Currently viewing the tag: "stretching"


Holy Hormones Honey! Interview with @DrNickCampos - Applying Universal Principles to WellnessI spent last Wednesday evening being interviewed by the fascinating Leslie Carol Botha for her radio show, Holy Hormones Honey! The Greatest Story Never Told. The show’s topic was Applying Universal Principles to Health and Wellness (listen to archived show here). While I have written previously on The Four Dietary Principles, I thought I would touch on some more universal principles as they pertain to physical health and wellness here. As a quick review, the four dietary universals are:

  • Food as an energy source
  • Food as a vital nutrient source
  • Food as a source of hydration
  • Food as a source of body composition

Remember that universal health principles are true for everybody no matter what age, gender, creed or color, while health nuances may be true for some people, or more exaggerated than true, as many cases tend to be. Take for instance the above universals—these dietary needs are true for everyone and all living things, no exceptions. Some associated nuances, however, might relate to a way of eating, like vegetarianism, or Paleo, or raw food diets, and so forth. While some people thrive on each of these diets, none is correct for all people.

So what are some other universal health principles? In no particular order:

  •  hydrationHydration — all living things need water; life cannot exist with out the good ol’ H2O. The universal solvent is a must and so getting sufficient amounts (two liters per day minimum) is imperative.
  • Movement — we live in a dimension of movement; movement is the hallmark of the physical universe. If you are not moving, you are stagnating, collecting cobwebs, degenerating, and your time in this plane will neither be long nor pleasant. Get moving regularly—stretching, contracting, and aerobically—and more than half of your physical problems will be solved.
  • Touch — all living things need to exchange energy with other living things; touch is the most effective form of this energy exchange (as well as a source of comfort and security). What would happen to a plant, a pet or a child if it were rarely or never touched? We know that children deprived of touch have different levels of circulating hormones, which has major affects on brain development.
  • Rhythm — this pertains mostly to cycles, although it can also refer to the universal sound (also cycles or oscillations) within space, the oceans, and of course, music. The universe has a multitude of cycles including the orbiting of planets, solar systems and galaxies. Our seasons are cyclical (sun), as are our months (moon) and days (earth). Being mindful of the changes that occur in accordance with these cycles is paramount, and operating within these cycles — sleeping more during winter months, planting seeds (goals) during spring, and so forth — will lead to the greatest growth, fulfillment and wellness.Touch is love
  • Rest — one such rhythmic cycle is the sleep/wake cycle. Getting sufficient rest is of utmost importance, and while everyone is different, we all need both REM and non-REM deep sleep. There was a movement some years back on conscious sleep deprivation, and I must say I have heard of nothing stupider. Many regenerative and storage/sorting processes occur during sleep. Consistent lack of sleep is one of the most damaging acts one can carry out. It is bad enough when one has trouble sleeping, but to deprive oneself when one actually can sleep is pure foolishness.
  • Moderation — which can also be thought of as balance. This is the true essence of a harmonious cycle—fluctuating calmly between two poles, around the center, avoiding the extremes. Extremes are body, mind and soul disrupting, while smooth and small fluctuations are more rhythmically enhancing and growth inducing. We can apply this principle to diet, movement, touch, sex, mind-altering substances, medications, herbs, teas, tinctures, caffeine and other foreign or toxic substances. And most crucially, balance is necessary with regard to the mind.
  • Balanced mindBalanced Mind — The Buddha said, “Whatever an enemy might do to an enemy, or a foe to a foe, the ill-directed mind can do to you even worse.” A chaotic mind is the foundation for all other “problems” and human suffering. We cannot control the circumstances of life but only our perception of those circumstances. A balanced mind is adept at being still. In stillness lies awakened perspective, insight and wholeness. All other aspects of wellness are enhanced by this most powerful of universal principles.

I am certain that these universal principles will get you farther than any particular diet, extreme fitness regimen, supplements, special pH water, or any other nuance you’ve been sold as the answer. Take it from me — I’ve studied health and wellness for going on three decades; I’ve met many of the masters. These universal principles are the common themes of all great teachings as they apply to wellness; they also happen to be common themes present throughout the entire universe in various forms. Apply these principles and forget about the fads. If you find a nuance that works for you, it is because it fits in a greater universal scheme as applied to your unique individuality; but in the end it is the universal aspect that nuance falls within that is bringing the most benefit. Think about it, and I believe you will see the truth behind this statement.


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.

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