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Our Blog Has Moved to It’s New Home!

May 10, 2010

You can now find our blog on our website,  The new address for the blog is

Please take a moment to update your bookmarks so that you can find all of our new posts!

Thanks everyone for linking to our blog here on wordpress.  This blog will continue to exist but will no longer be updated as of the first week of May, 2010.  All of our new content, as well as everything that can be found here at our original blog, is on our new location!

The Hap’s In May @ FFC

May 4, 2010

A few announcements first:

MOTHER’S DAY APPRECIATION – For you moms out there, bring in this HANDOUT and recieve a $10 new patient exam, including x-ray if necessary.  May 3rd – 14th.

FITNESS CENTER FOR THE MONTH OF MAY = BAC           BEVERLY ATHLETIC CLUB!  All of our awesome patients are entitled to a 2 WEEK FREE TRIAL AND 1 PERSONAL TRAINING SESSION.…call, email, or come in to Franson Chiropractic for more details.


Karen for winning the Spring Into Wellness contest!!  Great job on clearing out the fridge…enjoy the $100 gift certificate to Whole Foods!


Wednesday from 5:30 p.m. – 8 p.m:  Health Screening @ Peabody YMCA with Dr. Ryan Hewitt.  Come and get your spine checked for indicators of nerve irritation.  Find out what may be CAUSING your symptom, or just get a free check up!

WEDNESDAY 5/05 @ 6:30 p.m:  Foundations Workshop with Dr. Nick Araza.  Find out where health comes from, how chiropractic can help you, and why any family who wishes to be TRULY HEALTHY must have a chiropractor on their health team!  Guests welcome.

 Thursday 5/06 from 3-7 p.m:   Health Screening the Lynn B2B expo with Dr. Nick Araza.  Come and get your spine checked for indicators of nerve irritation.  Find out what may be CAUSING your symptom, or just get a free check up!

GET MOVING POWER WORKSHOP, now available on DVD in the Lending Library!  Rent it while you can, and learn why movement is an essential nutrient like oxygen, and not just for weight loss.  Then learn a Quick 5 series of awesome exercises that you can do each day to get the most out of your body.

GET HEALTHY TV/Your Doctors ON TV!!  Through our own Public Access BevCam, the doctors of Franson Chiropractic will be discussing all kinds of health topics, ranging from your immune system, your spinal health, genetically congruent nutrition, positive attitude and other key ways to increase the quality and quantity of your life.

Here is the schedule (Channel 10 (public access)):

Saturdays at 9:00 A.M.
Mondays at 3:30 P.M.
Wednesdays at 7:00 P.M.
Saturdays at 9:00 A.M.

Every day this week – check out the amazing new health site created by our own Dr. Stephen Franson:, and ignite your health today!

Free Health Talks – Help us spread the word of health promotion by scheduling a Health Talk for your work, church, social club, etc.

Any questions, please call 978-927-8466, or check out our website @

And now, to say thank you to all of our loyal blog readers and their loved ones:

coupon electronic
Schedule YOUR New Patient Experience TODAY

Morning Rituals – 5 Simple Steps to Owning Your Day! – by Dr. Nick Araza

May 1, 2010

Control Your Morning = Control Your Day

Last week at our practice, I had the opportunity to teach Morning Rituals, one of the key activities we wellness doctors do each morning to get the MOST out of our day.  Our day starts early, so the rituals began early – 5:30 a.m. to be exact – and if I may speak for the few brave souls who participated, we had an awesome experience!  So awesome in fact, I have decided to continue this practice at the practice throughout summer while we have light, so if you missed out last week, do not fret, we’ll be doing it each Friday starting on May 7th.

Now for those of you who find idea of 5:30 a.m. more stressful than the reward of the awesome feelings of gratitude and community that we all felt last Friday, I do not judge you; however, I still want you to be able to participate, so with this blog I will be sharing some of the activities that guarantee to get your day started off in a much different and better light.

Step 1:  Stretch (1-2 minutes):

Have you noticed what every other animal in the animal kingdom does when they wake up from a snooze?  Whether arising from a nap or a 10 hour sleep-fest, every animal, save one (human beings) stretch upon arising from slumber.  Think about it, your cat, your dog, the animals on the discovery channel….they all give a little stretch and a little bend to wake up their musculo-skeletal and nerve system, which allows them to fully wake up and begin their day.  Your body undergoes a HUGE shift in its physiology when going from sleep to wakefulness; a stretch will get things moving, increase positive stimulation to your nervous system, allowing it to finish its preparations for your day.  This doesn’t have to be long or drawn out – just a quick minute of moving and doing what feels good will give you a better shot at an awesome day.

Step 2:  Herd your thoughts and control your mind (5-10 minutes):

There are many ways to meditate; the simplest that I have found is breathing.  The simple act of concentrating on your breath is a form of meditation that can be practiced anytime and anywhere.  Get into a comfortable position (good posture is the best) and then simply focus on your breath and let all the other thoughts drift away.  Actively think “I am breathing in, I am breathing out,” keeping your breaths slow and controlled, breathing deep into your belly.  Practice for 5-10 minutes, keeping in mind:  IT WILL BE DIFFICULT AT FIRST.  You must border collie your thoughts and always come back to your breath.  This will get easier the more often you practice (if you find yourself off track, don’t bother getting upset, just realize you are now thinking about what you are going to have for lunch tomorrow and return to thinking about your breath).

Step 3:  Nourish Your Spine – Spinal Hygiene Exercises (5 minutes):

Your spine protects and supports your nervous system, the master communicator in your body.  Your nerve system is responsible for regulating everything from digestion to breath and circulation.  Your spine also gives support to your vital organs, and gives your muscles a place to attach, allowing for movement…and movement is life.

“…The vertebral column, (which is) undoubtedly the most neglected vital organ in the human body.”  JMPT 1985.

Practicing Spinal Hygiene Exercises and Life Extension Exercises will take your spine through its natural range of motion keeping it and you healthy, as well as stimulate proper posture, which can add life to your years and years to your life.  Check out the links to the videos on these exercises for more.

Step 4:  Daily Affirmation (1-3 minutes):

There is nothing more empowering than an awesome daily affirmation first (4th) thing in the morning.  Come up with your own or use the one I use/modify from the masters circle, but it should focus on giving thanks for the day, your abilities now and in the future, and your drive for kaizen (constant and continual self improvement).

Step 5:  Attitude of Gratitude

This is the simplest and best part of my morning rituals.  After this final step, I am ready for the day and feeling fantastic.  It is a simple fact that our minds can only hold focus on one thing at a time.  Sure, you can shuffle the focus from item to item, but we can really only concentrate on one thing at a time.  So when you are being thankful, everything else just melts away and the day seems a little brighter (this can be done at any time, especially when you need a pick-me-up – it works way better than chocolate!).

First focus on all of the things you are thankful for that are currently in your life.  Be specific and say it out loud (even if you have to whisper).  Specify family members and their attributes that you’re thankful for, your friends, your health, your job, the food you ate yesterday, the birds that you are seeing, etc. – anything is fair game, just say what you are feeling grateful for.

Second, focus on all of the things you are thankful for that are coming into your life.  It is an act of manifestation, by bringing what you want to the forefront of your mind.  Whether it’s your parents’ health, a promotion at work, a new PR on your deadlift, your brother’s business success, anything you hope for – but again, be specific.

Take a few breaths, smile and have a great day!!

Give Thanks 4 Health,

-Dr. Nicholas Araza DC CCWP

10 Critical Skills You Might Not Be Building From Your Exercise Routine

April 30, 2010


If you flip through a bodybuilding or fitness magazine you will notice that the pages boast men and women with bulging muscular figures, super-tanned bodies, and not a trace of fat on them.  At first glance, you might say “Wow, they are incredibly fit!”  But – they might just be fooling you.  While bodybuilders and fitness models are most certainly adept at doing isolation exercises like bicep curls in a gym, they can actually be far from being fit and functional.  There are certainly benefits to your typical isolation and machine exercises, but if your goal is to maximize your ability to perform everyday tasks and challenges, there are some important things to consider.

By contrast, Bonfire Health uses what are called universal motor recruitment patterns, which get your body moving in symphony efficiently, effectively and quickly from one place to another.  These movements are universal in that they are found everywhere, in everything you do from homemaking to sports and recreation.  Jumping, pushing, pulling, throwing, running, climbing:  movements that mimic what you do in life, as opposed to calf-raises, pec-flies or leg curls – which are non-functional and artificial.  Universal motor recruitment patterns are safe, in fact the safest kinds of movements you can do.  Adduction/abduction machines, lateral raises and flies are not natural, and thus are not inherently safe movements.

According to, if your goal is optimum physical competence, then there are 10 general physical skills that need to be considered:

  1. Cardio-vascular and cardio respiratory endurance:  this is your body’s ability to use and deliver oxygen to your body.
  2. Stamina (muscular endurance):  this is your body’s ability to store, process, and use energy.
  3. Strength:  this is the ability of your muscles or a muscular unit to apply force.
  4. Flexibility:  the ability to maximize the range of motion of a joint.
  5. Power:  the ability of your muscles to maximize their force in a minimum amount of time.
  6. Speed:  the ability to minimize the amount of time it takes you to accomplish a task or movement.
  7. Coordination:  the ability to combine several different movement patterns in a single distinct movement.
  8. Accuracy:  the ability to control a movement in a given direction or intensity.
  9. Agility:  the ability to minimize the time going from one movement to another.
  10. Balance:  the ability to control the center of gravity of your body in relation to your supportive base.

The first four (Cardio, Stamina, Strength, Flexibility) are organic and are developed through exercise/training.  Improvements in each can actually be visibly observed under a microscope as you improve your training.  The last four (Coordination, Accuracy, Agility, Balance) are neuromuscular and developed through practice and repetition.  These are improvements that we see with specific challenges and tests.  Those that are a combination of both (Power, Speed) are improved with both exercise/training and practice/repetition.

The Bonfire Health exercise programming will help you build all 10 facets of fitness, no matter who you are or your walk of life.  All of the workouts are tailored to any fitness level and are composed of movements that will help you build outstanding results in your health and fitness.  We were all meant to be healthy and successful, and we were built to move.  Follow the Bonfire programming and unleash your potential to be strong, functional, and ready for anything.

Now Get Moving!

Your health Coach,

Dr. Ryan Hewitt

Recipe of the Week – Blueberry Smoothie

April 30, 2010

Blueberry Smoothie

I really enjoying having smoothies with (or for) breakfast.   If the idea of drinking kale or spinach is less than appealing to you don’t worry…the flavor of the fruit overpowers the vegetables so the final product tastes like what is says, a blueberry smoothie.  This smoothie is just one of many options for drinking your essential nutrients.  You can be creative with the fruits and vegetables you put in it until you find your favorite recipe.            ~ Chaney


1 cup frozen blueberries
1 banana (frozen or fresh)
1 avocado
1 orange, peeled
1 cup packed spinach leaves and/or green kale leaves (stems removed)
1-2 cup combined:  any combination of filtered water, coconut water, almond milk, hemp milk and rice milk

raw honey or raw agave nectar (optional – to taste)


  • Place all ingredients in a Vita Mix or a strong blender. 
  • Blend until smooth and creamy.

    Other Ingredient Ideas:

    Coconut oil, frozen or fresh strawberries, cherries, raspberries, mango, broccoli, chard, peaches, pineapple, powedered whole foods multi-vitamin, Omega-3 rich fish oil, etc.

    Chiropractic: Your Spine and Nervous System

    April 28, 2010

    This article was originally written for  Read on to learn how your nervous system works and why it is essential to optimize your nerve supply for health and healing.

    Ready, Signal, Fire:  Nerve Supply

    Every activity that your body performs is based on the activity of your nerve system.  Whether the rhythmic contractions of your heart and digestive systems, or the rhythm of your golf swing, the activity of your nerve system determines how your body functions.  Your nerve system integrates the activity of every cell, tissue and organ system in your body.

    The language of the nerve system is the signals that are sent across nerve fibers, the nerve impulse.  In many ways, nerves act as bundles of wires that carry signals in order to transmit information.  As each one of the nerve fibers in the bundle sends an impulse, or fires, a signal is transmitted so that your body is always acting in harmony.  As nerve impulses reach their destination, the signals are like on/off switches that regulate and integrate every activity of your body.

    The firing of nerve impulses strengthens and develops the pathways along which the impulses travel.  In other words, repeating a phone number or the motion of a free throw strengthens the nerve pathway so that it is more powerful in the future.  In this manner, nerve fibers create new pathways and reinforce existing ones to create the ability to learn, move, feel and think.

    Nerve Supply to Your Brain is Critical

    Millions of bits of information are gathered from every part of your body that travel through the spinal cord to your brain.  This input of nerve supply to your brain is critical for your brain to function.  So much so that the upper-most sensory input to the brain, the fifth cranial nerve, is the dividing line for brain activity:  if the brain stem is transected, or cut, above this point, shutting off all sensory input to the brain, brain activity shuts down.  Directly below this point, transaction of the brain does not have this effect and the brain remains active, as it continues to receive sensory input1.

    In other words, although we like to think that the brain is a supercomputer that runs the body, it is just as much that the nerve supply from the body is what runs the brain.  Your brain runs your body, but your body fuels your brain.  And according to Dr. John Medina, director of the Brain Center at Seattle Pacific University, the most important of this fuel is movement.  Movement, he says in his 2008 book Brain Rules, “acts directly on the molecular machinery of the brain itself. It increases neurons’ creation, survival, and resistance to damage and stress.

    Movement, Nerve System and Your Sixth Sense:  Proprioception

    Your sixth sense is an essential function of your nervous system called proprioception.  It is how you know where to place your feet when you walk, how a batter is able to swing a bat into the path of an incoming ball, and how you can touch both of your fingers together behind your head without looking.  Proprioception is your body’s ability to be aware of where it is in space.

    Amazingly, the vast majority of the information traveling across your nerve system is below the surface.  Furman and Gallo, in their textbook The Neurophysics of Human Behavior, report that throughout the nerve system, there are trillions of bits of information flowing through your nerves.  Of these, we are consciously aware of around fifty at any one period in time.  The constant evaluation of movement information through the proprioceptive part of your nerve system is similarly behind the scenes.  It has a powerful influence on your health, however.

    The authors of the Bonfire program have seen firsthand how proper function of the nerve system and proprioception is an essential element for health through working with patients, as has been seen by chiropractors for over 100 years.  Roger Sperry, PhD, received the 1981 Nobel Prize in Medicine for his work in brain research.  This is how he described how important the impact of proprioception and its contribution to the essential element of nerve supply was to overall health.  “Better than 90 percent of the energy output of the brain is used in relating to the physical body in its gravitational field.  The more mechanically distorted a person is, the less energy available for thinking, metabolism and healing.”

    Your unconscious understanding of your body’s positions and movements has always been the critical element of every moving animal species.  Without it, it is impossible to perform the basic functions of finding food and water, shelter and procreation.  Because of this, the proprioception component of your nerve supply is hardwired into regulating your body’s ability to handle stress.

    Stress and Your Nerve System

    Ultimately, it is your nerve system that is responsible for handling stress.  Stress comes from three categories of sources:  chemical, physical, and mental.  That is, stress results from unhealthy choices in your fuel, air and spark.  Once your body encounters stress, however, there is a common response from your body.

    The physiologist Hans Selye was the first to coin the term “stress just over fifty years ago.  The hallmark of the response to stress inside your body (the stress response) is the release of stress hormones.  As discussed below, the release of these hormones is controlled by your nerve system.  When your body perceives something as stress (read: your nerve system senses a stressor), it sends signals to release hormones.  These signals are controlled by a part of the nerve system called the sympathetic nervous system.   Adrenalin and noradrenaline, also known as epinephrine and norepinephrine, along with cortisol are the initiators of a system-wide stress response in your body.

    Fight-or-Flight, Rest and Repair, and Your Nerve System

    Just like being awake and being asleep are two separate and distinct states, being stressed and being in a state of healing and repair are two separate and distinct states.  When our bodies are in a state of stress, the hormonal release stimulated by the nerve system prepares the body for a state of activity.  This means tearing tissue down, preparing to burn energy, and preparing to move.  Blood is sent to muscles away from organs, blood pressure rises as vessels tighten, digestion slows, and immune responses weaken as the body prepares for action.  This feeling of stress, often referred to as the fight-or-flight response, is directed by the sympathetic nervous system.

    The sympathetic nerve system is used by your body in response to stress, or, in other words, anything that your body perceives as a threat.  Acting intelligently, your body’s response to threats is to prepare for action:  fight-or-flight.  Even thinking of a stressful event, taking the time to do so now, you will be experiencing the influence of the sympathetic nerve system in your body.

    To do this, however, there is a cost.  Spending energy to deal with a threat means halting the activities of rest and repair.  The sympathetic nerve system activity has an opposite system in your body dedicated to rest and repair called the parasympathetic nerve system.

    Your parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for the activity of digestion, relaxation and reproduction.  This is the system your body activates during times of safety for healing, tissue repair and procreation.  In order to heal and repair effectively, you want to be in a state of rest and repair.

    Recent research over the past twenty five years has shown how far-reaching the influence your nerve system has on the function of two other ‘”super-systems” inside your body:  your immune system and your endocrine, or hormonal, system.

    The Hard-Wired Connection Between Your Hormones, Immune System, and Your Nerve System

    Prior to about twenty five years ago, mainstream science did not understand the intimate connection between the immune and nerve systems.  Patients of chiropractors, however, reaped the benefits of improved nerve system function for decades before this.  See this example of life-saving results patients of chiropractors, doctors trained to remove interference to nerve system function, had during the flu pandemic of 1918.  Link to Franson blog

    In fact, every immune organ in your body is richly influenced by communication from your nerve system (link).  Immune organs located in your body including your network of lymph nodes, your thymus, spleen and bone marrow, and also most importantly in your digestive system, have their activity directed by your nerve system.

    This connection is also one of the underlying mechanisms why you are more susceptible to becoming sick when you are stressed.  During a period of stress, you shift into a more sympathetic fight-or-flight mode, promoting the release of stress hormones.  Chronic stress hormone release makes you more susceptible to illness.

    Today, research showing how the immune system, hormonal system and nerve system are hard-wired together continues to grow more and more.  To read more, check out these links on this growing field of psychoneuroimmunology.

    Dr. Ader and the origins of psychoneurobiology

    1. Textbook of Medical Physiology.  Guyton and Hall, Tenth Edition.  Pages 678-679

    Dr. Jesse Davis

    The HAP’S @ FFC: Spring Has Sprung!

    April 26, 2010


    MONDAY, 4/26  from 4:30 p.m. – 7 p.m:  Health Screening @ Beverly Athletic Club with Dr. Nick Araza.  Come and get your spine checked for indicators of nerve irritation.  Find out what may be CAUSING your symptom, or just get a free check up!





    FRIDAY, 4/30 @ 11 a.m:  Foundations Workshop with Dr. Nick Araza.  Find out where health comes from, how chiropractic can help you, and why any family who wishes to be TRULY HEALTHY must have a chiropractor on their health team!  Guests welcome.

    GET MOVING POWER WORKSHOP, now available on DVD in the Lending Library!  Rent it while you can, and learn why movement is an essential nutrient like oxygen, and not just for weight loss.  Then learn a Quick 5 series of awesome exercises that you can do each day to get the most out of your body.

    GET HEALTHY TV/Your Doctors ON TV!!  Through our own Public Access BevCam, the doctors of Franson Chiropractic will be discussing the all-important topic of the 4 S’s that are decreasing your immune system.  This is a series, with Tuesday’s TV session focusing on Food vs. Food-like Products.

    Here is the schedule (Channel 10 (public access)):

    Saturday, 3/13/2010 at 9:00 A.M.
    Monday, 3/15/2010 at 3:30 P.M.
    Wednesday, 3/17/2010 at 7:00 P.M.
    Saturday, 3/20/2010 at 9:00 A.M.
    Monday, 3/22/2010 at 3:30 P.M.
    Wednesday, 3/24/2010 at 7:00 P.M.

    Every day this week – check out the amazing new health site created by our own Dr. Stephen Franson:, and ignite your health today!

    Free Health Talks – Help us spread the word of health promotion by scheduling a Health Talk for your work, church, social club, etc.

    Any questions, please call 978-927-8466, or check out our website @

    And now, to say thank you to all of our loyal blog readers and their loved ones:

    coupon electronic
    Schedule YOUR New Patient Experience TODAY.

    How are we missing this?

    April 26, 2010

    My wife and I have been touring and interviewing schools for my son, Sam, to attend next year.   We have considered both public and private schools.   We have seen incredible, loving environments that promote creativity, expression, exploration and adventure.  Some schools emphasize the arts and music.  Some focus on projects and team building.  Most simply set out to challenge a child with their version of the traditional curriculum that shaped me and millions of other children before and since.

    I have interviewed dozens of teachers, principals and vice-principals.  I can confidently say that these are some of the most under-recognized and under-paid people among us.  Their passion for children is palpable, and their commitment to providing the utmost for each student rings clear.  The only remarks that hint of complaint surround resources, funding and the lack thereof.  But they appear masterful in their ability to create something from nothing – as if making binoculars from empty tissue paper rolls.

    My wife, Camilla, squirms uncomfortably in her chair during these interviews.  Not because she is typically sitting in a seat made for a six year old, but because she knows the inevitable series of questions to come.

    What is your school’s position on nutrition?  What do you think these children should eat?  How often do the children get to play?  How active are the students during the day?  Do they get to move?

    I can’t say that I am surprised by the typical response that I get.  But I am confused.

    Most schools have no regard for the food that fuels their fledgling scholars.  From my observations (and you know that I was looking), nutritional awareness falls somewhere between total disregard and vigilant peanut alert.  At the risk of sounding radical, I will suggest that Tater-Tots, French Toast Sticks and chocolate milk are NOT part of a “balanced breakfast.”

    The average first grader in our region enjoys one hour of “Physical Ed” per week.   There were varying thoughts on “free movement” about the classroom, but real physical activity was limited in almost every case.  The Waldorf School was the exception.  The challenge for us here was that we would have to strap the kids in the car for an hour each way to school every day.  So much for movement.

    The one thing that I found in all schools, teachers and administrators was a sincere desire to create the optimal environment for child development.  Each tour included an impassioned discussion of the technology, methods and tools made available to each child.  This discussion always included a mention of the allocation of resources – money.  The investment was clear, but so was the disconnect.

    Exercise is free.  How could we be missing this?

    Dr John Ratey, a neurologist and clinical associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and author of Spark:  The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, is a vocal advocate of daily physical exertion for optimal child development.  His work is the definitive guide to building bigger brains.  He discusses the abundant evidence that exercise and physical activity is not only great for our hearts, lungs and muscles – but it is the fundamental essence of mental and intellectual development.

    A fascinating new body of research in neuroscience demonstrates that our brains are wired in such a way that learning is tied directly to movement.  This relates back to our hunter and gatherer ancestors’ need to move in order to eat.  Learning is tied to moving because moving was tied to eating.  Before the days of neon roadside signage, you actually had to remember where the food was.

    The take-away here is simple.  If we truly want to help our children discover and experience their potential as whole human beings, we must simply encourage – and allow – them to move.  More on this to come…

    Check out this video below.  One family in China gets it.  Move like a human.

    Learn more about John Ratey, MD  and Spark here:

    Read this on a treadmill so you remember it.

    Dr. Stephen Franson

    New Advanced Workshop Next Wednesday Presented by Guest Speaker Dr. Paul Kratka

    April 21, 2010

    This NEW Advanced Workshop features our special guest, Dr. Paul Kratka, who has flown all the way from sunny San Diego, CA!

    All guests who come will have the opportunity to schedule a FREE new patient consultation after the workshop.

    The patient who brings the most guests will receive a $50.00 gift certificate to Cider Hill Farm!

    Be sure to sign up by calling the office (978.927.8466), signing up when you are in for your appointment, or through facebook.  And….be sure to share with a friend!

    Then, on Wednesday…

    …get in your car
    …go pick up a friend
    …drive to Franson Family Chiropractic in the Cummings Center
    …arrive at 6:35 p.m.
    …follow the balloons to the location of the workshop
    …sit back and enjoy learning from one of the brightest minds in Eating, Moving and Thinking…Dr. Paul Kratka!
    We look forward to seeing you on Wednesday!

    Four Conversations

    April 20, 2010

    Wednesday, April 14, 2010, 5:16 p.m., Burlington, VT

    Standing in the kitchen with my cousin Ali poking around the buffet table,  I looked out the bay window across a sprawling backyard straight out of a Vermont tourism brochure.  The setting sun turned Lake Champlain a rusted orange.  She mentioned that she had appreciated my last blog post about her father, who had died suddenly five days prior.

    She was touched by my sentiments about her dad, but wanted me know that the cardiologist explained that her dad’s condition was likely due to a genetic tendency toward heart disease.  She went on to say that a healthier diet and exercise would not have made a difference in his case.  In addition, it meant that she and her brother carried the same tendency and should be aware of this fact early on.

    Regardless of what the doctor actually said – or meant to say – this is what she took away.

    My compassion for this heartbroken young lady curbed my instinct to push back.  I knew that this was not the time or the place to have this conversation.  There would be another opportunity.  I would make sure of that.

    Thursday, April 15, 2010, 7:23 a.m. ET, Manchester, NH

    I missed my flight to San Diego.  Mentally, emotionally and physically exhausted from the previous long day in Vermont, I had slept through two alarms.  My late arrival to Manchester Airport was compounded by the fleet of spring break-bound families clogging the lanes in security.  I was dead in the water.

    Thursday, April 15, 2010, 8:56 a.m. ET, Manchester to Philadelphia

    “You’re not actually going to eat that, are you?” 

    Some of my best airplane conversations start like this.  I think that it is a great ice breaker.  I usually know within minutes where someone stands in regards to their views on health – someone who wants to be pulled back into the raft or simply committed to sinking with their terminal belief system intact.

    I reached over and snatched the pink packet of “sweetener” off of my neighbor’s meal tray.  I told her that she seemed very nice and that I was sure that there was someone, somewhere that loves her and wants her to live a long, lucid life.  I taught her about neurotoxins and brain damage.  I told her that she was sweet enough.  Check one.

    Thursday, April 15, 2010, 2:13 p.m. ET, Philadelphia to Baltimore

    I could feel my neighbor reading the Power Point slide show on my laptop screen. 

    I made it easier for him by starting the conversation.  It turns out that he was an orthopedic, specializing in knee problems.  I explained that I was doing my part to keep people off of his table.  He laughed and said, “Thanks, I think.”

    We discussed the root causes of the “bad knees” that he sees in his practice.  Besides acute trauma, obesity and chronic wear and tear from gait issues that were clearly the dominant upstream suspects, I explained pelvic mechanics, subluxation and gait correction.  He was intrigued and nervously joked about his own knee issues and his 300 pound stature. 

    We exchanged contact information and I traded him my almond mix for his Oreo’s.  Check two.

    Thursday, April 15, 2010, 3:44 p.m. PT, Baltimore to Phoenix

    Empty seats to my right.  It’s time to get some work done and a much needed nap.

    Thursday, April 15, 2010, 5:05 p.m. PT, Phoenix to San Diego

    His phone rang twice while standing in line behind me at check-in.  Then again while we were sitting waiting to taxi toward the runway.  “You’ll have to shut that off now, sir” reminded the flight attendant with a forced smile.

    Forty five minutes into the flight I had the complete story.  Young, successful dentist meets driven, competitive tri-athlete.  Ten years, two practices and three kids later, he’s stuck between a marriage and a cell phone. 

    I am listening to a story that I’ve heard before.  His wife is having an affair – with her Blackberry.  He is beside himself.  He describes his relationship like a series of dates with an uninvited and ever-present third wheel.  If she is not calling, she’s texting.  He admits that their best conversations take place on the phone.  He was building resentment –and dare he admit – jealousy…of a phone.  He clearly loves this woman, but is at his whit’s end.  What to do?

    I explained the realities of chronic, low-grade stress.  I told Dr. Dentist that Cortisol was like sugar to his arteries.  We discussed clear standards, unconditional love, forgiveness, and mental floss. 

    When we landed his phone rang.  I smiled as I heard him schedule their first Coffee Break.  Check 3.

    Everything happens for a reason.  The next time that your plans change or you find yourself on an unexpected path, keep your eyes, mind and heart open for the opportunities that lie ahead.  God has a way of placing you in someone’s path – or someone in yours – for a distinct and unique purpose.  Don’t miss it.  Often the life that changes is your own.

    Now go talk to someone.

    In Heath from Within,

    Dr. Stephen Franson