Live Blog from the 2016 Robb Report Health & Wellness Summit


Four speakers shared during Friday’s morning sessions.

9 am Managing Stress like an Olympic Athlete, Dr. Jeff Nalin, Markus Rogan, Luke Salas of Paradigm Malibu

Dr. Jeff Nalin, psychologist and founder of adolescent treatment center Paradigm Malibu, set the tone of the day. With health and wellness goals, the ball is in our court. Whatever is holding us back, whether it’s physiological or psychological, we should be empowered to be our best selves.

Nalin describes many of the depressed teens arriving to his program as “a cork stuck in a volcano.” Adults get this way too; you know the feeling. If we don’t have a process to relieve regular anxiety, we either explode, check out, or distract ourselves. Nalin suggested looking for these “hot moments” and facing them. Working through emotional material instead of ignoring it or medicating it brings real change. Nalin’s colleague Markus Rogan reminded us that “we will not grow tired of creating anxious situations for ourselves.” It’s not the anxiety but how we move through the anxiety that makes the difference.

Elite athletes face extreme anxiety before competition. Former professional baseball player Luke Salas described the process he honed to remain calm in the face of a 95 mph pitch. In the on deck circle before he went up to bat, he would remember to trust his training. The self-talk inside his head reminded him that he had the ability. “I knew I can do everything as a hitter and still strike out,” he said. “I can’t control everything, but I can control who I am and who I want to be.” Each of us can find a process of our own to face our fears and conquer them.

10 am  Weekend Warrior Workshop, Dr. Elizabth Metzkin of Brigham and Woman’s Hospital; Brian Mackenzie, Gabby Reese, Laird Hamliton of XPT Extreme Performance Training

Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Elizabeth Matzkin discussed injury causes and prevention during her workshop for weekend workout warriors. Compared to elite athletes, novice competitors are at higher risk for injury because they overestimate their abilities. Matzkin suggests using the 10% rule to know how much to safely increase workouts. Going all out is dangerous if you are not in shape for it. Big-wave surfer Laird Hamilton, also on the panel, added, “In a world of instant gratification, we need patience.” Be realistic about your level of fitness and where you want to go. Hamilton shared his secret to a long, fit life: “Find out what you have fun doing and go do that.”  

11 am  Back to the Future: New Horizons in Spinal Health, Dr. Najeeb Thomas of Surgical Specialists of Louisiana

Dr. Najeeb Thomas of Surgical Specialists of Louisiana discussed the latest research in his field of spinal health. He’s now one step closer to his goal of using stem cell injections to rebuild human spines. Stem cell therapies recently tested in rabbits have successfully restored spinal disk heights. He’s in process with the FDA, but was honest about the cost and difficulty of that process. He plans to begin testing the therapies on humans in Japan as soon as next year.

12 pm The Longevity Lifestyle, Dr. Gary Small of UCLA Health

UCLA’s Dr. Gary Small helped everyone face their fears about memory loss. Right now medicine can only do so much, so our lifestyles need to bridge the gap. Doctors are looking for disease modifying treatments for Alzheimer’s, but so far only medication to help with symptoms is available. Small’s book Two Weeks to a Younger Brain gives many examples of ways to take action. His tips include playing memory games, exercising regularly, and practicing good nutrition that incorporates Omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants into the diet. Search for the #HWSummit hashtag on Twitter to read the most memorable quotes from Small’s lecture. 

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