Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Fast Food Alternatives

I had an awesome experience today with traditional fast food that I would like to share. It seems that the masses are speaking with there buying power and big corporations are starting to listen.

Here's the story, I was on my way to school yesterday morning and dying for a latte. Starbucks ran this "Thank You Seattle" campaign where they sent out a coupon for $1 off 4 different drinks. Since I had one, I decided to stop there; lets face it $4.50 for a Grande Late is expensive on any budget, especially a students:) When I walked in, I order a my "fancy pants" drink and while I am waiting, this awesome looking golden brown cheese danish starts cavorting with my stomach. They tag team my brain and I guiltily buy the danish. That must count as a dairy serving right, it has cheese on it:) Anyway, when I get my danish, the paper bag they serve it in not only announces that it is made from recycled paper, but it announces that Starbucks has taken more crap out of there food. Here's what the packaging said, "We’ve removed the high fructose corn syrup and artificial trans fats, flavors and dyes. Your food not only tastes better, it is better."

I was thrilled about my food choice. Two years ago, Starbucks stopped using milk from cows that are treated with rBST Hormone and now they have added this lovely food change. For more nutritional information, check out there website

I already consider Starbucks a pretty responsible cooperation because of there service work, donations, fair trade coffee, and recycled paper products. Anyway, I felt better about my food decision. If I don"t have time to go to my local coffee shop and have to buy coffee from a corporation, I feel even better about buying it from here. Thanks Starbucks.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

This was the year my life changed, forever.

I was not really sure how to start this blog, but one story consistently kept coming to mind. A story of synchronicity and proof to me that a divine path does exist for each and everyone of us. This is the story of how I became a healer. It is a story that I reflect on regularly and am still inspired by. It gives me solice when I question the difficult path I have chosen. The path of a future doctor.

If someone would have told me when I was 16 that I would go to school to study natural medicine, I would have looked at them like they were nuts. Natural Health? What is that? You see, I grew up in MO--Missouri (yes, "The Show Me State":). Natural health did not exist. The closest thing we had to a Naturopathic Doctor was mother's book of Home Remedies. If you got sick or did not feel well, it was the apple cider vinegar cure, gargling with salt water,  or a trip to the local M.D. As you can see, not a lot of choices. Now let's flash forward to age 23. This was the year my life changed, forever.

I was living in Independence, MO. I was going to college to study Biology, but since I was 10 years old,  I had always wanted to study Marine Biology and Ecology. I wanted to save the world from global warming. I wanted to recycle and to clean up air pollution. I wanted to be "green" whatever that meant. I wanted to be healthy and make compost, whatever that was, but it sounded good for the environment. I dreamed of solar panels and recycling. 

Unfortunately, at this time, MO had NO programs like this for there residents, much less there college students, so I decided that I wanted to go to University of WA in Seattle. I read they had a fantastic Marine Biology/Ecology program and even better, it seemed like it was far far away from the conservative Midwest.  I decided to plan a trip to Seattle to visit the college.

Just a few short weeks before I was to depart, I injured my back. It was the most dire pain I had ever been in. Deciding that the Apple Cider Vinegar Cure was probably not the answer for this particular ailment, I went to the doctor and got a wonderful cocktail of narcotics and muscle relaxers. I soaked in epsom salt baths (one of the only other natural remedies I knew), but got minimal results. Nothing got rid of the pain, but the drugs did make my brain numb enough that it truly did not care about the pain.

 On my merry little way I went, doing the best I could to get through. Trying to stay awake in classes while under the influence of these heavy drugs,  trying to wait out the pain, but I could still barely tie my shoes without wanting to pass out. My hope was that being on vacation in Seattle would ease the pain because I would have time to relax, so off I flew for Thanksgiving break.

I arrived in Seattle to a cool, damp city of rain and fog, and it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. Everything was fresh and green, recycling bins were everywhere. People truly cared about the environment besides me. OMG! Seattle truly was my Emerald City, ironically, I spent a good part of my youth in Kansas, LOL. I knew I was moving here regardless of any decision the UW made. 

Anyway, the day after I arrived, my back pain had eased some. It was Thanksgiving Day and the friends I was visiting decided a nice walk in the park would do us good before we gorged on the great Thanksgiving feast. While on the walk, I slipped and fell on my knee (Seattle is a lot more damp than what I was used too). It was the most excruciating pain I had ever experienced, short of a tooth ache, but I digress. My friends offered to take me to the emergency room, but not even narcotics touched the pain. Through a tear soaked face I begged them to find someone who could fix this. I did not care who or how. The next day was the beginning of the death of all the plans I had been making since I was a child.

I awoke the day after Thanksgiving in 2002, barely able to move and definitely not able to bend over to tie my shoes. My friends excitedly announced they had found me an acupuncturist that had agreed to stay late and work on my back. "An acupuncturist?" I exclaimed while visions of Pinhead** enter my mind. "Aren't they the weird people who stick you full of needles? Doesn't that hurt?" My head was trying to wrap itself around this idea. Defeated by my pain, I sigh, "Whatever, I guess the pain can't be any worse than what I feel now."

That evening, I walked in and was introduced to the specialist. I look around and decide it looks clean enough and the needles are individually packaged, so they're most likely sanitary. This was promising, then comes the 5 page questionnaire. 

"Why did he need to know about my last menstrual cycle, and what color it was? What difference does it make if I get hot during the middle of the day? Really, he wants to know about my bowel movements *sigh*. My regular doctor doesn't even know this much about me. I just want my back to stop hurting." 

Finally, I complete all the paper work, and he says for me to get on the table face down and take some deep breaths. He proceeds to inform me that I have a damp constitution. My kidney chi is apparently deficient.

"What the heck does that mean?" is all I can think, but I reserve my question. 

Finally, he tells me that I will feel a series of sticks, but there should be minimal pain, if any at all, and the needling begins. As scary as the needles seemed in my mind, they were hair thin, and I barely felt them.  He hooks me up to electrodes and puts a heat lamp on me. All I am thinking is, "This better work because this really seems crazy."

I emerge from the office 1.5 hours later feeling tingling throughout my body and a slight decrease in pain. He tells me to stay by the fire and keep heat on the low back where the pain is. He further tells me that he's not sure if 1 treatment will work, but he hopes that it will make my trip a little better. He had no idea what a trip he was about to send me on. 

After following his directions to the letter, I woke up the next day and did my usual morning routine. It took about 10 minutes for the sleep to wear off and for me to realize that I was completely pain free even though I had slept on an air mattress all night. I was SHOCKED! "What the heck was going on? Three weeks of pain and now I can tie my shoes, no drugs required?" I was dumb founded. Who knew that needles could do all of that? I did not know what to say. The rest of my trip was fantastic. No reemergence of the pain. 

When I got back to MO, I told everyone including my very skeptical parents who were Licensed Practical Nurses. They couldn't believe it either. Eastern Medicine had succeeded where Western Medicine had failed. It was unbelievable.

The next week, I went back to school and got an assignment to do a case study on a field of work I was interested in. I decided that since I had wanted to study Marine Biology since I was 10, I probably knew enough about it, so I chose to research Natural Medicine. For this paper, I also had to interview someone in the field of work I was interested in. I knew two people. I had literally just met a massage therapist by chance, and remembered the acupuncturist in WA. They both agreed to be interviewed. As I did my research on this field, I started feeling completely betrayed by the government and pharmaceutical companies. I was completely shocked to find out that there was a whole school that taught natural medicine. People could be treated with herbs and botanicals that don't have crazy side effects? The statistics on accidental pharmaceutical side effects that lead to death and overdose shocked me and made me sick to my stomach. I could not believe that there was this very beneficial holistic health industry that had been kept from me my whole life. "How could there be a healthier way to treat people, and we not know about it?" It is 2002 after all. My research took me down Alice's rabbit hole. Confused by everything I learned, I decided to become a massage therapist to learn more about natural medicine. I decided it would be a great trade to help me pay for college and it would only take 1 year, which was perfect because I needed residency in WA. Because of what I learned, I got interested in health and nutrition. Eventually, I decided to go to school to become an acupuncturist. This is how I became a healer.

In the end, a severe back injury started me on a journey that never would have begun had the Universe not synchronized. Had I not come to Seattle with severe pain, I never would have been able to meet an acupuncturist, they did not exist in MO. Had I not gone to the acupuncturist, I would have never learned about holistic health. This would have kept me from doing research on the topic. In turn, I would not have become a massage therapist to further my education, and I would not be going to Bastyr University to become a future doctor of America. I would have probably stayed in my Biology degree and after I got rejected by the UW, I probably would have decided to stay in MO. It's amazing to me to think of how different my life would be if it weren't for that injury or for that acupuncturist. This definitely was the year that changed my life because it was the year that I found my calling.

**Pinhead is a character from the 1987 horror movie Hellraiser

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


None of the information mentioned in this blog is meant to take the place of any doctor's advice, recommendations, or diagnosis. This blog is for educational purposes only. Please understand that I (Ms. Shandalla Rigby) am not a practicing physician. I am a student studying at Bastyr University with a lot of information that I would like to share therefore, I am not qualified to diagnose or treat anyone outside of my scope of practice. Thank you for being advised of this.