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

On the Opioid and Gun Violence Epidemics: Rationales in Common

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

A Rationale For A Single Payer Health Care System

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…

read more

Welcome to “Condition: Health News That Matters”

For quite some time, I have been thinking about writing a book.  I believe I have a unique perspective on health and healing and that this perspective might be interesting and useful to others.  After all, I’ve been in practice for more than 30 years.  I’ve taught...

read more

The Sound of Healing

I relaxed at Philz, my local cafe, sinking into a soft leather couch, taking in a fine selection of indie rock, and enjoying some very strong coffee.  As I sipped on a tall Tesora, I daydreamed about the trip I’d soon be taking to Peru. I was excited, but at the same...

read more

A World of Pain

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,...

read more

Empathy, Patient Centered Care and Healing

Carlos presented in the clinic, walking stiffly.  He wore a green asbestos suit and steel toed boots.  The distinctive chemical smell of the steel mill where he worked clung to him like a second skin.  Carlos is a welder. He wields a blow torch for most of his day. ...

read more

Obamacare and the Shifting of the American Mind

The first order of business for Donald Trump and the Republican party was to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly known as Obamacare. Obamacare was the signature piece of legislation of President Obama’s eight years in office.  In terms of...

read more

Public Option: Next Step Toward Universal Health Care

The Republicans have failed to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  They stated this would be their first order of business upon coming into power.  Although they will surely continue their efforts, it is unlikely that they will succeed. It is now time...

read more

Trump Excitement Disorder (TED)…or Tribal Fever

The shock of Donald Trump’s election has left many people disoriented.  Assumptions about the nature and order of the world have been upended. Few, but not all, on the left side of the political spectrum believed Trump could be elected.  Yet here we are, six weeks...

read more

Pain and Suffering of the Digital Natives

“Digital natives” are those young women and men who have been raised from childhood on computers. We see them everywhere:  Toddlers in strollers playing with iPhones, pre-teens on iPads in restaurants, strategically distracted to allow their parents to eat in peace;...

read more

Music, Art and Revolution: Cuba, 2016

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...

read more

A Persian Wedding: Love and the Will to Freedom

Mehraban and Sahar were married under redwood trees in the hills overlooking the San Francisco Bay.  It was a brisk evening warmed by the presence of their many friends and relatives who had gathered from near and far. When I walked into the reception hall, the dance...

read more

Mortality and Healing: A Meditation and Tribute to a Friend

It seems to be a season of dying. It’s probably my age—almost 60—and the age of many of my friends. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that mortality is in the air. It’s not that I haven’t experienced death before. My father at 69, my old friend Sigrid at 36, my...

read more

Ebola, Chronic Disease and the Road to Wellness

The Ebola epidemic is still raging through West Africa. Thousands are dead, including many health care workers who bravely fought the disease on the front lines. There is an urgent demand to develop the medicines needed to defeat Ebola. Experimental drugs are being...

read more

Health Care Reform: A New Way of Thinking

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...

read more

Israel/Palestine: A Land of Hope and Pain

On the beaches and in the hip cafes of Tel Aviv, it is easy to escape the feeling of life at the edge of a precipice. Israelis refer to this modern Mediterranean city as “the bubble”: a place where one can imagine an Israel of secularism and safety. That feeling,...

read more

New Models for Health and Healing

We are currently in a full-blown health care crisis. The Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare) roll-out was a disaster. People in some states are still struggling to register through exchange websites to buy insurance. Others resist being forced to get insurance at...

read more

Magic and Healing: An Interlude

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...

read more

Paradigms, Power, and 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...

read more

The Insurance Game

A few weeks ago, a patient gleefully told me that he had gotten excellent new health insurance through his employer. The coverage included more chiropractic visits than his previous insurance plan, yet his co-pay was still minimal. It was difficult for me to share his...

read more

NAMM, MusiCares, and Tribal Healing

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...

read more

Why Symptoms Matter….And Why They Don’t

You’ve been at the computer for six hours and feel that familiar tug.  From your upper back, spreading slowly to your neck and grabbing the base of your skull, stiffness turns to pain and the dull ache turns sharp.  Your movement becomes restricted.  Unable to turn...

read more

Levels of Healing, Part One: Physico-Chemical Dimensions

By Ricky Fishman, DC

Most people come to see me because they have pain: neck pain, lower back pain, head pain. And they want relief. I first take a history. How long have they had the complaint? What makes the pain worse?  What relieves it? Have they had any car accidents or sports injuries?  What kind of work do they do?  Do they exercise? And so on. Then I do a physical exam. I look at their posture.  How do they hold themselves in space?  Are their heads tipped forward?  Are their shoulders rounded? …

read more

Levels of Healing, Part Two: Psycho-Energetic Dimensions

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…

read more

Integrative Care for Musicians: Upper Extremity Injuries

Rockers play hard.  Think of Pete Townsend and his windmill power chords, of Jerry Lee  Lewis frenetically pounding the keys.  We all love the sound and feel of that hard driving energy.  But the physical effects on players can be significant.  Repetitive stress...

read more

Rock and Roll Ergonomics, Part Three: The Studio

It’s one AM. You’ve been in “Logic”, laying down beats, working the midi since 10, creating your latest masterpiece.   Lost in the music, the creeping pain in your neck reminds you that it’s time to stand up and move around. Hunkered over the big board and reaching to...

read more

Norm and Normal: The Social Construction of Health

You go for your yearly medical check up. The doctor listens to your heart and feels your pulse.  Your blood is drawn and your blood pressure is taken. Looking at the sphygmomanometer (blood pressure cuff), she reports a number: 120/80.  “Perfect”, she says and when...

read more

Peru and the Power of Mindful Travel

Flying out of San Francisco, I imagined that all of my worries would simply disappear when I took off for the “mystical” land of Peru. I had recently been through a few travails, including an emotional business divorce and looked forward to some relief. But instead, I...

read more

Rock and Roll Ergonomics, Part Two: Low Back Protection

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...

read more

The Healing Power of Art

Thirty Five Thousand years ago, the ice age caves of Southern France were covered in beautiful images of wild animals and abstract symbols. Since that time, the ancestors of these painters have produced the Mona Lisa, Sufi poetry, and Rock and Roll. The story of Homo...

read more

Chiropractic and the East/West Dilemma

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...

read more

Journey to Iran, Part Two….Smoking with Nomads

The small Pugeot, gears grinding, wound its way into the high desert mountains. Leaving Shiraz, the City of Poets, of Sadi and Hafez, we were headed to Yasuj, the half way mark to Isfahan. The scenery had changed dramatically, from dry rolling hills to snow capped...

read more

Journey to Iran, Part One….Heading East

When I told friends I was planning a trip to Iran to do a preliminary tour in preparation for a program I would lead in April for my Educational Travel Company, Integral Expeditions, I got some immediate and varied responses. “Are you insane?” “Can I buy you an...

read more

Arrival in Bali

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...

read more

Toward a New Definition of Health

Over the last several decades, we have seen the proliferation of many types of therapies, from Chiropractic to Acupuncture to Rolfing to Sports Medicine. Presumably, with this great expansion, we have had the opportunity to become healthier than we have ever been...

read more

Evolutionary Healing

We ride on elevated rails and freeways, pass through subterranean tubes, moving quickly from apartment to office, home entertainment center to computer work station, from couch to seat. We sit before glowing screens, transporting data and occasionally rise to get some...

read more

Ringolevio, MySpace, and Being

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...

read more

Modern Teenage and the Myth of Berkeley

Berkeley, California. The bastion of free speech, of Bay Area beauty, of progressive thinking, a socialist enclave wrapped warmly in a blanket of greenery, organic nouvelle cuisine, and a world class university. And while all of these descriptions contain some truth,...

read more

Post-Feminism and the Digital Media

In the heart of Manhattan, a group of women come together to drink and eat and talk about life and business in the modern digital world. Formed in 2006, Women In Digital Media (WIDM), was founded by Cindy Charles, General Counsel of MediaNet, Aileen Atkins, General...

read more

Black Oak Rising

One of the joys of living in North Berkeley has been my close proximity to the great and venerable bookstore, Black Oak Books. Home to both the new and used, with a wonderful collection of contemporary and classic titles, the store reflects the work of deep and well...

read more

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

We are living in a moment of great fear, of anger, of hate and in a world suffering the many diseases of so called civilization. We are oppressed not only by the viral and bacterial scourges that have been with us throughout time, but also by deep psychic illnesses...

read more

In Memory of Danny Cassidy

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...

read more

Are Categories Real

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...

read more

Connection and Connectivity

Email, text messages, skype, blackberries, Facebook, and MySpace. Never in the history of humankind have we had the level of technological connection that we experience today. In an instant, we are able to contact Kathmandu, Rangoon, or New York, make dinner plans...

read more

The Nature of Health and Healing

We live on many levels—the physical, emotional, chemical, and spiritual—each one vibrating at its own frequency, bodies of energetic resonance or dissonance. The source of these energies is the vast cosmic field through which we move, our bodies assimilating and then...

read more
ricky@rickyfishman.com www.rickyfishman.com
Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Share This