[00:00:48] Podcast Sponsors
[00:04:07] My Massages
[00:06:44] Guest Introduction
[00:12:14] Donna's Unique Therapeutic Approach
[00:15:35] Donna’s Self-Work Routine
[00:18:34] Donna’s Unique Massage Therapy Practices
[00:33:58] Podcast Sponsors
[00:36:35] Donna’s Coursework Programs
[00:39:47] How Donna Healed Ben’s Very Injured Toe
[00:43:25] Why Massage Therapy Sometimes Brings Up Emotions Or Trauma Release
[00:51:37] Supplements, Products, And Technology Ben And Donna Use During Massage Therapy
[01:08:38] Donna's Grace, Gratitude and Humility and Learn to DMT Ceremonies
[01:12:23] How To Work With Donna
[01:16:40] Closing the Podcast
[01:19:16] End of Podcast
Ben: On this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.
Donna: Cuckoo, I have little conversations with your body while I'm working with it. We don't have a narrative in our world that teaches us to trust our body. In fact, our body has been cast into a narrative of sin. So, I decided I'm going to raise this child to be the kind of person I want to see in the world. And, in order to do that, I have to change myself.
I started aligning to my integrity. You're already whole and holy. How can I help you? If you don't claim yourself and find yourself at who you are, essentially living in the box that you have access to crawl out of at any time.
Ben: Health, performance, nutrition, longevity, ancestral living, biohacking, and much more. My name is Ben Greenfield. Welcome to the show.
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Alright, we are going to go talk to my amazing bodywork therapist who is a real unicorn, I guess I'd call her. She's amazing. Her name is Donna. Here we go.
Alright, folks. Well, you have no doubt heard me talk on other podcasts before and in some of the articles that I've written, not only about the importance of what I call maintaining young muscle by working out all that fascia and adhesion and cross-linking that undoubtedly occurs, especially, in us active individuals, but you may have also heard me talk about my own relatively epic and unique massages that I get once every, I would say, 10 to 14 days or so. I get some kind of bodywork a couple of times a month.
And, I swear by my morning foam rolling, I hit the foam roller or the massage gun. I was told recently not to call it a gun because apparently, that's not PC. My massage device, my pulsating massage device, or my lacrosse balls or whatever. I do for about 10, sometimes even 15 minutes, every morning. You just hit little spots that are sore.
But, man, I swear by the reboot that I get from getting a massage every couple of weeks. And, if you're able to do that, it's a key to staying put together for life. Well, we'll talk more about that on today's show. But, my massages get pretty out there. We're talking essential oils and carefully selected musical tracks specifically for healing the body via sound healing, a full-on. I use this sound healing table called the BioAcoustics Table where the sound's like coming up through my body rather than just into my ears. But then, I also have the earphones in, so I'm kind of getting that left-right brain hemispheric activity from the music tracks.
Underneath the BioAcoustic Table, I actually have this fancy electrical mat that pulses. It's like exercise for yourselves. It's called a pulsed electromagnetic field table made by this company called Pulse Centers. They developed this out of the horse-racing industry. And, it just jams your entire body the whole time into this super-duper enhanced state of relaxation and anti-inflammation.
And then, even carefully selected plant medicine compounds and supplements, and even the relaxing compound ketamine for really allowing my muscles and my body to absolutely melt. So, my massages are like this full-body, mind, and spiritual reboot. As a matter of fact, and I do have a special guest here who is well familiar with this, I finished my massages and typically have a journal that I'll go log in, sometimes for a couple of hours. I get evening massages. Sometimes, I'm up until 1:00 a.m., journaling the things that I've thought about during my massages.
And, I also have a digital voice recorder that I place underneath the massage table, that, if thoughts come to me during the massage, that I don't want to obviously stop the massage to write down. I can record them as I'm getting the massage, then play those back as I'm journaling, or the next day as I want to go back through the things that came through my mind.
But, one thing that I haven't talked about too much, though, is the actual therapist, which is a pretty important part of the massage, not only the energy of that therapist but their experience, the way they work. That's a really, really important part of a massage. This is somebody touching you, putting hands on you, putting energy into you for hours, sometimes. And, even that needs to be taken into account.
So, I decided that what would be pretty cool would be to get my massage therapy wizard, or wizardess, I guess I should say, the person who I work with behind the scenes on all this, who has worked with me to develop these really cool massage therapy protocols on today's show to take a deep dive into a really outside-the-box approach to massage therapy. Her name is Donna Mills. Say hello, Donna.
Ben: So, Donna is my massage therapist. She's one of the most unique and talented therapists who I've ever worked with. And, she lives right out here, close to me here in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, specifically, in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, beautiful Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, just about 30 minutes from my house.
Donna's company is called HumanWell. And, I'll link to that. You can also go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/HumanWell to see what she does. And, I'll also keep all the podcast shownotes for everything Donna and I talk about, from the crazy devices I use, to any other resources to her website, if you go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/DonnaMills.
But, Donna describes herself as a social healing practitioner, a narrative disruptor, and a cultural change agent. She's more than just a massage therapist. She's very into human connection. She's into trauma release. And, she's a real conscious thought leader for these changing times in terms of being someone who, not only works with therapists, but also works with individuals to train you how to have a deeper connection with self, and also how, if you're a therapist, to really use your talents in a more deep and meaningful and connective way with your clients. She even has trainings on her websites where she walks therapist through how to do this and also has trainings on our website where she walks you through some of her unique techniques and tactics.
Now, Donna is pretty cool, also, because she's working with me here at the local Greenfield casa on some permaculture projects. We're introducing bees and honey and medicinal mushrooms and all sorts of new kind of sustainable egg concepts here at the Greenfield house. And, Donna, actually, has a background in that, too. And so, she's helping me out along the way with that. So, she's a real unicorn. I'm blessed to have been able to connect with her. So, welcome to the podcast, Donna.
Donna: Thank you, Ben. Gosh, that was really lovely.
Ben: So, what first attracted me to want to work with you was I was working with another massage therapist three years ago. They had to move, so I had to put up the fillers because I like to have somebody come to my home. That's the most relaxed place for me to be. And, I realized that, if people are listening in, you might be like, “Well, I'm not some dude who can just have a massage therapist into my home or somebody who has that ability.” And, you don't have to have someone in your home to get a massage, but I like that, personally. I like to be able to just finish up family dinner. Donna comes over around 7:00 or 7:30. We're usually jamming by 7:45. Sometimes, we don't finish till 10:30 p.m., sometimes. But, I like to just have somebody come over when my day is completely over. I like to wander again from the massage table, just straight up to my bedroom with my journal, rather than getting in a car and driving home. So, that just works for me.
What attracted me to Donna initially was I was racing and I was in super hardcore deep tissue massage therapy. And, somebody was like, “There's this massage therapist. She's worked with the NFL. She's worked with athletes. She really knows where on the body she can do deep tissue.” And so, I thought, “Alright, well, I'll try her out.”
And, it turns out that I learned a new appreciation for massage that goes way beyond just beating you up with elbows and knees and doing the whole NFL athlete type of therapy in your body, which is why I've been used to it. That's what initially attracted me to Donna. And then, I really got introduced to her unique form of therapy.
So, Donna, tell me a little bit about–And, this will, obviously, rabbit hole, but as we were discussing before the podcast, rabbit holes are one of your favorite holes to go into and chase little rabbits. So, tell me a little bit about how you came to be who you are in terms of developing your unique approach to massage therapy.
Donna: That is a rabbit hole.
Ben: That's okay. We got time. We're sitting here on my kitchen table. We got time.
Donna: Well, my initial path into massage therapy came about in 1998. And, it was four years after my son was born. He was four. And, I was a solo parent and I didn't want to put my child in child care and have somebody else raise him. So, I needed to find a profession that I could do part-time and make good money and raise my child. And, massage was also something I was interested in. And, when I got into massage school, when I put my hands on people, I must have been 32 at that time, I realized, “I'm good at this.” It was like peanut butter and jelly came together and just fit.
Ben: Or, almond butter and organic blueberry spread, for all of our healthy listeners.
Donna: Obviously. Yeah, obviously. I'm going to let people make their own adjustments [00:13:20] _____. So, that was in Seattle. And, I actually took a training in essential oils and aromatherapy for spa treatments. My school had three postgraduate options. Oncology, working with people in cancer in the hospital; sports medicine; and then, the essential oil therapy program.
And, I wanted to get on a cruise ship and go see the world. And so, that's why I took the spa option. But, it turns out that, as a solo parent, that really wasn't a good plan for me. And, I immediately ended up working with–
Ben: You didn't raise a baby on a cruise ship?
Donna: Yeah, no.
Ben: Especially, these days.
Donna: I just wanted to see the world. Yeah, especially these days. That baby is 26 now, about to be 27.
Donna: So, anyways, yeah. So, I had just immediately fell into working with athletes. They came to me. And, when I left Seattle and moved back to San Diego, I started working with the Chargers. And, I just found that, as my career progressed, I continued to work with those people, but things started changing for me. I went through my own set of trauma. I lost my mother and my grandmother and my aunt all within three years from a genetic form of emphysema. That really started to change me, because at 53 years old, I became the eldest woman in my family. And, it just took me into a deeper spiritual place about, “Who am I? Who am I?” And, even with my son. I didn't plan to have children but I found myself with a child, raising my child by myself.
And, I decided, one of the reasons I didn't want to have a child was because the world is struggling, and I don't know that I want to bring a child into a struggling world. And, this was in 1998. And so, I just decided, “Well, I'm already here, pregnant. So, we're going to have this child.” And, I guess I always loved the “Be the change you want to be in the world.” That's kind of cliche but it's, really, be the change.
So, I decided, “I'm going to raise this child to be the kind of person I want to see in the world.” And, in order to do that, I have to change myself. I have to be that person. And, that started the path to who I am today. And, I have just constantly done self-work from the moment I found myself pregnant at 28.
Ben: For you, when you say self-work, what kind of things do you do for self-work or did you do for self-work?
Donna: I started aligning to my integrity. I just started aligning to my integrity, what felt integral to me in each and every step, can I walk in integrity? So, no matter what came into my life, whether it was a struggle or whether it was a blessing, I chose integrity. I chose truth. I chose to align to whatever I felt like God was.
And, I use the word, “god,” because it's comfortable for me. It's not a religious thing, but it's a deeply spiritual thing. I consider myself a Jesus-loving pagan. So, church for me is the top of the mountain, next to the lake, by the river. I do a lot of contemplation, a lot of listening. What it comes down to is we do a lot, and we talk a lot, and we don't yet have a narrative in our world where we are listening. And, when we listen and we receive, really cellularly, like,” Who am I cellularly? What are all these billions of magical things in my body doing? And, what else can I connect to spiritually that's seen? What else is my cells connected to that's not on this earth? Can I contemplate the idea of who I was before I even came into this flesh and let that advise who I am as flesh? Who was I?” I don't even have to have that answer. I don't even have to have the answer, but knowing that, at one point, I was not flesh and then I was. And, at some point, I won't be.
And so, just the idea of contemplating, wow, that blows my mind. That blows my mind. And, that advises the person that I am. Who can I be on this planet that's even more vast than my human self? And, that's what I bring to my clients. That's what I bring to the table when I put my hands on people. I have a belief in people that people are already whole and holy. We are already whole and holy. We're trying to be this and do that. And, it's like we already are, except that allow it. Allow it.
Ben: It reminds me a little bit of Bruce Lipton's book, “Biology of Belief,” where he outlines how your body has everything that it needs to heal, but in many cases, it is trauma, it is the cells being stuck as many other physicians have talked about and cell danger response or spinning in sympathetic mode, that keeps us from actually healing. But, many people have the capability to heal within themselves.
Dawson Church, in his book, “Bliss Brain,” also talks about this. But, you have to unlock some of that. And, obviously, there is a physical. There is a structural component. I can talk about positive emotions being able to whatever heal a bummed shoulder till the cows come home. But, if I do have rotator cuff adhesions and trigger points and all sorts of gunky tissue in there that needs to be worked on, that still needs to be worked on. But, when you put the two together, then it becomes really powerful.
When you were working with, let's say, the Chargers and some of these athletes back in the day, had you already tapped into that, or you still just basically push hard on shit and make it go away?
Donna: A bit of both, a bit of both. People are my favorite things on the planet. I love them. I love them. I just have such a deep love for people. Sometimes, I'm going to shake them, but I still love them.
I create these relationships like you and I have. My clients are not just my clients. They're my friends. And, it's that relationship that I think started when I was working with the Chargers and some of those people. I would go into their homes as well. They're having me in their home. They want somebody who's safe, who's personable, who's skilled at what they do.
So, I think it probably began at that time. My daughter was two when I started working with them. So, that would have made my son 12. So, for 12 years, I did some teaching at some schools in San Diego. I taught massage. I love to teach the sciences. Kinesiology is my favorite thing to teach. Origin, insertion, action, antagonists, protagonists of the muscles. Those are my favorite.
And, that's one thing every therapist needs to know well, is remembering the muscles because all the muscles have different fiber directions. And, when you're doing cross-fiber friction and stuff like that, you find something sinewy and taut and you want to widen it a little bit to kind of bring some more life back into it.
Ben: That and also something. I was talking with you a couple weeks ago about something. And, it's book called the “Trigger Point Therapy Manual,” this whole idea of marma points or trigger points or areas that refer pain to other points, like the back or underside of the shoulder actually referring pain to the front of the shoulder. And so, if you can dig into and work infraspinatus, all of a sudden, it gets rid of biceps tendonitis on the front of the shoulder and knee. And, another one that I recently have been tapping in to do some knee issues you and I have been working through is way up on the outside of the hip, right around the gluteus medias. If you have pain way down on the outside of your knee, you can actually–
And, that's why I like this book. It shows you, “Here's the trigger point. Here's the pain that it refers out to.” But, yeah, I think an understanding of that, also, and correct me if I'm wrong, that's crucial as well for you to know. “Hey, Ben's big toe hurts. I'm going to work on way up on the syndesmosis, and in the shins to affect that.” And so, that's a pretty big component, too, as well.
Donna: Absolutely. I tell clients all the time, 99% of the time, the pain is not the problem. The problem is elsewhere. If you're going in and telling your therapist, “Hey, it hurts in my bicep,” or, “Hey, it hurts my deltoid,” this is classic hypertonicities in the rhomboids are usually pec things. Because we do things in front of us. Nobody works with their hands behind them. We all work. So, all of our emotions, our energy, our movement is coming from the front of us forward.
And so, that brings the fascial layers in tighter. And then, that pulls the shoulders forward and overstretches the rhomboids. And then, the rhomboids are like the losing kid on the end of the tug of war. They're just trying to pull back, but they're not as strong as the pecs because the pecs get used more.
So, when somebody is like, “The pain in my back and my shoulders,” the first thing I do is turn him face up. I start my clients face up, except for you because you're a little tough like that, Ben.
Ben: I'm a special unicorn.
Donna: He's a special unicorn. Ben likes to start face down. And, that's fine. I did get him to start face up one time.
Ben: I do. I don't know why I like to start face down. I feel way more dialed in during my massages when I step. I don't know. Maybe, I struggle with vulnerability. When you go face-up, you're more vulnerable, right?
Ben: You're more open.
Donna: True story, because I've always started people face down because I want them to be comfortable. Especially when they're a new client, I'll let them start face down because they don't know me. And, there you are laying face up.
Ben: Yeah, naked.
Donna: Wide open, nude. There's a few things from massage school that really stuck with me. Well, everything, but some really core components to how I work with people as my draping skills are on-point, because I do not want people–I remember my instructor, even 25 years ago, telling me, “If you feel like your skill, your draping, is well, double-check with the client to see if they feel, “Does that feel comfortable to you?” Because a breeze can come and it feels like you're not draped well. But, you are.
Ben: Draping meaning how you're actually arranging the blankets and the sheets around the body for privacy or for comfort for the client?
Ben: That's something also I've noticed because you and I will do–Well, sometimes, we'll do some pelvic-ish work. Sometimes, you get way up above my butt-crack. Sometimes, when I'm on my front side, down into that hip region, that leads straight down what do you call it.
Donna: Your psoas, the [00:23:30] _____.
Ben: What the kids call the treasure trail that goes down towards the gonads. But, I don't think I've ever had–Well, we're all adults here. I don't think I have ever had my dick or my balls pop out or anything like that. But, the first few times we worked together, I'm like, “You're very thorough,” because we go for two and a half, three hours, sometimes, when we hit those spots.
But, that's one thing I hadn't thought about. And, that's another skill that whole. I didn't know that's what you call it, draping. But, yeah, you'll just “hoo-hoo-hoo” with the blankets. And, it's like I actually have confidence now that–Not that I care, anyways. We're all adults, we're working. But, you just feel better when you fill those stuffs, just shielded and cradled down there in the right way.
Donna: I let people disrobe to their own comfort level, which means they can leave whatever piece of clothing on that they want. I prefer and appreciate people that trust me enough to be nude because I do do that half-body drape. So, I'm working from the shoulder all the way to the heel and it just opens that whole side of the body.
Ben: I love that move that you do, where it literally feels like it opens my entire body from the bottom, the heel. You literally go all the way up to the fingertip from the heel. But, obviously, you got to be draped the right way in order to get something like that to happen.
Donna: When I'm working, I'm not working on a leg and a shoulder. I'm working on a Ben and his body, or anybody else, any other clients that I have. I'm working on them. And, in a lot of ways, I'm working on them in ways that they're not even conscious of, like you are because we have this relationship. We have this spiritual relationship between each other. We have different versions of our spirituality, but they blend. And, you let me be me, and I let you be you. And, I honor you, and you honor me.
And, when I put my hands on people, I remind the body. I talk to the flesh and I talk to the soul and the spirit of my client. And, I remind them, “Hey, you're already whole and holy. How can I help you?” I'm not here to do the big push into the body anymore, and I'm not here to do the Chargers massage anymore. I'm here to do a multidimensional type of experience is what I'm–
Ben: Which is different for me because I was used to having to push really hard on an area to get it to relax or to get pain to get away. But, it's almost like, if you work like a clock-worker, like a master clock-worker would work on a teeny tiny clock with little bits of precision, I find and I've noticed that, when done right, you actually don't have to go deep. You can go pretty light, as long as the body is in the right place.
I don't know if I'm describing this properly, but it's almost as though you're able to work more light and still get as good of results when, obviously, part of it and we'll talk about this later, is all the different ways that we relax the body and some of the technologies and stuff that we use. But, I think it's also the therapist actually knowing in a way–I don't know. Explain it to me. What is it that makes it so you don't have to go as deep?
Donna: It's fascial work. So, I think I told you recently when we first started working together, your body was really taut, and I did have to kind of power through it. Remember when I told you, “I can't do what I do for you for anybody else because this is three hours long. And, it's everything. When I'm done, I'm done. And, that's it. I got to go home. I got to go to bed.”
But, it's changing for me. That was how we began. And, I was like, “This guy, he's solid. I'm going to have to work my derriere off.” But, things, as I change spiritually, as I change physically, as I change my own evolution of me on this planet, so does my work. And so, it just builds upon itself.
And, the fascial work, what I'm doing right now is a lot of fascia, a lot of joint mobilization, and a lot of listening.
Ben: Fascia being the layer that surrounds all of the muscles, not the muscles themselves, but that spider-webby layer that goes throughout the whole body.
Ben: Who's the guy who has a book that just–It's one of the better books out there when it comes to fascia. Is it “Anatomy Trains?”
Ben: “Anatomy Trains,” I think, is the name of the book. But, it's a great treaty. So, I think any therapist should read it. Anybody who wants to really wrap their heads around, I guess, pun intended in this case, that wrapping around all the muscles. Because I used to dissect cadavers in University of Idaho. And, it was actually really cool, even now, when I field-dress animals. I was teaching my kids how to field-dress. I think it's really cool, this fascia. You can just go, unwrap it. And, it's like this spider-webby stuff that just, when it's properly integrated in a healthy hydrated body, it just kind of pulls away from the muscles.
My wife described it when we were–I think we're field-dressing a sheep. She thought it was popping a zit. It's almost like this really cool feeling, everything just kind of pulls away. And so, when you're working the fascia because anyone will know if they have ever seen fascia, you don't have to work super deep as much as with precision and with alignment over the actual fascia direction and alignment itself.
Donna: I describe it to my clients like this. You grab a six-pack of hotdogs and some [00:28:39] _____ wrap. And, take the hotdogs out. You wrap each one of them individually. And then, you take three of those that have been wrapped individually and you wrap them again together. And then, do that to the other three. So, now, you've got two bundles of three hotdogs, individually wrapped, and then wrapped together. Now, put that two together and wrap those.
And, that's how I would describe, like if you took a cross-section of the thigh and saw the way that you could take everything out of the body, every single thing out of the body, the nervous system, the cardiovascular system, the lymphatic system, and all the organs and muscles and everything, and have a place to put it right back because the fascia encompasses everything. It comes off of the bone to create the tendons. So, it runs between the bone and the flesh.
Sometimes, when I'm working on people, I can feel that the top of the thigh muscles are fine. The quads are fine at the top. But, I can feel them stuck to the bone. So, then, I'm going, “I have to get into that space between the muscle and the bone.” In one way, I put both my hands on–I'll put one hand on, maybe, your adductors on one, on the abductors on the outside. And then, I'll try to create some pressure and move the muscle very subtly away from the bone, because I'm accessing the fascia, but I'm also talking to it in my body, in my head, a little cuckoo. I have little conversations with your body while I'm working with it and just ask it. “Don't want to let go. How much more movement will you have if you let go?”
And so, I'm doing more coaxing of the body. I'm actually doing massage these days. I know for you, it feels like massage because that's what I'm doing. I am still doing Petrissage and the kneading and that type of stuff I'm moving your body. But, I do a lot of jostling to loosen up the hips, the joints.
And, that tells me what else is going on. I can sit at your big toe and know what you're psoas is doing because of that connection.
Ben: Does my body talk back to you? What do you hear? What do you feel when you ask the body? Is it almost like a sensing, like a knowing in your gut?
Donna: Yes, it's a knowing.
Ben: It's not like a voice inside your head, like a little tiny Ben saying, “Heal me. Heal me. It's my toe.”
Donna: No, big Ben tells me that before we start. And then, I go in, and I'm like, “What's up, toe?”
Ben: I do give you a debrief before we started, like, “This hurts. This hurts. This one needs a little bit of TLC. Now, go do your magic.” And then, sometimes, you find areas that I don't even think about. So, you just kind of, when you ask my body, it's as though you get directed to the areas that need work, or how to work on them in a very intuitive sense?
Donna: Very much, very much. Not to dog myself out, but I'm, “Algebra? No, thank you.” But, the body, I know exquisitely.
Ben: Is that a skill you've had to develop? Or, when you say you were, back in the day, taking your first massage and you just knew and it clicked for you that you were good at this and you should be doing this? Was that a natural skill, being able to listen to the body, or do you had to study that and develop it or use books and resources to learn how to do that?
Donna: I would say it's more me. It's me listening to life. It's me listening to God. It's me listening to nature. It's me picking up. So, I lost my sense of smell in this couple of years ago with a traumatic event. Not a physical event, it's a psychosomatic thing. So, I lost my sense of smell and I started asking God, the world, universe, whatever, for another, “If I cannot smell, I have to be able to pick up on things in other ways.”
And, what came to me naturally was vibration. So, my housemate that is a sommelier, she pairs wine with food. And so, there's always wine at our house. And so, as I'm smelling it, I'm not smelling it with my old factory, but I'm picking up the vibes. The other day, I was drinking, I don't know some red, and I could pick up walnuts. Well, I said, “It smells like walnut skin.” And, my housemate turned around and looked at me, and she goes, “You are able to pick up on intricacies that other people don't pick up, and you don't even have a sense of smell.” And, I said it's the vibrational way.
We're not taught. We don't have a narrative in our world that teaches us to trust our body. In fact, our body has been cast into the narrative of sin, the evil flesh. And, I was like, “Are you joking? It's the most amazing thing we have. It's the most amazing thing we have. And, it's full of all kinds of information cells.”
Think about, we pack people away behind cells. So what's in our cells? What can we open in our cells to access spiritually? What can we open in ourselves to access physically, mentally, emotionally, all the different intelligences? And, for me, it's a knowing. I can't explain it. I have courses that I teach people. They're not a self-help, but a who are you? Actually, who are you? Not the story of who they've told you you are, but who actually are you?
After 2020, everything kind of unraveled and we get to create what's our narrative for ourselves. We don't have to listen to narratives of society, media, government, whatever. I'm here to ask you, who are you right? Who are you? Who are you? And, that's incorporated into my work I do with people.
And so, on the table, off the table, it doesn't matter. I have mentorship programs that I offer to people. And, in that, I teach them different intelligence. There's a somatic intelligence. What can you learn and know from your body?
Ben: Hey, I want to interrupt today's show. If you're listening in, you're probably interested in things like recovery. And, one of the things that I do in addition to getting these regular massages is I use infrared light, every single morning, or if I skip the morning, every single evening. Walk into my office, take all my clothes off, flip on the front light. I've got two of them. I flip on the front light, the backlight, stand sandwiched in between these two lights. Usually, when I'm working on my computer, sipping my coffee, if it's a morning session.
And, this pulsed near-infrared light technology is amazing to give your cells an extra healing boost to optimize the recovery process. It can help with circadian rhythmicity. It can help with collagen and elastin and stretch marks and wrinkles and scars. It can help with hair growth. It can even target things like thyroid and testicles and different hormonal systems. These lights are absolutely stellar.
And, the company, Joovv, makes a really powerful one. Meaning, you don't have to use them for 60 minutes. I'm just 10, 20 minutes max, I've got all the light that I need for the entire day, without having to go and burn myself with UVA and UVB from the sunlight. I go out in the sun every day, too, but this amps up way higher the amount of infrared light I can get, especially in the summer when I don't want to burn.
Anyways, you're going to get an exclusive discount on your first order from Joovv. You go to Joovv.com/Ben. That's J-O-O-V-V.com/Ben to get all of the goodies from Joovv. So, check them out.
And then, finally, Water and Wellness, the company that I rely upon for everything that I used to biohack my water, so to speak, including their Active H2 molecular hydrogen, the different Chromax molecules they've designed for blood glucose control. They've got Quinton, which is one of those mineral-dense compounds you'll ever get your hands on, harvested from phytoplankton and the sea.
I've interviewed the guy who runs that website twice on my show. They're so smart when it comes to water. They even have full-on water filtration systems that are like these countertop reverse osmosis systems that don't collect bacteria in the tank, like a lot of RO systems do.
Anyways, they're going to give you 10% off, if you go to WaterAndWellness.com/Greenfield, on their summertime bundle, which is a 60-day supply of the Quinton, of the hydrogen tablets, and of their Chromax, which is kind of like the upgraded hydrogen tablets. So, they can give you 10% off. That's a total savings of almost 40 bucks on all this stuff. You also get free shipping. So, it's called their Water and Wellness Summertime Bundle. To get it, you go to WaterAndWellness.com/Greenfield.
You do it online via Skype or Zoom or a call?
Donna: Yeah, a platform called Sutra. And, I teach them to move emotions through their body by unlocking what's in their cells. We can't deny the truth, but we can face it. As we're doing self-healing, it's imperative that we go to the core of who we are. Because, if we don't know who we are, then how do we go out there and treat other people well? The whole thing about the golden rule, like treat others as you want to be treated yourself. But, we don't even know how to treat ourselves well.
We have stories in this world that say, like army, navy, marines, be all you can be. Or, Nike, just go do it. But then, we end up in church to be told that we're sinners and it's like, “Well, which one is it? It feels like gaslighting to me.” And, I'm here for a new narrative of who we are as humans. I know God. I know who I am as a godly person. I use my own plant medicine. I've been to God and had conversations with God. And, I know why I'm here on this planet. I'm here to change the narratives of who we are as humans.
Ben: It sounds to me like this idea, for me, as a Christian, this idea of original sin or of us really being prone to struggles, to pitfalls, to temptations, is certainly one that resonates. But, you are correct in that, sometimes, I can morph into this idea that I am broken, my body is broken, I am not capable of self-healing, my body is not something that is a miraculous creation of God and is instead just this broken clump of cells and tissues. What am I to do?
But, if you have a belief that you are created as this magical collection of cells —
Ben: –capable of engaging in self-healing when in the right set and setting, when guided by someone like you who's able to actually facilitate that process, then a belief that you might not be perfect in terms of being like God is certainly–That's not something that I would profess, but at the same time, I have an amazing body. I also say, though, I my body is capable of self-healing. Everybody's body, everybody's mind, everybody's spirit is built in a really cool and unique way. But, being able to facilitate that via something like work with a massage therapist who actually has that type of philosophy that you have, I think, is important, because equipping the body to self-heal, I think, is a really important component of this work. It doesn't simply end on the table. It should continue in between sessions, just in the same way that something like plant medicine, really, the four to six hours you might spend on psilocybin or something like that, that's not where a lot of the magic happens. That's where it initiates and you kind of get some of that rocket fuel that you need for the integration and the journaling and the post-process afterwards.
But, it's the same with massage therapy. It's like you work on me, and then I'm sitting with that journaling, meditating, letting my body absorb what you've done to it for a good two weeks before we meet again. And then, we meet again and it just continues to get better every time.
You had mentioned, for example, when you're working on my toe, it's telling you what my psoas is doing. And, I'll occasionally just throw little things in here as we go, just based on the experiences I've had with you. But, I had some really significant toe issues. And, there was one night where you just literally, I had toe swelling and toe pain, and I thought it was Bursitis and whatever, but you just jammed on my toe for 20 minutes. Was that all fascial work, or do you do stuff where you're–? Because, it literally felt like someone had done surgery on my toe when you finished. And, the pain was just gone. But, what did you do in a situation like that? I never actually asked you what you actually did.
Donna: One, I'm patient with the body. I don't force it into doing anything. I'm coaxing it. And, “Are you ready to release now?” And then, it will, like all of a sudden. Remember that when you're toe just went kapow? It would pop. And, I was like, “Thank you.”
Ben: I know. I didn't tell my wife this, but it was like an orgasm. I was thinking, “Oh, my gosh. [00:40:45] _____ orgasm.”
Donna: I'm going to be on the fence with Jesse.
Ben: “When my toe popped, I just came. Oh, my gosh.”
Donna: So, one thing I'm doing is, so I realized it was in your joint. It was in the joint. And so, I hold the toe from the bottom. I'm left-handed, so I hold it with my right hand. And then, with the left hand, I hold the toe at the joint that is okay. So, I'll hold up close to the foot where the toe is. And then, I will go to the other side of the joint. And then, I'm just slowly mobilizing it.
So, what was happening in there is that you had a bunch of collagen buildup in there, crepitus. It's called crepitus. It's like when you start standing up or when your knees pop, that kind of stuff, through aging. And so, I just slowly mobilized your toe in a way and did the fascia stuff. So, I'll work on the fascia from where the toenail is. And, I'll say, “The fascia stuck on the toenail.”
Ben: So, it's that small.
Ben: So, the fascia is going to pretty much be everywhere.
Donna: Everywhere. There's no place fascia isn't.
Donna: So, even our IT bands are a form of fascia. It's just thicker fascia. Then, the soft stuff you might find under the skin on your face. Just think maybe toes or just something to kind of brush over a little bit. But, our toes help us with our balance. Without toes, we wouldn't be walking the way that we walk. And so, it's important. And, those joints are important, too.
When I'm going through the body, I'm going through every single joint because that is where we move. It's all of our ways that we move. And so, toe joints, finger joints. Sometimes, I can feel the fascia right now on my own thumb, going, I could push that back. Women will go in. People will go in. I don't make it only women. People will go in and get manicures, and they'll push your cuticle back. Well, I'm doing that while I'm massaging because that cuticle is a fascial connection. And, it is that intricate.
When I get up to your quads or your glutes or your back or something, it's not that intricate. But, there are places that, when I'm working in the groin area and I'm working on the psoas and the iliopsoas, as they come together and go deeper into the groin and to the top of your adductors. The way I see fascia is it's like a spider web. So, if you have a spider web in the shape of a dinner plate and you want to affect the entire outside ring of the dinner plate, all you have to do is stick your finger right in the middle and wiggle it around. The whole rest of the spider web is going to move.
Now, apply that to the body. The middle of the body is the groin. I do a lot of pelvic bowl work for people because we've had a world where sexuality has been impure. So, we have a lot that we hold in our second chakra area, in our groin, in our pelvic bowl. I have so many clients that are working through trauma that have to do with their hips, male, female.
And so, the reason I feel like if I could start in the groin and work my way down to the legs or even up to the top, that's my ideal working because now I'm actually accessing the core problem. I don't know that “problem” is the word. But, the core space, that middle. And so, typically, I start people face up and I start at their feet. And, I just open, because working on their feet is going to tell me a lot. Is it reflexology? Maybe, it is. Maybe, it isn't. But, I'm hitting. I do know reflexology, so I'm using those points. But, I'm using those points to access information.
I have a friend who I was doing a little bit of massage on the other day, just sitting next to him, and massaging his arms. And, he said to me, “When you're touching me, you're accessing information, aren't you? This is the way that you access information in the world, is through your touch.” And, I said, “Yes, sensing is my thing. Vibrations, touch, feel.”
So, I started talking about those intelligence, somatic intelligence, what our body tells us, into intellectual intelligence, what we've learned. But, there's a spiritual intelligence of knowing, that something you can't explain. It's where faith comes in. It's where prayer comes in. It's where the relationship between you and God come in. That's a lot of my work, is it's a knowing.
And, I can't teach a knowing to people, but I can teach them who they are, so that they can access their own knowing. So, when I do mentorship with other therapists and try and teach them what I know, I teach them who they are. I don't actually teach them who they are. I facilitate their own coming to themselves. And, that's it. Really, that's the truth.
Ben: So, you can take someone who's basically already been trained in massage therapy and teach them how to take these same tactics that you do in terms of some of the more intricate work, as far as knowing the client's body, asking yourself questions about the body, and then understanding how to actually incorporate, what I guess would be some of the more emotional or trauma release components of that. Because it's also something I wanted to ask you about. Another time you were working on the outside of my right leg and I began to get really intense and vivid imagery of experiences I've had in childhood. And, this has been replicated multiple times. Memories will come up that I had completely suppressed, or emotions will come up and I'll start laughing or smiling or crying with my face down there in the pad. I've had tears coming out my eyes for 10-15 minutes at a time sometimes. What's going on there?
Donna: Everything we've ever experienced lives in ourselves. Everything. And so, when I'm doing this work and I'm hitting X, Y, or Z spot on your body and it's triggering that memory, which then triggers that emotion, that's an opportunity for it to release. See, I have full-body chills right now. When that happens, I know I'm on point because that's how God talks to me. My entire body gets cold.
So, the emotions that are held inside of us, this is why we don't heal because we don't stand in witness to our experiences. We are not our experiences, but they are embedded in us. Until we come to them and then say “Thank you,” I can release you now. I can release you.
When I work with clients in trauma, first thing I do is I open a box over there and I say, “I want you to put energetically all of your trauma in that box. You can write it down if you want to write it down. Put it on paper. Put it in the box. Everything that's ever happened to you that has been traumatic, put it in that box over there.” And, there's a lid.
So, the choice here when you're working with me is you can get in the box and put the lid on and keep it. Or, you can recognize the distance between you and your experiences and recognize that you're not your experiences. You can release it. There is a way to move through trauma, but you have to understand that you're not that story. If you've made that story of whatever's happened to you, your identity, like, “Here's my nape. Here's my this. Here's my that. Here's my father left. I grew up without a father. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,” whatever your story is, whatever it is, if you don't claim yourself and find yourself at who you are, claim yourself, then you're essentially living in the box that you have access to crawl out of at any time. It's a you-job.
Ben: I think you need to be in the right state, too. Because I can work on those same areas with a foam roller or a lacrosse ball or a muscle stick or any other medieval torture device that I've gotten in all my wicker basket downstairs. I don't get that state when I'm working on myself. But then, when I'm with you, and I would imagine that that's just that deep state of relaxation and release that I'm in, allows for that to happen in a much different way than I'm able to get to when I'm when I'm foam-rolling or stuff like that.
But, that was another big lightbulb moment for me. I actually didn't kind of believe you initially when you said, that you could do things like trauma release. But then, when I started to experience that and still do experience it, without fail, I haven't had a massage session with you ever where something hasn't come up that I need to go work through afterwards later on, that I wouldn't have known was even wrapped up inside me still, or something that I was holding on to, unless really, we've gotten to the point where the area of the body where that was being stored kind of like another book, “Your Body Keeps the Score.”
Donna: Love it.
Ben: That's an amazing book to wrap your head around this a little bit more, if anybody out there wants to go out and read it. And, again, I'll link to all of resources or books I mentioned, if you go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/DonnaMills. But, this idea that you can actually release that stuff and work through it and get rid of it through something like someone else's hands on you who's using that intuitive approach you use, asking yourself where you needed or what's the body need, and then go into that area, you don't know what's going to come up for me. All you know is that area is holding something. And then, it comes out for me. We finish up. I'm able to go journal with that, integrate with that, work through it. Sometimes, the next couple of days, I'm making phone calls to people, or writing emails, or realizing there's a conversation I need to have with someone who I haven't had yet. You hear some of that when I'm talking to my voice recorder.
That's another thing that's very important, I think is the trust relationship. And, I would encourage anybody who's working with a therapist, once you find the right therapist, at that point, understand that–I know you, Donna. You're not going to go out. You're not going to go into Twitter right and tweet, “Here's what Ben said during his massage.” You got to have that trusting relationship. There's confidentiality between anything you say on the table to your recorder or to your therapist. That's just–What's the phrase? What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas type of thing.
And so, if you have that type of openness and trust with your therapist, which I think is also important. It may be having the same person who works on you each time. And, every time that happens, that's that same person you get a greater level of comfort. And, for me, I'm open and loosey-goosey now when we do these massages. And, what I mean by that is I'm emotionally vulnerable because I know I'm in a safe space. In the same way that if you were to do a plant medicine journey, for example, with a facilitator, you'd want to be in a very safe space. And, if you feel as though you're not, or you feel as though the door might open and somebody might rush in and you got to take care of something or that therapist has had, let's say, a bad day and you can kind of feel some crappy energy coming off of them, or you feel as though, if you were to talk about something there on the table, that they might judge you, or that there are kind of worrying about what you might say. If you can set all that aside and be in a really open place, I think that the type of trauma release that you can experience by a good therapist, releasing some of this stuff that's in your fascia, it can be really profound.
That's why, when I introduced you for this episode, I said it was like a full-body, mind, and spiritual reboot for me, because I'm letting, not just the body go, but the mind and the spirit go as well. That's something that I've certainly found.
Getting into some brass tacks now. We obviously mix a lot of cool things into the entire experience. And, some of them, it's kind of funny. We were talking about it before we even recorded today. There's some stuff we do where you and I haven't even fully explored all the technologies in terms of just sat down at it, had a discussion about them. But, one would be very simple, the actual oils being used. That's important, isn't it?
Ben: You and I actually haven't talked that much about oils. I know some practitioners are very, very picky about sesame versus coconut versus. And, correct me if I'm wrong, but that's because different oils have different types of friction, right?
Ben: But, you use oil?
Donna: I do.
Ben: If you had to choose any oil on the face of the planet as your carrier oil, which would you choose? Which do you think is the best for massage therapy?
Donna: The oil I use, because you have your own and you make your own oil, so I don't even know what you use, what I use on you, but the oils I mix at home, I know you have that bottle from Banyan's. And, I love Banyan's.
Ben: Yeah, it's Banyan Botanicals. But, I forget what they put in it. I order it from Banyan, just because I know a lot of massage therapists use that. It's just their daily massage oil. It's the one you can order from bulk on their website. And, it's a sesame oil, sunflower oil, refined coconut oil blend. And then, they have tulsi and lemon and a few other massage oils in there.
And then, what I do with that is I have this really, really great essential oil guy named Dr. Nick. He's been on the podcast before. And, he has a Essential Oil Wizardry down in Ashland. And, I will take a few of his choice oils. The two that I use, that we've been using of late, mixed into that bottle from Banyan's is, he has one called gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
So, I put about 10 drops of that into the bottle of Banyan. And then, he has another one. It's called something like icy blue or icy hot. It's basically a little bit more like a topical muscle anti-inflammatory oil.
Donna: [00:53:37] _____ green.
Ben: Yeah, exactly. I put about 20 drops of that in there. So, I just basically dress up a really good standard massage oil with a few extra essential oils. That's the one that we've been using.
Donna: At home, I use sesame. So, I make a blend at home. And, I use sesame oil, sunflower oil, and grape seed. And then, if I can find apricot kernel oil, I like that as well.
Ben: I've heard that's another really good one.
Donna: I stopped using coconut oil because, ayurvedically, it's a drying oil, and the sesame is a more moisturizing. So, that's why Banyan's because they're an ayurvedic-based company, uses sesame oil. And, I learned that years ago. I don't know, 10 years ago or something like that. So, I would use sesame, and then sunflower, and grapeseed, or apricot kernel oil.
I try not to use almond because almonds are tricky because they use a lot of water. And then, you have to ship a bunch of [00:54:30] _____ in, too. So, I try to stay away from almonds, if I can.
Ben: No Crisco, no vegetable oil. Your skin is a mouth that [00:54:39] _____. And, that is important. You want to go with super high quality.
So, I recommend people just, if you don't know, just go get the Banyan Botanical stuff. And then, you can add a few of your own little mixes to that. And, again, I like Dr. Nick. Dr. Nick's really cool. If you contact him through his website and be like, “Hey, I heard you on the Ben Greenfield Fitness podcast. I'm putting together a massage blend. What do you have lately?” Because he's always rotating his blends.
Donna: I love that.
Ben: Just asking and be like, “What do you have lately?”
And then, I diffuse his oils as well. So, aromatherapy is another part of this. So, I have a very small mini fan, set up behind my essential oil diffuser, that blows that diffuser towards kind of where my head is located on the massage table. And, for that, again, it kind of rotates. But, I like something that's a little bit more, I guess, arguably, almost psychedelic in terms of shifting into altered states of consciousness. And, I think what we're using right now for that is frankincense, another one from Dr. Nick's. But, frankincense, lavender, rose, bergamot, anything that's very relaxing —
Donna: [00:55:39] _____, even.
Ben: I like better than a peppermint or a lemon or something that's a little more clean or stimulating. I find that to be really good. I diffuse peppermint often and lemon often, and even a little bit of black pepper sometimes in my office. But then, for the massage, I'll use the other ones.
So, the oils are important, right? So, a little bit of oil in the body, but then also the aromatherapy component, I think, that making through the sense are really good, too. And, arguably, you could also use incense sticks, but I like to use a small essential oil diffuser with the mini, just this cheap desk mini fan from Amazon that I put behind. And, it kind of blows it towards the head.
Another component I think is important is these tables that we use. So, I mentioned the pulsed electromagnetic field table. Now, here's why I think that I get a really good connection to some of the trauma release stuff that you do, and also even the anti-inflammatory and the full-body effects the massage that we'll be looking for is this pulsed electromagnetic field table can be set from 0 to 9.9 Hertz, with 0 being “bonk, bonk, bonk.” That's what you'd use on acute inflammation when you're just, say, using the coils that's attached to the table and wrapping them around one joint. And then, 9.9 is like “da-da-da-da-da.” It's very kind of intense energetic frequency.
Usually, when we get our massages, I choose about 7.8 Hertz on the frequency, which is the Schumann resonance, very good full body frequency. The same that the earth emits. All the earth emits 0 all the way up to 100 Hertz. But, 7.8 is kind of that healing Schumann resonance frequency. So, I put that at 7.8 Hertz. And, that's basically blasting myself full body, because it literally is a full mat that we put on top of the actual massage table itself. And, I actually ordered the full kit from Pulse Centers. So, that's what that massage table is from, too. They sent me the mat that goes on top of the table. Then, the table. Then, there's a chair that I sit on in my den that will also plug into that same unit. So, I can do that when I'm reading or whatever the whole massage table. I just ordered the whole kit from this company called Pulse Centers. I've interviewed him on my podcast.
So, that works out pretty well because it also opens and closes the cell membrane and allows for better clearance of metabolic byproducts, toxic waste products, etc., out of the cell. And then, I've found that for anything that would be plant medicine or psychedelic or microdose-based, it also seems to double the efficacy of any of those compounds. I think because of the increased blood flow to the brain that occurs when you're getting this PEMF.
And so, that's one mat that I'm laying on when we're doing this massage. But, the other one, and this is one we introduced a few months ago. It's just super cool. It's the BioAcoustic table that I got from a company called Biomat. And, I put that–Or, not a table. It's a mat. I put that mat on top of the PEMF mat, so I can still feel all the pulsed electromagnetic field frequencies, put in the sound table with that, it will take any track that I play. And, I have about, I would say six different Spotify playlists. Sometimes, at night, if I'm really well-rested, you've noticed this I'm sure, I'll choose a playlist that's more energetic because I just want my massage to really be almost like this riveting energetic inspiring type of soundtrack. And, that'll just send my mind to all sorts of crazy places in terms of inspiration for business or personal development.
And then, sometimes, I want totally checkout, and almost be in a half-asleep, half-awake state during our massages. And, that's when I'll choose track from Michael Tyrrell's sound healing frequencies or something that's more developed by Johns Hopkins for psychedelic research and healing, or something that's very classical or kind of typical spa soundscape type of stuff.
But, again, it's not just through the ears, because even though you can plug a set of headphones into this sound mat and play into your ears also, literally, it's hard to describe, but it plays the sound through your whole body. And, it's super cool. You can also watch a movie while you're on this thing. And, it literally watch the movie through your body.
But, man, because the vibration from that is literally vibrating my whole body, do you feel that much when you work? Can you feel the actual music through that table?
Ben: It's pretty cool.
Donna: Especially, when I lift your shoulder, because there's speakers under that part that come out your shoulders. And, I was thinking while you were talking about, when we're talking about the essential oil therapy, I started thinking about the molecular makeup of the oils, where the energy, the kinetic energy is actually happening in these oils. The same thing with the table, the same thing with the music. What you're doing is you're accessing molecular healing. And then, we add what I do in there, and it just is a multidimensional experience, like you said.
And, I think that I was also realizing that I'm filling those essential oils. I have the oils in my hands that I'm using on your body for nearly three hours. And, I'm in the space, the PEM mat and working. So, even though I'm tired at the end, I'm not exhausted. I have a 30-minute drive home, or 45-minute drive home, whatever.
Ben: Although, it could be, my guestroom is right next to the massage table. So, occasionally, you've crashed in that.
Donna: That's right. The Donna room now. Thank you. So, yeah, after the massage I leave, and I usually don't put any music on. I'm just kind of in my chill space. You go and journal, and I go and journal in my mind and have conversation with God or just kind of chill on the way home. Especially, I noticed the other the last time we did the massage, and I used the Zen spray. Boy, that just felt like–I don't know. It felt like the best massage we've ever done together, the last one. I don't know. I was like, “Gosh, is it just going to continue to get better and better? This is badass.”
Ben: I've wondered that before because I will ingest certain compounds prior to our therapy. And, one that I'll use to open up the third eye is this Zen spray. I get it from Dr. John Lieurance in Sarasota. I've interviewed him about it. But, it's a blend of different essential oils, like peppermint and rosemary and cinnamon and a lot of these mentally stimulating oils, along with Rapé, which is an Amazonian herb. A lot of times used-pre ceremony to activate the third eye and the pineal gland. And, it's very good for before meditation, before yoga. It's a little bit stimulating. And, I have some pretty strong blends, like I gave you one last time. And, it shoots you to the moon for about 5 or 10 minutes when you first do a few sprays up your nostrils. But then, once you settle down, you're in a very cool space. I wonder if that's one of the reasons our last massage are so–Because we both had kind of the same stuff circulating through our bloodstream.
The other thing that I'll use, I'll start off about five or 10 minutes before we do the massage with a few huffs of those Zen sprays, and then I use ketamine, which I wouldn't want you on because it's an anesthetic. Literally, it's something that is used in medicine as a painkiller, often delivered via IV, very common now used as an antidepressant or is something that people use for trauma work. Very, very good allowing you to tap into memories of past experiences, including traumatic memories, which is probably another reason that I've been so tuned into trauma that you release. But then, of course, because it causes a full-body relaxation effect.
The combination of ketamine and body work is profound because my muscles, they're goo. My entire body just basically, if I've already got up and walked during my massage therapy sessions, I'd be very wobbly. And, you've probably seen this. When I get up from the table, I can be kind of wobbly because of that ketamine. And, I'll do 300 to 400 milligrams, sometimes, intranasal. So, once I did a suppository, which is very interesting. Usually, just an oral troche that I dissolve under my tongue. And so, as the massage is going, it's just kind of slow-bleeding into my system during the entire massage.
But, what's interesting is that, A, it relaxes my entire body, and I feel like you're able to just get in a lot better when I've got that stuff in my system; B, it really allows me to tap into past emotions and memories and trauma a lot more readily. And then, I think, probably the other thing that I like about it is, when you have the right soundtrack on, there is a pretty intense. Some people even call this the K-hole when they get too deep into this. But, it's this mind-body dissociation, where if I've got the sweet spot and the right amount in my system, then when you're working on me, sometimes, I lose track of where my body is at in space. You'll be working on me and I'll be on the table, but it'll feel sometimes like I'm hanging upside-down on an inversion table, or I'm in a completely different position and I'm actually in, which sounds like it would be stressful and weird, but it's actually very, very cool experience because it really is a feeling as though my entire body is fully relaxed. I have this mind-body or brain-body dissociation.
And, you have to be careful with ketamine. It can cause things, like long-term use, it causes urinary tract infections or urinary tract inflammation as it's released in the body. It can have someone out of neurotoxicity when used in hefty doses, too, regularly. About the only time I use it now is when I get a massage. So, about every 10 to 14 days, I'm getting some ketamine into my system when we do a massage. And, man, it is a game-changer, I think, to have that ketamine in the system when you combine it with the sound therapy and that PEMF mat, the aromatherapy, and essential oils.
And then, the only other tip that I would give to people is that, for the journaling component and kind of some of the breakthrough that I get, I find that sometimes the ketamine can almost be directed in a plant intelligence sort of way, as though when you have certain other compounds in your system, your brain will kind of ask yourself the questions that it needs to be asked and get the answers that you're seeking if you microdose prior to the ketamine.
And so, most of the time, if I'm able to, I'll have a very, very light dinner before our massages. Typically, something more vegetable or fruit-based or something like fish, if it's going to be a meat. Nothing too heavy. Very, very light before these massages. And then, I will take about, typically, for me, microdoses vary from person to person, but the two compounds that I like to use are either a very, very small amount of a huachuma, which is kind of a San Pedro cactus type of extract, or very, very small amount for me. It's about 0.2 to 0.4 grams of psilocybin. And, I find that, when I do that in combination with the ketamine, those two compounds together, that's a sweet spot for the massage.
And then, when I finish, I always do something to protect the brain for me. Usually, when we finish, I do curcumin. I do water. And then, a form of magnesium called magnesium glycinate, which is very, very good at kind of repairing the brain after you've kind of pushed, for example, that much ketamine in your system. And, I wake up the next morning feeling on top of the world. Sometimes, a little groggy for up late doing the massage, or if we've had a lot of stuff released into my system during massage, or a lot of things I've had to work through warmup journaling till 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. because I get up at 5:00 a.m. Or, sometimes on massage night, I'll sleep two hours, get up, and start work.
But, that combination of compounds, particularly, San Pedro or psilocybin combined with the ketamine, and then all these oils and the table and the music and the aromatherapy, it sounds like a lot to do to get a massage, but if you consider that you want that two to three hours, sometimes, for us three and a half hours that you're on the table, to be as meaningful and profound and impactful as possible, that's the way, that's how we're going. It's pretty amazing.
Donna: We don't have to have all this stuff that we do, but we do. I can do a similar thing for Caleb as I do for you.
Ben: My neighbor, Caleb, [01:08:15] _____ go to.
Ben: I hope he listens to this so that he knows all the–I don't think I've even given him the full meal download about everything he could do if he's worked with you, though. [01:08:25] _____ Caleb, because he'd be like, “So, where do I get the mat? Where do I get the table?” Every time I show Caleb some new device when it comes to the house, it seems like two weeks later, he has it.
Donna: He's got one, yeah. It was interesting, because the first time I worked on him, he just stopped. It's kind to my heart. I appreciate the feedback. I'm a very humble person. I know that I'm good at what I do, and I practice a lot of grace and gratitude and thank you and really receiving it. We don't, as people, receive feedback very well. and, even being humble, I know what I'm good at and I know what I'm not good at. And, that's because I've done all the self-work and chosen truth, chosen integrity, chosen ethics. So, yeah, he was just really sweet of him. He just said, “That was the most exquisite experience I've had. Thank you.”
I put my hands together and my little “thank you” and gratitude, just really take it in the essence of, “Here's what God has given me to give to other people. It's not mine to keep. Everything that God has given to me, wisdom, whatever, skills, it's mine to share, not to keep it.” I'm not a possessive person.
And so, I've done massages with other people where they've had some psilocybin, and that's it and still had equally as profound. It's the work. It's a physical work. It's the spiritual work. It's the plant medicine work. Really, Ben, I'm planning on traveling to California and doing some training with Matthew that we talked to a while ago because this is the work I think is impactful for trauma.
Ben: Matthew is the guy I want to do more combination plant medicine.
Donna: He does DMT ceremonies. And so, I want to go down and learn the DMT ceremonies. And so, I have to go down there and do that work myself. He says, “I'm not going to do any session with you. And then, all of a sudden, you're a practitioner. You have to come and do your work.” And, that's it. He's like, “Show up and do your work.” And, that's what the invitation on this planet is right now. It's like we have moved to a different era. And, the time now is–I explain to people, at the time before Jesus, before we were agrarian people, we were nomadic people. And, we were in our bodies, and we had to learn about the earth because we had to stay alive. Don't get eaten by a saber tooth tiger. Don't eat that mushroom. Eat this mushroom. So, we were very much in tune with our body as nomadic hunter-gatherer people. And then, we went to this, and we had fire. It's like the era of fire. And then, we go into these last 2020 years using our minds to build and to create. Look at everything we've done in 2000 years of humanity.
And now, we've got to this point where we're moving into this new era, not of the body and not of the mind, but of the soul, of the spirit, of who are we as spiritual beings. Because we are. And, we are. So, it's time on this planet to remember what's in ourselves, remind ourselves of who we are as spiritual beings. And, the best way to do that is to circle back around and connect it to the body and let your mind go for a minute. I'll let your mind go. Like I've been seeing in The Beatles, “Let it be.” All year long, I'm just like, “Whisper words of wisdom. Let it be. If you can't let things go, just let them be.” Stop living in the past and live right now, in the present. Don't future. And, as much as you can, try not to future. And, really, I have conversations with weird things like the past. And, the past was like, “Hey, Donna, can you tell everybody just to lead me where I belong? I'm not the present. Leave me in the past. Come back and learn what you need to learn, but don't drag me along to the present.” That's just baggage we don't need.
Ben: Not a lot of people are going to have a Donna in their back pocket. I was recently talking to this dude in Toronto who had heard about the special flavor of unique massage therapy that I get. He happened to have some really good fascial and trauma work therapist and wound up he put some epic–He had five friends. Had five massage therapists over. They all did a meditation session and breathwork session prior. And then, they all did ketamine. They didn't have the PEMF table, but they had sound healing tables. They did sound healing. They did a whole group to it. He said it was one of the most profound transformative experiences that he's ever had. And, they are now doing it together now. Everybody I've talked to has started to weave into their body work the type of stuff that I'm doing. They're like, “Holy cow. This is a game-changer.”
I mentioned your website at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/HumanWell, is where I'll direct people to. Correct me if I'm wrong. You will get on the phone or do a class or you have classes available on your site where you'll train therapists how to do this type of stuff that you do. And then, you also work with individuals who are not massage therapists to do some of the more distance type of work, like trauma release, things like that. And so, that's all on your website. And so, a massage therapists, a licensed or a certified massage therapist, they can go to your site. They can learn from you how to take what they know about the body and then apply some of your unique flavor to it, and get trained so that they can then go out and work with the crazy Ben Greenfields of the world. So, it's that simple. People just go to your website, and it's all there, as far as their options for how to work with you?
Ben: Alright, got it. Do you have prerecorded classes, or is it all one-on-one work right now?
Donna: I don't have any prerecorded right now. I'm doing some mentorship stuff, but out of your kindness, I'm going to start developing that Thinkific, some programs on Thinkific.
Ben: That's right. Thinkific, being like a course. So, eventually, what you want to have is a video course or something that a therapist could take to be able to just learn all your stuff. But, right now, they could learn from you one-on-one.
Donna: Yeah, they could. And, really, I prefer that, because what happens for me is in the moment. I have some foundational stories and teachings, I guess, that would be called trainings, that is universal, that people could access. But, a lot of times, what happens for me is, I guess, what somebody would call channeling in the moment. I'm very present. I live in the present right now. Somebody else, if I could house-sit for them in two weeks, I'm like, “I don't know what I'm doing in two weeks.” I can't answer that for them. I don't know. I might have clients. It's an out-of-town type of thing. And, I usually know what's happening in my life at two-week intervals. I have mentorship on the website, and I have private. I like to call it mentorship because the way I–People could call it coaching, life coaching type of stuff, but I like to call it mentorship because the way I see the work I do with people is I'm not here to do your work for you. I'm not the therapist you can come to get all the answers because the answers are inside of you. So, that whole “it's an inside job” cliche, it's the truth. It's an inside job, the jobs here. But, you don't have to do it alone. It's like we're going to take off. We're going to go hiking together. You got your backpack full of your stuff, your trauma, whatever you need to take care of. And, I have my backpack full of my medicine work, the things that I can offer, the things that I do. And, we're going to go hiking, but I'm never going to pick your pack up. And, I'm also never going to leave you on the trail by yourself.
So, that's my two things. If you're ready to do the work for you, I will work with you. Most people, I want to do an interview with them because I don't know that you're ready for this kind of work. And, it's not a hottie thing or a hierarchal type of thing. It's a who are you and where are you right now? Because I'm not pulling any punches. I'm real and raw. I'm not pulling any punches here, and I'm not here to baby anybody. I'm kind. I'm kind. And, that includes the truth. I'm not nice. Nice is like blowing smoke up people's skirts, and I don't do that.
Ben: Yeah, not a nice person.
Donna: No, I'm a kind person.
Ben: What I'm going to do is I'm going to link to that in the shownotes, so that people can't get ahold of you. Because I would love for there to be more therapists out doing the type of things that you're doing. And, also, even beginning to teach people how to take some of the info from this podcast, like what tables do you use, what oils do you use, what medicines are available, and begin to really weave together more meaningful and a really fully integrated form, because, to me, this is the future next-level exciting flavor of massage and deep tissue work that I think a lot of people haven't experienced yet. And, man, once you do, it's like Christmas for me, the days I'm going to get my massage. I'm thinking about it in the morning. I'm like, “Yeah.” [01:17:23] _____ and get my journal and my voice recorder, everything.
And so, first of all, Donna, I want to thank you, not only for being you and for being in my life, but also for your time and being able to sit here and share this with people, and also have the stuff available on your website that you have to be able to allow for other people to know about this. And so, I want to thank you for that. I'm just super grateful to have you in my life.
And, I also want to tell anybody who's listening in, if you guys have your own stuff to add, things that you've found, have really, I guess, upgraded your massage or your own tips to add or resources that you think Donna or I might want to take a deeper dive into, whether it's things that help massages be even better or oils you found or compounds or techniques or music tracks or anything like that, you can go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/DonnaMills, just like it sounds, D-O-N-N-A-M-I-L-L-S. And, leave your comments. Leave your questions. Leave your feedback over there. And, also, let me know if any of you try to kind of put together the type of massage that Donna and I have described to you on this show with the right therapist, or you've found the right person, I'd love to hear your own stories as well.
So, Donna, thank you so much for coming on the show today, for sharing this with everybody. I'm super excited to just open you up to the world and your unique approach, because you're a unicorn, not in the sense that you're a big ugly horse that poops in the street with a horn coming out your head. But, you're a unicorn. You're a special person. I'm stoked to be able to introduce you to my audience. So, thank you.
Donna: Wow, Ben. Thank you. Right back at you, all that and more. All that and more.
Well, thanks for listening to today's show. You can grab all the shownotes, the resources, pretty much everything that I mentioned, over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com, along with plenty of other goodies from me, including the highly helpful, “Ben Recommends” page, which is a list of pretty much everything that I've ever recommended for hormones, sleep, digestion, fat-loss, performance, and plenty more. Please, also, know that all the links, all the promo codes that I mentioned during this and every episode helped to make this podcast happen and to generate income that enables me to keep bringing you this content every single week. So, when you listen in, be sure to use the links in the shownotes, to use the promo codes that I generate, because that helps to float this thing and keep it coming to you each and every week.
You've no doubt heard me talk on podcasts before about my epic massages.
We're talking essential oils, carefully selected musical tracks for healing the body, an acoustic sound healing table, a pulsed electromagnetic field mat, and a variety of specific plant medicine compounds and supplements for relaxing the body and turning a massage into a full-body, mind, and spiritual reboot and cleansing.
But I haven't talked much about the wizard (wizardess, I should say) behind the scenes.
Her name is Donna Mills, and she's my massage therapist—the most unique and talented therapist I've ever worked with—and my guest on this podcast.
Donna lives in the aesthetically stunning Pacific Northwest, specifically in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. She is a woman committed to all things that elevate human consciousness. She is a practitioner of the healing arts, an advocate for civil conversations, and a community educator.
Donna is the founder of HumanWell Integrative Healing, where she works with private clients healing through trauma and grief. On the community consulting side of HumanWell, Donna designs integrative workplace wellness programs for large and small businesses. The name HumanWell was created out of her unwavering need to know “How do we human well? We can see where we are missing the mark in society, but where and how are we getting it right?”
Donna is a social healing practitioner, a narrative disruptor, and a cultural change agent. She is here to invite society into a deeper conversation about civility and connectivity. She believes that, “and justice for all” means just that. For all. She is a fierce advocate for a new narrative of economic justice that elevates our collective human wellness and ability to thrive.
Donna is a Lay Pastoral Minister through the Unitarian Universalist Association and is ordained to perform many celebrations of life, from partner unions to end-of-life doula services. In this work, she gently guides humans through the sacred journey of living and dying. She is often called upon to share her insightful wisdom on the divine, and serves this world with a deep commitment to humanity. Donna aligns and connects to Source Spirit as High Priestess in her Pagan faith.
Donna also describes herself as a mystic, a tarot reader, an intuitive healer, and a conscious thought leader for these changing times. She practices an intentional and cyclical lifestyle that includes loads of joy, playful exploration, good food, and always, always, more beautiful humans. She excels at growing food and wild foraging, loves to be on the water, is a collector of smiles, and can be found spending teatime with her favorite feline, Professor Moosey Softpaws.
During this discussion, you'll discover:
-How Donna developed her unique therapeutic approach…14:00
- Became a massage therapist in 1998 so she could stay home with her son
- Post-graduate training in essential oils and aromatherapy
- Left Seattle to move back to San Diego, started working with the Chargers
- Lost mother and grandmother and aunt within 3 years from a genetic form of emphysema
- After conceiving, she realized that she had to become the change she wanted to see in the world
-Donna’s self-work routine…17:35
- “I started aligning with my integrity”
- Contemplation and listening
- “Who can I be on this planet that’s even more vast than myself”
- Biology of Beliefby Bruce Lipton
- The body has everything it needs to heal
- Bliss Brainby Dawson Church
-Donna’s unique massage therapy practices…19:25
- Creates relationships with clients
- Taught massage and kinesiology for 12 years in San Diego
- Trigger Point Therapy Manualby Clair Davies
- 99% of the time, the pain people feel is coming from elsewhere
- Proper draping during massage therapy is crucial for client comfort
- “I’m not working on a leg and shoulder, I’m working on a Ben and his body”
- Donna hones in on a multi-dimensional massage experience
- Fascial work, joining mobilization, and listening
- Fascia is the spiderweb-like layer that surrounds the muscles
- Anatomy Trainsby Thomas Myers
- Donna has developed intuitive communication with the bodies she works with
- Lost sense of smell years ago, but has developed a distinct vibration sensation
-Donna’s coursework programs…34:00
- Courses and a mentorship programwhere she teaches people somatic intelligence
- Teaches people to move emotions locked in the body
- When healing, it’s imperative that we go to the core of who we are
- Facilitating self-healing via massage therapy, plant medicine, and spirituality
-How Donna healed Ben’s very injured toe…38:00
- Joint and fascia work by slowly mobilizing a crepitus joint
- A cuticle is a fascia connection
- Many people hold a lot of tension in the groin/pelvic bowl area
- Donna likes to start clients face up and work around the groin area down toward the legs
- Accesses spiritual information through touch
-Why massage therapy sometimes brings up emotions or trauma release…43:55
- Everything we’ve ever experienced lives in our cells
- Recognize that you are not your experience, you can release it
- Deep state of relaxation with trusted massage therapist allows for emotional release where trauma has been stored in your body
- The Body Keeps the Scoreby Bessel van der Kolk
-Supplements, products, and technology Ben and Donna use during massage therapy…49:50
- Banyan Botanicalsdaily massage oil
- The Wizard Of Essential Oils Strikes Again: The Hidden & Magical World Of Little-Known Plant Extracts For Digestion, Relaxation, Libido, Immunity & Much More!, with Dr. Nick Berry
- Banyan Botanicals Daily massage oil: sesame, sunflower, refined coconut oilblend
- At home, Donna uses a blend of sesame oil, sunflower oil, grapeseed oil, and apricot kernel oil
- Ayurvedically, coconut oilis drying
- Donna avoids almond oil because it uses a lot of water
- Aromatherapy: Diffuse Banyan Botanicals oils
- For massage: frankincense, lavender, rose
- Pulsed Electromagnetic Field (PEMF) table(0-9.9 Hertz), Ben chooses about 7.8 Hz during massage therapy
- The Most Powerful Cellular Exercise Machine That Exists, How It Works & Exactly How To Use It, with Emilio Palafox.
- Opens and closes cell membrane and allows for better cell clearance
- Plant medicine, psychedelics, or microdosing enhances experience from increased blood flow to the brain
- Microdosing, Biohacking Plant Medicines, Psychedelic-Assisted Psychotherapy, & More – How “Field Trip Health” Works For Ketamine, MDMA, DMT, Psilocybin, & Beyond!, with Ronan Levy and Marshall Tyler.
- BioAcoustic Sound Table
- The makeup of essential oils, PEMF table, and Biomat BioAcoustics matresults in molecular healing
- Zen Nasal Spray(use code BEN to save 10%)
- Ben often uses 300-400mg ketamine pre-massage that allows him to deeply relax and tap into past memories and trauma
- Ketaminesometimes allows Ben to fall into a mind-body dissociation
- Microdosing huachumaor psilocybin (0.2-0.4mg) or + ketamine before the massage is the sweet spot for Ben
- Post-massage brain protection is curcumin, water, and magnesium glycinate
-How to work with Donna…1:10:40
- Donna will train massage therapists how to do what she does
- Also works with individuals who are not massage therapists to learn trauma release work and more
- Mentorship programs and private coaching available at HumanWell
-And much more…
Resources from this episode:
– Donna Mills:
- The Wizard Of Essential Oils Strikes Again: The Hidden & Magical World Of Little-Known Plant Extracts For Digestion, Relaxation, Libido, Immunity & Much More!, with Dr. Nick Berry
- The Most Powerful Cellular Exercise Machine That Exists, How It Works & Exactly How To Use It, with Emilio Palafox.
- Microdosing, Biohacking Plant Medicines, Psychedelic-Assisted Psychotherapy, & More – How “Field Trip Health” Works For Ketamine, MDMA, DMT, Psilocybin, & Beyond!, with Ronan Levy and Marshall Tyler.
- Immortal Cells, Biohacking Pain, Killing Lyme, Stem Cell Confusion, How Ketamine Works & Much More With Dr. Matt Cook.
- Biology of Beliefby Bruce Lipton
- Bliss Brainby Dawson Church
- Trigger Point Therapy Manualby Clair Davies
- Anatomy Trainsby Thomas Myers
- The Body Keeps Scoreby Bessel van der Kolk
– Gear And Supplements:
- Pulse Centers PEMF Table
- Biomat BioAcoustics Mat
- Zen Nasal Spray(use code BEN to save 10%)
- Me Curcumin(use code BEN25 to save 25%)
- Magnesium Glycinate
- Ketamine Reset(use code BENDEAL to save $250)
– Other Resources:
- Banyan Botanicals Ayurvedic Oils
- Essential Oil Wizardry Frank, Myrrh and Gold(use code BEN to save 10%)
- Essential Oil Wizardry Pain Relief Ice(use code BEN to save 10%)
- Ben will be speaking at the Ancestral Health Symposium in L.A. on August 12-14, 2021
- Keep up on Ben's LIVE appearances by following com/calendar
–The Boundless Cookbook: Optimize your physical and mental performance with nutritious and delicious Greenfield family recipes. This is your roadmap to a culinary journey that includes ancient food and wild game preparation tactics, biohacked smoothies, meat rubs, cocktails, desserts, and beyond—without any restrictive diet, limited ingredients, or tasteless “health foods!”
–Kion: My personal playground for new supplement formulations, Kion blends ancestral wisdom with modern science. Ben Greenfield Fitness listeners, save 10% off your first order with code BEN10.
–Four Sigmatic: I’ve been using Four Sigmatic products for a while now and I’m impressed by the efficacies of their mushroom products. I use them. I like them. I support the mission! Receive 10% off your Four Sigmatic purchase when you use discount code BENGREENFIELD.
–JOOVV: After using the Joovv for close to 2 years, it's the only light therapy device I'd ever recommend. Give it a try: you won't be disappointed. For a limited time, Joovv wants to hook you up with an exclusive discount on your first order. Just apply code BEN to your qualifying order.
–Water and Wellness: The best solution for clean and safe drinking water. Water and Wellness also offers an amazing line of essential water additives such as Quinton Marine plasma which contain over 78 trace minerals and elements from the ocean to help restore your biological-terrain. Get 15% off your order when you use discount code GREENFIELD.