The Healing Effects of Your Tribe

The Healing Effects of Your Tribe

This week I listened to an amazing book by Sebastian Junger called “Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging“.  (TED talk.)

Although not mentioned in the book, it reminded me of the story of the Pennsylvania town of Roseto. Although the members of the community had similar demographics to neighboring towns, they demonstrated lower disease rates.  The researchers noted a stark difference in the structure of the community.

“‘The community,’ Wolf says, ‘was very cohesive. There was no keeping up with the Joneses. Houses were very close together, and everyone lived more or less alike.'” Elders were revered and incorporated into community life,”

I mentioned some other interesting and useful items I learned from the book in this Facebook Live Video –

Most of us have moved away from our birth families, which gives us the opportunity to choose our Tribe. Finding people who have had similar life experiences offers health benefits on many levels, seek your Tribe and enjoy the benefits.

Dr. Brian

Resolve on New Year’s, Take Action Today



  1. a firm decision to do or not to do something.
    “she kept her resolution not to see Anne any more”

When you make a resolution, you decide. You draw a line in the sand, setting a boundary for what is possible and what you expect. Without action steps, it stays in the realm of your mind.

We often decide to change the things that are big, and really need to change, but are those the types of changes that last?

For instance, committing to 30 days without Sugar is a great goal, but how will that affect your daily sugar intake next October?  What if you allowed yourself 2 days a week where you ate desserts?  This smaller goal is more reachable and more likely to change your long term habits.

I recently read an interview with Cheade-Meng Tan, who started the mindfulness based stress reduction program at Google. When it comes to adding mindfulness to your life, he recommends starting with one mindful breath – not 10 or 20 minutes.  Can you commit, right now, in your next breath, to pay attention to your inhalation and exhalation?  That’s a start, and getting started is the next step after the resolution.

Celebrate the small changes, for these bring you closer to your goals. The small changes give you momentum, and that momentum can be used to keep making incremental changes, and less likely to fall back into old patterns.

Dr. Brian

P.S. – This is just one of the concepts I will be discussing during my free class, January 3rd from 6-7PM at Integrated Life, titled “2017 – Your Best Year Ever”.  All are welcome – RSVP by Texting 434-227-7149

Willis River 50k Race Report

Stuart Brown and I ran in the Willis River 35k/50k January 10, 2016. Having read Andy Jones Wilkens report from a few years ago, this sounded like a fun, low key event –  I can’t improve upon what Andy has written about the event, the vibe was exactly as described. The event was smaller this year since the Richmond Road Running club was not sponsoring the event. Thus, there were no racer numbers, and no clock, just the race director’s watch.  Runners signed in upon entering the park, and signed out upon finishing the 35k out and back and the final 15k out and back.  Barry Kreisa, the race director, kept track of everyone and their times, and volunteers were stationed at 3 aid stations along the course, mile 6, 10, and mile 25, there was also aid at mile 20 (35k finish).
For a January event, the weather, and the timing of the event couldn’t have been planned better. Barry mentioned it was the warmest event in its history, reaching the low 50’s by noon. Rain ended about 2 hours before the event, and the skies were clear by 11 AM.  The rain made the course very soggy, but it wasn’t so much rain that the stream crossings were difficult. The mostly pine needle surface felt like running on cushions.
Cumberland State forest is a beautiful place, it is a combination of pine and oak forest. The course follows the Willis River Trail over it’s entire length of 16 miles.  The park is located along the trail in a way that running an out and back on one leg gives you 35k, and running the out and back on the other leg gives you an additional 15k.  The 35k course is not well used, and it is easy to lose the trail, the final 15k is a well used trail, but it is still easy to get off course here and there.  I got off course in the first few miles, I was running behind a group of four and, not looking for course markings, I followed them onto a side trail near the river, when that trail T’ed with the white blaze trail we were supposed to be on, I took a wrong turn. I was heading the wrong direction. I had a feeling I was, and my suspicions were confirmed in a few hundred yards as runners were coming toward me, so I turned around and headed the right way.  I stayed on course the rest of the way.
I kept asking myself: “Is this a race, or am I here for fun training run?” It was obvious the guy in first place was racing. And there were a few people who went out fast on the first 35k. It was impossible to know who was stopping at 35k and who was running the entire 50k, so I settled into a comfortable pace with a goal of 6 hours.
With the course setup of 2 out-and-backs, you can see exactly where you are in relation to the field.  I was about 7th place after the first turn around, and was running with a guy from Richmond who was retired from the Navy and ran mostly road races.  We ran the next 10 miles together and chatted quite a bit, he said he was running the entire 50k.  His pace was slightly faster than I wanted to run, but I liked his company, so I ran with him.  We kept passing people, and by the aid station at mile 14 we were in 2nd and 3rd place. We finished the 35k, and then he shakes my hand and says he is done which put me in 2nd place for the 50k with 10 miles to go.  The leader is probably 30 minutes ahead of me, and I know the next runner isn’t too far behind. I eat half a banana, some almonds, refill my bottle and head out on the second out and back section.  As I head out, the third place runner is coming in, so I run with a determined pace.
Only a few miles into the last section I start having intense lateral leg pain, which I have had in the past, but this time it is my left leg where I usually get lateral right leg pain.  I walk for a while and then run when I can, but my pace has slowed considerably, and I get passed by a young man who is running very comfortably.  I decide to pick up the pace and keep him in my sight.  About 2 miles from the final turn-around we see the leader heading to the finish, he is has 3 miles to go, we have 7.  I’m running a little more often now, my energy is good, it is just painful to run.  I know I can finish, and the faster I go the sooner the pain will end.
I reach the turn around point as the second place runner is leaving. With 5 miles to go I mentally give up the idea of a second place finish, and soon I’ll find out how far ahead I am on the 4th place runner.  By the time I see the 4th place runner I estimate I’m 4 miles ahead of him, and I’m running more than walking at this point so I don’t feel any need to pick up my pace, I know I’m comfortably in 3rd place.  I then see all the other 50k runners, about 10 in all, including Stuart.
The most interesting part of the run happened about a mile from the finish, all of the sudden I see the second place racer running toward me! He says “Did I make a wrong turn?”, he looks as upset as I would be if I thought I gave up a sizable lead due to a wrong turn. I assured him I was heading the correct direction, and we both headed back toward the finish.  I wasn’t trying to catch him and when presented with the opportunity to reclaim second place I thought about it, and then the opportunity disappeared within a few hundred yards because he had a strong finish kick, and soon he was out of sight again.
I finished in 6 hours and 30 minutes, a little longer than my goal, but I was satisfied with how things went.  It was my second 50k, having completed the July 2015 CATAss 50k in Shenandoah National Park. My recovery from Willis River was smooth, within 2 days my Heart Rate Variability was back to normal, which let me know I challenged my system, but didn’t overload.
I will be back next year, this was a great event on a nice trail system, with great volunteers that made the event very smooth and fun to run.

How do you know when you are “in tune”?

Three years ago, I bought a guitar. I had never played an instrument, and didn’t consider my self musically inclined.

In order to tune my instrument I needed a tuner, something to tell me if my guitar was in tune. The other day, after 3 years of playing, I could hear something was off, and without the tuner I was able to get the tuning very close.

My goal as a health practitioner is to help everyone have the tools to asses and tune your physical, mental and emotional well being. We all can benefit from the skill of reading our physiology, mental and emotional state and determine if we are on the right path, or if we need a reboot.

The 3 Levels of Self-Tuning
Step One – Heading for a disaster
Often, our physiology can be way “off”, and for many reasons we are completely unaware we are headed for disaster. Years of poor diet, poor body mechanics, or strained relationships have led to a state where we are numbed to our body sensations and we are just “getting by”. Often a health crisis leads us to seek care, it is then we realize we have been disconnected for months or years. Diseases do not occur overnight.

Step Two – I Like Being In Tune
When we begin to take better care of ourselves we develop or re-learn the skill of knowing what it feels like when things are working better. We sleep better, we have more energy, we feel stronger physically and mentally. We also become keenly aware of when we feel drained or out of tune. We may not have the skills to get things flowing on our own, but at least we are able to notice the difference and ask for help.

Step Three – You become your own mechanic
With the wisdom gained from paying attention and participating in your healing process, not only do you know when you are out of tune, you also have learned the self healing and self regulating tools to build your energy from within. This is a skill that can be cultivated. Just like learning to tune an instrument by ear, even if you have no prior experience, it just takes time, and someone to first show you the way, and what physical and emotional signs are important in which to pay attention.

Even if you have had considerable health challenges, you also can learn to pay attention to your physiology and become more self-healing and self-regulating.

Dying for more Energy?

A recent article in the New York Times raises awareness of the harmful effects of “Energy” beverages.  I can understand the need to feel energized to do a presentation, or get through a workout, or to just fight traffic in the morning.

Another question you may ask yourself is:  Is there another way?  I had plenty of energy as a kid without artificial stimulants, what is different now?

The first suggestion I would make to someone who feels the need for stimulants is to replace the simple carbs (white flour, white rice, white potatoes) and sugars in their diet with quality vegetables and healthy fats.  What is missing in the former is nutrients, the latter contains vitamins, minerals and fatty acids which fuel your nervous system and brain.

Next, get moving!  Movement is the key to energizing your body, and the benefits are long lasting and wide ranging.

Lastly, take care of your spine and nerve system.  Stress is pervasive, when stressed we don’t always make the best decisions – especially with food.  People under regular Network Spinal Analysis care report and improved ability to think and concentrate (without stimulants).

We all want to be present, alert and full of energy.  You can have this, and be healthy too by taking care of your body and giving it what it needs.

For a free consultation to find out how you can breakthrough to a new level of health and well being call:

Brian Dickert, D.C. 434-227-7149

What is Reorganizational Healing about? It is about your Life

What if your life changed from having a healthy, flexible spine and nerve system?

This video is from Dawn Sea Kahrs in Wheeler, Oregon.   You can find her story here:

Call today to schedule an appointment – 434-882-0095

You also, can have more joy in your life!

How does Network Spinal Analysis Change Peoples Lives?

“A central tenant of Network Spinal Analysis is that change rarely comes directly from the area in the body that is defensive, guarded and wounded.  Instead, it comes after the individual becomes aware of the area where resources exist.  Meaningful change comes when a place of connection is brought to awareness and “inspires” or entrains other parts of the system.”

Reorganizational Healing: A Paradigm for the Advancement of Wellness, Behavior Change, Holistic Practice and Healing. Volume 15, Number 5,  P. 477

When your nervous system cannot adapt to current stress and energy demands, the spine, muscles and vertebrae are locked into a limited range of expression.  The Spinal Entrainment contact, unique to Network Spinal Analysis, allows the nervous system to “reset” and reorganize through spinal awareness.

The reorganization of the nervous system is demonstrated by improved posture, more energy, wider range of emotions expressed. Lifestyle changes including: change in diet and exercise habits, change in long term behavior like career or a relationships.  All these findings and more have been associated with those receiving Network Spinal Analysis Care.

You’re Getting on my Nerves!

You’re getting on my nerves!
By Dr. Suzanne
Everyone knows what it means when someone says “you’re getting on my nerves,” but I find it an interestingly and curiously anatomically accurate phrase.  Consider this:
We perceive our world through our nerves, or nervous system.  We not only coordinate the function of every cell, tissue and organ in the body, but also express every emotion through our nervous systems.  It’s the part of us we use to reason, to adapt to stress, and it’s the vehicle we use to create our conscious reality.  The nervous system is also designed to keep us safe from perceived danger.
When our nervous systems are not flexible enough to integrate an event, or adapt to a stressor, the event or stressor is perceived as overwhelming, and we move into a natural protective response – stress physiology.  The energy and information of that overwhelming event or trauma is translated into vibration and tension, which is then stored in our bodies to be digested or integrated later when it is safe, resulting in defense posture.
In defense posture, we tighten; we hunker down in a hostile world.  Our blood pressure tends to rise, we feel less emotion and we live in reaction to every moment.  Over time, defensive posture distorts the spinal system.  Muscular tightness and spasm, and reduced breath into the effected areas occur, and reduced motion and movement results.  Spinal bones lose their normal alignment as the muscles and ligaments strain and pull.  Nerves can become compressed or stretched and irritated which results in abnormal function.
This is the time when we find things get on our nerves.  Before we know it, everything – even little stuff – seems overwhelming.  When we’re already stressed, we tense more easily, and until we move out of defense posture, the brain continues to perceive life defensively, and produces stress chemicals that inhibit not only  our restorative functions, but also the ability to pay attention to the incomplete energy or  “unfinished business” stored in the body.  We’re “stuck” in defense.
Stuck in defense, we react to environmental challenges as threats.  Novel or new ideas are stressful; we have difficulty making changes and we fear things that are different.  We are in survival mode in many areas of our lives.  This pattern of defense posture is held until the brain perceives it is safe to experience that original overwhelming energy again and digest or integrate the information from the trauma – to finish that unfinished business.  That’s where Network Spinal Analysis care comes in!
Network care helps people move from the stress physiology that fixed them into defensive posture, into something new and better.  Most of us remain in defense posture our whole lives.  There are many people whose vertebrae, ligaments and tissues are so locked into stress patterns, creating so much tension, that their focus is on “just getting through another day,” instead of enjoying life.
Network care allows the brain to move from stress physiology into safety and growth.  By using gentle and specific touches in a consistent sequence called the Network Entrainment, a person’s own body learns to release those complex patterns of stress, tension and defense.    You cannot be in defense and growth at the same time.  A brain in defense cannot develop new strategies for experiencing and responding to life.  A brain in growth can.
In growth, we are more attentive to our inner cues, energy, and respiration and we are no longer focused on the outer circumstance of the moment to dictate our health and well-being.  When we’re “entrained” to our internal rhythms, outside stressors affect us less, because we no longer entrain to the stress around us.  Spinal tension patterns, alignment and postural changes all reflect our movement from defense to growth.  We experience a greater sense of grace, gratitude, connection, inner power and love, all previously inaccessible to a brain that was functioning in defense.
Network Entrainments are designed and applied in such a way as to engage the higher part of the brain, through which we observe ourselves and make choices regarding our behavior.  Instead of “fixing” you, Entrainments help your body find that old unfinished business, fully integrate it, and move forward from there utilizing that held tension as fuel for growth and healing.
Network care is about helping your body and nervous system reorganize, become more flexible and able to adapt, and to develop new strategies for not only releasing tension, but also experiencing life in a way that wasn’t available to you before.  In time, this higher energetic, physical, and emotional state becomes more familiar and sustainable and people radiate authenticity, love and hope.  And each time you are more fully “you,” not only is the world is a better place, but also it’s less likely to get on your nerves!

This article is from our April 2011 Newsletter, sign up to receive this newsletter when it is published by visiting

2010 Holiday Hours

Please note our holiday hours for the next two weeks:
Dec. 20th through Dec. 24th – Normal Hours in Charlottesville and Afton
Dec. 25th – Closed
Dec. 27th – Sample Night 7PM
Dec. 27th through Dec. 31st – Normal Hours in Charlottesville, Afton Closed.
No Yoga or Feldenkrais Dec. 28th
Jan. 1st – Charlottesville Closed
Jan. 3rd – Charlottesville and Afton Closed

Note this is a change in the previously posted calendar – the posted calendar has been corrected.

December 2010 Newsletter

This has also been posted on our homepage.