Ricky’s Riffs: A blog about health and healing and a world that needs care.

The War on Health Care

The War on Health Care

Our health care system is in crisis. Everyone feels it. Premiums and deductibles keep rising, provider networks are narrowing, and the bite out of the average American paycheck gets bigger and bigger. Health care has taken center stage in the run-up to the 2020 election. The Democrat arguments swing from elimination of the private health insurance industry and Medicare-For-All to a public option to buy into the Medicare system.  The Republicans have no plan, beyond destroying the ACA (Obamacare) and crying “socialism!”
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In Guatemala with the Integrative Health Project

In Guatemala with the Integrative Health Project

I just returned from a week in Guatemala, where I worked with the Integrative Health Project.  The project was started by a few acupuncturists about six years ago.  They wanted to work with the underserved, indigenous population living around Lake Atitlan, a beautiful, fertile and impoverished region in the Guatemalan highlands.

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Pain, the Opioid Crisis, and Alternative Care

Pain, the Opioid Crisis, and Alternative Care

Drug overdoses killed approximately 72,000 people in in the United States in 2017. This was an increase of 10% from 2016. The two reasons cited are (1) Americans continue to use opioids in increasing numbers, and (2) there are more powerful, deadlier, synthetic opioids available in the underground marketplace---mainly fentanyl, which is 100 times stronger than morphine.  While the latter is the primary cause of fatalities, there is a connection between the two explanations...

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A Rationale For A Single Payer Health Care System

A Rationale For A Single Payer Health Care System

We are currently in the midst of the most lethal drug epidemic in our country’s history. One of the shocking things about this crisis is that it has been going on for the past 20 years without showing any signs of letting up. In 2016, overdoses involving opioids killed more than 42,000 people. Of those deaths, 40% were from prescription opioids. (Statistics are still being finalized for 2017.) Several recent books describe the evolution of this...

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Welcome to “Condition: Health News That Matters”

Welcome to “Condition: Health News That Matters”

Real change is coming to our health insurance system. This is inevitable for the simple reason that the system, as it stands, is not sustainable. Premiums and deductibles keep rising, way beyond the rate of inflation. Drug prices also rise, as do hospital and medical device costs.

In 2010 President Obama pushed through his landmark legislation, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which enabled millions of previously uninsured people...

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The Sound of Healing

The Sound of Healing

I have treated many performers: musicians, actors and dancers. They are a colorful, exciting group of men and women who choose to follow their dreams, listen to their inner voices, and dedicate their lives to the creative process. I respect and admire them. A...

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A World of Pain

A World of Pain

The objects with which we surround ourselves serve multiple functions. On the one hand they may be utilitarian: dressers, chairs, and desks that support our home and work lives. At the same time, they tell us and others who we are. Does our home or office convey...

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Empathy, Patient Centered Care and Healing

Empathy, Patient Centered Care and Healing

In our highly medicated society, Americans consume more mind and mood altering drugs—legal, illegal and prescribed--than any other people in the world.  Cocaine, heroin, marijuana, Xanax, Ambien, Atavan, alcohol and many more: a full spectrum of pain, anti-anxiety,...

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Obamacare and the Shifting of the American Mind

Obamacare and the Shifting of the American Mind

On September 13, 2017, Bernie Sanders---the Independent Democratic Socialist---stood with fifteen Democrats and introduced the “Medicare-For-All Act”, HR 676.  Bernie has been introducing varying versions of this legislation for many years; but without any...

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Public Option: Next Step Toward Universal Health Care

Public Option: Next Step Toward Universal Health Care

The American Health Care Act (AHCA) was written, presented, lobbied for and rejected within the first 60 days of Donald Trump’s presidency. For eight years, the Republicans had made “repeal and replace Obamacare” their rallying cry.  Yet even with control of both the...

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Trump Induced Stress Disorder (TISD): A New Diagnosis for a New Era

Trump Induced Stress Disorder (TISD): A New Diagnosis for a New Era

We are currently in the midst of the most lethal drug epidemic in our country’s history. One of the shocking things about this crisis is that it has been going on for the past 20 years without showing any signs of letting up. In 2016, overdoses involving opioids killed more than 42,000 people. Of those deaths, 40% were from prescription opioids. (Statistics are still being finalized for 2017.) Several recent books describe the evolution of this...

read more
Pain and Suffering of the Digital Natives

Pain and Suffering of the Digital Natives

Drug overdoses killed approximately 72,000 people in in the United States in 2017. This was an increase of 10% from 2016. The two reasons cited are (1) Americans continue to use opioids in increasing numbers, and (2) there are more powerful, deadlier, synthetic opioids available in the underground marketplace---mainly fentanyl, which is 100 times stronger than morphine.  While the latter is the primary cause of fatalities, there is a connection between the two explanations...

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Revolution or Incrementalism: The Battle Over American Health Care

Revolution or Incrementalism: The Battle Over American Health Care

We are currently in the midst of the most lethal drug epidemic in our country’s history. One of the shocking things about this crisis is that it has been going on for the past 20 years without showing any signs of letting up. In 2016, overdoses involving opioids killed more than 42,000 people. Of those deaths, 40% were from prescription opioids. (Statistics are still being finalized for 2017.) Several recent books describe the evolution of this...

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Music, Art and Revolution: Cuba, 2016

Music, Art and Revolution: Cuba, 2016

On November 9, 2016 I was in my office, getting ready to see patients. It was the morning after Donald Trump had been elected President of the United States of America. His election sent shock waves through the country and the world. A dark cloud seemed to hang over...

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A Persian Wedding: Love and the Will to Freedom

A Persian Wedding: Love and the Will to Freedom

Co-written with Allie Stark, MA, RYT In the world of wellness, the New Year is a business opportunity. The health industry can’t help but take advantage of the many people looking for salves, supplements, and “booty busting” exercises to make you, the best new you....

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Mortality and Healing: A Meditation and Tribute to a Friend

Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport is typical of many airports in the “developing” world—one terminal and one carousel for our bags (AND the bags of another two flights coming in right after us).  After an hour of chaos, we found our last piece of luggage and...

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Ebola, Chronic Disease and the Road to Wellness

Ebola, Chronic Disease and the Road to Wellness

I was never a Facebook “poster.” That is, until the latest Israel-Gaza War. I watched as the tensions escalated on both sides of the conflict, sensing what was to come. First, there was the kidnapping of the three teenage settler boys in the West Bank. Immediately...

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Health Care Reform: A New Way of Thinking

Health Care Reform: A New Way of Thinking

In a health care environment marked by raging turf battles that pit one profession against another, positive change will require—as a start--introspection and self-criticism by providers from different disciplines. I am trained as a chiropractor, and have practiced my...

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Israel/Palestine: A Land of Hope and Pain

Israel/Palestine: A Land of Hope and Pain

Discussions about health care reform tend to focus on payment methods. Critics assert that insurance companies (in concert with pharmaceutical companies and hospitals) are the primary causes of runaway costs. While there is a relationship between payment methods and...

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New Models for Health and Healing

New Models for Health and Healing

In a health care environment marked by raging turf battles that pit one profession against another, positive change will require—as a start--introspection and self-criticism by providers from different disciplines. I am trained as a chiropractor, and have practiced my...

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Magic and Healing: An Interlude

Magic and Healing: An Interlude

Discussions about health care reform tend to focus on payment methods. Critics assert that insurance companies (in concert with pharmaceutical companies and hospitals) are the primary causes of runaway costs. While there is a relationship between payment methods and...

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Paradigms, Power, and Healing

Paradigms, Power, and Healing

My good friend and colleague, Paul, strongly disagreed with my last blog. In that article I described what I believed to be a paradigm shift taking place in health care: a cultural movement away from allopathic medicine, now our dominant mode of healing, to a medicine...

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The Insurance Game

The Insurance Game

I recently read through some materials given to me by a colleague. She is a broker for a company that creates health care programs for large corporations and had just returned from a “Wellness” conference sponsored by a major health insurance provider. The emphasis of...

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NAMM, MusiCares, and Tribal Healing

NAMM, MusiCares, and Tribal Healing

I recently read through some materials given to me by a colleague. She is a broker for a company that creates health care programs for large corporations and had just returned from a “Wellness” conference sponsored by a major health insurance provider. The emphasis of...

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Why Symptoms Matter….And Why They Don’t

Why Symptoms Matter….And Why They Don’t

People are talking about mindfulness as if it’s the latest fashion trend: mindful eating, mindful communication, mindful movement, even mindful business management. The explosion of books, CD’s and videos on the subject now includes weekend seminars and lengthy...

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Levels of Healing, Part One: Physico-Chemical Dimensions

Levels of Healing, Part One: Physico-Chemical Dimensions

I recently returned from attending my second NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) show.  This year, as in the past, I was working with MusiCares, the charitable health and human services arm of the Recording Academy (GRAMMYs). MusiCares offers support for...

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Levels of Healing, Part Two: Psycho-Energetic Dimensions

Levels of Healing, Part Two: Psycho-Energetic Dimensions

People are talking about mindfulness as if it’s the latest fashion trend: mindful eating, mindful communication, mindful movement, even mindful business management. The explosion of books, CD’s and videos on the subject now includes weekend seminars and lengthy...

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Obamacare and the Future of Health (in America): Re-Visioning Health and Healing, Part Three

Obamacare and the Future of Health (in America): Re-Visioning Health and Healing, Part Three

By Ricky Fishman, DC With seemingly clear boundaries between our bodies and the world through which we move, it’s easy to feel separated from everything outside our skin.  But as physical, chemical, emotional, and energetic beings, this perception belies our true nature. Our five senses--hearing, touch, smell, taste, and sight--are directed primarily outward.  They help us to navigate the material world, to survive so we may pass our DNA on to future generations. This Darwinian narrative has framed many of our modern ideas about health and healing...
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Integrative Care for Musicians: Upper Extremity Injuries

Integrative Care for Musicians: Upper Extremity Injuries

In a health care environment marked by raging turf battles that pit one profession against another, positive change will require—as a start--introspection and self-criticism by providers from different disciplines. I am trained as a chiropractor, and have practiced my...

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Rock and Roll Ergonomics, Part Three: The Studio

By Ricky Fishman, DC With seemingly clear boundaries between our bodies and the world through which we move, it’s easy to feel separated from everything outside our skin.  But as physical, chemical, emotional, and energetic beings, this perception belies our true nature. Our five senses--hearing, touch, smell, taste, and sight--are directed primarily outward.  They help us to navigate the material world, to survive so we may pass our DNA on to future generations. This Darwinian narrative has framed many of our modern ideas about health and healing...
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Norm and Normal: The Social Construction of Health

I first traveled to Burma in 1996, co-leading an educational tour with a group of eighteen students from New College of California.  Burma had just opened to the west after thirty years and Aung San Suu Kyi, the democratically elected president, who had been under...

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Peru and the Power of Mindful Travel

I was never a Facebook “poster.” That is, until the latest Israel-Gaza War. I watched as the tensions escalated on both sides of the conflict, sensing what was to come. First, there was the kidnapping of the three teenage settler boys in the West Bank. Immediately...

read more

Rock and Roll Ergonomics, Part Two: Low Back Protection

By Ricky Fishman, DC With seemingly clear boundaries between our bodies and the world through which we move, it’s easy to feel separated from everything outside our skin.  But as physical, chemical, emotional, and energetic beings, this perception belies our true nature. Our five senses--hearing, touch, smell, taste, and sight--are directed primarily outward.  They help us to navigate the material world, to survive so we may pass our DNA on to future generations. This Darwinian narrative has framed many of our modern ideas about health and healing...
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The Healing Power of Art

I remember my first bass rig. 1975. A sunburst Fender Precision copy and a small no-name transistor combo amp. Light weight, compact. I just threw it all into my Delta 88 Royale and drove. Easy. No muss, no fuss.  But as the years went by, and the bands got better,...

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Chiropractic and the East/West Dilemma

I have been in chiropractic practice for almost twenty five years. From the beginning, I have taken an integrative approach, working with a team of complementary practitioners—medical doctors, acupuncturists, physical, movement, and massage therapists, nurses, and...

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Journey to Iran, Part Two….Smoking with Nomads

Two years ago, while visiting New York City, I was strolling through an exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art titled “Venice and the Islamic World: 828-1797”.  The exhibition contained magnificent pottery, silver work, weaponry, and textiles, all laid out in glass...

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Journey to Iran, Part One….Heading East

By Ricky Fishman, DC With seemingly clear boundaries between our bodies and the world through which we move, it’s easy to feel separated from everything outside our skin.  But as physical, chemical, emotional, and energetic beings, this perception belies our true nature. Our five senses--hearing, touch, smell, taste, and sight--are directed primarily outward.  They help us to navigate the material world, to survive so we may pass our DNA on to future generations. This Darwinian narrative has framed many of our modern ideas about health and healing...
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Arrival in Bali

On November 9, 2016 I was in my office, getting ready to see patients. It was the morning after Donald Trump had been elected President of the United States of America. His election sent shock waves through the country and the world. A dark cloud seemed to hang over...

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Toward a New Definition of Health

The air blew thick and steamy through the mini-van window. As we climbed steep mountain roads veiled in tropical fog, the exhaustion of the long journey from California to Bali weighed heavily upon me, the rice paddies passing before my eyes as distant as San...

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Evolutionary Healing

It's the second set of the night.  The Les Paul strung over your shoulders pours out hard and soulful sounds through the Mesa Boogie Mark IV (78 pound, 85 tube watt) combo amp. As you reach for that perfect note, bent over in trance, you feel a twinge in your lower...

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Ringolevio, MySpace, and Being

Pregnancy can be one of a woman’s most beautiful life experiences; an event many have dreamed of since girlhood. Hormones surge, creating a sense of euphoria (as well as occasional nausea). The awareness slowly arises of a real human being, her child, growing inside...

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Modern Teenage and the Myth of Berkeley

I grew up in an apartment complex on the north side of Queens, in an urban New York City outpost called Bayside. And though given its name, one might imagine a gentle port, lined with restaurants and cafes, of strolling crowds taking in the salty night air, the...

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Post-Feminism and the Digital Media

By Ricky Fishman, DC With seemingly clear boundaries between our bodies and the world through which we move, it’s easy to feel separated from everything outside our skin.  But as physical, chemical, emotional, and energetic beings, this perception belies our true nature. Our five senses--hearing, touch, smell, taste, and sight--are directed primarily outward.  They help us to navigate the material world, to survive so we may pass our DNA on to future generations. This Darwinian narrative has framed many of our modern ideas about health and healing...
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Black Oak Rising

On November 9, 2016 I was in my office, getting ready to see patients. It was the morning after Donald Trump had been elected President of the United States of America. His election sent shock waves through the country and the world. A dark cloud seemed to hang over...

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On the Politics of Hate, Fear, Anger, and Love

The air blew thick and steamy through the mini-van window. As we climbed steep mountain roads veiled in tropical fog, the exhaustion of the long journey from California to Bali weighed heavily upon me, the rice paddies passing before my eyes as distant as San...

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In Memory of Danny Cassidy

It's the second set of the night.  The Les Paul strung over your shoulders pours out hard and soulful sounds through the Mesa Boogie Mark IV (78 pound, 85 tube watt) combo amp. As you reach for that perfect note, bent over in trance, you feel a twinge in your lower...

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Are Categories Real

Daniel Cassidy was a Professor of Irish Studies at New College of California as well as the founder of that program. A well known Irish-American activist and winner of the American Book Award in 2007 for his book "How The Irish Invented Slang". Danny passed away on...

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Connection and Connectivity

Somewhere in our development, a sense of self, of me and mine, arises. Perhaps our curious attachment to this identity is simply a survival mechanism, helping us to separate from the world beyond our senses, enabling us to navigate effectively. Whether this is a human...

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The Nature of Health and Healing

The air blew thick and steamy through the mini-van window. As we climbed steep mountain roads veiled in tropical fog, the exhaustion of the long journey from California to Bali weighed heavily upon me, the rice paddies passing before my eyes as distant as San...

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ricky@rickyfishman.com www.rickyfishman.com
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