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Looking to the future

When I was a child and thought about the future, my limited imagination only projected to the year 2000. It was a faraway yet easy and significant round-number milestone marking the end of one century and one modern-era millenium and also marking the year I would turn 44. Beyond that, I didn’t dream.

Well, I’m well beyond that now, 50 years old as of Sept. 2, and if I am limited at all in thinking about my potential longevity, I am limited by genetic projections.

Will I live as long as my paternal grandmother (52, tuberculosis) or father (67, heart attack, kidney failure, bone cancer) or paternal grandfather (73, heart attack)? Or will I live as long as my maternal grandfather (77, stroke) or grandmother (87, old age)?

Should I emulate my mother, who’s 85, newly moved to an assisted living residence, and regaining strength in her legs and mind? Might I aspire to be like my singing teacher, who died at 102, mind and spirit and younger-looking visage intact though her eyesight had faded?

If genetics, indeed, are part of the foundation of longevity, self-nurturing provides major building blocks, too. Toward that end, I eat a vegan diet, consume fresh carrot and celery juice and nutritious BarleyMax, supplement my six small meals a day with vegan protein powder and Living Enzyme Survival Bars, hydrate with plenty of water, work out with a personal trainer twice a week, and run and walk and get out in the sunshine at other times. Singing, deep breathing, prayer and massage are also part of my healthy regimen.

Challenges that I face include 15 hours or more of weekly driving and getting angry at traffic. Getting enough sleep while working two jobs is always a concern; so are increased fuel costs and worry about war and terror and the environment.

So, now that I’m 50, do I look to the future? You bet. Yet, with age also comes the hard-won and not-always-remembered wisdom of enjoying, as Johnny Mercer wrote in his lyric to “My Shining Hour,” “this moment, this minute, and each second in it.”

Come share some of that time with me in a massage. Though time won’t stop, it will seem suspended, and the nurturing you receive will last long after our hour together has ended.

Technique of the month:

Biceps myofascial release

(From “Orthopedic Massage & Pain Management Seminars” by James Waslaski,

The biceps is a superficial muscle on the anterior arm. It has a long and a short head that merge to form the belly of the muscle. It flexes the elbow and the shoulder and supinates the forearm.

For the myofascial release, the client is supine with arm supinated and with support under the elbow (bolster or towel). The therapist performs myofascial spreading 45 degrees down and out, moving proximal to distal (from the shoulder to the elbow), down the humerus away from the tendon attachments. The therapist alternates with light compression to bring blood and oxygen to the area.

The therapist teases through tight bands using a cross-fiber gliding stroke and treats an y trigger points if found with direct pressure for 10-12 seconds. Then the therapist performs several compressions and gently stretches the tissue.

Stretch of the month:

Bicipital tendon (long head)

(From “Orthopedic Massage & Pain Management Seminars” by James Waslaski,

At a table or restrictive barrier at fingertip height, the client stands with arm and wrist straight and shoulders square. His palm is facing forward.

With hand of arm to be stretched remaining in front of the table, the client walks forward to achieve a slight stretch of the bicep. He then attempts shoulder flexion, bringing his arm forward for 10 seconds.

He relaxes, take a deep breath, and on the exhale he engages his triceps extending his arm back while stepping into the restrictive barrior to gently stretch the biceps for 2 seconds. The client repeats this stretch 2-3 times.

Then the client positions himself to repeat the stretch with the other arm.

Hike of the Month:

Appalachian Trail from Warwick Turnpike to the New York State line


In my efforts to save on gasoline costs and drive fewer miles from my residence in Montclair, N.J., to my day job in Middletown, N.Y., I’ve taken to the scenic route. I drive north on Route 23 to north on Interstate 287 and then on the back roads of Bloomingdale and West Milford down to Warwick, N.Y., and over to Middletown. Distance: a shade less than 56 miles, down from 66 miles from the all-highway route of Garden State Parkway to Route 17 north to the New York Thruway North to Route 17 west.

My 14-mile route through bucolic West Milford takes me past Upper Greenwood Lake and Wawayanda State Park where I intersect the Appalachian Trail. Though I haven’t hiked this section of the trail, I promise myself that I will. Until then, this description from will have me, and perhaps my readers, dreaming.

“Abram S. Hewitt State Forest is unlike other mountain ridges because it shows a much different geology than the rest of the mountains in the area. It’s really something special to see and enjoy. Hewitt comprises Bearfort Mountain, which has what we call pudding rock. It’s a nice deep dark red sandsond but with engrained large pebbles of quartz. So it look really cool. The approach from Wawayanda State Park from the west reveals that the surface rocks start showing the dark brown and white streaks.

Rocky outcrops and upland swamps characterize Abram S. Hewitt State Park. Upon entering the forest, the trail ascends to the Bearfort Ridge. This glacially scoured geologic fold offers spectacular views from the top of the ridge eastward along Greenwood Lake. Bearfort mountain is the eastern terminus of the Wawayanda Plateau. The Appalachian Trail exits New Jersey and enters New York with vista views of Greenwood lake to the east.

Once you leave the Wawayanda State Park and cross the Warwick Turnpike, you’ll pass fairly flat terrain with no designated campsites or views until you get to the state line. You go past several isolated swamp areas, but these have boardwalks to get you past the wet areas until one gets to an small area flooded (8 inches water) because beavers have made a dam site. You can go around the area by using the temporary yellow flags path if the area is too flooded.

As you enter Hewitt on the white blazed trail, you have the opportunity of taking a very scenic and interesting loop trail which you can take around Surpise Lake. You take the Ernest Walter (yellow) Trail south around West Pond and back north to Suprise Lake. The EW connects with the State Line (Blue) Trail and go west to the Appalachian Trail.

If you go east on the AT, it will quickly turn north, cross the Blue Trail (State Line Trail) and then a quick left and across the border into New York along the AT. There is boulder at the state line and an AT log book.

If you take the AT into New York, you will get a “Grand View” about 0.3 miles further with great views of Greenwood Lake and the surrounding areas and the Wanaque Wildlife Management Area across to the east of Greenwood Lake. If you decide to hike on Bearfoot Mountain and see that great rock ridge, take State Line down towards the lake and then turn south (right) onto the EW (Yellow) Trail and this will take you shortly to another great lookout and further on to the intercetion with the Quail (Orange) Trail at a terrific Surprise Lake view and tenting area.”

Recipe of the month

Brown rice and veggies

A simple yet satisfying main course is brown rice cooked with veggies. Along with salad, sweet potatoes and blueberry cake, I have this for breakfast and dinner every day.


1 cup brown rice
1/2 red onion, diced
1 turnip, sliced and diced
1 cup broccoli florets
1 cup kale, shredded
3 cups water

Place ingredients in a large pot. Bring to a boil, then simmer until all water has been absorbed. Remove from heat and serve. Serves 2.

Variations: Use whatever vegetables you have handy; carrots, celery, zucchini and spinach greens are good alternatives. Once the food is cooked, mix with a bit of Celtic sea salt and/or fresh herbs (basil, rosemary, etc.).

Until next time … stay in healthful touch.

Dennis Sprick
The Heartful Touch
Massage and CranioSacral Therapy