Cold & Flu — Podcast Interview with Dr. Gregg Rubinstein

Listen or Read Dr. Rubinstein’s Monthly Podcast Interview!

Topic – Cold & Flu

Below you will find an easy to read transcript of Dr. Gregg Rubinstein’s interview on the razorcast™ monthly podcast.  You can either watch the video to listen to the podcast or simply read the easy to follow transcript below.  Enjoy!

PodCast Interview:

RC: Hello everyone, this is Liz Harvey coming to you from our razorcast™ studios in New York City where we are dedicated to bringing you top quality advice from many of the leading industry professionals across the United States.

In today’s episode we are speaking with chiropractor, Dr. Gregg Rubinstein. Dr. Rubinstein is the founder of 57th Street Chiropractic located right here in the heart of Midtown Manhattan where he has been practicing since 1993. He specializes in pediatric and family care and Dr. Rubinstein is a long standing member of the International Pediatrics Chiropractic Association. He also serves as a board member of Friends of Fresh and Green Academy, a nonprofit organization that does extensive charity work in education in Ethiopia.

Dr. Rubinstein is widely considered to be one of the top chiropractors in the U.S. and is also a contributing member of our national network of industry professionals.

RC: Dr. Rubinstein, how are you today?

Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: Doing great Liz and I really appreciate being on the line and thanks for having me.

RC: We’re so glad to have you with us. Today we’re going to talk about a very important topic – Colds & Flu. So let’s dive in.

Question 1: In treating children and adults & seniors- people of all ages, what do you see as a leading cause of people to become sick?

RC: First question for you today, in treating children, adults and seniors, people of all ages actually, what do you see as a leading cause for people to become sick or to get sick?

Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: You know, when we talk about cold and flu season, everyone always thinks it’s the germs that make us sick. The germ theory says that if you get exposed to a germ then it’s going to make you sick because these germs are necessarily bad things that are going to try to take over your body. But it’s not really just the germs that make you sick because you need to be susceptible; you need to be a hospitable host to this invading organism. So it’s truly your body’s resistance that allows you to become sick, it’s not the germs that make us sick.

I find this very interesting because patients call my office very frequently and they are like, “Dr. Rubinstein I don’t want to come in today. I have a cold and I don’t want to get you sick and I say that’s very nice of you and very considerate but we don’t really buy into 100% of the germ theory because if the germ theory was 100% true there would be no one around to really talk about it because everyone is exposed to these germs.” They are constantly in our environment but in reality it’s stress, tension, poor quality of life, poor nerve function that really allow the body to become sick.

I can kind of summarize this a little more clearly for you in understanding that your nerve system is that master communication system and it controls your immune system. Your nerve system alerts your immune system that there is an invading organism and then your body makes an appropriate response. If the response is in time and appropriate, chances are you’re not going to get sick and you should be able to battle against that. But if your body is run down, you’re stressed out, you’re tired, then your immune system is run down and then if you have subluxations on top of that -those misalignments that put pressure on the nerve system.  Your nerve system’s control of the immune system is diminished and then you’re really susceptible and much more likely to become sick.

So in reality, it’s how susceptible that individual person is that determines if you get sick. Because you know, I don’t know if you have a big family or not, but I know families of five where only three members of the family get sick. When you really think about it, it’s because the children, the mom, they’re all hanging out with the same people, they’re eating the same food, drinking the same water, breathing the same air. Why is it that only three people get sick and not the entire family? If the germ theory were correct, all of those people should be sick.

RC: Right, that is very interesting.

Question 2 : Why do some people get sick more often than others?

RC: My next question was going to be, why do some people get sick more often than others? And as I’m asking this question, I feel like you just answered it. But is there any other reason why some people get sicker? Just maybe those that are more stressed out like me?

Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: You know, you really brought up what I think is the nail that we all need to be hitting right on the head and that is stress. Stress is a major reason that we get sick and I’m going to explain something to you that you probably already know but I think you’ll get a kick out of this and it’s a great way to explain it to other people and it makes sense to most folks.

So stress really comes from this psychology discussion called flight or fight and I’m not sure if everyone is familiar with it so I’ll use a classic example. Let’s say I’m turning the corner, it’s 12:30 at night, I’m here in New York City and there is a person with a knife and he wants my cell phone and my wallet. The first thing that happens is, I feel that little tingle in my spine “zing” and all of a sudden that adrenaline starts flowing through my body. Okay, and that’s the first sign of stress, because when we are stressed out the adrenaline pops up and that’s really what we’re looking at.

Now there is another stress hormone that everyone knows and it’s called cortisol. Cortisol does two amazing things. The first thing it does is it stops insulin from doing its job. So it keeps the sugar in your blood stream because should I decide to run away from this guy with a knife I’m going to need all that sugar in my blood stream because that’s the energy by body runs on. But the other thing is when I’m in flight or fight or what we call survival mode, does my body want to be thinking about healing? It does not. So it shuts off the immune system.  Healing only happens when you’re at rest. So when someone’s stressed out, think about the guy who lost his job, his wife is leaving him. Someone sneezes in Buffalo and he gets sick in Boston because his immune system is so run down and his nerve system is run down and he’s constantly in that stress chemistry with lots of adrenalin and cortisol flowing through his body.

So stress is a huge reason that people get sick and people come to me when they’re all stressed out and we try to just help them ease out the tension in their body, get the pressure off the nerve system and reset that nerve system to a lower resting tone and that helps increase immune system function and immunity.

RC: Wow, sounds like I need a visit to a chiropractor to help my stress level and I’m sure all of our listeners are going to benefit from that. That was a really great explanation. Thank you.

Question 3: What do you see from patients who are on pain meds or antibiotics?

RC: Moving on to a different question but related. What do you see from patients who have been on pain medication or antibiotics that don’t seem to be working?

Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: Those are really good questions and now I’m going to break it down because you brought up two different medication approaches. You talked about pain medication and antibiotics and let me tackle the pain meds first. The one thing I know for sure with working with people in pain for about twenty-three – twenty-four years is that pain medications actually usually work pretty well. They are powerful drugs that absolutely shut off the pain messages. They stop the information of pain messages getting to the brain and they are really good at shutting those things down. So pain medicines, if you take a Vicodin, you’re not going to feel a whole lot. Then there are much harder medications out there for pain relief and the problem is that those medicines are addicting and the biggest problem with all the pain meds is that they only cover up the symptoms they never address the cause. I’ve never had a patient come into my office who had a pain medication deficiency and that’s what they needed to solve their problem.

The body heals itself. We know that the body is self-regulating , self-developing and self-healing because if I break my pinky you can just tape that to the finger next to it and the body heals it. It doesn’t need a cast from a doctor or anything as long as the bone is straight. So the body has the ability to heal itself, pain medications only cover up the pain while your body heals itself.  So they don’t really have an effect on healing, it just makes the patient more comfortable. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there are times where people are in so much pain that they need medication to help them just get through the day. That focuses on the pain medicine and again that can actually be a problem because if you take lots of medicine and you don’t feel the pain, you could go out and do more stuff or return to exercise too soon and actually build the problem in more significantly if it’s a biomechanical or muscular-skeletal problem.

Now you also brought up the topic of antibiotics and that’s one that really hits close to home for me because I have a wife who is sick quite often. What’s interesting to me is her father who, when she was young, was a dentist and he was a very well intentioned man and he loved his daughter more than anything but his medical background led him to every time she coughed or sneezed or was mildly sick, he gave her antibiotics. Now antibiotics are powerful drugs. They kill all the living things. Antibiotic means against life. So they kill all the bacteria and viri in the body but then those bacteria and virus are killed and the ones that might happen to survive are resistant to the antibiotics and then that repopulates her body with very antibiotic resistant bacteria which are even harder to take care of next time which leads to stronger antibiotics.

But the other and most important thing to understand is that when you take antibiotics, you never let your immune system battle that disease and that’s like getting a bully to fight your battles for you in high school. When you graduate high school and you end up in college and then there is no one to fight your battle for you, you’re going to get your butt kicked and that’s what happens when people start to shy away from these antibiotics or they try and heal naturally because their immune system is not strong and never built itself up to a high level. They tend to get sick more often and struggle and might even be sick longer because it takes longer for their immune system to kick in and do the job.

So that’s really what we see and how we talk about those pain meds or antibiotics and please I want you to understand that I’m not saying there is never a time for pain meds or antibiotics. If the body is so overrun, those are lifesaving medications that can really help people. But generally speaking, for the common cold and cough and sneezing, I believe that antibiotics are quite over prescribed and that’s pretty much my point of view on that.

RC: I think that is fabulous information for everyone listening and leads us into the flu shot.

Question 4: Do you encourage your patients to get a flu shot?

RC: Do you encourage your patients to get a flu shot? Do you have any feedback on whether a flu shot is a good idea or not?

Dr. Gregg Rubinstein:  Okay, well that’s a really interesting question and I get asked that a lot. The one thing I have to say is that I just want to preface it that I don’t tell people how to live their lives. But as a chiropractor I am much more inclined to talk about natural health and healing. Now, encouraging a patient to get a flu shot will never happen in my office. It is absolutely 100% that individual’s choice whether they get a flu shot or not. Recent research shows that the flu shots at best are somewhere about 40-50% effective in the people who get them. But the truth is that we’re designed to be healthy. As I was talking about before, your nerve system controls your immune system so if your body is being invaded by influenza virus, your body should trigger an immune response and your body should battle back.

You know, the runny nose and the coughing and the sneezing,those are things to make sure that the virus doesn’t settle into your lungs and you don’t get pneumonia. So many people use over the counter medications to stop them from coughing or sneezing. But, coughing and sneezing and expectorating and getting that stuff out of your body is what your body is trying to do. It’s the natural defense rather than let that slide down into the lungs and give someone pneumonia or a more significant infection.

So a flu shot, I don’t think it’s a great idea. If someone is truly immunocompromised and their immune system isn’t working, it might have some benefit to them. But at the rate of 40-50% outcomes that are going to prevent the flu, I don’t think that’s a great ratio. There are side effects to the flu shot and it was in the news that there were some people in Italy, I think twelve people got flu shots and had severe adverse reactions to the shot and a few of them actually died.

So again, it’s not something that I think should be widespread. Maybe for some immunocompromised people but I never recommend a flu shot because I truly believe that our bodies are designed to be healthy and have the ability to fight off cold and flu naturally and the more it does that, the more efficient that machine becomes, the stronger your immune system and the healthier you are going to be. That’s really what it is but I don’t tell people they should or they should not, it’s really their decision. If they ask me, I’ll kind of answer that question very similarly and let them make their own decision. If you are asking me what I would do, you know it’s not so important what I would do, but look at the facts, read the information. They have something called a drug fact sheet that comes with every medication and it is this long little tiny piece of paper with super tiny writing on it but no one ever reads them. If you read it, they show the research and they show the ethicacy of how well that particular medication works and all the side effects. I think that if most people read those, they would certainly think twice.

RC: Right and I do think your perspective on a flu shot is very important for people to consider if they haven’t already considered those issues that you brought up, so thank you for that.

RC: My last question for you today is another general question that hopefully can leave our listeners with some good information, good take-away. That is, what are the best ways to avoid cold and flu?

Question 5 – What are the best ways to avoid cold & flu?

Dr. Gregg Rubinstein:  You know the best ways to avoid cold and flu are really to make sure that your nerve system is functioning optimally. Periodic visits to a chiropractor will clear out any misalignments or what we call subluxations that put pressure on the nerves and that can interfere with the communication in the body. That communication from your nerve system to your immune system is vital and if you make sure that it functions optimally, you’re going to be less likely to get sick. Then you know what when someone gets a cold or a flu, just leave them alone. Let the body get stronger, figure out what it needs to do and how to heal it and then it will create its own antibodies to make sure that it doesn’t get sick again.

If you remember, we talked a little bit about why some people get sick more than others and you know it’s about susceptibility and how run down or how strong your nerve system and your immune system are. Those are the things that are really most important in avoiding cold and flu. It’s also managing your stress level and eating a pretty good diet, getting plenty of rest because the body heals at rest. When you don’t sleep and you get all run down and you have high stress levels, your body is going to be much more run down, much more susceptible. Your immune system and nerve system are not going to be as strong as they can be.

So it’s really about minimizing stress, making sure that you’re getting plenty of rest, drinking plenty of fluids. Everything that we learned in grade school and parents taught you are still holding true today. It’s not that we have a deficiency of this shot or that shot or we need more cold medicines or more of anything else. The body knows what it’s doing. We survived as a species for a very long time without medical doctors and without all those drugs. Those cold medicines they sure make you feel a little bit better but they don’t really heal you and that’s an important distinction to make.

So really the best way to avoid cold and flu: again, plenty of rest, proper nerve system function which can be helped by a chiropractor and then eating right, drinking plenty of fluids and that’s pretty much it.

RC: Well Dr. Rubinstein, you really are sounding like the expert that you are in these areas. The answers to our questions are just rolling off your tongue and I really appreciate your candid approach to chiropractic care. It’s really going to be beneficial to all of our listeners. So thank you very much we know you’re busy and we really appreciate your time today.

Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: Thank you Liz, it’s an honor to be here like I said before.

RC: Thank you.

For our listeners across the country if you’re interested in speaking with Dr. Gregg Rubinstein, you can either go online to his website at or call (917) 534-6484 to schedule an appointment.

On behalf of our entire team at razorcast™ we want to thank you for listening and we look forward to bringing you more top quality content from our country’s leading industry professionals.   

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