During a pandemic, staying safe and healthy should always be your number one priority. As many things as you want to be able to do and achieve, if you don’t keep yourself healthy, then you won’t be able to go on after the quarantine is lifted. Dr. Liz Hoefer is the CEO of Well Connected Chiropractic. She joins Dr. Kevin Pecca to talk about how to maintain your health during a health crisis, especially a pandemic. Have you been keeping yourself healthy?
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How To Stay Safe During A Pandemic? (COVID-19) With Dr. Liz Hoefer
We have one of my favorite recurring guests, Dr. Liz Hoefer. Dr. Liz Hoefer is one of my mentors. She taught me pretty much everything I know about Blair Upper Cervical Chiropractic. It’s always a pleasure to have her on the podcast. She is a wealth of knowledge, not only about upper cervical chiropractic but health and wellness in general. I just wanted to get her input on what is going on in the world now with COVID-19, how to stay healthy, how to stay safe, how to naturally boost your immune system, what’s going on with local businesses. I love getting her input on things and she had a very interesting take on COVID-19 and everything that’s going on in the world. I love hearing it and I hope you guys enjoy this episode. Please welcome Dr. Liz Hoefer.
We have a very special guest, my mentor. She taught me everything I know about Blair Chiropractic and so much more. She’s always there for me. It’s always a pleasure to have you here. Dr. Liz Hoefer, how are you?
I’m doing great, Kevin. Thank you so much for asking me to be here again.
We are living in some crazy times. I wanted to get your input on a couple of things and be there for the people and what they can do to help everybody through these crazy times.
It’s something that we’ve never seen. The world has never gone through this. Anybody that we’ve ever known has never gone through something like this. It’s an important topic. It’s something that we as leaders can shed some light and hopefully be a voice of reason in crazy times because people are looking for that.
What do you think exactly is COVID-19? How do we address that?
From what I understand, COVID-19 is a variation of a Coronavirus and it’s a Novel Coronavirus, which means it hasn’t been introduced into the human population before. Novel means new. The reason why it’s called Corona is because if you study it under a microscope, it’s got what looks like crowns and Corona means crown. This is a variation of the SARS that we had and it’s SARS-2. It’s a variation or a mutation of what we went through as a nation. What’s interesting from a pandemic perspective and the way that the governments of the world are handling this is, if you look at the statistics from the SARS outbreak, it was significantly higher and worse than what we’re dealing with.
There wasn’t an economic shutdown. Governments didn’t close their borders. In fact, I was pregnant with my middle daughter, Makayla, when the SARS epidemic came through in 2009 and I think I had it. I was pregnant. I did have a test done but it came back inconclusive, so there wasn’t a way to know if I ever had it. Based on all the signs and symptoms, I think that I did have it. I was on maternity leave and I gave birth during that time. I was coughing so bad that my water broke because of how awful and how forceful the cough was from it. It was very interesting. There wasn’t this economic hysteria and governments and world closing down. I don’t think that there isn’t an issue with this Coronavirus, this COVID-19. I do believe that people get sick from it. I don’t see the statistics that are warranting the economic collapse that is going to be far-reaching and far more damaging than a couple of people getting exposed to this.
It’s also good to hear too because a lot of people’s only outlet is the news channel and that has a death toll on it every 5 to 10 minutes. That’s not good for anybody’s health.
There’s so much talk about media being corrupt and I am not going to opine on that, but I am going to say that you can’t believe everything you hear. It’s important to be able to do scholarly research and understand what the science is saying. The truth is there isn’t any science about this because it’s new. The things that they’re doing to attempt to treat it, it’s like they’re practicing on us. I’ve read reports that they’re using high doses of vitamin C and we all know that vitamin C is something that does help boost immune function and can support a healthy system. I’ve read reports that they’re doing that and that it’s working. I know that any time there’s stress, it affects the nervous system.
What we do as chiropractors is we reduce that stress. We reduce the tone, dysregulation, especially the vagus nerve. We’re getting people’s nervous systems to be more balanced. That’s why it’s important for people to understand that having a healthy nervous system is important because that’s what’s going to filter your entire life. It’s unfortunate because we have some colleagues in Colorado that their government shut them down. They can’t practice. Their directive is if somebody is dying and they don’t get treatment, you’re allowed to treat them. That’s a pretty narrow population. In reality, when I go out of alignment, I feel like I want to die. What’s the standard? Who gets to say? Does the patient strive for the care that they want to have? Who’s policing this? That’s the question.
All of these ethical things are coming up and I don’t think we’re ever going to go back to the way that we were. I don’t think life is going to go on the way that it once did. Lots of people are having to innovate the way that they do their business. Even me, I’m learning how to do telehealth. If somebody is having a hard time but they can’t get to me, I can do a video conference with them, screen them and give them some advice and some support. That’s something that was brand new because typically, when you think of a chiropractor, you think they’re going to lay their hands on you. I’ve implemented that into my practice and it’s also important to be able to have notifications that go out quickly. If for some reason I decide, “The patient load isn’t great. We’re going to switch everybody to one day we’re going to close the office down,” I can send out a push notification and everybody can get that information to their cell phones instead of to an email, which most of them don’t read.
We’re innovating the way that they were communicating and delivering messages. The sad thing is we’ve never been more connected from a virtual standpoint, but we’re isolated emotionally. We need to change that. We have to harness the technology that we have before us. The fact that I can sit in front of an iPad and look you in the eyes, that’s important, but it’s something that we don’t do well. There’s a whole lot of things going into this that are going to benefit us for the future, but the economic impact is going to be disastrous for a lot of people. I know that people give a lot of heartache to Donald Trump, but he was right in saying that the cure can’t be worse than the cause. The fact that 6.6 million Americans are on unemployment over a virus that has killed in total 73,000 people, I don’t understand why the whole world has to shut down and why people are losing their businesses and people are losing their jobs. We don’t understand what true health is.
You think about how long they can even do that before things start to get serious because people are going to need to start working in 2, 3 weeks, if not already.
I’ve only had my business personally for months and I can’t sustain for probably more than two months. I have savings, but I can’t support paying my staff to do nothing. If the patients aren’t here, what is there to do? There’s only so much filing, organizing, and phone calls that we can make, but we’ve already had calls coming in. “I’m sorry, I have to cancel my appointment. I was laid off and I don’t have an income.”
Another part of that too is, “I’m sorry, I don’t want to make an appointment until all of this blows over and it’s okay to go outside.”
People are terrified to go outside of their house. The air in their house is the same air outside. I don’t understand. The media has fueled us with inappropriate over response. I’m not saying that there isn’t something happening. Certainly, there are people that are sick. There are people that are struggling and we need to be able to take care of them. It’s interesting because I take care of several nurses and lots of medical professionals and their hospitals are dead. They’re not overrun. I’m glad that there is the option for people to go to the hospital, but it’s not as terrifying as the media would have you think.
We’ve never been through it. Everybody’s looking for a solution. Luckily, even though we aren’t giving adjustments right now to everybody, we can give them a couple of things to do maybe at home and sound nutritional advice to help them through these dire times.
Stress is going to be something that is going to ramp up. The idea of not having a paycheck come in or how am I going to pay my mortgage, it’s heartbreaking. For me and my business, I gained so much momentum and had such a successful launch. I’m not even a year old as far as practicing in my own practice goes. To have all of that crumble within two weeks, it’s something that is never seen. For me, the thing that I rely on is going back to my faith and trusting that I am supported, that God has good things in store for me. It may not look the way that I want it to look, but that ultimately, I will be okay.
I take deep breaths, I pray and I try to get enough sleep. God knows I have a lot more time to get sleep. I’m not doing as many things as I once did. Normally, I run a pretty busy schedule but it’s been nice to be home, enjoy my family, do puzzles and cook meals at home with my family. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot to do. I can’t go anywhere. I thought it’s funny. I read a meme that said, “Gas is cheaper than it’s ever been. Airline tickets are cheaper than they’ve ever been, but we can’t go anywhere.” It’s like that Alanis Morissette song, “Isn’t it ironic?”
I was going to ask you about the flip side of the coin here. One thing I noticed was even though I’m still open, but it’s definitely slower, it is nice to have that little reset button that I was asking myself for, that I probably wouldn’t have given myself because you are running a business. Being home a little bit more and spending more time with the family, you do realize that you might have been overworked and it is nice to get that sleep. I’m thinking to myself that it might affect the way I do business in the future with being better to myself.
If anybody can take anything positive away from that, that is the relationships that we have with the people that we love are worth more than collecting another thousand dollars at the end of the month. Money can’t buy happiness. It can buy opportunity, but does that ultimately make you happy? I know that my kids are loving the fact that I’m home every night. We’re homeschooling, so I get to be a part of their education and I get to see what they’re doing every day. My husband and I are tag-teaming. Sometimes my middle daughter, Makayla, will come to the office with me and do homeschool from the office. It’s been fun. She’ll also help clean the tables down and do some filing and work at the office, which is nice because she’s learning entrepreneurship as well as math.
Do you think this has opened any creative doors for you as well? From my perspective, I noticed that I was too overworked to even think about doing podcasts or anything like this. It will cross my mind but I was like, “I’ll get up early tomorrow and do this.” It’s turned my brain on into who to ask to interview. That wasn’t turned on in the last few months from being overworked. Do you think this has opened up a little bit of a creative outlet for you as well?
One hundred percent. I put my podcast on the back burner because every day is consumed with running the company, having nine employees and serving on three different boards. The podcast, while I love to do it, the times that I’m available to talk to people, they’re already in bed or they’re not going to get up at 4:00 in the morning. Those are my margins. That is super unhealthy. It has been a refreshing reset. It’s an emotional reset because I have to check myself. Am I dependent upon my ability to produce to be worthy? That’s got to change. I did this challenge called the dumbest perfect challenge where every day I would get on Facebook Live and do a video. I’d never done anything like that before.
It was difficult because I’m an extrovert. When you go live, that’s a whole different situation because anybody can say anything and you have to deal with what they’re saying. This entire thing started in the midst of my 30 days. I saw my countenance and my spirit from being this completely happy, optimistic, like everything’s fantastic because I had money coming in to I don’t even know what’s happening. I have to check myself. Where do I put my trust? Where do I put my confidence? It was an eye-opener for me. Creatively, absolutely. I read something cool that Shakespeare was in lockdown and in quarantine during the plague when he wrote six of his most famous plays.
We are going to have some brilliant things come from this creatively, entertainment-wise, from an art perspective. The world needed it. Do I want people to get sick and die and suffer? Absolutely not. Please don’t hear me say that. What I want to iterate is that we run at a high pace and it’s unhealthy on every level. In the future, maybe it is that I only work three days a week and I take every Friday off so that I can go to Big Bear on a whim with my family. Where before, I would be like, “I’m sorry I’ve got to work and then I’ve got to do this. I’ve got to do that.” It’s interesting.
It’s funny how understanding the entire family can be with that too, like, “Mom’s got to go to work. I completely get it. That’s completely fine by me.” It also makes you keep doing it where now you realize, “Those times I am at the office could be a great weekend with the family that you’re never going to get back that you’ve got to start doing.”
My kids are only little ones. With my older daughter, Lauren who’s going to be 21, I had to work my tail off because I was a single mom raising her. I went to college and I worked three jobs and I got my doctorate degree. I can’t get those years back with her. Now she has a skillset that is pretty resilient. She can go out and do what she needs to do. She has a lot of street smarts and she’s a very independent girl. It’s not that I don’t want that for the littles, but I realize that there is something missing that I didn’t get to experience her as a child, that I get to have that time now. It’s bittersweet to recognize where I failed and where life had been at that point for me in the past. I have an opportunity to make different choices. You’re right. I always justify, “I have to go to work.” They’re used to me hearing that. Now when I say, “This weekend we’re going to build pillow forts and do puzzles.” They’re like, “Who is this lady?”
You did mention you were doing some telehealth calls and everything. What can the people do to stay healthy in times like this, not even for Corona or anything, but for everyday life in general?
Getting enough sleep is so vital.
They say it’s the most important thing.
It is because it’s the reset every night. The truth is your body only goes into rest restore during specific periods of time. That’s 10:00 PM to 6:00 AM and between 2:00 AM and 6:00 AM. You probably see it in your practice. People that work third shift, even if they get eight hours of sleep, it’s not the right eight hours. They’re unhealthy and they don’t have their corrections. They are so stressed out all the time. They don’t have great relationships because they’re not thinking clearly. Sleep is vital. Staying hydrated, getting out and breathing fresh air. I’ve honestly never seen the air in California so clean.
I went for a walk and I don’t know if it was me, but the air and the sky, everything seems so new and refreshed out.
It’s like this reset that the earth has gone through. My girlfriend lives in West Hollywood in the Hills. She took a picture from her balcony and she could see all the way to the ocean. In general, it’s always covered with smog. You can’t even see Downtown LA. Another buddy of mine lives in Huntington Beach where you used to live. He took a picture from a hill in Huntington Beach and he could see all the way to Downtown LA. He could see the Hollywood sign. That’s how clear the air is. People are breathing. Don’t be afraid to leave your house. Go outside and breathe fresh air.
How are the roads out there? It’s unbelievable when everybody goes out there. Is there still a lot of traffic or is it dead?
I had to go to take my daughter to an appointment from where I live. I took her from the office up to South Coast Plaza. It was about seventeen miles. Normally, that would take 45 minutes, maybe an hour depending. It was a fifteen-minute drive. There was no traffic. That’s a bonus.
That’s something that’s going to change too, I feel like, transportation and everything.
With this whole everybody having to get online instantaneously and work from home, lots of companies are going to not have to be in buildings and stress their workers out. People are more productive when they can work in an environment that feeds that. Not everybody is a work from home type of person, nor can anybody do that. I can’t work from home. I have to physically be in my office and see people. This telehealth thing that you asked about is a cool new application to what we can do to offer help advice and screen people. One of the things that we want to do is to make sure that we’re not exposing people unnecessarily. We ask every patient before they come in, “Are you having any symptoms? Are you having a fever? Have you traveled? Do you have a cough? Are you sneezing?”
If the answer is yes to any of those questions, we have them take their temperature. If they show signs of it, we just say, “We’ll catch you next time. Let’s reschedule you and see where you’re at.” We document properly. We’ve asked and screened. They’ve acknowledged while they’re in the patient visit, they don’t have any symptoms. That way, we’re keeping a safe, clean environment because it’s still important. I started off the call with the fact that chiropractors are deemed essential by the Department of Homeland Security. We’ve never gotten better press in this. What we do to help people alleviate suffering and pain is so vital to the world. We need to be open and people need to get out and go to their chiropractor and get their nervous system checked. It’s that’s simple.
First and foremost, we have a lot of people that come in for digestive issues, which in fact is going to affect the absorption of everything in your body. You can take all these supplements and everything. Your body might not even be accepting that simply because the nervous system isn’t innervating all the vital organs.
There’s so much research that’s done that shows the gut-brain access. You have more neurotransmitters in your gut than you have in your brain. If your gut isn’t healthy, your body isn’t going to be healthy. There is a lot of science to support that. The work that I’m doing and that you do in Blair with the upper cervical work, but even more of this stuff that I’m learning about the CCJ, the Cranio Cervical Junction, and all of the science that advanced imaging that we’re studying is proving more and more that the vascular and the CSF flow. The information being able to transmit from a mechanical perspective. If you distort the cord, there are going to be consequences. That’s why we get the relief when we do an upper cervical correction and why people say they get better because we’re physically fixing the mechanical distortion of the cord.
It’s allowing the neurology to be restored. People always say, “There’s been no greater time to be a chiropractor than now.” More than ever, we’re going to be able to rise and shine and say, “We do offer a non-pharmaceutical way to deal with pain and suffering. Come and check it out. Get experience.” People are always saying, “I’m too busy.” Now they’re not. Now they’re stuck at home and we are essential so we can get you in and we can take care of that headache, migraine, low back pain or whatever it is. Let’s be real. Most people aren’t coming to us for wellness. If you’re well, then you’re not qualified to come in. If you’re fantastically healthy and everything is great, normally we would say, “Come, let’s make sure that’s still a thing.” Right now, we have to screen that and we can only take people that need essential care. If you’re in pain and you’re suffering, you’re not sleeping, you’re stressed out, all of that stuff can be helped by the work that we do.
I had a couple of people text me that their spine is all out of alignment from sitting on the sofa with the laptop and working. Everybody can use it right now. As you stated before, get on it while you can because all the chiropractors are open and you have the time.
Unfortunately, if you’re in Colorado, they’re not open. The legislators in that state are trying to do a reversal to mandate that the Board of Chiropractic for Colorado issued because they misinterpreted it and didn’t understand the intent of what the governor was saying.
I’m surprised because Colorado is usually pretty up on the holistic approach to healthcare.
Unfortunately, lawyers think about lawsuits all the time, so they don’t want anybody to get unnecessarily exposed and then have a lawsuit happen because there was an accidental, a non-symptomatic person that ended up being diagnosed with COVID-19. As long as you’re documenting that you’ve screened them, that you have asked and you’re making sure you take precautions with sanitation, you should be okay.
Is Colorado the only state that is a no go for chiropractors?
As far as I understand, initially Kentucky, but then they reversed that right away. Oregon had a day where there was a talk that they were going to be shut down and then that got reversed. Colorado is the only one so far that hasn’t reversed their decision, which is unfortunate because we’ve got some great Blair doctors out in Colorado. I’ve got great upper cervical friends in Colorado that aren’t able to practice. All those patients are definitely suffering because they don’t have access to care.
They don’t have access to get out of the state either.
Everything is shut down. Unfortunately, the negative aspect of the world is coming to the point where people are tattling on their neighbors for being outside or for driving somewhere. It’s insane. We need to step back and as a human being, have compassion. Stop trying to get above or get beyond or get one over on the person that is down the street.
I know nobody knows the answer to this question, but where and how long do you foresee this happening for? I want to state right now, nobody knows the answer, but what do you think? Who knows?
It’s hard to say. What’s happening in California is that they’ve got us on a shelter safely until May, but they’ll probably extend that until June. In the summer, I think things will get back a little bit. In the fall when it gets cold and everybody starts eating sugar because it’s the holidays, it’s going to resurge. I don’t know how our economy can take these ups and downs. That’s where understanding how is it to support your body? Stay away from inflammation, from sugar. Make sure your nervous system is healthy. Those are defenses that are going to allow your body to function better and allow you to fight against anything that’s coming.
What about the common flu that’s going to resurface? Some people might have just the flu too and they think it’s Corona. That’s got to be tough too.
I don’t know all the statistics, but I know that the regular Type A or Type B flu, they are way more prevalent than this Corona. It kills way more people.
There’s no death toll up on Fox News of everybody dying from the regular flu every minute.
The problem is they’re attributing anybody that has any respiratory issue and they’re calling it Corona. They’re not doing the due diligence to figure out what actually was the problem. They had a cough and cold and a fever, so they must have Corona, but they also had diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Those aren’t getting the death blame, the other thing is. It’s manipulation of data and it’s not okay because we are looking for real, proper, healthy data. There was a report that came out from Dr. Chesnut. He was saying that there is no way to know and that we have to have good data to be able to make determinations on how to move forward and how to handle something like this in the future. It simply doesn’t exist right now. Even everything that we’re talking about, it’s all hypothesis. It’s all theory. Both of us are healthy. Both of us have a desire to want to continue to serve. Both of us have a pretty good grasp on what health is. It’s been a reset for me from an emotional relationship standpoint and from a time perspective because I tend to be a workaholic and I tend to pour myself into my career. It’s been an eye-opener for me for sure.
I want to say to everybody be well, be safe, take the proper precautions and do what you need to do. Enjoy this little time you have off now because it’s not going to last forever and hoping everybody health and wellness throughout these tough times.
Thank you, Dr. Pecca, for allowing us to come together and talk about this timely message. I look forward to seeing some of the creativity that comes from your side of the country.
Thank you and you as well. Thank you for coming on again. If you want to learn more about Dr. Hoefer’s story, she was one of the first ten episodes released. It’s going to be one of the most amazing, inspiring life stories you’ll ever read. She’s been on the show a couple of times. Check out even other episodes she’s been on. Dr. Hoefer, what’s the name of your podcast and where can people find you online?
I have a podcast called Get Your Head on Straight!. It’s all about having perspective. This is a perfect example of where our heads are. Are they thinking clearly? I have a practice in Mission Viejo, California called Well Connected Chiropractic. I’m absolutely open and excited to help people stop suffering. You can find me there.
Thank you, Dr. Hoefer.
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