Ricky's Riffs:

Random Thoughts on Travel, Education, Health, and the World in General


Book Review: “Irresistible: The Rise Of Addictive Technology And The Business Of Keeping Us Hooked” by Eric Alter

March 26th, 2018

With the recent revelations about the Russian trolling of the 2016 presidential election, during which both Facebook and Twitter were manipulated by a foreign power, we are witnessing the beginning of a national reckoning with social media.  A global network that was initially seen as a great gift to humankind is now being reconsidered.

Hailed as a great unifier, and a way to connect people—social media was the force behind the Arab Spring and other revolutionary movements—the broader implications of this network have come crashing down on us.  There has even been a good deal of hand wringing among some ex-Facebook executives, who have had second thoughts about what they have created.

Irresistible, the new book by Eric Alter, that describes the effects of social media on our children and the science behind those effects, sheds light on some of the reasons for this soul searching.Read the rest of this entry »


On Low Back Support Belts

January 25th, 2018

I just returned from a relaxing week-long vacation in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.  The ocean was beautiful, the sunsets magnificent, and the tequila sweet, strong and flowing.

My wife and I stayed at a large resort, supported by lots of local workers: gardeners, maids, cooks, waiters, maintenance people, and many others.

As a chiropractor, I could not help but notice that many of the workers were wearing lumbar (lower back) support belts.  These are the cloth and Velcro braces that can be wrapped tightly around one’s waist.  The reason workers use these is to prevent low back injury, which is the most common work injury.

So, is it a good idea to wear them?Read the rest of this entry »


Creativity Is Available To Us At Every Moment – a podcast with Allie Stark, featured at Gutted

January 10th, 2018

Ricky is interviewed by Allie Stark, on “Gutted.” You can also hear this podcast and get new insights on health at Condition: Health News That Matters, my new site with personally curated articles on the home page, a Perspectives page, with articles from contibuting experts on health and wellness, as well as Book & Product Reviews and Events, Activities and Healing possibilities in the Bay Area.
 


Welcome to “Condition: Health News That Matters”

December 11th, 2017

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 undergrad and graduate level coursework in the history and philosophy of science, as well as complementary and integrative medicine.  I’ve worked as a chiropractor in private practice, public health, and occupational (worker compensation) medical settings.  My experience has been broad and deep in the field of integrative health.  And I definitely have a point of view!

But the more I thought about my book, the more pause I took.  My friends have written books.  Some are established authors with reputable publishers, and are paid in advance for their work.  But most are people who—like me— want to write to express something they have been carrying within themselves; to articulate their unique perspective. Many in the latter group may spend years on the project, self-publish their work, and, at the end of this long process, have 20 or 30 of their friends and relatives buy the book.  The rest may go into storage, or be given away.  (Of course, there’s always the possibility that the book might become a great bestseller, and one might join the ranks Dr. Oz or Deepak Chopra. But there’s an even better possibility that those books will stay on the shelf.)Read the rest of this entry »


Book Review: “The Healing of America” by T.R. Reid

October 19th, 2017

Part of my frustration, as I watch the current health care debate, is realizing that most of those charged with reforming our economy simply do not understand the health care system. This holds true from the House of Representatives up to the Presidency.

The health care sector is one sixth of the US economy.  Those making decisions need to be educated about how this behemoth works. What are the cost drivers? Where are the inefficiencies? What are the relationships between interest groups—such as the pharmaceutical, medical device, hospital and insurance lobbies—and legislators in Washington, DC? Read the rest of this entry »


Bernie’s Big Adventure: Medicare-For-All, A Most Radical Proposition

September 27th, 2017

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 co-sponsors.

My, how things have changed.

It appears that the Democratic Party is now a center left party.Read the rest of this entry »


The HAG Capisco: Best Chair in the World?

August 28th, 2017

Growing up, I remember my parents sitting in front of the television set in their big faux leather Lazy Boy recliners.  They would lean back and the foot supports would rise as they sank into their chairs dreamy soft cushiness.  Usually, after about twenty minutes, they would be asleep and when they finally trudged off to bed, it would usually be with aching backs.  Another chair related “injury!”Read the rest of this entry »


Book Review: “An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business And How You Can Take It Back” by Elisabeth Rosenthal

August 2nd, 2017

The Republican Congress has been doing its best to bring down the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and replace it with the cruel joke that would be known as “Trumpcare.” Despite the fact that only 17% of the public supports the Republican proposals, the GOP is still trying to burn the ACA to the ground.

It is in this environment that Dr. Elisabeth Rosenthal’s new book–An American Sickness–has arrived. The timing could not be better!Read the rest of this entry »


Book Review: “Crooked: Outwitting the Back Pain Industry and Getting on the Road to Recovery”

July 12th, 2017

Crooked Book CoverI first heard about Crooked: Outwitting the Back Pain Industry and Getting on the Road to Recovery from a patient of mine who was about to undergo his second spinal surgery.

“Wow, she really trashes chiropractic big time,” he let me know. “And I think the book is getting a lot of notice.”

So first, a disclaimer: I am a chiropractor.

But I am not one to shy away from criticism, so I immediately bought the book and started reading.  Granted, it was hard for me to take in the venomous barrage aimed at my profession. But I plowed forward.Read the rest of this entry »


A Doctor Examines Trumpcare – Ricky’s recent Interview with Michael Finney

July 9th, 2017

Dr. Ricky Fishman talks about the current battle in Congress over Trumpcare, the unpopular bill being pushed by the Republican majority.  He describes the  effects of this bill on millions who may lose their health insurance and discusses where he sees health care going.  He believes that, in the end, we will have a single payer system.  However, the powers aligned against this movement are enormous.  Have a listen!