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A funny thing happened on the way to the 2020s. Our TV-filled minds and soda-soaked bodies got spun in a real life episode of Black Mirror. I have been writing this blog since 2007, and the primary theme for most of those years has been “mind your health.” I approached this mission from a number of angles. I stressed:

  • Be mindful of your self-care: watch what you eat, move regularly, balance your activities with rest, balance your perceptions to minimize volatilities, address your pain, and minimize toxins
  • Be hygienic and do not be petrified of pathogens. Focus more on your immune function than on any germ
  • See symptoms as your body doing its job, and think of “illness” as an opportunity
  • Keep challenging yourself physically and mentally for continuous conditioning and adaptation

My way, especially in the early years, was to pound that message into my audience, over and over again, perhaps changing the scenario or details of the story, but keeping the main points the same, always. I am big on universals.

It’s also important to be rational – that is, not have expectations that fall outside of reality. Unfortunately, it seems to be the folly of the human mind to place hope in the irrational. While the trait is widespread among us all, it generally operates beneath our awareness. A common expression of this trait is we want to save or eradicate one thing or another – many of which are simply a reality of this world and are neither savable nor eradicatable.

Take death for example. Everyone will tell you that they accept death, and they do, in the long run, without exception. However, when one takes the time to actually think about and assess our underlying views: collectively, people believe we should save life and prevent death at all costs. Our medical system runs with this as its fundamental purpose, and public opinion is often aligned with this sentiment: Nobody should die.

HealthyPreventCovidDeath3I do not believe this is a bad view. We should want to prevent death in others, particularly our loved ones, because it is a distinctively human trait. We do not need to change the things that make us beautiful as humans. But it does help in keeping bigger events in perspective when we are frank with ourselves. For instance, in accepting that all dynamical events (events moving through time) involving a life form come with an inherent probability of death. In other words, death is a part of life. There is death everywhere, and in everything there is a way to die. We might die from something we enjoy and we might die from something we don’t. There is no predicting it at all, not if you allow nature to be the director.

And, of course, that means the world will have death. We tend to perceive large scale, high probability death events as horrific: War, natural disaster, disease – all tragic, all unnecessary, all regretful. Naturally, as humans we wish to eradicate them all. It would seem absurd, of course, to most of us for the hope of the abolition of natural disasters. There isn’t a soul who fails to get that we have no control over the elements of nature. Yet, surely, the other two are controllable. War and illness are large-scale dynamic events very similar to what we might consider “natural” phenomena. But human developments are no less natural in how they flow through time, with human decision-making and action leading to an unfolding of events not under individual control. While collaborative efforts can, and certainly do, affect outcomes, they mostly contribute to the flow and unfolding of events more than they “alter” history, as we often perceive, and report on, our heroic efforts.

Understanding these “realities,” as I have already said, gives clarity to our ability to assess larger-scale phenomena. Take Covid-19, for instance: We have had nine-months, maybe longer, to observe and analyze the virus responsible, SARS-CoV-2. We have solid numbers now. Why are we acting irrationally in the face of the facts?

For nine months, I have read, listened, watched Congressional hearings on, discussed and cross-referenced this pandemic. I have heard many arguments on a few different sides, and the conclusions always depend on who is doing the talking. Some people believe we are under-reacting; others believe we are going too far. Animosity is simmering and beginning to roll to a boil. Some have been willing to unleash their aggressions on those they think are either selfish or sheep, depending on their overall perspective. But is it warranted?

I think I have laid the groundwork for an argument which I believe stems from the human propensity to not want others to die. Most of us feel that way on one level or another; it’s understandable, and in my perspective, desirable and beautiful to want others to live. But on the other hand, it seems irrational to continue strict quarantine measures, when the numbers do not justify the reaction.

The two most fundamental characteristics of a pathogen are its contagiousness and its pathogenicity. A pathogen’s contagiousness is how quickly and readily it will spread among people. The SARS-CoV-2 virus is a rapid spreader. This to me is the most relevant attribute of this virus. The pathogenicity of a microorganism is its ability to cause disease. A highly pathogenic organism can cause serious damage – to individuals, yes, but also to populations as a whole. If a pathogen is both highly contagious and highly virulent, there will be enormous death. Yersinia pestis, the causative agent of the bubonic plague, the Black Death, is contagious and highly virulent. If left untreated, the death rate for this pathogen is 70-100%. As a result, it led to the death of over a third of the population of Europe.

How virulent is SARS-CoV-2? As a novel virus – meaning, it is relatively new to us – we could only estimate early on the virus’ pathogenicity, to which we then attributed a death rate. Now, understandably, in the first few months of the pandemic, we estimated high. The numbers were not large enough to approach the mean, and without a doubt, it was wise to be safe over sorry. Death rate [or infection fatality rate more accurately (IFR)] is simply calculated:

# of deaths/# of cases

As we are now nine or more months into things, the numbers are large enough that we can assume we are approximating the mean (or average). The U.S. death rate, then, using the most current numbers (as of December 17, 2020):

311,000/17,300,000 = 0.018 or 1.8% (approximately 1 in 50)

Studies like this one estimate that the actual SARS-CoV-2 infections is anywhere from 3-20 times higher than current confirmed cases. At the low end that would make the death rate

311,000/51,900,000 = .0059 or .59% (approximately 1 in 200)

At the high end

311,000/346,000,000 = .00089 or .09% (less than 1 in 1000)

Deaths-by-Age-Group-ChartFurther, approximately 40% of all U.S. deaths have been in nursing homes. If we were to remove the 100,000 nursing home deaths from the numbers above, the death rate would look like this:

211,000/17,200,000 = 0.012 or 1.2% (approximately 1 in 100)
211,000/51,800,000 = .0040 or .40% (approximately 1 in 250)

211,000/345,900,000 = .00061 or .06% (approximately 1 in 2000)

Seen from another angle, the number of people who have been infected and who have survived is as high as 1,999 of every 2,000.

This study from September 2020, estimates the infection fatality rate as .28-.31%, or roughly 3 deaths in every 1,000 infections, and according to some experts the actual death rate [case fatality ratio (CFR)] is closer to 0.02% (that’s 1 in every 5,000).

More importantly, and the real point I wish to make, is that 94% of deaths reported have had associated comorbidities, in other words, underlying health issues. Does this mean that only 6% actually died of Covid-19? No but what it does mean, though, is that people who have underlying illnesses are at a greater risk of dying from Covid-19. Well I’ve got news for you: People who have underlying illnesses are at a greater risk of dying, period. I have been trying to get this point across for going on two decades now. When will people get it? And the vast majority of underlying illnesses today are lifestyle related – that means they are PREVENTABLE! Some of the most common comorbidities associated with Covid-19 deaths are influenza and pneumonia, respiratory failure, hypertensive disease, diabetes, cardiac arrest, heart or renal failure, and obesity.

HealthyPreventCovidDeathBelieve it or not, every one of these Covid-19 death associated illnesses can be minimized by adopting healthy lifestyle habits. It’s amazing how many people get angry at me for stating this fact, that they could actually improve their health, improve their lives, and minimize illness and suffering by practicing simple healthy habits. Eating well, exercising, stretching, sleeping well, addressing emotional stresses, addressing physical pains and injuries wisely, and keeping the drugs, alcohol, and other medications to moderate levels will significantly impact your life for the better. These are simple actions that everyone can adopt, but the reality is that only a small percentage of the population actually does so. People, in general, want easy fixes, which just do not exist in the realm of health and wellness. Fixes which appear to be quick and easy (and that includes many surgeries) almost always come with unwanted consequences (aka side effects). Dying of Covid-19 is one of them.

Listen, the numbers do not lie. What makes things uncertain for the masses is the volume of different interpretations. Granted most people wish to be safe over sorry – I both get that and agree with it. However, you cannot leave your health to chance and then expect a different outcome. It is not too late for the vast majority of people. I have come to understand that only a small portion of the population will heed my words. This article is for YOU – the person who recognizes the wisdom in what I say. Do highly virulent pathogens exist? Yes. Is SARS-CoV-2 that pathogen? Not by the numbers, it isn’t. Despite hearing for months that the death rate would climb to its more accurate number, it hasn’t gone up at all – it has gone down, and in my opinion it will prove to be even lower. Does this mean we should take it lightly? NO! Do the right things for yourself and your family (what you teach them today becomes habit tomorrow). That has always been my message and it will continue to be so – it is universal.

Part 1

Cocaine BlissDrug addiction is a form of seeking. The high we get from drugs is the closest thing to the altered states of consciousness that are the hallmark of deeper states of meditation, including samadhi, and thus drug users—most unconsciously—are seeking what we all are: the internal source of bliss. Bliss can only be achieved from within, whether it be inspiration, fulfillment, joy or any other state of being; it is an inside job. Drug addiction, then, is like any other attachment to the external world—it is our seeking fulfillment from things outside of us.

The quest for bliss, or a something other than what we experience in the purely physical world, is a real and ubiquitous drive—a universal human yearning. We bounce from experience to experience, desire to desire, and even relationship to relationship—what the yogis would call gaining knowledge—seeking this bliss. And all these quests for the outer are necessary to lead us to the reality of the inner. Drugs and chemical highs are no exception. In fact, former drug users may even be at an advantage on this quest, as the altered states so familiar to substance abusers most closely approximates the different states the meditator passes through on his or her way to Self-realization.

Learning the Self is the most rewarding experience we can have, as it lasts a lifetime. While every former drug user has learned invaluable lessons about herself, only through conscious awareness and awakening can true Knowledge—and all it affords—be had. In seeking the Self the greatest of all fulfillments is ours—the bliss we are never able to find in outer experiences. By taking on this quest, the former drug user has the greatest probability of remaining clean, because what is a temporary high when compared to bliss?

russell brand meditatingThe quest to “find” the Self can be carried out by a number of paths. One such path is meditation. Meditation, the art of silencing the mind and going within, is a profound practice, one which has a number of short and long term benefits for the former drug user. The benefits range from the physical, like a decreased risk of debilitating cardiac events, to the mental (increased emotional control), to the spiritual, like greater creative inspiration. In the following paragraphs, I will touch upon these benefits of body, mind and spirit to encourage former users to take up the habit of going within. I am certain that when I am finished you will see that the enormous advantages the practice of meditation affords are far greater than any momentary highs we get from drugs.

The Way I Feel

Dopamine system

Click to enlarge

Drugs feel good—we can thank the dopamine system for that. But the physiological sensations resulting from drug actions are temporary and come with the risks of tolerance, withdrawal and potential overdose. Going within, on the other hand, particularly via the path of meditation, provides physiological changes which are longer lasting, and many even permanent. These physical changes can feel good too, but they are subtle and come on gradually, so there is really no high with true meditation.

Meditation has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiac events—like heart attack and stroke—by one half. At risk African American men and women were given either a meditation program, muscle relaxation exercises or conventional health education courses. Those participants who meditated had nearly half the risk of suffering a cardiac event. These findings are particularly valuable for recovering methamphetamine and cocaine users, as stimulants can stress the cardiovascular system (heart and blood vessels). Further, the practice of pranayama (breath control) works to slow the metabolism, bringing down heart rate, respiration and blood pressure. These physiological changes are imperative for any person who has been artificially speeding up their cardiovascular system with drugs.

Meditation also has been shown to reduce pain, fatigue and depression. Many people who suffer from chronic illness turn to drugs to alleviate pain. A 2010 study showed that an eight-week course of mindfulness training reduced all three symptoms above, and improved health-related quality of life for people suffering from multiple sclerosis (MS). As any long-term drug user will tell you: part of the package that comes with substance abuse is pain, fatigue and ultimately depression. Here we now have evidence of the power of going within for alleviating these overloading sensations which often plague chronic drug users.

healingFinally meditation may lead to improved healing—something every drug user needs, as repeated use of chemicals can and does lead to breakdown of the body. Both inflammation and immunity are altered by meditation. Inflammatory processes have been observed to diminish, while immune function has been found to increase in regular meditators. As self-healing, self-regulating organisms, we need our innate powers to function unimpeded. While drug use hinders our healing abilities, quieting the mind and going within enhances them instead. Choose meditation and watch your miraculous regenerative powers operate in full force as your body and mind return to their most optimal functioning states.

Here’s an interesting thought: Humans may subconsciously create pain conditions in their bodies to relieve emotional stresses.  Hmmm…what do you think?  Are our physical ailments simply a way for us to deal with mental misperceptions?  Check it out:

Scientist have recently found that people who practice self-mutilation, clinically known as nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI), show decreased brain activity in areas responsible for negative emotions (anterior cingulate and the amygdala), while activity in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex—an area responsible for pain integration—increased as a result of pain.

To explain the findings, researchers have toyed with the idea that self-mutilators actually enjoy pain.  Wrong—since people suffering from NSSI primarily engage in self-inflicted pain–usually cutting or burning the skin—during times of increased stress.  Researchers also proposed that perhaps self-mutilators are attempting to punish themselves.  The problem with this reasoning, however, is that, by definition, punishments increase negative emotions and make behaviors less likely to occur in the future.  Not the case with those practicing NSSI.

Enter a few new studies.  One recent study showed that fruitflies will avoid noxious odors associated with a painful shock; however, they will gravitate toward the same noxious odors when the odors are associated with shock removal.  Hmmm again.

In a second study, scientists found that removal of various forms of experimental pain were associated with a reduction in negative emotion in people with no history of NSSI.  What makes these findings especially interesting are that both general negative emotion and pain-induced negative emotion are processed in the same brain areas.  That means that pain relief and emotional relief are essentially the same thing.  Many of us know that pain-numbing drugs like alcohol also temporarily reduce emotional pain (until, of course, they lead to new forms of pain).  But recent research has shown that simple over-the-counter analgesics (pain relievers) also reduce emotional pain.

So scientists believe that self-inflicted pain, at least as it relates to people engaging in NSSI, may serve the function of reducing emotional pain or stress.  I propose that all pain states, thus all illnesses, result from the mind’s attempt to balance emotional events.  I’m not saying that illness is merely due to negative thinking, because I think any exaggerated thought process–whether positive or negative–can lead to disproportionate emotions.  I’m saying any unbalanced emotion can ultimately lead to illness.

I am fascinated by this study as I think it opens doors to the workings of the mind and it’s involvement in physical experience, including health and disease.


Here is an affirmation I have given to a new client who is being treated with chemotherapy for cancer:  The pain IS the healing.

I was thinking very deeply about this client, who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma late last year, when I came up with the affirmation.  He is being successfully treated with the chemo, but the it has put him in excruciating pain.  He says it feels as if his bone marrow is boiling.

What we don’t always realize is that life is often painful; but the pain we endure is often our greatest blessing; it’s what usually brings our greatest growth.  That is the gist of this post.  And the gist of the affirmation.

Affirmations are statements that we say over and over to ourselves, to help establish in our minds the truth behind the statement.  What we say to ourselves repeatedly we believe.  What we believe we create.  In other words, we create our reality, whether you want to believe it or not (hidden wisdom, hidden wisdom, reread, ponder).

However, affirmations are powerless if we don’t really believe what we are saying in the first place.  For my client, it is not too hard to get him to believe.  First off, he’s super-sharp: He already sees the blessing in his illness, and he sees how his life (and mind-set) has led to where he is now, for all of which he is grateful.  Second, he’s a fighter; he feels like ess ayech aye tee (i.e. not well), yet he comes for his visits anyway.  He is doing everything he can to get well, including chiropractic, acupuncture, nutritional therapy, and very soon…rehab.  Third, he knows he is getting better; this man knows the principles of the universe, and he gets that he’s getting a second chance; he understands the process.

So “the pain IS the healing” rings true for him.  But I have given him the affirmation to get him through the rough times.  When his bone marrow starts feeling like it’s boiling from the chemo, the affirmation makes it firm in his mind that it is an integral part of the healing process; and he’ll help his body along through his certainty.

And you can use this affirmation too.  Whether you are going through a tough breakup, financial or legal troubles, or any other painful experience, just remember…the pain IS the healing.


Do you wear orthotics? Do you have back pain, hip pain, knee pain; do your feet hurt? Has anybody checked your feet? If you wear orthotics, then you know how much they help your particular condition. But did you know they need to be repaired periodically?

Orthotics are devices inserted into the shoes that support the feet. They are customized to each individual, so they may provide an arch for one whose arches collapse; or they might provide cushion for people that come down hard on their feet. Each foot dysfunction and gait abnormality has its own particular correction in custom-made orthotics.

We take approximately ten million steps a week. By the shear volume of it all, orthotics wearers have to be aware of one thing–orthotics eventually break down. Once the device expires, symptoms slowly return. Hello sciatica–long time no burn. Shin splints–thought you’d never come back. Oh, and low back pain–fuggedaboutit–that’ll come back with a vengeance. Sometimes symptoms return slowly; other times–BAM!–hello again.

The approximate time frame to repair or replace your orthotics is 1-2 years. For runners or heavy tennis players that only have one pair, your looking at closer to a year. But for the average weekend warrior, or for the person with two or more pairs, it’ll be closer to a year and a half, two years. Once you get them repaired, your orthotics will be like brand new.

Just ask my Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, and West Hollywood chiropractic client Eddie Pence. He’s been running around in his pair for a couple of years–he’s taken them up Runyon Canyon in Hollywood, trudged them through the Los Angeles flag football gridiron, and slugged mud in them with his dog at the most popular of West Hollywood dog parks. And although the Biomechanical orthotics we fit him for could take a serious licking, Ed knows that to keep them ticking, it’s time for a repair.

If you need orthotics, or you would like to have your low back, hip, groin, knee, calf, shin or foot pain evaluated by a sports chiropractor, and you live in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, or West Hollywood, come see Dr. Nick Campos and get your foot problems squared away.

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