. She’s here having her off season training camp with me to get in tip-top shape for next season. She’s such an amazing person and athlete, as is Boris. I feel blessed to be able to work with such amazing people!

Learning to flip stones
Most athletes are use to being in a gym, where everything is pretty, handles are round and comfortable to grab, and things are well, just too “pretty” to effectively emulate the reality of most athletic events.

Thousands of times in my career, I’ve worked with athletes that were gym super-hero’s, but couldn’t effectively express the same level of ability in competition.

There’s no risk of that with Natalia. She will become a master of the stones while she’s here. When she walks into the gym, what was once challenging for her will feel like a breeze after learning to deal with the very dynamic, unstable challenges of stonework.

Her feet will work much better, as will her core. Her balance and agility will reach new levels, as any athlete that’s ever lifted rocks with me can attest to.

She took to stonework like a fish to water. Boris was his usual powerful, humorous, ready-for-anything self, which is always fun to be around; I’ve come to the conclusion that people from the Eastern Block are very hard working people with a great sense of humor and worldliness.

Not exactly what Presidents Nixon, Regan, and the rest of the puppet masters have led us to believe! When I lectured in Moscow, I found the people there very motivated, fit, and beautiful.

Who knows, I may end up in the mountains of Serbia with Boris sooner rather than later!

Boris likes Big
Here you can see Boris expressing some testosterone. That stone weighs over 200 pounds and is not an easy creature to pick up and walk with. Believe me, many men have tried while visiting me. Boris not only picked it up, he was able to stand it vertically and balance it on is first try! His Momma would be proud.

Natalia Big
Natalia got introduced to big stones as well. I taught her how to use good sumo-deadlift form, while manipulating the stone on her thighs so she can more comfortably walk with one. The stone she’s just put up weighs about 135 pounds and she was quite excited to realize that she can lift and position it well. She’s a masterful student and I rarely have to say anything twice.

Going up
Natalia certainly has a height advantage over Boris and I! She’s really fun to work with. This girl is a natural-born athlete. She’s obviously very tall, but she can move and she’s strong too.

Once we get her hands and feet toughened up, we’ll be building some skyscrapers, which I’m sure my neighbors will love looking at; their house is about 300 yards away and about a 100 feet above my place here so they can look down and see us as clear as a bell. They tell me they love seeing my rock garden change day by day, which is cool.

Natalia stack 1
Here you can see Natalia’s first rock stack. I’m not sure if Boris has done stonework before or not, but he’s got it in his genes. This was an amazing beauty of a stack.

Natalia is learning how to use movement as medicine. She will leave me with a very good self-care tool kit and will be stronger and more agile than ever before. Watch out volleyball world! I’d hate to be on the receiving end of a Mammadova spike! When I worked with her in Sweden, we were testing her with a volleyball. She can make that ball fly like a friggin bullet!

Great work Nati and Boris!


Paul Jason tai-chi
In the photos above, you can see me wearing two of my amazing Tilley hats. My buddy Jason, who seems to have a line on everything “excellent” gave me my first beautiful, very comfortable, all natural fiber Tilley hat.

They have the best design for an outdoor hat I’ve ever experienced. They have a very cool string system in them that allows you to keep the hat nicely seated on your head, yet leaves room for air to flow past your head, keeping your head cool. If it’s cold outside, you can adjust the breathing space to minimize heat loss as well.

The hat comes with a little manual tucked into the inner-cap that shows you how to adjust it. If you want a great outdoor hat, you can find them on by searching “Tilley hats”.

Thanks again Jason for such a beautiful gift!

3. CT scans increase cancer risk in children by 24 per cent

I read the following this morning and thought to share with you.

29 May 2013
Children who are given a powerful CT (computed tomography) scan-which delivers high doses of radiation-are more likely to develop cancer.  The CT x-ray increases the risk by 24 per cent, and the risk rises by an additional 16 per cent each time the child has a scan, researchers have discovered.
Overall, CT x-rays will cause 39 cancers in every 10,000 children scanned, and most may be among girls, who appear to be more vulnerable.

Children under the age of five years are also at greater risk of developing cancer up to 10 years after a CT scan, say researchers, although the risk may remain for the rest of the person’s life.
The cancer risk was highlighted by researchers who examined the medical records of 10.9 million children and adolescents aged up to 19 years, 680,000 of whom had at least one CT scan.  
Although the researchers say the risk is small, their discovery does emphasize that CT scans should be used more sparingly and only in cases where it is absolutely necessary.
(Source: British Medical Journal, 2013; 346: f2360).

Excerpted from:

I have long been concerned about overexposure to x-rays, CT scans, and MRIs by the medical community. Doctors seem to be more like kids with a big science kit, but often overlook the long-term risks created by “just having a look!”

I remember reading a book written by the famous orthopedic surgeon, Vert Mooney, co-founder of the World Congress On Low Back Pain, in which he stated that for every 1200 x-rays taken by physicians, only one changes the course of treatment.

He too was expressing concern over both over-exposure, and the need for more reliance on functional assessment by physicians. Sadly, after almost 30 years working in the field of orthopedic rehabilitation, I can report that only about 3% of all the physicians I’ve ever worked with had any reasonable manual assessment skills, leaving them completely reliant on imaging studies.

This is a very dangerous approach because you can’t see three dimensions on film and many images create the false impression of intractable damage. When functional assessments are used, we often find that the actual function of the spine or joints is far better than scans suggest.

If a skilled therapist isn’t involved in the decision making process, many unnecessary surgeries are performed!

The famous Swedish Neurosurgeon, Alf Nachemson (see: stated in a filmed address to all orthopedic surgeons that 95% of all orthopedic surgeries performed were unnecessary.

My message to you after a lifetime in the field or orthopedic rehabilitation is that before you ever opt for surgical intervention, you should at least find a skilled CHEK Practitioner or therapist that has good manual assessment skills.

While a picture may be worth a thousand words, you may find that they are all swear words when your surgery doesn’t take the pain away, and leaves you with yet another injury to deal with!

Have a lovely day and enjoy the benefits of conscious living!

Love and chi,
Paul Chek