Indian Clubs for Shoulder Rehabilitation

shoulder pain

Indian Clubs for shoulder rehabilitation. 

“In an active life is sown the seed of wisdom; but he who reflects not, never reaps; has no  harvest from it, but carries the burden of age without the wages of experience; nor knows  himself old, but from his infirmities”. Edward Young. 

Good shoulder health is taken for granted for those have it, and bitterly missed by those  who do not.


The human upper extremity is a multi-segmental construction of staggering complexity.  From collar bone (clavicle) to wrist, its primary purpose is to enable the hand to be  positioned anywhere in the surrounding space to thus manipulate objects in the immediate  environment.

When people say they have “shoulder issues” they are most commonly referring to  problems at the gleno-humeral joint; the ball and socket interface between the rounded  head of the upper arm bone (Humerus), and a shallow concave portion of the shoulder  blade (Glenoid Fossa of the Scapula). This tends to be the area where injury and trauma  accumulate, and compensation breaks down.

Personal History

Like a lot of folks, I picked up a number of seemingly independent shoulder injuries in the  course of my youth; from having shoulders momentarily dislocated as a toddler whilst  being swung round by my father, to injuries playing rugby and cricket. A couple of years  ago, I damaged my left shoulder again performing a kettlebell bent press. This left me with a chronic biceps tendonitis both at the shoulder and the wrist that just  was not settling. Although I could still manage almost all kettlebell and steel mace moves, I  had pain and weakness manifest as failure of isometrically held elbow flexion as my  nervous system literally switched off the biceps when the load was perceived by it as too  great.

The Remedy 

I tried everything to redress the issue at the tissue inflammation level, including  acupuncture, massage and anti-inflammatory topicals, but nothing had a lasting effect. By  chance whilst on vacation, I found a pair of wooden clubs in an antique store (I have  subsequently found other sets; this is a great place to look for them and they are often  erroneously marked up as bowling pins!) and later purchased a pair of Pahlavandles  (plastic handles that screw onto plastic water bottles).

Pahlavandles are great for a number of reasons; firstly you can fine tune the weight by  altering bottle size and how much water you fill bottles with; secondly, the fit all regular soft  drink bottle screw threads; thirdly they are portable and easy to take with you for vacation  workouts; fourth, they don’t hurt when you inevitably hit yourself on the head when you are  learning Indian club swinging!

I hooked up with Chris from Circular Roots Training to get some online tuition which is  essential; although I’d swung steel clubs and mace for years, Indian clubs, by virtue of  their size, shape and weight are handled differently and with more subtlety and finesse.


Long story short; even after my first session training, I noticed a reduction in the symptoms  that had plagued me for 18 months. After 2 weeks or club training every other day I was  completely pain-free. That was over 6 months ago, and I’ve gone on to train some fairly  advanced calisthenics moves, including “Skin the cat”, something that previously made me  sweat just by watching it!

I now offer Indian club training as part of my PT service and frequently use it in the  rehabilitation of shoulder injuries of my clinical patients.

Sleep Anxiety Hack

I always find it more comfortable speaking or writing from a place of personal experience rather than simply regurgitating information I’ve learned or discovered.

I also never thought I had an issue with poor quality sleep until I actually had a fully restful night!
I’ve always functioned better in the latter part of the day, peaking mentally between 10pm and midnight. This in itself is not a problem, but ensuring 7.5-8 hours of good sleep is not really possible on this schedule when there are morning commitments (school runs etc.).
So the challenge has always been how to logistically get the most out of my natural diurnal cycle without compromising the repair and regeneration cycle that sleep is essential for.

Enter GABA:

Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a neurotransmitter, or chemical messenger, in the brain. It blocks specific signals in the central nervous system, slowing down the brain. This provides a protective and calming effect on the brain and body.
Taken as a supplement15-30 minutes before my desired time for sleep, it has enabled me to maximize my productive evening hours whilst avoiding over-stimulation and problems winding-down before bed.
But the potential health benefits of GABA supplementation don’t end there:
“I call GABA the brakes of the brain. It is the body’s most important inhibitory neurotransmitter, which means it lowers the activity of neural cells in the brain and central nervous system, having the effect of moving the brain and the body into lower gear. By inhibiting neural activity, GABA facilitates sleep, reduces mental and physical stress, lowers anxiety, and creates a calmness of mood. GABA also plays an important role in regulating muscle tone.
GABA plays a role in the healthy functioning of the body’s immune and endocrine systems, as well as in the regulation of appetite and metabolism. There’s also interesting emerging research about GABA’s role in gut health and gastrointestinal function, where it may work to support motility, control inflammation and support immune system function, and help regulate hormone activity.” Michael J Breus Ph.D.

Personal Experience with GABA supplementation.

The positive benefits of using a GABA supplement are summarized as follows:
• Tangible reduction in excessive thought activity and ease of falling asleep at a predictable time.
• No sleep hangover or grogginess the next day.
• Ability to wake in the night if needed (children, pets, emergencies)- it is not a deep sedative.
• General reduction in daytime low-level anxiety/ tetchiness. i.e., I’m a nicer person to be around.
• Good quality sleep; waking feeling fully rested and ready to start the day.

Which supplement/ formulation?

(Please note, I have no affiliation with the manufacturer, and this is not a paid endorsement).
Based on my personal experience, ‘Clif High’s Pure Sleep’ from Pure Bulk is a really well thought out, easy to take and effective supplement. Its easy to buy online, and even shipping to the UK is reasonable (especially if you opt to pay the import duty up front in the shipping options).
There was a time when this was unavailable, so I ordered the basic ingredients for the formula from Pure Bulk to make my own version on a nightly basis. The one advantage of this being I can play with the GABA dose to fit howI feel on any given night.
I have experimented with GABA doses between 500-1000mg and my sweet spot is between 550mg and 650mg. The GABA dose in one scoop of Pure Sleep is proprietary information, and it works excellently, so I’d recommend just taking the prepared supplement according to the dose indicated. I have communicated directly with manufacturer, and they suggest a half dose as being suitable for children aged 10-12 and up.
Sweet Dreams!


Recommended supplement:

Sleep help rehumaning

Creative Expression

Of the thousands of thoughts the average human has per day, a staggering 95% repeat from the previous day. This monotonous cycle is largely due to unchanging routines.

A few years ago I set up an Organic food box subscription service in North GA. I sourced my produce from a blend of regional suppliers and small local producers; this included grass-fed beef, raw milk, raw honey. One day I was talking with a local small-holder who was supplying free-range, organic chickens. Towards the end of our conversation he said “I think what you’re doing is great, but I also think it’s really important that you actually produce something yourself in addition to re-selling”.
This reminded me of something a University Professor had said to a group of us years before. She had told us that our course was going to be extremely challenging, and that finding an avenue for personal creative expression would be very beneficial for our mental well-being.

This is echoed by ASU Clinical Associate Professor Dr. Glidden-Tracey, PhD. She has a specific interest in mindful expression as it relates to mental health.
“I am convinced that having positive creative outlets can not only help to counteract the effects of stress, but also strengthens people’s resilience,” she said.
Often what starts out as an act of creative expression becomes routine. For those of us invested in health and longevity, regular exercise and healthy food preparation fall into this category; perhaps not monotonous, but a cycle nonetheless.

The current climate of mandates suppress much of our expression on a social and participatory footing and we are forced to look closer to home and turn inward to find new avenues for bringing our essence into the world.

New skill acquisition is not enough in itself, although it can be a stepping stone in achieving this goal. For example, I have enrolled in a Calisthenics course online. Through this new skill-set I am able to express myself physically in a novel way, but it still only replaces other forms of physical expression within the realm of a regular exercise cycle.

A long-held desire I’ve had is to be able to express myself musically. In light of this, I have maintained a regular weekly guitar lesson, whether in person, or via Zoom call. Despite being a considerably bigger challenge than a new exercise modality, it opens more avenues for novel creative expression. It has also created an offshoot interest in guitar maintenance and upgrading, and I have to date finished two complete component replacement and re-wiring projects. This has added to both my skill and knowledge base, and will serve as a stepping stone towards my own, true, unique expression through the instrument and music.

The Psychedelic Philosopher and Bard Terrence McKenna famously said: “We have to create culture, don’t watch TV, don’t read magazines, don’t even listen to NPR. Create your own roadshow. The nexus of space and time where you are now is the most immediate sector of your universe, and if you’re worrying about Michael Jackson or Bill Clinton or somebody else, then you are disempowered, you’re giving it all away to icons, icons which are maintained by an electronic media so that you want to dress like X or have lips like Y. This is shit-brained, this kind of thinking. That is all cultural diversion, and what is real is you and your friends and your associations, your highs, your orgasms, your hopes, your plans, your fears. And we are told ‘no’, we’re unimportant, we’re peripheral. ‘Get a degree, get a job, get a this, get a that.’ And then you’re a player, you don’t want to even play in that game. You want to reclaim your mind and get it out of the hands of the cultural engineers who want to turn you into a half-baked moron consuming all this trash that’s being manufactured out of the bones of a dying world.”

Even something as simple as writing a blog is an avenue for the genuine expression of self, and as it has never been written before (in this exact form), an act of creation; brining novelty into the world. Whether it is ever read at all does nothing to detract from the creative act, so even simple journalling can be helpful; just make sure it’s not just the repetitive grinding of mentation.

So start creating, something, anything, it doesn’t matter (especially not at first). Your future self with thank you for it.

Viral Illness

My Personal Immune System Support Protocol.

When news of a novel virus outbreak began trickling out of China in November 2019 my interest was immediately piqued. At the time, my eldest son was living and studying at University in Shanghai and I was concerned for his health and safety.

Back in those early months, no-one really knew what the disease was, or how it was going to impact the global population as a whole. Faced with all those unknowns and based on my training, one thing was very apparent.

Despite all the best medical interventions in the world, it is the human immune system that is interacting with a disease. Every treatment, no matter what it is, is an attempt to facilitate the function of that system through the various stages of disease progression.

As this was a novel virus, acquired immunity was not present in the population (apart from a degree cross-immunity from other coronavirus exposure), so the “Innate” immune system was the obvious place to focus attention: Better to defeat the enemy outside the citadel than within.

The following protocol is the one I have developed and followed where needed (no I haven’t become ill during this period, so I haven’t had to follow the acute phase plan). It is based on the best information I have been able to gather over the past 14 months. Note, it does not include specific pharmaceutical products as these are outside the remit of my practice.

In general.

Regardless of the presence of disease in the population, I follow this daily general

Note: all supplement doses based on 150 lb adult male.

Vitamin D 4000 iu/ day. The aim is to maintain a serum vitamin D level of >40ng/ml. This is a key level that appears to be strongly correlated with disease prevention and mitigation. Outside of the winter months, synthesis of vitamin D in response to sunlight UV exposure will reduce the need for supplementation.

Zinc 40mg + Ionophore. An “Ionophore” is a chemical that binds to cationic zinc in the bloodstream and transports it into the cells where it is needed. Quercetin, Green Tea Extract (EGCG) and Wormwood are ionophores that are frequently used and are subject to ongoing studies. A Ionic zinc supplement (usually liquid) may negate the need for an ionophore.

Vitamin C 4-6g/ day. When taking doses of vitamin C greater than 1g, it is advisable to use either a buffered compound (Sodium Ascorbate, Ascorbate Palmitate) or as I do, liposomal vitamin C. This will avoid G.I. tract upset. You can purchase liposomal vitamin C, but if you plan on taking it for the foreseeable future, you can make your own- see my instructional video here:

Sleep. 7-8 hours is essential for health and longevity.

High risk situations.

In the case where exposure risk is high, such as visiting hospital or in groups of people, I follow these steps:

Zinc lozenges 23mg lozenge immediately prior; repeat every 2 hours as long as risk

Povidone-iodine .5-1% solution; gargle and nasal rinse .5%- 1%

Additional immune up-regulation for respiratory viruses in general.

The following compounds have a long history of safe use in the up-regulation of innate immune function in the face of community viral illness. I take these to give a short-term boost to my immune system, especially at the the onset of winter when viral illness tends to be on the ascendant; I do not use them long-term or year-round.

Chaga. The woody, fruiting body of a mycelium species that grows on birch trees. Its stimulation of certain immune cells is well established in the scientific literature. It can be brewed in a tea, or taken in a capsule or liquid extract.

Elderberry. Also known as Sambucus. This is generally prepared as a syrup and is especially good at combating respiratory viruses.

Engystol. An immune-stimulating preparation made by Heel- Germany. This is available online or OTC in some countries, or via registered practitioners in others.

Acute phase.

Were I to develop acute phase viral illness, I’d use this protocol below:

Zinc 23mg lozenge; 5-10 in a 24 hour period.

Lactoferrin (from whey protein 20-40 grams). Lactoferrin has been shown to reduce the pro-inflammatory cytokine Interleukin 6 (IL-6) in viral studies. Vitamin C. I’d increase the dose. Vitamin C’s role in the human body is far-ranging. It is rapidly a rapidly used and depleted anti-oxidant and also essential for the repair of collagen- think delicate airway damage due to coughing and inflammation.

Anti IL1, IL4, IL10. These are 3 of the body’s own signally molecules (cytokines). The well-documented cytokine storm is a massive over-expression of the pro-inflammatory pathways in the body. The three cytokines I have on hand counteract and down-regulate the expression of IL-6 and TNF-alpha which are responsible for acute and chronic
inflammation in many disease states.

The preparations I use are produced by Guna Inc. of Milan Italy and have been used in clinical trials (University of Rome, University of Bologna) for the treatment of various inflammatory conditions. They are available to UK residents via my clinic (clinical consultation required- contact me directly).

Usnea. This a preparation of the “Old Man’s Beard” lichen that has been traditionally used among the indigenous peoples of the American NW as an expectorant. It may be useful in clearing inflammatory exudate from the lungs, but there are no studies to date that I am aware of (?).

Restoration of balance.

One of the hallmarks of this current virus is the long recovery time and residual negative effects for a significant number of individuals. Post-viral complications are not rare, and mostly pertain to depletion of the immune system in general (making one prone to subsequent infection and illness from all sources), and to a continued over-expression of pro-inflammatory cytokine pathways. Fatigue and “brain-fog” are common manifestations of this.

The inflammatory component in this situation can be effectively treated with the antiinflammatory cytokine preparations listed above (Anti IL1 etc.).

At this stage, adequate rest and sleep, interspersed with gentle exercise and movement is key. Sunlight exposure where possible is also helpful. Micro-nutritionally dense foods are indicated, but I’d avoid over-stimulation of the immune system with Chaga or Elderberry in this phase. Other possible interventions to help mitigate inflammation might include Turmeric (curcumin) or CBD.

Notes and Disclaimer.

Practitioner only remedies available through this clinic (UK residents) or via licensed practitioners internationally. Contact Guna Inc. (Italy or USA), Heel Inc. (Germany) for more information.

I am not a medical doctor and this is not medical advice. I have a degree in Osteopathic Medicine and am a Registered Osteomyologist and my personal protocol is an interpretation of research related to my field and medicine in general. Please consult your physician before doing anything for prevention or treatment of COVID-19, and please seek the help of a physician immediately if you believe you may have COVID-19.

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