Dr. Lori O’hara of Santa Barbara, chiropractor and former elite gymnast, challenges people to try to get her sick.
In the O’hara household, the conversation between mother and daughter is not “mom, I am sick” but “mom, I feel like I am getting sick”. The oncoming sickness in question is then promptly eliminated through holistic means and a little bit of chiropractic magic (see below).
Dr. O’hara’s secret is based on a holistic health principle proposing that the root cause of disease is an individual’s poor overall health rather than germs itself. This school of thought proposes that the disease-carrying germs agents are opportunists that prey best on weakened hosts.
“I am not afraid germs. I always tell people. If they can get me sick, they can get free care for the rest of their life. Bring it on.” Said O’hara.
O’hara, a critic of the western germ theory of disease is quick to point out a major inadequacy in the concept’s model.
“Does everybody get sick when they are exposed to the same germs? [No]. Why? Some people have better immune systems. People always say they are afraid of germs when they come in the office when somebody coughs. I ask ‘did you touch the doorknob? That has germs.’ Do you know what has more germs than anything else? Money. It’s changed from person to person to person for God knows how long. It has more fecal matter than your toilet seat.
People get sick because they don’t take care of their health not because of who sits next to them. Germs are attracted to sick and dying things. Sick and dying. It is not attracted to healthy vibrant tissue.” Said O’hara.
O’hara argues that to avoid being sick, one must live a lifestyle that fosters optimal health.
“Optimal health is having all your parts functioning 100%. Think of yourself as Rolls Royce. You want to have all your parts. You want to have them all functioning 100% all the time. Optimal health. Health is not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Said O’hara.
So, how does a chiropractor know so much about health and wellness outside of back pain issues? First, what exactly does a chiropractor do?
A chiropractor’s job is to treat subluxations.
According to the International Chiropractic Association, a vertebral subluxation is “the result of spinal bones with improper motion or position affecting nerve communications between your brain and your body”. The word itself includes the prefix ‘sub’, which means less than, and the base ‘luxation’ which means dislocation. A subluxation is a misalignment that is ‘less than a dislocation’.
A subluxation, which leads to spinal degeneration, is caused in three ways.
1) Birth trauma (most spinal injuries occur between the ages of 0-5)
2) Contact Trauma: car accidents, sports injuries
3) Micro-trauma: texting, bad pillows, sitting on a desk
The common symptom of subluxations is back pain, however, chiropractors understand that there are more serious problems than pain: nerve pressure.
“That is why I am a chiropractor. I can really care less that people have pain or have misalignments or that the vertebrae is stuck. What I am about is that it is affecting the nervous system. Why is that such a big deal?” says Dr. O’hara.
People come into her office for pain but O’hara states that while she treats pain, that is not her end goal.
“Chiropractic does not treat pain. Sorry. It doesn’t. The only thing we have a license to do is to remove subluxations. That is it. In the definition of subluxation, pain is not in the definition. When a vertebra is stuck out of its normal position, the brain cannot communicate with the body, there is interference. Your lights are dimmed. Your function is dimmed and you get sick.” Said O’hara.
“Like a hose, if you put pressure on a nerve, the life force is not going to an organ, or a muscle, or a toe, or whatever. New research is changing the whole paradigm of chiropractic care. It shows that not only does the brain communicates to the body and send messages down through the spiral chord out through the spiral nerve but when a vertebrae twists out of its normal position and gets stuck there, it interferes with the nerve and whatever that nerve goes to that is affected.
All the research now shows (and this is double blind, randomized control studies) that the nerve that is affected is sending an irritation back up to the brain and affecting stress hormones to the brain, which is affecting global health.
When I mean global health, when you have an increase in stress hormones, it increases your cholesterol levels, it increases your blood pressure, it decreases your ability to heal, [and] your ability to have a bowel movement. Everything is affected when you have an increase in stress hormones.” Said O’hara.
How does one reach optimal health?
“I am going to keep it super simple: eat food. Eat food that is genetically congruent to the human species. That is not Doritos. If it does not rot, don’t eat it. If it is from a laboratory, don’t eat it. If it is made in a plant, don’t eat it, if it is a plant, eat it.”
“The worst thing you can do for your spine is bend and twist. Bending and twisting is known to tear the disk. So don’t do exercises that are known to cause spinal decay.”
Exercises such as yoga, golf, gymnastics, and tennis are known culprits according to Dr. O’hara. You don’t have to quit, just be mindful, avoid situations where you bend and twist, and get a chiropractor.
“Walking is the best you can do for the spine. Walking, swimming, hiking, pilates, running, weight lifting if you have good alignment. For exercise, you want to do everything that is lifting up. Walk everyday a minimum of 20 minutes a day.”
3) Good Outlook
“Attitude of gratitude. It is really important. It is as important as everything else on here. Does depression cause sickness and disease? Absolutely. We know that stress will make whatever you have worse. For some people it is headache, for some people it is a heart attack.”
“You have got to sleep. Sleeping is when you are body is repairing. Your body is not repairing when you are sitting at a computer, or exercising, or studying, it repairs itself when you sleep. It is really important that you sleep in a proper bed with a proper mattress with a proper pillow in the proper posture. It all matters.”
“How we sit, how we stand, how we walk. Sit like you stand. Straight up. Lift up.”
- When sitting your hip line should be above your knee line.
- When texting, raise your phone up to your face level. Many years ago, widow neck was a syndrome found in the elderly, today it is widespread amongst teenagers.
- Avoid bending and twisting at the spine
- Never lift anything heavy while curling your back. Lumbar straight and lift with your legs.
- Here is a guide to good sleeping posture
“Detox twice a year. Clean the crap out of your body. Do a liver cleanse. A kidney cleanse. Add lemon to your water. It is good for detox. If you are a beginner, just start with seven different types of vegetables each day.”
“Humans we are stuck in this cement jungle sitting at a desk eight hours a day and wonder why we are falling apart and getting sick and then we are feeding our kids doritos. What is in a Dorito? Does anybody know? Read it. Read an ingredient. What is that? What is a Dorito? It is a chemical.”
“So we need to detox because our environment is not perfect. The water in my house is filtered from the chlorine. We have electromagnetic radiation all around us. We have preservatives in our food.”
O’hara also warned against taking bad supplements.
“I take a lot of supplements to maintain full health but I am very careful of what I take. There is no FDA regulation for supplements. *The ingredients don’t have to be what they say it is.”
7) Get a chiropractor. One that uses X-rays to be 100% sure and safe.
“The last thing that is very important for your health that nobody thought of is make sure that your nervous system is functioning optimally.
Did you know if you get adjusted on your mid-back, it increases your T-Cell –the immune system, the stuff that kills the infection by 200% instantly? When kids and babies come in and they have spike of fever that goes real high and their parents freak out, I don’t give Tylenol, I give an adjustment and the fever drops.”