"Ever since our little chat in December I have implemented about a dozen little changes. I must say real food is the silver bullet for many ailments. Thanks Carolyn!"
- Irene V, mother of two, radio personality, real estate mogul, SOARing parent
"One niggling feature of my existence which has negatively impacted my life is a long running low back injury. I have a disk bulge in the L4-L5 region that, if improperly managed, can lay me out for days. So long as I stay up on my mobility and trunk-work, things are pretty good, but if I get “too busy” and sit too often, neglect my mobility, particularly my hip flexors, I am begging for problems. When I was wrapping up the editing for Wired To Eat I found myself in a situation in which I convinced myself I was “too busy” to stay on top of my mobility. A jiujitsu class got my back irritated. A sneeze (really) dropped me like I’d been tasered. A friend of mine here in Reno, Carolyn Dolan heard that I was laid up and offered to help. Carolyn is a DPT who is also certified in the Mckenzie Method of back assessment and rehab. I’ve tried just about everything from PRI to crystals and moonstones, so I was not overly optimistic about this whole process. Well, after a thorough movement screen Carolyn suggested a sequence of simple movements which provided almost immediate relief. It’s been a process, but so long as I stay on top of my symptoms, and really work on the exercises that help to (in theory) pull my bulging disk back into place, I do pretty damn well. Sitting too much can still be a problem. Working too much closed guard with 240lb guys can get me into trouble. But now I am paying much better attention to the low level symptoms and just staying religious about my corrective exercises. ALSO. If I am feeling a bit “fragile” I don’t roll, or if I do I pick my partners carefully and I work on things I know will not irritate my back. I’m hoping to get Carolyn on the podcast soon to delve into all of this, but I wanted to mention all this as I know many folks suffer from low back pain and the Mckenzie method might be a good option."
-section of blog post from robbwolf.com
Robb Wolf, author, father of 2 and BJJ competitor, SOARing parent
This is a book review written last year by Ty Jones - owner and coach at Crossfit Initiative here in Reno, NV
So I just finished reading "SOAR INTO HEALTH" by our very own Dr. Carolyn Dolan DPT, Cert MDT. And while it's very fresh in my mind, I thought I'd share my thoughts and how it inspired me. But first, let me say a couple things. Soupha and I feel very blessed to have such a great group of people in the CFI community. We have several health care providers from several different educational backgrounds and disciplines. And every one of them is the type of conscientious professional that I would want treating me when I need it. I deeply appreciate that Carolyn took the time to compose this book and share from her heart, tempered with a high level of classical education. She draws from her personal life throughout the book. And even if you haven't met her, you will feel like she's an old friend by the time you finish reading it. You'll also probably imagine her husband, Dr. Chris Dolan, as a wise old sage with a long beard that periodically pops in to give very insightful advice (perhaps wearing a robe like Gandalf). Ironically, Chris' super power is the ability to rapidly grow very long and bushy beards.... Coincidence?
Rather than try to reiterate the 4 KISS principles that Carolyn makes a case for in the book, and fail to do the material justice, I thought I'd talk about how she approaches the writing of this book and why I enjoyed it so much.
It's Real Life
Like I said, she draws from her own life a lot. This creates a personal connection and you realize that she isn't just offering advice. She's successfully living it. And just like real life, she regularly concedes her failures in her journey to health. She voluntarily puts herself into a glass house and so the reader doesn't feel shamed. And although Carolyn has a PhD, she writes with humility and in language that anyone and everyone can understand and relate to.
It's About Truth
I am a big believer in absolute truth. I believe that there is an absolute truth regardless of what we choose to believe. Carolyn makes a great case that our culture, health care (sick care) system, and worldview on health is pretty dysfunctional. And if something remains dysfunctional long enough, it becomes accepted as "normal". What's more, she points out that absolutely nothing in her book is new information (other than her personal experiences). And that the truth has been known for a very long time. But we have moved away from it. Regardless of what society deems "normal", we are not a healthy people. And the truth is that health is very much in reach. And most of us simply don't know what we're missing.
A coaching principle I really try to stick to is the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) principle. The more complex the subject, the more important this principle is. Personally, this is a struggle for me because I'm a huge nerd, and the details are often what fascinate me. But using simple core concepts as your home base, and always referring back to them when in doubt, is the best way to stay on track. Throughout the book, Carolyn is a stickler for this concept. Sure, she could completely nerd out on cortisol levels or systemic inflammation, but she doesn't. That's a different book for a different audience. But all of that information is present in this book, invisibly guiding the actual writing of the text. Because she wrote the book this way, it is not just an academic read. Rather, it's a book that you can use right now to dramatically improve your quality of life and extend the expected life spans of you and your children. As a side note, Carolyn can't actually say things like that in the book. But I'm a rebel and I'm saying it for her ;-)
I've stifled my boredom through a lot of books, especially in school. This book was actually fun to read. I looked forward to sitting down and reading it each time I got a chance. I repeatedly chuckled to myself as Carolyn used the term FUBAR and struggled to write comfortably using the queen-mother of dirty words to get a point across early in the book. It was clear that she was very uncomfortable with the language, but felt strongly that it was the best strategy to get her point across. I think you'll find that a bit funny too. Throughout the book, I found her anecdotes entertaining. Sometimes sad, sometimes funny, but always captivating.
I'll admit, I started reading the book because Carolyn is a friend. She took the time to write the book, I felt like I should take the time to read it. But it grabbed me and pulled me in right off the bat. It's a very good book. It has made it on my list of books all human beings should be required to read. I'll list the others below :-)
It's not very long. And you can finish it in just a few sessions. It's very insightful, it's from the heart, and it could change your life!
Modern Books Every Human Should Be Required To Read
Mistakes were made but not by me
The power of habit
Soar Into Health
"My testimonial is that I had to do a number of things for the pain to subside. Carolyn customized a plan tailored to my individual needs which was a great idea and very successful. She educated, counseled and performed traditional physical therapy to promote physical and emotional wellness. She looked at my entire body and the dynamics of my lifestyle to decide the best resources to offer me. She formulated a nutritional program that stimulated healing and relived pain. Carolyn taught me exercises and stretch routines while providing me with recipes to connect with my individual health-giving plan. She used my cell phone to video me doing the exercises and stretches in her office so I could see it later when I followed through at home. She asked a lot of questions and answered many questions with a smile. Carolyn’s approach I felt was prosperous to a healthy body and strong inner being."
"When I first met Carolyn I was struggling with a lower back injury. I was devastated that I might not be able to be as active as I wanted to be. Carolyn first gave me hope. She assessed my situation and helped me work through my injury, strengthen weak muscles and helped me develop my own awareness to heal my back. I also consulted with her on diet and healthy nutrition. Based on many of her recommendations and constant support I have lost 25 pounds, maintain and enjoy a healthy lifestyle and I now know how to listen to my body. I am so lucky to have her helping me stay strong and healthy."
"Carolyn came to my home immediately following a debilitating injury I sustained to my back. During our first visit she did a thorough examination to help determine the cause and extent of my injury. After making a diagnosis she worked with me to realign my back which too a few weeks of weekly to bi-weekly visits as well as stretches and exercises I did on my own to resolve my issue. I so appreciate the time Carolyn took to help me understand the way my lifestyle and activities were affecting my back and the tools she gave me to help prevent future injury." - Ceira D
"After having hip surgery in January of 2014 to remove bones spurs, a bone cyst and a severe calcium build up, I thought the pain would be over. Yes, the pain from the hip was over but I found I was still struggling with lower back pain. That is when I met with Carolyn Dolan.
I didn't want medication nor was I looking for a quick fix. I wanted to figure out how I could strengthen my back and at least find a place where I could manage whatever back pain I might have. Carolyn gave me exactly that and more.
We met weekly for about 6 months. We tested different exercises and back stretches. But it was the daily exercises that Carolyn prescribed for me that allowed me to control my back pain. Simply by starting my day with these basic exercises, I was experiencing a tremendous difference in my pain. She also gave me other tools including lifestyle nutritional recommendations to improve my recovery. She empowered me to care for myself. Through my exercises, Carolyn showed me how to recognize my bodies response to certain activities and movements. I was able to make adjustments myself, not relying on her to "fix" me. By making these changes I have been able to return to the active lifestyle I had enjoyed before my hip injury. Today I am cycling, hiking and doing yoga without pain. Thank you so much Carolyn for giving me the tools to heal MYSELF!!"
Dr Carolyn Dolan DPT, Cert MDT, MSHN
Where physical therapy, nutrition and lifestyle meet, because how you live your life determines whether or not you soar. Inspiring action with information so you can reduce pain, optimize healing and improve function naturally during recovery from injury, surgery or painful condition. This is a website for the open-minded; obstinate need not apply.