Spend quality time with friends — spending a meal with a friend or going to a movie with someone makes a big difference in ones life. After my father passed and I realized I didn’t have too many blood relatives around made me feel depressed and alone, so I went through my phone book and started reaching out to good friends. Needless to say, what I learned is that family is who you choose to be around you and support you when you need it and just people that bring you up and you have things in common with. Human interaction in this day and age of staring at your computer screens should not be taken for granted and we have to take extra intention to get out with friends because it has become too easy to stay at home and text.
As a part of my series about “5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Vivian Eisenstadt MAPT CPT MASP. Vivian is known by most in Los Angeles as “The Brooklyn Healer” and “therapist to the stars”. She appears on local and national television as a postural specialist and alternative meets mainstream physical therapist/healer. Her clients range from the elite celebrities to the working mom’s of the world to the computer sit-too-long epidemic patients. Vivian has worked for over 30 years in the health and wellness industry and has helped thousands of clients get out of pain both physically and emotionally with long term results.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the story about how you first got involved in fitness and wellness?
Iwas always an athlete growing up. I played every sport and won best athlete consistently. I was captain of my Basketball team in high school and we won the championships in my senior year. When I started Brooklyn College in January of 1990 I didn’t know what I wanted to do for a living yet, so the logical choice was for me to start as a phys ed major and see what showed up. Unfortunately when I hit college, the point guard on the Brooklyn College women’s Basketball team was 5’11. Furthermore, this was before the WNBA even existed, so between the two, my dreams were limited and I believed that my preverbial glass ceiling was hit. What was a short little Jew to do?!?!
I became an Athletic Training major because that seemed to be the only area in the phys ed department that was more advanced and had more brainwork to it. One day during my Athletic Training Class, Professor Bill Chisholm, the athletic training director, took the class to a local outpatient orthopedic and sports physical therapy clinic as a class trip. The moment I walked into the clinic my inner light bulb went off. It was more like the light bulb hit me upside the head with my A-HA moment and the simultaneous thought “OH,…THIIIS is what I’m going to do with my life.” The immediate following thought was “AWESOME!!! I not only felt lit up by the thought of making this my career, but I am also fulfilling the doctor- lawyer criteria that would satisfy my folks expectations.”
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
The most interesting story is actually something that happened to me in my career that changed my approach to how I approach my patient and shifted my work completely. I suffered from Epstein Bar virus from 1993 until 2004. Part of my healing process was following a herbal regimen that I was prescribed to help release the virus holistically. I took the first set of pills that you take the morning, and the tinctures. Within two hours, I suddenly felt this overwhelming pain throughout my body as if my whole body was on fire. I collapsed to the floor writhing in pain and feeling an immeasurable amount of anger in every cell of my body. I had an out of body experience and as I’m hovering above my body as if I’m looking down, I casually thought “I don’t remember being this angry”. From that moment it was clear to me that holding emotional rage from whatever my issues were was being brought to the surface via a chemical interaction. It was from that point that it was clear to me that at every moment we are physical, mental, emotional and chemical beings that interact with each aspect at all moments. From that moment on I knew I couldn’t work on my patients from simply a physical perspective but had to look at what emotions might be stored in those tight muscles and whether their body is working correctly from a chemical standpoint e.g. proper nutrients and water.
Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting?
I had a bad habit of forgetting Left from right and sometimes would ultrasound the wrong knee.
What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?
Ask the patient to speak up if they think Im doing it wrong. Take a moment and think before doing something
Can you share with our readers a bit about why you are an authority in the fitness and wellness field? In your opinion, what is your unique contribution to the world of wellness?
As mentioned above, I have delved deep into healing from having to work on my own issues with Epstein Barr and heal my entire body from a roguh illness that made my 20s look like my 80’s and pretty much soddered all of my joints shut for a few years. Through it all I found a plethora of holistic remedies and modalities that contributed not only to my own wellness, but I am able to share and apply to my patients. Im considered an “Eastern Meets Western” phylosophy practitioner. I went on to get a spiritual psychology degree in 2014 which has expanded my abilities to help my clients on all levels of life while they are with me. The results have been permanent releif and healing for thousands of people over the years. I have also been a personal trainer since 1987. I am at the part of my life where I share what I have learned. I gave thousands of fitness tests to clients at Tony Robbins and helped implement fitness testing into the first Equinox clubs. I have done years of personal research and exploration into what works and what might not work to help people with multitudes of issues. I help explain alternative methods that mainstream clients might think are “airy fairy” but with my Brooklyn street smart angle on it, they keep their ears open and I can get a lot of great concepts through to people who might otherwise not allow themselves to benefit from holistic therapy.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My father passed away last October 10th. He was my best friend. We spoke daily. He was my confidant. He was always supportive of me and gave me great feedback about any topic I was talking to him about. He was always there for me — when I was up or when I was down. He taught me all I ever need to know about soul centered love and how to be a good person and strive to do the right thing. Even though he was orthodox jewish as was the rest of my immediate family, my father displayed unconditional love to me, accepting me for who I was and who I wasn’t. He led by example and took care of everyone he knew and even some that he didn’t. His generosity had no bounds. His loyalty and commitment to those he loved had no bounds. People always said that I never got married because I never met anyone who could hold a candle up to who he was — and maybe they’re right. The amount of pain I have felt over this past year has had no precidence and for good reason. He held a special place in my heart that has a big hole in it now and I sometimes fill it with tears. Hold your loved ones close and do as I did — always ended every conversation with “I Love You” because I never knew when the last time he could say it back was…
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, exercise more, and get better sleep etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the 3 main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?
- I always say to my patients “People come into my clinic when they are ready to heal and not a day before.” What that means is that everybody has their moment when they want to make a life change or work on themselves and for everyone its different what that moment is. Something changes in our heart and triggers our commitment. We can never force anyone to get there, we can only show them what it looks like to be there.
- Self sabotage is not a new conversation. There are many mental reasons why one might self sabotage themselves; They feel they are too much, or not enough, or not worthy to be happy, or were called a failure so they live into it subconciously. Getting mental support to dig into what subconcious stories we try to keep alive that don’t serve us is a great way to stay on track and have different endings to our stories.
- Creating an unreasonable expectation: When many people start a new habit or regimen and then mess up, they have a tendency to throw the whole habit away because they messed up. At every moment we are doing our best with what we have. If that means that we accidentally had sugar one day after not having it for 4, then so be it! I believe in a “one day at a time” approach, allowing for slip ups to not throw the baby out with the bathwater and start over the next day. I know for myself I have tried many times to start regimens that I do for a week or 2 and then slip up on for a few days, so I pick myself up again and start when Im ready again with NO JUDGEMENTS OR CRITIQUES. Love yourself through whatever process you’re going through at all times and you’ll be OK.
- Not having support. It is much harder to do long term changes without community and accountability.
Can you please share your “5 Non-Intuitive Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”? (Please share a story or an example for each, and feel free to share ideas for mental, emotional and physical health.)
- Drink Water –My colon hydrotherapist (yes I have one) taught me that we absorb 4 oz/half hour. For this reason I keep water bottles (glass) throughout my house and when I see them I take a few gulps. Without water consistently, all of our bodily functions — whether that be thinking, working, driving, or exercising — slow down and are harder to do if we are not hydrated. Its harder to focus, stay alert and energized without water.
- Meditate a bit — Meditation is a tool that allows us to live a higher quality moment to moment life. By clearing your mind, you can reboot your brain to handle the day ahead or to find peace with the one you just went through. Meditation is like any other exercise or muscle and must be practiced to get good at and to really see the deep results that meditating has on ones life. Even if you do it for a few days and then get back on it, it will become easier and worth the 5 minutes of doing nothing.
- Get out and walk — Man was not meant to stay behind the computer all day and then on the couch all night. By moving your body for at least 20 minutes a day, you improve your overall well being while lubricating your joints and pumping your blood around.
- Spend quality time with friends — spending a meal with a friend or going to a movie with someone makes a big difference in ones life. After my father passed and I realized I didn’t have too many blood relatives around made me feel depressed and alone, so I went through my phone book and started reaching out to good friends. Needless to say, what I learned is that family is who you choose to be around you and support you when you need it and just people that bring you up and you have things in common with. Human interaction in this day and age of staring at your computer screens should not be taken for granted and we have to take extra intention to get out with friends because it has become too easy to stay at home and text.
- Go to a Physical Therapist just to check your posture and your form with exercises. By learning how to use your body properly BEFORE you have an injury is a great way to create a solid base for any exercise you’re going to do and to get through your day feeling less achy and ending it with more energy. Sitting with poor posture effects your ability to breath, focus and often leads to neck and back pain. Utilized the knowledge of physical therapists before you need them and you can create a program specific to your weaknesses.
As an expert, this might be obvious to you, but I think it would be instructive to articulate this for the public. Aside from weight loss, what are 3 benefits of daily exercise? Can you explain?
- Combat depression and keep motivated — Exercise helps our bodies release endorphins that literally m ake us feel good. The more we exercise, the more endorphins we get to have.
- Better sleep — Aside from having an outlet for anxiety and pent up stress, when our body is physically more tired, we get a better night sleep.
- Consistent exercise keeps our systems healthy — blood with nutrients is given the opportunity to get where its got to go, improved circulation and lymph drainage and decreases tightness and stiffness in our joints.
For someone who is looking to add exercise to their daily routine, which 3 exercises would you recommend that are absolutely critical?
- Stretching is imperative for wellness — Stretching gives our joints the most optimal range of motion for when we exercise. By stretching first we fill the muscles with blood, loosen up the joints and increase the joints range of motion so when you do the exercise you can be as complete as possible. It also minimizes injury when you stretch before the activity.
- Some sort of cardio — There are 2 ways to exercise — aerobically and anaerobically. Aerobic exercise like running walking bicycling is great for systemic wellness. 20 minutes 3 times a week of an exercise that keeps your heart rate up is key.
- Lunges. When performing properly, lunges teach you to use your leg muscles for your leg strength and not to use your back. A key exercise in avoiding back pain and strengthening core.
In my experience, many people begin an exercise regimen but stop because they get too sore afterwards. What ideas would you recommend to someone who plays sports or does heavy exercise to shorten the recovery time, and to prevent short term or long term injury?
As mentioned above, stretching before exercising minimizes injury. It also expedites recovery time. Stretching throughout the day slow and steady of a sore muscle helps get new blood to that muscle.
Whole Body Vibration machines also speed up recovery time. Anything that keeps the blood moving around your body to take away the lactic acid and help repair the muscles you worked out with speeds up recovery.
Take magnesium, potassium and any of the electrolytes you might have depleted yourself with from working out.
There are so many different diets today. Can you share what kind of diet you follow? Which diet do you recommend to most of your clients?
from working I believe in excessive moderation. I try to do the intermittent fasting cause it makes sense, but I have a hard time sticking to it with my social calendar. Im also an emotional eater so eating is a constant conversation. I recommend more lifestyle choices then diet choices per se. For instance, not eating at night when you don’t need the energy for anything.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?
“Loyalty to Your Soul” is the book written by my teachers of Spiritual Psychology, Ron and Mary Hulnick, and I recommend it to my patients. It has many tools to help navigate through day to day stressors.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Aside from world peace and ending world hunger? Well I started a movement to replace the word “pain-free” with Vivie. Our words are powerful. The way our minds work is “think it- say it — do it”. Because we use the word “pain” when we discuss eliminating it made no sense to me so I invented a word (its in the urban dictionary) “Vivie” because Vive means life and when we’re not in pain we’re back to living our lives more optimally.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
For the past year I had to deal with tremendous stress with my fathers illness and passing and 3 of my dogs passing and handling the trauma of it as well as the estate. Every day new situations or conversations or things to be dealt with came up. My motto became “Just Handle It” and I would handle what priority showed up that day. I felt a sense of empowerment that I had the strength and focus and it kept me out of my head and less emotional in a good way.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
I mean I could always learn from the greats like Oprah and Deepak Chopra, and laugh with Ellen Degeneres cause she’s really that enjoyable. Mark Burnett because I always wanted a TV show.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
Facebook vivie therapy or brooklyn healer
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!