Frank Sabatino, D.C., Ph.D., health director of the Regency House Natural Health Spa in Hallandale, Fla., is a certified member of the International Association of Hygienic Physicians. He completed his professional training at Palmer Chiropractic College in Davenport, Iowa. Dr. Sabatino also holds a master’s degree and Ph.D. from Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Ga.
What are most people looking for when they come to see you?
We all want to feel better, look better, age better, and have less pain and disease. A great many people today are clamoring for the kind of education and information that Natural Hygiene offers: the empowering realization that we have the capability and power to maintain high level health. Others are looking for solutions for major health problems by making more constructive lifestyle choices and taking charge of their lives. I feel fortunate to work as the health director at the Regency House Health Spa, which is one of the premiere holistic health education places in the country.
Typically, people come to the Regency for a minimum of a week—for a beachside vacation, to relax, lose weight, and get away from their everyday, stressful environment. A large number come primarily for weight loss, but many come with health problems to undergo a supervised fast, or at least to try a healthier lifestyle approach, as an alternative to more conventional approaches, such as drugs or surgery.
Guests eat a vegan diet; participate in an exercise program that includes walking on the beach, aerobic classes, and yoga; and learn meditation and stress management techniques. I see each guest several times a week and give lectures five times a week.
What are the biggest challenges that people face?
We are all faced with a very hectic pace of life that distracts us from being attentive to our real biological and emotional needs. We have family responsibilities and social needs in addition to our jobs, and we are being pulled in a thousand directions. It gets all too easy to become lost in addictions, patterns, and choices that are not necessarily in our best interest.
We have to slow down enough to really separate ourselves from all of this input, to be more aware of what is going on in our lives and bodies, so that we can establish and maintain constructive, supportive lifestyle choices. If we don’t make that a priority, we wind up creating the alienation, discomfort, and breakdown that we call disease, and that can be a chronic problem. Sadly, for some people, it takes major disease or major trauma before they are ready to really slow down and assess what is important.
How difficult is it to impart these ideas to your own children?
My wife Robin and I have five children ages four to 14—Tiffany, Collin, Courtney, Dante, and Rodin. They are all being raised as vegans, but as they get older, they have to make more and more of their own decisions. This is very difficult for me as a Hygienic physician, because I know the repercussions of poor choices. However, dealing with the concept of moderation, even at times for things like refined sugar or dairy products, has become an important issue in our family.
You have to allow children an opportunity to make their own choices at some point—with continued love, support, and education, because when all is said and done, that is what they are going to do anyway. Otherwise, you breed a type of rebellion where the kids grow up and then categorically don’t want to do anything beneficial because they feel that it was stuffed down their throats. I think that they really have to feel that they were able to come to some of these decisions on their own.
Do you think Natural Hygiene can make a difference in our society?
Recent data has shown that 65-70% of cancers are directly related to lifestyle choices. And we have known for a long time that heart disease and other chronic degenerative diseases are a function of the routine choices we make. Natural Hygiene has always been very direct and magnificent in the way that it has addressed the importance of those choices. Today, more and more scientific data reinforces everything that we teach.
I think we need to focus more on psychosocial issues—stress management, emotional health, and mind-body interaction. Don’t get lost and obsessed with the right and wrong of lifestyle choices. Life is more than fruits, veggies, nuts, and a walk around the park. We need to align more in a balanced and mindful way with the wisdom of our bodies to recapture and express the full capability of our “beingness” and humanity.
The biological factors of health are not an end point. Rather, they are direct, constructive means for removing the obstacles of health, so that we can move on to more evolved levels of love, compassion, performance, wellness, and a real integration of body and mind. Hygienic teaching and practice is a beacon for people to bring this integration into reality.
This interview appeared in the March/April 1998 issue of Health Science magazine.