More about living, less about work


Johnny Rider, occupational therapist with Mesa View Physical Therapy shows some of the casts he and Jerid Matheson make for arthritis patients who want to enjoy more out of life. Photo by Barbara Ellestad.

Johnny Rider, occupational therapist with Mesa View Physical Therapy shows some of the casts he and Jerid Matheson make for arthritis patients who want to enjoy more out of life. Photo by Barbara Ellestad.

It’s not so much about occupational therapy as it is ‘living therapy.’

If you’re like most people, when you hear the term ‘occupational therapy’ you probably think about work-related rehabilitation. But according to Johnny Rider, it’s more about living a good life doing what you love most.

“Most people go straight to the idea that they already have a job or they’re retired and don’t want one,” Rider said.

Rider and Jerid Matheson are the only two Board-certified, licensed occupational therapists in Mesquite. They both work for Mesa View Physical Therapy.

“Occupations are the term for our everyday activities. We look at your roles, your habits, and your routines to get you ‘back’ to where you were,” Rider said. During the course of treatment, he asks patients “what matters to you, versus what’s the matter with you.”

Occupational therapists Johnny Rider and Jerid Matheson with Mesa View Physical Therapy help people learn to use adaptive equipment to help them continue with the things they enjoy the most and stay in their own homes as long as possible. Photo by Barbara Ellestad.

Occupational therapists Johnny Rider and Jerid Matheson with Mesa View Physical Therapy help people learn to use adaptive equipment to help them continue with the things they enjoy the most and stay in their own homes as long as possible. Photo by Barbara Ellestad.

He explained that the scope of work with patients is very large. Some professionals in the field work with kids and some work with mentally-challenged patients. Rider and Matheson work mainly with older adults through MVPT on an outpatient basis, Mesa View Home Health or with Highland Manor nursing home patients.

After spending a large part of his working years as a sign language interpreter, Rider returned to school and received a Master’s degree in occupational therapy. He did an internship with MVPT and knew that’s where he wanted to work when he graduated. He and his wife have lived in Mesquite for about a year and a half.

Matheson, who lives in Logandale, has been in the field for about 10 years. Both men are licensed in Nevada and Arizona and often times treat home-health care patients in Scenic and Beaver Dam.

“We work with everything from the shoulder down to the tip of the fingers,” Rider said. “We have patients who have lost a finger and help them learn new ways of doing things. We work with people who have arthritis and teach them how to protect their joints and strengthen their surrounding muscles.”

Rider says occupational therapists look for what people do for fun. “Are they a golfer? A gardener? We look at those activities and try to help patients continue with the things they enjoy the most.”

He says the motto of OT is “to ‘live life to the fullest.’ So whatever is important to you, is important to us. Where is your quality of life?”

Rider and Matheson work with stroke patients or others who’ve had knee or hip replacement. “We work on what we call ‘aging in place’ in OT,” Rider said. “We want you to stay in your home as long as possible. Jerid and I are trained in home safety evaluation. We look at what kind of adaptations can keep you in your home longer and safely. We look at fall prevention. We look for hazards in the home and determine adaptations that are simple. We’re considered the health experts on adaptive equipment.”

Rider says OT specialists try to teach people to live with health conditions they have. “If someone has had a hip replacement for example, we’re going to work on them getting better. But in the meantime, we’re going to work with them on their ability to still dress themselves and live in their own home. My trunk is full of adaptive equipment people can use in their home to adapt to their situation. Our home evaluations walk people through their daily routine and see where they need to change things.”

Rider said that he and Matheson show people with arthritis, for example, how to use bigger handles on gardening equipment for instance or use golf clubs with bigger grips so they can continue to do what they love.

“All of our evaluations begin with determining what’s important to the person, what they can’t do that they want to do and then trying to help them reach the point where they can do what they love,” Rider said as he summed up what occupational therapy is really all about.


How Foods Can Help Heal Common Ailments
When you’re not feeling well, conventional wisdom says you should reach for over-the-counter or prescription remedies. But many experts point out that foods have healing properties that can be complementary in helping to treat common ailments and prevent illness.

“The concept of using food as medicine isn’t a new one; however, the evolution of society and science has moved us further from this concept,” says Grand Master Nan Lu, OMD, one of the country’s foremost teachers and practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and author of the new book “Digesting the Universe: A Revolutionary Framework for Healthy Metabolism Function.” “In my view, we are missing some of the most powerful and supportive steps we can take to remain well and prevent disease and illness.”

Lu says the teachings of TCM can help patients deal with the root cause of their problems, rather than just eliminate the symptoms. While complex, he is offering a few quick insights into the subject of food as medicine.

• Nutritionists today base their work on the physical and chemical properties of food alone, but this is just half the picture. “There are many immaterial things contained within food as well,” says Lu, who cites Qi, or vital energy, as a key aspect of food you can’t see.

• The “right” foods won’t necessarily protect your health by virtue of their properties alone. Good organ function is also necessary for your body to process and digest what you eat. However, foods can help restore balance to an ailing organ system.

• Listen to your body, not cultural beliefs about what is good or bad for you. Lu offers the example of a woman craving sugar or salt during her menstrual cycle. “Assuming she listens to the wisdom of her body and satisfies her craving, she’ll have some chocolate or eat some potato chips. This woman is doing something natural.”

• You may have heard of the adage, “you are what you eat.” Lu says to also consider the phrase, “you are what you think,” and avoid a steady diet of negative emotions, which you then must digest and process. Your thoughts impact your body and health, he says.

• The next time your stomach is upset, consider reaching for something natural. Ginger can be eaten or used topically to deal with stomach discomfort, reduce inflammation and even lower pain from arthritis.

More information about TCM and “Digesting the Universe” can be found at

While modern science has offered us groundbreaking medications and treatments, traditional healing systems can help patients recognize the root cause of physical conditions for a healthier, more balanced life.

Keep Your Family Healthier this Back-to-School Season
Back-to-school season can be fun and exciting for kids and parents alike. With your kids coming home after being exposed to all the children at school and the added stress that the school year brings, it could mean more days stuck in bed for your whole family. Experts say that rather than being reactive, it’s important to be proactive by taking steps to keep kids healthy.

“Building and maintaining a strong immune system is key to a long, healthy life,” says Larry Robinson, PhD, and vice president of Scientific Affairs, Embria Health Sciences, a manufacturer of science-based ingredients that support wellness.

For a strong and healthy school year ahead, Robinson and Embria are offering some useful health and wellness tips.

Great Habits

A healthy lifestyle means developing healthy habits. Perhaps most important is to enforce a consistent bedtime to promote adequate sleep, which is proven in studies to promote good health. Added bonus: kids will be more alert in their classes after a full night’s rest.

Proper nutrition is also key: three solid nutrient-filled meals a day and healthy, non-sugary snacks. Regular, moderate exercise also promotes good health, so encourage them to participate in physical activities like sports teams, dance classes and even just playing in the yard.

Smart Supplements

Even well balanced diets can use a few more benefits to promote better wellness and good health. The best immune system supplements are well researched and do more than simply boost the immune system.

Consider supplements containing the breakthrough, fermentation ingredient EpiCor, shown to support the body’s ability to initiate the proper immune response when needed. For example, NOW Healthy Immune contains EpiCor, Zinc, Selenium, and Vitamin D-3 and C for additional support for the body’s immune system. Formulated into easy pouring packs, they are a convenient way for busy families to stay healthy on-the-go.

To help strengthen the immune system another way, think about your gut, which is where 70 percent of your immune system resides. Probiotics can keep your gut and you healthier. Consider a supplement such as Hyperbiotics Immune, which contains EpiCor, targeted probiotic strains, zinc, vitamin C and echinacea.

While these statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration and these products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease, many experts believe they can help you maintain a strong immune system.

Reduce Stress

Too much stress can compromise the immune system. Help kids reduce the stress in their lives by not over-scheduling them. Ensure that with schoolwork, chores and after school activities, kids still have time to relax, see friends and just be a kid.

For happy, healthy kids, practice wellness habits that promote a strong immune system.






How to Stay Safe During Outdoor Summer Activities
Hitting the road for an outdoor adventure or just headed to a local park or pool? Get prepared. Before summer fun, comes summer safety.

These tips can help ensure you have the tools you need to enjoy your summer days safely.

Be Prepared

Whenever you hit the road for an outdoor adventure in warm temperatures, it’s important to be prepared for whatever might come your way. For example, keep certain safety items in your car all the time, such as a first aid kit and rain gear. It’s also a good idea to bring along more water than you think you need.

You may be relying on your device to listen to music, take photos, use GPS, check the weather and of course to text and make calls, so always carry extra backup batteries to stay charged. Charge external batteries before leaving the house so they are ready to go if you need them.

Keep an Eye on the Weather

Whether you’re going for a swim, having a picnic or heading into the wilderness for a long hike, the weather can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Luckily, these days, it’s easier than ever to know what’s in store for you. No more checking the weather report in the morning and hoping for the best. New tools can provide trusted weather data while you are out and about.

Before your next journey, consider downloading an app that can get you the most up-to-date local weather forecasts wherever you go, such as AccuWeather (the app is available free on iOS and Android and additional smartphones, plus mobile and desktop sites).

Recognized for its superior accuracy leadership in a new global report from ForecastWatch, Accuweather’s app features include the unique AccuWeather MinuteCast, which provides patented minute-by-minute precipitation forecasts for the next two hours that are hyper-localized to each user’s exact street address or GPS location. Animated weather radar and maps, severe weather alert warnings and extended forecasts including AccuWeather’s exclusive Day by Day 90-Day Forecast can help you plan activities, road trips, and more. And its unique RealFeel Temperature feature analyzes the local temperature to let you know how it actually feels outside to help you plan what clothes to pack! With UV and Allergy Forecasts, the AccuWeather apps can help you be completely prepared for all possibilities on your outings.

Protect Yourself

Hopefully your plans coincide with a beautiful sunny day. Remember to wear sunglasses that offer UV protection. Both adults and kids should be protected from harmful rays. And, of course, reapply sunscreen as often as the bottle suggests.

If you’re headed out somewhere near water, make sure everyone knows how to swim and that kids are under supervision. For natural bodies of water, check signage for conditions for hazards like riptides and local wildlife. On boats, lifejackets are a must!

This summer, a little preparation and real-time knowledge at your fingertips can help you head out the door with confidence.



Probiotics: Common Myths and Shocking Truths
With all the attention paid to health and wellness these days, it’s no wonder that probiotics are such a hot topic. Probiotics support digestive health and strong immunity (70 percent of our immune system is located in the digestive tract); however, there are a lot of myths surrounding them.

With the global probiotic market expected to climb to $36.7 billion in 2018, according to BCC Research, consumers should get the truth about how to reap probiotic benefits before shelling out their money.

Here are a few myths and facts to consider from probiotic experts at Ganeden, a leading manufacturer of probiotic ingredients:

Myth: If a yogurt product has the Live & Active Cultures seal on the label, it is “probiotic.”

Fact: The seal indicates that at the time of manufacture, a refrigerated yogurt contained at least 100 million cultures of Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophiles per gram, and that a frozen yogurt contained at least 10 million cultures per gram at the time of manufacture. This sounds pretty impressive, but depending on storage conditions, cultures used, and other manufacturing processes, there may be only a small fraction of the cells left by the time the product reaches your spoon, due to their naturally short lifespan.

The good news is there are products that contain far more robust cultures. For example, GanedenBC30 (Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, 6086), a strain of probiotic bacteria, survives at rates of nearly 100 percent, and can be found in a variety of food and beverage products. Be sure to check the ingredient listing or look for its circular logo on packaging.

Myth: Fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, miso and natto are good sources of probiotics.

Fact: It depends. While many of these foods do use naturally occurring live cultures to begin fermentation, the pasteurization process will kill almost all living bacteria, even the good guys!

If the fermented product is raw, meaning it was never pasteurized, it will contain bacteria, but it won’t necessarily be probiotic. The organisms used to produce the fermented food have not always been studied — so whether they provide a health benefit to the consumer is unknown.

For benefits to your digestive health and immune system, seek out foods and beverages with added probiotic strains that have research showing their benefits, like GanedenBC30.

Myth: Added probiotic strains can’t survive in foods and beverages outside of the refrigerated dairy case.

Fact: Some strains can, such as GanedenBC30. Its stability is due to a unique protective spore that gives the probiotic an ability to survive harsh manufacturing processes, product shelf life and, finally, the journey through the digestive system.

These special characteristics allow it to be included in foods like oatmeal, muffins, coffee, orange juice and even pizza — providing probiotic options that fit every lifestyle and preference.

To learn more about probiotics and their benefits, including digestive and immune support, along with enhanced protein utilization, and for a list of more than 500 probiotic product options, visit

When seeking out good sources of probiotics to include in your diet, remember to do research beyond the label.




How to Reduce Sugar in School Lunchboxes
At a time when even yogurt has come under scrutiny for its sugar content, it’s hard to know what constitutes a healthful lunch anymore.

Any way you slice it, too much sugar can be harmful for your health. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends no more than 16 grams of sugar daily for toddlers and a maximum of 32 grams of sugar per day for teens. Many children as young as 1-3-years old already surpass daily recommendations — typically consuming around 48 grams of sugar daily, according to an AHA study. Older kids consume even more. Pediatric health experts recommend reducing sugar in children’s diets.

Some foods that you may not consider “sweet” have more sugar than you may think. A yogurt cup and a granola bar contain about 25 grams of sugar. That’s an entire day’s worth of sugar in one seemingly nutritious snack. Add a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a juice box, and your child may have consumed more than 50 grams of sugar before afternoon snack.

What’s a parent to do? You don’t need to replace your child’s favorite food. You don’t even need to say goodbye to any individual lunch item. However, you can moderate the total amount of sugar that’s being consumed on a daily basis by replacing just one sugary food with a savory one.

With this goal in mind, here are some great ideas for savory swaps.

• Replace yogurt with hummus and carrots.

• Swap out a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for a cheese and mustard sandwich.

• Like the convenience of fruit cups? Replace them with Pearls Olives to Go! in a cup, which are gluten-free, sugar-free black ripe olives that are convenient because they have no messy liquid.

• Replace a juice box with water and a twist of lemon.

• Instead of a granola bar, add a serving of almonds or walnuts.

• Other savory items to try: hard boiled eggs, cubed cheese, cheese sticks, different varieties of olives, peanut butter and celery, sliced pickles and air-popped popcorn.

• For fun and flavor: Pack a put-together mini pizza kit: small pita, shredded cheese, a tablespoon of sauce and a Pearls Olives to Go! cup of sliced or whole black olives.

• For dessert, swap out cookies for some blueberries or strawberries. Sugars in whole fruit enter the bloodstream slowly, and don’t cause the same spikes in blood sugar as does junk food.

For more ideas, visit

Ask your children for their input, too. This is an opportunity to talk to kids about making good food choices. If the foods you’re trying aren’t working, keep experimenting. Most importantly, don’t try to change too much at once. Being a parent is hard enough without making lunchtime a battle.




Are You Applying Your Sunscreen Properly?
Protecting skin from the sun is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Unfortunately, many people fail to take sufficient measures year-round, but especially in summer when skin exposure tends to be at its peak.

Men can be particularly neglectful. Indeed, fewer than 15 percent of men use sunscreen regularly when outside for more than an hour, according to the Center for Disease Control.

“This summer, make sun care a habit,” urges Dr. Richard C. Kirkpatrick of the Brevard Skin and Cancer Center. “By finding a sunscreen you like that suits your activities, you’ll be more apt to apply it often.”

Kirkpatrick notes that with so many choices, finding sunscreen that works best for your lifestyle and properly applying it can be confusing. Luckily, some brands are helping simplify selection. For example, BullFrog now segments sunscreens according to the activity and environment in which they will be used.

Read labels for application instructions and to determine whether a given product is right for you, and consider these quick tips for maximum skin protection:

• Broad-spectrum sunscreens contain both UVA and UVB protection. Select one with an SPF of at least 30 and apply evenly 15 to 30 minutes before going outdoors. One ounce is the right quantity to cover the whole body. Don’t forget ears, back of neck, hands, tops of feet and top of the head, if exposed. Reapply every two hours and after swimming, sweating and towel drying.

• Going swimming? Use sunscreen engineered for water resistance. The hydrophobic polymers contained in BullFrog Water Sport make it a good option for intense water sports. Or toss some Ocean Potion into your beach bag — the brand’s new H20 Sport SPF 50 spray has an oil-free, instant dry formula and is PABA- and paraben-free. Whatever sunscreen you opt for, don’t forget to reapply after exiting the water.

• If you’re playing a sport where you need to keep hands grease-free, use an alcohol-based gel that dries quickly. For example, BullFrog Land Sport Quik Gel is water- and sweat-resistant and allows for clear application and quick dry-down so you can get back to the action fast. If you sweat a lot while working out or simply going about your day, avoid sunscreen running into your eyes with a solid stick formula.

• In the woods? Pack lightly by beating burn and bite with a sunscreen that’s also an insect repellent. For example, BullFrog’s Mosquito Coast has a DEET-free formula so you don’t have to wash off when returning from outdoors.

• Don’t let cost prevent you from taking care of yourself and your family’s skin. Affordable sunscreens are available. For instance, NO-AD, the first mass brand sunscreen to be paraben-free, retinyl palmitate-free and PABA-free, has a lower cost per ounce than national brands and also carries formulas specific for babies and oil-free options for the face.

“Whether you’re a long distance runner or a beach bum, sun protection should be part of your routine,” says Kirkpatrick.