The 3 Safest Ways to Pick Things Up


, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Like this, back straight in all positions. Movement from hips.

NO! Never! Not Like this!! Stop looking at this picture….

“Lift with your legs not with your back!”  These are some very true words that need some refreshing, more specifically they need an explanation and then practice to follow correctly and make sure that you #1 don’t hurt yourself and #2 have a healthy spine for the rest of your days.

So here goes the 3 best ways to pick things up:

I’m proud of you for taking the time to learn and improve your habits.  By incorporating the squat, lunge and dead lift into your daily routine, you will be able to lifting things and care for your spine at the same time.  All you need is practice practice practice, an ounce of prevention is worth a truckload of cure.  I recommend at least 10-30 repetitions of each 5 days a week to get fully coordinated with them and have them be your new movement patterns, whether it is a sock, couch or fridge that needs lifting.  (better to hire out for a fridge ;-p)

Lift for health,

Dr. Nick Araza DC CCWP CFL1

Do you trust your body not to give “out” on you?


, , , , , , , , , ,

Is this You?

Have you ever had the thought that you don’t trust your body?  Are you like I once was fearful of bending over because in the back of your mind you know that at any moment without warning you could throw your back out?  Are you sore at the end of your day and stiff when you wake up like I used to be?  IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THAT WAY!  The majority of our problems are created by our unconscious bad habits and poor postures.  So there are 3 simple steps that if you do will restore your trust and confidence in your body so that you can live without fear and do what you want.

3 Steps:

1.  Get any problems cleaned up.  Just as you would if you had a messy house there is a bit of upfront work to do.  In most people’s case this comes down to seeing a chiropractor to get your spine moving and working like it is supposed to.

2.  Stop creating problems.  Just as you would if you wanted to keep your house clean you would stop leaving things around.  For your health this comes down to discovering what habits are causing your problems and learning how to move and use your body properly (attend our Free Ergonomics Workshop this Wednesday June 20th @ 630 @ 360 S Hope Ave Suite C105).

3.  Learn new systems to prevent future problems.  Just as you would create cleaning charts and getting tools to keep the house tidy, so that big messes don’t happen.  This translates into learning strengthening exercises to stabilize your spine and getting regular chiropractic maintenance care to keep those spine “messes” from springing up on you.

If you follow these instructions and attend our free workshop, you will soon think of back pain as I do, a think of the past.

Learn and Maintain 4 Health,

-Dr. Nick Araza

I’m not getting healthy fast enough….


, , , , , , , ,

Are your health changes happening at his speed?

“Do not fear moving slowly, only fear standing still.” –Ancient Chinese Proverb

Health is about building momentum.  It is the small everyday steps/choices we make that combine to make HUGE changes over time, whether good or bad.  It is not about any single choice, it is about ALL of them, they each matter.  Having a piece of cheesecake doesn’t make you unhealthy, sure it triggers massive insulin and stress responses throughout your body, but it doesn’t mean you are now “unhealthy.” Just like eating a salad doesn’t all of a sudden make you “healthy.”  We live on a spectrum that is in constant motion, either you are moving toward health or you are moving toward dis-ease, there is no stagnation, no “maintenance.”   This is a wonderful concept!  It means if you aren’t happy with where you are with your health, you can change, and if you are happy where you are, you can get even better.  No matter where you are on the spectrum, age 6, 26, 66, or 96… or whether you’re an athlete, weekend warrior or couch potato, you can always move toward being healthier.  This is WHY understanding the health supporting paradigm that we are designed/evolved to be healthy is so empowering.  This understanding and belief system offers POWER and CONTROL to you over your health!  And like Churchill said, “with power comes responsibility…”, which is why I’m so proud of you for reading this blog and any other positive health promoting content out there.  Continuing to educate and inspire yourself with this kind of material is your responsibility in order to achieve the control over your health that is desired by all people.

Dr. Clarence Gonstead once said that “HEALTH IS SIMPLE, ITS JUST NOT EASY” and this rings true, even more now than when he said it over 30 years ago because now we have more misinformation, more processed foods, less time and less community support than when he said it.  This means we all need to arm ourselves with the truth and understanding that comes from reading, discussing and experimenting with our health, and at the same time we need to join and create community.  Community is a key ingredient for making healthy practices stick.  Healthy community oriented places are so important because they offer the social support necessary to live a healthy life.  Living healthy means going against the grain, it means getting adjusted when you feel well, it means going for chicken salad when there’s a pizza party at work; going a jog when it’s cold and wet outside; turning off the TV to have some quality family time or calling a friend from school to catch up.  As Jim Rohn said “These things are easy to do, but they are also easy not to do.”  I admit, skipping the gym, grabbing fast food and watching TV are the easiest short term options, but they are not easier than cancer, they are not easier than osteoporosis, arthritis, IBS, diabetes or migraine headaches.

Routinely reading this information and associating with healthy communities keeps us on track, it keeps us motivated and it keeps us focused on doing healthy rather than doing what’s common or easy.  We ALL need community and coaching for our health.  Understanding this has shaped our mission at SBFC: “To educate, adjust and inspire a health transformation in as many families as possible toward optimal health through natural chiropractic, scientific based wellness and community building health care.”   It is the whole reason why we are creating SB Family Chiropractic along with the leaders of Innate Body Boot Camp.  Our companies, along with places like Farmers Markets, Weston A Price Clubs, Lululemon, ParentClick, Yoga Studios, Cross-fits and Paleo Meet Ups…etc are resources to help you achieve your health goals.  We are doctors, trainers, farmers, health enthusiasts, guinea pigs and cheerleaders for your health.  We are here because we know that trying for health on your own in this modern, hectic and sugar filled world is like dancing by yourself.  It can be fun for a while, but you never dance that long without a partner, and you stop altogether when someone is watching.  When it comes to your health, the world is watching, in fact most of the time it’s staring.  Sometimes it even points and laughs and yells “what are you doing, what are you doing.”

Would he stop if the world was watching? How about you?

Ridicule without support, education, coaching and community can stop even the healthiest in their tracks; however, with support, coaching and community even the most heinous ridicule can be faced and sometimes it’s transformed into pride.

Build Momentum 4 Health,

-Dr. Nicholas Araza DC CCWP

Next week join us at Innate Fitness (adjacent to SBFC 360 S Hope C105) as we demonstrate good and healthy ways to move and keep your body moving without hurting youreself….Our Ergonomics Workshop is Back and Better than Ever.  Learn to use your computer, garden, do the dishes, pick things up and sleep in the best possible positions, so that you don’t hurt yourself and are able to continue to make health gains.  See you there at 630 pm on Wed the 20th.  Please email to reserve your spot.


Today we are doing a FREE GIVEAWAY on our Facebook page! If you haven’t already LIKED our page, first, do that! Then, leave a comment on our most recent post regarding Omega 3’s, and leave just one benefit of Omega 3 for our body. At 2pm today, I will randomly choose one comment to win a FREE bottle of Bonfire Omega-3 capsules (valued at $40!). Check it out!


*the comment MUST be on our facebook page 🙂 See you there!

Chronic Pain and You


, , , , , , , , , , , ,

He’s coming for us all, but does he have to bring the pain?

Aging and chronic pain has become, unfortunately, synonymous, but there is good news: IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE.  But here’s the catch, to keep the evils of father time at bay, we must act now.  Personal responsibility is the most important tool in your belt when taking control of chronic pain, and all health issues for that matter.  To conquer pain you have to understand what it is and what it is not.  Pain is not useless.  Pain is information.  More specifically, pain is our emotional reaction to some sort of tissue damage within our body.  Pain is a signal that something isn’t right.  Despite how incredible your body is, with the trillions of reactions and processes going on inside of it every second of every day, one thing it can’t do is speak.  It can’t say “Nick I really don’t like it when you spend an hour or two on your laptop, because I’m designed to move and the laptop puts me in a very difficult posture that ends up causing tissue damage at the spinal level, so please sit up straight, take breaks and use a desk top with the monitor at eye level, thank you.”  I wish that was the case, but then maybe I’d be out of a job ;-p.  So, instead, our bodies respond with the one communication strategy that they have:  pain.   In my case, as well as many people out there regarding computers, I get neck and shoulder pain with prolonged use.  At first if we listen to our body and make changes (change our posture, stop using a laptop), the info (pain) stops, but if we ignore it or mask it (meds), it usually gets worse over time.  This makes sense because we haven’t corrected the cause.

If pain goes on for a long time you can actually become even more susceptible to pain and things that shouldn’t hurt begin to hurt.  Most of the time, this happens in a stressful state, when we are not eating (chemical),  how we are supposed to, not moving (physical) how we are supposed to and under more emotional stress than we should be.  Sound familiar?  Stress from all categories (chemical, physical, emotional) is cumulative and hard hitting on the pain front and literally sensitizes us to stimulus that wouldn’t and shouldn’t cause us pain.  We see this with older individuals because well, they’ve been around longer and have usually dealt or tried to mask their pain for a long time rather than correcting the cause.  If this is you, don’t feel bad, our society has been taught to look for answers in potions, pills and lotions which hardly ever deal with the cause.

Finding and correcting the cause is your answer to most pain whether by taking your finger off a hot stove, or getting your spine adjusted to improve proper motion and exercising to strengthen your low back.  Both work to fix the reason there is pain.  Now with a hot stove the pain usually stops about as quickly as you remove your finger, but chronic nagging pain isn’t so easy.  Because it has usually taken quite a bit of time to get to a chronic pain state, it can take some time to go away.   Every person is different, but if we can lower your nutritional and emotional stress while correcting the damage at the joint and tissue level and teach you how to move your body so that you don’t recreate the damage, well then all you’ll need is time and you should get a new and pain free you.

Action Steps:

    1. Get your spine checked.  Since pain usually comes at the end of a problem get your foundation (musculo-skeletal and nerve system) checked by a chiropractor to find out if there are any physical stresses to correct.
    2. Exercise.  Join a class and/or get a personal trainer.  Walking alone can help reduce inflammation and pain in some cases.
    3. Begin taking a high quality Omega 3 supplement to address any dietary deficiencies and to decrease inflammation.  Recommendations on types of high quality Omega 3 are Nordic Naturals, Bonfire Health or Innate Choice (1000mg per 50 pounds of body weight) consult your doctor if on any blood thinning medications. For your own convience, you can shop here:Bonfire Store - Shop Now
    4. Attend our free Ergonomics & Movement workshop to learn and practice good posture as well as find out what activities may be contributing to your pain.  June 20th @ 630pm at Innate Fitness on 360 S. Hope Ave Suite C105.  Santa Barbara, CA 93105.  Call 805-682-4620 to reserve a spot.

Change 4 Health!

-Dr. Nick Araza DC CCWP CFL1-Trainer

How can you prevent a health crisis?


, , , , , , , , , , , ,


Its that simple, check it out!

Stay the course, keep working it!  We are so proud of those of you who choose to eat the apple, do the extra workout, get the extra adjustment despite the stresses and easy outs.

You rock!

Dr. Nick Araza DC  CCWP



Restful Sleep isn’t a Myth, just do it right!


, ,

Sleep should be simple, but we just weren’t given a manual for how to do the most trivial things, things that we do every single day of our lives and for hours and hours, yes I’m talking about sleep. We could be talking about a lot of things though, like walking, lifting, sitting, driving, watching tv…etc, so one at a time, I’m going to go over the HOW TO’s of everyday life with a the thought of longevity in mind. Keeping your body in working order for years to come. This one is on sleep so check it out!

To attend a live workshop on how to move and live in your body please call or email the office 805-682-4620, the next lecture/action series will be taught June 20th 2012 at 630pm. Limited space available.

Dr. Nick Araza from Santa Barbara Family Chiropractic teaches the fundamental sleep postures that allow for restful sleep and a healthy body.

Stress Buster that takes 1 min and costs zero dollars!!


, , , , , , , , , , ,



For those of you who have practiced yoga, you’ll know that there are many ways of breathing.  I want to focus on 2 that are fundamentally different in their affect on your physiology.


The first is common, but unnatural to stay in for long periods of time, which is troubling because that is the type many people find themselves in.  It is called chest breathing, and to no surprise, it is performed by breathing into your chest.  It is characterized by short or shallow breaths performed by the intercostal muscles (muscles on the ribs) that cause the chest to rise.  This is the fastest way to breathe, the way you would want to breathe if you were under attack (stress).  This type of breathing triggers the sympathetic nervous system what is crucial in fight or flight.  However, humans are only designed to be in a stressful state for short periods, really only long enough to get out of the stressful situation (change our environment to a more hospitable one).  Nowadays we find ourselves in chronic stress with deadlines to meet, family’s to run, children to constantly monitor and very little community support nor movement to deal with that stress.


That is why I want to talk to you about diaphragmatic breathing.  This is a completely different way to get oxygen to your cells from a physiological standpoint.  This breathing is deep; it causes your belly to push out rather than your chest to rise up.  This breath is accomplished primarily by the contraction of your diaphragm, a muscular umbrella at the bottom of your ribcage that pulls air in and gently massages your internal organs in a rhythmic way.  This is the way children breath (picture a toddler breathing, their breath seems to go all the way into their belly.  This is the way you breath you are supposed to breath pretty much all of the time.  This triggers the parasympathetic nervous system for rest and repair.  Plus it feels great; you can actually feel your stress decrease after just a few deep breaths!

How to:

1.  Assume Proper Posture / Stand (or sit up) straight & drop your shoulders back and down.  (Lift your heart to 45 degrees)

2.  Inhale slowly through your nose trying to get the air down as far as possible into your belly.  (Your belly will push out, that is normal).

3.  Pause for a second or less.

4. Exhale slowly through nose (2 x longer than inhalation).

5.  Repeat 5-10 times

6.  Do this every hour and feel the stress fall away.

Practice diaphragmatic breathing for 5-10 breaths before you lie down to sleep and before you eat.  These activities require a predominantly parasympathetic nervous system activity.

Breathe 4 Health!

Dr. Nicholas Araza DC CCWP

For you visual or auditory learners check out this video on diaphragmatic breath!

Is Sitting Really the New Smoking, and how much is too much?


, , , , , , , , , , , ,



Have you heard about this?  That sitting can be as bad for your health as smoking!  Well studies are coming out more and more that this is true, the first time I heard that experts were relating desk work mortality rates to those who puff away part of their life expectancy was back in 2009 from the NY Times
Katzmarzyk NY Times 2009
“Of particular note is the link between sitting and premature mortality: individuals who sit most of the day have a greater chance of dying early compared with people who sit very little.”

I wasn’t shocked but it was a powerful visual that I was eager to pass on to my family, friends and patients in order to help motivate them to MOVE and move often!  It’s fairly obvious that chairs and computer screens do nothing to increase our health, but to find out that they are on par with big tobacco can be a bit of a shock.  Galen Cranz professor of Architecture at UC Berkeley states that ”

“There are problems associated with both sitting and standing. No posture is perfect. As a species we are designed for movement. The best posture probably is the next posture.”
There you have it, how much is too much? ANY!  Crazy isn’t it!  Not to scare you too much, but to get you to ACT, check this out from an article in The Atlantic…“Its most striking finding was that people who sat more than 11 hours a day had a 40% higher risk of dying in the next three years than people who sat less than four hours a day. This was after adjusting for factors such as age, weight, physical activity and general health status, all of which affect the death risk. It also found a clear dose-response effect: the more people sat, the higher their risk of death.”BACK TO THE NEXT POSTURE!! That means on the go.  Now that doesn’t help you desk workers out there, so for what to do and a bit more motivation, check out this new video post….the first of many!
Move For Health,
-Dr. Nick Araza DC CCWP CFL1

What to Eat for Lunch…the Paleo Way to Keep Bread Out of Your Day!


, , , , , ,

Eat This

Or This


That’s right, your body knows better what to do with insects for lunch than the food-like Wonder product above (“wonder” being a descriptive for the amount of chemicals in it, and it’s still being sold for human consumption!?  As I said to Dr. Ryan the other day, I’d more trust a farmer to build me a rocket than a scientist to make me a healthy lunch!).

I hear this again and again, “Okay, okay, I get it, bread is bad for me, but I can still have sandwiches, right?”  And the answer is you can do whatever you want, but because I care about you I want you to make informed decisions – so remember that bread is toxic to your cells and to your health.  I will not argue that it is a tasty way to grip your lunch, but that is because bread is essentially sugar which spikes your insulin, moving you toward poor immune function and diabetes.  Most bread also contains gluten, gliadin, and phytic acid which moves you towards osteoporosis and fungal infections, while irritating the crap out of your intestines (literally) – and it sets you up for all sorts of allergies, irritable bowl syndrome, auto-immune disorders (Krohn’s, possible links to MS), etc.

As hopefully you know, I don’t like to just give a bunch of info without some action steps or solutions, so here are some ideas of breadless lunches – some of my favorites that I smash on the regular…enjoy!

Bread Replacers:

  1. Lettuce Wrap – that’s right folks, lettuce actually serves as an excellent and much more nutritious means to grip your turkey/tuna/veggie/ filling.  Everything else stays the same – just grab some romaine or iceburg and wrap away (note – doesn’t work that well for peanut butter and jelly, but we shouldn’t be eating either of those either – another blog topic).
    1. Paleo Tacos are the Araza household favorite. – Grass-fed beef seasoned well. Avocado sliced into strips. Diced Onions, Jalapenos and Tomatoes. Put all of that on a large leaf of Romaine Lettuce and top with your favorite salsa….delicioso!! Maybe best of all 10 min prep time if you are Jen, 15 if you are Nick ;-p.

 2. The bowl of whatever you were going to put between bread
plus some healthy dressing – just take the ingredients of your sandwich, cut into smaller chunks, add some extra veggies (just for the heck of it) and consume – you will find that it is still quite delicious, or you will find that it was just the bread that you enjoyed, and you will need to add a bunch of veggies as well as some dressing (olive oil-based) to spice it up.

No Bread Necessary Options:

1.  The SALAD! – One of my favorites because it can be so different and sooooo delicious, and as I heard at a recent wellness seminar, “You never regret a salad.”  How true – I always feel great after eating a salad.  If taking it to work, put salad in Tupper Ware and then bring dressing in a separate container so it doesn’t get all soggy.  Here are a couple winners:

    1. The (modified) Greek – Kale or Spinach, ½ a cucumber, 1 big tomato, olives, handful raisins, ¼ onion and dressing.  The bigger the better.
    2. Tortilla (I had this today) – Kale, butter lettuce, 1 tomato, 1 cucumber, ½ can of black beans, handful of Trader Joes Flax & Veggie tortilla chips (underlined is not paleo, but better than bread as long as corn based and not flour. It is also a great stepping stone toward paleo) crushed and sprinkled on top, ½ avocado cut into chunks, green salsa, 2 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon fish oil.
    3. Anything I have in the fridge – on bed of kale, chop up any thing and add a very tasty dressing.  Dressings should be olive oil- based, but as long as you are eating tons of veggies I occasionally let the dressing slide – just make sure you understand the ingredients!

2.   Eggs, grass-fed beef and veggies.  Be creative, but if you want specifics, the video you saw included: 1 lb grass-fed beef ground, 6 farm fresh eggs, 1 large zucchini, 1 red pepper, 3 cups spinach, 1.5 avocado.  Cook it slow and add the avocado chunks last.  Prep time 15 min.

3.  Soup or stew:  Cook a HUGE pot of veggies, tomato sauce &/or meat.  Then eat over course of next week.  Left-overs are the best! Just reheat and eat.

4. Veggies and grass-fed beef or chicken sausage (nitrite-free), slow-cooked on skillet for about 10-15 minutes.

That’s all I have for now. I am going to try and post more specific recipes from time to time on here.  But know this, I always use the same basics: veggies, meat, and more veggies, and it’s always delicious – except when it’s super delicious!

Eat 4 Health,

Dr. Nicholas Araza DC CCWP