Photo: woods wheatcroft photography

This is the second part.

Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) sufferers are 3.4 times more likely to suffer from major depression than adults without fibromyalgia.[1] It’s easy to understand why the varied symptoms of FMS were considered psychosomatic. But if there are psychological effects, they are due to the physiology of the body, just as with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) causes psychological consequences.

Regardless of how you want to interpret FMS, to do more than suppress the symptoms, you need to treat the cause: the chronic stress. That means you must release the stress from the body, particularly the fascia of the body. In doing that, you will also need to learn how not to put the stress back into your body. Releasing the chronic stress makes learning that easy. Often it’s just a natural result.

Stress may come from the body being toxic, or from the wrong diet, such as too many simple carbohydrates. Either one can be an irritant to the body, as can a chronic disease such as Lyme’s Disease.

Your body has an amazing ability to recover from acute stress and injury. It loses that ability when under constant stress. Effective therapies for FMS will address how your body habituated to being constantly under stress. These therapies will cause your body to relax on a deep level, allowing the chronic stress to leave, and the immune system and the body’s ability to regenerate to kick in.

Doing cognitive or analytical psychotherapy or taking pain meds does not address the cause. The beauty to healing FMS is you don’t need to understand it. Nor do you need to keep chancing the ever-changing symptoms. You need to reverse what occurred. You take the stress response and the chronic stress stored in your body away, and the body knows what to do to heal.

It can be simple as what we see in our men’s trainings. A man will stand up. We ask him a simple question that helps him be more aware while feeling safe. His body starts to shake. We encourage it. It might tremble. From a few minutes of literally shaking off the deep stress, we see men’s lives change. Your body doesn’t want the stress it stored in your soft tissue. With the right kind of help, it will release it.

Mindfulness, the practice of accepting what is occurring in your body and mind, will release stress and retrain you over time. Bodywork that focuses on chronic tension can be the short course in removing stress. Somatic psychotherapies such as Hakomi and Somatic Experiencing are effective at releasing the stress and healing FMS.

[1] CDC, 2009

Owen Marcus, MA Certified Advanced Rolfer & author,, 37 yrs experience – call if you have questions: 265.8440.

Photo: sasint / Pixabay


Does your body hurt? Do you feel hyper-sensitive? Do your muscles often feel tired? Do you have general fatigue? Do suffer from depression[1] or sleep problems? If your answers are yes, you may have Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS), a condition that in years past was often simply called arthritis. Until our recent vets returned from war, 90% of the FMS suffers were women, and 90% of them had jaw or facial pain.[2]

Because symptoms vary and are often systemic, FMS is difficult to diagnosis. And because the symptoms and cause reside in the soft tissue,  there is no test that confirms you have FMS.

Years ago, when I had my clinic in Scottsdale, AZ, I had a client who spent a week at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale going through every test they could give her. At the end of the week, the best they could do was send her to their psychiatrist. When I told her she hadn’t imagined the pain, that yes, it was real, she began to cry. When I could touch her trigger points, she smiled and said, “If you can see it, then it must be real.”

Understanding and treating FMS can be simple. Your body’s response to chronic stress is to get tense in such a way that your muscles ache; you are wound up and exhausted at the same time from being in a constant survival state. When you release the stress in your life, your habituation to being stuck in the stress (survival) response and the consequential chronic tension in your soft tissue, your body will get well.

To the extent your body is stuck in survival, your resources are oriented to surviving not healing. The catch here is this: we are so accustomed to the stress, we don’t realize it’s there. We just feel the effect of it.

Physicians sent their FMS patients to my clinic. The therapies and nutritional programs that worked for other patients would often not work for the FMS patients. But once we released their chronic stress, the body immediately started healing.

Fascia is the connective tissue that surrounds muscles and organs. It is the organ of stress. Over time, the fascia will go from being Spandex to shoe leather. With fascia’s high nerve innervation, it’s no wonder the tensest areas are the most painful.

Fascia will contract under stress, as seen in a crisis when you need superhuman strength.[3] It will also do that under constant stress. With never a chance to release, the fascia locks in that tension. Biopsies show excessive collagen (the protein in fascia) in tense bodies.[4]

Stress can also come from chronic illness. The body’s attempt to deal with Lyme’s Disease can cause FMS symptoms. The stress of nutritional deficiencies, such as not enough protein, can be a co-cause. There is more research coming out how wheat and possibly other grains can bring on FMS.[5]

Next week we will discuss what you can do.

[1] CDC, 2009

[2] Fibromyalgia Network, 1999

[3] Arthritis and Rheumatlogy, April 2000

[4] Ibid.

[5] Rheumatol Int., 2014 Apr 12

Owen Marcus, MA Certified Advanced Rolfer & author,, 37 yrs experience – call if you have questions: 265.8440.

Photo:greekfood-tamystika / Pixabay


Know this: there is nothing wrong with you. It is not your fault that the concept of “relationship success” seems like empty words. The problem is, you were never modeled or taught critical emotional intelligence skills that foster connection. When given these skills, you will thrive. What you are missing is a map of how to do foster connections.

Creating a successful relationship can be simple and even easy. It comes down to moving through your stress and tension, getting to vulnerability, and connecting. That’s the formula that no one ever taught us. Because of that, we often need guidance in developing these three key skills.

You can do it. We see couples turning around their failed relationship using this process. We see men in our free groups and trainings turning around their lives with this Emotional Algorithm, and its three ROC stages:

  1. Relax Release the effects of the physiology of the stress and its resulting tension, resistance, fear, trauma, collapse, rigidity, and frozenness. The freeing will unlock the hold you created, allowing you to surrender, setting you up for: sensing, feeling, focusing on your experience, relaxing, and being in the zone. This new emotional frame allows for emotional You change from reacting to responding.
  2. Open Being vulnerable is the key to being receptive, empathetic, honest, and available. Establish a new setup for new behaviors. When you initiate new patterns, empathy is natural.
  3. Connect Once open, you can choose to reach out, receive, allow, collaborate, communicate, engage, and risk connecting with others. From a base of inner connection, you reach out to others. You create what the scientists who study Attachment Theory call secure bonds.

ROC your world

This order is the natural progression of change. You can enter the algorithm at any point to create movement. For example, you go to connect to someone, and it’s not happening. If you open up to the person, feel your resistance, then release it, you will connect.

Each component is backed by research and years of developing methods to effectively achieve its benefits. Collectively, you have an exponential benefit with the Emotional Algorithm to achieving inner personal and professional relationships success.

This process of experiencing and utilizing your emotions to enrich your life is instinctual. Your ancestor processed these abilities. A baby comes into the world with the need to use them. Because this algorithm is hardwired into our operating system, we have the drive to remove what prevents its functioning. Once activated, we relax, and life gets easier. Also, because it’s buried in others too, when you are functioning from this place, others will naturally relax, open, and connect. You do it, and others will follow.

Not having secure attachments to others will produce stress and even trauma. If that stress or trauma is not completed and released, you can get stuck. Then your disconnection needs to unwind by starting at Release.

The Sandpoint Men’s Group spent the last twelve years honing this algorithm. We discovered how to teach these concepts in a fun way. No one can learn a skill if it was never even demonstrated, let alone taught. The first weekend in May we are teaching a small group of men how to fill in the gaps in their deep emotional intelligence and connecting skills. The entire weekend will be done in a setting of safety and confidentiality. Contact me for more information, or visit

Owen Marcus, MA Certified Advanced Rolfer & author,, 37 yrs experience – call if you have questions: 265.8440.

PHoto: MichaelGaida / Pixabay


Eating is such an important part of our health. This includes not just what we eat, but also how and when we eat, as well as how much.

Trying to figure out what foods are best is a process of personal exploration and discovery. Especially when it comes to determining what not to eat.

We can reach outwardly and talk to others about their experience, read books, and listen to podcasts. I’ve heard so many different opinions and ideas of what is right and wrong when it comes to eating. There are even federal dietary guidelines for Americans telling us what to do.

Sorting through all this information has left me with one conclusion – that diets are best personalized by the individual. Yes, this means that the same plan is not good for everyone.

We are all different in how we absorb and metabolize nutrients. And these differences can change over time. This is affected by factors such as our lifestyle, genes, gut microbiome, current state of health, stress, and overall toxic burden.

There is an emerging field, called nutrigenomics, that is researching personalized dietary advice based upon genetic testing.  They are pushing the envelope on normal dietary rules. The ones that tell everyone what to eat and not eat, like more whole grains or less sugar.

Nutrigenomics would offer an individualized plan. This type of approach requires genetic testing, even analyzing your gut microbiome. There are companies out there today offering exactly these kind of tests.

But I think there is an even more effective way of figuring out what kind of food we may want to avoid. One that brings our attention to our own body. We can do the testing and analysis right in our very kitchen, without costing anything. This is called an elimination diet.

An elimination diet is a process of removing foods that often cause problems in most people, and then reintroducing them back into our diet one-by-one to see how we respond ourself.

It is a short-term eating plan that supports us to individually determine, from our own experience, what our body likes and doesn’t.

You would start by removing dairy, eggs, gluten, sugar, processed meats, trans fats, and soy. There is more, and make sure you include the foods you crave as these are likely the ones you are most sensitive to.

You could also have an intolerance to natural chemicals in some foods, like oxalates and salicylates, or chemicals produced by your body after eating certain foods, like histamines. Remove these foods too.

Stay on this restricted diet for several weeks. I like to reach for three weeks in order for my body to remove the build up of toxins and reduce the overall inflammation I’ve accumulated.

There are many health problems associated with eating foods our body doesn’t tolerate well. And we may actually eat these every day. Headaches, depression, joint aches, asthma, low energy, digestive problems, and skin irritations are typically related to what you eat.

Going on a three week elimination diet will allow your body to recover and begin functioning efficiently again. It will also make you more sensitive to foods that have been causing problems.

Often, symptoms that have been challenging will resolve themselves simply by removing aggravating foods. I recommend adding in anti-inflammatory foods during this time, such as fatty fish and dark leafy greens.

The elimination diet offers a personalized approach to eating that reduces inflammation, helps support repair of damage caused to your gut, and promotes a greater awareness to foods. Getting in touch with your own bodies response is key to individualizing what you eat.

Come on down for a comprehensive guide.

Scott Porter is a Functional Medicine Pharmacist at Sandpoint Super Drug. He is a member of the Sandpoint Wellness Council.

Photo:Unsplash / Pixabay


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