Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

Archive for the ‘Health’

I had a pain in my knee so I went to a chiropractor.

May 25, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Health 3 Comments →


I’ve had a pain in my right knee for several weeks. I strained it because I thought I was invincible. Like many people who get injured I figured the pain would go away eventually, but after a couple of months I became concerned. Walking is my main physical exercise—taking long walks jogs the brain so it produces stories, and when I’m writing I pace a lot. The stiff knee was getting in the way of my writing.

A friend recommended that I consult Dr Bodhise, a chiropractor. He assists the Artists Welfare project, and his patients include dancers with Ballet Philippines. If there’s anyone with an intimate knowledge of bodily pain, it’s ballet dancers. Also, I’ve always been curious about chiropractors—they figure in so many New York novels and movies. So I made an appointment.

Dr. Paul Brown Bodhise studied at La Salle University in Philadelphia and the New York Chiropractic College. He is a Vietnam veteran who first visited the Philippines in 1973. He was standing on a street corner in Angeles when a bus whizzed by him and two girls yelled, “Hey, soul brother!” After he left the air force he studied alternative medicine. When he retired he decided to move to Asia, and remembering the soul sisters he came here.

Before the treatment, he asked me to watch a video about the natural healing therapies he practises. He combines chiropractic and naturopathic techniques and herbology. The treatment addresses the immediate pain, and figures out the root causes of the pain. Among the common causes are poor diet, too much salt and/or sugar, stress and adrenal reactions. Adrenaline enabled the fight or flight response of early humans who had to deal with large predators. It increases blood flow, breathing, carbohydrate metabolism. Today the probability of running into a hungry direwolf on Edsa is low, but our adrenaline gets going anyway when we get into a bad traffic jam or read provocative comments on Facebook. So the body reacts in a disproportionately big way, and it wreaks havoc on our systems.


On to the treatment. First, ultrasound therapy for the stiff knee. “I’m not gonna crack your bones,” Dr Bodhise told me. He asked me how I injured myself and explained that even before the incident, my knee was already vulnerable due to wear and tear. He massaged the knee and put pressure on the uncomfortable area. The point, he said, was to encourage the muscles and bones to fix themselves.

Then he applied his neuromuscular reintegration technique, essentially a deep tissue massage and traction, to realign the skeletal frame. This harmonizes the nervous system and the muscular system, he explained, to restore their normal function. He pointed out the areas on my back, elbow, and the base of my neck that were misaligned and could cause future discomfort. The therapy usually takes 30 – 45 minutes.

Afterwards my knee was better and my stride was closer to normal. It was still stiff, but I no longer felt like one leg was shorter than the other. What I like about the treatment is that Dr Bodhise doesn’t just write a prescription for the pain. He looks into the causes, advises you on how to prevent illness, and advocates a holistic approach to good health. For more information, visit

Next week I’ll tell you how my knee feels. In the meantime I’m taking my sister to this chiropractor because she has two PhDs in stress.

Dr. Paul Bodhise’s clinic is on the second floor of Seibu Tower, 6th Avenue corner 24th Street, Bonifacio Global City. Call or text 0908 449 7673 to make an appointment. The consultation fee is Php2000.

Fashion to the rescue: A solution for senior citizens with bladder issues

December 15, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Announcements, Clothing, Health No Comments →

Introducing On-The-Go, the cargo pants with a secret, created by Dennis Lustico, Mon Pineda, James Reyes and Noel Orosa. Read the feature at InterAksyon.

On-The-Go retails at PHP 800.00 and comes in three colors: navy blue, black, and khaki. There are five waist sizes for men: Extra Small (29 inches), Small (30-31 inches), Medium (32-33 inches), Large (34-35 inches) and Extra Large (36 inches). To order, please contact Alyssa Lustico at 0926-7560494 or (02)8460915, email, or leave a comment.

Now they tell us: Drink only when you’re thirsty

July 02, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Health No Comments →

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Remember when you were a kid and all your coaches and camp counselors and those vaguely hippie-ish guys who took your youth group hiking would tell you to drink, even when you weren’t thirsty? Turns out they were trying to murder you.

The Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine published new guidelines on hydration that essentially boiled down to “Drink only when you’re thirsty.” That sounds like something that doesn’t need to be said, except everyone who has done even amateur sports, or gone hiking or camping, has been advised to keep drinking all the time, even when they’re not thirsty. I remember hiking instructors who told people to drink until their urine was completely clear. This is one of the pieces of advice that the journal specifically warns against.

Too much liquid leads to hyponatremia. The overworked kidneys can’t excrete water fast enough. The sodium levels in the body get too low. Sodium helps cells regulate their fluid intake. Too little sodium in the liquid surrounding cells, and osmosis causes liquid to pass through the cell membrane and pour into the cell. The body’s cells swell, and can even burst.

Done that.

Read Sports Medicine Journal Reveals Our Childhood Coaches Tried To Kill Us.

Drinking too much water can also kill you.

May 25, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Health No Comments →

weather forecast

The conventional wisdom for surviving extreme heat is to drink plenty of water. Of course we need to stay hydrated whatever the temperature outside, but too much of anything is bad for you. This I learned in dramatic fashion exactly one year ago.

In your fear of dehydration, do not overreact and give yourself water intoxication. If you drink a lot of water (and that includes sports drinks) but you don’t eat, you risk an electrolyte imbalance. Electrolytes are chemicals such as sodium and potassium that power your cells and run the electricity in your brain. The human body is a finely-balanced system: ingest too much of anything and it takes corrective measures.

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P.S. Always carry a card with the name and number of a person to call in case of emergency. Your phone should have an “In case of emergency” entry.

What you won’t do for your hair

July 29, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Health No Comments →

The hair care industry nets billions and billions of dollars globally, and a large chunk of that money is from consumers who don’t even have hair. People will try anything to ward off baldness, from expensive transplants to drug treatments to massages or quack cures. In their desperation to keep their remaining hair or add even a handful of strands to it, highly intelligent people unleash their inner gullible moron.

And don’t get us started on wigs. There’s delusion, and then there’s self-delusion. We know you’re wearing a toupee, even if you use three of varying lengths so your hair seems to be growing! Then there are the attempts at misdirection, such as the ponytail that supposedly diverts the onlooker’s attention from the sparseness of the hair on top of the head.

Granted, bald/balding people tend to be the butt of jokes, especially in the Philippines where those who look different are mocked most cruelly by people who are less attractive than they are. And not everyone looks better bald like Ed Harris or Jason Statham.

As far as we can tell, the thickness of one’s hair is determined by genetics, diet, stress level and styling habits (Obviously too much coloring and blow-drying will hurt your hair). There are drugs that promise to cure baldness—oddly enough, the best-known ones were discovered while researchers were working on cures for other things. However, the drug that is supposed to end baldness reportedly ends the sex drive as well, so if the reason you want to grow hair is to attract female companionship, think hard.

The hair care brand Novuhair has taken botanical ingredients that are known to promote scalp health and combined them as a natural solution to hair loss.

Novuhair 2-in-1 Plus 1
Novuhair 2-in-1 Plus One Pack is available at Php4,980 in Mercury Drug Stores and all other drugstores nationwide.

Its active ingredients include moringa oleifera (malunggay), panax ginseng, virgin coconut oil, as well as the essential oils of rosemary, peppermint and lavender. These help improve blood circulation and increase nutrient flow to the scalp, thereby addressing hair loss.

Do you have a solution to hair loss? Let us know in Comments.

At least it was a literary disease

July 02, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Health No Comments →

Ivan Karamazov and the devil

What exactly happened to me? Contrary to reports—though it is flattering to think that my medical condition would interest anyone—I did not have a stroke or fall down the stairs, nor did anyone have to break my door down to rescue me. (If you started these rumors, I hope you are not too attached to having skin because I will have you flayed alive.) Ironically, a battery of tests has proven that I am in rude health. I don’t even have high blood pressure, how did that happen?

As a literature major I get a kick out of telling people I had “brain fever”, a 19th century catch-all term for any inflammation of the brain. Practically everyone in Victorian and Russian novels had it: Pip in Great Expectations, Catherine in Wuthering Heights, Victor Frankenstein in Frankenstein. In The Brothers Karamazov, Ivan had it just before he was to defend his brother on the charge of murdering their father. When he had brain fever he saw the devil, who looked like a nouveau poor landowner.

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