Health Masters PT - October 2017

have the best job on the planet. I A Tireless Spirit of Learning I know, everybody says things like that about their career, but it’s true. For a long time now, I’ve felt like the luckiest man in the world. I’m in the most engaging and fulfilling field I can imagine. In a lot of ways, I have one man to thank for putting me on this path. When I was going to Cathedral High School here in El Paso, I had a science teacher who continually inspired me, a retired medical physician named Dr. Barajas. He was one of the most brilliant men I’ve ever known, with an unparalleled drive for gaining knowledge and a contagious love for his subject. Over time, that scientific spark spread to me, and I guess Dr. Barajas noticed. He became a mentor, and he encouraged me to think about physical therapy as a future area of study. He must have seen something in me, a revelation I still don’t fully understand. But I listened. When I headed off to the University of Texas at El Paso, Dr. Barajas put me in touch with a colleague who would end up guiding me through learning physical therapy in the coming years. Dr. Barajas and I kept in touch for the rest of his life. I remember one day at the university, trudging to class with the bright yellow Texas sun radiating off the pavement. Lo and behold, there was Dr. Barajas, making his way across the campus. But why? I stopped him with an enthusiastic wave, and, surprised but happy to see me, he walked over. I asked him what he was doing at the school, maybe giving a lecture?


He went on to explain his philosophy, a worldview that I’d seen in action every single day back in science class but never fully grasped. “You have to embrace knowledge for the sake of learning,” he told me. “You have to be a lifelong learner. No amount of knowledge can ever be enough.” Standing there on the street corner, I was floored. Here was Dr. Barajas, quite literally the most intelligent person I had ever met, telling me that the entire scope of his dozens of years of study wasn’t enough. I remember the event, I remember the verbiage he used, and I remember the exact place I was standing. It was among the most transformative moments in my life. From then on, I threw myself wholeheartedly into learning everything I could about physical therapy: methodologies, ways of communicating to patients, the minute operations of the musculoskeletal system. I wanted to absorb it all. As I started my own practice, which eventually expanded into what Health Masters is today, I strived to maintain that spirit of learning for learning’s sake. I’m constantly continuing my education, searching for new processes and ideas to help my patients and my team improve their lives to the greatest possible degree. Dr. Barajas and I kept in touch until the day he passed away a few years ago. At the wake, held in the Cathedral High auditorium, I was moved by the words of his brother: “My brother was a man whose job was never finished,” he said. His speech echoed what I knew about the doctor: He was a continual learner, always in pursuit of new ways to be a better doctor, a better teacher, and a better father. I’m eternally grateful for the impact Dr. Barajas had during those formative years of my life. He led me into a field that has given me so much that I truly can’t imagine my life without. There’s nothing else I’d rather be doing with my life, and I have only him to thank.

“Well, I’m taking classes, of course!” he said with a laugh.

I was confused. “But Doc,” I said, as students flowed past us, hurrying to class, “You’re one of the smartest guys I know! What are you doing taking classes?”

With that, he gave me a perplexed look. “Haven’t you learned anything I’ve taught you?”

A second passed and I scratched my head, taken aback. “I have to admit, I don’t understand.”

–Louis Zuniga

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Cure Kids of Being Afraid of the Dark

For many kids, there’s nothing scarier than the unknown of a dark room. Luckily, there are ways to help your child overcome the terror they feel as soon as you turn out the light. You can chase the beasts away for good, just in time for the spooky Halloween season.

bedroom, escort them back to their own bed and help them relax. Their own bedroom must become a safe space.

The first step to curing a child’s fear of the dark is to find out exactly what they’re afraid of. Ask your child what scares them, using open-ended questions. Don’t belittle or dismiss their specific fears. As trivial as it may seem to you, it’s all too real to your kid. A simple statement like “I can see you’re really scared” can go a long way. Then, you need to ensure your child feels safe in the dark. Spend some time with them after the lights are off, calmly reassuring them that they’re safe in their bedroom. Show that there’s nothing to be afraid of, whether by shining a light into the closet or taking a look under the bed — with the child looking too — to prove there’s nothing to worry about. Empower them to banish their fears themselves. If they get frightened and run into your

Only give your child healthy snacks before sending them to bed. Sugars and processed foods activate brain activity, putting your kid on high alert. Try vegetables, nuts, or string cheese. Of course, adding more light is always an option as well. Get a lamp with a dimmer that goes on their night stand or plug in a few fun night lights. Over the period of a few months, steadily decrease the amount of light in the room. Eventually, they’ll be fully acclimated.

BFR Training Is the Future of Athletic Recovery

SERVICE Highlight

At HealthMasters, we’re dedicated to providing cutting-edge therapy solutions. We stay abreast of the latest technology and methodologies to ensure we give you the upper hand while conquering your injury and taking concrete steps to live pain-free. One of the most thrilling and effective techniques we’ve implemented in recent years is called personalized blood flow restriction (BFR) rehabilitation , a growing trend across physical therapy and high-performance athletes alike.

high-intensity exercises. These exercises can result in strain and damage, which is the last thing a patient needs during recovery.

With BFR rehabilitation, we utilize a device called the Delfi Personalized Tourniquet to safely restrict blood flow during exercises. Basically, this lowers the intensity threshold of exercise, allowing the patient to build those vital type II muscle fibers with much less weight resistance, thus reducing risk of injury. Not only that, but BFR training has been shown to greatly increase growth hormone secretion, which is a key component in protecting tendons and muscle structures during exercise. Overall, BFR training results in a large increase in protein synthesis within the muscles while simultaneously reducing muscle damage. This allows the patient to build muscle more effectively, with less risk than traditional exercise. BFR isn’t just an excellent tool for ordinary patients looking to get back on their feet and out of therapy. It also helps high- performance athletes looking to safely return to training and improve their overall performance. If you’re interested in using BFR to build strength and eliminate injuries (both present and future), come on in to HealthMasters today. We’ll determine whether BFR is right for you and get you on a robust recovery plan as soon as possible.

During a patient’s recovery, it’s vital that they build muscle in those areas of their body that are causing them pain and further injury. In most cases, traditional resistance exercise is sufficient. With ordinary exercise, use of the muscle (at a certain threshold of weight or resistance) stretches the structures within, resulting in greater strength. One difficulty is that targeting these faster “type II” muscle fibers (the ones involved in explosive strength and muscle mass) requires very

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within a day or two. But if neck pain persists for several days or more, or continues to return again and again, it may be a sign that something is wrong.

Nearly everyone experiences neck pain or stiffness during their life. In most cases, this pain is mild enough to be simply annoying, but sometimes it becomes so severe that it can completely incapacitate even the most pain-tolerant individuals.

Luckily, neck pain is almost always treatable, often without surgery. Following examination and diagnosis by a medical doctor to determine the exact source of the pain, a physical therapist can prescribe a set of exercises, stretches, and techniques to increase strength and flexibility in your neck, drastically reducing or eliminating pain altogether. An experienced physical therapist who’s dedicated to helping you live pain-free will determine the best treatment for you, ranging from electrotherapeutic modalities to posture training. You don’t have to resign yourself to living with chronic neck pain. Contact the experts at HealthMasters today and take the first step toward eliminating your pain for good!

As upright animals, our heads are somewhat precariously balanced on top of our spines, like a golf ball on a tee. The average head weighs about the same as a bowling ball, between 10 and 15 pounds. It’s easy to see how, if the muscles that support the head and neck are not kept strong and flexible, poor and prolonged posture can result in painful strains and sprains of the vital ligaments that keep your neck upright. Usually, you can chalk up neck pain to something you did: craning your neck to read a book for hours, sleeping in a weird position, or sitting in an awkwardly-shaped chair at work. In these situations, pain should leave

Have a LAUGH

Refried Bean Poblanos WITH CHEESE


4 medium poblano chilies, halved and seeded 1 (16-ounce) can fat-free refried beans 1 (8.8-ounce) pouch microwaveable cooked long-grain rice

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½ cup picante sauce

1 cup (4 ounces) pre-shredded reduced- fat 4-cheese Mexican blend

Chopped fresh cilantro (optional)


1. Place chili halves, cut sides up, on a round microwave-safe plate. Cover with wax paper; microwave on high 3 minutes. 2. While chilies cook, combine beans, rice, and picante sauce in a medium bowl, stirring well. Spoon bean mixture into chili halves. Cover with wax paper; microwave on high 2 minutes. 3. Uncover chilies, sprinkle each half with 2 tablespoons cheese, and microwave on high 1–2 minutes or until cheese melts. Sprinkle with cilantro, if desired. • 3


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INSIDE This Issue

A Word From Owner Louis Zuniga

Cure for Kids Being Afraid of the Dark Restricting Blood Flow to Speed Up Recovery Don’t Let Neck Pain Control Your Life Refried Bean Poblanos With Cheese Recipe

America’s Spookiest Locations

America’s SPOOKIEST Locations

passed away, she took his words to heart. To build a home for the spirits, she began construction on what is now known as the Winchester Mystery House. She continued building the house for her entire life, 24 hours a day for 38 years. The home features many design choices that lend themselves to a spectral presence. There is a seance room, doors that open to brick walls, staircases that lead directly into the ceiling, and acoustics that channel sound into secret listening places. During the Halloween season, the house offers candlelit tours that are sure to send shivers up your spine. When Stephen King checked into the Stanley Hotel on vacation with his wife, he wasn’t looking for inspiration, but he found it. Their stay in the hotel inspired “The Shining.” The book, along with Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation, quickly turned the Stanley into a destination for thrill-seekers and paranormal investigators. The hotel has played into its newfound reputation, offering ghost tours late at night. Recently, the proprietors even created a hedge maze to allow visitors to recreate the harrowing chase scene from the movie. At last check, there were no Jack Nicholson impersonators on-site, but who knows what the future holds? Stanley Hotel Estes Park, Colorado

Halloween is, without question, America’s spookiest holiday. Traveling haunted house experiences crop up all over the country beginning in October, but they can’t hold a candle to locations that have long been believed to be home to paranormal inhabitants. If you’re feeling extra brave this month, check out these “haunted” locations.

Magoffin Homestead El Paso, Texas

Joseph Magoffin was a four-time mayor of El Paso. He and his wife, Octavia, were among the city’s most prominent families. Their home, a lavish estate originally built in 1875, was eventually purchased by the State of Texas. When the government bought the home, they got a “bonus,” in the form of the ghosts of Joseph, Octavia, and her brother, Charles. Charles died in his rocking chair on the property and is said to still be rocking to this day. Other visitors have reported hearing the ghost of Octavia belt out Italian arias that were popular among women of her time.

Winchester Mystery House San Jose, California

A medium from Boston told Sarah Winchester that her family was haunted by every person ever killed by a Winchester rifle. Given that her husband and infant daughter had recently

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