Currently viewing the tag: "health"


moneyMost people believe that money is the answer to everything. There is even a joke that, “Money may not buy happiness, but it’s better to cry in a Lamborghini than on a bicycle.” Har har har…yeah, ‘cept it ain’t necessarily true. While surveys and studies can be found to support any position, a recent Money Magazine survey (Sept 2014) showed that “what makes retirees happiest,” isn’t money, but health. Yes health! Duh! And that is what this post is about: How having money may actually be a hindrance to good health. But not for you, because you read this blog, and you take the information, assimilate it and act accordingly. Right, read on:

Retirees Happiness (Copy)This post came to my attention while discussing my cousin’s employer with my mom. Turns out the employer is an elderly man who sits on the board of a major tech company. He’s financially loaded, and he also spends much of his non-working time visiting doctors. He is on a multitude of medications—for cholesterol, for high blood pressure, for bipolar, for sleep disturbances, and on and on. We know this because my cousin is this man’s personal assistant. As I listened to this story I couldn’t help but think how this man, so representative of the average American senior with regard to his health care, was on this polypharmacy path for one simple reason: He could afford to be.

Then it got me thinking about our new “universal health” system, which essentially promotes the lifestyle I have just described. Yes it does. The premise was that everybody deserves as much modern medicine as they need. Uh huh… Let this man’s story illustrate what we become when we rely on the medical industry to guide our health decisions.

seniors medsWait Campos! That’s unfair: We do not know this man’s particular circumstances. Okay, true, but we do know a few things. As of 2012, 65 percent  of American seniors were on three or more prescription drugs, 36.7 percent were on five or more prescription drugs. We also know that many conditions today, which receive a large proportion of annual prescriptions, are lifestyle related. Take last year’s (2013-2014) most prescribed medications for instance, four of ten were for conditions that can be significantly improved (or prevented) with the proper lifestyle modifications (and I would argue that three others could be avoided with “alternative” approaches, mostly paradigm shifts). Cholesterol lowering, heartburn, blood pressure lowering, and diabetes—all preventable AND fixable with proper lifestyle modifications.

But is that the road most westerners choose? No! For whatever reasons—be it looking for easy answers, rationalizing, or the shared doctor-patient belief that only meds are truly viable—the majority of Americans (and our European and now Asian counterparts) choose the polypharmacy route over caring for their health, and I am certain that is a disease of modern affluence. We run to medical care because we can! Yes it’s the easier answer to control our dysfunctions rather than correct them through lifestyle modifications. So much easier to take a pill then walk around the block every day, pump iron, lay off the sugar, and so forth. And we have been conditioned to believe that is the only way to do it. It doesn’t matter how much information comes out extolling healthy behaviors: The average westerner runs to his or her doctor for a medical fix first—that’s what the data shows.

Low Cost HealthI actually believe that the so-called have-nots are in a better position health-wise, as they can take their health into their own hands from an early age. What we do habitually is what matters most, and so focusing on healthy behaviors soon and often will not only be best for your current health, but also will train you to look to yourself when health challenges arise. Heck yes, medical care is necessary in many circumstances; but understand that our reliance on medicating fixable conditions is deeply ingrained into your psyche by years of observation and acceptance. Evidence of lifestyle modification improving conditions like type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol (if that’s even an accurate diagnosis as it is doled out today), high blood pressure and many gastrointestinal issues (like gastric reflux) abound. You do not have to be the victim of historical tradition—frankly it’s foolish.

Don’t let your ability to indulge in medical care be the definitive factor in how you approach your health. Use our incredible medical system for crisis care, and you take care of the lifestyle part. Believe me when I say that you can neither buy happiness nor health. I would venture to bet that my cousin’s employer would trade his wealth any day for a return of his health. Heck I guess he is in a way now anyhow. What a crazy world we live in.


The Wellnss JourneyLater today I will be interviewed (archived podcast here) on The Wellness Journey with Lynnis Woods-Mullins (@PraiseWorks), and we’ll be discussing the wellness aspect of social media. Wellness and social media? You bet. Social media is simply an extension of our already hard-wired nature to form social groups. The stronger (and for some people bigger) the groups, the more mental and physical advantages one has. There may even be a connection to longevity. Dang! Yes, being social is a part of the human evolution.

Our strongest advantage as a species is our ability to organize and manage large groups. We learned early on that we would be more powerful as one thousand than as simply one or a few, and so we took advantage of our capacity to cooperate and form civilizations. Now cooperation is not a purely human phenomenon, as many animal species do it, but in sheer capacity and sophistication, humans take the cake. We’ve expanded our social organization progressively from the beginning of existence, moving from hunter-gatherer tribes to the internet. Social media is just the next leg of that human social evolution.

Scientist have recently become increasingly interested in the social benefits to health. Several 2008-2009 studies showed promising results:

  • computer-cc36a4c4552c434fd40d98e79fa1dabeddea202a-s6-c10 (Copy)A 2008 study of stroke sufferers showed that being able to maintain valued group memberships played as important a role in positive recovery as an ability to overcome cognitive difficulties (e.g., problems with memory and language). After their stroke, people’s life satisfaction increased by 12% for every group membership that they were able to retain.
  • A 2009 study of residents entering a new care home. This showed that those who participated as a group in decisions related to the decoration of communal areas used those areas 57% more over the next month and were far happier as a result. In contrast, the use of space by residents in a control group declined by 60%. Moreover, these differences were still apparent three months later.
  • Another 2009 study looked at the impact of group interventions on the health and well-being of 73 people residing in care. After a period of six weeks the researchers found that people who took part in a reminiscence group showed a 12% increase in their memory performance, while those who received individual reminiscence or a control intervention showed no change.
  • Another 2009 study also studied nursing home residents and looked at the relationship between their sense of identity and well-being and the severity of their dementia. The study’s key finding was that a strong sense of identity associated with perceived membership of social groups, was a much better predictor of residents’ well-being than their level of dementia.

image (Copy)

Professor Jolanda Jetten from the University of Queensland, Australia commented on the findings from these studies: “New research shows just how important groups and social identity are to well-being. This is something that people often overlook in the rush to find medical solutions to problems associated with ageing, but it is time that these factors were taken much more seriously”.

And says Dr Catherine Haslam of the University of Exeter in the U.K.: “On the basis of what is now a very large body of research we would urge the medical community to recognize the key role that participation in group life can play in protecting our mental and physical health. It’s much cheaper than medication, with far fewer side effects, and is also much more enjoyable.”

Other studies that I have reported on in this blog also show the wellness benefits to social interactions. One study (2008) showed that people with large and strong social networks fared better following surgery—in healing time and extent. Another study (2008) showed that our sociability is actually a biological/neurological  trait, giving further evidence to its role and interdependence in human evolution.

film1_connectedcolor_11 (Copy)

Another in 2009 which showed that repressed emotions can lead to greater risk of dying from a cardiac event, while a 2010 study showed that having strong social networks and interactions actually decreased death, in general, by 50%.

These studies simply confirm why using social media to remain connected, and thus in wellness, is the wisest practice people can adopt. Social media isn’t just digital narcissism, as some skeptics have defined it. It is real interactions, in real time, with real people (and if you really can’t tell the difference, then you really do need to get out more)—the perfect ingredients to rich social health and wellness. Keep Tweeting.

So I’ve recently posted on dry brushing–a health and beauty secret that I’ve used for two decades to help keep my skin soft and pliable. It also keeps my sensory system stimulated, and the blood and lymph flow circulating freely through their respective vessels, which in turn promotes a beautiful complexion.

But there’s a second practice to go along with dry brushing, and that’s the Scottish shower (Ss). The Ss is a practice of alternating hot and cold water while taking a shower. At a bare minimum, it’s finishing a shower with a blast of cold water. I’ve also been practicing this technique for many years, and the benefits are enormous.

The principle behind Scottish showers is that heat causes the blood vessels to move toward the surface in a process called vasodilation. The body does this to increase circulation, release heat, and promote healing. Cold, on the other hand, causes vasoconstriction–a narrowing of the blood vessels due to contraction of smooth muscle. The vessels also contract inward, deeper toward the organs of the body, preserving heat, reducing blood flow and decreasing blood pressure. Taken in alternating rounds, the hot then cold water blasts will induce a sort-of pumping action by the circulatory system, leading to a number of physiological benefits.

Scottish showers promote optimal temperature regulation by modifying the sensory functions of hypothalamic thermoregulatory centres to increase heat release during hot weather, and lowering heat loss during cold.

They also stimulate the neuroendocrine and immune systems. Studies have shown that the regular practice of taking cold showers increased white blood cells and the production of the body’s natural blood thinning enzymes, improving micro circulation. It also stimulated the production of testosterone in men, and boosted women’s production of estrogen.

Taking cold showers has also been shown to increase the body’s anti-oxidant capabilities, with a rise in glutathione and a reduction of uric acid. Low glutathione is involved in many illnesses including cardiovascular conditions, pulmonary diseases, diabetes, inflammatory bowel diseases, cancer, osteoporosis, aging, and toxic pesticide exposure.

Cold water immersion reduces recovery time in athletes, enhances repeat performance, and reduces exercise induced muscle damage. It also raises thresholds of pain tolerance, reduces muscle spasm, and improves subjective well-being. It has even been shown to improve mood in depressed people.

Next, how do you take a Scottish shower? You begin by making the water as hot as you can handle. Let the water run over every part of your body including the scalp (good for promoting healthy hair and scalp). Then turn the water temperature down to the coldest you can take (you’ll be able to take more as you get used to the practice). Let the water run over your entire body (this is the tough part, but you can let out a yelp; I do) for about half a minute or so, then back to hot again, and repeat in cycles, always finishing with cold.

You can do this for anywhere from one to seven cycles. I do three cycles every shower.

I’m telling you that this will quite possibly be the most invigorating practice you’ll ever take part in. Along with the benefits I’ve listed above, you will feel the sensory stimulatory effects for up to several hours afterward, see improvements to your skin tone and complexion, and men will discover an increase in sexual endurance, all from the regular practice of taking cold showers.

Scottish showers is a simple yet powerful practice, and worth the discipline. From neurological to immune to aesthetics, nearly every system is benefited from alternating hot and cold showers. Practiced along with dry brushing and your body will respond with renewed youth and vigor. Take it from me, these two timeless health and beauty practices work.

When giving health talks I usually ask, “What is health?“  I am amazed at some of the answers that seem to come up again and again.  The most common is disease or symptom free.  This answer comes up so frequently that, obviously, it’s what most people think, if they think about it at all.  Unfortunately, this definition or belief is probably what guides these people in their health decisions, whether consciously or not; and approaching health from this angle won’t always lead to wise choices.

The truth is that symptoms actually are health.  Think of your common cold symptoms–runny nose, sneezing, coughing, congested sinuses, fever, and night sweats.  Each one of these has a role to play in fighting the infecting organism:

  • Runny nosemucous membranes in the nasal passages and nasopharynx (orifice connecting nasal passages to the throat) release a thick, sticky substance that carries away microorganisms which have tried to infiltrate this primary entrance to our internal environment.  Think of mucus as quicksand or mud in a mudslide–nothing will escape.
  • Sneeze–a powerful blast of air, saliva, lacrimal secretions (tears) and mucus taking out anything and everything in its path.  Microorganisms entering the mouth, nose or pharynx are sneeze-blasted the heck out of there.  Consider a sneeze your body’s internal tornado, just worse.
  • Cough–similar to a sneeze, just clearing out the lungs, bronchi and oropharynx, as well as the nose and mouth.  We’ll call the cough the body’s internal hurricane–not a dang thing left unshaken; and during a coughing fit–fuggedaboutitcategory 5 cyclone!
  • Congested sinuses–infections or any other irritants, including allergens, can lead to swelling of the mucous membranes; as membranes swell, they close off the nasal passages.  Essentially, sinus congestion is the Royal Guard–try getting in, go ahead…try.
  • Fever–heats the body to incinerator temperatures, much higher than in what microorganisms can survive.  Fever is Death Valley for germs.
  • Night sweats–heat and sweat flush the external barriers out, so the skin, scalp and orifices are like a hot, wet boiler room.  Consider night sweats a monsoon for microbes.

You can see that each one of these symptoms is the body’s way of protecting itself.  And every illness/disease has associated symptoms to return the body to homeostasis.*  So why associate symptoms with sickness?

It’s because historically–at least over the last 80 years or so–medical care has focused on relieving symptoms.  OK, that’s nothing new–we all know that.  However, it is the reason why so many people still see the presence or absence of symptoms as the definitions of illness and health.  But I assure you what most consider illness actually is health.  Any questions?

*Or in the case of the body being overloaded by disease (AIDS, let’s say), it’s the body’s attempt to return to homeostasis.  Whether or not the body can return to homeostasis is the true difference between illness and health.

Beware labels that market some foods as healthier than others.  That’s my advice regarding superfoods, a term used to ascribe nutritional potency to certain foods in the same way the term ‘natural’ is used to sell anything from chickens to cereal.

A few of the foods touted as ‘super’ include blueberries and green tea, but the latest to make the grade is maple syrup.  According to recent research, funded by the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (hello!), chemists have identified 54 beneficial compounds in maple syrup that “possess anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which have been shown to fight cancer, diabetes and bacterial illnesses.”

Initial studies also suggest that polyphenols in the syrup may help keep blood sugar levels in check, important for diabetics, by inhibiting enzymes that are involved in the conversion of carbohydrates to sugar.

Now that’s nice, as are the findings on the phytochemical makeup of maple syrup.  But what we do with that information is also important.  For instance, creating a label such as superfood denotes a connotation that somehow it is at the top of a nutritional pyramid.  At the very least, it tells unsuspecting consumers that they’ll be healthier if they eat this food.  But healthier than what?

I appreciate this news, however, because I think we can gain a few insights from it.  First, I love maple syrup; so, naturally, I embrace the information because I know that unprocessed natural sugar is better than processed white sugar.  And corn syrup?  Forget about it–I encourage everybody to throw theirs away.  Nothing, in my opinion, is worse for the health than high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS).  Not lost on me is the significance of its advent into the western diet and the increases in obesity, diabetes and heart disease.  Am I calling HFCS a direct cause?  Nooooo….just noting the coincidental timing.  If I have pancakes, it’s nothing other than maple syrup for me, no exceptions.

But this is the only practical application I would extract from these latest findings.  OK, okay…if you want to put maple syrup in your green tea, or use it as a sugar substitute–fine!  Just don’t think that now syrup shots are going to be some great health practice (I know, but you’d be surprised).

Without a doubt, marketers will use these findings to their advantage; but my role is to act as a ‘snap-out-of-it’ eye opener for zombie-like behavior some people exhibit when it comes to health.  Just because a company uses the term ‘natural’ to sell their over-priced product, doesn’t mean it’s any healthier for you.  If it makes you somehow feel better to buy it anyhow, then be my guest: I’m just pointing out some realities, that’s all.

Now the term organic is a different story.  Organic denotes a way of growing produce (sorry people, not chicken), and it is tightly regulated.  A company using the term organic is subjected to fines and closure for using the term inappropriately (check this video post on just this happening in Los Angeles Farmers Markets).  But natural or superfoods?  Puh-leeze…buyer beware.*

Second principle: There ain’t no food more important than any other.  Despite what some snake-oil salesmen may push on you promising super-health, you must eat a variety of foods to get all the nutrients necessary for good health.  No yet-to-be-discovered food, juice or herb will give you better nutrition than a variety of whole natural foods.  No recently or yet-to-be-discovered tropical fruit will ever be the solitary answer to cancer, gout or skunk-gum since these diseases are mutifactorial (okay, maybe not skunk-gum).  Although I will admit that blueberries will probably give you more anti-oxidants than blackberries, raspberries or strawberries, they won’t give you that much more.

So again, take these findings on maple syrup with a grain of salt: It may be rich in phytonutrients–thus prompting its hailing as a superfood–but it doesn’t mean you now need to go out and purchase the latest drinks, juices and supplements that will surely follow.

*Since 1 July 2007, the marketing of products as “superfoods” is prohibited in the European Union unless accompanied by a specific medical claim supported by credible scientific research. ~ Wikipedia

One of the biggest messages I try to put forth in this blog is that human beings are amazing self-healing, self-regulating life forms.  We operate under the laws of the universe, and as such, by obeying some very fundamental principles regarding life, our ability to experience great physical health and well-being is magnified.  It doesn’t matter whether you have any particular genetic, anatomic or physiologic disposition–you can experience great health, as well as a fulfilling life, by observing basic principles.

This is as true for the “normal” individual as it is for the ADD-labeled person.  Whenever somebody comes to me with this or that problem, my first investigation as a doctor is to find out if they are observing the basics.  So that’s what I want to finish off with regarding ADD.  It’s of mega-importance that your ADD-labeled child is practicing the healthiest lifestyle possible.  But take note, and do not mistake this very crucial point: What I discuss here is NOT a treatment regimen for ADD.  I do NOT believe that an attention deficit is a disorder, therefore nothing needs treating, especially as we would think in a mechanistic sense.  Instead, what I put forth here will allow any child to thrive physically and mentally, because these are fundamental health principles.

There are no absolutes when it comes to health.  No one practice is more important than another–let’s just get that straight right from the beginning.  Instead, health is like a puzzle, and each practice is a piece to that puzzle.  I will for brevity’s sake only touch upon each puzzle piece.  If you want more, then I highly recommend reading my book, The Six Keys to Optimal Health.  In it you will find most of these points discussed in full detail, along with tips on how to best implement and maximize each practice.

First and foremost is diet and nutrition.  It should go without saying that good nutrition is paramount to a healthy functioning body, but I wonder sometimes.  Too many parents feed their children foods that are, well…suspect.  Here is a basic: foods should be whole and natural.  I’m not saying organic or hormone free or anything like that.  If that’s what you prefer, awesome!  But what I mean is “not processed”.  Lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh meats and dairy, wholesome grains, minimal sugar, minimal fast food (or none at all, like my kids), and definitely, with no exception: NO SODA!

Soda consumption should be the biggest no-no for an ADD-labeled child.  No, I don’t think soda causes ADD.  Soda is garbage for anybody, and that much sugar consistently cannot be conducive to mental sharpness.  Sad fact is that many parents will have to kick their own liquid garbage habit, too, if they want to keep their kids off it.

Next is exercise*.  Kids need to spend time playing and moving!  Period.  It is a standard recommendation for ADD-labeled kids to exercise often, and I couldn’t agree more.  Get your kids moving everyday–that’s what our bodies (and all life forms) are meant to do.  Don’t try operating outside of universal laws and then also expect good health. *Check out this interesting article on children, exercise balls, and focus.

Next, bodywork.  If you haven’t taken your ADD-labeled child to see a chiropractor, then you are doing them a great disservice.  Subluxations (misaligned and stuck vertebrae) are extremely disruptive to the nervous system and the mind.  I have seen hundreds of children go into a state of ease and calm following a chiropractic adjustment.  Time to learn more about chiropractic and give it a try if your knowledge and experience are limited.

**Throughout these posts, a regular reader and friend, has been kind enough to share her understanding and insight of primitive movement patterns and neurological development.  I am so fascinated and intrigued by this field of study that I intend to investigate it further.  She swears by its benefits, and I respect her knowledge and judgment.  I will keep you informed as I learn more.  Thank you K.O.

Sleep is next.  But we could just as well call this rest and recuperation.  If your child is not sleeping properly, then they are aging faster and breaking down more quickly.  Sleep is essential to life.  Many metabolic and regenerative processes occur while we sleep.

And don’t discount dreaming.  Although we still understand little about this ubiquitous function, I believe it has an important role in our mental brain states (no, I do not think dreams are symbolic).

If your ADD-labeled child is on Ritalin, then I would expect his or her sleep to be disrupted, particularly deep and REM sleep.  Think about that–it’s just another way that these dangerous drugs can hurt your child.  If they are also hopped-up on soda…(sigh) heaven help them.

Next is minimizing toxins.  Lot’s of things are toxins, but the ones I find most prevalent and damaging are…drum roll pleaseprescription and over-the-counter drugs.  Nothing wrong these meds periodically when needed, but as a society, Americans are way too over-medicated.  Just look at the Ritalin numbers: 90% consumed in the U.S.  Sad.

Finally is the mental health.  When it comes to your ADD-labeled child, they want what every child (and every person, for that matter) wants–love and acceptance for who they are.  So, again, help them find what they love–they know what it is, because they do it all the time.

Be it sports, be it music, be it socializing, be it fashion–find it, nurture it, and help them be inspired by it.  Pressuring your kid–directly or passively–is not going to help.  When a child senses that you are worried, frustrated, or disappointed, they know it; and trust me this only will add to their stress and inability to perform.  Let them know you love, honor and support them in whatever they love doing, and they will reward you by excelling.  No, they may never excel in school, but plenty of people live amazing lives that were not the result of traditional schooling.

There you have it–like pieces to a puzzle.  Each one important, but neither more-so than any of the others.  In fact, they work synergistically, but I’ll leave that topic for you to read in my book.

Once again, I sincerely hope I’ve helped people facing some tough decisions regarding their own ADD-labeled child.  If I can have helped you see your beautifully unique and gifted genius in a new light, then I am pleased.  If I’ve influenced you to reject the dangerous chemical poisons that the ADD establishment wants to numb your child on, then I am honored.  If I’ve given you some ideas on how to inspire your child to be all that they can be, then I am utterly grateful that I could contribute.

Thank you for reading.


So we have discussed the history of ADD, but how does a disease or disorder become established as an entity?  This is an important question because it determines the course of a disorder historically, sociopolitically and economically.  But most important, it determines how diseases/disorders become etched into the human psyche.  Think this doesn’t play a massive role in human health?  Think again.

The current health paradigm that predominates today is the medical model.  It would take more than just a few paragraphs to do the subject justice (if you are interested, I highly recommend my book, The Six Keys to Optimal Health), but I can give a brief synopsis here:

Modern medicine views the human body mechanistically–like an intricate machine.  Just as a machine can be broken down into ever smaller parts, so, too, can the human body.  By studying and mastering the workings (physiology) of the parts (systemic anatomy), we can understand the operation of the whole.  Simple.  When the parts start to malfunction (pathology), we can address them…cure them…through medicines (pharmacology) and/or removal (surgery).  Fair enough.  I find it flawed, but…as far as strategies go, it’s not bad.

But wait, it gets better.  Because we are physical beings in a material existence, then all problems related to our physical bodies have to have a physical basis.  Yes, even mental ones.  Because at our core we are simply neurophysiological life forms.  And when we break down human beings to their most fundamental parts, we are just electrochemical processes doing their thing.  It’s all rather Maxwellian.  Simple physics.

Physical problems, then, should have physical solutions, and throughout much of medicine’s very short history (I know you thought it was long and illustrious) the victories have been quite awe-inspiring.  Mass infectious epidemics have been nearly conquered; emergency medicine now saves lives that would have be long lost even fifty years ago; human prosthetics are damn-near perfect; even our increased life span is often credited to the wonders of modern medicine.

So what?  What does this have to with ADD?  Well, medicine did something peculiar…it started targeting what it considered “normal” physiological processes gone awry–things like cholesterol levels, and impotence, and symptoms of the common cold; it even started in on normal mental states like depression and well, fidgeting.  Yes, anything that could be considered a deviation from the norm was fair game.  The inability to focus in a schoolroom setting, then, was ripe for medical intervention.

It is interesting how unwanted (and unappreciated) physical and mental states become established as disorders.  First, they are recognized and their symptoms recorded, and then a profile of the most commonly afflicted is noted.  The disorders are then given a name, but over time, more symptoms are added, some possibly subtracted, but then re-added again, and the parameters stretch outward inch by inch.  As the definition of the disorder expands, more and more people are labeled with it, and the growing numbers are then called an epidemic.  Epidemics demand solutions, and in our mechanistic medical model this usually means drugs or surgery (think swine flu and carpel tunnel syndrome respectively).

Once somebody is labeled with a disease or disorder, the inclination of the human mind is to identify with it.  The person becomes the disease:

Hi… I’m Nick and I’m an alcoholic (now a disease, too).  Hola, me llamo Jesus: yo tengo blue balls (it’s coming [figuratively speaking]…swear).  Greetings, my name is Fenster P. Finkleschitkid, and I’ve got AD…hey, that’s my toy!!!

And they are never short of support.  Medical science supports them, doctors and therapists support them, society and it’s numerous special interest organizations support them, and of course, their loving families support them, because well…it’s a disorder you see, and we…just…want them…to have…normal….lives (whatever the hell that is).

ADD is no different.  It’s just one of many, many diseases and disorders that gets big money to study (remember, it’s the “best studied disorder in medicine”) and support all the intricacies (the changing ones) tied up in the horrible scourge.  And, of course, when they get their own drug treatment, they hit the big time–it all becomes official.  The AMA then takes a position on it and it becomes etched into the consciousness for all time.  Hallelujah!  Praise Hippocrates, we did it again.  Thank you, thank you, thank you (pat on the back)…and on to the next one.

Next post I’ll offer a better solution.

A reader has asked me to explain that if I don’t believe ADD/ADHD is a disorder, then what do I believe it to be?  This is a complex question because it requires an understanding of history, politics and human dynamics.  I’m going to attempt a concise explanation here that, hopefully, will bring a new understanding to a controversial health issue that may never be solved due to its ubiquitous nature as a component of the human mind.

So I’ve set out to uncover ADD/ADHD piece by piece in this blog over the next two weeks.  I’ll discuss how the “disorder” got its start, the belief system that gives it life, some neurological facts, and discuss why ADD remains a controversial topic, despite “most health care providers accept ADHD as a genuine disorder.”  We’ll investigate a new way of approaching what people call the symptoms of ADD, and we’ll look deep into why the current medical treatment for ADD is counter-productive and harmful.

Before we begin, let’s define some terms.  Since ADD and ADHD are essentially the same thing with a hyperactivity component to the latter, I will refer to both together as ADD.  If a distinction needs to be made, then I will do so.

Let it be understood that I am in no way advocating people on ADD medications to stop taking them.  These pharmaceuticals are serious and must be discontinued under the supervision of a medical doctor.  These post are for informational purposes only.  They are not intended, nor are they to be relied upon, as a diagnostic tool, professional medical advice regarding diagnosis or treatment, or a substitute for a professional medical diagnosis, opinion or suggested course of treatment by a qualified health care professional.  We assume no responsibility for what you do with the information contained.

Stay tuned.


A common question patients ask me is whether stretching should be done pre- or post-workout.  My very unsatisfying answer is, “It really doesn’t matter.”  I get the gist of the question, but I think there is a misconception that stretching is a warm-up exercise.  No doubt one could stretch to warm up, but it wouldn’t necessarily be my first choice.

I usually tell my Los Angeles chiropractic clients that stretching is better suited as a lifestyle activity; consider it an exercise unto itself.  So in that regard it would be the same as lifting weights to warm up–you could certainly do it, but again, it wouldn’t be my first choice.

I think the misconception of stretching as a warm-up started several decades ago, probably well before my youth; but I certainly remember playing sports in PE class and doing forward bending stretches beforehand.  Ah yes, the bouncy toe touch…remember those?

And the best is that a study came out several years ago showing that pre-event stretching has zero benefit in preventing sports injuries.  Sigh.  Yes, tell that to the PE teachers.  For more on why stretching is a poor warm-up, please read this article.

Stretching is best when adopted as a daily routine.  Because it is an eccentric contraction, it takes strength along with flexibility to stretch, so it will require energy.  You will sweat, too–probably why some people consider it a good warm-up.  But frankly, cold stretching could actually lead to injury–something not uncommonly seen in my chiropractic office.  So I actually think stretching warrants a warm-up.  Sure, yoga classes start with some light stretching and movement to warm-up–sun-salutations and such–but understand that most classes ease you into the full-on stretches.  I’d advise you do the same.

If, however, you are looking for a quick warm-up before a sporting event, try jogging in place.  There are many variations, and I’d suggest checking out this article for a great picture showing how.  Light jogging can also be a good warm-up, but leave the sprint for the end of the warm-up.  Make sure your blood is flowing nicely before running vigorously–again, you want to decrease your injury risk.

Stretching is exercise, plain and simple.  I believe that if you would have time for only one exercise, it should be some form of stretching.  Stretching brings flexibility, strength, balance, and if done right, even cardiovascular benefits.

So, in my book, stretching is a lifestyle.  I do it every day and I recommend that for everybody.  Can you use it to warm-up?  Sure, but I’d just as soon jog in place.  And I warm-up a bit before doing any serious stretching, anyway.  It’s your call on the warm-up; but for overall health and fitness, stretching is your best bet.


Hot cup o’ tea, hot cup o’ tea…want to get in great shape, South Asian style?  Then hat kabaddi, baby.  That’s right—the sporting craze in Asia is kabaddi, a team competition that originated in South Asia as a form of combat training.*  Participants say they are in the greatest shape of their lives.  What makes it so healthful?  Check it out:

The game is played with two teams occupying opposite halves of a field and taking turns sending a “raider” into the other half, in order to win points by tagging or wrestling members of the opposing team; the raider then tries to return to his own half, holding his breath and chanting “kabaddi, kabaddi, kabaddi” during the whole raid.  The name — often chanted during a game — derives from a Tamil word meaning “holding of hand”, which is indeed the crucial aspect of play. It is the national game of Bangladesh, and the state game of Tamil Nadu, Punjab and Andhra Pradesh in India. ~ from Wikipedia

As one commentator put it, “It’s like a brutal game of Red Rover.”  Hot cup o’ tea, hot cup o’ tea…

It’s more like an MMA-form of Red Rover, as player do what ever they can to prevent a player from returning to his team.  Players acting as raiders hold their breath the entire time.  So the physical benefits are:

  • Endurance (from breath-holding and moving)
  • Running
  • Dodging
  • Kicking
  • Defensive skills
  • And taunting (never to be underestimated)

Watch the video below to get a glimpse of kabaddi.  Hot cup o’ tea, hot cup o’ tea…

The Indian team coach, Balwan Singh, says kabaddi is the secret to long, healthy life.  “Look at me, I’m 50 years old and I can hold my breath for three minutes.”

Kabaddi seems to be a nice physical outlet for those dedicated to the spirit, too.  Three of the 14 members of Japan’s kabaddi team at the Asian Games are reportedly monks, while five others have graduated from a Zen Buddhist institute.

“Training in kabaddi makes our bodies stronger and healthier, while Buddhism meets our spiritual needs,” said Japan’s team leader Kokei Ito.

So if you’re interested in a new form of physical fitness, one that combines combat training with endurance (and taunting), a team sport offering competition, then try kabaddi.  It will kick your butt.

*Not designed by Navy SEALs



How do math and art combine to preserve health and safety, as well as bring awareness to drivers to slow down while driving through school zones?  Through anamorphosis–a distorted image that only appears in natural form under certain conditions, as when viewed at a distance or from a particular angle.

The safety advocacy group Preventable.ca hopes that, by using an anamorphic image of a child running out into the street after a ball, drivers will be reminded to slow down their vehicles at that moment, and anytime they may be driving through a school zone.  The image, placed on 22nd Street in West Vancouver, British Columbia, is of a girl picking up a pink ball.  Mathematically distorted, it can only be seen from the distance of 100 feet away.  The image is strategically placed to pop up as drivers approach; any closer and drivers can tell it’s an illusion.  Hopefully they slow down to look more closely.

The technology is made from 3-M concrete sidewalk vinyl, and stretches for 40 feet. Because of the distortion, the head of the child is 400 percent larger than the feet.

Anamorphosis is not a new art form–Leonardo da Vinci is said to have created the first anamorphic art piece in Western civilization in the 15th century.

Preventable.ca will leave the sticker on the road for a couple of weeks, but the sticker can stay on the road for between three to six months before it succumbs to environmental wear and tear.

Good job, Preventable.ca, and good job Canada.  I can think of lots of other good uses of anamorphic art, and I’m sure you can, too (pitbull on front door, hmmm…).  For more anamorphosis, check here.  Enjoy.

Listen up, gents.  Women are attracted to dancing…yes, dahn-cing.  And when it comes to dance moves, wide, sweeping, flamboyant moves are best for attracting the ladies.

In a study published this week in the journal, Biology Letters, a publication of Britain’s Royal Society, researchers found that when rating male dancers, women preferred those who had a wide range of dance movesand focused on the head, neck and torso.  Think popping and locking.

Researchers from Northumbria University and the University of Gottingen in Germany asked 19 men aged 18 to 35 who were not professional dancers to dance in a laboratory for one minute to a basic drum rhythm. They filmed the men’s movements with a dozen cameras, and then turned those movements into computer-generated avatars so the study could focus on moves, not appearances.

Scientists then showed the dancing avatars to 37 women, who rated their skills on a scale of 1 to 7.  Women rated the best dancers as those with wider, sweeping movements and those that had a variety of moves.

Evolutionarily speaking, women may subconsciously judge how fit a man is by the fluidity of his dancing. According to one of the study’s authors, Nick Neave, an evolutionary psychologist at Northumbria University, their research was likely subjective and different cultures would have different measures for what constitutes good dancing.  He advised bad dancers to improve their core body moves.

“The movements around the head, neck and trunk were the most important,” he said. “The good dancers had lots of different movements and used them with flair and creativity.”

I don’t think men who are bad dancers should get down on their chances of attracting females.  I think in general women are just attracted to men that will dance.  Embarrassingly bad dancing will probably repel before attract women, but as long as a man is willing to move, I think he should be okay.

Dancing is movement.  Movement is health.  Health is attractive.  So dance—it’s that simple.

Find Facebook pointless? Step off: Facebook and other social media can be great for the health.  In fact, anything that gets people interacting regularly can impact health positively. So says a recent study showing that people with strong social relationships have 50% less chance of dying early than people without such support.

According to the study, a meta-analysis examining social relationships and their effects on health, low social interaction was

  • equivalent to being an alcoholic
  • equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes/day
  • more harmful than not exercising
  • two times more harmful than obesity

And increasing one’s social interactions had a bigger impact on premature death than taking an adult vaccine to prevent pneumonia or taking drugs for high blood pressure.

The authors of the study, a team at Brigham Young University in Utah, suggest that government policymakers should look at ways to help people maintain social relationships as a way of keeping the population healthy. They speak specifically in relation to seniors, as that part of the population has the greatest chance of living in isolation.

May I suggest seniors’ play centers? Oh, people could go to these centers to play cards or board games, watch sporting events or exercise. They could hold classes, have speakers and host other fun events. I know that many communities have these clubhouse-type centers already—I know of a few in Florida, myself—but I think this might be a useful expenditure of government money. Why not? If social interactions have such a high impact on health, then why not spend a little money on it? Make the clubhouses nice and have one in every neighborhood.

Everybody dive into Facebook, Twitter and any other social media that allows people to interact 24/7—it’s good for the health!

Are you a firm believer in medical care? Do you think medicine is the best bet at getting you healthy and keeping you that way? Do you think, for the most part, when done right, medical care is pretty darn badass—doctors can tell you what’s wrong with your body, and get you better fast? If you’ve answered yes unequivocally to any one of these questions, then you are likely a future plaintiff in a malpractice suit.

Oh yes, you heard me right—if you champion western medicine to the degree that you think it’s nearly infallible, you will probably one day consider a malpractice lawsuit against the doctor(s) or hospital that doesn’t live up to your fantasy. Don’t feel bad—you are definitely not alone. In fact, you belong to one of the largest groups in the country: The Disillusioned Medical Victim. (Read this article: 9 in 10 doctors blame lawsuit fears for overtesting)

You know who you are. You worship medicine. You think Dr. Oz is the smartest guy on T.V. (and quite the looker, too). You wouldn’t think of taking a lesser health care practitioner’s opinion on your serious health issues. Oh no, if it ain’t Harvard magna cum laude, you ain’t buying it. But if the doctor is a specialist, then, well…she may as well walk on water.

Except it’s all an illusion. Doctors are people like you and me (OK I’m a doctor; I mean like you and your sister).  They have some extra knowledge and training, but guess what? They don’t know as much as you think they do. And they eff up like we all do. And when you have an experience in which your almighty doctor fails to miraculously fix you, guess what you are going to do? You are going to blame him/her/them.


It’s their fault, right? Yes, their fault you have cancer, are de-conditioned and ripe for disk herniation, or have complications with your routine surgery. They failed to find the problem, test well enough, or prescribe the proper treatment. Right?

Yes that’s how it happens. And it’s why medical malpractice is through the roof. It’s why doctors order an inordinate amount of tests, whether you really need them or not—to protect their arses!  It’s why medical costs are astronomical (if you are still living by the illusion that medical costs are out of control because people don’t have federally funded health insurance, then there may be no hope for you…ever) and will continue to grow until something changes.

Sure we could push for tort reform and hope that the problem goes away. OR…how about you just a) take better care of yourself, b) stop living by the illusion that medical care is for anything other than crisis care, and that you are at risk every time you use it (doesn’t mean don’t use it—just know the risks), and c) YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR OWN HEALTH! Nobody’s to blame but you if you put all your eggs into one health basket. So don’t go crying to your malpractice attorney when the doctors don’t live up to your illusion.


Hung out today at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books held on the UCLA campus. What a great event! Got to listen to Holly Robinson and Rodney Peete talk about their autistic son, RJ. What a treat!

This post is not about autism, or the Peetes; it’s about something they said that stirred some thought in me. As they discussed RJ’s growth and battle through autism, they said they were able to, “check off all the things the doctor had said he’d never be able to do.”

Now that got me to thinking about how so many doctors tend to absorb themselves in the diagnosis—got to call it something, give it a label. Then all these preset parameters come along with the diagnosis, and the one being diagnosed becomes exactly that, the diagnosis itself. That has never been my method in my Beverly Hills chiropractic practice, although I do get a handful of people insisting on having a diagnosis (conditioning, I guess). For these people, I play the game, but I always tell them I prefer not to get caught up in labels. There’s a real danger there; people start to identify too heavily with their labels. They start to become their condition (illness, disease, disorder, etc). I am very pleased the Peetes didn’t follow this path.

Medical diagnosis serves a purpose: it’s a way of organizing information common among a group of people experiencing a particular set of symptoms. But I think doctors would be wise to see the bigger picture–the possibilities that exist in treatment and healing. I know, I know…sometimes all they have is a hammer…but there is more than what medical science pushes. It takes a healer to know the difference. Not all doctors are healers; many, if not most, are technicians. The doctor that gave the Peetes RJ’s diagnosis was likely a technician. Safe in his diagnosis, covering all bases to avoid liability. Bravo! Well done; a perfect display of modern medicine—think science and law all wrapped into one. But healing? Not by my definition.

Perhaps it’s peoples’ responsibility to take charge of their own health? That’s certainly the message I promote, since health comes from within. But doctors are facilitators—they assist in the healing process, and as such, I think giving the patient a dose of hope helps the prognosis. No doctor knows whether any one individual will be just another statistic in a particular condition. Doesn’t every person deserve to be considered one of the odds beaters until proven otherwise?

Anyway, I went up and talked to Rodney Peete during the book signing (Not My Boy!), and commended his and his wife’s decision to “think outside of the box.” I’ll let you read the book on your own to find out how the Peetes did this. He was gracious toward my praise and said that it is “amazing how things open up for you,” when you think outside of the box. I asked him what his thoughts were on receiving the diagnosis and daunting checklist of things his son would never be able to do. He said that some doctors are all too willing to nail that type of diagnosis without even blinking an eye.

Yes, I know—not thinking outside the box. Bless the Peetes for finding another way.

I’d also like to plug Holly Robinson Peete’s book, My Brother Charlie, written with her daughter Ryan Elizabeth (who read the book onstage today—very well done!)

Time to get serious, people. Forty percent of all cancers are preventable. Listen up: 4.8 million cancer cases do not have to happen. Get it? You are in charge of your health. Health is NOT random. If you are living by that philosophy, you’re sunk.Is there a health care crisis? You bet. The crisis lies in the idea that you are not responsible for your own health, or your health care. Forty percent of all cancers are preventable. This from a report by the Geneva-based International Union Against Cancer (UICC). As UICC president David Hill says, “If there was an announcement that somebody had discovered a cure for 40 percent of the world’s cancers, there would quite justifiably be huge jubilation.” No kidding.

OK, so what can you do? First, let’s look at the top three cancers:

What can you do today that can help prevent these cancers tomorrow?

The first thing you want to do is observe your diet. Minimize processed foods, or better yet, get rid of them altogether. Whole and natural is best. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Take your vitamins. Drink lots of water (two liters per day, minimum).

Next, minimize or quit smoking. Minimize smoking? Exactly, most people that smoke can’t do so moderately, so kick it altogether. Try breathing clean air, too. How about an air purifier? Don’t minimize their usefulness. If you own a home in Los Angeles, contact me, I’ve got a guy that can set you up.

Minimize alcohol, recreational drug, and pharmaceutical drug consumption. These substances are toxins to the body. Stress the liver and kidneys and you’ll be increasing your cancer risk (among other illnesses) exponentially. Alcohol can cause many different forms of cancer–2-4% of all cancers to be exact–including esophageal, stomach, liver, breast, colon and others. And don’t underestimate the drugs your doctor gives you; they’re poisons, too.

Maintain a healthy weight. I’m not one to lay on the guilt trips, so simply put, if you are overweight, just lower it by something. My dad dropped from 225 to 190. He’s still about 25 pounds overweight, but that drop he made was significant to his health.

Exercise regularly. C’mon now, if you are not doing this you are missing out on so many health benefits that, well…you’ve got nobody to blame but…OK, no guilt trips. Just do it.

Get plenty of healthy sun, but don’t overdo it. Listen, we all need the vitamin D, and we now know more than ever how much so. But sun worshiping, tanning beds, Jersey Shore…puleeze! Be smart, protect yourself–safe sunning is the only way to go.

There you have it: You are in control of your health. Health is not random. There is a health care crisis, and it’s that far too many people neglect some very basic health enhancing behaviors. My book, The Six Keys to Optimal Health, has these and hundreds of other tips to prevent cancer and live a life of health and vitality. You can direct your health: you are responsible for the health you have and maintaining it. Nobody else.

My book The Six Keys to Optimal Health is the quintessential guide to achieving and maintaining great health in the twenty-first century. In it we discuss the six key areas that people need to focus on if they wish to improve their health or maintain the great health they already enjoy. This book is for people trying to bounce back from drug addiction, for those trying to lose weight, and for those that have never really thought about their health and wish to take care of themselves, now. This book is universal in that it does not matter who you are or where you come from, what illnesses or conditions you currently have, or what you have done or not done in the past–everyone can use and master the principles outlined in this book to reach optimum levels of health. If your health is important to you, please grab a copy of The Six Keys to Optimal Health today–it will change your life!


Last post I discussed the difficulty some parents have with guiding positive change in their children’s behavior with regard to health. For instance, when facing the task of limiting television time, many parents of overweight and obese children lack confidence in laying down the law.

I believe that uncertain parents simply lack a strategy, so last post I outlined a practical strategy for limiting T.V. time for children. It’s fair, and it’ll work if parents can stick to their guns. But like I pointed out in the post, it might be harder to implement with teenagers, as poor habits get harder to break the older kids get.

As promised, I’m posting some tips on establishing healthy eating habits for families. This was another area parents of overweight and obese kids lacked confidence in implementing. Some basic rules apply* when it comes to eating well, and they are:

  • Eat primarily whole, natural foods–real food; not processed. Fruits, vegetables, real dairy (yes, butter), real meats, and low-glycemic carbs.
  • Eat primarily at home. Eating out, no matter how healthy it seems, is still inferior to cooking at home. Believe that.
  • Cut out soda–worst damn crap you can put into your body.
  • Minimize the desserts–I know this is hard with kids, but you’ve got to keep the portions small. Two cookies (small to medium size) three times per week, and something more involved (cake, ice cream, whatever) one time per week is plenty to excessive. If you can avoid developing the habit from the start, even better. My daughter Delilah gets a small cup of ice cream once a week–that’s it; she doesn’t know any different.
  • Keep portions moderate–it’s my opinion that massive portions are the greatest contributor to obesity. Most Americans don’t need half the food they are consuming. Bring it down, big boy.

That’s it. Simple. But, as I’ve said before, this will be much harder to implement with teenagers. Teens have enough independence to make their own food choices throughout the day. This one simple fact may make it impossible to completely change their bad eating habits–the same one we’ve all had at that time in our lives.

But it’s the little kids we can influence. They may still move toward unhealthy diets as teenagers, but I guarantee you by the time they go to college they’ll remember what you’ve taught them as children, and return to eating that way. Guaranteed.

So that’s a lot of responsibility you have parents. You can be soft and uncertain, or you can be firm and certain that you are teaching your children good habits which will last them a lifetime. Your decisions now, as well as your challenges, will shape their future. They’ll thank you for it one day. I’m certain of that.

*For a more comprehensive list of healthy eating tips, read my book, The Six Keys to Optimal Health.

Many parents have a hard time disciplining their children. Laying down the law doesn’t come easy to all of us. Some find it so hard that they even risk their child’s health. Check it.Current research from Harvard University shows that many parents of overweight or obese children lacked confidence in implementing and enforcing various lifestyle behaviors that could help their children improve their health. When it came to laying down the law with regard to limiting television viewing, removing TV from children’s bedrooms, cutting back on fast food, reducing intake of sugary drinks, increasing physical activity, and improving the family’s overall eating habits, the parents studied scored pretty poorly in the confidence category. What this means is that these parents (446 surveyed) were unable to satisfactorily push their children to do the right thing.

I know it’s not always easy getting the kids to do what they should be doing–lord, I’ve got two champion tantrum throwers myself; and, of course, not everybody is as hard-assed as I am. But here are some tips that might just help some parents get their children to make a change:

  • Have a strategy–going in blind is a sure way to fail.
  • Start slowly–making drastic changes will create resentment and possibly a revolt.
  • Have your child list all the television programs he or she watches regularly. Have them pick two or three, and let them know they’ve got to dump the rest.
  • Choose a reasonable amount of time you will allow your children to watch T.V. weekly (I personally think 9-12 hours is fair to generous–one hour per night during the week, and two hours each on Saturday and Sunday).
  • No T.V. in the bedroom, period. Same with internet–sorry–too easy to watch via web.
  • Once their allotted time is up. (Click) Shut off the tube, and remove the remote.
  • Set aside time for the whole family to be together for reading or talking. If you don’t like to read, better start–kids do as their parents do.
  • Expect pissin’, moanin’ and grumblin’–stay strong, it’ll pass.

I realize that the age of one’s children will impact the success of this type of plan. No doubt, teens who have developed bad habits will be tough to break, but you’ve got to try anyhow. It’s why I always say, “Start early.” The younger the kids are when you develop habits, the easier it is to influence and form them. Hate to say it, but it might turn out that the only families able to successfully implement this type of regimen might be the ones with youngsters. Nevertheless, I’d try anyway if I were you. Can’t hurt.

Check in tomorrow for tips on how to get your family’s eating habits up to par. For sure, T.V. can be fun; but as a regular habit for kids, it’s as damaging as they come.


While most mammals have very little interaction with their offspring, human fathers are an integral part of their children’s upbringing; and this relationship, scientists believe, is what makes us unique, what makes us human.

Most popular theories on the role of the father have him as a protector of the young, and while this is true, fathers also play an important role in the optimum development of psychological and emotional traits considered to be primarily human, such as empathy, emotional control and the ability to navigate complex social relationships. This is uniquely human, as 95% of male mammals end their interactions at conception.

Prolonged human male interaction has important consequences to child development. While most other primates mature within 10 years, humans need 18-20 years before they can fend for themselves. The more involved a father is in family upbringing, research shows, the later sexual maturity develops in the child. In homes where fathers are absent, girls reach menarche sooner and form clingy relationships, while boys become aggressive and sexually exploitive.

The way fathers interact with children influences how they function as adults. For instance, as a result of possibly worrying about children’s financial future, fathers across cultures tend to give advice, encourage academic success and stress achievement. And father’s play tends to be on the rough side, riling up kids to the point of snapping, and then calming them down, which is believed to develop emotional control in children. As a result of his interactions, a father’s presence in the family correlates with improved health and decreased child mortality, increased emotional security and sexual maturity, and enhanced social skills.

Fathers also play an indirect role in the development of their grandchildren. As social skills develop in the child, increasing social standing, their parenting skills develop and the grandchildren benefit. Good fathering skills, then, can be passed down through generations–quite the responsibility. And finally, the more fathers help mothers following childbirth, the sooner mom becomes fertile, ensuring a bigger brood. Evolutionarily speaking, this is an advantage, as bigger families can become more powerful.

So celebrate fatherhood, dads–you are an essential part of your family’s dynamics and the development of your children. Without dads we simply wouldn’t be human.

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!!!

Copyright © 2013 Dr. Nick Campos - All Rights Reserved. Web Services by David Cosgrove Los Angeles Web Design