mind-body-spirit fitness Archives - Recovery Health Care


Chiropractic Care: Using the Body to Heal the Mind

By | Chiropractic | 15 Comments

An idea whose time is now: Chiropractic care and using the body to heal the mind in addiction treatment.

Substance and behavior abuse have reached epidemic proportions in our country. This coupled with the emotional repression and stress associated with living in our outside-in, consumer culture has produced America’s number 1 health challenge: Addiction.

The cost of treatment, the repercussions on society and our family structures are devastating not to mention the high number of ancillary deaths that are directly associated with the disease of addiction–from auto accidents to heart failure.

It is a well known statistic that only 25% of those who seek addiction treatment have successful results. In other words, 75%, or 3 out of 4 of the individuals who do seek treatment for addiction fail and fall back into the seemingly endless revolving door of relapse-remission-relapse from this destructive brain disorder. The strongest implication is that the culture that fosters addiction, begets addiction.

In lieu of reinventing our culture but in the spirit of re-visioning addiction treatment, it is time to try different approaches and combinations of approaches when it comes to addiction recovery.

Addiction is a mind-body-spirit disorder as spelled out by the mainstream, American Medical Association’s, American Society of Addiction Medicine (http://www.asam.org/for-the-public/definition-of-addiction). It stands to reason that its treatment should include mind, body and spiritual modalities as an integrated, comprehensive approach.

The “target organ” for addiction is the brain (just as the pancreas is the target organ for diabetes) and specifically the meso-limbic or mid-brain. Historically, addiction treatment has focused upon healing the mind with brain treatment modalities like psychotherapy and drug therapy.

Since 1935, and while there are many other approaches, Alcoholics Anonymous has been the mainstay for the “spiritual” piece in the equation.

But in keeping with a more comprehensive approach, what about an integral modality that focuses attention on the physical body–mind-body-spirit?–equally, and as important as the mind and the spirit? Can the body contribute to healing the mind and the spirit?

After all, the body is truly an extension of the mind–an actual projected map of the brain–with remarkable knowledge, wisdom and inherent healing and recuperative capabilities from head to toe. Our bodies are veritable learning domains. Ever had a “gut feeling?” In fact, most of the receptor sites for many neurotransmitters–the “well being” brain chemicals–are in the gut and not in the brain proper.

No wonder then, and who has not felt remarkably inspired and well, after exercising the body as it releases all of these inherent, feel good chemicals? A never ending feedback loop from the brain to the body and vice-versa, inform every fiber of our beings every moment we live.

Intervening at the level of the body through techniques that deliberately remove interference from this pristine system is unfortunately, just what the present day, addiction doctor is not ordering. Chiropractic care is just such an indicated and effective approach and often a missing link in the addiction treatment community. Chiropractic helps ensure that a clear, uninterrupted signal is getting from the brain to all of the body parts and back to the brain again. And people who undergo chiropractic care are taught that without good lifestyle habits including flexibility, strength and cardiovascular exercise, good nutrition and a psychological/spiritual practice–chiropractic care is incomplete and will be less effective.

Similarly, the same “missing piece” dynamic holds true for what’s missing in addiction treatment and chiropractic care addresses the “body” piece of the mind-body-spirit equation effectively and seamlessly. Chiropractic is not a panacea but a time and cost efficient, conservative, minimally invasive way to bridge this gap in addiction treatment.

The idea of wedding mind and body approaches to healing is not a new one. For centuries and long before the first traces of modern science, healing arts practitioners from the mainstream to the esoteric alike have acknowledged that the way people felt in their minds could influence the way they responded in their bodies–and vice versa.

There is no separation of body and mind and we are just coming to understand how profoundly and inextricably entwined these two parts of our being along with spirit, interact in communion for our well being.

Including chiropractic care in a comprehensive addiction treatment protocol–especially in the first 90 days of treatment is important for the following reasons:

  • Providing human touch/compassion fostering neuroplasticity to help “re-write” dysfunctional brain circuitry
  • Removes interference from normal nerve function
  • Reduces anxiety and depression
  • Better sleep patterns
  • Decreases use of chemical pain relievers and psychiatric drugs
  • Greater sense of well being
  • Increases energy levels
  • Decreases stress levels
  • Decreases joint and muscle pain

A mind-body-spirit approach to addiction is synergistic in action, in other words, the sum total is greater than its parts. As our health systems and institutions move from the compartmentalized, mechanistic approach of yesterday, to the integrated, vitalistic and holistic framework of today, let the mind-body-spirit approach of addiction medicine and treatment help blaze this new trail by incorporating in this endeavor, the largest, drugless, hands-on healing profession in the world: chiropractic.


Getting Addiction Out of the Closet

By | Addiction | 2 Comments

I saw a television advertisement recently for an addiction treatment center in Southern California. The ad declared that the center’s addiction services were the best in the world with world class outcomes to match. Maybe you’ve seen the ad. The ad went on to say that the center’s exceptional results are guaranteed. Whoa…I had to learn more and called to inquire about what these people might be doing differently in addiction treatment. My call was answered by a very nice man who said they did what most other centers do around the country, but just recycled their clients, “if at first they did not succeed”–at no additional charge. How much did they charge for their 90-day program? Only “about” $115,000 dollars. Is it really necessary to spend $115,000++ dollars–and plenty of people do–for addiction treatment when the results are the same wherever one looks? No. The problem is we’re really not addressing the problem.

Here’s my point: Addiction treatment remains like the rest of the culture: Dysfunctional.

Our culture produces our addicted population–our chemically and behaviorally dependent community. These genetically pre-disposed, brain disordered, at risk people with all the attendant family and environmental triggers–thought to be about 20% of us–are accidents waiting to happen, most of whom never knew what hit ‘em. Stats tell us that only 3% of the estimated 60 million substance and behavior misuse addicts in the United States get treatment–at all. Three percent. And of those, only one quarter, 25% respond favorably. The remainder, or three quarters of them get recycled back into the addictive culture from whence they came and the sad story of addiction drums on…and on. No wonder addiction’s got a dubious reputation.

Part of the problem has to do with the individual parts of the addiction treatment “community” remain isolated from one another and the mainstream by virtue of the compartmentalized nature of modern health care and the anonymity and confidentiality issues that the culture insists upon. We have a plethora of, for-profit, addiction treatment centers around the country answering families’, “We’ll do/pay anything, just make this (addiction) stop ruining our family!” battle cry. This, along with the still stigmatized, moralized and marginalized nature of how addiction is misunderstood in this country, creates a perfect storm of a conundrum.

Another part of the problem is addiction treatment is being corporatized. Bigger, parent companies are buying up independent centers at a quickening pace because well, it’s profitable! If jeopardized, the profit motive, the bottom line necessarily has to supersede any other consideration including more holistic and integrated approaches. Hey, it’s what corporations do and to the degree that we keep the primacy of the profit motive in what we’re currently calling health care, it’s what WE do. And why would a corporation want to disturb its bottom line by messing with the returning customer phenomenon that is its bread and butter? The care givers working in these corporations are seasoned, compassionate and empathetic professionals but something is definitely being “lost in translation.”

One definition for the word community is, “A place to bring and share our gifts.” What needs to happen to break addiction treatment’s 25% glass ceiling is to:

1. Get addiction out of the closet. It’s not a moral issue, it’s a brain disorder and disease. Addiction is our problem. We are creating it, not the inner city heroin user. See the feature documentary, The Anonymous People ASAP.

2. Educate the entire community. Teachers, emergency room physicians, fire fighters/EMT’s, CHP and other law enforcement professionals are inundated with the devastation of addiction day in and day out. Bring in E.R. docs and Fire Captains, the CHP and neighborhood police officers to speak at places from Parent Teacher Associations to Junior League and Rotarian meetings to let us all know what they’re doing all day: Dealing with what we are producing: More and more addicts.

3. The addiction treatment community needs to become the entire community. We need to recruit all hands, all minds, bodies and spirits to start to make a real and significant difference in this, our number one health challenge in the United States today.

Want to know how to keep your friend, brother, sister, cousin, uncle, mom, dad, aunt, son, husband or daughter from coming out of rehab and going back to the same old habits? Stop being the same old culture that created the habits in the first place. Go to Al-anon meetings–for you. Stop using the alcohol and other drugs and behaviors that you don’t have a problem with–if it’s not a problem, no problem, just stop doing it.

If we’re not all part of the problem, there is no solution. In the 48 hours, the two days it took from conception to publishing this article, 50 people were killed by drunk drivers and 80 people died of prescription drug overdose all over the country. That’s 130 deaths in two days.

We need to break that 25% success rate glass ceiling in addiction treatment and we can, but we can’t do it without you. Let’s get addiction out of the closet.


Exercise the New Miracle Drug?: It’s All I Can Stands!

By | Diet and Exercise | No Comments

I get regular emails from Kaiser Permanente as my family has used the crisis medical care company, when in crisis, for many years happily and with good results. The headline of today’s email read, Is Exercise the New Miracle Drug?

Okay, gag me with a tongue depressor, will ya?

For 30 + years I have watched Kaiser and conventional sick care institutions follow the age old practice of first, denying and attacking holistic health care common sense, then begrudgingly acquiescing as patients begin to ask for it, and finally, behaving as if it were always self-evident and part of the program.

End of rant…well I’m almost finished.

I always considered the designation of HMO, Health Maintenance Organization, a misnomer. It has been my experience through the years that these organizations–and to their, better-late-than-never credit–have up until very recently, been more like Death Prevention Organizations. Thrive, indeed.

Now I’m done.

Here’s what we know: The innate, genetic intelligence of each of our mind-body-spirits as it interfaces with the environment, needs three things to maintain what the bodymind is always moving toward: Homeostasis or stable equilibrium. For this innate intelligence to thrive, it needs for us to, as James Chestnut, D.C. says eloquently, “Eat well, move well and think well all of the time and for some time.”

Each of these pillars or nutrients of true health requires diligence and practice, as stated. 75% of chronic illnesses in the U.S. are due to lifestyle choices and toxic environmental considerations. In other words, these illnesses are preventable.

Dr. Chestnut goes on to say, “We don’t get sick because of bad luck, bad germs or bad genes, we get sick because of bad choices.”

While standing in line to pick up end-of-life meds for my mother’s end-of-life crisis care a few years ago, I would marvel in watching deconditioned, grossly overweight, sickly looking individuals of all ages carrying away shopping bags full of pharmaceuticals from Kaiser’s drug store. It saddens me to think how we’ve been duped by a sick care super system that is driven by profit before principle.

No, and as Popeye says, “It’s all I can stands, cuz I can’t stands no more!”, exercise is not the “new miracle drug.” It is a nutrient our species has required from the dawn of our hunting and gathering, remarkably successful history.

A miracle can be defined as, “A new perception.” Thanks, Kaiser, for coming up to speed albeit in that deeply disturbing, calculated, mechanical way.

Everyone needs to exercise, every day–it’s common sense. But then, common sense is not so common.

Now gittyup.