Monday, June 11, 2018

Trauma and Pain: How emotional events can be related to pain.

Trauma and Pain:  How emotional events can be related to pain.
Dr. Holly Hochstadt

Recently, a new patient emphatically stated: “This is a physical issue, it has absolutely nothing to do with my emotions”. I’d like to share how emotional challenges (as well as chemical and physical ones) can compromise our body’s ability to heal and to thrive, sometimes resulting in physical pain.

The World Health Organization (WHO) states: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” This definition recognizes how multiple aspects are connected in creating your overall state of health.

We all have overloads in life; some people call these “traumas”. By “overload”, I mean any experience that you are not able to integrate and adapt to in that moment; these then become stored in the body in the form of tension. They may be physical overloads: sports or other injuries, sudden change in activity, car accident, or bad ergonomics. They may be chemical overloads: something we breathe in, eat or drink, put on our bodies, or use in our home or yard (this would also include sensitivities to food, caffeine, chemicals, drugs, pollens, and dehydration, viruses, bacteria, mold, etc.). Lastly, overloads may be emotional: big or sudden stressors such as divorce, conflict, confrontation, moving away from community, assault, abuse, death of a loved one, or ongoing stressors such as pressure at work, home, or school, as well as feeling stuck in a difficult situation, or having fear or concern about the larger world, such as politics, human rights, the environment, or global health.

Tension stored from the overloads of life compromises our body’s internal communication systems. When our body can’t coordinate itself properly, information between the brain and the body is not properly delivered or received and this seriously limits our capacity for healing and for health.

Stored tension limits health by compromising our: 
  • Efficiency in any of the body’s activities 
  • Adaptability and flexibility with challenges 
  • Resiliency in being able to bounce back and recover from overloads 
  • Capacity to clean, renew, repair, and heal 
  • Perception of the world around us 
  • Reactions to events and experiences 
  • Ability to be present, calm, and grounded 
  • Ease in healing 
  • Expression of our unique gifts in the world 
  • Ability to thrive 
Simply put, optimal communication is essential to optimal function.

So, when function is compromised, we can have any kind of symptom: back pain, insomnia, digestive trouble, depression, headache, low immune function, recurrent injuries, anxiety, vertigo, skin rash, muscle twitches, and many more...

In order to optimize your health, holistic providers consider ALL the types of overloads you have experienced. Then, by working with you to help reduce the amount of stored tension in your body, we are simply helping your body to re-engage with what it knows how to do: express it’s capacity to coordinate healing and create higher levels of health: physically, chemically, emotionally -this inherently includes mental, social, and (for some) spiritual health. The primary intention that I bring to all patient care is to do everything I can to help your body optimize its ability to heal. I absolutely take the big picture view that all aspects of health are relevant to healing. I have found this to be the most effective way to help people to truly heal, and be more comfortable, whole, and able to express their gifts in the world.


Here are a few interviews that explore research, theory, and protocol for dealing with trauma (of any kind) stored in the body in order to optimize health and decrease physical pain:

Thursday, February 1, 2018


Inner Brilliance Chiropractic is Moving!
I am so excited to share this news... It's time for new growth!
My office building (of almost 23 years) was sold last month and the offices are being converted back to residences. This news is bittersweet, as I essentially did a lot of my professional "growing up" here. Certainly it has been a wonderful space to practice and provide care for all of you over the years. I have so many good memories... And, I am definitely ready for something new!

Over the last couple of years, I had been feeling a strong pull to practice in community with other like-minded providers. Also, after over 20 years of having a walking commute to my office since I moved to NE Seattle 2 years ago, I had started driving to the office... I was longing to get back to a walking commute.
Where to?
I am so excited to begin practicing in 2 new locations as of the first week of April. In both cases, I have found fantastic colleagues with whom I will share gorgeous, functional practice space (with easy parking too). I really can't wait to serve all of you with gentle and exceptional chiropractic care in my new locations this spring.
My primary practice will be with Core Chiropractic & Wellnessin the heart of the Lake City neighborhood. I will be at Core on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays! I am so grateful to join a beautiful practice that has such a fabulous, inspiring, and caring team. We will have front desk support for you too! And, yes, I will resume my walking commute! :)
My second location (on Fridays) will be on top of beautiful Queen Anne Hill at The Center for Classical Five Element Acupuncture. It is a lovely, peaceful space that I am so grateful to be able to share with you. It allows me to continue to serve my Queen Anne based clients locally.
More to come...
My current practice location in Lower Queen Anne (Uptown) remains open through the end of March.
All contact information for IBC remains the same for now.
Please note, my office will be closed February 22nd - March 2nd, while I am on yoga retreat.
Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. Additional updates and details will be shared as it all progresses.
And, yes, we will have an Open House event to welcome you to Core Chiropractic... date and time TBA.
With lots of Gratitude, Love, and Light, 
Be well!

-Dr Holly

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

I Can’t Believe It Happened To Me...

So, over the past 5 years, I have had some health challenges: lots of joint pain, a frozen shoulder, rosacea, headaches, digestive issues, brain fog, etc. Nothing major, but absolutely limiting my overall quality of life. Initially I chalked it up to the stress of several big changes going on in my life. But after “working on my health” for years… I was still dealing with these issues.

A couple of months ago, I had a flare-up of pain in my low back. While I have a history of low back pain that goes all the way back to high school, I hadn’t had anything like this in probably over 10 years, and this time even had some new tingling sensations show up too. I kept doing yoga as best I could, went to my fantastic acupuncturist for a treatment, had a nice massage, got a quick chiropractic adjustment from an out-of-town colleague at a gathering, and then had a great craniosacral session. All of these seemed helpful at the time, but my condition wasn’t improving, and now 3 weeks had passed, and I was tired of being in pain and feeling so cautious and physically limited.

I considered what to do next, and decided to go see a local chiropractor who I had been under regular care with some years ago. I needed a new approach, and I knew it. As soon as I started getting adjusted, things began to change. My low back pain was improving, yes (and YAY!); but also, my skin got a bit better, my energy increased, and my sleep improved. My digestion seemed a bit better, my headaches decreased, and my joints were feeling better. My brain fog was lifting, and my mood lightened; I felt more hopeful and positive about the world, my life, and my future. WOW. Then I thought about it. Before starting back into regular chiropractic care, I had slipped into getting adjusted just once every 1-3 months, and that had been going on for years... The chiropractors I was getting adjusted by are not in Seattle, so we were meeting up periodically to connect and to adjust each other. In my 22 years of practice, there had been times when I was getting adjusted regularly in Seattle, or nearby, but then, somehow, I had let it decrease to just at those gatherings, which had been monthly, but then shifted into being less frequent…. So, I really hadn’t been getting adjusted much at all. But, wait, I’m a chiropractor! What the heck?! Chiropractic care helps us integrate life’s challenges, come out of overload, maximize adaptability, and function at our fullest natural potential. And, I hadn’t been giving my own body’s nerve and communication systems that supportive, restorative care to function at my best. Life always brings challenges, and I felt like I’d had a bit of the “snowball effect”- the overloads of life had built up, and I was directly experiencing a significant decrease in my quality of life. But, again, I’m a chiropractor! How did I let this happen to ME?! How could I possibly have failed to provide myself with the care that I teach my clients about and that I provide in the office every day? How could I have forgotten the fundamental concept of chiropractic care as a path to create, restore, and optimize health? I was really shocked, and, actually, kind of embarrassed.

As I pondered how it happened, I realized: I’m human too. We all get overloaded sometimes. We all forget sometimes what works for us, or what our resources are. We get busy, caught up in productivity, activity, and the frenetic pulse of city living. For the past 4 months, I have continued to receive regular (at least weekly) chiropractic adjustments. That back pain I had? Most of it is long gone. But my health has steadily continued to improve in so many ways; I feel like I’m finally healing. My body is working through lots of old stored stress, and my overall health and adaptability (to handle what is coming at me now) is increasing every week. I’m so grateful to be getting adjusted again. And, after my initial shock and shame about being the chiropractor who wasn’t getting adjusted, I’m so glad I had the chance to relearn the lesson of what an incredible difference chiropractic makes when it comes to health. I love facilitating health through chiropractic care. Please let me know if I can help you, or if you have any questions.

Monday, February 29, 2016

End-of-Life, Palliative Care, and House Calls Available with Dr Holly

I have always made chiropractic house calls when my clients need them, but now I have officially expanded my services to include working with people who have serious injury, illness, or who are ready for end-of-life care.

Some of you know that I have been working with hospice patients for the past few years. Chiropractic recognizes that all living beings have incredible inherent wisdom; and with a well-functioning nerve system, we have clearer expression of our wisdom. This allows our body to do it's best with any challenges we are facing, including those at end-of-life.
What I love about this work-
Those of you who are already familiar with my gentle style of chiropractic know it can be VERY calming and centering, as well as pain-reducing. These effects generally bring more ease to clients, but also facilitate any process a person's body is working with. It fills my heart to see clients relax and experience more peace, comfort, clarity, and an increased ability to be present with what's happening in the moment. To be honest, in some cases the body is working on healing, and in other cases the body has begun it's natural work of shutting down. Being calm, present, and at ease increases comfort and quality of life for us in any scenario.
I am offering this care in my office, as well as in client's homes, or in facilities (as permitted). Rates vary based on location and length of session; please contact me for more details or with any questions.
I know there are many people who would benefit from this care. Your referrals are welcome to contact me directly to discuss any specific situation, ask questions, and see if this might be a good fit for them.  
Phone: 206-284-3747

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Inner Brilliance for injuries?

In chiropractic, we like to say that healing only happens one way.... from the inside-out! Meaning that your body does the healing. No one can heal you, it's something that your body does for you. Certainly medical intervention sometimes takes a role in assisting the body, but how does chiropractic care fit into the picture?

Chiropractic care can play an essential role for anyone healing from an injury. Whether you had a fall, a car accident, a sports injury, or a repetitive strain at work...chiropractic care facilitates and supports your healing process! As your body works on repairing tissues after any type of injury, there is a lot of internal communication happening. Chiropractic helps your body and your nerve system to have the best possible communication with that wisdom inside of you. This inner wisdom is truly the source of our bodies' capacity for healing. Supporting full and clear communication with it, through chiropractic, greatly facilitates your speedy healing and your best possible outcome.
Many of our clients at Inner Brilliance Chiropractic have experienced the benefits of chiropractic care in how well they were able to handle (and recover from) all sorts of life challenges. We believe that those who have had an injury also deserve the same exceptional level of quality chiropractic care. Our sole focus is supporting you in your recovery. Optimize your recovery with chiropractic care!
-Doctors of Chiropractic are able to make referrals (when appropriate) for additonal types of care to assist you in your healing. These may include: massage therapy, acupuncture, physical therapy, podiatrists, diagnostic x-rays, primary care physicians, etc.
-At Inner Brilliance Chiropractic, if you've been injured in an auto accident, we bill your insurance company for you.
Happy healing!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

"Is there anything I shouldn't do after my adjustment?"

It's a question I am frequently asked, and if you are familiar with my practice or my blog, you likely already know my answer!

No, there really isn't anything that you should inherently avoid after getting adjusted!

However, if you listen for it, your own inner brilliance will guide you to what would (and what would not) serve you best. You are unique, and so is your healing process! It just might be that breakdancing after getting adjusted could be the perfect thing to support one person's process, and could cause total overload for another. But the same thing is true of a nap, or a glass of wine, or a walk, or a yoga class, or going to a movie, etc! There isn't a script for health; we don't come with a road map or an owner's manual.

By now, most of us have figured out some of the things that help us to process and integrate the stuff of life, and also how to get re-centered within ourselves. And yet, in any moment, what we need could be different. The way to know what's right for you is to listen to that voice inside, your "intuition", or as I like to call it, your "inner brilliance".

If you can't hear it, try doing one of the things that have worked in the past to help you get reconnected. If that doesn't do it, or the voice is faint, that is a great time to come in for an adjustment. By optimizing your system, getting reconnected to your self, and clearing your connection with your inner brilliance, you will be able to take the best possible care of yourself.

Your frequency of care is always up to you, and always based on your goals. Whether you choose to come in quarterly, monthly, or weekly is often based on how much you've got "on your plate". But, it's always up to you to decide how often to optimize your system and your connection with your inner brilliance! I look forward to seeing you when the time is right!

For more information, see Inner Brilliance Chiropractic, the office of Dr. Holly Hochstadt, a chiropractor in Seattle.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


Okay, I'll confess now; the title and image above were intended to be a bit misleading!

Based on the concept of inner brilliance that I embrace, one of my biggest tenets is this:

"The best doctor we could ever listen to is the one within."

I remind clients of this frequently. The wisdom inside of us can guide us about what we need in every moment. We've all experienced hunger and known that we needed to refuel with a meal or a snack. We've felt thirst and known that we needed more water to rehydrate. Our bodies feel really hot and we look for ways to cool down. When consumed with fatigue, we feel the desire to take a nap. Obvious and very evident to us all, right?

What about if we have a cold and we notice a strong craving for soups with clear broth, while feeling no appetite for anything heavy or rich? Or, if we feel irritable and then notice that it's been too long since we've had quality time with our significant other? Or how about if we have a stiff low back and we feel the urge to crawl around on the floor and do some "stretching" that's so original, that these moves won't be found in any stretching book? These might be a little less obvious, but it's the same thing!

In so many ways, the innate intelligence that is constantly working for us, is constantly giving us messages about what we can do for ourselves, when, how much, how often, AND in this present moment! From what we eat for lunch today, to the posture we assume when sitting down (without thinking about it!), to who we may need to have a conversation with, this inner brilliance is constantly guiding us in all of our decisions and actions; both concious, subconcious, and unconcious.

Our connection with this inner guidance is one of our best sources for advice. Some folks call this their "intuition" or what "my gut tells me". Whatever the words to describe it, this wisdom is absolutely and constantly present in every living person! The next time you find yourself wondering on any level about what you should do for yourself, try asking your own inner brilliance as your first step! Listen to your gut, you intuition, your inner wisdom, and do the best you can to follow this guidance. You can cultivate your awareness of this connection by paying attention and also by honoring what your body/being asks for.

Of course, sometimes your intuition may tell you is that it's time for a consultation with an expert, or a trip to the Emergency Room, or to ask someone for help. There is a place and time for every type of care. However, cultivating your connection with this "doctor within" is still the best way to know what's right for you. You may have your own practices that help you stay connected to this, and you may also consult health care providers that support you in having the clearest possible expression of this wisdom, to facilitate the expression of your maximum health potential on every level.

Your inner brilliance is truly the best doctor I can imagine ever consulting! Ask away!

For more information, see Inner Brilliance Chiropractic, the office of Dr. Holly Hochstadt, a chiropractor in Seattle.