Archive for May 2010

How to Accomplish Something

May 29, 2010

In our clinic I frequently talk to our clients about goal setting. When I sit down with a new client, within those first couple of visits I want us to lay out some short term and long term goals. This gives me a clearer idea of what the client wants to create in their life, and it helps the client focus on what they want, not on the pain they currently have.

Now, invariably, most clients will respond “well my goal is to get rid of this back/hip/knee/neck/whatever pain”. I completely understand, that is the motivation that got me started as an Egoscue client back in 1999. But I explain to them, negatively based goals are great for getting into action and breaking inertia, but what we’re really going for here are positively based goals. Let’s not set as a goal something you want to move away from, let’s set something you want to move towards.

I’ll often use this illustration: have you ever seen on TV a space shuttle launch? Most of us have. When the rockets first ignite, the vehicle uses a specific kind of fuel that is designed to burn VERY hot and very fast. This fuel is what the vehicle uses to get moving, to get off the launch pad and through the intensity of the earth’s lower and more dense atmosphere. But then what happens when the vehicle gets to the edges of the atmosphere? It runs out of that fuel, it releases those fuel tanks, and it then switches to a different kind of fuel. That fuel burns more slowly, but for longer. It doesn’t need to provide as much thrust, that heavy lifting was already done by the first type of fuel. Now it needs a kind of fuel that will sustain it for a longer time.

Negatively based goals (“I want to get rid of this pain”) are like the first type of fuel. It’s VERY effective for getting people off their butts and taking action to make things better. It’s the primary fuel that brings a new client into our clinic. But what if that is the only kind of motivation the client has? Well, what would happen if that first fuel was the only fuel the space shuttle had? Yep, once it depleted that fuel, it would be left without any power and it would topple back towards earth, it would crash and burn. The same thing is true with our clients. If all they have is the first type of goal, then once their back begins to feel better, their motivation for continuing to work to improve their postural balance and integrity is gone. And now they stop consistently doing their Egoscue routine. Well, they stop until the pain then begins to come back and then they start up again. So they’re always drifting in this gray area. They’re better than they were, but they’re not where they really want to go and they don’t understand why.

I encourage our clients to set positively based goals so they have that goal to move towards. If the short term goal is “I want to be able to run again without knee pain” and the long term goal is “I want to be able to run a marathon with no knee pain”, now we have something! And when their knees start feeling better, these goals will fuel and sustain them as they continue to work to improve their health.

So, what are YOUR goals? If you are an Egoscue client, I encourage you to first set such goals if you haven’t already. Then once you do, share them with your Egoscue therapist and enlist their aid in helping you achieve them. Ask them to work with you to craft a plan to help you get from where you are now to where you want to be. If you’re not an Egoscue client, I encourage you to still go through this process. What reality do you want to create in your life? Then, ask yourself what you’ll need to do to turn that goal into a reality. Then, ACT!!

I was going to write about this anyway, but I decided to do it this morning when I got the latest edition of the “Health Sparks” email newsletter from the folks at Learning Strategies. I’m going to copy it below because it takes a pretty extreme case and does a beautiful job of highlighting these principles. The woman below didn’t have a goal of “I’m no longer paralyzed”. She was thinking much differently than that. Her goals weren’t negatively based, they were positively based and driven. And then she created a plan and she worked her plan! And notice how comprehensive her plan was. She addressed the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of her being. It’s awesome stuff.

Here’s the newsletter, I hope it inspires and uplifts you as much as it did me. Have a terrific day!


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Welcome to Health Sparks
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Applying focused attention to seemingly “impossible” goals or dreams can lead to what some people call “miracles.” It certainly seemed to for Andrea Fisher after a terrible automobile accident left her comatose and without the use of her arms and legs.

When Andrea woke from the coma three months later, her husband immediately asked for a divorce. Andrea had been a happy and successful television producer, and now her life was turned upside down. Every neurologist consulted said she was quadriplegic and never going to get any better.

As soon as she understood the reality of her situation, Andrea set a monumental goal—to walk out of the hospital on her own some day.

Within a year Andrea was off the respirator. Within three years she stood up next to her bed. And within seven years she did in fact walk out of that hospital on her own.


Every day Andrea focused on her goal and took specific action steps toward achieving it. She delved into the paperwork and preparations required to allow her a diet of holistic foods in the hospital.

She got regular massages and chiropractic adjustments. Even though she could not feel anything from the neck down, she knew they would be good for her body.

Each day Andrea spent time in prayer and meditation. She expressed gratitude for each breath she took, every beat of her heart, the good things in her life, and the possibilities for her future.

She went to work releasing her feelings of depression, anger, fear, frustration, and other self-defeating emotions that would arise. She also visualized daily, imagining herself working out, lifting weights, walking, riding bike, and all of the other physical activities she loved to do.

When she stood for the first time, Andrea surprised every medical doctor and neurologist. Later in her life she spoke at neurological conferences, and specialists around the world studied her case. They concluded that her walking again was a miracle, because there was nothing that could account for it.

But to Andrea it was no more a miracle than the fact that she could breathe or her heart could beat. She insisted she could explain every single detail of what she did to accomplish her breakthrough.

Imagine what you could do if you applied the same kind of focused attention to your health. Maybe your goal won’t take seven years to accomplish as Andrea’s did; it might take eight years—or just eight weeks.

Jack Canfield refers to this daily focus as the Rule of Five in our Effortless Success course. He suggests making a list each day of five action steps that will move you closer to your goal. Then check them off as you complete each one.

Be very specific in your actions. If your breakthrough goal is to achieve your ideal weight, one day might look like this:

My five action steps today:
Do morning stretches for 10 minutes.
Walk for 30 minutes.
Prepare a healthy, low-fat lunch.
Schedule an appointment for a massage.
Spend 15 minutes visualizing how I will look and feel when I achieve my goal.
The cumulative effect of these daily steps can be profound. Small action steps are manageable, and achieving them daily keeps you motivated and your momentum strong.

Whether your goal is to drop 50 pounds, run a marathon, or eliminate a lifelong smoking habit, apply the Rule of Five each day and see what “miracles” you create in your life.

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One of many reasons our kids are getting fat

May 27, 2010

this is a GREAT blog post from John Elder, our Nashville clinic director.

When I read this, my reaction was pretty similar to John’s.

When I was a kid, the nearest park was the playground at the elementary school about a mile and a half away. The nearest fitness center? Frankly, I’m not even sure there WERE “fitness centers” back then. No joke. I just turned 49 a few days ago, so I’m talking about growing up in the 60s and 70s. Gyms were for body builders. The rest of us? We didn’t work out. We played.

When we wanted to play baseball, we played in a vacant lot in the neighborhood. Basketball was played on the dirt “court” behind one of the neighbor’s homes. We rode our bikes all over the place and through the desert trails (I grew up in Tucson, AZ). We played tennis at the courts 3 miles away, and guess how I got there? I rode my bike!

High school was 4 miles away. I rode my bicycle almost every day, good weather and bad.

We climbed up trees and over fences. We hiked in the mountains and swam in our friend’s pool. We were constantly MOVING.

John also makes the point that you don’t need a gym to get a great workout and he’s absolutely right. Our teenage son and a few of us friends were at our house one day and they were talking about going to the local fitness center to “work out”. Translation: we want to work on our chest and arms so we look bigger and stronger for the girls. So I ask them why they’re going all the way over there when they could get a better workout right in our living room. They just looked at me like I was nuts. So I challenged them. I said “you boys are all pretty strong, most are on the football team, and I’ll bet none of you can do even 10 exercises I call “Roller Coasters” if you do them correctly. They asked what a “Roller Coaster” was so I banged a few out and said “your turn”. The biggest of the bunch did about 3, his form stunk, and then he collapsed and couldn’t do a fourth. Then he just said “OK, let’s go lift weights”.

Using a lack of “facilities” as an excuse for obesity is just a joke. Folks, stop feeding yourselves and your children garbage. Then, for at least a little bit each day, get up and MOVE! If moving hurts, get in contact with your nearest Egoscue clinic and they’ll show you how to take care of that. If you need ideas for your kids, same thing, give your nearest clinic a call and they’ll be HAPPY to help you.

Here’s the post from John…..


Apparently our Kids are Conveniently Fat

Posted on May 25, 2010 by egoscuenashville

I have a lot of things swirling in my head after reading this from

ATLANTA – Health officials say one reason so many American kids are overweight is that few have a nearby place to play and exercise.
Only about one in five homes have parks within a half-mile, and about the same number have a fitness or recreation center within that distance.
A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report also finds that fewer than one in five U.S. high school students get at least an hour of physical activity a day.

CDC says only about half of kids surveyed say it’s easy to get to playgrounds, jogging paths or other places to easily exercise. The CDC also says only 37 states require physical education for all grades.

I’m going to be very honest in this post. Isn’t the mindset that I’m hearing in this article a HUGE part of the obesity problem? Since when is “it’s not easy to get to the park” becoming a reason to let any of us off the hook? When did climbing a tree in your own backyard get eliminated as a ‘workout’ option? Lack of convenience…are you kidding me? Do some pushups in your own living room if you don’t want to get outside! Bear crawl, crab walk, or hop up your stairs like me and my son do every night on our way to bed. Inconvenient? Give me a break. Get a Wii if you have to. Just get moving.

Half of the kids surveyed are inconvenienced by not having a playground or jogging path easily accessible. Who cares that they don’t have a playground or jogging path? Have we so badly pigeonholed ‘working out’ that it is now defined as jogging? When is the last time you did a somersault? And, YES, I’m talking to the 50 year old attorneys who are reading this. I’m also talking to the 67 year old grandmothers and the 22 year old college students. Do 10 somersaults right now, in a row. Feel winded? Thought so. Did you get your heart rate up? Probably. Would you call this a workout? Why not?!?

If you couldn’t tell, childhood obesity fires me up. If fires me up because I believe these kids don’t have a choice. They eat what mom and dad buy. When I see an obese child, it breaks my heart. My wife was in line at the grocery store the other day with another family in front of her. All members of the family in front of her would be considered obese. I’m not trying to come across as rude or critical, just making an observation. My wife had strawberries, apples, zucchini, etc., you get the picture–real food. The family in front of her had chips, candy, cake mixes, basically NOTHING REAL on the conveyor belt. I’m not saying I eat healthy all the time. I eat some junk, I admit it. But it breaks my heart when in instances like this because the kids in that family don’t have a choice. They are simply eating what they’ve been given, and why wouldn’t they? It tastes great! There’s no nutritional value, but it sure does taste good!

I understand that the world we live in is different than it was 25 years ago (let alone 50, 100, etc.). We no longer have to kill our dinner to eat it. We don’t have to plant it, cultivate it, and harvest it to have our side dish. But that shouldn’t give us a free pass to eat junk and sit on our butts.

This post might sound a bit harsh, but this really strikes a nerve with me. This mentality is EXACTLY why we are where we are as a country. We have the most gyms of anywhere in the world yet also come in amongst the world leaders when it comes to obesity, heart disease, diabetes and various types of cancer. How is that even possible? This mentality is also EXACTLY what we are fighting with The Egoscue Foundation and the Patch Project Initiative. We have GOT to get our children up and moving. By not asking them to move we are, quite simply, killing them. The fact that only 37 states have Physical Education required for all grade levels is a joke. Think PE is just a luxury that can be cut out of the budget? Then read Spark.

What Jamie Oliver did with The Food Revolution was amazing. What Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels do every week on The Biggest Loser is remarkable. But they, and those like them, are barely making a dent. The mindset has to change, and it has to change quickly. We can’t continue killing ourselves simply because we are inconvenienced.

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Vitamin B-3 beats Zetia in protecting cardiovascular health

May 26, 2010

Yet another study showing a low cost, natural substance (niacin) is more effective than a very expensive and side-effect riddled prescription drug.

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Does eating healthy cost more than eating poorly?

May 17, 2010

Most of our clients know I’m a big fan of green smoothies. Super nutritious, delicious, a great way to get your fruits and vegetables. Here’s a great website with a lot of solid information:

I get her newsletter and here’s her latest one, makes a lot of sense so I thought I’d pass it on:


Dear GreenSmoothieGirl: I can’t afford to make green smoothies. Produce is so expensive! Any tips?

Answer: I get this complaint all the time.

Green smoothies are NOT more expensive than the other foods Americans are eating. Yes, cheap white bread, and giant bags of Malt O Meal cereals with gallons of dairy milk are cheap, but you will pay for it in the long run with your health. Meat, fast food, prepared foods . . . they are not more expensive than green smoothies. Proof follows.

I purchased (from Costco and my local health food store, The Good Earth) greens and fruit at retail prices. I made a blenderful and broke down the cost per ounce. I think you will be amazed:

A 72 oz. blenderful (in addition to water/ice):

Organic chard ($.66) 1/3 of a bunch

Organic kale ($1) 1/3 of a bunch

Spinach ($0.85) 22% of a 2.5-lb. bag

2 cups frozen mixed berries ($1.66) 2/9 of a Costco bag, $9.49

2 oranges ($0.83) Costco box

2 bananas ($0.42) Costco

2 Tbsp. raw/organic agave ($0.28, from my group buy)

= $5.70

That’s 7.9 cents per ounce.

A quart of green smoothie (my recommendation for adults) is then


How much is a Starbucks latte? Twice that much? How about a Power Bar? About that much. A Happy Meal? About that much.

These are things people don’t think twice about spending money on. A protein shake made of nutritional garbage, at my gym, is $4.

For about $2.50 you can get 12-15 servings of RAW GREENS AND FRUIT in your diet. Amazing.

That fits into even the most “frugal” budgets in America. (I blogged statistics about American grocery spending here.)

Keep in mind that a major agenda in my 12 Steps to Whole Foods program is to give you cost-saving tips. Chapter 5 alone is “how to plant a garden and use everything in it.” My greens cost me almost nothing, all year, because I grow an organic garden. Lots of photos from my garden, below in the p.s.

Would you spend $1.25 a day for your child to have a pint of green smoothie, 7 servings of raw greens and fruit? So her only serving of fruits or vegetables isn’t ketchup or French fries like most American kids? The ketchup and fries alone will cost you that much.

All the excuses just disappeared.

–To your health,

Robyn Openshaw

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Running down a dream

May 14, 2010

This is an incredible story about a leg amputee who just made the U.S. track team.

If you want to be inspired to achieve in spite of your obstacles, take just a few minutes and read this.

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A great discussion of posture

May 4, 2010

A client of mine (thanks John!) sent me a link to this blog post. It’s an excellent discussion of posture and I encourage you all to read it.

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The insanity of the cancer industry

May 1, 2010

Pardon me while I get my rant on………

Cancer is obviously a huge problem in our society. Now, I absolutely believe that some cancers are genetically based, or are based on variables outside our direct control, but I DO think the majority of cancer is a self inflicted wound.

People in this country routinely eat substances that are known carcinogens, they liberally apply chemicals to their bodies in the form of sunscreens, lotions, anti perspirants, soaps, shampoos and more that contain known carcinogens, and they drink water with known carcinogens.

Now, even if you clean all that stuff up 100%, if you live in America you still live in a fundamentally toxic environment. We’re routinely exposed to chemicals in the foods we eat (even if organic), the air we breathe, etc…, but the idea here is to not ADD to that toxic load. Let’s put good stuff into our bodies, and let’s not add on by putting more garbage in and stressing our bodies even more.

Now, I used to support organizations like LiveStrong and the Susan G. Komen foundation and others who do fundraising to support “the fight against cancer”.

But honestly, the more I look at how they operate and where their money goes, it is clear to me that these are terrific tools for funneling more money into mainstream cancer treatment, which is a HUGE business and generates a LOT of money for the medical establishment, but produces (in my mind) very questionable results. Chemo and radiation is very effective for a VERY limited number of types of cancer, and very ineffective for many others.

Now, the folks at the Susan G. Komen Foundation have taken what I view to be the absolutely insane step of aligning themselves with Kentucky Fried Chicken and creating the ad campaign “Buckets for the Cure”.

Are you serious? This is just how insane the cancer industry has become. We’ll promote curing cancer by promoting the consumption of foods that actually PROMOTE cancer. In my opinion, based on my reading of the research and data, there is no question that fried foods promote cancer. Well gee, how about Kentucky GRILLED Chicken? Go watch the movie “Food, Inc”, and then ask me about their chicken. The chicken industry is unbelievably corrupt and literally dirty. Did you know that the majority of chickens raised in factory “farms” test positive for a form of cancer? Have you SEEN one of these “farms”? They aren’t farms at all. They are warehouses that more resemble death camps. No exaggeration. Those animals are “raised” in insane conditions in which no living thing could prosper, so to keep them from dying prematurely from illness they pump them full of chemicals, hormones and antibiotics. Non-organic chicken is, literally, a toxic waste dump. So tell me again how buying a bucket of THAT crap is going to do anything but promote MORE cancer. You can’t, because it won’t.

The Komen foundation has absolutely aligned itself with a company that – in my opinion – creates and sells products that damage health and promote cancer. What a great moral position. In my opinion, it is as if the American Lung Association created a “Packs for a Cure” program promoting the purchase of cigarettes.

Folks, don’t fall for this madness. We don’t need to donate billions of dollars to “cancer research”. We already know – RIGHT NOW – how to reduce the incidence of cancer in this country by probably over 80%. Eat clean foods, stop eating crap, drink clean water, find some techniques to be more mentally and emotionally present and less stressed out about things in the past or future, and get out and MOVE your bodies. Seriously, if every adult in this country immediately stopped eating white flour, sugar, processed foods, fried foods and all hydrogenated oils, drank at least a couple quarts of clean, pure water each day, modestly increased their intake of fresh vegetables and fruits, and then at a minimum went for a brisk 30 minute walk each day, we would absolutely SLASH the incidence of cancer, heart disease and diabetes in this country. THAT is actual health care reform.

Here’s a link to an article about what the Komen foundation is doing here. If you give them financial support, I’d encourage you to reconsider, and I’d absolutely recommend you contact them and ask them how they think it makes one bit of sense to ‘battle cancer’ while promoting foods that cause it. Wake up, people, and start looking at what people are doing with your money.

Here’s the link:

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