How to Begin Running Again After an Injury (Hint…Start Slow)

A lot of people runningAs anyone who has been running for a while can tell you, injuries happen.

The repetitive motion of pounding the pavement can lead to sore knees and ankles, pulled muscles and aching tendons—or sometimes more serious injuries that require a longer layoff.

Being injured is challenging enough. Trying to ease back into running after an injury can also be tough, especially if the injury has interrupted your training routine.

As professional running trainer Robert Forster and fitness writer Roy Wallack explain in their new book, Healthy Running Step by Step, the key to getting back to running after an injury is to take things slow.

“Before you run, you walk. That goes for most things in life, including returning to running after any injury whose rehab should involve a conservative progression by time or mileage. You need to take it slow because, after an injury, de-conditioning and loss of fitness are very rapid.

In this rusty state, an overzealous comeback will often result in re-injury or another injury without adequate time for adaptation.

Before starting a walk/run program, you must tolerate a 25-minute walk twice per week for two weeks.

You should also have a gait analysis done by a physical therapist, who will pay attention to the following (in order):

  • Proper shoes: They should control mechanics (i.e. pronation)
  • Arm swing: Your arms should swing in a vertical motion at your sides
  • Knee raise: Ideally, you should raise your knees so your thigh forms at least a 45-degree angle with your trunk
  • Running cadence: Your steps per minute should be at 180 (30 steps every 10 seconds) or better for proper phasic muscle activity and foot and ankle mechanics


Over the years, I’ve found that the following conservative program yields the best results and reduces injury setbacks.

Week 1: Two runs with two full days of rest in between. Each run should include:

  • Walking warm-up for 10 minutes
  • 2x (run 3 minutes + walk 2 minutes)
  • Walking cooldown for five minutes

Week 2: Two runs with at least one day’s rest in between. They should include:

  • Walking warm-up for five minutes
  • 3x (run 5 minutes + walk 2 minutes)
  • Walking cool down for 5 minutes

From this point forward, the warm-up and cooldown walks remain at 5 minutes. The walk in-between runs remains at 2 minutes, and the running intervals increase by 2 monutes every third run, with workouts three times per week.

When you progress to a workout of three daily 9-minute runs three times per week, you can then increase workouts to two 15-minute runs per session with a 2 minute walk in between. After two of these workouts, you can do a straight 30 minute run with no walks in between.

From that point on, increase your running time no more than 10 percent per week. Avoid hills and speed work until you are back to your weekly mileage and continue to ice after each run up to that milestone, and you will aid the adaptation of the injured tissues and help avoid re-injury.

Continue to stretch for the rest of your life and keep doing the rehabilitation strength exercises (detailed in the book) for at least 5 months post-recovery to gain full protection against a relapse.

HealthyRunningStepbyStepHealthy Running Step by Step will help runners of all ages and abilities understand why running injuries occur, how to prevent them, and how to speed up recovery. Injuries plague the majority of runners, wrecking training plans and cutting running careers short by decades, but they are not inevitable. Authors Robert Forster, P.T., and Roy M. Wallack explain that nearly all running injuries can be rehabilitated quicker and even avoided altogether with the right training, strengthening, stretching, running form, and diet strategy.

Drawing from Forster’s three decades of training and treating Olympic athletes and more than 10,000 runners at his award-winning Santa Monica, California, physical therapy and high-performance centers, this book emphasizes that better performance is inextricably bound to injury reduction and that a comprehensive, science-based training plan with built-in anti-injury “insurance” must include these crucial elements:

  • Periodization training
  • Proper technique and footwear
  • Nutrition
  • Posture and flexibility
  • Strength training

This book also includes detailed, step-by-step rehabilitation matrixes for the five most common running injuries: IT band syndrome, Achilles tendonitis, shin splints, plantar fasciitis, and hamstring injuries. Using these unique matrixes as your guide, you’ll recover from injuries more quickly and understand what you need to do to prevent their reoccurrence.

Healthy Running Step by Step is a must-have guide if you’ve ever been injured, are recovering from an injury, want to prevent injuries, or run injury-free for decades to come.

Restore Your Balance During The Autumnal Equinox

Did you know that an equinox occurs approximately twice a year, when the days and nights are of approximately the same length?

Did you know that the autumnal equinox is coming up next week?

Did you know that the word equinox itself actually refers to the fact that the days and nights are the same length?

Do you know what plants are most often associated with the autumnal equinox?

If you already knew the answers to the first three questions, then congratulations. You are already more of an expert than we were when we first started learning about equinoxes for this blog post.

If the answer to question number four is no, have no fear. We have the answer for you.

As author Susan Gregg writes in her book, the Complete Illustrated Encyclopedia of Magical Plants, the autumnal equinox is a time to give thanks for the summer, to prepare for the winter, and to work on balancing ourselves as we enter the next season, and the next chapter of our lives. Gregg also tells us what plants are most commonly associated with this fall event.

Sampion cultivar.jpg

Apple tree photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons*

The Autumnal Equinox

Date: September 20-23
Tree: Apple
Herbs: Fennel, Hops, Marigold

Day and night are once again in perfect balance. The autumnal equinox is the end of summer and the beginning of a long journey into night. Gratitude, thanksgiving and balance are the cornerstones of the autumnal equinox. It is a wonderful time to gather with your friends and have a feast of earth’s bountiful gifts.

This is an ideal time to ask what you can give back to the earth. It is time to prepare the soil for next year’s harvest. The double spiral is a symbol often associated with these days. It symbolizes the balance of this time of year and of life. You inhale, you exhale, the seasons change.

The sap in the trees is returning to the earth. Plants are preparing for the long sleep of the coming winter. It is time to begin the inner journey and lovingly harvest and gather the herbs you will use over the coming year. Finish off any garden projects and plant bulbs.

Traditionally, the rafters would be filled with bunches of fragrant herbs drying. It is a time where you can really sense the magic of the season. This is a good time for you to deepen your commitment to your spiritual path, to connect with the magic, and to clear anything out of your life that no longer serves you.

Take time to meditate and feel your connection to the earth, the herbs, and the potential held within each moment. Sit with your favorite herb and allow it to teach you the gifts held within. Each cell of every plant holds within it the gift of life and the ability to facilitate change. Align with those gifts. Pay attention to those dreams.

Apple trees have a long history of magic properties. When cut open, you find a pentagram long associated with the gift of healing and the magic contained within nature. It is a symbol of abundance. By aligning with that abundance, you invite more gifts into your life. Spend time outdoors on the equinox. Go to a farmers market and take in the sights, sounds and smells.

Place some colorful leaves on your altar and fill a vase with marigolds. Dry the petals for use all winter. They make a wonderful tea and are useful as a cleansing tonic. When the sun is at its weakest, sprinkle the dried flowers around your home to remind yourself of the summer to come.

Sit with the flowers in your hands as you meditate to help your dreams come true. Sprinkled around your home, they will dispel any negative energy. Put them in your bath water before an important meeting, and all will go well.

This is the perfect time of the year to harvest fennel. When you clean, add a few seeds to the water to purify and protect your home. This is the time of year to celebrate abundance, so the seeds sprinkled around your home and placed in your wallet are sure to help the abundance in your life flow more freely.

Hang hops around your home as part of the celebration of the equinox. Place some under your pillow to enhance your dreams.

Magical PlantsThe ultimate guide to magical plants gets even better in this new edition of The Complete Illustrated Encyclopedia of Magical Plants!

Learn how to improve your life using the spiritual properties all around you in nature. This revised and expanded guide includes the magical properties and uses for nearly 300 plants. Entries describe how to use spells or rituals and potions that solve everything from shooing evil spirits out of a reader’s house to finding the perfect mate to using herbs, flowers, and plants in Wiccan and earth magic festivals. New entries are woven throughout the book to reflect the newest popular healing plants and herbs. Expert Susan Gregg shows you how to concoct tinctures, oils, and bath salts, work with dried leaves, and use fresh plants and flowers to call in fairies and plant divas that will enhance your life.
The smaller size of this bestselling encyclopedia makes it a perfect gift for a friend, a family member, or yourself!
*image “Sampion cultivar” by Glysiak – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

8 Great Reasons to Stop Giving Your Kids Soda and Energy Drinks

IMG_3113With the start of the new school season, parents may find it harder to limit their kids’ intake of soda and energy drinks. All that time spent at school, hanging out after school, or participating in sports or activities increases the chances that they will be tempted by these tasty–but not so healthy–beverages.

Fortunately, many schools have made it harder for students to get soda and energy drinks during the school day–in some cases banning them from school campuses all together.

But as authors Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, and Deborah Kennedy, PhD, explain in this excerpt from their book, “Beat Sugar Addiction Now for Kids,” there are plenty of good reasons for parents to go the extra mile to limit the amount of sodas and sports drinks their kids take in every day.

“Kids can choose from more than 400 types of soda, and they can buy these drinks most places they go. Luckily, children in some elementary and middle schools can no longer buy soda, but most teens still have access to diet soda and sports drinks at school.

Good progress has been made in the public school system to date, but water is better than diet sodas. Well-hydrated children learn better because they are more alert and better able to concentrate. Diet soda does not make the cut as an optimal source of hydration.

Consider these reasons for removing soda and energy drinks from your child’s diet.

1. They contain too much sugar. Each 12 ounce can of soda provides approximately 10 teaspoons (2.5 g) of sugar. With the average teenage boy drinking two 12-ounce cans a day and girls 1.4 cans (445 ml), that adds up to 152 cups (or thirteen and a half 5 lb bags [30kg]) of sugar a year for teen boys and 106 cups (or nine and a quarter 5-pound bags ([2 kg]) for teen girls.

2. Consumption of these beverages can lead to weight gain and obesity. For each 12-ounce (335 ml) can of soda you consume over an 18-month period, your risk of obesity rises a whopping 60 percent.

3. They raise the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. One in three Caucasian children and one in two Hispanic or African American children are expected to develop diabetes in their lifetime.

4. They can have a negative effect on blood sugar levels. The caffeine in soda aggravates the swings in blood sugar that occur when your children consume a diet high in sugar. This makes it even more difficult for children to control their intake of sugar because they are seeking the highs and trying to avoid the lows.

5. Milk consumption decreases when soda consumption arises. This transition from milk to soft drinks occurs between third and eighth grade for most children. Because milk products are the number one source of calcium in most children’s diets, this decrease in consumption leads to an inadequate intake of calcium.

6. Children may develop weak bones. The phosphoric acid found in soda has a negative effect on bones, Several studies have demonstrated that drinking cola is associated with lower bone mineral density (softer bones), and more bone fractures.

7. Consumption can increase the risk of cavities. The added sugar plus the acidity of soda (phosphoric acid or citric acid) and energy drinks (citric acid) erode and rot the enamel on children’s teeth, which leads to cavities.

8. These beverages contain caffeine in toxic amounts. Certain varieties of soda (including Coca-Cola, Mountain Dew, Mello Yellow, Sun Drop, Barq’s Root Beer and Sunkist Orange) and most energy drinks contain caffeine. Children with diabetes, seizures, cardiac abnormalities, or mood and behavior disorders are especially vulnerable to the effects of caffeine.

Caffeine can:

  • Increase blood pressure
  • Increase heart rate
  • Increase rate of speech so you talk fast
  • Trigger an irregular heartbeat
  • Lead to increased motor activity, or the jitters
  • Increase urination
  • Increase anxiety in those with anxiety disorder
  • Affect the development of the brain in certain doses
  • Affect the muscle of the heart while it is developing, in certain doses
  • Lead to addiction
  • Disrupt sleep, which can affect performance at school and during sports

The modern American child’s diet is awash in sugar—including mainstays such as juice, chocolate milk, sugary cereals, soda, energy drinks, and fast-food burgers and nuggets with added corn syrup and sweeteners, let alone candy and cookies prevalent at school parties and play dates. Beat Sugar Addiction Now! for Kids gives parents a proven 5-step plan for getting and keeping their child off sugar. Bestselling author and noted physician Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum and pediatric nutrition specialist Deborah Kennedy, Ph.D., give parents a toolkit for avoiding the common pitfalls such as guilt and temper tantrums, managing the 5-step process successfully on a day-to-day basis, and getting their child emotionally, as well as physically, unhooked from sugary drinks, breakfast foods, snacks, and desserts, as well as “hidden” sugars in foods.

Deborah Kennedy, Ph.D. is a pediatric nutritionist and has worked in the field of nutrition for more than 20 years at institutions that include Cornell, Columbia, Tufts and Yale. Her doctoral work focused on the impact of sugar and carbohydrates on brain and behavior. She has also worked in the field of childhood obesity as associate director of nutrition at Yale’s Prevention Research Center. She currently has a patent pending for a healthy meal delivery system and is the CEO and founder of Build Healthy Kids ( Dr. Kennedy has worked with noted physicians Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. David Katz. She resides in Guilford, CT.

Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, is an Internal Medicine specialist who has treated sugar-related issues, including chronic fatigue and pain, for over 30 years. He is Medical Director of the national Fibromyalgia and Fatigue Centers ( and author of the free iPhone application “Natural Cures.”

Teitelbaum is senior author of the landmark studies “Effective Treatment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia – a Placebo-controlled Study” and “Effective Treatment of CFS & Fibromyalgia with D-Ribose,” and author of the best-selling book From Fatigued to Fantastic! (3rd revised edition, Avery/Penguin Group) and Pain Free 1-2-3—A Proven Program for Eliminating Chronic Pain Now (McGraw- Hill). He does frequent media appearances including Good Morning America, CNN, Fox News Channel, The Dr. Oz Show, and Oprah & Friends with Dr. Mehmet Oz. He lives in Kona, Hawaii. His website is

Should I Have a Baby Shower for my Second Baby?

Having a baby shower when you are expecting your first baby is usually a much needed and much appreciated rite of passage.

Expectant parents don’t usually have the cribs and the pack and plays and the strollers and all the other transport items that they will need to take care of their new bundles of joy, and by having friends and family come together as a community to provide them with these items, it helps to defray the high startup costs of having a child.

But what about when you are pregnant with a second child? Is there a need for a second shower? Here are some thoughts on this issue, from pregnancy expert Robin Elise Weiss’ book, “The Complete Illustrated Pregnancy Companion.”

There is a controversy over whether or not second (or more) children deserve baby showers.

The key to how you feel is probably rooted in how you see the purpose of a baby shower or a party. If you feel that the primary purpose is for people to buy presents for a new baby, you will most likely think that having a shower for a second baby is inappropriate, unless the couple is having a baby of a different sex from their first, it’s a second marriage, and/or there have been a number of years between children.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

If, on the other hand, you tend to think of these celebrations as a way to celebrate the mom and her baby, having another shower is perfectly appropriate. Many second-time moms forgo presents at showers, because they already have everything they need, but they still want to gather with family and friends to celebrate a new life.

If gifts are welcome at a second baby shower, the invitation should reflect that and even suggest what type of gift guests should bring. Because the parents’ needs have changed since having their first child, the following are the types of gifts that are popular at subsequent showers.

  • Frozen meals
  • Gifts that pamper the new mother
  • Small gifts for the sibling to be

The choice as to what kind of celebration you decide to have is personal, but the current wisdom is that every baby deserves to be celebrated in some manner. It is up to you to decide which celebration will make you feel special and supported by your friends and family.

Pregnancy CompanionThe comfort of knowing what is going on during pregnancy combined with advice that changes each week with an expectant mother’s body will warm the heart and well as calm the nerves.

 The Complete Illustrated Pregnancy Companion gives an expectant mothers week-by-week information on their body and the child’s physical development; and then explains what they should do at each week of pregnancy for an optimally healthy pregnancy, delivery, and baby. A chapter is devoted to each week of pregnancy and covers everything readers need to know including, baby’s size, mother’s size, what’s normal in terms of physical symptoms and development, and what could indicate a potentially serious problem. Nutritional, exercise, and lifestyle advice, tips on treating common pregnancy discomforts like morning sickness and sciatica, and pregnancy do’s and don’ts, ensure a happy and healthy mother and baby.

Robin Elise Weiss is a childbirth and postpartum educator, certified doula, and lactation counselor as well as the pregnancy/birth expert for She is the author of seven books on pregnancy and childbirth and she and her work has been featured in Newsweek, Working Mother, and American Baby. You can find more information about Robin at:,, and

Working Your Core: How to Do a Proper Plank

Whether you’re trying to get back into shape, training for an obstacle race or triathlon, or just trying to look and feel better, the plank is a great core fitness exercise that will help you strengthen your core and improve your abs.

Not sure how to get started with planks? Here’s what you need to know.

The Plank

plank, planks, core, core fitness, core fitness solution

Witness the perfect plank

Lie face down on a mat so your toes, forearms and fists are holding all of your weight off the ground. Your body should create a straight, plank-like line. Create a neutral (flat) spine by tilting your pelvis forward. Engage your abdominals, glutes and thigh muscles. Your butt and hips should stay in this same line; make sure they don’t sag or rise beyond the level. Do not round your shoulders. Maintain this position throughout while looking straight down at your hands.

Depending on your workout philosophy, you could hold this move to failure once or several times (which is what we suggest) or you could hold it for a set time span and repeat the interval as many times as you like (much like you would with reps). For the purpose of this test, you’ll be staying in the plank as long as you can, but, to better test your overall core strength, endurance and stability, we’ve added intensifiers, target-specific variations and intervals.

Plank Variations

There are several variations to the basic plank exercise. In order to fully test your core strength, we have incorporated the ones we feel are the best gauges to understanding your fitness level. Here is a brief description of each one found in the test that follows.

Plank with arm raise: From the basic plank position previously described, raise one arm off the floor so your fingers are pointing straight ahead with your palm facing inward. Your arm should not go above your shoulders, which must maintain a straight line with your body.

plank, planks, core, core fitness, core fitness solution, abs

Plank with Arm Raise

Plank with leg raise: Lift one leg off the ground so it creates a parallel line with the floor. Keep the leg straight with no bend in your knee and point your toes away.

Plank with leg and arm raise: Raise your left leg and right arm together (as described) and then your left arm and right leg together.

Plank with leg and arm raise with crunch: As previously described, raise alternating legs and arms, but before returning to the plank position, crunch your leg (with bended knee) and arm (with bended elbow) into your torso and hold for one count. Side plank: Balance yourself so only your left foot and left forearm and fist are holding all your weight.

Side plank with hip raise: Perform the side plank as already described, but lower your hip to the floor and then raise your hip back to the side plank position.

Side plank with front leg drive: Perform the side plank as previously described, and drive the knee of your top leg toward your chest, forming a right angle at the hip and abdominal area.

Side plank with double leg drive: This is the same as above but with both legs.

Preorder your copy of Core Fitness Solution by Michael de Medeiros and Kendall Wood today!

Core Fitness Solution

The promise of building a six-pack is found in many places–Results, however, are not. With Core Fitness Solution, those results are finally attainable. With more than 5,000 customizable solutions in this book, you pick the exercises. You decide the workout, the location, the duration and the intensity. Finally, a leaner middle, a stronger core, and the set of abs you’ve always wanted can be yours. Former editor-in-chief of Men’s Fitness, Michael de Medeiros, and “King of Abs,” Kendall Wood, have handpicked the most effective exercises to target all areas of your midsection. Crafting your core has never been so simple.

The Challenges of Diagnosing and Treating Borderline Personality Disorder

Blaise Aguirre

Blaise Aguirre, MD

Blaise Aguirre, MD, is the cofounder of a treatment unit for teens with Borderline Personality Disorder at McClean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts. Dr. Aguirre has just released the second edition of his book, Borderline Personality Disorder in Adolescents; What to Do When Your Teen has BPD.

In his introduction to this second edition, Dr. Aguirre explained that he first became interested in BPD after watching a friend struggle with the disorder when he was in medical school. As he began his clinical practice, he found that there was a reluctance among caregivers to diagnose teens with BPD, and a lack of literature on the subject.

Hoping to spread awareness about this condition, Dr. Aguirre published the first edition of his book in 2007. This second edition has more information about the gradual shift towards a better understanding of the disorder, its prevalence in adolescents, and the potential of new therapies like dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) to effectively treat BPD.

In this excerpt, Dr. Aguirre talks about some of the difficulties that continue to prevent the effective treatment and diagnosis of BPD.

Many parents tell me that their child has been in multiple therapies with many therapists and been on many medications. Therapists often call our unit saying they are at a loss of how to treat these kids because they seem so complicated, with so many problems and so many needs. Here are some of the issues that challenge parents and therapists.


Parents of adolescents with borderline personality disorder (BPD) often say that their children were diagnosed with ADD, bipolar disorder, or other disorders, but that these disorders never seemed to completely explain their children’s behavior. Often, when these parents come across the diagnostic criteria for in online searches, they recognize their children. In some circumstances, taking those concerns to mental health experts leads to comments like “You don’t want your kid to have BPD,” or “The diagnosis cannot be made before age 18.”


Parents say that all the medication in the world did not appear to reduce their children’s symptoms. Medications have a clear role to play in many psychiatric conditions that affect children and adolescents. There is well-researched evidence for medication use in mood disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and anxiety disorders, but the parents we see at McLean Hospital are not simply describing mood or anxiety symptoms in their kids, but serious self-injury, impulsivity and desperation in their children’s lives. These are not symptoms that can be medicated away.

Also, the ravages of the use of multiple medications, or polypharmacy, can contribute to the finding by Mary Zanarini that the health profiles of BPD women age thirty are similar to those of sixty-year-old woman. Many of the medications children are put on can lead to significant weight gain and increases in cholesterol and other blood fats.


Some parents feel that they can no longer trust their children, or that their children are outright liars. Other parents worry about going to sleep at night for fear that their children will kill themselves. Children feel that their parents don’t understand them and slowly isolate themselves from their parents. Some adolescents feel that they have to threaten self harm in order to get the attention of their peers. These chaotic interpersonal interactions will ultimately leave the children feeling lonely, misunderstood, and at time suicidal.


The usual kinds of treatment will not work with BPD. For instance, when adolescents with BPD are simply diagnosed as depressed, psychotherapies that link their current depressive symptoms to conflicts that originated in their earlier years are not effective in reducing the self-injury or self-loathing that these kids exhibit. Treatment approaches such as DBT and cognitive behavior therapy (a form of psychotherapy that emphasizes the important role of thinking in how people feel and what they do, but does not include the validation strategies of DBT) are much more useful in this age group dealing with a broad spectrum of disruptive behavior. Medication in many of these cases hardly seems to have an effect, and it is further unclear what consequences medications have in the developing adolescent brain, particularly when they are not indicated.


Borderline Personality DisorderThis second edition of Borderline Personality Disorder in Adolescents offers parents, caregivers, and adolescents themselves a complete understanding of this complex and tough-to-treat disorder. It is a comprehensive guide which thoroughly explains what BPD is and what a patient’s treatment options are, including an overview of the revolutionary new treatment called dialectic behavior therapy.

Author Blaise A. Aguirre, M.D., one of the foremost experts in the field, describes recent advances in treatments and brings into focus what we know, and don’t know, about this condition. Revised and updated from the previous edition, readers will learn all about the scientific development of BPD; treatment options (e.g., medication and therapy); myths and misunderstandings; tips and strategies for parents; the prognosis for BPD; and practical techniques for effective communication with those who have BPD. They will also hear from BPD adolescents and parents who have learned how to make the best of the cards they have been dealt. Here’s what some experts in the field had to say about the previous edition:

“Families and their children with BPD will find this book a very useful guide as they struggle together toward a more fully realized life.” – Mary C. Zanarini, Ed.D., Director, Laboratory for the Study of Adult Development, McLean Hospital and Professor of Psychology, Harvard Medical School

“A must-have book for every parent with a borderline child.” – Randi Kreger, Coauthor of Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care about Has Borderline Personality Disorder

“Borderline Personality Disorder in Adolescents is a long overdue book that eloquently and expertly addresses the wide-ranging issues surrounding borderline personality disorder in adolescents. This compassionate book is a must for parents with children suffering from borderline personality disorder, as well as clinicians, educators, pediatricians, and clergy trying to understand and help adolescents with this serious, chronic disorder.” – Perry D. Hoffman, Ph.D., President, National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder.

The Crop Circle Enigma, Part IV

Judy Hall

Judy Hall

In the fourth and final part of our series on crop circles, New Age author Judy Hall discusses some more possible explanations for the crop circle phenomenon, including the theory that they are the creation of aliens.

She also talks about crop circle hoaxes and instructions for creating your own crop circle.

What is most memorable about this piece is that Hall also offers a unique way to think about crop circles.

What if instead of worrying if they are real or fake, or if they were left by aliens or some design force, we just consider them as works of art and enjoy them for the brief temporal disassociation that they offer? It’s an interesting point to ponder.

For more on Crop Circles:

  • The Crop Circle Enigma, Part I
  • The Crop Circle Engima, Part II
  • The Crop Circle Enigma, Part III

Alien doodles on the landscape?

The preferred explanation by many early croppies, especially before the crop circle fakers (more about them later) came out, was ‘alien intervention’. The explanations as to how they did this were many and varied, but all relied on alien intelligence and most regarded it as an attempt to communicate with us.

The one I really enjoy (written I’m sure with tongue firmly in cheek but such fun nonetheless) is that the Earth really is flat and is the other side of a huge blackboard. Young aliens doodle patterns that bleed through into our world. A modern fairytale that deserves a wider reading (

Other people, such as myself, felt that the Earth’s consciousness itself was communicating rather than outer space (although at some level both are the same, see Celestial Correspondence on my website, one of the essays for my Masters degree in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology). But there was a consensus that, as I called it, ‘something profoundly other’ was creating them.

I remember the intense disappointment then when, after the first few enthusiastic Crop Circle Conferences, the fakers, or landscape artists as they prefer to call themselves (see below), materialized out of the darkness and confessed to creating them.

This had followed on from the previous year when a BBC documentary maker, who was videoing the circles and the mysterious lights in the sky that accompanied them, told us about one that had appeared—and been photographed but harvested within hours—inside the security fence at Chequers, the British Prime Minister’s country home (the equivalent of one appearing inside Camp David). ‘Watch this space folks’ he said, ‘the disinformation starts now.’

When I got home two good old country boys, Dug and Dave (as I call them because I tend to forget their names) were on local television with a pair of bikes, a stomper plank and a piece of string. ‘We’re responsible’ they said, ‘we made them.’ Oh really? 24 circles in a night many miles from where they lived? On their bikes? I don’t think so. One or two of the more clumsy, stomped out circles perhaps. But surely not the intricate and highly intelligent patterns that were by then appearing. One of these guys, Doug Bower now aged 90 is still, apparently, active in the fields (see

But, by the next year’s Conference, the fakers were ready to fess up and put on presentations. Have you ever seen grown men cry? Several of the original researchers had bet their, in some cases, quite considerable scientific reputation and whole livelihood on these being pukka phenomenon.

They looked utterly destroyed, although most seem to have bounced back and people now talk about ‘genuine’ and ‘manmade’ circles. The jury is still out, and it could be both of course. But what I found fascinating was one of the first ‘makers’ saying ‘even when I’ve an idea in my head, it’s as though something takes over and makes the design for me.’ Was he cooperating with the crop circle energy? Many think so.

Peter Sorensen, a circle maker who has a high presence on the circuit as he makes documentary films and corporate logos from the designs, actually appeared on the cover of Time magazine (

An American, Peter had made a pilgrimage to Alton Barnes in 1992 to explore the circles. He saw mysterious balls of light in the sky and had other high strangeness experiences that convinced him to quit his computer animation job and become a full-time circle investigator. Initially believing them to be the product of angelic energies, he eventually figured out how they could ‘be created by teams of dedicated artists with simple tools’ and became a circle maker. However, he says:

“Surprisingly there is still a LOT of mystery —  strange lights in the fields at night, telepathy in the creation of the designs, circle visitors affected profoundly, and much more.  Just because humans are flattening the crop, doesn’t mean that there’s no magic involved. In fact, in a way this just as wonderful—I mean, WE are the ETs!  But deeper than that, I’m convinced that an esoteric Muse is working through many of the artists, guiding their work at night… I think She is an intelligence that looks out for humanity, giving us gentle nudges to keep us on the path towards our destiny. That’s why the designs are so powerful that millions of people have had their lives uplifted by these ‘spiritual machines.’ They function like Tibetan mandalas.

The other, more mundane reason I still love the circles is because I’m sure that they will be regarded in the history books as one of the most original and unusual art movements of all time. Someday I expect to read, ‘At the close of the 20th century and the dawn of the 21st, beautiful, authorless patterns spontaneously appeared in the landscape which attracted a worldwide following. The sacred geometry of these “Temporary Temples” conducted energy which profoundly affected visitors emotionally and spiritually, even causing unexplained physical effects.  The stunning patterns made headlines every summer, and people came to England from around the world to see them. That’s how the future will regard this phenomenon.’

A great thought.

The interface of one dimension with another

I’ve always felt that crop circles were a kind of portal. A gateway between the worlds. An opening to multidimensions, which is what sacred geometry is all about. They give us glimpses of somewhere other. A liminal space with endless possibilities. Colin Andrews has been researching the crop circle phenomenon almost longer than anyone else. On his website he says:

“On occasions they seem to locate themselves by request. . . This is deeply profound but if we are dealing with something that is reacting with the psyche of mankind, then we are looking at an intelligence that we simply do not understand… I believe we are looking at the interface between this dimension and another. There is very deep spiritual content here and the answer rests in nature.”

(Colin Andrews in the 1989 video Undeniable Evidence, the first video ever produced on the subject of crop circles, a term he coined. See more at: thtp://

It is Colin who uses the term ‘high strangeness event’ to cover unexplained phenomenon such as crop circles. It sits very well alongside ‘Exceptional Human Experiences’, my preferred term for near death experiences, out of body journeying, telepathy and such like. So much better than ‘paranormal’ because, for many of us, such things are utterly normal. On Colin’s website, in an extract taken from one of his books, he explains:

“High strangeness events defy the laws that govern our physics and the expectation of our experience. The hallmark of such events is that the encounters push the limits of our mind and engage our emotions leaving us permanently altered. High strangeness events are no longer happening only to individuals; mass sightings validate the shift in reality… Included are:

*Orbs of light appearing on photographs with no physical reason.
*Mass sightings of interactive, unidentified lights in the sky.
*Entire communities hearing unusual hums that seem to come from underground and/or the sky.
*Unusual, aerial light displays
*Intelligent interaction between the phenomena and the witnesses.’

In Colin’s opinion ‘More than a paradigm shift, human consciousness is engaged in a process of integration with a higher mind. The process is occurring through encounters with non-ordinary reality that are known as high strangeness events.’ And he explains, ‘high strangeness events are becoming more prevalent because we are changing and our ability to perceive is also shifting.  Precognition, telepathy, healing abilities and other such experiences are not only becoming common, they are accepted as interactions with a higher mind.’

I thoroughly concur with his conclusion: ‘Such events represent an interface with the unknown, an interaction with parts of reality we do not yet understand. They are not paranormal or supernatural, although both words are used to describe them. Rather, they are normal and natural to a worldview that we are presently being introduced to and will one day inhabit. These interactions are creating a shift in paradigm resulting in a new view of reality.’

(See more at:

Boggling the scientific mind

This report by Richard Savill dated 17 June 2008 appeared on the Telegraph-on-line website. The Telegraph is a serious newspaper in England, not one of the broadsheets who’ll print anything as long as it sells newspapers. As far as I can tell, the image is taken from Google Earth: Top 10 British crop circles.

The piece concerns a crop circle that appeared at Barbury Castle, an iron-age fort above Wroughton, Wilts. The circle, measuring 150ft in diameter, is said to be ‘a coded image representing the first 10 digits, 3.141592654, of pi.’ ‘Starting at the centre and counting the number of one-tenth segments in each section contained by the change in radius clearly shows the values of the first 10 digits in the value of pi.’ It has apparently been described by astrophysicists as “mind-boggling”. ‘Michael Reed, an astrophysicist, told the Telegraph: “The tenth digit has even been correctly rounded up. The little dot near the centre is the decimal point. “The code is based on 10 angular segments with the radial jumps being the indicator of each segment.’ Quite a feat.


Temporary temples in the landscape

I have always felt that crop circles create sacred space. Even when they’ve been ‘manmade’ rather than simply ‘created’, the geometry has, for the most part when done with sensitivity to the landscape, created something extraordinary. Crop circle chronicler Steve Alexander has this to say:

‘I have been involved with the crop circles since 1980 when I saw my first circle in the Punch Bowl, a natural amphitheater at Cheesefoot Head, in Hampshire in the UK. I started photographing the circles in 1993. I took my first photographic flight in 1994. After all these years, I have come to the conclusion that we will never know for sure where the crop circles come from. I feel their origins are almost a distraction, and people spend too much energy trying to find out who or what makes them.

What is clear is that the crop circles effect people on a deep level, and are inspirational. The circles are temporary temples on the landscape, where people gather, talk, swap theories, ideas, and friendships are formed. The circles are a light in a very dark world. At this moment in time, it seems that what humanity needs is some positivity, and I have witnessed the positivity that this phenomenon brings to people. Long may it continue.’

I just love his description of the circles as ‘temporary temples’ as that is exactly how they feel. Ephemeral they may be, but they leave their imprint, and while they exist, they are sacred space that passes deep into the earth to sanctify and transform it.

Caption: My local crop circle. The Ackling Dyke formation running alongside the Dorset Cursus, the longest ritual way in England. The straight parallel lines are the tramlines in the crop and are not part of the circle.



Caption: the centre of the formation:

Do it yourself circle making

Needless to say, crop circles have made it to the internet in a big way. The guys at claim to be the original perpetrators of circle making and you can explore their site if you’re interested in the how of fakery. The why is less clear.

Wikihow gives you precise instructions on making a circle – and suggests taking a garden roller along. They’ve clearly never walked half a mile or more uphill in the dark along tramlines in the growing crop. The roller is wider than the tramline, as is a wheel barrow. And even the lightest roller is heavy. And yet the crop on either side of the tramlines is never damaged. Funny huh?

Circles are rarely in easily accessible places. Something very near to a road is a dead giveaway – we had one of those a few years back over the hill on Ackling Dyke where it ran very close to the Dorset Cursus. Dead as dead could be energetically speaking, and deeply disturbing for the longest and oldest ritual way in England which needed some concentrated earth healing afterwards. A circle in the wrong place can cause dis-ease in the landscape.

The on-line instructions recommend using the tramlines to access the site. We have to remember that tramlines are a comparatively new invention. In the early circles in the 70s and 80s there were no tramlines to provide access. Most ‘landscape artists’ (otherwise known as the fakers) use a plank and string. But if you want to have a go always ask permission of the farmer first as otherwise you can be arrested for trespass and vandalism. It is also only courteous and respectful of the farmer’s livelihood and the growing crop to ask permission, as I always do when entering a sacred site.

Or, you could just find a circle near you and sit in it, contemplate how wonderful and mysterious our world is, let it change your consciousness as it will, and leave it at that. If you don’t have one nearby, stare at Steve’s incredible photos for fifteen minutes – there’s a whole gallery on-line. That’ll do it!



 Caption: The one I missed. Badbury Rings, Dorset arrived on the summer solstice but was harvested before I could get there. A photo gives no idea of scale, it’s huge and a figure in the centre would be a tiny dot.

The after-image

I’d like to leave you with this to ponder on. A crop circle appeared in a barley crop on the side of a hill just outside Winchester in Hampshire in 1995. It was quickly harvested. Winter wheat was then planted on the same field. In the early spring of 96, the outline of the earlier crop circle was clearly visible in the growing crop when viewed from the road below. The lines of the circle were perfectly outlined in green shoots at least three inches longer than the rest of the crop – I climbed the hill to check. How do you explain that high strangeness event? Just one of the many unanswered crop circle mysteries!


Caption: The original circle in barley at Telegraph Hill, 12 June 1995 (next door to Cheesefoot Head, Winchester). Six months later the outline was clearly visible in newly sprouting winter wheat. (Photo by Steve Alexander)

Want to see more images?

UK and Europe

Amazing photos, books and calendars: Steve Anderson,

Beautiful books and calendars and many research articles: One of the original croppies, Lucy Pringle,

The history. One of the first researchers, Colin Andrews:

Reports of all the latest UK and other sightings. The Crop Circle Connector:


Serpent Mount, Ohio

BLT Research team:

The ‘computer chip’ near Silicon Valley, California:


Full text of The Mowing Devil

For a potted history


My thanks to Steve Anderson for permission to use his stunning images and for his rapid and helpful response.

Every effort was made to obtain permission from other researchers to quote material from their websites but no response was received. Perhaps not surprising as it was one of the busiest weekends of the year in the crop circle calendar. So, I’ve ensured that I’ve attributed everything and guided you to my source material. Enjoy!


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