Wednesday, November 26, 2008

My daily POWER nap(s)

When I tell people that I wake up at 4:30 am each day they usually think I am a bit off. Maybe I am. I have my routine Monday through Friday of meditation, prayer, stretching, working out, and then getting ready for my day early in the morning when most of the world is still asleep. I realize it is not everyone's way of doing things, but I like my way. I enjoy the peacefulness and silence of a Port Jefferson morning before the hustle and bustle begins. There is a quality to this time of the day that one cannot find at any other time. I can think clearly and there is particular scent in the morning that is so
fresh and clean.

I also go to sleep at 11pm each night so I need more sleep than the 5 and a half hours this provides each day. I have discovered power naps and I incorporate them into my day each workday. They usually last between 30 minutes and an hour and a half each day depending upon what my body and mind require. I have become quite perceptive at knowing exactly how much nap time I need each day by turning inside and listening to my body and mind. I actually book these times into my daily schedule of fitness clients, psychotherapy patients and hypnotherapy sessions and refuse to let anything keep me from having this time for myself.

This schedule works for me and I am renewed and energetic and more intellectually and spiritually aware when I take care of myself in this way. I rise from my power naps full of alertness and relaxation prepared to be available for the rest of my day. I am not concerned whether or not another person finds my pattern odd. I have grown to accept that this works for me. I never mind when my friends chuckle in regards to my eccentric habits. I know that each of us has to find what is the best way for us to function in this world. This is not a world of "one size fits all". My size is certainly different, but alas it's mine.

Back pain, Physio ball squats and the Neural Groove

Many people I have worked with at the Mind-Body Fitness Studio have experienced chronic or episodic lower back pain. I always ask them to show me how they get up and out of a straight backed chair. I then ask them to get into the chair as well. I see that the way that they rise from the chair and go into the chair is often what is causing their lower back pain as well as possible knee pain. Many people have horrendous form and technique either allowing their body to go forward when rising from the chair or falling into the chair when sitting.

Proper form and technique is to utilize one's hamstrings, quadriceps, and gluteus maximus muscles to perform this function. The knees need to ALWAYS be BEHIND the toes. This is a classic problem in sitting and rising which leads to back and knee strains and spasms when not done in this way. I can't tell you how many people feel better almost immediately when this is pointed out to them and corrected.

The brain has a neural groove which houses all of the information used for movement. These poor habitual techniques have been driven into this neural groove causing us to continue this improper movement. Think of how many times a day each of us rises from a chair or sits into a chair. Over and over and over, we pattern this poor habit into our brains leading to deterioration of our bodies and strains in our musculature. Our brain continues to repeat this
way of moving each time.

Ok. Now here is the good news.. we can change this habit now and soon it will be part of our neural groove and easily repeated each time we rise and go into a chair. We know that any habit can be extinguished and it will take between 15-25 days to change this habit. A new habit that we wish to begin can also be formed in the same amount of time!

By far the best way, I have found, to begin this new habit formation in regards to proper squatting technique is through the use of a Physio ball. I have my clients put the Physio ball against a wall and squat making sure that their butt goes backwards as they squat. This is proper technique. In this way, all of the muscles of the legs, which are the strongest muscles in our bodies are used and strengthened. In addition, our brain begins to re -pattern this proper form and eventually this new habit becomes part of the way we ALWAYS sit and rise. Be sure to
look down to ensure that your knees are closer to your core than are your toes. You should be able to see your toes on each squat. In this way, leg muscles are being utilized for this movement and NOT our backs and knees.

Physio Balls are easy to find at any sporting goods store. They are sometimes called Swiss Ball.( I prefer this term actually as I am Swiss so I'd like to get some ancestral credit for this invention). They are inexpensive and well worth having in your home. You can use them as a bench for weight training as well as other exercises usually outlined in the box when you purchase one.

As always, feel free to ask me more about this and any other concern. The Mind-Body Fitness Studio is available by appointment and I am a licensed Master Trainer working one on one with each person to achieve excellent results.

Honestly, a legitimate complaint

Okay. I love blogging. Michael says I love it because this way I can speak and not be interrupted. Well, please let me know if this complaint is something that drives you as crazy as it does me. Those of you that have followed this blog can attest to the fact that it has been positive and upbeat. Well, finally, I am going to complain about something that drives me crazy. Please let me know if this has been the same for any of you.

I can't stand the new ATM machines at my bank. I bank at the Bank of America. In my practice, I mostly receive checks as payments for my services. In any week I may have 25-30 checks to be deposited into my business account. For years, I would go through the 24 hour drive through and quickly deposit these checks. It would take me 2 minutes and I did it on my way to the gym at 5am (I know, strange...another story). NOW, they have installed these new machines which each check has to be scanned individually and then put into my account. This is the way it goes. You put your card in, and then it eventually asks for you to put the check in a sliding electronic slot. Then it shows a visual copy of the check on the screen and you have to OK it for deposit. I would say that half the time it cannot read the person's handwriting and asks you to manually put the check amount in. Then, it processes EACH check this way. It takes at least 15 seconds between each check. It then, finally, asks you if you want to continue. Are you kidding me? Each and every time it asks. Each and every time! A process that used to take me 2 minutes now takes me 20 minutes a week. What makes it worse, for me, is that there are signs telling me how much more convenient this is for me. NO. This is more convenient for YOU there at the bank, not me. I am now doing your teller's work. Do you think I don't realize this? Please don't pee on my foot and then tell me it's raining!

One time I had to make my deposit in the morning during banking hours. I had 34 checks to deposit. It took me a long time and a woman was making all kinds of huffing sounds and sighs waiting for me to finish. I told her I was sorry and that I had a lot of checks to deposit. She told me I was selfish and rude for monopolizing the one machine they had for so long. I told her that this machine is slow. She asked me how long it would be and I told her I was moving as quickly as the machine would allow me to go! She continued to make sounds behind me the entire time I was standing at the machine.

Anyway, I feel better just venting about this. It certainly gives me an opportunity each and every week to practice patience and mindfulness. LOL. We all have our issues, right? Welcome to my mind.!!

Overdoing it on Thanksgiving (and other situations)

So, it's Thanksgiving eve and I was at the gym very early this morning. There were a bunch of people training there like me(The Breakfast Club we call ourselves). One guy said, " oh I hope I don't eat too much tomorrow". It immediately provided a flashback to me of a time in my life when I would worry about the same thing as well. Then, I remembered a time in my life when I would go out on a weekend evening to a club or somewhere(the single days, mind you), and drink too much and feel awful afterwards.I think most of us can remember those days, perhaps.

I now see that it's ALWAYS about balance and mindfulness.We can enjoy our holiday dinner and have dessert and really listen to our bodies telling us it's time to stop. It's the same with drinking alcohol, I think. We can have a drink or two over a few hours, feel a sense of relaxation and ease, and then know it's time to stop. The old days of overindulging, for me, are long gone. And, there is no reason why the old days of overindulging with food can't be gone as well. (or anything else we are out of balance with).

I love doing hypnotherapy.. One of the most enjoyable things for me is to be able to help people break destructive habitual behaviors by the use of deep relaxation followed by the use of a timely metaphorical story. One of my favorite uses of metaphor is of how a shoe fits well when we are younger, but as we grow this shoe becomes a source of DIScomfort as it NO LONGER FITS the way we are NOW. Again speaking metaphorically, overindulging in food or alcohol just NO LONGER FITS with the way I live my life now.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Why we weigh what we weigh

There are just so many diets out there telling us what to eat and what not to eat. I can make this very simple. We weigh what we do because of the equation of how many calories we take into our bodies minus what we burn up. It really is just that simple. To create a loss of one pound of fat per week we have to create a caloric deficit of 3500 calories. Over the course of a week, we need to either cut our caloric intake by 500 calories each day(500 times 7 days), or, increase our exercise level to lose one pound of at per week.

Our body weight will depend on this equation, but HOW our bodies look is dependent on WHAT these calories are comprised of. If one is to plan to ingest 1800 calories a day to achieve a loss of one pound per week it is up to the person what these calorie sources are. One's weight will come down sticking to this plan, but one will look differently depending on the composition of these calories. Protein sources will provide the building blocks of lean muscle tissue as opposed to other sources of calories which will not. If one does not eat sufficient amount of protein one will lose muscle rather than fat for this one pound weight loss per week. Carbohydrates that come from fresh fruits and vegetables rather than from bread sources are the better choice. Fats, as well, that are from natural sources such as nuts are better sources than dairy products or animal fats.

I believe the best use of our calories is a ratio close to that of 30% protein/30% healthy fats/40% carbohydrate sources. Daily calories should be spaced out throughout the day over 5 or 6 meals so the body is in a constant fat burning mode speeding up one's metabolism. There should be no more than 3-4 hours between these smaller meals. Every meal should contain protein , healthy carbs and healthy fats. A easier way to compute this would be to eat at 7am/10am/1pm/4pm/7pm/and 10pm and insure all these meals have an equal distribution of these calories and grams of protein/fat/carbs. Also, dividing the number of calories per day into these 5 or 6 meals.

Dr. Crew is available for nutritional consultations as well as one on one personal fitness and strength training at his Mind-Body Fitness studio. Appointments can be made by calling him at 880-2531.

An unbelievable massage experience!

I had the absolute pleasure to receive a therapeutic medical massage from Lea Keating, LMT this past week. I have had many massages previously so I know a good massage when I receive one. Lea ranks up there as one of the best. Her technique is incredible. She provided me with a therapeutic medical massage as well as a reflexology treatment, cranial-sacral, stretching , and myofacial treatment all in a one hour treatment session! Her rates are very reasonable. What makes the session even more enjoyable is that Lea is a very warm and beautiful person and I can feel her loving touch through her work.

Appointments can be made by calling 928-2487 and she is located in Port Jefferson Station in the same suite as my Mind-Body Fitness Studio. In addition to therapeutic massage she specializes in depression and anxiety, migraines, fibromyalgia and pain management. I plan to go to receive treatment from her on a weekly basis.

Bereavement for our animal friends

My best friend and his partner lost their doggy this morning. Their beloved pet had been ill for a while and together they had been caring for her especially over the past 2-3 weeks as she was dying. He was telling me how wonderful it was for them to care for her as she got weaker and weaker. He stated that it was like taking care of a baby.

I clearly remember caring for our "kids" as they were dying as well. It's interesting to look back and realize that even when we adopt them as kittens or puppies we know at some level in our mind that we will be there for them as they are dying. I know how amazing it is to love a pet and to share life with them. They are so loving and loyal and to be with them and care for them throughout their lives is an honor.

So, here's to "Puppy" and all the love she gave to Ken and Jim. I pray that you both will carry the love for her in your hearts and know how blessed she was to have such loving and caring parents. I know that this loss is especially hard for you, Jim, as you just lost your Mother this past year. We offer you our thoughts and support.

Dr. Crew offers bereavement therapy to anyone experiencing a death of someone they loved. Many patients need to work through their grief with a trained therapist who comprehends what it is like to lose a beloved pet. So often, many people do not understand this pain. As a fellow lover of animals, I do.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Seminar on EMPTINESS

Mike and I attended a wonderful seminar at the Dipamkara Center this past Saturday. The speaker was resident teacher Holly MacGregor. She is a gifted presenter and we were blessed with the information she presented. Emptiness, in the Buddhist perspective, is the development of one's Buddha nature through the use of compassion and wisdom.

It was interesting for me to realize just how often I dwell on negative things instead of how these things are attachments and delusional in nature. When I place my thoughts on these things I am actually MEDITATING on them. When I see it this way, I see how fruitless and even self-destructive this habit can be. Emptiness is clearly seeing things for what they are in reality without our individual judgments of them. Nothing exists in a fixed way. Everything, including ourselves, is in a constant state of change. Everything is impermanent. Everything dies, everything ends. I am reminded that I must "make friends" with this impermanence to truly enjoy each precious moment.

We cannot allow ourselves to see things or people as a source of happiness. We can enjoy every moment and not be attached to joyful moments remaining joyful or painful experiences remaining painful. Everything ends. Relationships end, people die, and moments are gone as quickly as they appear. We saw this recently in our own lives when a couple we thought were friends of ours later turned out to be very angry, emotionally ill, and were toxic to us. We had to let them go from our lives.

When we see things and others as a source for pleasure we become aware of how this can never provide what we really are searching for. For example, if chocolate cake is seen as providing happiness how do we feel when we have eaten so much of it that we become ill at the mere sight or smell of it. It is the same chocolate cake. But, we have changed in our relationship to desiring it. Holly likened these desires to trying to find a rainbow. We admire it and want to see it closer. If we try and locate it we discover that we cannot. When we view it, it is sharp and clear;but it is a delusion.

We are what we think. Our thoughts can change our world.

We need to develop the ability to look past our self-oriented mind. Through meditation and acting from compassion and love we respond to every situation with a supreme good heart. I am even more aware than ever before of my self-grasping.

Thanksgiving 2008

I love Thanksgiving. I believe it is the only holiday we celebrate that has nothing to do with religion. One can be Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim , Agnostic or Atheist and celebrate Thanksgiving Day. It is a day and a season of becoming aware of all the wonderful things we have in our lives. A time to be grateful and appreciative for all we enjoy and remember and provide for others who do not have these things. I am blessed with wonderful friends, health, a successful practice, peace of mind and the best partner anyone could ever desire.


I am a believer in the "Keep it On Long Island" campaign. I totally understand why it's important to make sure businesses on Long Island that are home-grown remain up and runnning. I support LI businesses every chance I get. However, I AM IN LOVE WITH STARBUCKS COFFEE!!. Nothing tastes quite like it. I sometimes try and convince myself that I don't notice the difference but I am just fooling myself when I do this. So, I will continue to support and utilize LI businesses but NOT when it comes to my daily twice a day brew. Sorry. Make a brew I enjoy as much as my Pike's Place Market and I'll be drinking it with you but until that day ... it's BUCKS for me!

Friday, November 21, 2008

We are not our feelings

One of the most profound awarenesses that I have experienced is the knowledge that I am not what I am feeling at the moment. I remember when there was a time in my life, maybe not so long ago, when I would feel an emotion and feel somewhat powerless over not having to act on it or respond to it. Through daily meditation/mindfulness practice I have become aware of these ebbs and flows of feelings and emotions just observing them and refusing to be judgmental of them. They have a beginning, a middle, and eventually an end. If I just sit in zazen noticing and watching them I see that they are not part of who I am at all. They just float into my awareness and stay awhile and then leave when they are not interacted with.

I no longer feel as though I am riding a wave of strong emotions. I can view these waves from the safety and security of the beautiful shore. Waves can rise up and look very powerful but eventually they crash onto the shore and they are gone. The observer watching the waves from the shore cannot feel the wave's power and influence. He just watches and observes. The observer is just the observer; he cannot do anything but observe. He feels no influence from the wave. He does not decide what is a good wave or bad wave. He does not judge the wave he is just observing.

I can watch anger develop like a wave. I can view its qualities and not be thrown and tossed about by its power and influence. The observer does not feel anger in the waves. He simply notices this wave and waits for it to crash into the shore, lose its power and become a cool place to walk over on the warm and sandy beach. This is true for any emotional wave. The observer simply observes. He cannot feel anger and any other emotion as he observes. Yes. Certainly, we are not our feelings. We are really how we respond to these waves.

Tiger Lily Cafe

One of my favorite places in the village to eat is Tiger Lily. It is on East Main Street across from the Port Jefferson Free Library. Lisa Cuccinello, my dear friend, and her mother opened up the avant garde alternative eatery over 10 years ago. It has just gotten better and better over the decade. Delicious wraps, salads, smoothies, cappuccinos, vegan dishes, vegetarian cuisine, and healthy versions of favorites are always available. They have the most delicious carrot-ginger soup I have ever enjoyed. Mike loves their turkey chili. It is a place always filled with Port Jeff locals and interesting people. Many "family" members are always there as well.

Lisa and her partner Kelly now own Tiger Lily as Lisa's mom has retired. I must have eaten here thousands of times and I have never been disappointed. Try Tiger Lily for yourself. It is a place where you can get a terrific home cooked meal and eat healthy as well.

My personal health challenge: SARCOIDOSIS

In January, 2004 I was feeling very lethargic and fatigued. This was certainly not my usual vibrant self. I figured that I was tired and had things on my mind and basically tried to get more rest and thought a short vacation would do the trick. In a week or so, Mike had noticed a series of bumps on my left shoulder which had been itchy and raised. I made an appointment with a dermatologist and immediately he had a look of concern on his face. When I inquired as to what he looked so concerned about he said he wanted to do a biopsy and rule out some things. He told me not to worry, but I remembered the look on his face.. It's interesting that I didn't ask any further questions at this point. I made a follow up appointment for a week. He did the biopsy and I left.

I went back to my follow up appointment and he told me we have good news and bad news from the biopsy. I asked for the bad news first. He said I had Sarcoidosis. Now, remember I have worked in the medical field for over 20 years at this point in my life and I had never heard of this disease. I then remembered that Reggie White, a pro football player with the Philadelphia Eagles, had recently died from this disease. Now , I was concerned, so of course I immediately asked for the good news! He said that he felt it was early in the disease process and may be limited to the skin being the organ that was under attack from my immune system. Of course, I went right to every resource I could find to learn about my malady. I learned that Sarcoidosis is an immune disorder that affects different organs of the body and atttacks them somehow thinking that the organ is a foreign body it must destroy. Strange, huh? It is similar to Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis in some ways. The problem was, for me, that it was incurable and there are no treatments for it that prolong one's life for any great length of time. I realized why I hadn't heard of it as well. When people die from this disease they die from complications of the disease such as heart disease, pleural effusion, or pneumonia.

Now, here is the upside to this sad tale of woe. Statistically, only about 60% of those presenting symptoms on the skin end up with internal Sarcoidosis. So , I figured I will be in the 40% group. In fact, I promised myself I would be! (Those of you who know me well know I always keep my promises). I had to immediately get a chest x ray and heart x ray to make sure that these two organs were not filled with immune attack cells as these are the two organs most affected by this disease(heart and lungs). I was clean and clear. Whew....! I have to continue x rays on these two organs as well as receive an occular exam every 6-12 months.

I began to have to endure weeks of extreme fatigue. This is a common symptom of Sarcoidosis in it's infancy. It was terrible, yet bearable. I had about 8 episodes lasting about 2-3 weeks at first. Eventually these episodes were lasting for smaller periods of time. I was getting better. My doctor had wanted me to go on a medication called Metatrexate(a chemotherapy agent) for prophylactic purposes for my internal organs. I declined after hearing of the side effects such as moon face , severe acne and weight gain. In addition, the liver would be effected as well.

It is now almost 5 years since my diagnosis and I am well overall. I have a very annoying problem with getting what I call "red face syndrome"( a Crewism), which is very painful, causing burning and itching on my face, ears, eyes and nose almost each day, but, this I can deal with. I have had no more lesions nor fatigue since 2005. I take excellent care of my body and health even more now. I believe these healthy habits are the main contributor to my not being extemely symptomatic.

I worry sometimes about my disease and I worry more about how my death may impact those who love me dearly, especially my Michael. However, I know there are many more horrible things and situations that people have to live with and deal with so I try to always keep this in proper perspective. I feel really well at this point in my life and I most of the time think positively and take each day at a time trying to live it to the fullest. It was difficult recently when one of my favorite comedians, Bernie Mack, died from complications to his lungs brought on by his Sarcoidosis. But, he is not me.

So, this is my cross to bear and thorn in my side. If you see me having a red face or looking like I have a sunburn or windburn now you know why. Just try and be patient with my wanting the room cold and needing air so often! It makes my symptoms easier to deal with. Thanks. Bright light from computer screens or overhead flourescent bulbs bring on symptoms as do strong perfume or cologne smells. Smoking near me is the worst in terms of the syndrome being set in motion. My plan is to be here for a very long time.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Mindful Eating (and mindful EVERYTHING)

A good friend of mine and fellow therapist Rod Borrie and I were having a discussion of mindfulness and the subject got around to healthy eating and growing older. He shared with me the relationship between mindfulness and eating. I had never thought of this before. ( I know I don't always catch on too quickly). I had one of those aha moments! Mindfulness and how it pertains to using all of the 5 senses to enjoy each and every bite of food. So food is not just a tasting experience alone. Food is listened to, smelled, looked at in a different way, and tactiley enjoyed in the mouth. WOW! What an experience to eat this way. Slowly and mindfully: utilizing all 5 senses with each bite. I added appreciation and gratefulness to this mindful practice and it was enhanced further!

Now, I am human. There are times, perhaps too many to mention, when I devour food like a little piggy. But, these are becoming fewer and fewer as I become more mindful. Try it for even one meal. It will change the way you eat forever. The Bhuddah said the way we do any one thing is the way we do everything. I notice when I eat mindfully and with gratefulness it makes me become more aware of other ways I can be equally as mindful and appreciative.

Port Jefferson Village.. my home town

When I was a child, I used to ride my bike to Port Jefferson. I lived about 6 miles from here in Selden and I looked forward to coming into the village to hang out and look out at the water in the harbor. I would watch the ferry go off to Connecticut and wonder just what it looked like over there. Having a very difficult childhood and adolescence, I took solace in going to the harbor watching the boats and staring out at the water in tranquility, solitude and quiet. I dreamed that one day I would live here in this village and be able to feel this peace every single day of my life. I loved to meditate at places I had discovered along the harbor and hills overlooking Mt. Misery Point. No one could hurt me there; no one could be out of control around me; no one could find me.

I went off to college initially at the University of Kentucky on a baseball scholarship. Eventually , I transferred to Villanova University outside Philadelphia continuing to play baseball and then at Eastern University. I vowed that when I graduated I would never return to Long Island. I wanted to create new memories in a different part of the world and leave those painful ones behind. I forgot about my youthful plan of living in Port Jefferson. I missed Long Island a bit so I decided I would come back here for a while and make some money and then relocate to another place. I attended graduate school at SUNY Stonybrook School of Social Welfare. I had a girlfriend who eventually became my fiance. (strange, yet true). As often occurs, it is difficult to leave a place when you have employment and friends and intimate relationships. So, I never left this island.

I worked after graduate school at hospitals and hospice organizations and then home health care agencies in addition to maintaining a part time private practice. I always remembered Port Jefferson and would return here often. When Mike and I were looking for a home we considered many places, but I found myself remembering my youthful wish. In 2003, we found our perfect home here in the village. I can walk to my office each day and enjoy this wonderful village. It is such a pleasure to be able to live and work in the same place where we shop and have lunches and dinners. Having coffee downtown on Main Street and sharing stories, joys and sorrows with the locals is what I have grown to appreciate. I enjoy knowing so many of the shop owners, residents and characters in our village. I enjoy others knowing who I am and saying hello to me each day asking me how my day is going or how my partner is. The familiarity is what I love. In many ways, it reminds me of an earlier time in this country. I love our village's charm, natural beauty, and small town atmosphere.

Yes. We have some problems with the village. Yet, we love it here. It will always be home to me. Home for so many reasons.

Schema Therapy

Schemas are our own individual way of seeing the world. They are our frames of reference. Often, when one has experienced a difficult childhood schemas develop that are maladaptive and self destructive. For example, if a child learns rejection they are likely to develop a schema based upon fears of rejection from others. If a child is not loved unconditionally they are likely to see the world as a place where they experience the schema of unlovability. Other schemas include abandonment, failure, mistrust, self-centeredness, and rage.

These maladaptive schema patterns tend to be repeated and replicated in relationships with others even manifesting in whom one develops relationships with. As time goes by, these schema patterns become the lens through which we see the world. They shape and cloud all situations and interactions resulting in unhealthy relationships and behaviors. Eventually, without treatment schemas develop into long standing pathological and maladaptive habits in cognition and action. Mindfulness practice and psychotherapy can bring awareness to these schema patterns. We can come to closure with these patterns and live our lives with authenticity and finally be free of old out of date messages from our past about who we are and the way the world is. We can make peace with the past so we can open our experience for the present moment. This will drastically influence our future.

Dr. Crew works with existing schema patterns in a safe and supportive environment. Gestalt therapy and mindfulness combined with cognive behavioral treatment techniques and ego-supportive psychotherapy can assist one in confronting these demons of the past leading to contentment and acceptance of past experiences. These experiences and schema patterns do NOT have to hold power over us any longer.

Calculating heartrate levels for cardio exercise

Questions arise as to cardio training and its benefits to fat loss and circulatory functioning. I think the best advice is to go and purchase a heartrate monitor and see what your heartrate is during your cardio session. Basically, the equation used is 220-your age. This is the optimum heartrate at 100 percent of max. To achieve optimum benefit from cardio sessions one needs to aim to hit between 70-85% of this 220-age number. For example, if one is my age, 49 , the max. heartrate is 220-49=171 beats per minute. To achieve 70-85% during a cardio session, I would have to make sure my pulse remains between 119 and 145 beats per minute. This is called the training range. One needs to remain in this training range for at least 40 mins/3 sessions per week. This will ensure the best possible benefits from one's cardio workout. If one cannot attain this range one should work at a level that feels comfortable and work up to this range. The rule of thumb is to perform cardio exercises at a rate that one has some minor difficulty carrying on a conversation with another while performing cardio.

A heartrate monitor can keep you working at this level. The more sophisticated models can be set to alert you if you drop below the training range or go beyond the training range. They can also inform you of how many minutes you remained in the training range. They are a good investment.

Dipamkara Buddhist Meditation Center

I am and have been a Quaker for a while now. I became a Quaker many moons ago while in graduate school. I had been attending meetings at Conscience Bay meeting in St. James. Michael had attended there and didn't feel it was right for him. He felt it was sort of uninspiring to sit there and not hear anything. I am used to corporate meditation and am very comfortable in this milieu. We decided that we would try and find a place that both of us would feel worked for us and yet be together. We were attending the Unitarian Universalist meeting each Sunday and he seemed very happy there. I definitely did not feel comfortable there. So, we began to alternate weekends between the Quaker meeting and the U.U. meeting. I found myself looking forward to "my" week and not to his.

We learned of the opening of Dipamkara Meditation Center on East Main Street right here in the village and decided to attend there one Sunday. It was a wonderful meeting that opened with corporate group meditation and then went into a lesson. There was an ending meditation and then time for questions and answers. The teacher was Rebecca Friedman who is one of the most excellent teachers I ever heard. She is also a kind and compassionate person and what she teaches just seems to flow from her. It is clear to me that she lives and breathes what she teaches. After the meeting we enjoyed tea and conversation. (a time-honored Buddhist tradition). We have met some wonderful folks there. Several of them have become friends of ours. What's more is that I enjoy the group meditation aspect of the weekly meeting and he enjoys the more formal structured lesson. So, it was a win-win rather than a compromise.

I still consider myself a Quaker, although I certainly share a majority of intersections with Buddhist thought and dharmic teachings. I find Buddhists to be, for the most part, very caring and non-judgmental individuals. I especially like their views of compassion and love and meditation. I completely identify with Buddhist dharma that teaches that WE are responsible for our own suffering caused by attachments and holding on. I sometimes find their views difficult to accept, for example, I do not believe in reincarnation. I am more Christian in that I do believe in heaven. Many Quakers are very Buddhist in philosophy such as the belief that the Bible is written by humans who wrote from their perspective and is more relevant to the age in which it was written. I also believe in a relationship with God. I find Buddhist thought to be so less dogmatic than many beliefs so it clearly does appeal to me. Being a Quaker, I am used to a non-dogmatic approach to one's beliefs, feeling that each of us needs to find our own way to our spirituality. So, I think that I am a Quaker/Buddhist! I am content with this term.

Dipamkara Center is right across the street from Tiger Lily Cafe off of East Main Street (actually on Vineyard Pl.) in Port Jefferson Village. Classes and meditations are held throughout the week. We attend the Sunday morning meeting which begins at 10:30. We love the teacher there, Rebecca, and meet friends there each week. There is also a bookstore on premises and it is open several times during the week. You can learn more about the Dipamkara Meditation Center online at . Maybe we will see you there.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Great book: The Art of Racing In the Rain

I just finished reading this wonderful book that happened to be the book of the month at Starbucks. (Yes, I know it's where I am a lot of the time). The story is of a man and his dog, named Enzo, and their beautiful and warm relationship through joys and tragedy. The story is certainly a tear jerker, but filled with compassion and exuberance. The writer of the story is actually Enzo the dog!

I think this is a wonderful book and I'm sure one day we will see this as a movie. It is told from a modern day Buddhist perspective and contains very deep and moving themes. Don't miss this one. It is well worth the read. See if you can put this book down. The author is actually Garth Stein.

I was drawn to this book immediately when I was waiting on line to get my daily grande Pike's Place Market brew. The picture on the front of the book is of a beautiful Yellow Lab. I have learned that when something is stirring in me I follow this intuition. I am so glad I did.

The CONFUSION PRINCIPLE of Resistance Training

I attended NYStrength, Inc. for my Master Trainer's certification in fitness and strength training. The director of the institute, Dr. Jack Barnathan, emphasized the confusion principle of training. This is, quite simply, that the body will adapt to any training regimen that is repeated often. This will ensure that muscles will resist growing stronger when the routine of resistance training is not changed. For example, using machines each and every workout (on a circuit ) will limit the benefits of all the work being done at the gym. Or, if one uses JUST dumbells for every workout this will occur as well. While working a particular muscle or groups of muscles it is important to alter and modify the exercises as well. Or, one can vary the movement from a heavy workout one day to a lighter workout with more repetitions. I believe that in order to make the body work harder and show more excellent results it is necessary to introduce as much change in routines as possible when training.

Workouts can be adapted so that each workout introduces a varied routine such as using dumbells followed by circuit machines the next session and possibly resistance band tubing the next workout. The following workout can be done with pulley or cable exercises. Each mode of training incorporates differences in the plane and angle of the movement and works slightly different muscles then the other. Other variables can also be utilized such as body weight training and the adjustment of the bench setting used to perform exercise sets. A technique called "super slows" or a static hold will accomplish this muscle confusion technique as well.

While performing cardio routines one can apply this same principle by switching cardio machines each cardio day or by modifying the intensity or speed of a particular machine. Even by adding incline to the deck of a treadmill introduces this principle.

Keep the body guessing. Don't let it know what's coming next. This way the body can achieve the most benefit as it rests and recovers on off days. As always, become aware of perfect training forms so not to injure yourself while performing training. I can't even begin to tell you how many times I see people lifting weights in a way that will certainly injure them. As Dr. Jack says they will feel pain "soon and for the rest of their life" by performing sets improperly. (Look for info. on proper training form and technique in upcoming blogs).

Come and experience a workout at the Mind-Body Fitness Studio. Train with a licensed Master Fitness Trainer who is a psychotherapist and hypnotherapist as well.

Appointments can be made by calling 631-880-2531.

Dr. Crew Lauterbach, Ph.D., CMFT

I want to be a CAT

Especially one of OUR CATS! Think about it...cats are contunually in the present moment. They eat when they are hungry, drink water when they are thirsty, crap and pee when they want and can relax all day until it's time to play. They are affectionate with each other and always seem to work out any differences with each other and act in a way that they don't even have a memory of the skirmish. Even with their onwers (or parents as I call us), they have no desire to make us happy intentionally. They are just completely present. " If I make you happy good, but, I 'm not trying to. I'm just being me." Yesterdays, and even for that matter, every last moment, are gone from their memory. There are no fears or worries about the future. I think I know why... they do not know they are going to die someday. So, each moment is pure and lived with abandon. They love hard and without conditions. They are loyal and honest in each and every aspect of their lives. No wonder I feel so calm when I'm with them. Every single moment with them is full of honesty and authenticity.

Our "kids" are Zima (called "Lunchie"), Jacob, Aaron, Zhanne, and Liberty. They are my guru's "in drag" teaching me so much about life and love. Yes! I want to be a cat.

SEDONA (Ahhhhhhh.....)

My dear friend of over 26 years, Camine, also known affectionately as Waz, purchased a time share in Sedona, Arizona many years ago. Always and forever he and his wonderful wife, JoAnn, another beloved friend, have been asking us to go away with them to Sedona for a week. For a number of reasons, we hadn't gone. Finally, this past October we flew out to Phoenix and drove the 2 hours up to Sedona with them. We arrived at night so it was difficult to see exactly where we were when we arrived. We just knew we were all as hungry as hell and ate pizza under heat lamps outside at a place called Picasso's Pizza. We then immediately went to bed.

Waking up the next morning I knew I needed my Starbucks so Waz and I went there while Mike and JoAnn stayed at the condo. The Starbucks overlooked what was possibly the most beautiful place I had ever seen. Huge red rocks dotted the landscape and the air was clean and clear. I had never breathed so easily. I immediately felt a sense of wellness and connection to this beautiful place in the world.

The week was full of wonderful experiences I'll never forget. Hiking up into the red rocks of Sedona and viewing the vistas from atop the rocks was amazing. I certainly felt a deep knowledge of my place in this world. The connection to the land was so apparent and I knew this was a special place for me. Somehow, I could think more clearly and things came together for me in a unique way.

Michael and I loved this place so much we purchased a time share there in Sedona at the Arroyo Roble resort. We can't wait to return to this second home we have.

If you ever get the chance to go to Sedona I would highly encourage you to do so. I don't think there is any place quite like it in the world. Perhaps this is why it has been voted the most beautiful place in America. There is something very deeply spiritual here. Perhaps it is the 4 vortexes in the town or maybe just the combination of the breathtaking red rocks, Native American spirituality and the natural beauty all around you. We look forward to our return next year for our centering once again.

Biofeedback Treatment sessions

Biofeedback is a useful tool to assist patient's reduction of anxiety. I have been using biofeedback in my practice for many years. Basically, when a session begins the biofeedback machine emits a barrage of light and sound which tends to cause the arousal of the limbic system. A patient often feels something similar to the initial anxiety attack brought on by the "fight ot flight" response. As this accours, I am assisting the patient to allow the natural process of relaxation response to occur even while being exposed to both auditory and visual stimulous from the machine.

I have had much success in utilizing this technique in my practice especially with those whom experience panic disorder and phobic responses.

Static Stretching Techniques

So when does one stretch ...?? Before a workout, after, both, or the next day. This has long been a controversial topic in the fitness industry. There are proponants of different schools of thought citing references backing up their claims. Certainly, stretching muscles, joints and ligaments are necessary for one's increased flexibility and conditioning, and will prevent injuries. Lastest research indicates that the most beneficial technique is to warm up cold and non-stretched muscles for 5-10 minutes by using cardio equipment such as a treadmill or bike, THEN, when the body has a chance to warm stretching can begin.Then the workout can begin in earnest knowing that the muscles and all connective tissue is ready to work hard. Stretches should be done in a way that stretches the whole body and NEVER by anyone stretching another person. ( The other person will not feel what the person stretching feels so you can see how potentially dangerous this can be.) Once the training session is over, post workout stretches are necessary.

My fellow fitness trainer friend, Art, said it best when it comes to the stretching process. He states that muscles are like a stick of chewing gum. When the gum is cold and hard it cannot be stretched or it will break. Once the gum is exposed to warmer temperatures it can stretch and bend easily. Thanks, Art. You know how much I love the use of metaphor in my work!!

Dr. Crew is available for personal one-on-one fitness and strength training sessions at his Mind-Body Fitness studio. A session can be comprised of proper static stretches and techniques to enhance one's performance, fitness level, and and well-being.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A stupid (therapists) joke

The masochist says to the sadist "BEAT ME, BEAT ME". The sadist replies, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO".

My friend Victor Goldman

Victor is a person who is passionate about what he believes in and is equally as passionate in his excellent and determined efforts in what he chooses to pursue. I am so honored to be his friend. He has helped me in so many ways including motivating me to move past my rationalizations , fears, and laziness to move closer towards my intentions. He is an excellent therapist and a true motivator of people. He began the V and W networking group to have psychotherapists and other professionals work together to assist our clients as well as help each other. It has been a terrific experience for me to be a part of this group of professionals. Victor, I appreciate you.

President BARACK!

If you know me, you know how I have suffered through the last 8 years. (I won't say more as I have promised myself this blog is to be positive and never negative). I campaigned diligently for Barack Obama and I am feeling so optimistic that we will soon have a President who is intelligent, sophisticated, down to earth, respected, and capable. He actually feels it may be helpful to sit down and SPEAK to those who we may disagree with! (What a novel idea.) While I know this is a very difficult time for this country I love I am truly feeling that this is the man to bring us into better times. A man who understands GLOBAL economics and how all people are dependent upon all others to thrive and live in peace.

I am so ambivalent about this year's election results and campaigning. We elected a man who is part African American to the office of the president. This is unprecedented. However, I am appauled at how many people made such racist statements about Blacks and how these people came out of the woodwork during the election. I myself have heard people who I never believed to be racist say things that I wouldn't have thought would ever come out of their mouths. Some of these statements were very subtle in their connotations, but racist in ideology nonetheless.

Also, same sex couples continue to have to fight for equal rights in our country. Even in the state of California same gender couple's right to wed have been taken away from them once again. Clearly, gays and lesbians are the last group of citizens not afforded equal rights in this country. We are not protected by rights in employment, housing and often by those whom are supposed to uphold the law.

This country has come far, but certainly has a very long way to go. I hope I am alive to see all citizens of this great country treated equally in ALL aspects of the law. A country where ALL citizens are offered basic health care and equal opportunities to be successful and achieve the same things that all others can achieve.

Nailbiting and Treatment Protocol

Nailbiting is a habit that is quite common. It often begins in childhood and like any habit is difficult to stop. This is especially true if one has been biting their nails for many years. I have to say that this is actually the easiest habit to treat while utilizing hypnotherapy. I have treated many clients who are prone to this repetitive behavior pattern and the success rate is close to 100%.

I utilize an NLP type of hypnotic trance induction technique which is very powerful. In addition, I always inform patients that for a while they neeed to have weekly manicures. I know, it sounds strange, I'll admit. But, it works. This combination is deadly to the nailbiting habit. There are times when clients need to return for a follow up hypnosis, but by the end of the second hypnotherapy session they are basically rid of this nasty habit.

How do I know so much about this nailbiting problem? Well, I am a recovering nail biter through the use of hypnotherapy and weekly manicures. I had been biting my nails since I was a young child and I had never been able to stop for any length of time. I am now nail-biting free for 4 years now!

I would highly recommend getting manicures at Jefferson Nail salon which is just steps away from my office on Main Street(331-3938, 464 Main Street, Port Jefferson Village) See my dear friend Adele. Not only is she the best nail technician I have ever worked with she is kind, intelligent and a beautiful person. She will provide you with a discount if you are being treated for the nail biting habit. Tell her Dr. Crew highly recommended you to see her. She is the owner of the salon as well.

Monday, November 17, 2008


I am now a certified Gestalt therapist having passed all of the exams and coursework through the Stonebridge Institute in England. Gestalt Therapy is, in a nutshell, about the contact, awareness, personal responsiveness and personal responsibility of each individual. It is, for me, about the aliveness of each moment and the exuberant awareness of the here and now and the choices we make. While it was a difficult course of study, I truly gained tremendous knowledge and experience by partaking in this endeavor. All we really ever have is the present moment and it is interesting to become aware of what we actually choose to focus on and think about in each moment. When we dwell in the past or project our fears into the future... the moment is gone forever. I am looking forward to incorporating these new techniques and valueable knowledge into my practice and personal life.

Meditation Circle

Many of us meet every other Sunday night for a meditation circle at 7:30pm . There have been as many as 20 of us on a given Sunday night getting together to do group meditation. We each take a turn to lead a guided meditation. It has been a wonderfully uplifting experience as well as a super opportunity to meet fellow travellers on the road to mindfulness. The group meets at 1050 Hallock Avenue Port Jefferson Station, suite 4. The meditation begins by 7:45pm when the doors are locked so as not to disturb us as we meditate. The group is open to everyone interested. Give me a call to get further information and directions. The fee for all attendees is a mere $5. to cover office rental and snacks,etc.

Himalayan GOJI juice

A couple of years ago a friend of mine was telling me about this Goji juice and how wonderful they felt now that they had been drinking it regularly. If any of you know me well you know how I tend to be very skeptical about these types of statements and products. So, I went to a presentation about this Goji juice product. I decided I was interested enough to invest in a bottle. I figured, well, if I do not acheive similar results at least I purchased a product full of vitamins. I was taken by the delicious taste of the juice so it was easy for me to want to drink the 3 oz. each day. What I began to take note of was just how well I was feeling. I noticed a clear change in my energy level during the day as well as the fact that I was sleeping better and required less sleep. After a week or so, I noticed that my knees and hips , which had been giving me some minor pain, were no longer aching at all. What's more was that I felt somehow more vibrant and youthful. Now, don't get me wrong here... I am not making statements that Goji is the proverbial fountain of youth. I am telling you that this product clearly led to my feeling better in so many ways. So, I asked my partner to try it as well. Michael agreed that he felt a difference in his energy level and sleep patterns. In fact, everyone that I have convinced to try the Goji felt better if they stuck with it for at least a couple of weeks. What is even more interesting to me was a time that Mike and I forgot to pack our juice on a trip for a long weekend to Boston. We both figured that the 4 days we were away shouldn't be a problem without the juice. Well for me, it was a major wake up call. Walking around the city all day for several days I was feeling old and tired. I couldn't understand why I was feeling like this. I thought that perhaps I was coming down with a cold or something. Then, we remembered that we hadn't had Goji and we wondered could this be the reason why I was feeling so crappy. So, upon our return to New York, I immediately statrted drinking the juice again. Within 2 days I was feeling my energy level back and I felt younger and slept well again. So I do not know why it works for me, and honestly, I don't care why it works for me. I just know that I will take it daily forever. When I believe in a product as much as I do this juice, of course, I had to have it available to my patients, clients, and students in my practice. I have GOJI JUICE available here at the office if you want to try it for yourself. I think you will agree that it is a wonderful product and you will feel better after drinking it. Like I said, those of you who know me well know how I feel about miracle products and claims. My personality is such that I need absolute proof before I would recommend something to others. This juice is the real deal. Find out more at

Certication in Hypnotherapy full day seminar

The Suffolk Institute for Hypnotherapy is offering a full day seminar which will meet the requirements for certification for the coursework to obtain membership to the American Board of Clinical Hypnotherapy. The seminar will be on January 9th, 2009(a Friday), and will begin promptly at 7:30am and end at 6pm. The cost of tuition for the seminar is $275. Certification for the ABCH requires passing of a final examination as well as a practical administration of a hypnotherapy session. The final examination is a "take home" exam based upon material presented in the 10 hour seminar on January 9th. The practical portion of the certification process must be supervised by me in my office. The cost of this additional certification through the ABCH is $200. and includes one year membership to the ABCH. (Annual membership is $75.) I will be the instuctor for the seminar. The seminar will take place at my office at 414 Main Street, Suite 204, Port Jefferson Village. This course is suitable for psychotherapists, psychologists, other professionals and those desiring to begin a new career in clinical hypnotherapy. Feel free to contact me at the office for further information on this seminar or any other upcoming certifications.

Resistance Training and intervals

I'm often asked questions about how much time should elapse between weight training sessions. It is imperative that at least 48 hours elapses betreen resistance training sessions. This concept is called periodization. It is known that muscles require this much time between workouts as they have to recover from the workout prior to being worked again. For example, if one is to train all body parts three days a week this could be done on a Mon/Weds/Fri schedule or a Tues/Thurs/Sat schedule. Mucsles are damaged as they are trained and recover and grow during the resting day following the training session. After they are recovered, muscles are quite amazing as they will actually become stronger and more efficient due to the rest period!

Another method of training is to work upper body every other day (Biceps, triceps,shoulders,chest, and back, rotators) followed by a lower body workout the next day(calves, glutes,quads,hamstrings, abdominals, adductors, and abductors.) This method of training provides the 48 hours between working the same muscle groups allowing for full recovery, yet one can workout each day doing resistance training. In addition, training sessions would be shorter in duration so less time is needed for resistance training each day. Personally, I prefer the full day training followed by a cardio day so I train 6 days a week; 3 days of resistance training and 3 days of cardio. My belief and also that of the institute where I received my Master Trainer's certification believes that this is the preferable option as the body obtains the most amount of rest between workout sessions.

As always, ingesting plenty of good quality proteins, eating fruits, vegetables, drinking lots of fresh water , and getting adequate sleep is paramount to optimal health.

I am available for nutrition and workout consultations here at the office. Appointments can be made by calling 631-880-2531. Dr. Crew

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Seasonal Affective Disorder and Treatment Regimen

Seasonal Affective Disorder(S.A.D.) is a mood disorder which plagues many people. The onset of this problem usually becomes evident when the days become shorter in the Fall. Symptoms are very similar to those associated with chronic or acute Depession such as irritability, dysphoria, hopelessness and despair. People suffering from this disorder often exhibit these symtoms on an annual basis when light is less frequent and less direct due to the Autumnal Equinox when the earth is receiving less intense and less direct affects from the sun. Treatments include light therapy as well as changing habits such as arising from sleep earlier in the day and going to sleep earlier each night. In addition, increasing one's level of exercise is helpful.

Light therapy boxes provide very similar light that the sun provides. I treat SAD clients with this device in the office and have assisted many clients to free themselves from this annual event. Often times clients may not be aware that their signs of depression are related to light deprivation and occur each year around the same time of the year. Light therapy is safe and is highly effective. Appointments for this therapy run from 15-30 mins. and can be conducted in the office as often as 3 days per week. Give me a call or speak with me about this very effective and inexpensive option for treatment.