Stationary bike at your stand up desk, good idea or bad idea?

The world of stand up desks, have you got one yet? It’s going to save your world. But wait you also need to get a tread mill or a stationary bike with it.

So is it a good idea or a bad one? The short answer is, bad and of course the longer answer is, it depends.

The idea that standing up is better than sitting down for work entirely depends on the work you do. People will say it’s better for your posture, your thinking, your…. They are likely the same people that came 5 years ago and “ergonomized” your desk, saying the same things then.

There is NO!!! good posture after about 45 minutes of being in it. Once you hit the 45 min mark your body will start to change into that shape thinking it’s the new normal.

Likely the best advice I ever heard, and many of you have heard this at my work, after 45 min take a 5 second stretch.

Yes, that’s all it seems to take. Just get in the edges of your regular flexibility for a few seconds and it will reset your “proprioceptor” and that will allow you to get back at it.

But what is bad about a bike at your work desk? Blood flow.

You have a certain amount of blood inside you. Think of it like workers, there is a limited amount. If you push some of those workers into your legs to move them around, you will have LESS to run your brain. Basically lowering your brains level of function.

Now say your job is easy, get a bike you’ll love it.

Otherwise take a 30-60 pace walk, moving your arms, twice an hour and you will be farther ahead as the movement will draw some blood away from the brain. Your brain can get congested, a bit of movement can help the brain re-balance.

How can I prove this? That’s easy. Get on your bike and start doing long division in your head. Or do anything complicated for you and you will see, you have stopped pedaling. You need all the blood you can get to run your brains processors.

I have done a lot of research into maximizing my brains potential (I know, could do more). Everyone will have some variation to this but. Work for 45 min, take a 15 min break. Then work for 30 min and take a 15 min break. Then work for 15 min and take a 45 min break. Then go back to the start.

If you can measure what you do, measure what you get done now. Then try that schedule for 2-3 weeks to get used to it and then measure what you are getting done. Let me know how that goes for you.

As for your desk, a variety of body positions is the answer, with regular breaks. Sitting, standing, laying down they are all fine. The real question is how can you work at 85% of your capacity vs 25%. I’ll cover that another time, for now try the schedule I talked about in this article.

Be Well,
Ward Willison
Kelowna Acupuncture & Other Natural Therapies

You have a new organ

It’s hard to believe but we have a new organ the Mesentery. Previously thought to be fragments of tissue now Western Medicine has realized it’s an organ.

The fascinating part is, in Chinese Medicine (CM) it has always been there. We call it the “San Jiao” or “Triple Warmer” aka TW. I have always wondered about the TW as there was no actual organ in western med, many of us thought it was a mistake on the part of CM, but here we are realizing they where correct. They figured that out 2000+ years ago!

A year or so ago, western med realized the lymph system actually did enter into the skull area. Until then they assured us it did not.

Next time you go to your GP and they say “this is the absolute truth” please gently remind them their medicine is changing all the time.

The implications for this “new” organ for digestive, IBS, Chrons, Collitis problems is huge. I am interested to see the research they produce on it, in the coming years.

In the 20 years I have been in the health field I have seen lots of “amazing discovery’s” but the lymph in the skull and now a new organ is really the most shocking.

It shows that no one has all the answers for health, as everyone is learning about the human body all the time. It is important to remember that when you or a loved one gets bad health news. The person telling you/them actually does not know everything about which they speak and of course, neither do I.

You can see a short vid on this here
You can read the Lancet journal article here
You can read about the lymph discovery here

Be Well,
Ward Willison
Kelowna Acupuncture & Other Natural Therapies

Stuart McGill

I got to spend three days with likely the top low back guy in the world. It was amazing all the photos he has working on every type of top level athlete in the world and with 80 year olds and people injured on the job.

His last day of work as a Professor is Tuesday and I am sure they will not be able to fill his spot. For all the years I have spent in researching spines I have not come across anyone close to where he is working from.

Interestingly what he recommend and suggests is not all that hard to do. Keeping you back safe, rehabilitating many back problems seems fairly simple when he says it.

I think he’s going to focus on private practice and writing more books and do more courses. Likely have some more fun as well. You may never have heard of Dr Stuart McGill but I guarantee his work has touch all of us. From back safety to crazy advanced training for the worlds strongest men.

He showed us part of the routine he made for GSP. They took a fit guy from the class and he lasted about 25 seconds of standing still while twirling a 4# weight on a rope around his head. GSP does it for 5 min, 1 min rest and repeat that 5x’s. It’s really amazing.

It was my second time taking his course, I have read all his books as well and I see the differences in clients. I hope this re-immersion in McGill techniques can help a few more of you as well.

You can see his stuff and several video’s at, or just google his name and there are a few thousand vid’s.

Be Well,
Ward Willison
Kelowna Acupuncture & Other Natural Therapies

Are your senior parents lying to you?


My University friend did a study that made the National news that shows seniors are not being honest about their state of health.

I could have told you that without any study. Heck I can tell you, that you are likely not being honest about your health if someone asks either.

Seniors are wildly fearful that their Independence is going to be taken away if they are deemed to be medically unwell. Yet the opposite is true. The more we understand their state of health the more appropriate resources can be  apply to their situation. Lengthening their independence.

I encourage all of us with parents over the age of 70 to have regular, honest, health talks. Prepare them for the reality of moving to a ‘retirement resort’. Do everyone a favor, get them in one before they need to.

I remember my Grandparents, we moved them from their 5 level split home of 45 years to an apartment. I was amazed at how they complained until they got there and where just amazed how much easier it was to live in.

Then as they aged we moved them into a ‘retirement facility’. Ow did they resist, but again after a few weeks, they loved it. A whole group of like minded people, meals cooked, activities, music…

I think we are all scared of aging and dying. I think we should adopt a culture where our parents come to live with us and we are all more communal. But, that’s not how we do it in North America, the next best thing is get them around some of their peer group. Versus living alone and scared all by themselves.

We are not meant to be alone. We are social beings. It can be hard to get your parents to be honest about their health but start early and show them you care. Remember they changed you diapers, you owe them.

Be Well,
Ward Willison
Kelowna Acupuncture & Other Natural Therapies

Calming with Temple Grandin

Do you know who Temple Grandin is? She is a PhD. who has changed the cattle industry and Autism.

She is a Autistic lady that grew up in the 60’s with a mom that would not put her in an institution (nut house). Instead she went to school and kept on going.

There is a fantastic movie about her called “Temple Grandin” I urge you to rush out and watch it. It does a fantastic job of showing a different way to look at people.

There are several lessons to learn from this movie, the one I point out is “Calming”.

The ability to take a person from a high arousal state and bring it down to calm. How do you do that. Temple has an interesting way to do that, go watch the movie and see.

I remember years ago watching a multi-multi millionaire business man speak about life at 75 and all his staff wants him to slow down, take it easy. He said NO WAY. I am not going to slow down I am going to ‘calm down’.

I did not pick up on it then, I thought it was an odd statement, but now 15 years later I get it. At work I see most of us can use a calming mechanism, or several ways to calm ourselves.

I have several things I have developed to calm myself down. I referred to it as ways to counteract periods of depression. Now I see it as ways to calm me down from an agitated state, which may be ‘depression’ or ‘anxiety’.

I play guitar, read, have tea, breath, do tai chi or kung fu moves.  Sometimes I’ll watch some YouTube or TV and when it’s bad I clean the house, who knew that’s my go to calming thing.

I use different ones for different levels of stress and I normally observe how effective they are and modify my approaches as needed.

I hope all of you can work on building your ‘calming’ repertoire you will be glad you did.

Be Well,
Ward Willison
Acupuncture & Other Natural Therapies

Long term medication

Recently I have been working with some older people who have very strange problems.

I had the opportunity to speak with one’s GP, which I thought was very progressive for the GP. I mentioned the person was on blood pressure medication for 40 years and could that affect this situation. He thought it could.

Now would the person be alive if they had not taken the medication in the first place all those years. That’s tough to say.

Could they have done other things in those years to get their blood pressure in check? Again tough to say. However in 40 years you think something could be done.

I have another client I get to speak to their GP about. I don’t know if it’s a trend but in 20 years these are the first times a GP has asked what I think. It’s a bit of a shock really, but I am happy to put in my opinion.

Again my first question is on the persons long term medications. Don’t misunderstand me, I am all for properly prescribed, necessary medications. In the past I have taken my share and I would take them again if I needed them. I have no problem with the miracles of modern medicine.

But, everything has a cost. Long term those costs will come to collect. I think there are ways that people can lessen and sometimes eliminate medications and for that matter “health supplements”

An example of that is digestive enzymes, they are okay to take for a few months but not a few years. If you find you still need them after 6 months, further investigation should happen.

All I am saying is, if you are on long term prescription medications, or supplements have a look at what they do for you and see if there are some ways to do the same without them. Let’s take sleeping pills, their use is on the rise massively.  Google how to get to sleep. Do some of what it says for a week and see what happens, or call me and I’ll tell you.

Think about it and talk to your health team and start working on lowering your med/supplement load. I recently finished a case where the person was on 12 meds and 2 years later they are on none. It was a long road, with full involvement of their Doctor and family. But the results where worth it.

Be Well,
Ward Willison
Acupuncture & Other Natural Therapies

Daddy Daughter Day

Last summer I took Mondays off to spend them with my daughter. This year I am trying Fridays. Running my own business it’s tough to take a day off. Many things from a work perspective don’t get done.

However as all the parents say, “good for you Ward”.  Which is very nice of them.

It is amazing how quickly my daughter seems to be growing up. On a recent trip we where doing a ‘rope’s course’. We are 60 feet up in the trees climbing and zipping from tree to tree and she wants to go first. We thought wow, two years ago when we did this she was shaking she was so scared, and now she’s leading the way. (and we where shaking…)

We plan something every Friday and just the two of us go do it. Sometimes it is all fun and sometimes there is work involved with the yard or other jobs. We seem to like it and we seem to get to know other aspects of each other.

I am fortunate I can take the day off and do this with her, as at the moment she is still excited to spend the day with me. Hopefully that will last for a few more years at least.

I have read quite a few parenting books, none have many answers. Several have good ideas. I find that the more time I spend with her the more she trains me on what to do.


Willpower and sugar

Do you suffer from decision Fatigue? John Tierney wrote this really looooong article on an interesting topic with a twist I had not see before. I summarize it below, for the full article click:

Basically willpower is limited, the use of it depletes it. Once it is depleted bad things start to happen. Once willpower is lower it is harder to make “trade-offs”, and view the nuances of the decision clearly.

So we head down the path of less resistance. The famous example is the candy at the checkout. You have made all these decisions on what to buy. You get to the end and feel burned out and need a little snack. Normally you would not eat that “crap” but like magic it hops into your checkout basket.

The interesting thing was have a shot of glucose and all is well again. I find that interesting but I do notice I eat all day at work. I don’t see how glucose can replace rest but they say the brain changes where it works once fatigue has set in, and the new spots are  not good for decisions.  A shot of sugar will do the trick short term but better food choices will make it a longer effect.

Another item in the article was the added pressure of poverty in the decision loop. When money is tight, so our the options. To find good options takes more “trade-offs” and that quickly depletes willpower, leading to poor choices.

What to do. Space out activities that will use willpower, thinking and concentration. Make sure your well fed and watered. Keep and eye on your fatigue levels and reflect on how the recent decisions are. If you notice you are not making your normal decisions. STOP and get some rest, food, water, change of scenery.

Good luck and watch out for the candy bars in your shopping basket, it’s a sure sign you have depleted willpower and remember the person your talking to may be depleted also. Makes you think about giving your GP a sugar candy before they assess you.

Be Well,
Ward Willison
Acupuncture & Other Natural Therapies


Making the medicine go down

Ever tried to get a little person to swallow medicine? It can be impossible. Here is a solution developed by a pediatric psychologist, I just heard on the radio. It’s brilliant!

Three parts and a few ‘advanced’ ideas at the end.

1. Have them suck on a ice cube, frozen fruit or a popsicle. It turns down their taste buds.

2. Get three portions of something they like to drink. Smoothie, thicker juice etc. If liquid pour, if pill crush the medicine and mix it in middle glass of liquid.

3. Plug their nose! It also turns down the taste buds. Do this FIRST. then swallow glass with no medicine, glass with medicine, and finish with glass with no medicine.

Voila! medicine inside body.

Why do kids refuse to take medications that can actually save their life or at least get them better quicker? I see it more with kids that have been sick. They get so much stuff done to them for their “own good”. But often it hurts, is uncomfortable and separates them from their peer group.

When they get a chance to control something they do it. Like what goes into their mouths. If you have had a sick young person you know the stress it brings on everyone. But most of the people involved are “mature”. Imagine how the little person feels. They have a big lack of control.

What can we do about that. Let them control what the drink is (no whiskey), how it’s made, how the pill is opened, crushed. Type of glass, how the nose is plugged. The countdown to drinking, what the celebration is afterwards. Things like that.

I have spent years working to get kids to take, often terrible tasting herbs. I wish I had heard this speaker before. It still might be tough with some kids but the ice and holding the nose are really good ideas.

And like the song says, “A spoon full of sugar makes the medicine go down”

Be Well,
Ward Willison
Acupuncture & Other Natural Therapies


15 years and still going

Well April 1st was All Body Care’s 15th year anniversary (we opened April 1, 2001), no joke. I started working on people in 1996 and Heather started in 1993.

I would say it seemed like yesterday but it doesn’t. The memories, stories and experiences we have had in the last 20 years is really amazing. Some great successes and failures, some wonderful people and great times.

Interestingly this year I am studying as much as when I was writing my licensing exams. Heather and I still find it so interesting and so many challenges we don’t have clear answers for. It’s good and bad. It’s good that we have so much to learn and I feel bad for the people I don’t have the answers for. Luckily I have a good Rolodex of other great practitioners in town.

I find it really interesting/funny/disturbing how I have been around long enough to see trends recirculating. It’s not just in fashion, it’s in the health field also. This year it’s all about the gut microbiome. Which I studied in my Red Seal Chef days.  We called it ‘gut flora and fauna’ but it’s the same thing. I am enjoying seeing the progress in the field vs what we knew in 1987.

I am enjoying seeing people I treated for fertility, now I am treating a couple of those baby’s as adults. I think I may be getting a bit old, just a bit.

I think the first tips I learned in the health game are just a useful today as they were in the ’90’s. Eat regular, don’t work, read or run around when you eat, chew your food, have some friends, get 8 hours a night in bed, make time for you, this is not a dress rehearsal this is the game. Make memories with people you like.

Anyway, thank you all so very much. Without the great people that have let us be part of their healing journey I’d still be working on a cruise ship. Which was not all bad either…. Let’s see how the next 15 years go.

Be Well,
Ward Willison
Acupuncture & Other Natural Therapies