Cameron Diaz: Why pain is at the epicenter of your program?
Vicky Vlachonis: Pain is a signal from the body that something is not right. We talk about the mind-body connection, but they are not JUST connected – they are one and the same. Researchers have found the same brain patterns occur whether you experience physical or emotional pain. That’s why I always say that pain is our most powerful teacher. I created a three-stage Reflect/Release/Radiate process to help us learn from and heal from pain.
CD: How can you help people who never get the chance to meet you experience and understand your philosophy?
VV: When someone comes to me with pain, instead of reaching for a pill or even putting my hands on them, my first questions are always, “What have you been eating? How have you been sleeping? How are things at work, at home, in the bedroom?” Each of these areas have a major impact on how much pain you feel.
CD: In The Body Doesn’t Lie, you explain the Positive Feedback Program-can you walk us through it?
VV: The program covers four categories to ensure we’re looking at the whole picture: o Structure – Teaches you to release pain with self-healing trigger points o Function – Empowers you to release pain with nourishment o Motion – Shows you healing exercises for circulation and lymphatic drainage o Emotion – Guides you to release pain with positive thoughts, feelings, and relationships Any step you take in any of these areas starts a chain reaction. That’s why I start the program with the most pleasurable steps first: they make you feel so great, you want to keep trying more.
CD: So how quickly can one expect the pain to subside and how long will the relief last?
VV: Any change you make in one area creates a ripple effect throughout the other three. The more of these moments you string together, the more you tone all your systems, making it easier to feel healthy, well-rested, and strong. In fact, any challenges you face will only help you grow more resilient through the “Adaptive Response mechanism” and you’ll avoid the ravages of chronic stress.
CD: Can you elaborate on how you help people make the connection between what they eat and how they feel?
VV: Some people don’t realize that what you eat has an immediate impact on your pain. I recommend that my patients with digestive problems or inflammation get tested for food sensitivity. Keeping a food/feelings diary tells you which foods give you energy and which make you sluggish and cause pain.
CD: Which category would you next focus on to start immediately relieving pain?
VV: All four are equally important, but emotions are the KEY. If you have a negative thought, your nervous system will carry the imprint of that thought directly to your spinal column and to all your vital organs. If you start with a single positive thought, you can change this entire chemical cascade in an instant.
CD: What are the most surprising things you have discovered as a pain expert?
VV: This past year, researchers found that our brain has a drainage system similar to our lymphatic system. While we sleep, our brain pathways expand by sixty percent, and allow cerebrospinal fluid to wash away plaques that may cause Alzheimer’s.
CD: I love that! You know how much I love my sleep!
VV: I talk more about this in the book, how you can make your sleep as restorative as possible for the biggest benefit from this nightly detox, and make it another way you nourish yourself.