My friend Allison nominated me and I accepted the challenge–only if you know me well, you know that I am a bit rebellious. So, I’m going from *challenge* to *change* and offering up a new way of accepting her challenge.
In Allison’s video she defined ALS with the following from the ALS Association: “A-myo-trophic comes from the Greek language. “A” means no or negative. “Myo” refers to muscle, and “Trophic” means nourishment–”No muscle nourishment.” When a muscle has no nourishment, it “atrophies” or wastes away. “Lateral” identifies the areas in a person’s spinal cord where portions of the nerve cells that signal and control the muscles are located. As this area degenerates it leads to scarring or hardening (“sclerosis”) in the region.”
I really appreciated her using the challenge as a teaching opportunity and I hadn’t taken the time to research ALS, so I looked into the disease a bit more. I found that these symptoms have no known cause, so there is no known cure as of yet. It has a little genetic connection (5-10%), but not enough to be considered a cause. There was one study from a couple of years ago regarding nutrition and eating a diet rich in anti-oxidants and Vitamin E–both of which are good for nourishing motor neurons and in that way, may offer hope and help for those already diagnosed with ALS, but again, not enough of a link to be causal. What could my dumping a bucket of ice water on my head do to help this bleak outlook?
But WAIT! I just spent 7 days in an intensive certification week on developing neural pathways and studying mechanobiology, which according to Katy Bowman, MS, in her new book, Move Your DNA, is “a relatively new field of science that focuses on the way physical forces and changes in cell or tissue mechanics contribute to development, physiology, and disease.” (In fact, this area of study is so new, my autocorrect is sure I made a mistake on mechanobiology.)
Here’s the short on my Ice Bucket Challenge: I decided to USE MY ARMS rather than douse them in ice. I do that every year anyway (the photo below was from two years ago in November on Lake Michigan–I’m in the blue bikini). Also, having grown up along the shores of Lake Superior we spent our summers challenging ourselves with icy water. Been there–done that.
BUT what I didn’t do much as a kid was climb trees. Part of my training to become a Restorative Exercise™ Specialist was working on my ability to manage my body weight with my arms and increase the nourishment to the very tissues affected by ALS.
SOOOO HERE IS MY CHALLENGE TO ALL OF YOU–It may not go VIRAL, but it IS VITAL to the health of your motor neurons no matter what, so go out and climb a tree, hang from a bar, USE YOUR ARMS! Somewhere, someone suffering from ALS wishes with all their heart they could do this. Here is my answer to Allison’s challenge:
AANND since it was more than 24 hours, and I didn’t actually douse myself with ice water, I will also make a donation–with a note that says 1) increase funding for ALL research through our National Institute for Health, and, 2) READ KATY’s BOOK! Sometimes what looks like prevention could be a cure!
I’ll end with another quote from Move Your DNA, “Our general lack of awareness of the mechanome should not muddle the fact that many of the processes occurring in the body, including genetic expression, can be regulated mechanically. When you understand this, you quickly see how searching for a health solution without considering your ‘movement environment’ inevitably produces results that are limited in scope and benefit.” (p 31)