Archive for April, 2009


stories from the gluten free front

April 22, 2009

Interesting stories  from the gluten free world.
First are two stories of people who we helped without even seeing them in the clinic.  Two people who never had to make an appointment and never even paid us for any treatment!

First is a friend and runner who asked me to help him with his leg/back pain.  He is a runner who has over 75 marathons to his credit!  I assessed him in a parking lot in Encinitas and found signs of gluten sensitivity; namely positive signs at his cecum and iliocecal valve indicative of inflammation; this is a clear sign in Integrative Manual Therapy of Gluten Sensitivity.  So I gave him some research sites on gluten sensitivity and left it at that.  I knew we were busy in the clinic and if he did do the gluten free program he would at least be helped some and might not even need us.

The following week at the run, my friend unsolicited told me he was going to buy me breakfast!  I asked why and he said being gluten free for a week, he not only cleared his back and leg pain but his arthritis pains in his hands were no longer present and most surprising to him ( not to me) was his blood pressure which dropped from 140/90 to 120/80.  I saw him a week later and he continues to feel great.

The other one is a story of an acquaintence I run with who asked me to look at his leg/back.  He had been having a 6 month history of IT band pain.  Upon questioning him, I found that he also had a perplexing eye problem; he was unable to read or watch TV or computer at night due to severe eye strain/pain.  Again, I found signs indicative of gluten sensitivity.  Is anyone out there not sensitive to gluten????  It is apparently very common; at least in the people who come to me for help with pain.

Anyway, long story/short, he had complete resolution of his back and leg pain in 2 weeks and complete resolution of his eye symptoms in about 2 months!  He even noticed an improvement in his gastric reflux and he no longer felt depressed.  He had not even known he was depressed until it cleared and he noticed how much clearer he felt.

What these stories tell me is that if you have chronic pains, conditions, or other inflammatory conditions, you may have good results trying a gluten free diet.  Just try it for 3 months; but you have to do it 100% or it won’t work.  99% gives no results; 100% is what works.  Sad but true from our clinical experience and from the research findings.  The Mayo clinic now says the gold standard to test for gluten sensitivity is 3 months gluten free; this is due to the large number of false negatives with blood tests.

Please look throughout this blog for resources on how to go gluten free; From the site you can link to the articles to find gluten free how to program.

email me your successes at

it would be awesome to see some successes from people who just read this!

Ralph Havens, PT, OCS, IMTC



Summary of gluten research

April 15, 2009


Gluten Sensivity – summary of the latest research

November 16, 2008

I recently attended a seminar on gluten sensitivity… a “quickie” 6 hour overview based on 14,000 medically published research articles.  I’m still compiling all of the new research, but basically if you have a gluten sensitivity, it just wreaks havoc on your system.
If gluten sensitive, gluten initiates the inflammation response, and the body starts attacking itself, which is why it is associated with a myriad of auto-immune diseases.

If it affects the small intestine (which it does in some, but certainly not all cases), it also affects absorption in two major ways:
1)      Villous Atrophy – the “shag carpet” lining of your small intestine increases surface area for absorption of nutrients. Each shag is nutrient-specific. This can become “Berber carpeting,” decreasing your ability to absorb vital nutrients (ex. calcium, mal-absorption of which can lead to osteoporosis).
2)      Increased Intestinal Permeability – “leaky gut”… your intestinal walls end up with micro-holes that allow macromolecules and antigens, including microbial antigens, usually too large to enter the bloodstream, into the bloodstream.  Not good.  One consequence can be increased reactivity to other foods (ex. a new food allergy to tomatoes).

To hear a great webinar (1 hour long) by Dr. O’Bryan (the chiropractor who compiled the research and is educating the medical community on gluten sensitivity), go to <;.
June 10th by Dr. O’Bryan is the best place to start.  Additional webinars are on July 15th and August 12th.
You have to give your name and email address to view, but no worries, they won’t spam you.

These include, but are not limited to, thyroid problems , fibromyalgia, chronic pain, muscle atrophy, Lou Gehrig’s disease, heart disease, osteoporosis, brain lesions, neurological problems, Alzheimer’s, liver disease, cancer, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), mal-absorption issues, psychological disorders (including schizophrenia and anorexia nervosa), and Type I diabetes.

To date, research indicates not that gluten sensitivity is the cause every time, but that it is a cause enough of the time to warrant testing, or even better, (complete) abstinence from gluten for at least a month to see how the body reacts to the non-exposure.  Improvement during the month indicates a gluten sensitivity.  (Non-improvement does NOT, however, rule out gluten sensitivity.)

A common misconception is that someone with a gluten sensitivity will have outward signs and symptoms (many times they DO NOT) or that he/she will have dysfunction in the small intestine or bowels and will show villous atrophy in a biopsy of the small intestine. This is true in some cases, but again, many times the sensitivity will not even affect the small intestine, OR it will show up much sooner as an increased number of lymphocytes in the tissue (up to 7 years before villous atrophy takes place).

Still getting the ins and outs of this down.  However, from what I understand, the best course seems to be to take a few months off of gluten and see how your body likes it.  Dr. O’Bryan has all of his patients start with a month off of gluten, sugar, caffeine (except for green tea), and dairy.  Of course, it’s best to work with a trained nutritionist, knowledgeable chiropractor, naturopath, or integrative manual therapist who can monitor lab results and other changes in your body, such as body mass index, to make sure you are still getting the proper nutrition while abstaining.

There are two major tricky parts to a month gluten free.
1)      20-30% of patients will not show improvement or will show decreased improvement due to still having mal-absorption issues.  This is where it’s especially important to work with someone who can do some testing and monitor vitamin and nutrient absorption, etc.

2)      The other tricky part is the “COMPLETE.”  A few mg of gluten in a month can prevent improvement, and it has lots of sneaky ways of being in your food.  (Ex. Gluten is in wheat, rye, barley, and soy sauce and can be in vinegars (red wine or apple cider is OK), natural flavors, maltodextrin, corn syrup, etc.)  See below for some references.  Easiest to stick to non-processed whole foods as much as possible.

Other Testing:
At this point most of the testing has not fully caught up with the most recent research.  Much of the medical community is still unaware of the research and latest findings also.  A brand new saliva test exists that is supposed to be more in-line with newer findings, but I was unable to find it on the site he referenced. (The test may have not been officially released yet).

GLUTEN FREE REFERENCES: <>  – Ralph Havens PT, OCS, IMTC recommends eliminating gluten and artificial sweeteners to ALL patients as he finds it produces such great clinical results and due to the research above. He does various detoxes and supplements also and is starting a series of weekly classes and community evenings addressing nutrition and how to go gluten-free.  Let me know if you’d like to be on the info list.

(For more info on artificial sweeteners, see documentary “sweet misery” – Personal story of one gluten-free girl – her journey going gluten free, the results, and resources for anyone going GF. – of course, has lists of “safe” and “non-safe” ingredients. <>  – again, to view some of Dr. O’Bryan’s work… June 10th is where to start.

Alright!  Hope that was helpful… of course let me know if you have any questions – I’ll certainly help anyway I can!!!

Take care and stay in touch…
Jen Toussant
MHPT Field Consultant   619.543.1470


Lectures at Mission Hills P.T. Pregnancy Lecture and Macular Degeneration lecture

April 7, 2009

Hi all,
We’re going to be having two lectures by Kim Burnham, PhD next week. One on Pregnancy and Integrative Manual therapy and one on Macular Degeneration and IMT.  Kim is one of our favorite teachers of Integrative Manual Therapy and working in our clinic the next two weeks.  She’ll be presenting research and her clinical experiences with these conditions.  I hope you all can make it.

Ralph Havens PT OCS IMTC
Mission Hills Physical Therapy
928 Ft. Stockton Dr. Ste. 201
San Diego, CA 92103


Monday April 13th, 2009
7:15 – 8:15  pm

Women are using complementary medicine approaches to get healthy, get
pregnant, feel great during their pregnancy, have an exceptional labor
and delivery process and keep their babies healthy and developing
normally. Integrative Manual Therapy is one modality, which can decrease
low back pain and increase stability and flexibility in pregnant women.
Clinically bone bruises and other bone related dysfunctions can
significantly contribute to pain in the low back and pelvis. This is
particularly true as the mechanical forces on the bones shift during
pregnancy. Bone bruises not only contribute to pain but also swelling and
edema. (Crowell,2005). One way to improve comfort during the
biomechanical changes is to treat the bone bruises and mechanical
tensions with integrative manual therapy (IMT). Improving blood flow to
the pelvis and diaphragm also supports stability and decreases mechanical
tension during pregnancy. (Wheeler,2004).

Kimberly Burnham, PhD recently co-authored a paper on manual therapy and
pregnancy published in the Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients. She
will cover the ways in which manual therapy can help with all aspects of
the birth process and help mothers and the babies after they are born.

Thursday April 16th, 2009
7:15 pm – 8:15pm

Macular Degeneration
Manual therapy approaches which improve blood flow to (carrying
nutrients) and away (draining toxins) from the eyes and head can
positively impact the symptoms of macular degeneration, detached retina
and retinitis pigmentosa.
Improving liver function and detoxification can also help. There is a lot
of medical research to support the use of essential fatty acids in vision
problems in general and retinal dysfunctions specifically. Tumeric may
also have a positive effect.
Reflex points from the fields of Acupuncture, Shiatsu, Integrative Manual
Therapy and more can improve eye function and vision.

Former Director of VisionIMT at the Center for Integrative Manual Therapy
and Diagnostics, Kimberly Burnham, PhD will present on the benefits of
using manual therapy to improve vision.