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I hope this newsletter finds you and your loved ones well. Things have certainly been scary thanks to the recent public health crisis, and at the time of this writing, it’s difficult to know where the world will be once this publication reaches you. But I’ve always been one to look on the bright side, so I want to focus on the good news that’s come out of all this: more family time. Thanks to social distancing, I’m sure we’re all getting plenty of at-home time, which means playing board games for our family. We’ve always been big on this activity ever since Zack was little. And while the games we play have changed over the years, our enjoyment has only grown. In the old days, the kids would have us play The Ladybug Game. It was pretty simple on the surface: Roll the dice and move across the board. But somehow actually playing it out took forever. Emilie and I would get to the point where we started losing on purpose! The kids still had fun though. In fact, Zack was inspired. For a while he became an aspiring game designer, drawing up his own boards, making cards, and everything! I remember the first time we sat down to play one of these homemade games, the first person to roll landed on a space that just said “You win!” — so we had to play a few more times. I wasn’t complaining; it was far faster than that ladybug game! Even today, Zack has remained a fan of these analog games. He and Emilie will often play cards, and he and I will break out the chess board every once and a while. I’m far from being a Garry Kasparov, but I’m ahead in the win count right now. Like I said, always look on the bright side. Nathan is much more into the PlayStation than more traditional board games. It’s not like he lives on the PLAYING FOR HOPE Silver Linings Amid a Crisis
device — it’s just more his speed. Sometimes I’ll pick up a controller and play NHL Hockey with him, but I insist on a handicap. I get to play the all-stars while Nathan has to pick one of the lower ranked teams. He’s still usually able to skate circles around me, but we have fun. When the whole family is able to sit down and play together, our go-to game right now is Scattergories. If you’ve never played, you essentially have to name unique objects within a given category. It can be a fun challenge, though I often get accused of cheating. Honestly, this has become the highlight of the game, as the kids laugh and Emilie furiously Googles whatever wild word I’ve submitted. I won’t confirm or deny that I make up a few words here and there, but regardless, Emilie wins every game anyway. She’s got an amazing memory for this sort of stuff. So that’s how our family has been finding ways to laugh and have some fun while keeping our social distance. It’s times like this that remind you what’s really important in life. Once, these were just fun and games, but in the light of the crisis, these gatherings have been a vital spark of joy.
Here’s to family,
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Every 10 seconds in the U.S., someone walks into an emergency room complaining that their head hurts.
According to the American Migraine Foundation and Healthline, the scientific evidence is inconclusive. In 2017, Frontiers in Neurology published a case study that found that one patient’s migraines improved after he got a daith
Often, these people are suffering from a migraine, which is a neurological disorder that causes debilitating headaches, dizziness, and nausea. According to the Migraine Research Foundation, migraines are the third most
piercing. However, the researchers stopped short of recommending the piercing to migraine sufferers because of its potential risk of infection and the possibility that the improvements in this single case were due to a placebo effect.
prevalent illness in the world, so odds are you’ve either had one or known someone who has. Migraines can make it hard to hold down a job and keep up family obligations, so people who suffer
Still, the daith pressure point does exist, and there is a wealth of anecdotal evidence that the piercing helps. Euphoric stories like this one from Keisha Stokes, who shared her experience on a medical blog, give hope to migraine sufferers who have tried everything else: “I have had the piercing for just under 30 days, and I have had one severe migraine since then, but one as opposed to 3–6 is pretty fair in my book. I am not a medical expert by far, but I can say that at this very moment, I wish I had known about this piercing long ago.” If you’re considering a daith piercing, just be sure to weigh the risks before you commit.
from them are always on the lookout for new treatments. Often, they turn to holistic
medicine like acupuncture, essential oils, and diet changes. In the last few years, another treatment has become more popular: daith piercings. The daith is the smallest fold of cartilage in your ear, located where the outer and inner ear meet. Though daith piercings are tricky to do, they’ve gained traction on social media. According to many acupuncturists, the daith is home to a key pressure point for pain relief. By piercing the daith, the theory goes, migraine sufferers can move beyond acupuncture and get permanent relief. But does this actually work?
“This has been a very good experience for me. When I came in, I was recovering from two fractured vertebrae, so I was unable to do most of the usual household chores. Thanks to the kind and patient staff, little by little I became stronger and stronger. Much to my surprise, I am now able to do all of the chores I was able to do prior to my trauma.”
“It was good to work with the same therapist all the time. Emery was very professional and friendly. My back problem was due to sciatica that developed due to golf strokes. Emery was able to get rid of the pain. My other problem was balance. We worked on strengthening my core and legs. I feel much more in balance. I’m looking forward to this year’s golf season!”
–Mary Ann West
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PRST STD US POSTAGE PAID BOISE, ID PERMIT 411
11920 Oak Creek Parkway Huntley, IL 60142
INSIDE The Importance of Board Games PAGE 1
Can a Daith Piercing Really Stop Migraines? PAGE 2
My PT Story PAGE 2
Improving Health and IQ Through Journaling PAGE 3
Springtime Cacio e Pepe PAGE 3
Bird-Watching for Beginners PAGE 4
Bird-watching is like a lifelong scavenger hunt that you can play anywhere on Earth. The activity provides a mixture of science, travel, and beauty, and it’s a chance to get outside for feathered adventures and quiet reflection. The month of May is a great time of year to go birding because rising temperatures prompt spring migration. So if you’re eager to begin bird-watching, there’s no better time than now. Here are some tips to get started. EDUCATE YOURSELF Thousands of species of birds span all corners of the globe. That’s why finding them is an exciting prospect — there’s no end to the hunt! Start by researching birds that are native to your location. Purchase a field guide with pictures of each bird and maps of their range and use it to figure out where different birds live. From there, it’s easy to pick your first spotting goal. You can even get yourself extra excited by watching a few bird documentaries. GEAR UP One of the best things about birding is that you don’t need a lot of equipment to do it. As long as you’ve got your field guide and comfortable
walking shoes, the only other thing you’ll need is a pair of binoculars. And they don’t have to be fancy. As long as they can zoom in on faraway trees and perches, they’ll work for now. You can always upgrade later. GO EXPLORING
Your very first birding excursion is important because you don’t want to be overwhelmed or underwhelmed. So use your field guide to home in on a single bird and go find it. It may be local, or you can plan a trip to a specific bird’s natural habitat. Stay focused and don’t get distracted by other species. The thrill that comes with spotting your first bird will keep you coming back to find the rest. Bird-watching is a wonderful hobby because it’s easy to get started and can last a lifetime. As long as you can walk, drive, or look out a window, you can be a birder. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and find some birds!
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Why Writing Improves Your Physical Therapy Journey
Have you been hard on yourself lately? You might be making incredible progress in your physical therapy journey but not realize it — especially on a daily basis. Results aren’t instant because building up your bodily health and strength is a long-term effort. That’s why it can be so rewarding to keep a physical therapy journal or document your progress in some other form! Just as scholars use journals to track their studies, people can use them to track any aspect of their lives. Besides helping you keep track of your physical health, journaling provides plenty of other benefits. Since 2003, studies have shown a strong relationship between a student’s ability to write and their intelligence. Regular journaling exercises your mind and spirit to express your thoughts and feelings more often and more seamlessly. This process can evoke mindfulness, and people with mindful practices (like journaling, meditation, etc.) report improvements in mood, lower stress levels, and better overall quality of life.
To start out, keeping it simple is the best way to go. That might mean journaling the old school way (pen and paper) or using your phone to keep a quick, simple log of events. While you can use any notebook to journal, if a nicer one will help you stay motivated, get one! Moleskine is famous for its quality journals. For the digitally minded, try a free, cross-platform mobile app like Evernote, Day One, or Journey, where you can access your entries from your phone or computer! While keeping a physical therapy journal, include descriptions (any length is acceptable!) of how you’re feeling, where you’re aching, and the kind of physical progress you’re making. List your daily activities and exercises, and share this your physical therapist to help track and improve your progress with even more detailed accuracy. Have fun writing!
Springtime Cacio e Pepe
Inspired by Eating Well
INGREDIENTS • 6 oz multigrain spaghetti • 8 oz fresh asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces • 1 tbsp olive oil • 1 tsp lemon zest
• 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated • 1/2 tsp black pepper • 1 cup baby arugula
DIRECTIONS 1. Heat oven to 425 F.
2. In a large pot, cook spaghetti until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of water before draining and put spaghetti in a covered pot to keep warm. 3. Line a 15x10-inch baking pan with foil and toss in asparagus and olive oil. 4. Cook asparagus for 5–7 minutes and sprinkle with lemon zest. 5. Add 3/4 cup of the reserved water, Parmesan cheese, and pepper to the spaghetti. Stir until creamy. 6. Toss in asparagus and arugula before serving.
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