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Hugs For Pain Relief

Hugs over prescription opiods

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Original post can be found here.

I just love hugging my newborn granddaughter and look forward to the day she hugs me in return. Something happens to me, something transformative. Honestly, it feels like an I.V. morphine-love drip releasing into my veins. Who needs opioids?

Indeed, research shows me that the love drip is called oxytocin. Some experts say that there are some health-related benefits of hugging to the release of oxytocin, often called “the bonding hormone” because it promotes attachment in relationships, including mothers and their newborn babies. Oxytocin is made primarily in the hypothalamus in the brain, and some of it is released into the bloodstream through the pituitary gland. But some of it remains in the brain, where it influences mood, behavior and physiology.

In a U.S. News article “The Benefits of Hugging” written by Stacy Colino, she states that a hug a day, just might keep the doctor away and that besides helping you feel close and connected to people you care about, it turns out that hugs can bring a host of health benefits to your body and mind.

Colino referred to psychologist Tiffany Field, director of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine who explained how hugging fits in: “When you’re hugging or cuddling with someone, [he or she is] stimulating pressure receptors under your skin in a way that leads to a cascade of events including an increase in vagal activity, which puts you in a relaxed state.”

The hugging and oxytocin release that comes with it can then have trickle-down effects throughout the body, causing a decrease in heart rate and a drop in the stress hormones cortisol and norepinephrine.

There’s also some evidence that oxytocin can improve immune function and pain tolerance — pain that many have turned to opioids for relief. With regard to moods oxytocin is known to increase levels of feel-good hormones such as serotonin and dopamine, which may be why it has calming effects. “It reduces depression and anxiety, and it may have an effect on attentional disorders,” Field says. Again, these are symptoms that many have turned to opioids for relief.

In 1982 Ruth Harris started the “Hugs Not Drugs” project and was ultimately sponsored by Nancy Reagan in 1991 whose own slogan was “Just Say No” as part of the campaign on America’s war on drugs.

All of this is not to say opioids don’t have their place, but today there’s an even bigger drug epidemic and an even bigger war on opioids. Imagine where we’d be today if we’d practiced a little more hugging. “Like diet and exercise, you need a steady daily dose of hugging,” Field says. But the quality of the hugging counts, too. “If you get a flimsy hug, that’s not going to do it,” Field says. “You need a firm hug” to stimulate oxytocin release. 

So starting today, why not reach out and hug someone; what’s it going to hurt? But first, try wrapping your arms around yourself and giving a gentle but firm squeeze. You’ll be ready to go out and peddle some “Hugs Not Opioids.”

I’m headed over now to cuddle my granddaughter. I might even change a diaper!

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Improve Range Of Motion, Decrease Pain.

Squirel stretching practicing range of motion

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Stiff muscles and joints are a part of life. Aging may play a factor, or an injury. For many, it’s just that stupid chair at work! In any case, I found a general rule of thumb very useful for many of the patients that I treat for pain (not only pain, but this is a good starting point) which is very useful and helps immensely in the treatment process. It’s a simple rule of thumb that I keep in mind, and it is “increase range of motion, decrease your pain.”

With an understanding that this does not apply to every patient, I have seen many people benefit from simply improving their range of motion, in particular the lower extremities.

skeleton arm jointWhat is Range of Motion you ask?

“The full movement potential of a joint, usually its range of flexion and extension. For example, a knee might lack 10 degrees of full extension due to an injury.1

Why is this important?

In an age of opioid epidemic and with very limited options on the pharmacological medicine, natural treatment options provide a great solution to helping individuals in the treatment of pain. You’d be surprise how many times very important clinical findings are missed, such as overly tensed muscles and restricted motions. So I’ve made it a point to use all the diagnostic tools at my disposal to get a better idea of the pathology (The cause or the origin of the disease).

Hey, how do you know this stuff? Do you do this like everyday?

Yes I do. I practice in the cities of Pasadena, Downey, and Burbank. Based in Los Angeles, California, but I call the world my home. Yes, I am looking forward to traveling more and helping more people where I can. I see anywhere from 5 to 14 patients a day,  dealing primarily with pain management in the worker’s compensation arena and private insurance sector. So I do have an opportunity to see and treat people first hand, and the goal is to always help patients move to the next step and improve their lives.

From a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) perspective, it makes sense. TCM explains that we have energetic pathways called medians which travel superior to inferior and vice versa, meaning from top to bottom and from the bottom to the top. These meridians carry what we call “Qi” and “blood” to different areas of the body. Injury to these areas causes the pathway to work inefficiently and malfunction, causing pain, soreness, stiffness, or redness.

How do we approach this? By unblocking the channels and creating a better flow of energy, improving the circulation. Acupressure works very well and is why I focused my area of expertise on this therapy. But it is a conjunction of acupuncture, acupressure, herbs, stretching, heat, nutrition, and sleep…yes, sleep, that will work best.

This is not intended to be a medical diagnosis, so please see your healthcare provider and ask them about natural ways to help improve your movement for you health.

  1. 2016.
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Past, Present, and Future: Interview with Jeroen De Wit, Quantum Healer

Quantum healer in Los angeles

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Quantum Healing Reiki MeditationI had the privilege to sit down and speak with a friend of mine Jeroen De Wit (Pronounced “Ya – Roon”) who is a practitioner of QHHT, or Quantum Healing Hypnosis Technique, and Reiki, a Japanese technique to promote healing and unblock energy in the body. During our meeting we had a chance to discuss Jeroen’s background as well as experience in the field. Jeroen has a master degree of spirituality and psychology from the University of Santa Monica and works with individuals to help transform their life and improve in many different aspects. Jeroen is very dedicated to his art and giving the best.

Carlo: Hi Jeroen can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?

Jeroen: Originally I’m from the Netherlands. As a kid I’ve always had a sense for the magical, the unseen. A book from The Monroe institute about out-of-body experiences sparked my fire and resonated with my thoughts about physical reality. Born in the early seventies, I was always looking at how to improve the world. There were immature people running the show and always wanted to make a difference.

Carlo: What about any important life changing experiences?

Jeroen: In 2006 things changed when I met and trained under Dolores Cannon. She was a big inspiration into my development and personal empowerment.

Carlo: Can you tell us about some of your successes with your clients as a practitioner?

Jeroen: Yes. I’ve worked with women with fertility issues. In some cases where there was no period. Physical ailments, benign tumors, low back pain. Some people feel like their life becomes unstuck. It depends on the person but those with the will to become healthier will.

Carlo: What can you say about lifestyle in the role of healing?

Jeroen: Lifestyle plays an important role in healing. There are no magic pills that we sometimes expect. People need to take care of themselves. I facilitate a connection for folks to their higher self.

Carlo: Interesting, then what are your thoughts on the role of nutrition on the journey to wellness?

Jeroen: Listen to your body. Stay away from GMO’s, go for fresh foods and avoid the processed things. Your body is your vehicle on this planet. If you allow it to shut down, you’ll have less defenses to protect you.

I am a vegan because I believe in not doing any harm. Animals are killed and tortured just to put meat on the table. The sustainability aspect and the resources involved for meat consumption are impractical.

Carlo: So where do you practice?

Jeroen: I practice in Eagle Rock and at a pa around the Silver Lake area as well as do out calls for people who are immobile or can’t travel far, such as hospice care, elder groups, etc.

LA is fertile ground for this type of lifestyle, to know that this is not just “crazy talk”.


Carlo: LA is a great place and the energy here is great. How long do your sessions last generally?

Jeroen: About 4 – 5 hours for a quantum hypnosis healing session. Energy healing takes about an hour. Meditation is an hour to one and a half hours.

Carlo: Any thoughts on what’s going on in the world, politics?

Jeroen: None of the political candidates represent the image above, so I’d rather support grassroots organizations. Because a no vote is a vote for trump I’d vote for Hillary.  The media plays a big role, and the wool has been pulled over our eyes for so long. I support people taking charge of healthy food production.

Carlo: Any projects that you are working on?

Jeroen: I’m working with an organization called healthy is the new skinny, helping women focusing not on just the body but other aspects and goals to achieving health.

Carlo: What message do you have for the world?

Jeroen: Despite all the madness out here there is hope. The harmonics of human consciousness are changing. The old Paradigms are breaking down but a loving new structure is growing. There is so much help out there to support us on the physical plane.

You can contact Jeroen via his website:

Jeroen de Wit, MA Spiritual Psychology
Past Life Therapy * Energy Healing & Life Coaching * Meditation


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Stretch Tips For Relieving Tension In The Back

Man stretching the low back

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“Why is my back so tight?” was the question that was asked by the one who did not stretch…

Constant lifting, bending, excessive sitting, or prolong standing?

Over training/over-developing of the erector spinae and other low back muscles?


Back muscles tend to become stiff and rigid. Why am I writing this? Because in the clinic I’ve seen, diagnosed, and treated many cases of low back pain with success. I’ve even had a bout of it myself which lasted about a day and a half. Why did the pain come? I wasn’t taking care of myself properly at the time. How did I rid myself of this ailment? Stretching of course… and 7 years pain free.

Ok so I’ll assume you don’t care about the eitology behind the tightness of your back causing you pain and discomfort and just want to find a quick fix to your solution. Alright, keep scrolling.

Glutes, hamstring, quadriceps, and calf stretches.

Hamstring/Calf Stretch

Man stretching before a run
Photo Credit: Fabio Mascarenhas

I enjoy this stretch and do it on a daily basis. The start of obtaining high martial art kicks and relief to your low back pain.

  • Keep your back straight when performing this exercise and bend at the waist.
  • Look forward to help keep your posture and maintain balance.
  • Make sure your foot is pointed up to
    Calf stretch
    Photo Credit: Håkan Dahlström

    the sky. This ensures that you are maximizing the stretching of your muscle fibers, especially the gastrocnemius, soleous, fibularis longus and brevis, also known collectively as the calf.

  • Maintain your breathing.

Gluteus Stretch

  • Great stretch for targeting the gluteals.
  • Try to focus the stretch on the glutes.
  • Avoid putting strain on the knee.
  • Keep ankles relaxed.
Photo Credit: Ben Bradshaw
Photo Credit: Ben Bradshaw

Quadricep Stretch:

Photo Credit: Håkan Dahlström
Man stretching
  • Stand upright and try to prevent leaning forward.
  • Use the ground with a pillow to train with help obtain a full stretch of the quads.
  • Make sure you hold on to an object to maintain your balance. If you’re able to you can also extend one arm out and look straight ahead to maintain balance if you don’t have something to hold you up.

Good posture can save you a lot of pain and discomfort. Stretching and mastering your flexibity can help improve your posture. Got it? Good.

Ohhh wait! How long should I hold each stretch for?

I recommended for beginners 30 seconds each leg (for the quad stretch 20 seconds). This gives enough time for the body to relax and the muscles to obtain a good stretch. 45 seconds each leg (30 seconds for the quad stretch) is an optimal goal to reach towards.

And lastly…

  • Don’t Overstretch. Let your muscles speak to you and let them relax.
  • Don’t hold your breath. Don’t!
  • Don’t hurt yourself.
  • Don’t do any stretches you are not comfortable with. Seek help of a qualified trainer to guide you as needed.

Progress! If you’ve been stretching for two months and haven’t noticed any changes in your flexibility then you need to adjust your routine to become more effective.

Focus! Stretching is like lifting weights. You want to see some results then do the exercise correctly! Many times I have seen people just sit there for 30 seconds and not even move one centimeter forward. Persistance, calmness, and awareness people!

So what was the point of all this? Oh yeah, stretching can be beneficial to your back pain relief. Thee End.


What? You think there’s more?



No. Go out and do it. Now.



No, I can’t stretch for you that’s impossible.


Credit Last Two Photos: Tony Alter, Håkan Dahlström

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The Power of Rest and Relaxation

A Picture of people resting and relaxaing at a resort

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I actually learned this life lesson rest from a friend of mine.

An instructor was scheduled to teach classes in the afternoon. This person was asked to come in earlier to teach a class or at least make a presence around the studio. The instructor denied the request. The reason? It’s simple. The instructor needed to rest so that they could give 100% of their energy for the afternoon classes.

Simple concept, wouldn’t you know. However, in this fast paced,keep up with the Jone’s or face social chastising and isolation type society we have today, the idea of slowing down or taking a step back to rest seem unfathomable, especially during the day! But if it is the key to success, then why isn’t it practiced daily?

You Live and Learn

That was the problem I had. I got caught up in the grind and kept spinning my wheels. “Hit the pavement hard, keep going, you’re almost there you can rest then.” That’s the drive hard successful business model, isn’t it? I didn’t understand the concept that you create your best work when you are well rested and happy. Now I do.

You project a positive vibe around people when you are well rested and happy.

Problems seem to work themselves out better (Yes, lack of money problems too.) when you are well rested and happy.

We have convinced ourselfs that the answer is to do more when the answer is to do your best. How can you do your best if you’re overworked and tired. That’s when I got it.

Rest Can Change Your Life

This is how my days used to sound like when I was overworked and under-rested:

“Yeah, it was good. You know, just worked on stuff.”

Now they sound like this:

“Had a few things on my plate but it was great! Let’s see, first I…”

I actually enjoy talking about my days, and I enjoy hearing about partner’s as well. It’s not only being able to enjoy the end of the day, but the entire day.

You don’t have to go to the Bahamas to recharge:

Go to bed earlier and wake up earlier. Enjoy the morning.

Take an hour break at the park.

Take a 45minute to 1 hour nap. If you need more than that maybe you should work on your sleeping patterns at night.



Bring back the power of connection. Bring back the power of actually feeling something worthwhile. Bring back the joy you used to have in life.

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The Dilemma of Food Shopping in 2016

Healthy Foods bought at regular supermarket

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Shopping in 2016 can be quite of a difficult task at times. Of course you want to choose from the healthiest options available. Lets face facts though, if you care about your health then you should be willing to pay extra for the foods that will keep you healthy. However it doesn’t make sense for consumers to pay $10 for a head of organic lettuce (just being. I mean, you can, but eventually individuals such as myself will try to find more reasonable options.

My search for lunch inspired me to write this post. I’ve been living a hectic lifestyle and shopping has been a difficulty task to complete. Making meals has been a difficult task to complete. To do it the right way is a difficult task to complete. But I need to show my patients everyday how to survive and make the right decisions amidst difficulty.

Why is this important? Because research is changing, and we now know more about the types of foods we are consuming on a daily basis. You can’t just pick up a loaf of white bread with bologna and expect to survive on hot pockets all day. Like Jim Rohn said, reasons will change your life. Reasons why we should stay healthy, reasons why we should eat high quality foods. Most people want to live a healthy and happy life. That is a good reason. A happy, healthy, less worrysome and more abundant life, to be exact.

Broken Piggy BankThat is the keyword here, REASONABLE. It can sometimes be difficult to put together a meal that is nutritious, organic, and within a reasonable price range of your budget. So I went to the store today to pick up a few things and gave me some insight into shopping for groceries of 2016.

So on my lunch shopping break I picked up ingredients to make a sandwich and a salad. No Sprouts in the area, no whole foods, no Trader Joes, Farmers Market is 4 days away and they just closed down the local Ralphs. So my options a little limited, but not futile.

So I go to another big chain supermarket to pick up a few things in hopes that I could create a lunch for myself. I’m feeling the sandwich jingle.

Non-GMO bread? Got it.

Organic Mayo made with cage free eggs? OK now it’s a start

Romaine and red leaf lettuce? For my sandwich, for my salad. How could I live without it…didn’t like the organic produce so I went conventional and threw up a prayer.

Picture of Angels Praying for Food

Crutons? Had some wonton strips at home I bought from the previous day. But unsure of quality of ingredients and also contains sodium benzoate preservative (which I didn’t see until after, forgot to read the package.) I’ll just grab a bag of organic blue chips…

Sandwich meat...this time I grabbed sliced deli meats. I don’t like processed deli meats, just making an exception this one time since I don’t see any other cooked meat options. Ok I was at least able to find something without Nitrates. Didn’t have enough time to cook up a free range chicken breast which is actually my first option.

Certified humane grass fed cheese…A little cheese in moderation.

So I was able to put together this sandwich and salad meal for a reasonable price, about $15-$17 for everything.

Once big chains can provided more organic produce it will become more accessible in the mainstream.The more selection, the better.

I think the key is that you have to make the best choices with what you have. Know there are options and yes you may need to look around to find “the good stuff”, you know food of good quality made for human consumption.

Photo Img credit: 1st flikr cc, 2nd flikr cc (

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Work On Your Posture For the New Year

Skeleton with bad posture

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We’ve become lazy. Our lifestyles have changed and now we are paying the price with our posture. Drooping neck, shoulders rolled forward, too much standing, too much sitting. I mean this applies to everyone of you reading this and the person next to you… or the first person that pops into your head. It’s not hard to find bad posture and I’m constantly working on it myself. What to do, oh, what, to, do. I enjoy a little drama.

So along with your weight loss regimen and your workout regimen, add in a posture regimen. It’s the cherry on top and it’ll make you feel great. In addition I’ve always been a fan of practicing good posture when working out and not overworking any specific body part. Stretching helps to relax muscles and realign the bones. It helps the qi to flow. It helps to balance the pull between the muscles. It makes you feel good, perhaps even joyful. The benefits of elongating the muscles, amazing.

Picture from the book "The posture of school children, with its home hygiene and new efficiency methods for school training"
Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Focus on your Center

Yoga… ’nuff said. If you practice it then keep going. If you don’t then start.

Tai chi helps to improve posture. It is one of the first lessons we cover when I teach. My teachers were very strict on the subject because bad posture ruins your form and disrupts your energy. It prevents you from generating the full power that you’re capable of.

Breath from your center, activate what is known as the lower dan tian, which is located about an inch and a half below your belly button. To be more accurate it’s actually located 1.5 cun below, and a cun is a unit of measurement used in Traditional Chinese medicine to measure the distance of acupuncture points. Geez so we can get deep into the subject, but back on the topic of the lower abdomen, this area can be focused upon with your attention and breath. Practice deep breathing to this area and try to bring your thoughts and focus to this area as well. You will notices within 30 seconds you will begin to feel more relaxed and focused. Don’t forget to relax your shoulders.

Get Off The Computer, Go Walk!

’nuff said. Also walking is a great time to practice great posture. Muscles may feel sore at first but it’s because the right postural muscles need time to build up. Eventually they learn muahahahah…

Ask A Professional On Posture:

Expert advice? I asked two of my colleagues who work with me, Dr. Rommil Fernandez, D.C. and Dr. Bruce Householder, D.C. for some insight into the importance of good posture.

Dr. Fernandez stresses the importance of good posture and says that spinal alignment helps to keep the nerves free from being irritated. He also dislikes a certain position of sitting which he calls the “wilted and defeated” position, with shoulders slumped forward and neck flexed down.

Man sitting with bad posture.

Dr. Bruce says that compression of the spinal nerve, especially when seated, can lead to DJD, or Degenerative Joint Disease.

Chiropractic care can help to deal with subluxations which are misaligned vertebrae. Massage therapy can help to muscles to relax and decrease tension. Acupuncturist can tailor treatments and advise of ways to improve posture. The key is to seek treatment and understand it takes time.

Hope this helps keeps your energy flowing throughout the year.


Dr. Rommil Fernandez D.C.
Dr. Bruce Householder, D.C.
730 N. Mariposa St. Suite 101
Burbank, Ca 91702

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