Dr. John Amaral’s Story


Growing up in Santa Cruz, California, a Mecca for alternative healthcare providers and a city where “Keep Santa Cruz Weird” bumper stickers abound, you might think that I would have had a pretty open mind about holistic healthcare from early on. But in fact, it was quite the opposite.

As a kid I suffered from severe asthma, allergies, and the skin condition eczema. Throughout my childhood I received conventional medical treatments including steroids, inhalers, and weekly injections to manage my symptoms. Although I was taught the value of a good diet and exercise, what “healthy” really meant to me was being symptom-free.

I was an intensely competitive athlete throughout my youth and as a champion high school wrestler I learned to push my body to the extremes. When my body was stressed and my asthma or skin rash flared, I’d treat them with steroids and push on. By 17 years old, I was seriously into surfing and skateboarding and I was routinely slamming into the concrete or getting pummeled by the heavy Northern California surf.

I lifted weights daily, and by 19 I could bench press close to 300 pounds. Around that time I was introduced to martial arts and began religiously training several hours a day. By 20 years old, I was in peak physical shape. But even though I was incredibly fit and flexible, the symptoms that had plagued me from childhood still persisted.

At 22 years old I was in college studying fine art, when through a series of synchronistic events, I wound up taking an anatomy course which in turn led me to register for chiropractic college. The funny thing is, I’d never been to a chiropractor even once in my entire life! In retrospect, it was divine intervention.

I was immediately intrigued by the vitalistic chiropractic philosophy, which taught that there is an intelligence organizing all matter, and that one’s spinal structure plays a key role in the expression of that intelligence through their body. Conceptually this made sense to me, but the chiropractic sessions I’d received since starting the program hadn’t seemed to be have much of a noticeable effect on my vitality.

It was then that my wife Christina, who I’d only recently met in chiropractic college, introduced me to the controversial new method that would soon change my life: Network Spinal Analysis (NSA).

NSA was a new approach at the very fringe of an already fringe profession. It didn’t involve traditional spinal manipulation, only light touch, and because it was so unorthodox, it was the topic of much dispute amongst chiropractors.

I remember my first session with an NSA practitioner quite vividly. He had me lie down on a table and located a few points on my neck and lower spine, then he touched them with a few ounces of pressure. Truthfully I didn’t feel a thing physically during the session, and I actually got off the table wondering if anything of value had been accomplished.

Then a strange thing happened as I was walking out of the office. As I headed to the car I realized that I could smell the Jasmine flowers growing at the entrance of the office. I’d been suffering from allergies my whole life and my sense of smell had all but disappeared, and now after one session it had suddenly come back.

I thought, “OK, there is actually something to this” and decided to try out NSA care on a regular basis. Within a month my sense of smell had 100% returned, and soon after that the eczema that I’d struggled with my whole life had almost vanished. But even more profound, was I started noticing a feeling of deep peace and contentment. For the first time in my entire life, I began to feel totally relaxed, present, and at one with my body and mind.

With continued care, the new body awareness that NSA was helping me develop began to deepen. I started noticing a whole new range of cues and feedback within my body that I’d never felt before. I was getting so in synch with my body that I began to sense precisely when my posture needed to be adjusted while driving or studying, I began to feel the emotional shifts happening inside me that would have previously spiraled into an asthma attack or eczema outbreak, and I began to have a growing sense of a vital force or wisdom within me and a transcendent consciousness around me.

I didn’t plan on any of this awareness happening. I was just a 23 year old athlete/artist with no interest in personal growth, no desire to deal with emotions, and a very limited understanding of consciousness. Yet, it was as if the dusty lenses I’d experienced my whole life through had been replaced with crystal clear ones, and I was now present to a totally new reality. I’d experienced my first awakening.

One thing about any true awakening, is that it seriously messes with the life you’ve been living. My newly expanded awareness began to shed light on all of the places where I’d been for lack of a better word “asleep,” and I was faced with the realization that most of my choices up to that point in life had been made out of conditioning, reaction, or avoidance. It was shocking to see, for example, just how much my fear of rejection and confrontation had kept me from being who I really was, and I started speaking up, sharing more and more of my honest opinions, and raising my standards in virtually every area of my life.

I continued receiving NSA care on a weekly basis and soon a new and sustained energy and vitality began to emerge that I’d never experienced before. It was like I’d been plugged into some invisible power source that was refilling my depleted body while at the same time grounding and relaxing me. Then came another level of awakening.

About 6 months had passed since I’d had my first NSA session and I decided to attend an intensive NSA weekend program called a Transformational Gate. Imagine a really big room with about eighty tables in it, and a dozen or more practitioners working on a group of several hundred people on those tables. The Transformational Gate was quite a scene.

That weekend opened me up like nothing I’d ever experienced before. By the end of the second day, my body and mind no longer felt solid and separate. Everything had become a sea of energy and vibration, and I’d merged into what I’d now describe as infinite and non-dual reality. I had tasted my first experience of “oneness.”

I continued to receive NSA care throughout my chiropractic schooling. Since I was already clear at this point that I wanted to practice NSA and help people have the kind of breakthroughs I’d already experienced, I immediately started taking every seminar that I could with the developer of NSA, Dr. Donald Epstein D.C.

I studied and practiced, and visualized, and read everything that I could get my hands on about the body, mind, healing, biology, quantum mechanics, consciousness, spirituality, and so on. I sought out the best NSA practitioners and tagged along with them in their offices, or took every opportunity pick their minds. After nearly a decade in practice, my desire to learn, improve, and grow eventually landed me a spot on the NSA teaching staff and for the last 7 years I’ve been helping to share the benefits of NSA care alongside a talented international team of about 20 practitioners.

Nearly twenty years after starting my NSA journey, and after working with thousands of people from over 50 countries, being there for the births of people¬ís children and the deaths of their loved ones, taking care of people ranging from those in dire poverty to celebrities, super-achievers and movers-and-shakers, there’s one thing that I know for sure:

If you’re struggling in life it’s only because somewhere along the way you forgot who you really are.

Remembering isn’t that hard though. It starts with simply connecting to where you’re really in your consciousness right now, which you can learn to do through your body. As you become more aware of your breath, movement, and energy, and learn how to acknowledge and accept yourself just as you are (without the desire to be different) a whole new world of possibilities opens up, and an inner congruence and effortlessness begins to direct your life.

My journey continues to unfold, and my love for people, and my excitement for their discoveries, breakthroughs, realizations, and awakenings continues to grow. I’m grateful for the blessing of such an amazing family, community, and life and if our paths should cross, I look forward to helping you “remember.”




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About John Amaral

Santa Cruz Chiropractor Dr. John Amaral has helped thousands of people from over 50 countries transform and awaken to more meaningful and purposeful lives. Follow him on twitter at @johnamaral