Bon Voyage, Adeola

Our near and dear, Adeola will no longer be with the SF Wellness Collective, as she recently moved to Seattle.  We will miss Adeola and her great contributions to the SF Wellness Collective and our blog.

Adeola, we wish you the very best in Seattle and hope to have you as a guest blogger on occasion.


Pilates for Hip Pain

Currently I am seeing a couple of clients who were referred to me because they were experiencing chronic outer hip pain.
After doing a static postural assessment and glute/psoas muscle function test, I saw the same results with each client. A hip hike and loss of function in both the psoas and glute maximus. This gave me valuable information to work with, I knew at this point we needed to get the psoas and glutes functioning in order to help relieve the hip pain.
The question now is why are the glutes and psoas dysfunctional? Looking at the muscle function pattern in each test gives me an idea of what muscles are hypertonic and possibly inhibiting the glutes and psoas from functioning. This is my starting point in planning out a curriculum for my client.
Each exercise I choose has a purpose and objective focused on getting the glutes and psoas to function again.
Once the glutes and psoas are functioning again we can start to focus on strengthening them.
I give them practical homework to do in between session to support the work we’re doing in the studio. If a client is disciplined and does the homework they will feel results more quickly. Change comes and pain starts leaving. It’s a work in progress to change the muscular imbalances but I’m happy to say my clients are in less pain and getting progressively better.

If you have any questions, I’m happy to chat.

The Body Gallery: The Art of Personalized Pilates                                                                                                                                                                                                                              415-776-6641                                                                                                                                                           

ARE YOU READY FOR THE HOLIDAYS? What’s your plan for your next 7 delicious weeks?

Temptation list of the usual saboteurs…
1. Office treats
2. Alcohol
3. Baking
4. New holiday recipes to try
5. Holiday parties
6. Family functions

There’s a lot of potential challenges in this list. I like to start by becoming crystal clear with my goal. Am I trying to lose weight, maintain, heal my tummy? What’s the motivation? Mr. Kersting, my high school religion teacher/ PE coach taught me the power of vision. He said a famous basketball player (most likely Pistol Pete) dreamt about making the basket over and over and over again.
My suggestion is to envision your success. If you’ve decided to surrender and not try to moderate your consumption of office goodies, take a moment or several, to play out eyeing your most favorite treat, a cute cupcake perhaps, sitting on the lunch room table, begging to be saved…. looking emotional even. Feel the compulsion to snag it… the tingling in your body anticipating the first bite of this decadent “feel good” reward.
Hear the voices in your head “you deserve it”, “moderation not deprivation”, “just this one treat”… Hear your co-workers lures, “I brought this homemade organic all natural gluten-free treat just for you. Don’t you want to at least try it?”

What are you going to say? What are you going to do? What’s it going to feel like? What are the fears? Will you be ok?

My last recommendation is to enlist the help of others. The buddy system works well if you choose the right buddy. Same religion teacher, Mr. Kersting, gave some pretty good advice. “Look to surround yourself with people whom you admire.” My friend, Jessica, is a true inspiration to me. She is kind and loving and shows confidence with her boundaries with ease.

Learn more about how we help people stop dieting, improve digestion, and sleep like babies!
Schedule a 30 minute complimentary initial consultation with me today (valued at $150)
Call Now 415.308.3529 to reserve your spot.

What Client’s are saying:

When was the last time you talked with a professional about your health and felt like they were really listening to you? Here at Happy Belly Health in San Francisco, our priority as certified health coaches is to care for you and help you take care of you. Through our nutrition consultations, gentle cleanses and programs, we provide a supportive environment to enable you to achieve all of your health goals and learn how to eat for nutrition and enjoyment.

Copyright © 2012 Happy Belly Health, All rights reserved.

5 Frequently Asked Questions About Acupuncture

Photo credit to Pixbay

Photo credit to Pixbay

This week’s blog we will cover 5 of the most frequently asked questions about acupuncture. We hope this will be a nice article for people to learn about acupuncture and also educate people who may be interested.

How old is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is one of the longest medical traditions alive in the world today.  Some scholars claim the tradition is 5,000 years old (Neolithic Era), more conservative estimates have put it to being 2,500 years old (Bronze Age). As more archeological evidence is discovered perhaps one day we will have a more clear picture on the subject. In any case, acupuncture has been with us for centuries.

How safe is acupuncture?

Acupuncture when performed by a licensed practitioner using clean needle techniques is generally a safe procedure.

What are the needles like?

All acupuncture needles are sterile, stainless steel, single use (disposable) needles. Acupuncture needles are as thin as a human hair and they glide into the skin.  Acupuncture needles are filiform, meaning they are solid, and are not designed to rip and tear flesh like syringe needles are made to.

Is acupuncture painful ?

Generally, I would say that a majority of my patients do not feel pain or discomfort with my needling style. At times, when dealing with painful conditions, there may be a sense of minimal discomfort but it is a very brief and temporary feeling.

How might acupuncture work?

According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM): “In the TCM system of medicine, the body is seen as a delicate balance of two opposing and inseparable forces: yin and yang. Yin represents the cold, slow, or passive principle, yang represents the hot, excited, or active principle. Among the major assumptions in TCM are that health is achieved by maintaining the body in a “balanced state” and that disease is due to an internal imbalance of yin and yang. This imbalance leads to blockage in the flow of qi (vital energy) along pathways known as meridians. It is believed that there are 12 main meridians and 8 secondary meridians and that there are more than 2,000 acupuncture points on the human body that connect with them.

Preclinical studies have documented acupuncture’s effects, but they have not been able to fully explain how acupuncture works within the framework of the Western system of medicine that is commonly practiced in the United States. It is proposed that acupuncture produces its effects through regulating the nervous system, thus aiding the activity of pain-killing biochemicals such as endorphins and immune system cells at specific sites in the body. In addition, studies have shown that acupuncture may alter brain chemistry by changing the release of neurotransmitters and neurohormones and, thus, affecting the parts of the central nervous system related to sensation and involuntary body functions, such as immune reactions and processes that regulate a person’s blood pressure, blood flow, and body temperature.”

Thank you for reading our blog. If you have a condition and would like to know if acupuncture can help, feel free to call us 415.445.9388  or email us and schedule a free 15 minute consultation.




How Pilates Can Help Improve Your Posture

At The Body Gallery one of our focuses is improving our clients posture.

When we have a client come in with postural issues we begin our first session with a full static postural assessment. We look at our clients’ posture from head to toe using the postural assessment based on the findings of Dr. Janda.

What we are looking for are any obvious signs of over/under worked muscles which can cause muscle imbalance or dysfunction. We take a look at the pelvis to see if there are any deviations such as an anterior/posterior/lateral pelvic tilt, a lateral shift or rotation. From there we take a look at the glutes,  hamstrings, adductors, calves and spinal extensors. We also take a look at the scapular region, abdominals and the front of the thighs. Lastly we look at the arm position, head alignment and chin/neck angle head position.

Once we have gathered all of this information we check certain muscle function patterns depending on the findings we have seen in the assessment.

Finally we discuss a specific goal we will focus on during our sessions.

This method has given our clients great results, helping them to improve their posture and alleviate chronic pain.

For more information contact Cassidy at The Body Gallery

Which one of these posture images looks like you?


Food Allergy, Intolerance or Sensitivity?

I was recently asked to participate on a panel of health-care providers discussing digestive health. It was a great event and one of the questions I was asked was the difference between food allergies, intolerances and sensitivities.

A food allergy reaction is the result of the immune system identifying a food a foreign entity and then launching a response against it. The body will immune cells called Immunoglobulin E (IgE), Immunoglobulin G (IgG) and histamine. Common food allergies include peanuts, tree nuts, seafood (fish or shellfish), milk/dairy, soy, eggs, corn and sugar. The symptoms may be immediate or rapid onset (IgE) or delayed with onset in hours to days later (IgG) which makes it difficult to identify their source. Common symptoms include the following:

Pruritis (itchy skin)
Angioedema (swelling around the lips or eyes)
Shortness of breath
Abdominal pain
Chest pain

A food intolerance reaction is a result of being unable to adequately digest a food. It causes chronic inflammation and irritation in the gut. A very common example is lactose intolerance. This is not an immune response but may be a result of enzyme deficiencies or other physiological factors.  Such symptoms may include:

Gas, bloating, abdominal pain
Brain fog, anxiety or depression
Inflammatory symptoms (eg. joint pain)
Difficulty losing weight (Check out my post on Food Allergies and Weight Gain)

It is important to be aware of how your body responds to foods. A good way to develop this awareness is to keep a diet log or diary which documents foods you eat and your physical and mental responses to them. This is often all you need to do to identify offending foods. Once identified, you may choose to begin an Elimination or Allergy Avoidance Diet where the suspected foods are removed for a period of time to see if your symptoms resolve. The foods may then be slowly re-introduced to confirm your suspicions.

If your diet diary is not definitive, you may want to pursue food allergy testing that will measure the levels of immune cells in your blood to various foods. You may also test for other inflammatory markers in specialized intolerance/sensitivity tests. This helps you understand your body’s reactivity and equips you with the information you need to take the next steps in your diet and lifestyle to optimize your health and well-being. What could be better that that?? I offer these tests in my practice and, when indicated,  find them incredibly helpful in resolving the chronic health issues listed above.

I recommend speaking with your primary care doctor regarding any changes in your diet and for supervision and guidance when investigating food allergies or intolerances.

For more information, check out this great article on the Allergy Avoidance Diet.

Here’s to your health,
Dr. Mead

Photo credit:

Autumn: An Eastern Prespecitive

Fall Forest

Red and yellow leaves, pumpkin and squash, black cats, and creepy crawlers — autumn is upon. Autumn marks the end of the growing season and the beginning of the yin cycle. A transitory season balanced between a season of highest yang (summer) and of highest yin (winter).  It is a great season to take stock of the year successes and losses and to plan ahead for the upcoming winter and year.

In the cosmology of Chinese medicine autumn is a season marked by the metal element. Metal energy is consolidating and promotes inward movement, like a flower closing its petals. The metal energy gives us strength and determination for the winter ahead and contemplation of the harvest we’ve reaped.

According to Wu Xing (five elements) metal governs the lungs and respiratory system making it a great time of the year to fortify these systems. Traditionally, autumn is seen as a time for dryness, which can negatively affect the lungs. Symptoms of dryness include thirst, dryness of skin, nose, lips, and throat, and itchiness. There are many herbs and formulas that can assist in shoring up the lungs for this pervasive pathogen. Bai He Ju Gin Tang which translates to Lily Bulb to Preserve the Metal decoction is a classic formula for lung dryness. This formula is often used to treat cough and chronic bronchitis.

As autumn is a time to contract inward, more soured flavored foods can aid in this process. These include sauerkraut, olives, pickles, leeks, rose hip tea, lemons, limes, grapefruit, and sour varieties of apples, plums, and grapes. To aid the lungs with dryness: spinach, barley, millet, pear, persimmon, almond, pinenut, clam, crab, and mussel are most appropriate.

In general, autumn is a great time of the year to prepare the body for the challenging winter months ahead. We look to aid our patients with acupuncture and herbal remedies that will strengthen the lungs and respiratory systems, warding off the upcoming cold and flu season. Please contact us if you would like to know more on how to best prepare.




3)Pitchford, Paul. Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition 3rd ed. North Atlantic Books. Berkeley, Ca. 2002.


5) PublicDomainPictures– – Uploaded 03/01/2012 (Leaf)

6) LoggaWiggler – – upload 10/26/2012 (Fall Forest)

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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