Donny Epstein – Living Healthier
For more than 25 years, chiropractor Donald Epstein, D.C., has been a leading thinker in the areas of health, wellness and human potential. A devoted researcher and instructor, Epstein is the developer of the Network Spinal Analysis and the Somato-Respiratory Integration treatment methods. In addition, he’s the author of The 12 Stages of Healing: A Network Approach to Wholeness and Healing Myths, Healing Magic: Breaking the Spell of Old Illusions; Reclaiming Our Power to Heal. Epstein believes that the visible world is created, transformed and sustained by invisible forces that he refers to as the five “houses.” These five houses (energy, emotion, thought/awareness, wisdom/spirit and connection to all) are contained in and can be accessed by your physical body. In this interview, Epstein talks about health in terms of connecting to these invisible forces.
What are the biggest myths about health?
What people believe—or what they’ve been taught to believe—often holds them back from a sense of wellness. One set of beliefs includes cultural stories that say everything has to be difficult, or that the more difficult things are, the better it is for you. The second type of myths are biomedical myths that tell people they have to have the right treatment and a doctor to tell them what to do. A third myth comes from religious mythology, telling us that God is punishing us for our sins and heaven is only available after this lifetime. Then there is a group of arrangements that have been wrapped into our culture; they involve such things as “you have to forgive to heal.” The moment you get the inspiration to make a change, your energy and life force moves the body a little more effectively. Without having to see how that changes the outcome, you’re already more healthy.
What’s the relationship between illness and wellness?
Illness and wellness exist on a continuum. If you’re more ill, you’re less well and vice versa. Wellness behavior brings us to question our relationship to other people. It’s not just about the shoulder-arm relationship to the body, it’s about the actions you have done that day or those you may have done in a lifetime, and about the emotions you need to express or have expressed. After that comes the relationship to who you are, and eventually your relationship to your soul’s purpose. In wellness, you can draw a larger and larger circle around what you’re responsible to and whom you’re responsible for. As your circle of participation and responsibilities gets larger, that’s wellness behavior. It’s incompatible with illness behavior. You cannot do both at the same time.
Why is it important to seek out higher health and wellness if we aren’t ill?
When your future self contacts your present self, the future self can have an effect by no longer tolerating the life you’re living. You’ll have an awareness that something is missing in your life; it might be a symptom, but it’s really a desire to make a change about who you are and the life you’re living. Ask yourself, “What crossroad am I at?” When you are at a crossroad, your internal state must shift to allow wellness to happen.
What’s your definition of “healthy?”
The definition of healthy is really the concept of wellness: an interactive experience between the individual and the life that person is living, which is then assessed and measured in terms of wellness. Wellness is defined as a person’s own subjective experience and their belief in how they’re doing in a variety of areas, including physical, emotional, life enjoyment and spiritual beliefs.
You believe in these five “houses” that govern the visible world. Why is the fifth house—connection to all—so important?
This focus on the improved self while not improving the lives of others is an epidemic in our culture. We will never be well with this focus. If people are depressed or disconnected, I get them to ask themselves, “What gifts do I bring to people and the world?” Start giving and watch how you change. Take a small step. Increase your circle of helping other people.
You are known for a treatment approach called Network Spinal Analysis. What is that?
Every state we have is anchored into our spine. Our sense of self is anchored into the spine. I developed NSA within the chiropractic paradigm to help the brain, body, mind, spirit and physical body to connect more effectively. The concept is a gentle touch to the spine in the area where the spinal column attaches to the lower back. This area is called the spinal gateway, which allows the brain to observe the body and make fundamental structural life changes. The gentle contact on the spinal gateway is like acupuncture; it opens a doorway between your energy and all your different parts: physical body, emotions, life force, the mind, the soul, who you are and so on. Everything gets activated and helps the body to self-regulate.
When your patients first come to see you, what do you tell them?
Take an inner journey and start asking different questions. If someone can feel more gratitude, compassion and connectedness, then that should be an outcome of health. People hold onto their conditions, but once they take the first step, they’re very motivated to keep going.
For more information about Donald Epstein, visit www.donaldepstein.com.