SoleFit Pedorthist Neil Rosenthal recently attended the PaleoFx conference in Austin, Texas. Far from being a conference just about food, this conference brought an amazing group of speakers together to talk about innovations in health care. And why would a pedorthic clinic be interested in this kind of conference? Although we are specialists of the lower leg, biomechanics, and orthotics/bracing, we’ve always stressed how important it is to look at injuries holistically in order to do a thorough assessment. Here are a few of Neil’s thoughts about the event:
Pursuing health today has many implications. As individuals we all have different needs, questions and directions we want to take our health.
Our ability to personally manage our health starts with getting the necessary education from multiple sources. Where to turn becomes the challenge. Medical care can be helpful to start a process of initial treatment (referrals, pain management, prescription) but frequently may lack a wider view assessing past the short term.
The Paleo Fx conference, beyond its title, is a concentration of the current and emerging science and experts of human physiology and functional medicine. The focus is filtering through layered interaction of modern illness and conditions with nutrition, environment, technology, activity, and more from the perspective of what our genes have come to expect. These expectations have modelled since we became the first reflections in our ancestors. Bringing excellent modern science to understand our genes through this ‘ancestral health’ template may prove our best way to truly understand how we ‘work.’ The experts convening at Paleo Fx touched on everything from gut health, inflammation, holistic nutrition, correcting autoimmune conditions, sleep, brain function, disease and ‘lifestyle medicine.’ A predominant consensus was that every issue is rarely singular but rather intricately cross linked. To understand this helps us step back and consider how to fix it more successfully.
Often its best to look at most things with a ‘systems approach’ where multiple variables are considered to respect that most symptoms have complex causes. At SoleFit, this has always been a deeply rooted approach to our patients’ care.
In a clinical example at SoleFit this may look something like this
E.g. the injured runner
High stress job -> increased intake of sugar/carbs -> dis regulation of hormones and inflammation -> poor sleep, reduced repair process -> chronic pain or vulnerable injury with consistent inflammation and/or delayed healing.
Furthermore the conference offered honest and open discussions of what we know and what we don’t know; an alternative to what media, catch headlines, or potentially profit-driven outside influences have given to us as health advice. The presentations were nothing short of mind blowing. (We will add some more blog posts of highly valuable take home messages of those presentations soon!)
The attendees were a vibrant, positively charged mixed group of hundreds which all seemed invariably sharing a similar history. They found themselves short on answers on how to heal themselves, or feel their best, or perform and lead the lives they wanted and as a result stumbled into an ancestral model. There were dozens of stories of transformations and some from extreme or dire situations. Each person’s catalytic moment gave clarity to a realization of what matters most. And it all matters! What we eat, how we move, how we sleep, our social interactions, our exposure to nature, all reflects on our gene expression for the better or worse.
The experience and take home message to me as a Pedorthist, health coach and human is that it’s clear we have some extremely beneficial and effective tools to understand how to use, fix, keep safe, and love ourselves. These tools are intuitive, can be taught, are available to everyone in small and big steps but all start with educating ourselves.