Wednesday, November 7, 2018

New Website!!

I finally designed a website to link to my blog thanks to someone recently advising me to do so. I still have a lot more work to do on it, but maybe this will help me reach my advocacy goals and spread more awareness, and present a more inside look at who I am and why I do what I do! Thank you to those who take the time to check it out.

Katie Berglof -  Living with Embouchure Dystonia Website

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Dose of Daily Inspiration: Survivor

I was driving home yesterday and I heard this song called Survivor by Zach Williams and it brought me to tears.

This song hit close to home and relates to how I cope with living with embouchure I find the strength to keep going and use setbacks as fuel to my fire.

I usually don't share this kind of stuff. Although I am not religious and don't belong to any denomination, I am still spiritual in my own undefined way and I respect everyone's beliefs or lack-there-of. So don't want to be labeled as pushing religion on others.

I just wanted to share an uplifting song. Don't know if anyone else can relate to it, but felt I should share a daily dose of what inspires me to continue overcoming focal embouchure dystonia.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The Explorer

Having Embouchure Dystonia is like this....except -50 steps behind the beginner level student. Imagine if you had the knowledge, understanding, years of training, and experience of what it takes to be a professional, but you can no longer execute a single note out of your instrument naturally. It really sucks. I mean, it is one of the hardest setbacks to deal with, yet I love this quote. It is the right mentality despite how many highs or lows that overcome us. We must be willing to be a beginner in order to start recovery and maintain it. Even more so I prefer the term explorer; i.e. wide eyed, creative, open minded, and always searching for answers. We are constantly exploring and building new neuropathways in order to adapt to dystonia.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Related Natural Remedies and Supplements for Various Maladies

For the past year I've dived heavily into researching and trying various supplements, herbs, vitamins, etc.

I tried to find different maladies that were somewhat related to embouchure dystonia, embouchure injuries, facial nerve damage, and related diseases that can cause similar symptoms too.

What I found was that there were a lot of commonalities between the remedies. Therefore I listed a little asterk * next to the reoccurring ones below. Apologies if there is a lot of repetition. I have yet to edit this!

It's still too early to tell if anything has helped me drastically, as I am also having to get use to modifications and adjustments of levels taken.

I have found a large improvement overall though with a combination of some sort of the supplements Ginkgo Biloba, Tremor Miracle, Women's 50+ vitamins (contains: Vitamin A, C, D, E, K, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin B12, Biotin, Pantothenic Acid, Calcium, Iron, Phosphorus, Iodine, Magnesium, Zinc, Selenium, Copper,Manganese, Chromium, Molybdenum, Chloride, Potassium,Nickel, Silicon, Vandium, Lutein), Enzyme Q10, L-arginine, Creatine, Chaga extract, Apple Cider Vinegar and water, Glucosamine Chondroitin & MSM, Tens Unit, stretches, and massage. I still have a long list of things to try though. I rotate them each day, so that way I'm not taking them all in one day, but more over the course of a week, and instead of taking 2, I take only 1 pill or extract a day.

Here is some of the information I found and various combinations of supplements that I am testing currently.....


Coenzyme Q10  (1,200 milligrams daily): A powerful antioxidant that can help slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease. Studies have shown that very low levels of coenzyme Q10 in the brain and blood of Parkinson’s patients. Mitochondria are responsible for the production of energy for our cells, but during production, a by-product of spare electrons is created. When these electrons escape the cell, they are known as free radicals that are responsible for oxidative damage to the brain and linked to cognitive problems. To combat the damage, every cell of the body contains a powerful antioxidant called coenzyme Q10, but people with high levels of oxidative damage can afford to consume even more.

*Vitamin C (750 milligrams, 4x daily): Can be used as an antioxidant to prevent free radical damage. Also supports strong immune function.

*Vitamin E (400 IU daily): An important antioxidant that supports the brain.

Green vegetables powder supplement: Make sure the formula includes spirulina, chlorella or wheatgrass to provide critical minerals and help with detoxification.

*Omega-3 fish oil (1,000 milligrams daily): Helps reduce inflammation and supports neurological health.

*Vitamin D: To maintain bone health, make sure your diet includes plenty of calcium and vitamin D. People who are over the age of 50 should consume 1,500 milligrams of calcium daily along with at least 800 IU of vitamin D (from the sun, foods and supplements).

Essential oils for Parkinson’s: Using essential oils may effectively reduce and calm some of the symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease such as depression, sleep trouble, skin inflammation and digestive issues. Helichrysum and frankincense oil have been shown to reduce inflammation of the brain, and vetiver oil has been found to reduce tremors. Rub 2 drops frankincense, helichrysum and vetiver oil on the temples and neck two times daily or put 2 drops of frankincense on the roof of the mouth.

CBD Oil/Cannibis Oil - I've tried a CBD tincture through CannazAll brand.

Salivary Gland Stones:
Lemon juice can be a great home remedy for salivary gland stones and just about anything. Juice of one fresh lemon can be added in a glass and taken each morning. This is a great detoxifying drink and aids in alkalizing the body.

Apple Cider Vinegar for Salivary Gland Stones:
Apple cider vinegar is a simple tonic and an effective home remedy for a variety of illness. It aids in alkalizing the body. It is also known to be effecting in many with calcium deposits. You can use 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water sipped throughout the day.

Borax is a natural home remedy for calcium deposits. For men a typical dose of borax is ¼ teaspoon of borax in 1 litre of water to be consumed over the course of a day. This is to be done 4 days in a row and 3 days off in the week. For women, the dose is 1/8 teaspoon of borax in 1 liter of water.

*Castor Oil as a Home Remedy for Salivary Gland Stones:
Castor oil is known to have excellent healing properties and is beneficial for pain relief. It can be poured in to a cloth and help against the painful and swollen area for 20 minutes, two times in a day. Apart from this, castor oil can also be massaged over the painful or swollen area.

Vitamin supplements like magnesium can be taken as a home remedy for salivary gland stones.
Epsom salt can also be used for treating salivary gland stones.

Chanca piedra, Dandelion, Gravel root and Hydragea are other such lithotrophic herbs which can be used for treating salivary gland stones. These herbs can either be taken as tea, or in form of capsules.

*Turmeric as a Home Remedy for Infected Salivary Gland Stone:
Turmeric is a wonderful herb that aids with pain, inflammation and infection. 1 teaspoon of turmeric can be mixed in milk, almond milk and taken two times in a day.

Oregano Essential Oil for Infected Salivary Gland Stone:
Oregano essential oil can be used to aid with infections caused by salivary gland stones. They can be brought in a capsule or supplement form and taken internally. One drip of oregano essential oil can also be added to 1 teaspoon of extra virgin coconut oil and can be used in oil pulling or swishing in the mouth for about 20 minutes.

Tremors and Essential Tremors

*Magnesium. This mineral helps to regulate nerve impulses and muscle contraction. Magnesium-rich foods include sesame seeds, beans, nuts, avocados and leafy greens. To ensure that you’re getting enough magnesium, consider taking a supplement. Typical dose to ease tremors: 200 mg to 400 mg daily.

*Fish oil. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil offer proven anti-inflammatory effects—systemic inflammation is implicated in neurodegenerative diseases such as MS and Parkinson’s disease. Fish oil is abundant in fatty fish such as salmon, albacore tuna, mackerel and herring. Aim for two servings per week. If you don’t like fish, consider trying a supplement. Typical dose to ease tremors: 1,000 mg to 1,500 mg daily.

Valerian, skullcap and passionflower. These calming herbs have been successfully used as part of a regimen to ease tremors. The supplements can be found in combination products, including capsules, teas and tinctures. Follow instructions on the label.

Tooth Pain/Infections

Clove Oil
People have been using clove oil to help with tooth pain for thousands of years. Cloves are not only a delicious addition to baking and curries, it is good for easing the pain. Clove contains a strong chemical called eugenol. It is both an anesthetic and an antiseptic. This means that it numbs your nerves, and it also prevents further infection.

Using a salt water rinse
Creating a salt water rinse is a good way to sanitize your mouth. This saline mix is an antiseptic, which means that it prevents bacteria from growing. Keeping your mouth clean will help to prevent and even infection. This will reduce the amount of pain that you feel. Rinse your mouth after each meal, when you wake up and before you go to sleep.

Peppermint essential oil
Have you ever wondered why so many oral health products include peppermint?

Peppermint includes menthol, an active ingredient that has strong anti-bacterial properties. These properties may also help relieve your tooth pain naturally. As a plus, peppermint will give you minty fresh breath!

 Cayenne pepper
It may seem counter-productive to add a hot and spicy element to your sore mouth, but it can work wonders. Cayenne pepper is a good source of capsaicin, an active ingredient that can really help with your tooth pain. It is an anti-inflammatory and will reduce swelling. This can really help reduce your tooth pain.

Garlic not only makes your food taste delicious, it can help ease the pain of a toothache. When you crush garlic cloves, they release allicin. This is a natural antibacterial agent, and it can help you with your tooth pain. Consider chewing on a piece of raw garlic, or rinsing with garlic water. That said, you may want to follow up with some peppermint!

Room temperature cucumber
You may already know about cucumber’s soothing effects. This is the reason why so many people use it as a remedy for puffy eyes. It has hemostatic properties, which means that it helps to keep blood within a blood vessel.

If you want to use cucumber on your tooth pain, slice a piece and hold it to the affected area. You can also make a mixture of cucumber and sea salt and use it as a paste on the tooth.

Is your cucumber in the fridge? Bring it up to room temperature before applying it to your sensitive teeth.

Raw Onions
Sure, they’re a tasty addition to food – but did you know that onions are antiseptic? It’s true – they are packed with antimicrobial properties. This can help raw onions kill the bacteria in your mouth and reduce your pain. Place a raw onion on the affected area. It might make your eyes water, but dentists agree that it will likely help dull the pain.

* Turmeric paste or powder
Turmeric is one of the most medicinal spices on the planet. It has a whole series of uses and benefits. Turmeric contains an active ingredient called curcumin. This has many antiseptic, analgesic and antibacterial properties. Curcumin can help stop your tooth pain and can prevent infections and abscesses.

If you want to use turmeric to help with your tooth pain, make a paste. Add a teaspoon of turmeric powder into a small amount of water. Add some of this paste to a cotton ball, and apply it directly to your sore tooth. You can even mix this paste with raw honey to improve taste.

Thyme oil, tea or fresh leaves
Thyme is a great herb to use in cooking. It has many antimicrobial properties. Thyme is full of thymol, an antifungal and antiseptic active ingredient. This can make it a great essential oil for tooth pain and infections.

You can add the essential oil directly to your tooth and gums. You can also sip thyme tea or chew fresh thyme leaves. Thyme leaves are very small, so it is a good idea to chew them on the opposite side of your sore tooth. If the small leaves get into the infected area, you could cause more problems.

 Chew raw ginger
Ginger is a powerful antiseptic, and it tastes great. Fresh ginger is packed with active ingredients. These include gingerone, shogaols, and gingerols. Chewing raw ginger is a great way to reduce certain bacteria in your mouth.

Reducing certain bacteria can help with pain and can stop further infection. In addition to chewing on raw ginger, you can add fresh ginger to your food. It has great benefits and tastes delicious.

 Apply an ice pack to your face
If you have a sore tooth, your face might appear swollen and puffy. If this is the case, you can apply an ice pack to your cheek. The cold nature of the ice will reduce your swelling. Remember – if your face is swollen, you might have a serious infection. You might even have an abscess. If this is the case, you need to consult with your dentist as soon as possible. He or she can advise you on further treatment.

 Apply a vitamin K2 rich oil to the tooth
Your body has vitamin K2 dependent proteins that are released from the dental pulp to fight tooth inflammation called osteocalcin. Eating a diet with plenty of vitamin K2 rich foods may help fight toothaches naturally.

For a topical solution,  keeping Emu oil on hand is one of the richest natural sources of vitamin K2. WalkAboutmu Oil,  is a high-quality natural remedy for a toothache.

Professional Mouth Guards (If you clench and/or grind your teeth at night or need to help jaw relax):

About twitches/spasms and Alkaline Levels:

Scar Tissue:

*Vitamin A stimulates collagen synthesis and increases the strength of scar tissue so that it doesn't tear. Prescribed steroids for a wound or infection prevent inflammation and wound healing, but vitamin A can stop that from occurring. The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends speaking to your physician before taking a vitamin A supplement, especially if you're scheduled for surgery. Vitamin A is found in eggs, fish liver oils and dairy products. You can also manufacture vitamin A through the beta-carotene in dark, green leafy vegetables and yellow and orange fruits and vegetables.

*Vitamin C is essential for the growth and mending of tissue throughout your body. It’s required to manufacture collagen, repair wounds and make scar tissue. The disease scurvy, a result of vitamin C deficiency, has symptoms related to weakened collagen, such as poor wound healing and bruising easily. Adults need between 75 and 90 milligrams of this vitamin a day. It’s prevalent in citrus fruits, strawberries, tomatoes, bell peppers, broccoli and potatoes.

*A deficiency in the B-complex vitamins can hinder your ability to heal from injury or surgery because these nutrients link collagen and deliver oxygen and nutrients to the site of injury. The University of Maryland Medical Center specifically indicates that thiamine and pantothenic acid, or vitamins B-1 and B-5, can heal wounds and promote skin health. Pantothenic acid supplementation and application of pantothenic ointment may speed the healing process, strengthen scar tissue and boost the number of fibroblasts required to secrete collagen, but more research on human subjects is needed to confirm these effects. B vitamins are found in green leafy vegetables, broccoli, asparagus, avocado, sweet potatoes, legumes, peas, red meat, poultry, fish, whole grains, fortified breakfast cereals and dairy products.

*Your body relies on vitamin E to maintain healthy skin. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble, antioxidant vitamin. It reduces inflammation and offers you protection from the sun. There are a variety of over-the-counter topical treatments containing vitamin E for scars, but speak to your physician before trying them. A 2009 paper in American Family Physician stated there is minimal research showing vitamin E can help scar tissue. It may actually reduce the strength of scar tissue and cause contact dermatitis.

Muscle Dystrophy:

*Vitamin D
*Whey Protein
*Omega 3 Fatty Acids - EPA and DHA

Myofascial Pain:

*Magnesium Citrate (500 mg daily).
Fibromyalgia has been linked to magnesium deficiency and research shows that magnesium supplements may help to reduce troublesome symptoms, including pain. According to a study published in the journal Rheumatology International, women given 300 milligrams of magnesium citrate daily for eight weeks experienced improvement in the number of tender points, tender point index, FIQ and Beck depression scores.

In addition to pain relief, magnesium supplements may also dramatically improve insomnia, sleep time, sleep latency and sleep efficiency according to a study published in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences. In this double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial, participants were given 500 milligrams of magnesium or a placebo daily for eight weeks. As sleep problems are common for those with fibromyalgia, a high-quality supplement and boosting intake of magnesium-rich foods should be a top priority and can help as a natural fibromyalgia treatment.

Fortunately, there are plenty of low-FODMAP foods that are also rich with magnesium.  Add cooked spinach, bananas and pumpkin seeds to your diet to boost this essential mineral that may help relieve both pain and sleep problems for those with fibromyalgia.

*Fish Oil (1,000 mg daily).
Known for its anti-inflammatory properties, taking a high-quality fish oil supplement may help to reduce inflammation and pain, as well as improve immune system functioning. Select a high-quality omega-3 fish oil or cod liver oil. They are both packed with vitamins and nutrients beyond just essential fatty acids.

As a precaution, if you are on high blood pressure medications, anticoagulants, have asthma or are pregnant talk to your doctor before taking a fish oil supplement. Fortunately, it is safe for most people to enjoy omega-3 rich foods. Several times a week, enjoy wild-caught fish including salmon, mackerel, tuna and herring as well as walnuts and eggs.

*Vitamin D3 (5,000 IU daily).
Vitamin D deficiencies are astoundingly common today, with some researchers estimating nearly 90 percent adults being deficient in this essential nutrient. Vitamin D deficiency can exacerbate autoimmune conditions including fibromyalgia and in a meta-analysis published in the Korean Journal of Pain, patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia have a significantly lower level of vitamin D serum levels than those without a diagnosis. Boosting your vitamin D intake could be a helpful natural fibromyalgia treatment.

Vitamin D3’s proven health benefits include enhancing the immune system, improving mood and strengthening cognitive functioning. The best way to boost your vitamin D serum levels is to get out in the sun for 10 to 20 minutes each day — without sunscreen. In addition, there are plenty of foods that are low-FODMAP that you can enjoy to increase levels, including wild-caught fish.

D-Ribose (5g 3x daily).
Ribose is a sugar found in our bodies that fuels organs and tissues in the body and it is often used intravenously to measure heart damage and as a treatment for certain symptoms associated with myoadenylate deaminase deficiency as well as for those diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and coronary artery disease.

Research indicates that taking a ribose supplement may help to improve sleep, improve energy levels, improve your sense of well-being and decrease pain for those diagnosed with fibromyalgia. A small study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found D-Ribose significantly reduced clinical symptoms for those with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. In the study, participants were given 5 grams daily and 66 percent of patients experienced significant improvement.

If you are diabetic, D-ribose may lower blood sugar and if you are on insulin or other common diabetes medications including glimepiride, glyburide, pioglitazone, glipizide and others, you should not take D-ribose. In addition, there is evidence that D-ribose interacts with aspirin, alcohol, choline magnesium trisalicylate, propranolol and salsalate. Use extreme caution if you take any of these medications.

Ashwagandha (500–1,000 mg daily).
Adaptogen herbs like rhodiola and ashwagandha help to normalize physiological functions after stress and may help to increase your tolerance against stressors. While the medical community is still exploring potential health benefits, ashwagandha shows promise in the treatment of chronic pain.

In a small study published in the Journal of Ayurveda Integrated Medicine, researchers found that ashwagandha shows analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects. Participants who were given 250 milligrams daily experienced significant reduction in pain. Additionally, ashwagandha promotes restful sleep and boosts the immune system while rhodiola is shown to enhance mental and physical performance, boost immune system response and improve memory function.

*Turmeric (1,000 mg daily).
Many of the proven health benefits of turmeric can help relieve common symptoms of fibromyalgia including pain, inflammation, gastrointestinal upset and depression. In fact, according to a study published in Oncogene, curcumin is one of the most potent anti-inflammatory agents available, beating both aspirin and ibuprofen. Select a high-quality CO2-extracted form of turmeric that also has black pepper, or piperine to make sure it is absorbed into your system.

Can also apply Arnica or apply Po Sum Oil (Menthol)

Bell's Palsy:
Moist Heat.
Many find that a warm cloth may help resolve pain and discomfort. To relieve tension and promote restful sleep, add one or more of my favorite essential oils for anxiety like lavender, rose, ylang ylang or chamomile. Repeat the warm compress whenever pain reappears, or you need to relax.

Ask your physical therapist for massage techniques that you can do at home. Many patients find gentle massage of the face can ease symptoms and discomfort. In addition, ask for a referral to a licensed massage therapist with experience in Bell’s palsy treatment and book an appointment for not just the face, but for the whole body as the benefits of massage therapy include inflammation reduction, stress and anxiety relief, and improved immune system functioning.

According to the Mayo Clinic, acupuncture stimulates nerves and muscles, providing relief to patients. In fact, many experience improvement after just one or two treatments. The key is to find an acupuncture practitioner in your area with expertise in treating Bell’s palsy. The sooner you can begin acupuncture sessions, the better.

*Vitamin B12.
Associated with nerve growth and reduction in inflammation, vitamin B12 may be more effective than prescribed steroids, according to a small study from 1995. Patients in the study were given vitamin B12 (methylcobalamin) injections, steroids, or vitamin B12 injections and steroids. Complete recovery was significantly shorter in the vitamin B12 group with the mean recovery time of just two weeks, in comparison to nearly 10 weeks for those on just steroids.

In addition to enjoying vitamin B12-rich foods like grass-fed beef and beef liver, sardines, wild-caught fish, cottage cheese and eggs, adding a high-quality B12 supplement may help your recovery. In the study, the B12 injections were given directly into the damaged nerves. Talk to your physician about injections and whether you are a candidate for this treatment.

Vitamin B6.
Associated with healthy nervous system function and eye health, ensuring you are getting enough vitamin B6 is imperative in any Bell’s palsy treatment plan. As B6 is water soluble, supplementation is not typically recommended; it is far better to consume vitamin B6-rich foods like free-range turkey breast, grass-fed beef, blackstrap molasses, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and chickpeas.

Found in every cell of our body, zinc is an essential trace mineral that must be a part of every Bell’s palsy treatment plan. Used for 1,000s of years to heal wounds, boost immune system response, and support healthy thyroid function, it is also a proven treatment for colds, certain respiratory illnesses, and viruses. Adding zinc-rich foods to your diet like lamb, pumpkin seeds, grass-fed beef, chickpeas, cashews and others can help you heal quicker from the virus or underlying condition causing your symptoms.

Meditation and Relaxation.
Relieve muscle tension and chronic pain with guided meditation, yoga, regular exercise and deep breathing exercises. Some studies show that stress may exacerbate symptoms, and there are some reports that chronic stress may lead to relapses.

Castor Oil Compress.
Used for 1,000s of years to improve circulation, prevent the growth of bacteria, viruses, and fungi, and to support lymphatic function, castor oil compresses may help to spur healing by enhancing blood flow to the affected areas. Gently warm a tablespoon of castor oil and massage into your face. Cover with a warm damp washcloth, and leave it one for 20–30 minutes. Repeat the castor oil compress twice a day until the symptoms have abated.

Bell’s Palsy Exercises.
A physical therapist can provide you with personalized facial exercises that can improve the brain-to-nerve functioning. Simple exercises include wrinkling your nose, smiling wide, frowning, opening your mouth wide, raising eyebrows, winking and blinking your eyes can help to promote healing. Do your exercises a couple of times a day for best results.

Used for decades to treat a wide array of ailments and conditions including stress, insomnia, chronic pain, and muscle tension, there is evidence that supports biofeedback therapy as a Bell’s palsy treatment. Researchers believe that electromyographic feedback improves motor function of facial muscles, helping patients return to normal.

Locate a therapist in your area by searching The Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, Inc.’s practitioner directory on their website.

One of the strongest anti-viral herbs available, echinacea boosts immune system function, reduces inflammation, and fights viral infections, including those commonly linked to this condition. Select a high-quality liquid Echinacea supplement for best absorption. The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service indicates that for immune system function, the proper dose is 10 milligrams per one kilogram of body weight, for a total of ten days. Use an online calculator to determine the best dose for you.

Another outstanding antiviral herb, elderberry has been proven to reduce the duration of colds, lessen flu symptoms, fight sinus infections and respiratory infections – all conditions that are linked to common symptoms. A wide variety of elderberry products is available including teas, syrups, ointments, lozenges, and pills. Elderberry is considered safe. However, it should not be used by individuals taking laxatives, TheoDur, some diabetes medications, diuretics, immune-suppressing drugs including Prednisone, and those undergoing chemotherapy.

*Mushroom Extracts:

Reishi Mushroom Extract:

Lion's Mane Extract:

Chaga Muschroom Extract:

Lyme Disease:

*vitamin B-1
*vitamin C
*fish oil
alpha lipoic acid
cat’s claw
olive leaf

*Vitamin D: Vitamin D3 naturally boosts immunity and plays a role in regulating inflammation. I recommend you supplement with around 5,000 IU daily, especially if you’re vitamin D deficient, live in the northern region of the world and don’t get much direct sunlight exposure (the best way for your body to make its own vitamin D).

*CoQ10: CoQ10 can help protect your brain and nervous system from degradation and inflammation, while also lowering symptoms like joint pain and aches. It’s commonly used by patients with ongoing fatigue and autoimmune disorder symptoms, including those with fibromyalgia. Most physicians recommend taking 200 milligrams twice daily.

*Medicinal mushrooms: Studies show that medicinal mushrooms (this includes cordycep, reishi and maitake mushrooms) promote an adaptive immune system which helps control autoimmune reactions. These can be found in various supplement forms and have been proven to reduce reactions to inflammation and stress. Medicinal mushrooms boost an intracellular antioxidant called superoxide dismutase (SOD) that protects your cells. They can also increase function of natural killer cells that can kill off bad bacteria.

*B-Complex: B vitamins support many metabolic and cellular functions, plus they help fight infections and improve neurological health. Vitamin B-6 is especially important for Lyme patients, or just about anyone dealing with the affects of stress or fatigue.

*Omega-3 fatty acids: These fatty acids are highly anti-inflammatory and support neurological/cognitive functions. In addition to consuming food sources of omega-3s (for example, wild-caught fish and nuts and seeds), I recommend supplementing with 1,000 milligrams of fish oil daily, specifically one that contains astaxanthin which boosts absorption.

*Magnesium: Magnesium is an electrolyte with hundreds of roles in the body, from supporting nerve signaling to reducing muscle aches. Many people are magnesium deficient, and those with Lyme disease can’t afford to run low since stress and illness only increases the body’s need for more.

*Turmeric: Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory that can help reduce joint pain, headaches, and damage to blood vessels or nerves.

Probiotics: In addition to consuming probiotic-rich foods, I recommend supplementing with probiotics with at least 8 strains and 50 billion units daily. I believe this is the most important factor in destroying Lyme.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Practice Journal: June 17th, 2018

I haven't had time to add some information on here about changes in my routine. Lately there's been three huge noticeable differences in my playing. 1st - I have shifted my mouthpiece to cover more lower lip than upper lip. 2nd, I've been having to do a ton of stretches - nose scrunches with the apples of my cheeks going upwards, and also moving the tops of my corners of my lips upwards towards my nose while scrunching my upper lip.

This has been tedious work because I can tell that the muscles near my eye that run down along the sides of my nose and to my upper lip are lacking control/sensation. It takes intense concentration to get them to do what I ask. I can pinpoint more clearly which muscles are limp or not around my face. Another area is my lower left lip; the muscle that runs from my lower left lip and my corner down through my chin lacks control, which I've been writing about working on. I have to use extreme concentration to practice moving those muscles back and forth while doing stretches. I find myself looking for muscles that don't want to move easily and put all my focus on those. A lot of the practice is scrunching and tensing my muscles and then releasing those muscles while looking in the mirror and being aware of what I feel.

I've started to feel strength building in my upper lip. For many years it felt dull, then it felt sore or weak, and then it felt like it could handle a little more and more over time. Now I feel it giving me signs when it needs a break...which hasn't happened since pre-dystonia. I will play for 23 minutes and it's that feeling of "okay, I need a break, my muscle can't handle much more"...when you try to exercise the day after you did a huge workout. I would stop and stretch constantly to relax and take breaks.

Lastly, I've been actually playing through some concertos. Nothing spectacular, but it's been helping me notice what signals are being sent to my brain in certain circumstances. For example; I can play a (going downwards) C, G, E, middle C, G, E,C....C arpeggio downwards......I can pivot down into my lower register with less difficulty, but if I start from the bottom of the arpeggio and go upwards, I struggle a lot with pivoting. I can tell that the opening of my aperture and the way I'm set is too relaxed and my muscles don't handle going from relaxed to tense very well, because they already overshoot into tense mode quickly. SO I have to play my higher C first and keep that setting, then drop down to my pedal C without changing anything and go up from there. It's a lot of manual work getting the ball rolling in some areas.

Anyways, I've been trying to remain optimistic and remind myself that being able to play through some concertos again or solos is a good thing. Like most others I assume with dystonia, it's frustrating to play a concerto that once was so easy, to find it is like a triathlon. The main thing is it doesn't sound bad on the surface, but underneath the hood, I can feel my muscles getting their workout and constantly adjusting to overcome challenges. It's nothing as bad as it use to be, and I'm glad that I can get through a concerto with more ease and finding that there are less and less difficulties. However, it still feels like there's a million miles to go. It's like driving your car for 10 hours and realizing half-way through it that even though you basically drove all day, you still have 10 more hours to go before you get to your destination. Glad to get so much done, but the work isn't done yet!

I won't give up, and like I've said before. If it takes me until I'm 98 years old to play horn in an orchestra again with 99% normalcy in my playing or at least have the smallest shot at earning my graduate degrees on it, I will do it. If I die trying, then so be it. Call me a fool or whatever, but I am stubborn and haven't given up yet. I've been through a lot worse than this and I know there's a way....even if it doesn't come in my lifetime, I at least I had the courage to start a trail of steps in the direction of possibly finding an answer for futre generations.

I also think moving in October will help me too. We're going to be looking at houses around Denver. I believe not practicing in a tiny apartment and instead in a more wide open room will help me practice more often too. I'm really looking forward to it. I've started traveling to practice rooms again around the city.

This summer I am excited to see my friend and horn player Thomas Jostlein and his family again! I have the energy outside of work to focus on the things I love most and that I can pour all my time and dedication into. I also need to consider other areas of my life, as it's undergone a lot of huge changes lately....I'll talk about that later! ;-)

Thank you for stopping by and checking in! :-) - Katie

Friday, June 8, 2018

Month of June Resource Links

Hi everyone! Please forgive me for not tending to my blog lately. I'll be taking some time away this summer to focus on other areas of my life. I do promise though that I won't forget to come on here and update things at least every 2 months at the latest, and hopefully by either September or October I will be diving back into focusing on my blog! I have been going through a lot of changes lately and excited to write more about that later. I just celebrated my birthday...since it is in early June, so thought I'd stop by and update things too while I'm on cloud 9. Also apologies to those who have written to me and I haven't replied back yet. I will be getting around to that tomorrow! :-)

Here are three links I came across recently that I found informative and interesting....

The first one is an article published in the Australian Dental Journal back in 2002 called Specific Orofacial Problems Experienced by Musicians.

Secondly, an article by Medical News Today called "What Causes Your Lip to Twitch?" which covers the different types of reasons a person might experience facial tremors or spasms. This isn't meant to say that what you're experiencing isn't embouchure dystonia if you think you have it, but to hopefully open our eyes to other disorders or situations that cause tremors, and what is typically done in those individual cases, and also most of all how important it is to get diagnosed by a neurologist in order to rule out any of these other possible health concerns.

Lastly, a post by Dr. Kenneth Casey at the Department of Neurological Surgery at Wayne State University in Detroit Michigan over Hemifacial Spasms (spasms in the face)....published on the Benign Essential Blepharospasm Research Foundation (BEBRF) website. This one is great because it covers in more detail the neurological-related reasons of how spasms/tremors occur, and the characteristics of each one. Again, not posting this to try to prove that no one has embouchure dystonia, but the importance in understanding other disorders and causes of involuntary muscle contractions. Also studying these other maladies can help us learn to pinpoint similar and varying characterstics of embouchure dystonia, in both symptoms and treatment.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Feedspot: Top 15 French Horn Blogs and Websites to Follow has selected this blog as part of it's Top 15 French Horn Blogs and Websites to Follow based on google reputation and search ranking, influence and popularity on social media, quality and consistency of posts, and then overlooked by the editorial team and expertly reviewed. You can check it out by clicking on the highlighted link above.

A huge thank you to the founder Anuj Agarwal for notifying me and giving me a badge!! It's an honor to know that my efforts to raise awareness for musicians with dystonia has not gone unnoticed.

As I look back to 2009 when I first started experiencing onset of focal embouchure dystonia, I remember looking for more information on the subject, and it appalled me that there were so few resources or documentation of it. It's as if it were never talked about or documented. Fast forward to today, I can't explain how relieved it makes me feel to see how much both focal embouchure dystonia and focal hand dystonia (musician's dystonia) is being talked about, researched, known about, and being brought up in lectures at conferences, taught about at universities, and just spoken about in general. I feel like in a short 10 years the topic of performance related injuries and disorders has come to the forefront, and I can't wait to see how many more answers and advancements we make in helping injured and/or disabled musicians find help, knowledge, resources, and recovery methods. I am truly honored to be a small part of the huge group of musicians, doctors, physicians, teachers, etc. who have brought light to this very important subject!

...and thank you to my blog readers. I appreciate all those who have reached out to me over the years. I know most of you do in order to ask questions, find answers, find help, share stories, share articles/research, but I can't explain how much you have helped me not feel so alone too throughout all this, and you've done more for me than you know!

Thursday, February 15, 2018


Just wanted to share my mantras in both Latin and English. These give me the greatest amount of inner strength no matter when or what I'm going through. I use them during meditation or when playing horn or in prayer. One of my biggest strengths is perseverance, and these mantras accurately reflect my mentality whenever encountering obstacles/life challenges. They resonate so well with me and I always keep them close to my heart. Happy Valentines day everyone, I hope these help your inner strength shine through as well. 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Rehabilitation Video Journals Updated

Just stopping by to update my inventory of videos over rehabilitation (you can see the whole inventory here: There's a couple over the last few years I haven't added on here and needed to. Just wanted to start it off with a before vs after video first to show the progress over the years. :-)

Before I got dystonia 2006-2009: I don't have many recordings except for from 2006-2009... but tried to smash a few excerpts together to show a bit of my abilities.

During height of Dystonia and right before diagnosed with it: 2011/2012:....first video of playing in January of 2011, and there was a lot I was too embarrassed to put on camera. But I had been trying to recover my playing since June 2010. The 2-4 videos are of taking an inventory of my symptoms at the time in 2012.

After: Fast-forward to January 2017 ....this is a video of me warming up before teaching lessons. I'm testing the waters and checking to see how my embouchure felt. I recovered a great deal from 2011-2013.

I stopped rehabilitation practice from 2014-2015 due to graduate school, and 2015-2017 due to focusing on teaching. I didn't necessarily stop playing, I just didn't focus on recovery efforts as much or logging things.

Now in 2017 I started focusing on regaining the last percentage of my playing again and started taking some gigs! :-)


Currently onto 2018.....I recorded this yesterday 02/12/18. Doing some light-touch rehabilitation. Testing how long I can hold a note out for and how lightly I can do it for. Notice how there is less spasms or involuntary flexes in the chin muscles as there were in the past.

When I start to get louder, I'm basically doing that to stretch/tense my muscles really quickly in order to relieve tension, and then diminuendo into a lighter sound when possible. My camera died, but I will film the rest of my upper register today.

March 2017: Filmed my playing on other instruments; clarinet, trumpet, trombone. 

February 3rd, 2017: Playing, and speaking about my progress on larger interval jumps in rehabilitation.

July 2nd, 2016: Playing and speaking about collapsed vs puckered embouchure, tonguing vs air puffs and its affects during rehabilitation.

April 2nd, 2016: Playing and speaking about puckered vs collapsed embouchure formations in rehabilitation.

May 1st, 2014: Rehab log

January 13th, 2014: Rehab Log after acupuncture

February 17th, 2013: Rehab Log...might have already posted this under my videos.