Thrive: How to Live Your Greatest Life

thrive small

Why do you go to a chiropractor? Actually, let’s back up for a minute. Why did you first start going to a chiropractor? If you are like most people, you probably had some pain or symptom that you heard chiropractic could help with. And here you are, on board the chiropractic train; maybe it’s only been a few months, maybe years – either way, we’re glad you’re here. Now, let’s rephrase the original question: why are you still seeing a chiropractor?

“Because we love coming here!” Well thank you, we love you too. “It’s a part of my health routine.” Awesome! We love that too. “Adjustments feel great!” We wholeheartedly agree (our whole office gets adjusted regularly, even Dr. Rob). All of these statements are true and inarguable, but there is so much more going on thanks to your regular chiropractic routine.

In our last post, we discussed different perspectives of health, and how your choices today dictate your health in the future (read it here). You’ve made the choice to continue regular chiropractic care! Welcome to team salutogenesis! Since you’re here, we want to remind you of some core ideas.

Think of this week’s blog as a Chiro Refresher Course. We are going to cover the core ideas that we establish during each phase of care. Whether you are new to chiropractic, or have been a longtime devotee, this information is imperative to your health journey. Whether these concepts are new to you or you kind of remember Dr. Rob saying something about them during one of his “What does this have to do with your health?” posts that are displayed right in front of you at every visit, you may find it SUPER IMPORTANT to familiarize yourself again!

Restorative Phase Core Concepts

In the first phase of care, Restorative Care, we begin removing irritation from your nervous system and introduce the importance of a freely functioning nerve system. The three core concepts are:

  1. The Brain and Nerve System are the master system and control everything. Every organ, gland, tissue, cell, thought, feeling are controlled by your brain and nerve system. You have billions upon billions of nerve cells throughout your body that are in constant communication with each other and your brain. If one of these lines of communication is interfered with or interrupted, the messages from your brain will not make it to that organ or tissue, significantly contributing to malfunction or disease. Think about the last time your communication with a loved one was lacking, did that end up as a healthy thing for that relationship or a disastrous thing?
  2. There are 3 Stressors that cause subluxation (nerve irritation) and the problem is not the same as the symptom.What causes subluxation? There are three main stressors: physical, chemical, and mental. The problem is the stressor is the cause. The effect is symptoms. Stressors cause subluxation; subluxation results in interrupted nerve function leading to global internal miscommunication, which if unchecked will lead to a loss of health on some level. Subluxation is your body’s intelligent attempt to adapt to stress.
  3. The body is self-regulating and programmed for success. Our bodies are innately brilliant. We do not need to tell our lungs to inhale, or our heart to beat, or our cuts to heal. We do not need to tell our bodies to be healthy, they strive for it! Our job is simply to provide the right tools to allow our bodies to express optimal health.

Strength & Rebuilding Core Concepts

The Strength & Rebuilding phase builds on the concepts from Restorative Care. During this phase, you are strengthening the communication between your body and brain, and allowing for long-term healing to begin. Strength & Rebuilding is characterized by these core ideas:

  1. Subluxation changes the chemistry of the brain/body to adapt to stress. As we learned in the Restorative Phase, subluxation is our body’s attempt to adapt to stress. In order to make these adaptations, the body changes its chemistry; this is called Adaptive Stress Physiology. Your body essentially gets locked in a state of fight or flight. You are stuck in survival mode. When you’re in a chronic state of stress response, you see changes to basic functions like increased cholesterol and heart rate; decreased sleep, focus, digestion, and reproduction.
  2. Neuroplasticity: Better optimized, better organized, greater efficiency. Think of two forest paths. One is clearly well-travelled but longer, the other is covered in leaves and forest debris, barely visible but shorter. If you are like most people (or just less adventurous) you would probably choose the easier path. Your body does the same thing. In response to constant stress, in its brilliance, your body creates new pathways finding the easiest, clearest path – often at the expense of other systems. By providing your nerve system clear pathways, and regularly clearing away the leaves, you are allowing for greater efficiency and better optimization of your systems.
  3. There are 4 core requirements to thrive. We know that we all need things like air and water to survive. But who wants to merely survive, when we can thrive? These are the 4 requirements:
    1. Brain-body communication. Your nerve system is a highway. When there is no traffic, everyone can zip right along, arriving at their destination in a timely, efficient manner. Subluxation is like a giant tree in the road; cars can get by for a little while, one at a time, but eventually things will start to back up, then there will have to be a detour. Until that tree is cleared, traffic will be slowed or stopped. Until the subluxation is removed, communication will be slowed or redirected, resulting in symptoms and disease.
    2. Movement. Our bodies are built to move. Every organ, muscle, joint, and nerve thrive on movement. In fact, another word for this is animation; the Latin root, “anima-“, literally means: to give life. Your body is designed to feed your brain with the vital information it needs to perform every function through movement. Simply, you cannot be on a path toward greater health without regular movement.
    3. Nutrition. We said earlier that our job is to provide our bodies with the right tools to allow them to express optimal health. Nutrition is one of those tools. When you feed your body, you feed your cells. Healthy cells make healthy bodies. You don’t put low quality “regular” gas in a high performance sports car. Why give your body low quality sustenance and expect it to perform at the highest levels?
    4. Optimal Thought. Your mind is the most powerful organ in your body. There have been experiments done in which researchers plant two seeds. The first seed, they speak to with love and positivity, complementing the little plant regularly. The second seed, they pepper with insults and negativity. The first plant thrived and grew strong. The second plant grew slowly and spindly. Positivity begets growth.

Optimizing Care and Beyond Core Concepts

Optimizing Care and Beyond continues the healing that began during the first two phases, and allows you to intentionally and consistently increase your health and quality of life year after year. Our core concepts are:

  1. Greater expression of life in every way. By the time you have reached Optimizing Care, you are fully entrenched in the chiropractic way. You have no doubt seen result that are expected and unexpected. The single greatest “side effect” of chiropractic is a greater expression of life. In. Every. Way. Your body is able to express health in its innate, brilliant way. Your mood is improved. Your relationships have improved. You have no limitations! You are able to fully live your purpose!
  2. The body just works better and heals faster with no stress on the Nerve System. You are a well-oiled machine. Your nerve system is free of junk, rust, and build up. You’re firing on all cylinders. You are performing regular nerve system maintenance by getting checked and adjusted. Keeping your nerve system clear of stress allows your body to function at its best.

Everyone is seeking greater health. The problem is, very few people know what health, true health, really is. We hope that through the last few weeks we have helped to clear away some of the ambiguity around what it means to be healthy. Our goal is to quiet some of the noise and give you the information and tools you need to feel empowered to make the best decisions for your health. Trust your body. It knows what it’s doing.

Go Thrive,

The Foundation Chiropractic Team


A Different Perspective on Health

In the vein of making positive life changes, for our third post of 2017, we want to provide you with a different perspective on how you approach your health. One of our main goals at The Foundation Chiropractic, is to help provide some clarity, to remove the noise, so that you may feel empowered to make the best health decisions for you and your family.

graph-23We are constantly striving to remind you of what it means to be healthy; how each of your health decisions today dictate your future health. We want to introduce you to the concept of salutogenesis or “salus,” Latin for health, and “genesis” meaning birth is the study of the origins of health and focuses on factors that create, grow, and support human health. The opposite approach, pathogenesis (“pathos” = disease) is the study of the origin of disease. It seeks to avoid, eliminate, and treat disease, taking the view that treatment and elimination of disease are equitable to health. But, consider this: the avoidance of something does not automatically mean the presence of the opposite. You are avoiding disease, but are you finding health? The distinction is an important one.

Salutogenesis is a pro-active approach to health. If you develop and grow positive health and lifestyle choices, you will create an internal environment that is not supportive of disease. Pathogenesis is based on the centuries old concept of “germ theory” which suggests that microorganisms cause disease and illness. If this were true, why do no two people respond to illness exactly the same? Germ theory was countered by several later studies to show that the health of the environment dictated whether the microorganisms could proliferate. It stands to reason that by creating a healthy internal environment and healthy cells, disease will not be able to thrive.

The key differences between pathogenesis and salutogenesis are illustrated to the right.

Pathogenesis begins by identifying the disease or problem, with the express goal of early detection. When you go to a primary care doctor, they take blood to check for high cholesterol, take your blood pressure, listen to your heart and lungs. All the while checking for abnormalities that could be indicative of a problem. Salutogenesis starts by looking for health potential, with the goal of maximizing its expression. You are seeking opportunities to obtain and improve your health and well-being over the long term, with the understanding that future health is determined by the decisions you make now.

The conventional approach to health is really based on elimination. Take the fitness industry, for example. We are told that exercise is imperative in helping to make you healthy, true, but the reasons you are given are all rooted in the avoidance of something (i.e. reduce the risk of heart disease, lose weight, disease management, avoid diabetes). This is a pathogenic approach – you are working to eliminate a risk factor. By contrast, salutogenesis works to create health factors. Salutogenesis highlights the importance of exercise in its ability to increase your health – creating new neural pathways, increasing good hormones like serotonin and dopamine, making more brain cells, and increasing brain power, to name a few.

Pathogenesis holds the perspective of treating disease. The approach centers upon the idea that the treatment, elimination, and avoidance of disease equals health. A conventional nutritionist may recommend that person cut down on or eliminate fats from their diet to avoid heart disease and high cholesterol. You don’t have heart disease and high blood pressure, you’re healthy! Right? Pathogenesis says yes. But Salutogenesis comes from the perspective of obtaining health. Salutogenesis encourages actions and decisions that help to increase your health. A holistic nutritionist, who subscribes to a salutogenic approach, may recommend eliminating sugary foods from your diet so as to help reduce inflammation, and improve your internal environment. Healthy cells = healthy you!

Preventing pain and loss, mitigating a situation, and minimizing problems are the focus of pathogenesis. Doctors recommend medicine for high blood pressure; the medication is not intended to fix the problem, but to keep it from getting worse. Salutogenesis focuses promoting gain and growth, continuous improvement, and the optimization of potential. The focus lies on finding ways for the body to express its optimal health.

The single greatest human instinct is fear. It is what motivated our ancestors to run from the sabretooth tiger, and what makes a mother able to lift a car off of her child. But, what does fear have to do with your health? When you have a fever, do you reach for the medicine to get rid of it, or do you ride it out and let your body work its magic by elevating the temperature of its internal environment killing off the troubling bacteria or viruses within? The pathogenic approach tells us to fear sickness. We look at disease and illness as a terrible, potentially dangerous, problem that needs to be fixed and eliminated. The motive of salutogenesis is empowerment; we are encouraged to take ownership of our health seeing our bodies as an ever-adapting ecosystem. Often this ownership comes with knowing that the only way our bodies get stronger is if they are challenged. This principle applies 100% to your immune system as well (although we are taught that somehow this is an exception). It is seen in how our bodies learn, grow, and become stronger with such occurrences as childhood illness, the flu, or a cold because when symptoms arise, the battle is typically already won with coughing, chills, fever being the final elimination process. Symptoms are part of health. Our bodies must learn to adapt, grow stronger, and healthier. What motivates your health?

Pathogenesis is a reactive approach to health care if only after signs, symptoms or disease presents itself does a person seek treatment. The delivery is based on an event, or episodically. Salutogenesis, on the other hand, is pro-active in nature, encouraging people to seek and create conditions of mental, physical, and social well-being. Because of the nature of salutogenesis, the delivery takes place over a lifetime. It is a process of education, and compounding decisions that ultimately dictate how your body exemplifies health.

The outcome of a pathogenic approach is simply for an absence of a problem. A person with osteoarthritis takes pain medication, and the pain goes away; from a pathogenic standpoint, this would be a successful outcome. Salutogenesis seeks an outcome of the presence of gain. If the same person with osteoarthritis engaged a salutogenic approach by eliminating inflammatory causing foods, keeping regular chiropractic appointments, and exercising regularly, they would see gains in mobility, strength, independence, and more.

The practitioner plays an important role in each approach. Salutogenesis sees the practitioner as a partner or a coach in your health journey. Someone who helps to support and guide your decisions and direct you toward greater health. The pathogenic practitioner is dominant in the relationship, enforcing policies and mandates about your health, what drugs to take, what procedures to have done, what therapies are needed.

Our challenge to you is this: take a moment to reflect on your recent health decisions. Are your decisions moving you in the direction of greater health? Or are they moving you towards sickness, disease, and death? Are your decisions motivated by fear of disease or empowerment to be healthy?

No matter where on the spectrum you fall, you can take a step toward greater health by contacting our office for an appointment.

Be Well,

The Foundation Chiropractic Team

Join the 8% – A Resolution Revolution Part 2

Last week we talked about some of the reasons why only 8% of people are successful with New Year’s resolutions. If you haven’t read it yet, go here before you read any further. Today, I am going to give you some tools to help make your resolutions a success, and help you become a part of the 8 percent.

1. Start out Slow and Do Something You Love. We talked about self-efficacy. When adopting a lifestyle change, how you feel about your ability greatly determines how much success you will have. For example, exercisers who do not believe they have the skills to exercise have dramatically higher attrition rates, than those people who have a greater belief in their ability to perform certain skills. The same can be said for people who do not believe they can make other changes to their lives. Here are two easy ways to help get you started in making healthy life changes.

First, start out slow! Be realistic about what you are capable of right now. You do not have to shoot for the ultimate goal right now. Once you have established a certain comfort level, begin to slowly implement bigger changes. You should be challenging yourself, but it is ok to start where you are comfortable. Second, do something you love! No one said resolutions had to be a bad thing. Make two resolutions: one to do more of something you love, the other to make a healthy lifestyle change. As you find success doing more of what you love, you will feel more confident about being successful in other aspects of your life.

2. Set Goals. Goal setting has been shown to be an effective tool in helping to establish new habits and behaviors, and guide people to positive outcomes.

There are a few things to consider when making your goals. Your goals should be….

Specific: Be precise in what you want to accomplish.

Measurable: Goals should be quantifiable and measurable on some scale.

Attainable: It needs to be possible!

Realistic: Start where you are now; be rational and pragmatic.


Timed: Goals need to be on a timeline.

I intentionally misspelled “SMART” because that is how important it is to write your goals down. Post them on your mirror, on your refrigerator, or on the visor of your car. Make sure they are someplace you are going to see and read EVERY DAY. They do not hold any weight if they are not a tangible reminder of what you want to accomplish.

Follow up and adjust your goals accordingly. Your goals should be living, and growing, and changing with you! Were you too ambitious in your goals the first time around? That’s ok! Set new goals more appropriate to where you are right now. Evaluate the reasons behind not reaching your goal, and take what you find into consideration for your next set of goals. (Here’s a goal setting worksheet to get you started!)

3. Self-Monitoring: How will you know if you are accomplishing your goals? Keep track! My favorite method is old school: get a notebook. Write down what you accomplished that day that contributed to your resolution. Keep the notebook accessible and update it regularly. Write down how you felt that day, what was going on in your life, and what you did. Keep your goals in here, too. A notebook is a great, tangible reminder of your progress and the work you have put in. If you are diligent with keeping track, your notebook will provide a good source of accountability. (I am obsessed with this Habit Tracker, it makes keeping track and holding yourself accountable SO easy!)

4. Set Yourself Up for Success: In the land of psychology, we call this “stimulus control” which in this context means changing your environment to make it more conducive to making healthy choices. To me, “stimulus control” sounds too clinical; “set yourself up for success” has the same implication without the lingering smell of a doctor’s office. Small changes to your environment can make a big difference in your resolution “stick-to-it-iveness”. Is your resolution to get more exercise? Set out your exercise clothes the night before. Are you trying to spend less money? Only grab your Starbucks on Monday mornings. Are you eating healthier? Clean out the pantry (you’ve meant to do it for months now, anyway!) Making these changes will help to make your environment more conducive to change, and help to better encourage success.

5. Involve Significant Others: Incorporating people you like into your resolutions can help you to be more successful. You don’t have to splash them all over social media, but telling the people you care for about your goals can help to build your support network, giving you someone to turn to when you have a challenge, and someone to celebrate with when you have success! Involving other people in your goals also adds another level of accountability.

6. Change your Mindset: Attitude is everything! Remember what we said about being mentally ready for change? This is where that comes in.

Find Your Motivation: Motivation is a dynamic concept; it changes on a daily basis. Think about WHY are you making this resolution? Make a list of your personal reasons for change. Take time to really think about it. Why this? Why now? Really dig in. You have a purpose; everyday you should be living it. Make a list of the reasons why you get out of bed in the morning. Put that list with your goals. Make a dozen copies; keep one in your wallet, put one in your gym bag, have one in your phone. Anytime you think “I’ll do it tomorrow,” pull out that list. Read it. Reread it. Keep reading it until you remember why you are here and why you strive to make these changes.

Tackle Obstacles: Let’s face it: life happens. We make mistakes; we fall off the wagon; we lose focus. Obstacles are not what define us; it is how we overcome them that make the difference. Address your challenges through problem solving. Look at the problem in detail, break down the series of events that led to it, brainstorm a solution. Make a pros and cons list. Choose the best solution, and give yourself a deadline to complete it (Grave et al., 2010). Write everything down; include your challenges in your journal. Above all else, do not be discouraged by obstacles and challenges. (Yup, there’s a worksheet to help you Take Down Your Obstacles, too!)

Positive Self-Talk: Your thoughts greatly influence your moods and behaviors. We all have a constant monologue running through our minds. This self-talk; “positive self-talk” is literally affirmative comments you are making to yourself. Keeping your inner monologue positive will help you to face down your obstacles, and build your confidence in your abilities. “I can do this.” “Great job, keep up the good work!” Statements as simple as these can work wonders on your outlook. Maintaining a positive, rational, and functional way of thinking can greatly improve your adherence to a healthy lifestyle.


Establishing a behavioral change is difficult. Find your motivation. Set goals. Do something you love, involve people you care about, improve your environment. Be patient and optimistic. Accept challenges; learn from failures. Grow. Celebrate your success. Implement these tools and you will be part of the 8 percent of people who find success in their resolutions.

You’ve Got This!





Baechle, T. & Earle, R. Essentials of Strength and Conditioning, 3rd edition. Human Kinetics. 2008.

Dalle Grave, R., Calugi, S., El Ghoch, M., & Marchesini, G. (2010). “Cognitive Behavioral Strategies to Increase Adherence to Exercise in the Management of Obesity.” Journal of Obesity, 2011, 1-11.

Levy, A., Polman, R., & Marchant, D., “Examining the Revised Theory of Planned Behavior for Predicting Exercise Adherence: A Preliminary Prospective Study.” Vol. 10, Iss. 3. (2008).

McAuley, E. (1991). “The Role of Efficacy Cognitions in the Prediction of Exercise Behavior in Middle-Aged Adults.” Plenum Publishing Corporation. p 65-88.

“The Psychology of Exercise and Fitness” (2008)

“The Exercise Effect.” Vol. 42, No. 11, December 2011.

Join the 8% – A Resolution Revolution Part 1

8 percent. That’s how many people report being successful with their New Year’s Resolutions. 8 percent. Out of 100 people you know, only 8 of them will be successful in their resolutions. Yikes. So what is it about resolutions that make it so hard for them to be successful?

Behavioral change is hard. It takes time. And patience. And dedication. And mental fortitude. And determination. And will power. And accountability. It seems daunting. Challenging. Impossible even. Well, its not. Impossible that is. Change is still hard, and it can be daunting, but I’m hoping that after you read this post, you will have a little bit better understanding of WHY these changes can be so hard; and after next week, you will feel prepared to conquer your resolutions and become part of the 8 percent.

We make resolutions in an effort to incite a change in our lives be it to get healthy, lose weight, quit smoking, read more, spend less, the list goes on. No matter what the actual resolution is, the process all comes down to behavioral change. Change tends to be uncomfortable and when you’re changing something about yourself, it can be even more so. Let’s face it: we don’t continue a bad behavior because it’s good for us! We all know what we should be doing, so why don’t we? There has been a lot of research into behavioral changes, specifically around fitness and sticking with an exercise regimen. The concepts that I’m covering are rooted in exercise adherence research, but are hugely applicable to every aspect of your life.

1. Self-Efficacy: When studying exercise adherence, researchers have found that a contributing factor in peoples’ likelihood to pursue and stick with regular exercise is what psychologists call “self-efficacy,” which is a fancy way of saying a person’s belief in their ability to perform a specific action or behavior. It is important to note that self-efficacy has nothing to do with actual abilities but your belief in your abilities (McAuley, 1991). Substitute “exercise” with “change” and this information is just as applicable to your resolutions. Research shows that people with higher levels of self-efficacy tend to have better success in implementing healthy behavioral changes. These people also tend to put forth more effort and persist longer when faced with obstacles and adverse situations (McAuley, 1991). Simply put, people who believe that they are “good at” something, tend to try harder when things become difficult or uncomfortable, and are more likely to implement healthy behavioral changes. And yes, you can increase your self-efficacy.

2. Goals and Expectations: Being realistic in your expectations is important when beginning anything new. Focusing on the outcome, or being too ambitious in your expectations can actually lead to higher rates of attrition. Change is a slow process. When people do not see the results they want as quickly as they want to, or their expectations are not met in the time they expect them to be, they become discouraged, and often give up. Setting appropriate goals is vital in successfully changing your life. Monitoring and adjusting your goals, as necessary is an important step in the process. Being mindful of your expectations, and being patient with the process will help to set you on the path to success.

3. Psychological State: Current psychological well-being is often a determinant in how likely a person is to adopt behavioral change. Making a resolution for the sake of having a resolution is a recipe for failure. You have to be ready to tackle a new change. You have to be prepared to put in the work and face the challenges. In order for a positive change to take place, you have to WANT to change. Change your mind, and your life will follow.


So, what does this all mean? And, more importantly, what does this mean for you? For one, it means you are not alone! Many people struggle with the same challenges every day. Two, it means we’ve got some work to do! You’ve set your resolutions. You’re here – reading this – that means you already have some interest in making changes to your life. So let’s take the next step together.

Next week, I will be outlining some tools you can use to help set yourself up for success and join the 8 percent!

Let’s Do This!





Baechle, T. & Earle, R. Essentials of Strength and Conditioning, 3rd edition. Human Kinetics. 2008.

Dalle Grave, R., Calugi, S., El Ghoch, M., & Marchesini, G. (2010). “Cognitive Behavioral Strategies to Increase Adherence to Exercise in the Management of Obesity.” Journal of Obesity, 2011, 1-11.

Levy, A., Polman, R., & Marchant, D., “Examining the Revised Theory of Planned Behavior for Predicting Exercise Adherence: A Preliminary Prospective Study.” Vol. 10, Iss. 3. (2008).

McAuley, E. (1991). “The Role of Efficacy Cognitions in the Prediction of Exercise Behavior in Middle-Aged Adults.” Plenum Publishing Corporation. p 65-88.

“The Psychology of Exercise and Fitness” (2008).

“The Exercise Effect.” Vol. 42, No. 11, December 2011.