About the C.H.E.K Institute
The C.H.E.K Institute, based in San Diego, CA, was founded by Holistic Health Practitioner and Certified Neuromuscular Therapist Paul Chek.
The institute is recognized world-wide for its corrective exercise, high-performance conditioning, and lifestyle and stress management programs.
6 Foundation Principles of the C.H.E.K Institute
1. Sleep - Get to bed by 10:30 p.m. Your physical repair cycle begins about 10:00 p.m. and runs until about 2:00 a.m. Your neurological/hormonal systems do most of their repair cycles between 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. So get to bed so your body can be strong for the next day!
2. Movement - It doesn't need to be a hardcore workout, just get some regular MOVEMENT! Walking, yoga, aerobic exercise all have great benefits. Remember, train not drain your body!
3. Hydration - The average human needs to drink half his or her body weight in water in ounces a day. So if you weigh 200 pounds, you should drink 100 ounces a day. Remember this is a minimum! If you sweat more, you'll need to drink more.
4. Nutrition - Aim for a healthy diet of unrefined, unprocessed foods and keep your intake of sugar and white flour to a minimum. Buy as much organic as you can afford, putting a priority on meats and dairy.
5. Breathing - Breathing is something we do around 20,000 times a day. Make sure you do it correctly by taking big deep breaths in which your lower stomach fills out as you take a breath then drops backs in as you breathe out.
6. Thinking - Get plenty of quiet time. How and what you think has a profound affect on your body. Focus on creating what you want with your thoughts, not what you don't want!
As a C.H.E.K Exercise and Holistic Lifestyle coach, I address clients' needs by using the Reflex Survival Totem Pole which was devised by C.H.E.K Institute founder Paul Chek. The totem pole ranks the order in which the brain prioritizes the body's system to ensure survival and optimal functioning ability.
Too often people focus on building muscle or losing fat but don't address issues that hinder one's goal of reaching their optimum health. By working down the totem pole, this assures we cover all areas of your health in the correct order of importance.
Respiration - "You must breathe to be." Brain cells begin to die without oxygen after three minutes, making respiration the most crucial function to sustain life. Poor breathing habits can also cause postural dysfunctions and impede athletic performance in addition to altering the body's PH balance, which again disrupts critical internal functions.
Masticatory System - "Food for life." Through chewing our food, swallowing, etc., we may open and close our mouths up to 4,000 times a day. Because our teeth and the ability to chew food is so vital to survival, our bodies will make any compensations necessary for optimal chewing. This innate desire can lead to posture issues if not properly addressed, not to mention unnecessary trips to the dentist!
Vision - "Seeing is believing." Your eyes aid movement control and recognition and play a crucial role in stability and balance by assessing the environment. For an athlete, quick recognition of movement, perception of distance, etc., is critical to success.
Auditory and Vestibular Function - "Your antennas of balance." The ear detects sound which is useful to function and performance while the vestibular system senses motion and speed of movement and is integrated with the cervical and ocular systems. Clients with vestibular disorders may suffer from vertigo or a sensitized sense of rotation which impedes performance and can lead to postural deficits and trigger points in the head and neck region.
Cranio-Cervical System - "The cockpit of control." The upper cervical spine is considered the gateway between the head and the body. The head will do what it must to keep the eyes and ears level with the horizon to keep sight, sound and bite optimal, even if this means sacrificing the systems ranked below on the totem pole. Often faulty patterns lead to faulty alignment of the cervical spine which must be addressed.
Visceral System - "To digest is to function." When the internal organs are inflamed or diseased, the muscles along the same pathway are affected. Often the muscles go into spasm or become inhibited. For example, if someone is constipated or has inflamed intestines due to gluten intolerance or other food allergies, the muscles in the abdominal region relax and are unable to contract. This reaction leaves the body unable to stabilize the pelvic region, therefore making it susceptible to injury.
Emotions - "Are you carrying the weight of the world?" Emotions and posture are intrinsically linked. A depressed person is likely to carry the posture of that depression, exhibited in rounded shoulders and forward head posture. A confident, happy person will often walk upright with strong posture. They're also strong athletes!
Pelvic Girdle - "The platform of your being." The pelvic girdle serves as the platform of the spine and is responsible for transferring forces between the upper and lower body during movement. The pelvis must be in proper tilt to function to its maximum, yet it often becomes distorted by a dysfunction above. Poor posture above leads to poor gait below.
Slave Joints - "The body's workhorses." These are all the joints and bones below the pelvic girdle. Often these are the areas where injuries occur. However rather than the cause of injury being restricted to that locale, all systems must be examined and any dysfunctions addressed. Remember, a strong core makes for strong extremities!
Holy Trinity of God, Spirit, Matter: "God" or "Spirit's" potential (depending on what definition you prefer) plus the forces of yin and yang form the Trinity. Everything in the created universe has a level of consciousness symbiotic to its construction. For humans, it means the Higher Self.
Element Forces of Earth/Life, Water/Tone, Fire/Warmth, Air/Light: The four element-ether combinations are the essence of creation with the elements providing the materials for creation and the ethers to move life.
The Zodiac: This represents the spiritual forces emanating from the constellations, which often represent the life cycles.
The Serpent: The serpent consuming his own tail is the ancient symbol for gnosis or knowledge of spirit and matter meant to symbolize "life eats life."
Man, the Microcosm: To have a holistic approach to health, one must look at both the microcosm within ourselves and the microcosm outside and how they relate. The yin and yang of nature, the link between heaven and earth and all the emotions and experiences of the world affect our nature. Through our own learning, we come to understand that "we do life, life does not do us."
The Chakras: The chakra systems and their energies link the heaven and earth, anchoring man to Mother Earth but also enlightening him upward. As we evolve as beings the energy flows through each of the chakras until a higher consciousness is experienced.
Sense Man: Mind is the builder of man since we express ourselves through the nervous system. A balanced mind and hormonal system lead to a balanced body.
The C.H.E.K Mandala represents the general philosophy of a C.H.E.K Practitioner as it reflects the whole body approach by addressing life, exercise, nutrition and spirituality. I have an affinity for this mandala because it serves as a great reminder that nothing we do is isolated in the world, everything is connected and has an effect elsewhere, even if the force is not seen.
Metabolism Man: Our metabolism is the fire that symbolizes our life force. It is the energy we have to share with the world and the energy inside us that dictates how hormones, food and exercise are used to create our fire.
Rhythm Man: Rhythms are present in all levels, from the planetary cycles to the sounds of nature to our own bodies respiratory and hormonal functions. To keep these rhythms maintained is to be in balance.
Limb Man: We use our limbs to create and contribute to the world. They are, by their very nature, an extension and tool of our thoughts.
Dr. Quiet: Much like how the lower chakras ground us to the earth, Dr. Quiet is the element that encourages recovery and the need to go within one self.
Dr. Diet: Dr. Diet feeds and nurtures our bodies. To find the right proportions of proteins, carbs, fats and oils from healthy sources is the key to providing vitality.
Dr. Movement: To live is to move! Everything in creation has a movement that stimulates health.
Dr. Happiness: To be happy is to be in synch with all the other elements.