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Wellness provider sees traditional medicine as the last alternative

By Scott Scanlon

Refresh Editor

Americans make up 5 percent of the world population but consume 75 percent of the world’s prescription drugs, and enough painkillers were prescribed in 2010 to medicate every American every four hours, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

So it comes as no surprise that a growing number of people across the country have tapped into the unconventional methods of wellness providers like Hesu Whitten, a doctor of chiropractic and one of the nation’s top kinesiologists.

His patients on the West Coast and in Western New York call the Santa Barbara, Calif., kinesiologist “Doctor Whitten,” a term frowned upon in established medical circles for those, who, like Whitten, practice chiropractic and other manipulative therapies – though his clients use the term routinely.

“People give medical doctors exclusivity to that term and everyone else has to qualify the word ‘doctor,’ ” he said. “They call people like me ‘alternative practitioners.’ I think we should turn that practice around completely, because medicine is the least effective, the most costly, the most invasive, and has the most side effects. By definition, it should be the last alternative.”

Whitten, 45, spends one week every month or two treating patients for about $90 an hour at Universal Chiropractic in West Seneca. While in the region, he also offers training courses to those who want to learn his “Whitten Method,” a combination of chiropractic, massage and several other therapies, but most importantly muscle testing. Learn more at and contact him by email at or phone, (805) 637-5650, to schedule an appointment or sign up for a workshop.

He started visiting the region seven years ago after he met his girlfriend, Catherine Miller, a Buffalo native and former editor of the Holistic Health Journal who moved to Southern California but still owns property in Williamsville.

Give me a standard definition of kinesiology.

It’s based on the idea that the body has all the information about itself at the subconscious level, and instead of me using my little intellect and opinions – every different healer has a different opinion about what the core issue is and how to go about it – this is about saying, ‘Let’s put all of our issues aside and offer the body a menu of treatment options.’

The body can choose from varying structural modalities, which would be soft tissue work from massage and fascia and trigger point, or chiropractic, where we’re trying to realign misaligned bones, or, if it’s at the nutritional level, it can tell us if there’s a deficiency that needs an herb, or if there is a food to avoid. Or if there an energy imbalance, where there’s toxic energy that needs to be removed or weak energy that we need to somehow energize.

The reason I do kinesiology is because what I can see of you with my eyes and feel of you with my hands is so limited, so there’s got to be a way to go deeper and get the information.

How do you do that?

Your nervous system has all the information about you, but I can’t stick my hands in your brain or on your nerves. But your nervous system controls your muscles, so I do muscle testing. There was a discovery made that when you make a true statement, your muscle will engage and hold strong. When you make a false statement, it creates a disturbance pattern and a strong muscle goes weak. So we can make statements or ask questions and see if they’re true or not by seeing when a muscle goes weak. Is the problem structural, yes or no? Is it chemical, yes or no? Is it energetic, yes or no? If it’s structure, I ask, ‘Is it bone, yes or no? Is it soft tissue, yes or no? Where is it: your head, your neck, your chest?’ Being able to get yes/no answers from your nervous system via the muscles enables me to find your body’s intelligence and sequence of therapies. It already has a curriculum, a plan to fix you. It’s like having a talking Rubik cube. … Your nervous system knows what it needs in order to help you function more efficiently. When you function more efficiently – when it’s unblocked at the structural, chemical and energetic/emotional levels – your body can heal itself.

The problem with most healing methods is that they’re trying to figure you out based on symptoms, based on studies, but everyone is so unique, it’s impossible to do precise work by doing generalized methods.

What are people desperate to fix when they see you?

Like any chiropractor, I get pain, fibromyalgia, people who can’t sleep well. Word kind of gets out that I treat things a little differently, so I get requests to treat things that most people don’t get: people coming in with depression; athletes who want to get that little edge; people with allergies, digestive problems.

What kind of methods are you using in combination?

At the nutritional level, I’m telling people to either not eat this particular food or eat this food, or giving them a supplement. I don’t try to get people on lifetime supplements, but if peoples’ diets are not great, I’ll tell them, ‘Take a multivitamin.’ Supplements should be supplemental. Your diet should be primary.

If someone has an infection, I give them homeopathics or herbs for the infection. With the structural stuff, it comes down to either doing adjustments, massage, doing work with the soft tissue. Then it’s just about finding where the energy disturbances are and giving those the energetic remedies that they need.

Do you interview a patient first?

It really has nothing to do with what they think they need. Their logical mind sometimes gets in the way. All of the deep intelligence is going on at the subconscious level. After a treatment, people will say, ‘You hit all my spots. How’d you know?’ Well, your body is broadcasting it.

Physical therapists and chiropractors can get a sense of where things are wrong, too.

That’s right. Sometimes you can have a pain, say, in your sacrum (lower spine) and it’s connected to some other imbalances. Sometimes, people will say, ‘I’ve got pain here,’ and then I’ll say, ‘I don’t feel anything here.’ Sometimes the body will tell me to work distantly in order to correct the problem.