A Professional Dancer and the Average Joe Have Something in Common – Body Work and Wellness.
With over 10,000 sports injuries that happen each and every week throughout the US people should be aware of how things affect their bodies. People compartmentalize their life, they compartmentalize their body and then they just keep going as their bodies break down.
West Hollywood, Sept 19, 2016 –In a recent interview with Beverly Boyko, President of Optima Publishing and California Business Mavericks, Michael Hamilton owner of Uplift Health and Wellness™ discussed wellness, body work and health.
Michael Hamilton started dancing professionally at a very tender age of 10. Michael later moved on to join the Maine State Ballet at 14. Unfortunately, during a closed dress rehearsal Michael strained his hamstring before going into a full season of The Nutcracker. Thankfully, the onsite Dr. helped and guided him through his injury till he was able to relax the injury and continue without missing a show.
As a result of that injury, Michael was introduced to body work, and after years of enjoying these benefits Michael decided to learn more by attending California Healing Arts College. After receiving a Master Degree, he opened Uplift Health and Wellness in Southern California. Michael has been using natural and learned muscular and skeletal awareness also with dance and sport background (football and tennis). He also infuses a dozen more modalities of massage, ballet and Thai stretching in order to make sure that the patient is getting whatever their body needs which has earned him great respect from his patients whom he do not only thinks of treating but makes sure that when a patient comes they will leave with great curiosity and new things that the patient can put into daily practice.
“I learned just how much people are unaware of how things affect their bodies and how their bodies affect their entire experience,” says Michael. “Uplift offers chiropractic care, massage therapy and acupuncture as well as fitness classes.I would say that the thing that sets Uplift apart is each one of us; the people that work with me and myself have gone through some sort of recovery ourselves.So I feel like when you come to see us, we relate to you, not only as a physician or a caretaker but also somebody who’s been there and understands that it can be daunting and it can be discouraging and that you kind of just have to be where you are in that journey of healing and make sure that patients don’t feel like it’s unattainable to get to where they want to be.”
At Uplift Health and Wellness™, we aim to be the professional support and guide for all the things that you need to heal. We provide holistic healing though well rounded experience so that no matter what stage you are at, we have someone who can go on that journey with you. Heal yourself and be healed, we will be your guide.
BB: Hello and welcome to this episode of our program. My name is Beverley, and I am with Business Mavericks. Today we have with us, Michael Hamilton, the manager of Uplift and Wellness. Welcome to our program Michael.
MH: Thank you for having me. How are you?
BB: I’m doing fine. Why don’t you share with us about your background and how you got started with the health and wellness business.
MH: Well I grew up dancing. I was a professional ballet dancer from about ten years old. I then proceeded to dance professionally from 14 to 18 and then sort of sporadically since then. Therefore, I had a lot of experience with injury, recovery, and nutrition. I met many people along the way who helped me with that process. I came out to the entertainment business in Los Angeles about 11 years ago. As many people in that industry can relate to, I’m sure; I had to find a way to survive. Dancing doesn’t really pay bills, so I did a lot of odd jobs including working in restaurants and catering. I found myself feeling unfulfilled because these odd jobs were not necessarily a passion for me. No matter how much I wanted to do a good job or give it my all, I just wasn’t passionate about them. Knowing that entertainment would probably take longer to pay than I thought or wanted, I needed something to do that I cared about in the meantime. In addition, I needed something that made me feel like I was not just contributing my time. Therefore, I went to school and studied Massage Therapy. This was the beginning of Uplift and Wellness. I learnt just how much people are unaware of how things affect their bodies. Further, they are unaware of how their bodies change their entire experience. They compartmentalize their life and their body and then they just keep going. Therefore, I graduated from massage therapy school and worked with somebody for quite a while. I found myself hearing many of the same stories from different people from different occupations, but they would have very somatic things come up. I found myself wanting to share with more people what I was learning. So from that came this concept of “okay well, what if I had space where I could teach workshops and leverage my background in production and additionally produce content that people could see or enjoy or learn from anywhere?” When I opened Uplift, I really wanted a space to teach and record so that not only could we see our patients, but also I could share something helpful, hopefully, with people all around the world. About a year ago, I started trying to implement that, a year and a half to be exact.
BB: Okay. What services does Uplift offer and what makes your business stand out from the competition?
MH: Uplift offers chiropractic care, massage therapy and acupuncture as well as fitness classes. This question is always a little weird for me. “Why are you better? Why would we choose you?” that sort of thing. I would say that the thing that sets us apart is my team; my workmates and I have gone through some form of injury and recovery. My business partner Dr. Medza, the chiropractor, was a track athlete in college. He went through the journey of having to stay healthy and fit in that career. Katie, our acupuncturist, was a professional tennis player and tore her right rotator cuff multiple times, among other injuries on her body, and she had to go through the healing journey. Being a ballet dancer myself, I had my fair share of injuries. So I feel like we are relatable when you come to see us. Not only as physicians or caretakers but as people who not only have been there but understand that the healing process can be daunting and discouraging. Similarly, we know that you just have to be where you are in the journey of healing. We make sure that patients don’t feel like it’s impossible to get to where they want to be. Beyond that, I think the fact that we have a very well rounded health care center is somewhat unique, not entirely unique, but I believe in what we are offering. For instance, when I have a patient come in and they have a muscle imbalance or a weakness and maybe they’re not really in need of complete physical therapy and not ready to just run down the street to work out by themselves, it’s nice to be able to say, “well, we have boutique classes here at Uplift. I would like you to take our bar class and build your core. It’s affordable, and it’s something that will help change your life and prevent this ongoing injury you have.” So that’s a little unique I think.
BB: From either a chiropractor visit or a massage therapy visit, can a person get fixed with just one visit?
MH: Every patient is unique. It would be hard for me to say they can be fixed in one visit. There have certainly been patients who have had an acute issue that after just one visit, they were 90% better. I would, however, say they are rare, especially with chiropractic care. This is because you may have an alignment problem. Even if the doctor fixed that alignment issue, there’s probably going to be some aftermath of soft tissue problems that you might have to deal with. The pain may go away, but you really have to make sure you stick with your care. Whether it’s with that doctor or by yourself, you need to prevent that alignment issue from occurring again. Additionally, you have to deal with the fact that you might have an over-stretched ligament, and you might have an inflexible muscle on the one side. So just fixing a joint or a segment of the spine that is out is not going to fix everything around it necessarily. If you had that adjustment with a chiropractor, you would probably get a checkup call after detailing how you need to care for the injury. It can be a process. Nevertheless, we don’t just do medical massages for incoming patients. If someone comes in to relax, I certainly hope that I can relax them and lighten their minds in just one appointment. One of the philosophies I try to promote here is the gift to unplug. I feel like we all carry an enormous amount of responsibility and stress. When people come here, I want them to disconnect and feel like they are taken care of and safe for the next whatever time: 15mins, an hour, an hour and a half. I want my patients to feel like they don’t have to worry about answering their phones or replying their emails or thinking of that long traffic-filled drive ahead of them. I just want them to be here and feel relaxed. I think we accomplish that in one appointment. Other things can take a little longer sometimes.
BB: What type of obstacles have your clients faced in the past?
MH: I think it’s very hard for people to remember once an acute pain is gone that the process of healing is still continuing not only in the sense of the physical body. I think that like for instance, if you have a fight with somebody, your spouse or your friend or whoever, and you’re lucky enough to continue with that relationship, right afterward you find yourself being so apologetic and so doting and so loving, don’t you agree? If you’re not careful, that wears off, and we forget that “oh wait there are a few problems here we should probably address.” People are the same way with their bodies. They come in with this acute pain in the neck and they literally can’t move, and nothing is more important to them. If the pain doesn’t go away, they feel like they will die. If we’re lucky enough to fix that acute pain, they forget about their painful experience and no longer take care of themselves. They forget that incidents like leaning over their phones, their sitting positions while driving or the way they operate a computer or use their shoulder muscles activating in the middle of their back may have caused their injuries. All these instances require a little bit more long-term care and focus, but once that acute pain is gone, we forget about it. I think that’s a struggle for us because you don’t want to be… you don’t want to lecture a patient. You don’t want to be the villain and be like “now remember, you have to do your things because…” You know, you want to be encouraging. I have experienced this across my profession. As soon as that sharp pain is gone, whether it be a relationship, a conversation, or a feeling in your body, it’s hard to remember and to have the perspective that you need to keep going and working on this problem.
BB: Well that explains a lot to me, I like slacking off. What are some benefits to prospects who might want to work with you?
MH: Just life, period. Our current way of living is very intense on our bodies. A lot of us are on computers 6 to 10 hours a day. That is not a normal way of operation for the human body. The human body is fluid, works in balance, and has this beautiful way of operating. The more you use it, the more it can fix itself. Therefore, if we’re up and about, our body will be more fluid. If we’re up and about, our circulation will improve, and our limbic system will work efficiently. If we are always on our computers in a stationary position, hunched over with our pelvis rolled under, how can you expect the body that was not, in any way, shape or form created to do that, to then be fine with that? People often tell me “I was at the computer for 8 hours. If you show me a few stretches, I’ll do them in 3 seconds and everything will be okay and in balance.” No, it is not. You were sitting with your pelvis tilted over for 8 H-O-U-R-S. You had those muscles folded in that abnormal position for 8 H-O-U-R-S. That’s the number one creator of patients for me. In the current work environment, everyone is a slave to a computer station. Beyond that, we have some acute injuries, and we have a lot of cross fits and other types of athletes who come in who might have severe injuries. Those injuries tend to be low back injuries. The lower back is vulnerable to poor placement and form. It only takes a split second of lack of focus to get a nagging back injury. This is because the lower back requires to be in a 365-degree position from your core to lift a load. If you, even for a second, don’t think about it or do it wrong, it’s going to hurt all the way round.
BB: What is “You fit HIIT”?
MH: You fit HIIT is a class that we offer at Uplift. Uplift Health and Wellness is our brick and mortar. It includes services such as acupuncture, massage, chiropractic, get stretched and rolled out. All of these are one-on-one services that we offer. Then we have You motions studio which is where we offer group classes, and one of those classes is You fit HIIT. It stands for high-intensity integral training. It’s similar to a boot camp or a circuit class but all of our classes at Uplift are less than 15 people. It was crucial when I started these classes to be able to share specific and personalized attention that I got with my one-on-one patients. At the same time, I wanted to be able to share it with more people but still keep it small enough, so I didn’t have people working out in the wrong manner. One of the main reasons I was seeing people all the time was that they were either working at their offices seated in improper positions or improperly working out at the gym and nobody was helping them. Therefore, when we started classes, I didn’t want them to be massive because people would just be going in and doing their thing. Nobody would be able to look at them and say, “Okay this is what needs to happen here and this is what you personally need to do to strengthen that.” So our classes are non-medical almost physiotherapy if you will. They’re definitely not physical therapy, but they are leaning more in that direction than. The agenda is not only to sweat. You’re there to learn about your body, you’re there to balance your body, and you are there to learn a little bit about yourself as well hopefully. So You fit HIIT is hardly a boot camp class like that.
BB: Okay. I’m going to ask you a personal question because one of the main reasons I was really interested in doing this interview is because of my situation. Five years ago, I was hit, T-boned in my car by a drunk driver and my right knee was completely crushed. So, I had to have a new knee replacement and my left knee is going bad because of the whole thing. I went to physical therapy, and I was fine and then after physical therapy, I still wanted to exercise and do something about my body. I went to 24 Hour Fitness; I went to L.A Fitness, and all I did was feel pain. The pain was so much that I couldn’t even walk. Nobody could understand what was going on with me – but I couldn’t walk so I just gave up and now I feel like I’m huge. However, I don’t know what to do. What you’re talking about sounds as if it could help a person like me. Is there something in your program that could help a person like me?
MH: My initial reaction is yes, I would hope so. I wish it were uncommon but in this field, I hear many people who have similar stories. The problem is that our emotional and physical minds are at odds with each other. A physical ailment is a very particular need. It can be you tore something, or you dislocated something, whatever it is, it’s specific, it needs our attention. Nevertheless, what happens alongside is always an emotional thing. You start getting depressed because you’re inactive. Due to your inactivity, you start to gain weight, which increases your depression. The more you get depressed, the more you don’t want to think about it. Therefore, the struggle that I have with patients is that I need to remind them to be where they are, doing what they’re doing and be okay with how it’s going. It is a philosophy of mine. What I mean by that is, we can’t always be angry with ourselves. “Why aren’t you working on your body? Why are you not doing the things that I want you to do? Why am I always in pain?” You can only be where you are and at the pain level, you’re at, right? You also can’t expect that anything is going to change overnight. So when people come into You fit HIIT, or when people come into Bar, they’re at a lot of different levels of activities there. Some people have incredible flexibility, and some people look like dancers from New York City Ballet, and it’s amazing. I have other people who have come in with almost zero mobility and severe injuries and needed to be somewhere else, but I tried to encourage my teachers of course not only to give modifications and to offer different levels of difficulty but also that the person is okay with it. That’s the key, whether you’re at L.A Fitness or at 24 Hour or you’re with me. If you are punishing yourself with my workout, it’s not going to matter how much feeling I try to put into it, we can’t be punishing ourselves with exercise. I think many people do that. They get into this cycle of self-loathing and the response to that is “I have to go suffer”. That’s not what exercise is and that’s definitely not what healing is. It’s the correct use of your body so that it can feel better than however it was before. It’s not a punishment, it’s a change. So I would encourage you, I don’t know where you live, but if you could find a place like You fit HIIT, no matter where you go, whether you go to Core Hour Yoga or whether you go to L.A Fitness; do not feel like it has to change right away. You don’t have to feel like you should be at the level of everybody else. Nobody is going to understand you; nobody is getting the million impulses from your body that you’re getting. Only you can do that and then you can share it with somebody. Try to combine this knowledge to improve yourself. So be careful mostly, I think, and take care of yourself.
BB: Sounds like you care. With many fitness centers, I was just another client. You fit HIIT sounds as if you guys care a little bit more. Clients are just not customers with money; you care about the person. I think that’s the difference. I was in a lot of pain and what they were trying to make me do; I couldn’t do because of my leg. I think that’s the big difference from what I’m hearing from you compared to what I felt there.
MH: I try to. I try to see every patient as the person in front of me. I think another thing that’s challenging for patients is this expectation from me as a practitioner and also from themselves of “let’s get back to where we were.” That might not actually be your journey, you know what I mean, I’m sure you’ve realized that now. However, many people are like “Okay come on! How can we fix this?” and it’s hard for a physical therapist, it’s hard for a physio, it’s hard for a chiropractor to look at someone and be like “we might not be able to.” Nevertheless, I think that is a responsible way to relate to your patients. Don’t tell them “If you do this 5,6,12 week program, whatever it is, you’ll be back.” That’s not a fair promise. We’re going to do what we can do every day, if you commit to it, to use the body you have now. It might never walk evenly, it might never be 100% pain free and I think that’s all that expectation actually creates; resentment between a practitioner and a patient and a lack of trust. That’s hard… as a doctor, as a physician on any level, whether you’re a personal trainer, a massage therapist or an M.D. You want to be able to tell people “I have answers.” However, answers don’t always mean 100%.
BB: What’s your favorite part of your job?
MH: My favorite part of my job is that Aha moment, I think. Whether it is when I’m teaching or when I’m working on somebody or even with my employees but that moment when they say; “boohoo! I get it.” It’s just really nice to see that look on their face and be like “okay I did something today” or “okay it’s done, this day is golden.” Certainly, every day other experiences all day long aren’t like that. I rather try to zero in on those and multiply them. Those moments are when I feel like people are getting what I am saying.
BB: What is the best advice you could give to your client?
MH: My philosophy is where you are; you have to put all your focus on that moment. Do what you’re doing. Don’t be all over in your mind with expectations, doubts and disappointments already in the way of you and the person you’re hopefully learning from. Even if it doesn’t go the way you wanted it to, you have to be okay with that and listen to that. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Don’t turn healing into just a continuation of self-punishment, which is what we do in our lives a lot, unfortunately. Just feeling like you have to…everything is an obligation, you know? I don’t want your healing to be an obligation. I want your healing to be a gift you feel you’re worthy of.
BB: It was wonderful learning from you about Uplift Health and Wellness, and I thank you so much for your time, Michael. I wish you all the best.
Uplift Health & Wellness
1022 Palm Avenue, Suite 1
West Hollywood, CA 90069
http://www.upliftla.com email: email@example.com