[Transcript] – How A 6’7″ Tall-Ex-Wall-Street-Trading-Fraternity-Boy-Jock Fixed His Debilitating Back Pain And Naturally Healed His Body.

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Podcast from:  https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/podcast/recovery-podcasts/how-to-naturally-heal-back-pain/

[00:00] About Jason Wachob

[10:32] Jason's Yoga Protocol

[13:30] Other Natural Biohacks

[20:13] Jason's Meditation Protocol

[26:15] Eastern & Western Practices

[35:30] Using Shiatsu & Acupuncture

[43:26] End of the Podcast

Ben:  Hey, folks.  It's Ben here with Jason Wachob.  And you may have come across articles written by Jason before if you looked for health information on the worldwide web because he is the curator and one of the founders of a website called MindBodyGreen at mindbodygreen.com, and they've got a real, real focus on, really, a lot of things naturally health related, but especially topics like wellness, and in Jason's case, in one of the things we'll talk about today, yoga.  Jason is himself however, comes from a background of pretty serious athletics.  He played varsity basketball for four years, and now he lives in Brooklyn, New York and runs this company.  But the guy is, he's an athlete, he is a real wealth of knowledge when it comes to yoga, and wellness, and destressing, and naturally healing your body, so we're really privileged to have him on the show with us, and he has kind of a cool back story too about why he ever opted for yoga in the first place, and he's going to share that with us and a lot more.  So Jason, thanks for coming on the call, man.

Jason:  Awesome.  Thank you so much, Ben.  It's an honor to be here.

Ben:  So, I got to tell you, one of the places where I first came across your writing was an article called “Five Reasons Why Dudes Should Practice Yoga”, and I definitely want to talk about some of the stuff that you get into in that article, even though ladies, I'm sure you'll get a lot out of this podcast as well.  But you begin the whole thing, Jason, by talking about your back, and your low back, and some things that happened.  So, can you tell me a little bit about your story as an athlete and how you wound up where you are at with this debilitating back pain?

Jason:  Sure.  So, I'm six-foot-seven.  I played basketball in the College of Colombia for four years.  I'm 38 now.  Essentially, I was an athlete all my life.  Some days, I still like to think I am.  I lifted weights, I ran, I did the treadmill, I did that for about 20 years.  My idea of health was around being fit and what that looked like in the mirror.  And when I played basketball, it was about performance as well.  Post-basketball, it became about how do I look good, how do I maintain muscle mass, how do I not let my cardio just go to the crapper.  After college, I worked in Wall Street as a trader.  Had a bunch of, unfortunately, Colombia Grade School, I loved it, but no scholarships for athletes.  So, I had a mountain of college debt that I had to pay off and trading seemed like a great fit that help me pay that off.  So, I did that and then wanted to do other things after, and got into start-ups, and found myself traveling a lot.  And in the last company before MindBodyGreen that I was involved in, I was the CEO of an organic cookie company.  Cookies, not so healthy, but the organic side really exposed me to the importance of ingredients, and eating closer to nature, and more plants.  And up until this point, I was a guy who, my idea of health was a steak, all the potatoes, and I'll have a martini instead of a beer.  Ate so much steak, at age 27, my face was engraved on the wall of the Palm Steakhouse.  That's how much I went there.  And so, on the outside, probably looked good, but on the inside, probably not so good.

Ben:  Lots of steak and organic cookies, huh?

Jason:  Yeah.  Way too much.  So, I also did some insane flying around this time.  When I played in college, I had injuries, like a lot of athletes.  Dislocated shoulders.  I had some hamstring problems.  And one year, they were particularly bad, and as an athlete knows, hamstring equals back.  So many issues trace back to the back.  So, played through everything, had a decent career.  And then after college, I was just happy I was in one piece.  The hamstring and back issues started to come back pretty bad.  So, I flew about 150,000 miles domestic that year.  So, six-foot-seven guy, coach seat, not good on the back.  Flying is a form of compression.  It was a stressful time, a stressful job, so all those factors led to my back literally derailing.  I had two extruded discs present on my sciatic nerves.  So, whole right leg, shooting pain all the way down to my toe.  I couldn't walk.  Awful.

Ben:  I think probably a lot of people struggle with issues like that, like with nerve pain in the legs, especially people who sit a lot.  Probably don't even realize that it's coming from the back.  I mean, I know a lot of people think, whatever, it's an issue with the knees, or the hips, or the muscles, or lack of blood circulation.  But, in your case, you were actually diagnosed with some pretty significant disc issues, huh?

Jason:  Yeah.  And it became very apparent, like so many problems around that area, it's all the back.  I remember when it first started, I had little inklings of it back when I played, and then a couple years after, my hamstring would be, you feel it in the leg.  So, I vaguely remember trying to stretch out a little more, like I take one of rollers and I'd roll, use that and try to work it out.  But in reality, it was all stemming from the back, not the source of the pain.  So yeah, I got x-rayed and I had two extruded discs.  Went to two different specialists, the first specialist said, “You need back surgery.”  And I wasn't too thrilled about that, not a big fan of surgery.  And so, sought a second opinion, and that guy said the same thing.  But as an afterthought, he said, “You may be able to do some therapy or some yoga, and that might help, but you'll probably still need some surgery.”

Ben:  Right.

Jason:  So, I began practicing.  That's where yoga came in.  I started practicing, and started to feel better within a matter of weeks.

Ben:  What'd you do?  Did you just jump into a yoga class?  Have you done that before?

Jason:  No.  I dabbled with yoga previously, and I really liked it.  I started to do some research online, and talked to a physical therapist, and met a couple yoga teachers, and essentially the short of it was I came up with a routine of four to five poses that were specifically geared around lower back pain and sciatica, and worked on that for 15 to 20 minutes in the morning and 15 to 20 minutes at night every day.

Ben:  And that was it?  You were just by yourself?  You weren't actually in a class, per se?

Jason:  No.  I wasn't even going.  I was sort of afraid to go.

Ben:  Well yeah, I mean, you're six-foot-seven.  You kind of stick out like a sore thumb in a yoga class.

Jason:  Exactly.  I had a delicate situation with my back.  So, I just started doing that at home.  And then over the course of a couple weeks, I started to notice improvement.  An interesting fact for people who have back pain is what I was told was the further south the pain goes, the worse.  And when the pain starts to move back up north, you're getting better.

Ben:  Really?

Jason:  Yeah.

Ben:  Do you know why that is?

Jason:  I have no idea, but it somehow made sense to me 'cause that's what I was experiencing.  When the pain started, it was like around my butt, and then it just went further and further south, and then it got to the toes, and then it was god awful.  And then as process went, it started to heal, the pain started to come back up.

Ben:  Probably like a nerve regeneration that starts lower down and gradually works its way up.

Jason:  Yeah.  I remember going in the doctor's office and he took the… you know when they bang your knee with the…

Ben:  The reflex test?

Jason:  Yeah.  He could've taken a rock and my leg was not moving.  So, at any rate, that's how I discovered yoga.  I was going through a lot at the time, like started to revisit spirituality, and started to change my diet, and came to this realization, like, “Wow.  This is health.  I had it all wrong.”  Discovered that yoga was this powerful tool and it changed my life and caused me to get involved with MindBodyGreen.  So, it was pretty amazing.

Ben:  So, as a six-foot-seven guy, in terms of actual yoga moves, like if we wanted to give some of the people listening in who maybe don't do yoga, I personally go out on my back porch for about 15 to 20 minutes every morning and just go through some basic hip openers and stuff like that, but maybe we've got people who are listening in who've had back pain themselves and want to just kind of see what it feels like.  What kind of stuff were you doing?

Jason:  There was basically a couple poses I can walk you through, kind of the routine.  It was reclining ankle to knee, which was my go-to pose essentially.  Reclining half-ankle to knee, where you're essentially lying down on the floor.  It's on MindBodyGreen actually, if you want to go to the site and check it out if you want to.

Ben:  The entire routine's over there?

Jason:  Yeah.  Essentially, I worked with a teacher, Michael Taylor, who I met throughout this process, and we actually have a post on the site called “Yoga Poses for Back Pain”, and essentially, this is what I did every day.  It was four to five pose.  Reclining ankle-to-knee was the one that was the most powerful to me, and I would literally do, I was still traveling, so I would literally be in airports, lying on the ground, doing reclining ankle-to-knee.  But it was those four or five poses that I swore by and really helped me heal.

Ben:  Yeah, I'm looking at it right now.  I'll put a link to this article in the show notes.  These are all pretty much just lying on the back, or on your back, on the ground, for most of them, kind of twisting your hips.

Jason:  Standing forward bend is another one.  That's one where you're standing up straight and you kind of bend over.  I do that still.  When I'm waiting for the subway in New York, sometimes I'll just bend over, even though my back's totally fine, I'll do a standing forward, Ben.  I'll do that on airplanes a lot, too.

Ben:  You're one of those guys, too.

Jason:  Yeah.

Ben:  Are you familiar at all or have you heard of the “Foundation Exercises”?  It's a book by Eric Goodman and Peter Park, I think is the other guy, and they were actually on the podcast a couple years ago.  Kind of similar to yoga, they do exercises for back pain and focus a little bit on like opening up the hips and doing a lot of posterior chain work, like strengthening the glutes.  But some of these moves I'm looking at that you were doing, kind of similar to some of the stuff in that book.  It's really interesting though, how you didn't even need to have surgery.  So, you pretty much completely bypassed the whole need to get stuff fixed surgically, right?

Jason:  Yeah.  It was definitely an eye-opening experience for me that I draw upon a lot.  Very powerful.

Ben:  So, you used yoga, for everybody listening in, I'm going to link to this article in the show notes, the “Yoga Poses for Back Pain”, which is probably going to be way easier than Jason walking us through, trying to describe every single exercise he was doing.  It's a really helpful article over at MindBodyGreen.  But Jason, it seems like you kind of branched out.  Did you actually start this MindBodyGreen website after that, after you discovered yoga?

Jason:  It was around the time, I started to make a lot of these changes in my life before, and the idea was planted, and I came across my two incredible co-founders, and we kind of shared this vision for the site, but didn't quite executed on it yet.  So everything started, the wheels were in motion before, but the whole process with yoga kind of elevated it to a whole new level.

Ben:  Now, you've got tons of articles at MindBodyGreen, and I'm sure that you've come across stuff that goes way above and beyond yoga.  Like for people listening in who may be interested in other, I mean, to be honest, we've talked about stuff on the show before like electrostim, and cold laser, and basically biohacks, but when it comes to maybe using more natural, I guess what you might call gentle or natural healing techniques, what kind of stuff have you discovered that you think kind of falls into the same boat as yoga that people can just kind of do right away if they've got chronic debilitating pain, or back pain, or kind of want to get rid of some of these nagging joint issues?

Jason:  I think it's everything.  Yoga is just, to me, it's one powerful technique and it's what I prefer as far as it's become my new form of exercise.  I don't really go to the gym anymore.  Yoga is what I do.  But there's so much you can do.

Ben:  So, you don't lift weights at all or anything like that?

Jason:  No, not anymore.

Ben:  Do you find that you're able to kind of maintain strength when you're doing yoga?

Jason:  Yeah, I really do.

Ben:  But you must do something above and beyond just like basic flow then, I would imagine?

Jason:  Not really.  I basically do a flow.  I probably do it three times a week if I'm lucky now.  I'll practice at home or I'll go to a studio, but that's kind of all I do, to be honest with you.

Ben:  Really?

Jason:  Yeah.

Ben:  Wow.  Is your approach, like when you're going through a yoga flow series of poses, is your approach to really focus on doing things like dialing in that down dog pose to strengthen your shoulders or to really get deep into a squat pose and things of that nature?  Are you breathing hard as you're doing this stuff?

Jason:  No, not really.  One of the reasons why I love yoga so much is it's the only form, if we're going to call it a form of exercise, I know if that's appropriate, but it's one of the only things that you can do where you practice ease and you practice slow.  And I think that in our culture, especially I live here in New York and we're all type As here and we're also good at doing things fast.  I'm running to the subway, and I'm doing this, and I'm getting so much in a day.  We're excellent at doing fast.  We're not good at being slow, and connected, and easy.  And I think when you practice yoga, you're practicing slowly, you're practicing mindfully, and you're practicing easy.  And without getting too DT, but I think it's sort of a metaphor for life.  Like do you want to practice ease or do you want to practice pushing?

My former basketball coach, I played for a great coach at Columbia, Armand Hill, who later on went on to be an assistant coach with the Celtics, and now he's at the Clippers with Doc Rivers, and he used to always say to us, when we were kind of dogging in at practice, he would say, “You can't just turn it on and off.  You can't practice hard and expect to play hard in a game.  There's no separation.”  And he would always say, “It carries over to life.  You've got to give it all the time, you can't just turn it on and off,” and he was completely right.  And I think that's with regards to athletics, but I think moving back to yoga, I think yoga's about practicing ease, and slowing down your mind, and alleviating stress, and I think that transcends, crosses over to life.  And I think if you practice the right way, it's very powerful because you can maintain your strength without killing yourself, and maintain your sanity, and it's this great tool that gets you more in touch with your mind and your body, and that's pretty powerful stuff.

Ben:  Yeah, it's interesting.  We did a podcast episode with a guy named John Douillard, who's kind of an ex-Ironman triathlete down in Boulder, Colorado, and he talks a lot about breathing.  What you're saying kind of reminds me of some of the things that he talks about in that you'd be surprised at how much fitness you can gain by simply engaging in deep nasal breathing throughout the day and avoiding shallow chest breathing.  Like that one simple technique can actually make you a better athlete, whereas we think that we actually do have to go out and feel the burn in the muscles or feel the extreme soreness the next day.  It's something as simple as breathing that can strengthen you without it actually feeling like it's tearing you down

Jason:  Absolutely.  Breathing is powerful.  Breathing, meditation, diet, there are so many things that you can do that are going to make you a better athlete, a better person, less stressed.  Yoga is just kind of one tool in the tool kit, so to speak.  There's lots you could do.

Ben:  When I interrupted you as you were talking about how you do yoga and you don't go to the gym, you were, I think, going to talk about a few other things that you've discovered that you either work in your routine or that you've come across, as being the curator for MindBodyGreen that other people are doing, like natural ways to heal the body or help to stop pain.  So, what other things would you recommend?

Jason:  I'm also a huge fan of meditation and breathing, I think it's very powerful and there's tons of science and interesting studies that are coming out about how meditation can, I've seen stuff that is unbelievable, saying that meditation can be as powerful as morphine in some respects.  I think food is incredibly important.

Ben:  Can I ask you about meditation real quick?

Jason:  Sure.

Ben:  Do you personally meditate?

Jason:  I do.

Ben:  What do you do, just out of curiosity?  I think a lot of people hear meditation, and I guess it's so easy to just kind of like throw the word out there, and I've certainly done that before, but I'm curious to hear what your practice is.

Jason:  Sure.  So, there's various forms of meditation.  There's everything from vedic meditation, which we actually have a course that touches on techniques based on that and other techniques like mindfulness and vipassana, which essentially is silent meditation and just breathing.  There are so many different forms.  It's kind of incredible, and it's not a religion, and you don't have to have a special place in your apartment or house to do it.  You can do it on your subway ride, you can even do it while driving.  For me personally, I will sometimes spend anywhere from five minutes to 15 minutes just kind of sitting and breathing, and that's my practice, and trying to clear my head.  And there's specific techniques.  We actually have a great video course on our site with an incredible meditation teacher.  A lot of those techniques, he taught me and I use it.  And the great thing about meditation, it's kind of like no matter what length or what you choose to practice, it's going to be great.  So, if you've got a minute a day or you've got an hour a day, you're going to feel better.  And there's no one-size-fits-all.  It's like you get exposed to all the different techniques, and try it out, and get breathing in, and see how you feel, and I guarantee it's going to help you.

Ben:  Is there a special name for the kind of meditation that you do?

Jason:  I guess you could call it more as mindfulness.  As simple as like a great way to kind of tune in, it's just kind of like sitting, taking longer deep breaths.  I always start, usually with inhaling for a count of two, exhaling for a count of four, and that's actually a very powerful technique if you're like ever super-stressed.  Like even if you're in the grocery line at like Whole Foods or Trader Joe's, and you're like, “Jesus Christ, can just this line move here?”  And you just had a long day and you're stressed, just inhaling for a count of two and exhaling for four is just like an incredible, powerful technique.  You do it for 30 seconds, you feel like, “Oh, wow.  I'm relaxed.”

Ben:  So, a lot of times I've heard you inhale four and exhale four.  Why would you inhale two and exhale four?  What's going on there?

Jason:  I'll reference another great article on MindBodyGreen.

Ben:  That's fine.

Jason:  Actually from an expert on this, it's with the vagus nerve.  I want to say I don't want to speak out of line, but it's more powerful to hold the exhale longer, and it has to do with the vagus nerve and how that, there's a great article by a doctor named Robin Friedlander.

Ben:  I'm going to have to check that out.

Jason:  Yeah, about how that works.  I literally taught my 65-year old uncle out to do it, and he does it.

Ben:  That's really cool.  Are you familiar with heart rate variability testing at all?  Like the use of the HeartMath's emWave2, or like the Inner Balance, or the SweetBeat app, or any of these heart rate variability apps?

Jason:  I'm a little bit familiar with it.

Ben:  I personally, for about five minutes every morning, do, I guess it's a kind of meditation called coherence where you think about things that you're grateful for or things that you feel that you find and hold dear or that you love, and you imagine those things being placed into your heart.  It's kind of like a heart-brain connection kind of meditation.  And typically, when I'm doing that, I'm breathing in for an equal amount of time as I'm breathing out, but I'm going to have to try this technique of breathing.  Basically, you’re breathing in for about half as much time as you're breathing out, huh?

Jason:  Yeah.  And that's just one technique.  There's so many, what's great about meditation is there's no one-size-fits-all.  There's various techniques that you can draw from and find what works for you.  Similar to yoga, very similar to nutrition in food and all these treatments.  I think that's the one message.  We definitely have a mission at MindBodyGreen and we definitely have a philosophy, and I think a lot of it can fall under connecting to your mind and body and really figuring out what works for you.  You know.  Listen to your body.

Ben:  So, we've kind of talked a little bit about yoga, a little bit about meditation, a little bit about this breathing technique.  What else do you have?  Anything else that you think would be kind of cool for people to learn more about or try and work into their daily routine?

Jason:  Sure.  I think diet's important, but I'm not going to tell anyone how to eat.  I definitely think Michael Pollan kind of nailed it with eating mostly plants.  I think that's the way to go.  But I think it's important to figure out what works for you.  With regards to other healing techniques, I've done everything, I've tried everything.  I think a lot depends on what you're going through, but I've done everything from shiatsu, to acupuncture, to colon hydrotherapy, you name it.   I think that it depends on what you're going through, and my view on a lot of these treatments, they're kind of incredible and they're kind of telling, and I think the future of health is kind of this blend of Eastern and Western.  And Western is incredible, Western saves lives, and Western is this incredible diagnostic tool, and what Eastern has to offer is a perspective sometimes, as spiritual perspective.

Ben:  If you break your arm, you kind of want Western.  But if you're dealing with chronic low back pain, Eastern comes in handy.

Jason:  Yeah, they both do.  Essentially, my back healing, Western diagnosed it.  Western said, “Okay.  You've got these two discs.  This is what's going on.  Here's the x-ray.”  And then I took notice of that, and Eastern help me go about it.

Ben:  I got to ask you.  You dropped a word back there that I just can't let go.  You just mentioned colon hydrotherapy.

Jason:  Yeah.

Ben:  Is that is something that you actually did?

Jason:  I do.  I do it regularly.

Ben:  Really?

Jason:  Yeah.  So, it's something, about a year ago, I found out I had an intestinal parasite.  It was something I got probably through traveling at some point.

Ben:  I've been there.

Jason:  You ever had a parasite?

Ben:  Oh, yeah.  Several times.  Well I travel around the world doing triathlons and swimming in nasty stagnant water.  So, yeah.  Absolutely.

Jason:  When I first got it, all of a sudden, I had no energy, I felt like crap.  It was awful, and I didn't know what was wrong.  So, I'm like, “Okay.  A lot going on at work.  Maybe I'm stressed.  Need to practice some more yoga, some more meditation, eat a little cleaner,” even though I eat pretty clean, “This will go away.”  And it wasn't getting any better.  Finally got diagnosed, Western doesn't have, they're tricky.  And I could talk about, I've learned way too much about this.  Parasites are very tricky.  There are false negatives, difficult to get rid of.  I've been to like numerous doctors, I've been to numerous healers, it's unbelievable how much of a lack of information is about these.  And it's almost a year later, I feel like I'm finally kicking it, and colon hydrotherapy is one of the things that I turned to that has really helped.

Ben:  I assume you go to a clinic.  Or is this like a self-administered kind of thing?

Jason:  Oh, no.  No, I don't self-administer.

Ben:  Just curious.

Jason:  There's a great center I go to here in New York.  Very nice, upscale.  It's called Green Star Wellness, and I go to her, and she's great, and she's been doing this for 25 years, and it's totally safe, and clean, and it's great.  For me, specifically, what was great about this is a lot of the stuff you're doing to get rid of a parasite, whether you're taking herbs or supplements, you don't necessarily feel or see the results.  It's this whole process.  What's nice with colon hydrotherapy, it's sort of like instant feedback.  Like, how am I doing?  How do I feel?  She's seeing stuff come out, obviously, and there are things that are going on that are unhealthy in your stomach when this thing's happening, and she can kind of track progress, which I like.  As an athlete, I like progress.  I like being able to track something.  So, it was something I got exposed to through this parasite and it's pretty amazing.  I'd recommended it if you have a stomach issue or something like that.

Ben:  I think so many people have kind of like a parasite or unwelcome visitors in their digestive tract and don't realize it.  I know for me, it was like every two weeks, I would wake up and I'd have insomnia, and apparently that's when they were hatching, which I never like to think about.  Have you ever heard of the book called “The Epidemic of Absence”?

Jason:  No, but it sounds intriguing.  I'm writing it down.

Ben:  It's really interesting because it talks about how some parasites are actually good.  Like some parasites are friendly to your digestive tract and they actually are crucial for your ancestral microbiome.  There are actual parasites that play friendly with your digestive tract.  And then there are some that, usually based on symptoms like you just described, are probably not all that hot to be having around.  But I was recently at the Ancestral Health Symposium, and I heard a guy named Chris Kresser gave a really interesting talk called “The Hidden Costs of Modern Hygiene”, and he went into this a little bit.  It's really interesting though, the whole parasite issue.

Jason:  It totally is, and you kind of nailed it with the microbiome.  A doctor who's kind of been helping me through this is a guy named Dr. Frank Lipman, who's a great friend, an incredible doctor.  He's one of these functional medicine doctors.  He's the blend of Eastern and Western.  He'll tell you, “Okay.  You need to chill out.  You need to take these herbs or meditate.”  But he'll also say, “Okay.  This is serious.  You need surgery, or you need a new drug, or what have you.”  He's a great doctor.  I think that's the future of medicine.  But at any rate, I just saw him the other week and he was talking about the microbiome.  For me specifically, in my case, he was saying how I think your stomach got really out of whack, and it's the process of healing and finding that balance, and it goes back to the microbiome.  It's swung way, and now it's swinging back the other way.  How do we get it back to the balance?  It's just so interesting, and I think there's so much we don't know about the gut and how it's connected to everything in our body.

Ben:  Back pain.

Jason:  I absolutely believe that.  And I think there's a huge disconnect in Western medicine.  People tend to think of, “Okay.  Here are your lungs, here are your heart, here's your gut, here's your mind.”  All different specialties, none of this is connected, and I just do not think that is true.  I think it is all connected, and I think the gut is, in many ways, the gateway to health and happiness.

Ben:  Yeah.  I've even had athletes who I've coached, who have done things like eliminated dairy.  Like athletes who obviously, for genetic reasons, or enzymatic reasons, or whatever, they just can't do dairy, and they've gotten rid of leg cramps on the bike.  Two things that you wouldn't think would even be related at all, and simply eliminating lactose and dairy has fixed that.  I mean, it's really nuts once you get in and start to look at the body as a holistic unit.  You and I as athletes, I don't know about you, but in the past, I've always been tempted to just have this real musculoskeletal approach to things.  It's like lift more weight over your head, and it fixes most of your problems, and it's so not the case.

Jason:  With this whole stomach thing that I've gone through and I'm coming out of, I've definitely had weird things happen in my body where if I probably tell a Western doctor, he'll look at me like I'm nuts.  And I'm not nuts.  Like, “What do you mean you're feeling that on your toes?”  I'm like, “I'm telling you.  This is what's going on,” and then I do a little more research, and talk to some Eastern people, and it totally makes sense.  I continue to learn through experience.

Ben:  Jason, if we could throw one more gem towards our listeners, whether it be something you've gleaned from an article you've recently curated over at MindBodyGreen or something you've learned along your own pathway to health that you think might fly under the radar or might be something new that someone could try who's trying to maybe get rid of pain or just enhance their life, what's another thing you think might kind of be enchanting here?

Jason:  I'll stay on Eastern, and I'll say shiatsu and acupuncture are incredibly powerful.  One, acupuncture, it's a needle, it doesn't hurt.  But if you don't like needles, that may not work for you.  And shiatsu, essentially, it's hitting, with Chinese medicine, they believe that there are meridians that run through your body and essentially the needles hit the meridians, and you could be hitting an area in your pinky toe, which is really trying to help your liver, and it's pretty amazing.  I remember years ago, when I first went for my shoulders, my shoulder's kind of destroyed from basketball, they're sort of fine now.  I remember my acupuncture is hitting a point in one of my toes, and my shoulder started to twitch.  And I was like, “Holy cow! I'm sold.”  And shiatsu is sort of the same practice, but it's not with needles, it's massage.  There's no oils, there's no grease, you keep your clothes on, it's someone using their hands and pressure to hit those same points, and it's just incredible.

Ben:  Yeah.  I totally hear you.  I always thought meridians were kind of airy-fairy.  I had Reiki done once and I didn't really feel anything from that form of therapy, and then, actually, it was about a year ago that I read this book “The Tapping Solution”.  Have you heard of that one or read that?

Jason:  Nick Ortner.

Ben:  Yeah.  It's not shiatsu, in that someone else is like applying finger pressure, like a kneading meridians with their hands, but you are, for listeners who are listening in, you basically have specific areas, it's mostly in your head and a little bit on your collarbone and underneath your arms, but you tap these spots, these traditional meridian points while you say self-affirmations, and I know it sounds really woo-woo, but it actually is pretty amazing stuff.  I have done it before, specifically when I've woken up in the morning and felt like I haven't gotten a good night's rest, and that's one of the things that I freaking hate is when I wake up in the morning and I'm just like, “Ugh.  I got to grind through this day, and I really do not feel well-rested.”  And I go through each of these tapping points, following the tapping protocol that's in that Tapping Solution book.  And basically, you say to yourself, “Even though I'm frustrated that I didn't get a good night's sleep last night,” or, “I'm frustrated that I’m tired today or don't feel full of energy, I deeply and completely accept myself.”  And then you move on to the next spot, and again, you say that affirmation over and over again.  It's amazing.  It actually works.

Jason:  It is.  It's one of these things where I probably would've totally dismissed it as well, but when you actually see it and feel it, it's kind of powerful.  The stuff works.  If you're about performance and healing, it's worth a shot.  I've done a lot of this lately, and just recently, so like in healing my stomach, all the time.  I know there's one area of my foot, when my shiatsu guy hits it, now I know 'cause I ask him every time.  Whenever I feel something really powerful or I start to twitch, I ask him, “What's that associated with?”  And it's like on cue every time, he'd be like, “Liver.”  Like, “That's liver again.”  And then I track progress and know that my liver is sort of healing and that’s   been affected by the stomach.  But it's one of these things that we can't really explain, but if you can give it a try and see for yourself, see if you like it and see if it works.  But it's pretty powerful, and I think that we're in this interesting space in time where Eastern and Western are going to be meeting in the middle.  And combined, they're pretty powerful.

Ben:  Yeah.  And I think you've really hit the nail on the head.  You have to try it for yourself.  I mean for me, similar to the way it sounds like you may have been when you were a basketball player, I played collegiate tennis, and if I were sitting back in my collegiate tennis days listening to you and I have this conversation that we're having right now, I would have laughed us both off the block, thinking, “Whatever, dude.  Tape your ankle and get back out there and hit some balls.”  But you go out and you try some of this stuff, you don't have to start with colonic hydrotherapy, but maybe just read this, I'll link to the article, like the “Yoga Poses for Back Pain”.  If you've never done yoga before, go get the article, print it out or put on your Kindle or whatever, and sit there in your living room and try it.  I mean that's the key is you just have to kind of jump into this stuff, and then it's kind of a fun little evolution from there.

Jason:  I'll add one little quick point.  I think it's so important to find what works for you and what you like.  So, if you hate needles, you're probably going to hate acupuncture.  But maybe give it a whirl, but probably not going to work.  And there are so many different healing modalities and methods, find the one, like my wife loves acupuncture.  I'm not as big on it as her.  I prefer shiatsu.  Find what works for you, and go with it.  I think the same applies to fitness, food, everything.  Life.  Find what works for you, find what you like, and go with it.  Listen to your body.

Ben:  Yeah.  You got to stay tuned. Well, cool.  Man, I could talk with you forever, but I know we're kind of pressed up against time for this interview.  I would encourage everybody listening in to visit the show notes for this episode over at bengreenfieldfitness.com, and I'll put a link to some of the things that Jason and I talked about, some of those articles we mentioned.  And then also check out the website mindbodygreen.com if this kind of stuff intrigues you, or you want to learn more about the mind-body connection and natural ways to heal pain or improve fitness.  It's all really cool stuff and well-written articles.  So, I'd recommend that you go check that out as well.  So, Jason, thank you so much for coming on the call today.

Jason:  Thank you so much for having me.  An honor and privilege to be here.  And I'll add that, to kind of sum up my philosophy, it's all about listening to your body, and I definitely think that three of the most powerful things we can do are practicing yoga, and practicing meditation, and eating more plants.  It's that simple, so I'll leave it at that.

Ben:  Cool.  Well thanks for coming on the show, Jason.  And folks, until next time, this is Ben Greenfield and Jason Wachob signing out from bengreenfieldfitness.com.



If you want to naturally heal your body, and are sick of expensive or overwhelming solutions to get rid of pain, then today’s podcast episode with Jason Wachob (pictured right) is perfect for you.

As CEO and Founder of MindBodyGreen.com, Jason’s goal is to inspire people around the world to live their healthiest lives, by making informed choices about food, movement, and spirituality.

After being told that he required back surgery, Jason opted for yoga and is now completely healed. Jason has been featured in The New York Times and Vogue Australia, and has a BA in History from Columbia University, where he played varsity basketball for four years. You can watch his video telling the story of how MindBodyGreen came to life here.

Resources we mention during the show:

5 Reasons Why Dudes Should Practice Yoga

Yoga Poses for Back Pain

You can follow Jason on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonWachob.


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