Tips on inflammation

san francisco nutrition for inflammationIs the root cause of inflammation a “foreign invader” like a parasite or a food allergy? Is it dysbiosis in our gut or a bacterial overgrowth? Is it our own body fighting itself like in an autoimmune disorder? Why is our body feeling like it’s under attack?
Are you experiencing any of the following symptoms of inflammation?
Eczema, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, stomach pain, any ‘-itis like arthritis, diverticulitis, high triglycerides, low white blood cell count, high blood sugar, migraines, headaches, allergies, joint or muscle pain.

If you’re experiencing inflammation, thank your body for protecting you. Inflammation is like experiencing a fever to help relieve the excess heat in our body to fight an infection. In other words, inflammation is a good thing. The idea is to discover the root cause… What caused our system the need to protect itself? We should direct our attention to calming our system and finding the root  cause and not masking the symptom.

What can help reduce or eliminate inflammation?

  • Alcohol, sugar, caffeine, gluten all create inflammation in our body. Start weening down and consume more foods for healing rather than hurting.
  • Avoid all artificial foods like trans-fats, artificial sweeteners, toxic pesticides, and preservatives.
  • Eat a diet, mostly of vegetables. A variety is best… especially cruciferous vegetables and leafy greens.
  • Drink lots of water. Start going for more water instead of juice, coffee, tea, alcohol.
  • Get a test for food sensitivities. The most common categories are gluten, dairy, corn, soy, eggs, yeast, and (especially for arthritis!) nightshade vegetables (includes tobacco, peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, and eggplant).
  • Ask your health care provider about supplementing with Meriva Curcumin, a wonderful natural anti-inflammatory… more effective than NSAID and without all the damage to your gut.
  • Omega-3 essential fatty acids. Yes, yet another benefit of fish oil or cod liver oil as a regular supplement because of its anti-inflammatory effects!  Make absolutely sure it’s a heavy-metal-free brand (e.g. Metagenics, Nordic Naturals, Carlsons, Blue Ice). Please be sure to consult your health care provider about this, as well.

Learn more about Happy Belly Health’s 3-week reBOOT program to help you feel your best!

HAPPY BELLY HEALTH     415.308.3529
500 Sutter St, Suite 906, San Francisco CA


Getting to the heart of the QL

Case study:

I recently had a client coming to see me once a month for the past 6 weeks with a problem in her low back and hips. I could see clearly that her QL (quadratis lumborum), erector spinae were completely burnt out from being in a constant state of contraction and in addition, her glute med’s weren’t working at all. I knew I could help with the first phase of healing by releasing and relaxing the Ql’s, erector spinae and corresponding trigger points in the piriformis and psoas.

I also knew that unless she either changes what she does everyday (which happened to be sitting at a desk all day long) or she learned exercises that would re-train her muscles out of their habit, meaning learning to consciously relax muscles that are in constant contraction while learning to fire muscles that no longer know how to fire, she would never get lasting results from my work.

As suspected, each time she came in, she felt better for a week or so after, but we always went back to square one. After 2 times of this, I started recommending that she see Cassidy at The Body Gallery. Cassidy retrains your body from the inside out how to get back in balance and the results are lasting! I can speed up the process by encouraging and reminding your muscles that they should be relaxed and also encourage nerve passageways to fire again through trigger point therapy. This is how Cassidy and I work so effectively together.  She has seen Cassidy just two times now and is already noticing changes in her body and the reduced pain is lasting longer.  

I know it’s much more exciting to think that laying on a massage table with an amazing bodyworker can correct  all the crazy things we expect from our body on daily basis rather than having to do some work from the inside out for lasting effects, but it’s simply dillusional….sorry!

Educational moment: One of the most common rebutles when I tell a client a certain muscle is weak and proceed to find that the same muscle is incredibly tight, is “How can it be so tight if it’s weak and I’m not using it?” This article is a great explanation of how a muscle like the QL can actually be weak and tight at the same time. It’s also a great explanation as to the work that Cassidy and I do are so complementary to each other and essential to the whole healing process.

Quadratis Lumborum:



“The quadratus lumborum, or QL, is a common source of lower back pain. Because the QL connects the pelvis to the spine and is therefore capable of extending the lower back when contracting bilaterally, the two QLs pick up the slack, as it were, when the lower fibers of the erector spinae are weak or inhibited (as they often are in the case of habitual seated computer use and/or the use of a lower back support in a chair). Given their comparable mechanical disadvantage, constant contraction while seated can overuse the QLs, resulting in muscle fatigue. A constantly contracted QL, like any other muscle, will experience decreased blood flow, and, in time, adhesions in the muscle and fascia may develop, the end point of which is muscle spasm.

The experience of “productive pain” or pleasure by a patient upon palpation of the QL is indicative of such a condition.

Hip abduction is performed primarily by the hip abductors (glut medius and minimus). When the glut med/min are weak or inhibited, the TFL or QL will compensate by becoming the prime mover. The most impaired movement pattern of hip abduction is when the QL initiates the movement, which results in hip hiking during swing phase of gait. Hip hiking places excessive side-bending compressive stresses on the lumbar segments. Thus, a tight QL may be another hidden cause of low back pain (Janda 1987).

When the hip adductors are tight or hypertonic, their antagonist (gluteus medius) may experience reciprocal inhibition. The gluteus medius will become weak and inhibited. This in turn may cause hypertonicity of ipsilateral QL. Chronic hypertonicity of QL tends to cause low back pain due to its ability to create compressive stress on lumbar segment.

Current studies show that application of heat or ice, massage, and estim will not leave long-term benefits. Careful assessment of muscular imbalances and movement impairments by a therapist is recommended in order to address the underlying issues mentioned (you need Cassidy for this).

While stretching and strengthening the QL are indicated for unilateral lower back pain, heat or ice applications as well as massage should be considered as part of any comprehensive rehabilitation regimen”  (You need Jennifer for this).




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How Pilates Can Help With Pre and Post Natal

How Pilates Can Help With Pre and Post Natal

Pilates training is one of the most safe and effective fitness workouts for pregnant women to do before and after childbirth. We encourage all pregnant women to continue with exercise but it is important to maintain a safe workout routine while the body continues to change month to month. All pregnant/postpartum women should get the ok from their doctor before beginning any exercise routine.

Our prenatal/postpartum Pilates workouts are designed specifically for the changing pregnant body and the recovery from childbirth. We focus on the most important muscles to prepare for birth and recover from it. Every woman has a different experience, every routine we design is geared towards the needs of each individual. There is no one magical workout that works for every pregnant/postpartum woman. We believe an individualized program is the safest way to prevent injury during and after pregnancy. We focus on the core/pelvic floor, pelvis and arms because pregnant women need strength in their trunk and pelvis to support the growing baby without much pain or discomfort and, of course, for labor and delivery. After the baby is born, women need arm strength as well to hold their beautiful/handsome newborn.

What are the most important muscles to focus on during and after pregnancy?

  • Pelvic Floor Muscles: This muscle group helps with the birth and prevent incontinence.
  • Transverse Abdominals: The deepest abdominal muscle in the body and stabilizer of the pelvis and back.
  • Multifidus: The deep stabilizing muscle of the lower back.
  • Psoas: This is the deepest and largest hip flexor muscle. It tends to get over active and tight, causing lower back pain.
  • Glutes: The glute max is the largest bum muscle and hip extensor. It’s important to keep strong for your daily activities such as walking, going up the stairs, sitting and squatting.
  • Mid and Lower Traps: When the mid and lower traps are strong, the upper traps get to relax a bit and this help release tension in the neck and shoulders.
  • Arms: Keeping up with arm strength is crucial for all the heavy lifting.
  • Deep Neck Flexors: Keeping these strong helps with head posture and releasing the back neck muscles, shoulders and upper back.


If you have any questions please email  We’re happy to help!


The BodyGallery:The Art of Personalized Pilates
47 Kearny Suite 601


Estrogen dominance

Do you suffer from the following symptoms?

Difficulty losing weight
Menstrual irregularities including:
PMS: fibrocystic (swollen, painful, lumpy) breasts, ovarian cysts, endometriosis, fibroids, heavy menstrual bleeding, intense abdominal cramping, mood swings
Low libido
Stress intolerance

You might be experiencing a hormonal imbalance known as estrogen dominance. Estrogen and progesterone are the major female reproductive hormones. They counter and balance each other. An estrogen dominance may mean that your estrogen level is higher than the normal range OR it is within normal range but progesterone levels are low, causing a relative excess in estrogen and the symptoms associated with it.

Estrogen dominance can be caused by environmental factors, poor diet and lifestyle choices or stress. The most commons causes include:

1. Consumption of commercially raised meat, poultry, fruits and veggies
– These contain estrogen-like hormones, antibiotics and pesticides which are all hormone disruptors

2. Exposure to industrial solvents and xenoestogens
– Synthetic materials with chemical structure that is similar to estrogen. These maybe absorbed through the skin or otherwise ingested

3. Stress
– Stress shifts adrenal hormone production favoring estrogen production

4. Liver disease
– Excess alcohol production or liver congestion/toxicity due to poor diet

5. Obesity/lack of exercise
– Excess fat stores trap and produce estrogen; lack of exercise reduces fat metabolism

6. Low-fiber, high sugar processed foods
– These cause increased fat gain and storage and decreased processing

If any of these sound familiar, fear not! There are ways to reduce estrogen levels naturally!

a) Choose organic, lean meats and poultry. Minimize red meat.
b) Choose organic whole grains, fruits and vegetables (See the Dirty Dozen for more info on which foods to beware of pesticide reside)
c) Exercise regularly
d) Drink plenty of pure filtered water.
e) Eat foods that support liver function: greens, beets, carrots, radishes, onions, garlic, artichokes, cabbages, broccoli etc.
f) Adopt a nutritional supplement and herb regiment to provide adequate B vitamins, minerals and liver supportive amino acids

(Be sure to speak to your primary health care provider before implementing any new supplements or dietary changes.)

Here’s to your health,
Dr. Mead

Photo credits:

Women Health Zone

Natural Fertility Prescription