April 7, 2009
Ben: Hey podcast listeners, this is Ben Greenfield still not recording with a headset, still locked in my bedroom closet to get rid of a little bit of that echo but I promise I will spring for a headset soon. I’ve been jetting around, pretty busy. Just got done with half Ironman New Orleans, and I actually posted a race report for that race on my personal blog at www.bengreenfieldtri.blogspot.com. As many of you know, my sport of choice that I personally compete in and enjoy is triathlon. Occasionally it does get a bit painful and that actually did happen during that race down in New Orleans. It was a tough endeavor but I crossed the finish line. Anyways, today I’m bringing you more listener Q and A. But a little bit more interesting than that, I have a very cool interview with a guy named Dr. Akers who I met down in California a few months ago and he literally laid his hands on me and healed a knee injury that I was dealing with just through some strategic pressure points across my body. I told him I wanted to get him on my show to talk about what he did, what his healing process actually involves and I actually have him on the show today. So you’re definitely going to want to catch that interview if you have chronic injuries, aches or pains that won’t go away, if you just have a plateau in your physical performance, if you’re playing a sport and you want to enhance your athletic performance, you’re going to want to listen to this interview. He talks about a lot of very interesting stuff. The Listener Q and A is focused on leg exercises for older adults, an alternative to diet pop and soda and then finally a talk with a college student who’s trying to build lean muscle and has lots of questions about supplements. And then we will start off the day of course with just a few special announcements. So let’s go straight into this week’s content from www.bengreenfieldfitness.com.
Ok, before I get started remember if you have a question, just email me [email protected]. You can Skype me using the free Skype software. My Skype name is “pacificfit.net” or you can just call toll free 18772099439. Leave a voice mail at my extension at the extension number 3 and I will play your voice mail in the podcast and answer your question. So we’ve got three questions today. The first is from Listener Steve.
Steve asks: I read your latest article which emphasized leg exercises. (And Steve is referring to an article in the newsletter that I send out from Ben Greenfield Fitness.com, and by the way if you haven’t signed up for that newsletter, make sure you do. Lots of special discount codes for supplements, things of that nature go into that newsletter.) However, are squats good for people over a certain age (ex: 40 plus?) Is the juice worth the squeeze for us older athletes, or can we substitute another exercise in lieu of squats?
Ben answers: Well it is true that it is more common in older individuals for their knees to hurt or their hips to hurt when they’re doing a full on squat based exercise. There are alternatives to the squat, but my first piece of advice would be to make sure that you’re squatting properly. In the Shownotes, right after your question, Steve, in the Shownotes to this podcast, I’m going to put a link to a squat video that shows you how to squat properly and I recorded it. It’s me performing a squat and it’s got some key points in there that you should pay attention to when you do squat. However, I’m also putting a link to five other videos, or I’m sorry, four other videos that show you alternative exercises you can do if you experience pain during the squat. One’s called a single leg bridge. This is where you’re just lying on the ground with one leg in the air pushing through the other leg, bridging your hips towards the ceiling. We’ve got the one arm deadlift on there. And this is similar to the squat except rather than putting a weight on your shoulders or your back and squatting, you’re just picking a weight off the ground. And the one arm deadlift is a lot more friendly to the low back than the two armed deadlift. So you’re simply picking a dumbbell or a medicine ball off the ground. The lunge is a common exercise similar to the squat. Sometimes it allows you to move through a little bit more range of motion. There’s a little bit more rotational freedom of the hips during the lunge exercise. And I put a video that shows you how to properly do a lunge on there. And then also range of motion is something I find that a lot of people lose as their age. So in addition to the regular lunge I put up a regular video for the multidirectional lunge which lets you open up your hips and move in different directions. So, each of those videos I have included in links after your question in the Listener Q and A section in the Shownotes of this podcast.
Stephen asks: One of your listeners mentioned about drinking diet pop and we know how bad it is for you. But, I came across a product called Zevia and wanted to know if you approved this product at all. It has Stevia as the sweetener. The ingredients in Zevia are: Triple Filtered Carbonated Water, Natural Erythritol, Natural GMO Free Caramel Color, Stevia leaf, Citric Acid and natural flavors. They have a cola which has natural caffeine, and a natural ginger rootbeer. Is this OK?
Ben answers: And in short my answer to Steve is yes. I haven’t seen any long term studies that show Stevia to be harmful whereas there are many studies that show the harm of both sugar and artificial sweeteners. Zevia is tough to find in a commercial grocery store. It is carried in most health food stores that I’ve been to. It’s fine as a product. Maybe a little bit more expensive than soda. What I tell people or what I advise people al lot of times to do is use something like carbonated water to wean yourself off diet soda or off of a soda habit. And you can put anything from lemons to limes to even cucumbers into water so you can enhance the taste. But Zevia – if you just want something that tastes very, very much like soda but that is all natural and that is healthy, then yes. That’s a great alternative. Thank you for pointing that out to the listeners, Steven.
And then finally we have a little bit longer question from Listener Craig. Listener Craig is a guy that wrote me a few months ago, college student, and he was wanting to put on muscle more or less. That was his primary goal. And he has a couple of questions based off of some advice that I gave him. One is that he has a friend and I’m just going to read this section of the question.
Craig asks: He’s interested in the ZMK and wanted to know if he should just take it for a month, or cycle it, or just take it as long as he wants to pay for it? Do any of these ways matter?
Ben answers: ZMK is a mineral supplement with things like calcium and magnesium in it that’s put out by a company called Millennium Sports and Millennium Sports is actually a great company out of Chowilla, Washington and I take some of their supplements for myself. They primarily make supplements that are designed for athletes in training. Well as far as the mineral supplements go, the idea is that athletes when they are exercising hard leech a lot of minerals. They go through a lot more minerals than the average individual. They tend to be more deficient in minerals and ZMK is something that athletes can take at night to help enhance mineral uptake. As far as cycling it, I would say if your friend is going through a very tough training cycle, training very hard, he should take the minerals and then he could probably wean himself off of those on rest days, rest weeks or recovery periods if he’s just concerned about budgeting his supplements. And the same goes for a lot of different supplements. For example, a couple of weeks after a race like Ironman New Orleans, I’ll wean myself off of most of the supplements that I take for sports performance like creatine and nitric oxide. I’ll continue to take my multivitamins and my omega 3 fatty acids and things of that nature but yeah I do tone it back a little bit just to cut back the number of pills I’m consuming on a daily basis. Craig continues on his question. He says.
Craig asks: I’ve gained nearly 10lbs since I last emailed you and want to cut a bit, but I don’t want to lose the muscle I’ve gained. I’m thinking about eating less and have read to eat 500 calories under my maintenance level. (And maintenance would just be how many calories you need to maintain weight.) I’m also considering taking a thermogenic product like Muscletech’s Hydroxycut Hardcore or Millennium Labs Shred XS Hardcore. I’ve never taken a product like either of these and was wondering if you knew about them? I want to cut the fat, without losing muscle and am not sure of the best way to do this. I’m currently on creatine monohydrate, L-Glutamine, Universal Shock Therapy (which is an nitric oxide product), and millennium ZMK, which are those minerals I talked about. Should I stop using creatine, the ZMK and the Shock Therapy if I use the thermogenic? Are any of these contradictory products that should not be taken together? I can see the individual benefits of each of these products, but I feel like there’s a lot of them and I might be over doing it a little. I am very interested in any advice you might have about a good combination of these products to attain my goal of more muscle and less fat.
Ben answers: First of all, with regard to your question about the interaction between these supplements, if you’re taking creatine which is designed to help improve or increase muscle contraction capabilities, if you are taking glutamine which is designed to help a muscle recover better, if you are taking a nitric oxide product which is designed to enhance oxygen uptake and enhance glucose uptake into the muscle tissue and then if you’re taking those minerals that we talked about earlier, the ZMK, none of those are overlapping. All of them are achieving a different physiological effect within the body. But it is true that none of those are considered basically a fat burning type of supplement. So you asked me about a couple of different supplements and the first was this Hydroxycut Hardcore. Whenever I look at a fat burning supplement and for any of you who listened to podcast 38 from Ben Greenfield Fitness.com, you know one of the first things I look at is whether or not it’s healthy. Because I don’t care if you’re burning fat off your body faster than anybody else, if you are doing damage to your body taking years off your life, damaging your kidneys, shutting down your adrenal glands then it’s not worth it. There are healthy ways to do it. So I looked at the Hydroxy Cut Hardcore ingredients. It’s got about 742 mgs of a fat loss blend. Green tea extract. 280 mgs of caffeine. That’s a lot of caffeine. The energy supplement I take is about 40 mgs, so that’s seven times more. Basically that’s about four cups of coffee. White willow extract, a couple of other extracts that are not important enough to go into right now. Then if you scroll into other ingredients, FDC red number 3, FDC black shade, silica, gelatin, isopropyl alcohol, butyl alcohol, dehydrated alcohol, FDC yellow number 5, ditaium oxide, sodium hydroxide, poedon, propolene glycol. There are some things in this, Craig, that will help you to burn fat. For the most part this stuff is going to make your adrenal glands go nuts. It’s going to overstimulate your nervous system. There’s a ton of caffeine in this. There are also a lot of possible carcinogens such as those FDC artificial colors. There are tons of artificial preservatives in this. I would stay away from the Hyrdroxy Cut as your fat burner. Now moving on to the next fat burner that you ask me about, the Shred XS Hardcore from Millennium Sports, the difference between the Shred XS and the Hydroxy Cut is this one is not quite as caffeine based. It’s designed to be a little bit more of a zero crash type of supplement. It’s primary ingredient is ginseng. It does have caffeine blend in it with theobromine and xenefrin which is… it’s also a little similar to the fedrin. The difference is that it stimulates the beta 3 receptors which are again something that we brought up in last week’s Shownotes. What that means is when you stimulate the beta 3 receptors, you can increase the metabolic rate without actually adversely affecting heart rate or blood pressure. If you were going to choose between these two from a health perspective, you’d definitely want to choose the Millennium Sports Hardcore Shred XS. The clients that I train for fat loss primarily use a combination of the Thermofactor and the Lean Factor supplements which were talked about in last week’s show. The Shred XS Hardcore would be a little bit more along the lines of something that a bodybuilder would take or basically an athlete who was lifting a lot of weight and needed a blend that was a little bit more designed with bodybuilding in mind. That being said, the Lean Factor and the Thermofactor could also be used for bodybuilding. This comes down to a case of there being more than one way to skin a cat. I would try either. Either one is going to get you results but I would definitely stay away from the Hydroxy Cut Hardcore. That stuff would not be fantastic for your health at all. So I hope that answers your question Craig. And I will put a link to the Thermofactor and the Lean Factor right after the question in the Shownotes on this podcast. So that’s all for this week’s Listener Q and A. Let’s go ahead and move on to the interview.
Ben: Hey podcast listeners, this is Ben Greenfield and I’m back today with an interview with a chiropractic physician, nutritionist, applied kinesiologist, medical intuitive and I don’t know what else the rest of you are but welcome to the show Dr. Akers.
Herb Akers: Thank you Ben, appreciate the opportunity to speak about health.
Ben: And the reason that I have Dr. Akers on the show is because I met him down in California a few weeks ago and basically I was giving a talk down there and Dr. Akers happened to be at the talk and I was dealing with a little bit of a knee injury and I walked up to him and I told him I’ve been having a little bit of pain on the side of my leg and he literally took one look at me and just by I guess seeing how I was standing and the way I was carrying myself, was able to understand my injury and understand the way I was training almost as if he had been watching me train for a couple of weeks. He knew how I was running and where I was feeling the pain and more importantly, he knew what to do. And just in about five minutes, actually fixed what the problem was. So I really wanted to learn a lot more about how he does what he does and he has a very interesting website that talks all about quantum physics and healing and I just want to delve into that today and find out exactly what the deal is with your practice and how you heal, Dr. Akers. So, give me a little bit of a background about you and how you got into this profession.
Dr. Herb Akers: Well I appreciate that. I think starting… my history… I was born in New Zealand. Now New Zealand is a nice – it’s an interesting place. And it relates to what I do today because it’s a very traditional place that as part of its history has healing art within the culture. I’m Polynesian. My mother’s Samoan. So we grew up with the concept of healing – it has to be a hands on healing approach integrated with herbs and other natural healing modalities. So, hands on healing and massage has been part of my life since I was maybe five or seven years old. My mother had a back injury when she was a child and she was always saying you need to work on my back and massage my leg. It was sort of one of my jobs to do as a kid. So, I was very comfortable doing it. As I grew up, I didn’t really go into the healing arts initially. I was convinced I wanted to build the 6 million dollar man for some reason. That was a hit back and everything when I grew up, but the engineering of the body fascinated me. It led me to physical therapy training and then eventually to chiropractic where they have an understanding of the body and how important the structure is. From there it went to various approaches and techniques – applied kinesiology and reflexes, eastern medicine – all driven by my need to understand how this body, how this machine – how it operates. Because it was always fascinating. I’d watch people. All my life, just watching – certainly watching the way they move and the way they stand and operate, because I was fascinated by it. So my background sort of set me up with this fascination of the physical form. Now I will tell you even after chiropractic school, there were missing schools and so I went further into trying to understand the mechanics of say for example, the foot. So I’ve taken lots of courses from various doctors around the world who have an appreciation for physical medicine, all to try to understand what’s this about because chiropractic to me was wonderful. However, it didn’t go deep enough for some reason.
Ben: So what was the next step to take it past chiropractic?
Dr. Herb Akers: The next step beyond chiropractic like I mentioned was applied kinesiology where you’re using muscle feedback or body function responses to orchestrate or navigate and diagnose structural problems affecting functional problems. So the concept is, especially with athletics, what we’re dealing with is a functional loss that’s appearing during the game that a patient will eventually have an injury. So the injury is not necessarily coming from that episode. It will usually come from the weak patterning. The weak patterning via adduct or (inaudible) or something’s going to go on as far as a weak pattern. The athlete will push beyond his limitations and then strain or injure – hey my knee hurts. But it isn’t necessarily the knee’s (inaudible) maybe a coccyx or a pelvis or an ankle pattern that has created the knee problem. So again, getting to chiropractic in that it didn’t go far enough, even the orthopedic traditional medicine didn’t seem deep enough in that (inaudible) one small piece. The only way to appreciate how the body works is to completely integrate this whole deal. And this body is from the ground up. The way I like to tell my patients is the interface to the ground is the foot. And I’ve learned through wonderful mentors about how important the foot is and I learned from a wonderful mentor years ago, Dr. Vladimir Yanza, a Czechoslovakian who set the soviet program and has done a wonderful job of setting that physical rehab in both east and west – he was reminding me that the shoe is not doing us good. It’s not really helping us. We have to really keep that foot as an organ alive and sensitive and functioning, because that’s our interface with the world. And he was stressing that even the skin, the small joint – all the information coming from the foot is utilized absolutely throughout the entire athlete and if you dull that input, you’re really decreasing the athletic function. My point being that there are a lot of shoes out there dulling the foot input, not really helping the athlete.
Ben: So do you think it’s a shoe problem or do you think it’s a mechanical problem from within the foot the way the athlete is training or from the way the athlete is carrying themselves further up the body?
Dr. Herb Akers: Well I think there’s a couple of things. Number one, I believe the athlete has to do barefoot training as part of their regimen. In other words, when we do the balance and the rocker board, the way that I was taught is you do it barefoot initially because you got to get that short foot flexor – the fibers running from the caltaneous to the metatarsal – those short foot flexor fibers – they’re second only to the upper cervical spine as far as innovation and sensation for propoceptive input. So you’ve got to get the arch muscles in there stimulated with information constantly because they fire up the leg, up the spine to serve balance – give input to the athlete to have them move correctly, right? So the first thing that needs to happen is you need to have a clear foot. And the way you do that – there are short foot exercises you can do, the stimulation to it. There’s no mistake. The Chinese do a lot of foot massage. Their foot reflexology is brilliant. 5000 years. They can access the entire health just from the foot and I believe they’re right. So even in my therapy I work a lot with the foot as if the foot has memorized lots of injuries in the past.
Ben: What type of patients do you work with?
Dr. Herb Akers: I tell even my “regular folks” – ladies getting the grocery and grandmas – I tell them that even they are athletes. And even though I work with teens and athletes that compete at all levels, I tell even a non-athlete – I tell them that they’re actually an athlete. They’ve got a body, they’re an athlete. And what I’m doing is I’m reminding their body that they’re not out of the game. And I’m reminding them that they can’t even think they’re out of the game. Because as soon as they do that, they’re going to accept a sedentary lifestyle which is just really a negative impact on our body of course.
Ben: Now before I ask you about some of the practical ways that you apply this theory in healing, tell me about how quantum physics works into this because I see that mentioned a few times on your website. How does the understanding of quantum physics relate to the process?
Dr. Herb Akers: Now one of the things about quantum physics – and I don’t pretend to be a quantum physicist – but I’ve studied it for years and one of the things we have to understand and take from quantum physics and the body is that in quantum physics, our reality is really not set in stone. It’s in a state of flux. It’s always ready to be recreated and that’s the way the body is. The body exists as a quantum machine in that even though there may be an injury pattern and even though there’s calcification and fusion – this body is always prepared to recreate itself. So there’s nothing set in stone in the body because in this reality, the science of quantum physics does rule in that anything can change at any moment. I remind my athletes that hey even though there’s an injury that’s set deep into this ankle, this calf and the spine – it can recreate and all you have to do is in a way reprogram, which brings me back to the whole work that I did with this matrix regeneration. People aren’t aware that the rules of the body is whatever it has memorized, it will continue to create. Meaning if you sprain your ankle and limp, that limp is going to be a permanent pattern within you for all the years of your live unless you reprogram that limp. The limp is almost never perceivable. It’s like you can’t really see it easily because the body will always try to hide the injuries for reasons of survival. So the repatterning I do is to identify the injury patterns – identify them and then erase every connected pattern associated with that sort of visual injury.
Ben: And how do you erase it?
Dr. Herb Akers: Well there’s a couple of ways other folks do it. I do it the traditional way with pressure points. So it’s like acupressure, and it’s amazing because in one of my offices I work with a traditional Chinese acupressure clinician and my work really parallels what they do in that we do pressure point with finger, with elbow… deep pressure… in fact I’ve been seen standing on some pressure points of patients on the table because I do a de-pressure release on the fascia, to that matrix because the fascia or the covering of the body – the matrix that I speak about is pressure sensitive and temperature sensitive because fascial cells are technically liquid crystal. So therefore that covering that memorizes everything is subject to pressure, changes – you can change it with pressure, you can change it with temperature. You can change it with sound. You can change it will all kinds of different modalities but I use…
Ben: Sorry, I lost you for just a second there. You were just finishing up how pressure and temperature is one way that you can erase and that you’re using the acupressure method and had you always used that as your method?
Dr. Herb Akers: I’ve always used that as my method. You know I feel that’s sort of my way. It’s traditional for my culture, and that’s the way I’m most comfortable using it. With my chiropractic background, I do manipulation as well because even in manipulation, you are affecting that matrix. You are affecting that patterning where it’s just applying it to the joint spaces. So it’s almost as if you have to have some tools in your toolbox to do an effective job of clearing the injuries from athletes. And again, I think everyone is an athlete.
Ben: Ok, well I know that some people are very analytical and they’re probably understanding what you’re getting at and some people like to hear an example of how this would actually work with an injury. So, can you give me an example of an injury that you see and how you use the idea of acupressure to erase the body’s memory of that injury and restore function?
Dr. Herb Akers: Sure, absolutely. Well let’s start with something very common and first go through how the body operates like for an ankle sprain. An ankle sprain is very nasty to the body and simply because if we use the idea that the body is a survival machine that has evolved through the years with the need to stand upright in a balanced fashion, then an ankle injury that will typically – potentially can collapse you – this is the number one threat to your survival and therefore the number one threat to your body and your health. So ankle sprains that will knock your balance off – your body will not tolerate. Number one. So the way in which your body will compensate is that it will use every resource as far as mechanical. It will compensate through other muscle patterns to bring you in upright position, keeping your eyes level and your neck straight – it will compensate to keep you in that level balanced place. Now I know that. When I work with a patient even with an ankle sprain, I explain that yes the ankle sprain I can see that, but I explain that this ankle has to communicate with this knee, with this hip, spine all the way up and guaranteed to be in the TMJ. Now the TMJ’s job is it’s this apparatus that people think that we’re chewing with. Chewing is a secondary job. It’s primary job is to distribute balance.
Ben: And so when you’re saying TMJ, just to clarify with the audience, you’re talking about the temporal mandibular joint in the jaw?
Dr. Herb Akers: Correct, yes. Thank you Ben. It’s the most complex wonderful apparatus that – actually you stand on one foot and you feel your jaw move. It will accommodate for that off balance and redistribute pressure. So, it’s sort of like your balance management machine that your body has. Your body has the TMJ that we speak of. Now it’s most important job, because without it you won’t have fine tuned balance. You won’t be able to stand. So therefore anybody with almost any injury that affects balance will have an involvement with the TMJ that needs to be erased. So again, I will track up… typically what I’ll do on an ankle, for example, you have to clear the ankle. What that means is you have to actually barrage a lot of (inaudible) to erase the talis position. In other words, the talis dome on the top of the foot… that interface takes all the short foot flexor information up into the talis. The talis going into the fibula and tibia, then to the crucius and then up into the hips. So the information has to be erased and one of the positions I’ll do is I’ll just do a long axis pull. What that does is it just barrages the nerve (sensors/centers) of the talis. It’ll clear it. It’s like a little explosion and it’ll erase that. Now, I’ll pull that talis and it will come up through the musculature, through peroneal areas and usually going into cruciate areas and I’ll do pressure all over on that matrix. And I’ll work my way up typically into the hips, probably into some of the core areas like hip flexors. But eventually I know I will find a jaw and an atlas position that’s tight. But that tightness is absolutely healthy because that’s a natural compensation for a tilting of your gravity, tilting of your level line or ankle sprain. Unless you erase that injury pattern, the body will be happy to compensate for all your days with that twist to your posture. That is a problem. It’s a huge problem. In fact, let me just go on to say – Ben you still there?
Ben: I’m still here yeah.
Dr. Herb Akers: Ok, I’m going to go off on a tangent and say something really important and that what happens from these athletic injuries is that the body will borrow off not as important or subordinate systems in order to remain stable and standing. There’s a lot of people out there jogging and walking whose health is not balanced enough to support that movement but their body is obligated to obey what you want it to do and will start borrowing energy off non-structural places. So if someone is not balanced enough due to old structural injuries or ill health or toxic issues, when they walk and move your body will always obey that move because it sees it as primary, and your body will start borrowing, taking, stealing energy from other places – we’re talking immune system, cardiovascular system, digestive systems, circulatory systems and walking and moving isn’t serving health. Now that’s something that people don’t realize.
Ben: Now when you say toxic issues, what are you referring to?
Dr. Herb Akers: Well the toxic issues is to remain healthy in the world these days, it requires several things. Obviously we’ve got to work with the diet that we’ve got and the diet that we have as best as we can, but we have to supplement. We have to get some strong foods in there to keep the body clean and functioning. So folks who don’t have a clean biochemistry with liver congestion and kidney stress – that’s extremely common out there. So the supplementation of the athlete is critical as well. So, you not only have to correct the movement patterns of old injuries but you also have to maintain that the internal detox systems are open and working for you. So again, I see one of the biggest problems is we’re trying to get this body to walk when it’s not prepared to. It’s open or clean enough to do so.
Ben: So what I’m getting from this so far is that for people who – let’s say we’re not even a high level athlete, but let’s say somebody who is a weekend warrior who’s maybe training for a 10K or maybe for their local 100 mile bike ride or something of that nature – you’re saying that foot issues are crucial, that having a proper alignment of the matrix all the way up to the jaw is something that athletes or everybody needs to be thinking about. Then if your body is not in a proper state with everything from nutrition to some of the alignment factors that you talked about, you’re actually going to be basically robbing your immune system and other crucial energy factors in your body?
Dr. Herb Akers: Absolutely true. And it’s really our culture doesn’t see flexibility as the high priority I know it should be. In the west here we can’t even sit on the floor. We don’t have hip open flexibility. We think well we’ve got a comfortable chair, why should we be able to stretch like children? But in other cultures, we know that is vital. If you’ve ever seen the sumo wrestlers, large people, they developed the flexibility. They can do full splits. They have incredible flexibility through their body, through their hips in order for them to protect energy. They’re powerful athletes. You can’t move them because they know to run the energy through the body they have to have the hip openness. Now high end athletes, obviously, they require that. But the weekend athlete will say well I’ve been training hard and I say how’s your flexibility? Well I’m always tight but I can train hard. This is not helping them. So what I do, in my practice, I say let’s go to the gym. We’ve got to work on your personal stretching yoga program. One in which you have to stick with until you get this openness in your body and you’ll feel the energy falling. Then you can say, you know what? Now I’m going to go play my sport. Because I’ve earned the right to be on the field now because my opus is flowing of the body will support that activity. See, most of the folks here will say hey I want to play hard and hit something, I want to get aggressive. Well, yeah but see when you’re a little bit older and have a sedentary lifestyle, you think your athlete days are over at 40 or 50. They think I’m just getting old. It’s not getting old. They’ve just accumulated too many stresses and injuries in their body, in their matrix, that’s beginning now to affect the flow of energy and these guys are going to accept the medications and the ill health that comes with aging, which is absolutely not true. Because if you study how the body operates in different cultures, it’s how open you can keep the body – how flowing you can keep the energy and the easiest way to do it is just a personal stretching program to start off with.
Ben: What type of stretching? Are you talking about static stretching, yoga, dynamic stretching, combinations?
Dr. Herb Akers: Probably a combination. But the ones I’m going to put on my website are very basic. They’re all floor yoga and all hip openers. And the reason I focus on that is because I know this body is oriented for weight bearing. So I spend a lot of time – ankle, knees and hips – before shoulders and spine, actually you’ve got to open up the weight bearing aspects – the locomotion parts of the body first and foremost. Once we get the hips amazingly open, the rest is so much easier. So I do static yoga with breathing because obviously, it’s the breathing that’s the key. You want basically your breath with that chi moving throughout your whole system and yoga is a wonderful approach to enable that to happen.
Ben: I think it’s interesting you bring up the importance of the foot and the ankle and the ground interface because that’s the third time that a health professional has brought this up on our show. I believe the other two people were Johnnie Gillespie, who is owner of the Balanced Athlete which is a yoga program up in the northeast and then also Jeff Spencer who was Lance Armstrong’s massage therapist and chiropractic. He also brought up the extreme importance of the foot. So to people out there in the audience listening, take this message home and incorporate it in your routine. You cannot ignore the foot, the ankle and really probably the flexibility that Dr. Akers is talking about is one of the keys to that. Because most of the moves that you’re talking about with yoga, your foot is connected to the ground, right?
Dr. Herb Akers: Yes. Because in the exercise program that I’m eventually going to put on my website, it’s going to be a weight bearing movement exercise that stimulates but without the foot connecting to the ground, the body won’t have an idea of where it’s supposed to go to. You got to orient it. So, a lot of my focus when it comes to stimulation and the exercise will be foot oriented weight bearing. So yeah it’s vital.
Ben: You talk about your website. Is that something that’s forthcoming or something that’s already up?
Dr. Herb Akers: Well, the website that I have right now is beginning. I’m going to put some inputs and some videos on it. It’s rulesofthematrix.com. It’s the beginning. Again, I like the terms of it because I think most people are not aware that our body has this matrix covering, which is absolutely a medical fact – an amazing structure that again does lots of things including memorize all the injuries – but it’s the primary healing organ in the body. It’s our fascial matrix. But my website mentions that there are rules and these are the rules I’ve found after 20 years of doing the work.
Ben: I saw that, and you call them the rules of the matrix on your website? I noticed that. Tell me about those.
Dr. Herb Akers: Yeah. The number one rule – number one – is collect. Number two, conceal. And number three, compensate. And quite simply this matrix body – the one that’s interpreting your environment, that covers you… it’s going to collect information from your environment. The important thing to remember is it’s going to collect only survival threats. In other words, think of it as there’s a hard drive memory going on all the time, memorizing your life. But it’s only going to memorize events that are threatening. That’s number one. It’s going to collect everything. It won’t collect like that was a wonderful birthday party, no it won’t. But it will memorize, hey I almost slipped and fell or I feel threatened by this person. Those patterns are memorized in this huge hard drive that we have. So number one is going to be the matrix is going to collect threats. Number two is conceal. And the matrix memory will conceal the information from you. It won’t tell you that you were frightened. You’ll notice a little bit, oh my gosh I almost slipped over here. But after that, it won’t connect to your conscious mind because your matrix doesn’t want you consciously aware of the threats that are occurring around you, because if you express the survival fear in your conscious mind, you’ll express fear to your environment and therefore become an easy target. So the concepts that were evolved in this body through survival strategies is true. If you show weakness in the jungle, you’re the next target. So the second rule of the matrix is not to be a target, and the way it does that is your matrix will keep the threat away from your conscious mind. Now, something to know here is that… come in, well why are you pressing over there? I don’t hurt over there. It’s over here. I say well your body will hold on to these injury patterns. You won’t consciously know it, but once I touch this spot, they go whoah, why is that sore? Why is that tight?
Ben: Yeah, and that actually is something I experienced when you were working on me. It was the outside of my right leg that was hurting and the main pressure point that you were working on was the inside of my upper right leg.
Dr. Herb Akers: Yes, exactly. And again, it does that and this is where we’re sort of governed by this matrix that we’re living in. This body rules us and the key is it has survived. You will survive because of the way it’s designed. It doesn’t want to tell you all the information, otherwise you become a target. So it’s very hard to know what your body is experiencing or what you’re experiencing through the years. It’s like once you go through a game when you were hit – after a couple of hours of the hit on the field, you go oh I feel good now. You need to go get it checked. You need to stretch it out. You need to have somebody look at it. You want to make sure you don’t carry that injury for the next game. And that’s what we do in pro sports. A good friend of mine does the NFL and NBA. And they just go from head to toe, make sure… the athlete just took a hit in the game, on court… doesn’t take that injury pattern to the next game, because it costs lots of things. It costs lots of money. So, that’s rule number two. And rule number three is your body will compensate. It will spread that injury out. The more injuries you take on, your immune system is going to start to play into that. Your circulatory system. Everything is going to suffer according to how much holding pattern you’ve chosen to pick up. You know, a very interesting example I use about this — like an automobile accident, we’re all aware that if you’re really drunk and you get into this head on… you walk away from it. I treat firefighters and they’re really upset that some of these drunk drivers – they just walk up and go home. They’re fine, whereas a family that’s not inebriated, they’re injured and have to go to the hospital. And the difference is that the drunk person’s interpretation of the event is quite different. So what we’re talking about is the drunk person doesn’t perceive this as a life threatening event. Oh my head will go through this windshield. That sounds like fun. But the mom and the kids, they brace themselves because they’re in this dangerous situation. The drunk does not see the danger. They don’t have a fear response. He doesn’t progress his matrix with that type pattern. He will walk away with this. He may have to heal a couple of things but his movement patterns have not been affected. Interesting stuff.
Ben: So you’re located down in Sacramento area, right?
Dr. Herb Akers: Yes.
Ben: In California. Our listeners are all over the nation. After listening to this – after I spoke with you, I really started to incorporate things like foam rolling and using the stick a lot more to help out with my connective tissue alignment and basically help to align that matrix that you talk about. What are some practical ways that people can incorporate these concepts that you’re talking about into their daily routine? Into their daily maintenance?
Dr. Herb Akers: Right, ok. That’s a great question. Two of the things – you mentioned the foam roller. The foam roller’s wonderful. It’s becoming popular in the gyms these days. It’s a vital piece of equipment, it’s inexpensive, does a great job especially with the IT band that is really supporting the hips… the IT band stretch with the foam roller is wonderful. You can do a complete body stretching with the body roller. But the other thing I want to remind folks about is it’s like a small ball. It’s like a medicine ball. They’re fascia release balls. But you can get the same thing at the sports store. It’s like a mini basketball. Essentially, you want to get the same ball and you want to lay on top of it. You put it on the floor and you put it right over your core, right over your gut and you want to allow your body to sink into it. What you’re doing is you’re reaching into the hip flexors. Now the hip flexors, you can stretch them doing leg stretches but when you get directly into the bell of it and work out the matrix tension of the hip flexors directly with a (inaudible), that works better than anything else. In lieu of having somebody’s elbow, like I do, on patients, you can almost do the same thing at home with a small ball to the gut. That’s what I would recommend, believe it or not.
Ben: And how big is this ball? Is it the size of a soccer ball or smaller?
Dr. Herb Akers: It’s like a small soccer ball. They technically call them mini-basketballs because they have minis, and they’re maybe like 6 inches. 6 to 8 inches, something like that. And they’re very firm, so they’re rubber but they do a wonderful job of breaking the areas of the hip flexors, especially through the core. Otherwise you really can’t do a good job of releasing. So those are two things I’d recommend. Of course the floor stretching with the yoga is the other thing. Also, any opportunity to have somebody rub your foot, please do that. There’s a lot of – certainly if you feel inclined to do some reflexology work with the foot, that’s fantastic. There’s no substitute. And I get my feet done probably at least once a month by my practitioner and that makes me clear – the whole foot. It’s a total body treatment just through the sole. That will be something. If nothing, just have your wife or husband rub your feet. I’ll tell you if you find some painful points, keep on rubbing. That’s a good thing to do. Because those are reflex points…
Ben: Sorry about that. You were saying that there were reflex points in the foot.
Dr. Herb Akers: Yeah. I was saying that you want to get the foot… all I was saying, is if you can’t get a reflexologist, have your wife or husband rub your foot. At any point that’s tender, go ahead and do that. The foot massage is worth its weight in gold. It’s a very strong structure. It has to be because it’s weight bearing all the time. So it can take a lot of pressure. Even though you’ll complain a lot, it’s a very strong structure. And again, what you want to do is you want to have this foot wake up a little bit because just by wearing very supportive shoes, it dumbs down. It doesn’t get the inputs and loses all that propocetiveness that’s vital to balance in the athlete. So yeah, foot massage and make it aggressive.
Ben: What about something as simple as – and this is something I do – like keep a golf ball underneath your desk and just rub that on your foot?
Dr. Herb Akers: Oh, that’s excellent. Excellent. Especially if the athlete finds a part of the arch being a problem and initial onset of plantar fasciitis, things like that. Use the golf ball. Good idea. I do that with patients everyday. So yeah, you can use a golf ball. Work on that everyday. You can’t just say hey I’ve got a bad foot. I need to take a shot. You need to work through that fasciitis that’s building because the fasciitis is building through the foot is speaking about an imbalance in the body. Anything. Go ahead.
Ben: I was just going to ask if there were actually any other tips that you can give people to do at home.
Dr. Herb Akers: I think I’d still be selling the concept of flexibility first. Like I say, exercise is absolutely wonderful. I want everybody to exercise and play a sport. Absolutely, get involved. But I see that number two. Number one, the body has to be open to perform the sport. So every top-end athlete like yourself, you’re very aware that the person who will win the race is the one that has an openness, the energy is so efficient that it runs without work. You don’t beat yourself up as you run or ride or swim. It’s the openness first and then the training and enjoyment of the sport is doable. That’s easier. The tough part that I see is the congestion in the body that happens over time, due to the sedentary lifestyle and the world that we live in right now. So spending time on the openness and stretching and flexibility, openness through the thought and mind, openness through the breathing and openness through the body. I put my emphasis there first.
Ben: You know, one of the things that I do every morning is I’ll just do some light calisthenics for about four, five minutes to heat up the body. And then I just have a very short seven or eight minute yoga routine that I go through. It’s just some very hip openers that I have memorized. And I started doing that several months ago, and have been… it’s been crucial in keeping me open. Keeping the hips open when I’m running or biking or walking. Even with the back pain that I’ll experience when I’m sitting for a long period of time, it’s really helped with that as well.
Dr. Herb Akers: Yeah. Ben, I’m taking a page out of your book. I do the same thing. That’s great.
Ben: Well I’m going to put a link to your website and also, this interview will actually come out later this week. But are there any other resources in terms of websites or books or anything of that nature that you’d recommend to people to find out more, to learn more?
Dr. Herb Akers: I’m in the process of putting some of the details on my website to link. I’m just going to go through a couple of my resources that would be easy. Not so difficult and real practical. They’re forthcoming.
Ben: Ok, fantastic. Well I want to thank you for your time, Dr. Akers. And I look forward to maybe talking with you again and finding out more information about ways that people can use some of the concepts you talk about to heal their bodies because I really think that in this day and age there’s so much information that we have access to that people just – they go out the door and they just push hard and don’t think about a lot of these different aspects in terms of the groundwork that’s inside their bodies that should really come before a lot of the movements that they’re doing.
Dr. Herb Akers: Yes. I absolutely agree with you and appreciate you having me on speaking about this and I’ll also leave you with one thing. As I tell my patients, there’s a lot of complicated healthcare to do out there. But when we’re doing it with just this body, with something as simple as openness and breathing and stretching – it not only is extremely effective to your body, it costs you nothing. And it’s always there and available. Oh my body’s right here. It’s right here. It’s available. It’s going to cost you nothing. It has all the benefits. So, thank you for having me on Ben.
Ben: Thanks for coming on the show. This is Ben Greenfield and Dr. Akers, from www.bengreenfieldfitness.com signing out.
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