Intuition and Applied Science Yield Healing Results by Sandra Yeyati
In his early 30s, Michael Rehl, of Rehl Chiropractic, began to experience intense fatigue—a physical malaise and brain fog that made it tough for him to get through the day. Rising out of bed was difficult, and coffee didn’t help. Looking for answers, he sought the advice of conventional doctors, but after running a series of tests, they assured him that everything was normal.
Rehl didn’t feel normal. He knew something was wrong, so he visited an applied kinesiologist that conducted muscle testing, a technique that gauges muscle strength and reflexes to pinpoint physical imbalances and systemic problem areas. He advised Rehl to eliminate wheat, dairy and soy from his diet. “I was eating a lot of bread, like most people do,” Rehl recalls. “I did stop and most of that fog, that heaviness and horrible feeling, lifted off of me.” He began to take nutritional supplements, too, and so commenced his quest to heal himself and eventually, others.
Around that time, Rehl also witnessed the seemingly miraculous healing of a close family member with a painful knee problem. Every time she took a walk, her knee would swell up and hurt. The problem restricted her mobility and dissuaded her from an active, normal life. Like Rehl, she was in her 30s, much too young to be limited in this way. Conventional doctors had applied cortisone shots, and massage therapists and chiropractors tried to work out the kinks, but nothing seemed to relieve her suffering.
The applied kinesiologist did his muscle testing on her. Rehl watched him massage a point under her rib cage on the right side of her body; he heard a gurgling sound. The practitioner told them that he had just cleared out her gallbladder. He advised the young woman to go out and take her walks, suggesting that she would not be troubled by that knee any more.
And so it came to pass. She was completely cured of her knee pain and swelling. Rehl was blown away. “I became a born-again applied kinesiologist,” he quips. From that day forward, he studied muscle testing techniques, chiropractic and nutrition in earnest. “I love it. It doesn’t feel like work,” he says of his chosen profession, adding that he likes helping people.
Rehl offers two services. One is the chiropractic exam, which evaluates muscles and joints—the workings of the physical body. He looks at posture, pinpoints painful areas, evaluates the functionality of coordinated muscle groups and identifies range-of-motion issues.
Rehl explains his approach: “If your neck is out of alignment, I always ask why—like a 3-year-old. Why is the neck out? Because the muscle is not working. But why? That muscle is related to the stomach. But what’s wrong with your stomach? It has a hiatal hernia. But why? Because you’re holding your breath or you’re pregnant and your baby pushed your stomach up. I like the puzzle of always asking, ‘Why, why, why,’ until you get to the very bottom, and then you ask, ‘Can we fix this, and is the patient willing to make recommended changes.’ Are you willing to wear orthotics, are you willing to not eat wheat?”
Rehl’s second service involves checking the biochemical aspects of the body, including organ and gland systems, as well as vitamin, mineral and essential fatty acid levels. Using muscle testing, homeopathic test kits and other techniques, Rehl looks for imbalances, deficiencies, toxicity or stressors. He identifies food sensitivities and looks for the presence of inflammation and infection. Candida, a parasitic fungus, is often a culprit. A client that feels depressed and groggy might benefit from a Candida cleanse.
“A lot of people think, ‘Oh I’m tired,’ and if they go to a health food store, the clerk might recommend B vitamins, ginseng or energy drinks, but what about the stressors? What about the fact that you have Candida, you’re allergic to wheat and you’re toxic? Some of those things are hard to test for in a Western blood test,” Rehl says, remembering his own experience with fatigue and the doctors that assured him there was nothing wrong. Another helpful test Rehl offers is a take-home urine and saliva test that measures levels of neurotransmitters—chemicals that help communicate information throughout our nervous system. Imbalances can impact mood, sleep, concentration, energy levels, weight gain, hormone levels and the immune system.
Rehl recommends and sells five or six different brands of high-quality supplements to address imbalances, as well as specialty items and herbs that are helpful for more immediate needs. “If somebody is depressed, I may not want to just give them whole food supplements. I want to get them feeling good as soon as possible without the use of medications,” he says, commenting that a product like 5-HTP can help people sleep better and improve their mood within days to weeks.
Rehl admits that his own health is not perfect. “Fatigue has been my Achilles heel. If anything goes wrong, I’m tired. For me, fatigue comes and goes, and it’s an ongoing project,” he says. Rehl practices what he preaches. He gets chiropractic adjustments regularly, and every month, he checks himself with muscle testing and other exams to determine his needs. He takes supplements and herbs to address imbalances and deficiencies, and avoids harmful foods, particularly sugar, which he says is pro-inflammatory and causes all sorts of problems in the body. He eats quality, whole food and next to no junk food. “I hardly buy any food made by a corporation,” he says.
Dr. Michael Rehl: Small Changes in Wellness Can Produce Big Results by Karen Adams
Dr. Michael Rehl of Walnut Creek is a chiropractor, practitioner of applied kinesiology and certified massage therapist—and former teacher—who, most of all, educates patients about their bodies, how they work and what they need to heal themselves.
“I deal with a lot of health problems,” he says. “Many of us are not 20 any more, and we’re kind of falling apart. We’re exhausted and in pain and falling asleep all the time.”
But, he asserts, it doesn’t need to be that way, and we can age gracefully if we understand proper self-care. Rehl offers a holistic approach to identify stressors in the body, whether they’re biochemical, nutritional, structural or stress-related.
He addresses posture, spinal alignment, food and nutrition, supplements and goal-setting, and, most of all, the connections throughout the body’s interrelated systems, aiming to educate patients rather than simply telling them what to do. He often uses muscle testing to identify muscle weakness and corresponding organ-related issues. For example, he says, if a patient’s liver is toxic, then the pectoral (chest) muscles are likely to test weak. If the pectoral muscles are weak, the back often goes out of alignment. “There is a connection between the health of your insides and the functioning of the musculoskeletal system,” he explains.
Another example, he says, is that many people struggle with digestive problems, but, because it’s a private and often embarrassing problem, they may not talk about it, especially to a chiropractor. But the intestines and those corresponding muscles are inhibited as a result of the dysfunction, Rehl says, and this directly affects the pelvis, which in turn affects the low back. “So many people with digestive issues have low back pain,” he says. “I’ve had a lot of people stop eating dairy and wheat, and maybe do a cleanse, and then a month or two later the muscles are stronger and they feel so much better.”
Even so, he explains, he cannot simply adjust someone who is basically unhealthy and expect those adjustments to last. A patient that has fallen and needs chiropractic care, for example, differs from a patient that needs systemic care. There is a difference between psychosomatic illness, which is caused by stress; viscerosomatic illness, which is caused by a dysfunction of the internal organs; and musculoskeletal imbalances, which are caused by structural issues.
Rehl says his job is to identify each person’s stressors, whether they are musculoskeletal, biochemical, nutritional or stress-related, and help them start dealing with them. Many people have complicated medical histories, especially as the population ages, but one big change can cause multiple improvements. “If, for example, I take wheat out of a patient’s system, if they go gluten-free, sometimes miracles happen,” Rehl says. “They lose weight, the brain fog is gone, their digestion gets better, all from one change.” Or they may simply need a spinal adjustment that they’ve needed since childhood, he adds.
Other patients have learned to deal with stress and remove toxins and, when appropriate, combine approaches. One patient, for example, had stress-induced neck pain that was slow to respond to treatment until she also received Neuro Emotional Technique (NET) therapy.
Even small changes can have dramatic results. Rehl often begins with nutrition, recommending supplements and dietary changes, and when patients begin to feel better they can move on to the next thing. “With your health, you can start with something small, such as a couple of adjustments, or identifying some of the main stressors,” he says. “There is always something you can do.”