[Transcript] – Reprogramming Your Brain To Deal With Trauma, Getting Rid Of Cell Danger Response, Why Drugs Don’t Work, “Emotional Concussions” & Much More With Dr. Don Wood.

Affiliate Disclosure


From podcast: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/podcast/brain-podcasts/tipp/

[00:00:00] Introduction

[00:03:08] Podcast Sponsors

[00:06:30] Guest Introduction

[00:12:29] How Dr. Wood Began His Work

[00:17:06] Techniques Used to Manage, Rather Than Fix, Stress

[00:29:46] How Trauma Isn't Always Experienced On a Battlefield

[00:33:53] Podcast Sponsors

[00:36:38] How to Reprogram Your Brain

[00:39:43] Not Just Accepting, But Laughing at the Problem

[00:45:17] How River and Terran May Process Trauma in The Future After a Session with Dr. Wood

[00:49:42] The Success Rate with Dr. Wood's TIPP Program

[00:51:53] Whether This Work Could Be Approached from A Functional Medicine Angle

[00:55:28] How a Special Forces Soldier Overcame Trauma Thanks to Dr. Wood's Practice

[00:59:56] Studies Showing What Happens at a Neurotransmitter Level

[01:02:02] Anchors Used to Recall Trauma

[01:17:32] Whether the Effects Can Be Felt Via Skype or Zoom

[01:19:09] Closing the Podcast

[01:20:43] End of Podcast

Ben:  On this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.

Don:  A teacher making a comment to you that you're not very smart, or a coach saying you're never going to make it into the pros, those kinds of things linger your atmospheric conditions that are affecting the way your mind operates. So, if you've had a lot of that, it's going to be very dark and stormy. How could you not produce dark, stormy thoughts? Because you've trained your brain to say when you see the ocean or you think about the ocean, or feel that touch, or hear that statement, you're telling your mind everything's safe.

Ben:  Health, performance, nutrition, longevity, ancestral living, biohacking, and much more. My name is Ben Greenfield. Welcome to the show.

Oh, goodness gracious me. It feels a little bit odd to be back in front of the microphone. I just returned from a week gone in Mexico with my family. We went to a little island called Holbox Island. I don't know if I should tell people about this because it was kind of like non-touristy and not that busy, flying to Cancun and drive two hours, and then you take a ferry across the island, but it was amazing. Just 10 miles of beaches, and no cars or rented bikes, and ate good, local, fresh Mexican food, took cooking classes, did an escape room, spent plenty of time on the beach, just refreshing ourselves in the sun, watched lots of sunrises and sunsets, and went on lots of beach walks. And man, it just feels weird to be back in front of the mic, but here I am, nonetheless, bringing you a wonderful podcast episode with my friend Dr. Don Wood.

Man, in these times, my heart personally goes out right now at the time this podcast is coming out to all of those in Boulder where a tragic grocery store shooting just take place. We of course have spent the past year, many of us, in not quite as high-level trauma as that, but low-level trauma, things that leave our subconscious ticking away in so-called cell danger response. I've been reading a very interesting book. I'm actually going to get the author of this book on the show, too, a guy named Brian Scott, the author of a book called “The Reality Revolution,” which actually, I read after interviewing my guest on today's show, Dr. Don Wood, who flew out to the house and spent four hours with me and my family, showing us all sorts of cool tricks to reprogram the subconscious. But this is something I've been thinking a lot about lately, how our brains just operate in the background after events like this during which we've been traumatized, after other periods of trauma, after things that might just be uncomfortable for us, but that we might not recognize as trauma. And there are some pretty cool techniques that we can use to just take that subconscious and shift it ever so gently back into the mode that allows ourselves to operate properly. And man, oh man, my guest today is a real expert in this, and we had a wonderful time getting to know him when he came out with me and my family and worked with us, Dr. Don Wood.

Today's podcast episode is actually brought to you by something that supports your brain. It's not necessarily a technique per se as much as it is a compound, probably one of the most studied compounds for brain health in existence, and that would be DHA, particularly in the form of so-called omega-3 fatty acids. Now, of course, as you've probably heard me say before, not all omega-3 fatty acids are created equal. You want super-pure, clean, maximum concentration, high levels of DHA. I've spent the past year behind the scenes researching fish oils, which ones are healthy, which ones are not. Some of the problems presented by a lot of fish oils that are out there–and unless you're eating several servings of fatty fish a week in pretty high volume–and I do eat salmon, and I eat these wonderful quarterly boxes that I get from this company called Seatopia. It's like sashimi-grade fish, and I love to prepare fish right and left.

I still supplement with fish oil nearly every day. I take about four grams of fish oil. And I developed this fish oil that's all sustainably sourced from cold water anchovies in triglyceride form. It absorbs 70% more than any other fish oils, naturally preserved with rosemary and astaxanthin, two other extremely supportive compounds for mental function, and antioxidation, and beyond. And this stuff is one of the only fish oils I've ever taken where you just feel it in your brain right away. We're calling it Kion Omegas, brought to you by my company Kion. You can get it at getkion.com, getK-I-O-N.com. And if you go to getkion.com/bengreenfield, I'll throw in a little 10%. That's pretty hefty, 10% discount, auto-applied for you at checkout for our new Kion Omegas, or anything else that you find on the Kion website, our coffee, our clean-burning energy bar, any of the other products that myself and the team at Kion have come together and formulated for you, guilt-free. Anything you get from Kion, it's definitely got my stamp of approval, and these are all the same supplements I take every single day. So getkion.com/bengreenfield.

And then, another cool product that you can utilize, I use this for a meat rub, I use it to flavor water, I use it in smoothies. It's like a shotgun formula for your blood. It's got everything in there that supports your blood, Siberian ginseng, and cordyceps, reishi mushroom, all these natural herbs, and medicinal mushrooms, and berry extracts, but in a very low, low sugar delivery mechanism, unlike a lot of, say, like the red juices you'd get from the grocery store or a juice shop. It's called Organifi Red. You can get 20% off of that, too, if you go to Organifi with an “I,” organifi.com/ben. It gets you 20% off. Amazing for the immune system as well, this stuff. And I also use it as a meat rub, did I mention. It's really great for that, shockingly good. So, Organifi Red, Organifi with an “I” dot com/ben for 20% off of that.

I think that's it. Let's go talk to Don Wood. And again, that other book I mentioned that might go well with this podcast in addition to Don's two books that he's written is this book I'm in right now called “The Reality Revolution” by Brian Scott. So, enjoy today's show.

Alright, folks. So, today's a cool episode. It's with this really interesting cat named Dr. Don Wood. He's a guy I've been hearing about for years from multiple trusted friends of mine in the whole self-improvement and self-mastery realm. And I finally decided to connect with him and his work more deeply by hosting him at my house in Spokane, Washington to showcase the special flavor of therapy that he does with trauma, and also for amplifying your performance by working with both me and my family for a four-hour session, followed by a podcast that you're about to hear.

Don founded the Inspired Performance Institute. He developed something called TIPP. We're going to talk all about it in today's show. And also, coined the term emotional concussions, events, and experiences in your life that might have a profound effect on your current behaviors and habits. And he refers to these events and experiences as atmospheric conditions. But if you experience PTSD-like symptoms or health issues related to an overactive sympathetic nervous system, or impediments in your progress towards everything from business success to relationship issues, to athletic performance, Don believes nothing is wrong with you, and you just need a reboot. And so, his entire work is based on the idea that events and experiences through our life play a role in how we experience life in the present. Meaning, past experiences really affect us more deeply than we might realize. And he teaches us how to reprogram events from the past to take our brains out of beta-brainwave mode that they're hardwired into.

So, he's been doing this since about 2015, and it's a really unique approach to trauma. Often, we dismiss this idea that trauma is the cause of an issue because we might not recognize an experience as traumatic, and yet Don has used this great analogy where he says that high definition memories we have of traumatic events in our past can basically stick with us and just be humming along in the background all the time. And we get into that in this episode. But basically, the long story short is that everything Don does does not require drugs, plant medicine, supplements, anything like that. It's very simple reprogramming of your mind. And we had a fantastic time learning from Don, and I hope you enjoyed today's episode that includes my wife, my sons, River and Terran. And everything we talk about, you can access the shownotes for at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/donwood.

Alright, let's do this.

So, Don, I was at Spartan World Championships, and this was like two years ago, and this guy, Robert Killian, was racing in that race. He was not favored to win. As a matter of fact, I think the two or three guys that he wound up beating by like three or four minutes were indeed heavily favored to win over him. And I was watching the race. I wasn't racing in that event. I'd raced the day prior. So, lucky enough, I get to stand there on sore legs and watch these guys go at it. And Robert just crushed the competition. Now, the day prior, I had been attending an event where you were speaking, and it was down there at Spartan World Championships. I didn't have a chance to attend your talk, but I was at a dinner that night, and there were a few people at the dinner. I think it was the guys from ATP Science Podcast, and then also my friend Joe Polish, and they were just singing your praises about this amazing four-hour session that they've done with you.

It turns out that Robert, prior to the race, had also done a session with you. And so, I was admittedly intrigued about what you do. It's taken us a long time, like two years to actually hook up, and for me and, as I'll get to in a moment, my family to experience what you do. But for those of you listening in, Don came all the way out here to our house in Spokane, Washington, although he does some of this work virtually. And he sat with our family yesterday for four hours and did the full program that he has developed at the Inspired Performance Institute, a program called TIPP. And I'll let him explain a little bit more about what that stands for and what it is. But today, we want to really fill you guys in on what we experienced, my wife Jessa–say hello, Jessa.

Jessa:  Hello.

Ben:  My sons, River and Terran…

River and Terran:  Hello. Hi-ho.

Ben:  –of the world-famous Go Greenfields Podcast. And of course, Dr. Don Wood, hello.

Don:  Hi, there.

Ben:  And as you guys listen in, everything that we talk about, shownotes, links to Don's institute where you can work with him, either physically at his location in Orlando, or virtually, as well as any books mentioned including Don's two books, “Emotional Concussions,” and “You Must Be Out of Your Mind,” thick books that I have sitting here in front of me at the kitchen table. I will link to everything. So, none of you out there in the internet lands need to take copious notes. I'll link to everything at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/donwood, D-O-N-W-O-O-D. So, BenGreenfieldFitness.com/donwood is where you can access the shownotes for today's show.

Oh, there we go. I think I'm done.

Don, welcome to the Greenfield home, man.

Don:  Thank you, Ben. I really appreciate it. I'm going to give you five stars for Hotel Greenfield. This has been amazing.

Jessa:  Thank you.

Don:  It's been great accommodation. Concierge is amazing.

Ben:  Yeah. Well, as we like to do when we host guests here for a podcast, we just get them picked up from the airport, don't give them a car, and just trap them here at our house for two days. And so, you're basically a captive audience.

Don:  Exactly, in the middle of the woods.

Ben:  In the middle of the woods. You can't get anywhere. You can't even go out to the road and stick out your thumb. So, yeah.

Jessa:  You don't want to.

Ben:  Forced relaxation at the Greenfield Oasis. So, Don, you have a really interesting story. And as we were talking about before we even started recording, you've shared a little bit about the science and the background of what you do on some other podcasts that I've heard. For example, like that ATP Science one that you recorded down at Spartan World Championships. You have two massive books where you allow even more of the science behind what you do. And I, while in no way, would expect you to, over the course of the next little bit, give us the whole nitty-gritty on everything. I think you have a really interesting story in terms of how you developed this program that I think would really intrigue a lot of people. So, tell me a little bit about how you actually developed what you developed.

Don:  Well, the first book that you must be out of your mind is really where I explained a lot about that, and it really came from my experiences as a child. I just assumed everybody was living in my world, and I didn't realize that a lot of my friends were dealing with a lot of trauma. I just didn't have that. I had very, very nurturing, loving, caring parents that never argued, never fought.

Ben:  Sounds boring.

Don:  Yeah, it was, actually. There was no excitement, right? It was pretty routine. But I just thought everybody live like that. And if I went to my friend's houses, I never saw any dysfunction because everybody's on their best behavior. And I played hockey so I could fight, so nobody's going to bully me. So, I skated through all of that.

Ben:  Did you have your teeth?

Don:  Not all of them, no, unfortunately. But I really started to understand how everybody else lived when I met my wife because I had a chance to play professional hockey in Sweden. We got close very quickly. So, I was around her family a lot and started to see the dysfunction that was going on in her own household with a very, very angry, disturbed father, who ran that household with fear. And my wife lived in fear. Now, she's high functioning, and very quickly, I started to see the dynamics of what was going on. I thought that was an anomaly. I didn't realize that that was happening everywhere. And so, I thought, “Okay. Well, she's going to marry me. She's going to be living in my world and all of that would calm down,” and it didn't. And no matter what I did, no matter how calm I tried to be, no matter how I tried to word things, I could get her to cry at nothing, and it kept bothering me like, “Why am I making this poor woman cry that I love so much?” And I realized that it actually wasn't me. But I didn't realize that until I did all the research into how trauma is affecting our lives and affecting us on a day-to-day basis.

Jessa:  Yeah.

Don:  That's when I started to realize that trauma creates inflammation in the body, and that inflammation is going to affect your neurotransmitters, it's going to affect your immune system. I really discovered that when we discovered that my daughter had trauma when she was between 6 and 8, and then got diagnosed with Crohn's at 14. And she didn't tell us about the trauma until she was 16. And we did everything, my wife researched, tried to do everything to try to solve how she could fix this Crohn's situation and nothing happened. And that's how my wife then eventually said, “You need to figure this out.” And so, I went back at my Ph.D. and started researching.

Ben:  And at that point, what'd you get your Ph.D. in?

Don:  Clinical counseling psychology.

Ben:  Okay. Gotcha. Before that, had you done any studies in neuroscience or anything–

Don:  None.

Ben:  So, this was all new material for you?

Don:  Brand new.

Ben:  How long ago was that?

Don:  About 12, 13 years ago.

Ben:  Wow.

Jessa:  What an awesome dad, by the way. I'm serious.

Ben:  Something's wrong. I'm going to get a Ph.D. And so, after you got the Ph.D., was it during the time that you were getting it that you developed this program, or was it afterwards?

Don:  No, it was during it. So, I was developing the program at the same time and started to study a lot of the modalities. And what I discovered is a lot of things were teaching people to live, and manage, and cope with trauma. And I kept saying, “Well, that's what my wife and daughter have been trying to do and it doesn't work.” And so, I said, “Why can't we fix it?” And I guess because I came in from such a different background, and I've always been an entrepreneur all my life, I came in and said, “Let's figure out how to fix it, not manage it.” And that gave me a unique perspective.

Ben:  What would be an example of a technique that's used in modern days to manage rather than fix stress?

Don:  CBT, cognitive-behavioral therapy.

Ben:  Oh, I thought you were talking about cannabidiol.

Don:  Oh, no.

Ben:  Okay.

Don:  Well, there's all kinds of stuff.

Jessa:  I was like, “Wow, really?”

Ben:  I'm like, “Well, yeah.” Actually, all joking aside, I know one important part is a lot of people just self-medicate themselves [00:17:27] _____ for trauma.

Don:  Well, that's another thing.

Ben:  Yeah.

Don:  Absolutely. So, that's where I think we're seeing a lot of the trauma show up. It's going to show up in addictions, it's going to show up in health problems like my daughter. Now, my wife never got into drugs or alcohol. She just lived in fear, but she developed Hashimoto's, which is an autoimmune disorder because she was in a constant state of fight or flight.

Ben:  Right. The so-called cell danger response in which your body's stuck in like a sympathetic fight-and-flight nervous system state, which–I think a lot of the audience understands that that can be brought on by trauma, can be brought on by mold, mycotoxin, Lyme, electro hypersensitivity, sometimes all of the above. But essentially, when the cells are constantly in this fight-and-flight mode, or more specifically the immune systems, or the nervous system that's in this fight-and-flight mode, you simply do not function metabolically, physiologically, biologically, the way that you were designed to. And so, you get an issue such as someone who has never been, let's say, allergic to lectins, or gluten, or dairy, or something like that, goes through an experience that might be considered traumatic. And all of a sudden, these biological symptoms manifest. I've seen people who are close to me develop severe gut issues, and thyroid issues, and autoimmune conditions that just sprung up after a breaking relationship, or moving to a new location, or going through some car accident, things that you wouldn't think would directly cause that issue, but that based on the cells shifting into that cell danger response seem to.

Don:  Exactly. And I think that's happening because what happens is when that trauma continues to be active activating our nervous system, then we're not getting maintenance anymore. So, our bodies are getting limited maintenance because if you're being chased by a lion, you're not thinking about what you're going to eat, or any injuries. You could injure your knee and you won't feel it until after you get away from the lion. So, maintenance goes to a minimum. And that's what I realized is I've been healthy my entire life. My brother and sister and I, my sister and I are adopted, my brother is the natural child, all three of us have never been hospitalized in our life. We're all healthy and none of it's genetic. And I believe it was because of the upbringing. Because we were always–our nervous system was regulated, then we always felt safe, and the maintenance gets done.

Ben:  Interesting. Yeah. And we were actually talking about this yesterday during the session. Even with athletes, I've found that one way to track the health of the nervous system is via heart rate variability measurements or the so-called HRV measurement, the beat-to-beat time interval between each beat of the heart. And for the longest time, I didn't have access to that data, and so you just train an athlete until they'd get ill or injured, and then back off and give them some rest. And now, with HRV, you can start to see a decline in nervous system function that occurs typically three to five days prior to the predictable onset of injury and illness.

And I found that when pushing through that low HRV, or pushing an athlete, or someone I'm training through that low HRV, they inevitably get ill or injured. Yet when you see the nervous system start to decline and function, and you back someone off, all of a sudden, they don't experience that illness or injury, they hypercompensate, bounce back, and are able to just train all year long in a healthy state. And when you look at something like trauma, or stress, or cell danger response, people always have a lower HRV, they have a lower nervous system score. And so, it's essentially the equivalent–someone, for example, who's getting sick frequently because they've been traumatized, or they have some kind of a medical condition because they've been traumatized. It's the equivalent of like an athlete who's constantly overtraining their nervous system.

Don:  Yup. I loved when you explained that yesterday. I think that's so brilliant, right, to track that because that makes so much sense to me that that's why people are getting sick. There's no question. And I always talk about energy. If we wake up in the morning with 100% of our energy, how much of that energy is going to defense? And if you've got a lot of trauma, your mind's constantly working on that trauma, which is a defensive. So, if you think about the United States, how much money do we spend on defense? Right? Well, that drains your budget.

Jessa:  Yeah.

Don:  So, if I don't have much expenditure on my defense, most of that's going to go to something else, which is going to be focus, attention, health. And I think that's why I stayed healthy.

Ben:  Yeah. So, what'd you wind up doing specifically with your daughter or with your wife?

Don:  I just really developed the program. What I realized the problem is coming in from memory, and it's the way we store memory. And as we talked about in our program yesterday, we're the only animal that stores explicit details about events and experiences. And because we store so much detail about these events, they keep looping. And so, our nervous system is always present in the moment. It's designed to stay present to protect us. So, if your system is fully present, just like the animals are fully present all the time, and it looks at or sees some information, or is reminded about some information from 5 or 10 years ago, automatically, the autonomic nervous system activates because it thinks there's a danger.

Jessa:  Is that what Deja vu is?

Don:  Yeah.

Jessa:  No, seriously. I'm like, when you're going to a place and you see something in it, like you see it and just trigger something, and you're like, “I remember that from something,” and you don't know where it comes from.

Don:  Well, I think that's when I was talking about the Time Slice Theory. I think that's where it comes from. So, subconsciously, you're taking in all the information 400 millionths of a second before you're consciously aware of it. And so, your subconscious sends time slices, pictures, like–

Ben:  It hits your subconscious before it hits your conscious?

Don:  Yeah, because it's on the defense. So, it looks at it first, analyzes it, and then sends pieces of that information because your conscious mind could not handle that much detail. Your subconscious can take it all in. So, it sends pieces or time slices to your consciousness about 400 milliseconds later.

Ben:  Now, you mentioned animals a few moments ago. River and Terran, do you guys remember how Don was telling us about how humans are unique in that we're really like the only species that are wired in this way neurally to actually keep these traumatic experiences or unpleasant memories, just like spinning away in the subconscious? And do you guys remember what Don was talking about with like zebras, for example?

River/Terran:  He's talking about how like a dog [00:24:10] _____ has for breakfast because he just does–he just remembers that it tasted good.

Ben:  Yeah.

River/Terran:  And that he doesn't remember what it was.

Ben:  Right. Maybe Don can explain a little bit more. What's the difference between the animals and the humans when it comes to this?

Don:  So, 95% of our mind works like the animal mind, but we have two memory systems. We have the explicit memory system, which we store all the details about events. They have that procedural or associative memory, which we do as well. And so, if you see something over and over, so when your dogs get to know you, they realize that you're the ones that take care of them, love them, and they're safe, but they don't know the details about it. They haven't stored much of that. They just naturally know. They're in the present, in the moment. And that's why, you remember you said yesterday, why can you leave, and then five minutes later, you come back and they're so excited to see you?

River/Terran:  Yeah.

Don:  Right? Because they don't remember the time between you leaving and coming back.

Jessa:  They remember you.

Don:  They remember you, and they recognize you as safe.

River/Terran:  Yeah. Is that right, Dasher?

Ben:  Dasher is somewhere around here. Dasher, our little dog, and Comet. Comet's somewhere as well. Just having no clue what they had for dinner last night. So, we can feed them the same thing over and over again, but we can't do that to us humans.

Don:  Try to do that [00:25:26] _____.

Ben:  You could feed me a ribeye steak every night. I'd be pretty happy even though I'd remember I had it the night before.

River/Terran:  Yeah, but you'd remember what you had.

Ben:  Yeah. So, we're spinning away. We have these memories of traumatic experiences. And before I ask you a little bit about how you actually tackle reprogramming the subconscious so that we're processing these memories differently, I've thought about this before, and I'd love to hear Jessa and the boys take on this as well. But I grew up kind of like you, Don, in that I had a pretty plain Jane safe childhood, grew up in this Christian homeschooled household where, yeah, I'd get angry with my parents sometimes, or fall down or hurt myself sometimes, things happen that might be considered like mildly traumatic, but I didn't go through horrific accidents, or sexual trauma, or any of these things that I think a lot of people would classify as like really traumatic experiences.

Jessa and River and Terran, did you guys have difficulty coming up with trauma initially, like trying to define what trauma actually is?

River/Terran:  Yes. I think maybe because I'm still a little bit younger, so I don't have as many. And also, kind of like dad, my life doesn't really have a bunch of traumatic places that I would actually experience those.

Ben:  Right, right. And how about you, Jessa, were you able to come up with things?

Jessa:  I didn't have any like family trauma. Probably my main trauma is just having learning disability growing up, and struggling with that my entire life, and not having any way–like back then, nobody really knew what it was. And I lived in rural Idaho, so even if they did know what it was, they couldn't put me in any special school that would help me with that. So, I was kind of stuck in this very difficult situation all the time. Sorry, I've got something in my throat. I'm not crying. And so, that's probably my greatest trauma that I would say that lasted from probably age 6 'til 19. And that definitely gets embedded in your brain when it's repeated, not just in your subconscious all the time, but like in your physical life daily, every day. So, that was probably. I don't have any other trauma. I grew up in a great family. My parents loved me and gave me everything they possibly could. Yeah. So, I have a great childhood, but it was just the school, the academic stuff that really was the only trauma, the main trauma that I could really–and I know that that's the deeply, seated, rooted one for me.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah. I went for the longest time thinking that you had to have like a pretty serious incident in your life to have been traumatized, and even chuckled sometimes when people are like, “Oh, I'm traumatized. I've got post-traumatic disorder.” I'm like, “Did you serve overseas and be in battle? Or did you just have a difficult relationship? Cry me a river.” And that's the way I approach trauma for the longest time. I just thought all these people, what are they complaining about? Come on, grow a pear. And then, I started to study up on, for example, work of Gabor Mate, who we were talking a little bit about yesterday, and his idea that trauma can be something as simple as disconnection from your true self. Like going through your life, for example, not being the person that you know you are at your core, but instead being who you think the world expects you to be. That can be a form of trauma.

And I'd be curious to hear your take on this. You're an athlete who always seems to crumble at mile 13 of the half marathon in an Ironman triathlon. You've programmed your subconscious to associate that with just being the time when you get sick, and you slow down, and you get past, or you've had a horrific race multiple times in that scenario. And maybe that's actually a form of trauma. That's a state in which your system actually goes, and that beta-brainwave production you were talking to us about yesterday.

So, what I'm getting at here is in your experience, how often do you find that people who may not even realize that they're traumatized, like the happy-go-lucky Greenfield family actually do have things that they need to work through?

Don:  Well, that's why I wrote the book “Emotional Concussions” because if you look at most things and people see, “Okay, we work with people from the Boston Marathon bombing,” that's obvious what that is. And if you talk to my wife and heard about some of her traumas, those are so obvious. And a lot of people could say, “Well, I didn't have that. So, I guess I haven't been traumatized.” But that's why I did emotional concussions because they could be a teacher making a comment to you that you're not very smart or you're stupid, or a coach saying you're never going to make it into the pros, you're not good enough, those kinds of things linger. And I'll give a great example. Marco Checchetto, he's a double amputee marathon runner from Kenya. And after he lost his legs, they put the blades on him to run. And he plateaued and hadn't been getting better, so they asked me, could I work with him?

Ben:  When you say the blades, you mean like those prosthetic blades that you see marathoners running in?

Don:  Yup. Those springy blades.

Ben:  Yeah.

Don:  And so, anyway, they wanted to see if he could get better if it maybe is now just in his mind. So, when I met Marco, I took him through this four-hour program. And what we found was after he went through it, nine days later, he took 15 seconds per mile off his time.

Jessa:  Wow, that's pretty good.

Don:  Now, one of the things, and then the next race he ran in which was the Boston Marathon, he broke the world record, and he became the world record holder, and then broke his own record by another five minutes after that, and then got signed by Nike. And here's what he said to me. He goes, “It was all in my mind.” He said, “I knew that at mile–” just what you talked about, Ben, it was great. “At mile 20, I knew it was when I started to drop in performance.” He says, “What I found myself doing now is before, I used to be thinking, ‘Okay, I've got 20 miles to go, I've got 15 miles to go, I've got 10,' that wasn't staying present.” He said, “What I found myself doing when I was running is saying, ‘I'm now at the 10-mile marker, I'm now at the 15-mile marker.'”

Jessa:  Oh, I do that all the time.

Don:  Yeah. But he wasn't thinking about where he was going to be running low. He was staying in the moment, and they just passed it and didn't even think about it. It was just the marker. That's what gave him that extra edge. And it could be something that simple. Now, he had a major trauma, but it was also just something simple like that that was affecting him. And in sports, all it would take is–I worked with a professional baseball player, who just in his first year in the majors, he gets up in a key game, or as a rookie, with runners at first and third. And his coach looks him in the eye and says, “We're counting on you here to drive this run-in.” He popped up, and he said every time he got into first and third situations, he could feel his heart–

Ben:  From that point on.

Don:  From that point on.

Ben:  Yup, yup.

Don:  Yup. And so, we had to clear that, so then he could, and then he had his best year.

Ben:  So, there's a huge amount of application here for tennis, for golf, for endurance sports, for anyone who actually has some kind of like a performance breakthrough that they want to get through, not necessarily someone who's got to say like Crohn's due to trauma. This can span the gamut and cover a lot of areas.

Don:  Yeah, from everywhere, and that's why I said, “So, the first book is about the major trauma stuff that I studied and figured out how to help people.” But then also, I realized so many people are dealing with these little emotional concussions that they're thinking, “I'm fine.” And then, I scrubbed last night at dinner a lady who had been in church, and a grandmother, when she was six and she was talking, and her grandmother hit her with a brush. And she told me she had no trauma. And her grandmother hit her on the head with the brush and said, “Stop talking, you're in church.” And she started just–the tears were flowing. She goes, “I realize I lost my voice that day. I never speak up for myself. I never tell people how I'm feeling.” And she connected that date.

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Alright, let's get back to the show with Dr. Don Wood.

So, down to the nitty-gritty brass tacks here, how do you actually go about taking those beta-brainwaves that kick in that are spinning in the subconscious, keeping someone in cell danger response, or causing someone to lose their performance at a key moment in a race or a competition and actually reprogram the brain?

Don:  Well, what I discovered is that when we have traumatic memory, whether they're big T trauma or the emotional concussions, those are stored in a beta-brainwave state, very active state, taking in tons of information. What we do in our program is–and that's why I like the four hours because the four hours allows you, as we're going through the education and through the whole program, you're getting into this very restorative alpha-brainwave state. So, your mind feels so safe. And then, when we introduce one of those events, your system doesn't get activated, it can look at it with a little bit of trepidation. But what we find is that the beta-brainwave starts to align brainwave state with that memory with the alpha-brainwave state that takes all the charge out of it.

Ben:  Now, you had us on Friday night. So, we did this session on Saturday. Friday night, we had dinner together, and you told us to be thinking about some things that we might perceive to be as traumatic experiences. But then when we began the session, you were having us think of also, like some really positive experiences and times I have jotted down in front of me, like, how free and flowing I felt when I was winning the ITU Long Course World Championships, or when I got the phone call about my first New York Times best-selling book. And another one when I shot my first [00:38:24] _____. And of course I wrote that down like 10 times, babe, when I got married, boys [00:38:29] _____.

Jessa:  When our boys are born.

Ben:  Of course. No. But just free-flowing, I wrote these things out. So, you take these positive memories that put you into this state of like alpha flow and you're almost like doing–I think of it as almost like a computer program. You're taking those alpha-brainwaves and then reprogramming the traumatic experiences with those same feelings of like alpha-brainwaves that you experience during the positive experiences.

Don:  Exactly. So, you're feeling very, very safe and positive. And that's why I never called this trauma therapy because our whole philosophy, there's nothing wrong with anybody. Everybody's mind works perfectly fine. What's interfering with your ability to perform at your highest level–and if you've got a lot of that stuff active, it's going to drain a lot of your energy and power. So, once we can get that memory reprocessed and your mind does it very–I mean, how long did we spend on each one? Maybe two or three minutes?

Ben:  Yeah.

Don:  And your brain is brilliant. It's designed to heal. Your body is designed to heal. The only reason it hasn't healed is because it's been stuck in this loop activating your nervous system, and it feels like it needs to protect you against this threat, but it's just information about a threat.

Ben:  What I thought was really interesting was how you had us perceive the threatening scenario or the traumatic experience as though we were witnessing it in third person, like watching ourselves in a movie theater. Although I was thinking, as we were doing that about River and Terran, and we're up in the projection room watching–well, first, we were watching ourselves, but then we were up in the projection room watching ourselves watching ourselves, which was super interesting. And I thought, “Geez, do River and Terran know what a projection room is?

Jessa:  I had a really funny thought when we were doing that. Have you ever seen Mystery Science Theater?

Ben:  Yeah. It was like that.

Jessa:  That's how I envisioned myself.

Ben:  Yeah, which is hilarious, by the way. I forgot about those. Have you guys seen those, River and Terran, Mystery Science?

River/Terran:  Yes.

Ben:  Maybe we'll pull this out at dinner tonight and show you one. So, that was super interesting for me being able to kind of like reprogram from that stepping outside and seeing it in the third person. But by the time we got through it and we'd combine that with some of the breathwork practices that you gave to us–I want to get Jessa and River and Terran's take on this as well. But for me, it was as though one of the traumatic experiences that I was processing during that time became something that I looked at in that third-person perspective, and I thought, “Oh, geez. That's normal. It's almost like funny now looking back at it.” Or, “Oh, now I understand like what I was thinking at the time, even though when we began the process, all I could think about processing that was like shame, confusion, anger, frustration.” And it was really weird because those emotions started to be getting replaced by not just acceptance, but almost like being able to laugh at the problem to a certain extent.

Don:  Yup. And I have that as really common because when you think about it, when you're in that situation, of course, you're going to be activated. The memory keeps it in that. But when you're able to pull back and take a look at it without that emotion tied to it, you can say, “Oh, that really wasn't that bad, or that's over.” What we're trying to make sure is that your mind understands that there's nothing happening now because anytime you have that emotion, feeling, sensation, or thought, your mind wants you to do something about it. But what do you need to do about an event that happened five years ago? So, the emotion is useless, right? And so, what we're teaching people is to manage these emotions. And I'm like, “Why would you want to manage something that's useless?” That makes no sense to be angry about something when somebody hurt you when you were a kid. How is that benefiting you? That's taking away from your ability to spend time with your family and be there present for your children and your spouse because you're thinking about the guy that beat you up when you're in fifth grade.

Ben:  Right. And you're not just thinking about it when you see that guy. And this is something I didn't really realize until you explained it to us. But you're thinking about that all the time. Your subconscious is still spinning with that. You don't have to be around that person or in that same scenario for your cells to go into cell danger response. You're just there all the time because your subconscious is just processing that as you navigate through life in general.

Don:  Constantly. It's like that undercurrent in the river. It's always running, but you don't know it's running because consciously, you're out doing something, you're spending time with friends, but it's still there because it's looking for anything similar or same. And as soon as it sees something–you know how somebody will say a name? And instantly, they'll get their heart beating fast, is because when that name was said, your mind does a Google search. What do you know about john?

Ben:  Or a smell, or a taste.

Don:  The smell. Absolutely.

Ben:  Yeah, and anything. They'll bring that back.

Don:  And then, what happens is that Google search brings up all that data, and then that data comes flooding in, and your mind starts trying to process it and try to stop it from happening. But there's nothing to stop.

Ben:  Right. Even if, let's say, like perhaps you had an abusive relationship with someone named Kevin, and then you met a different person named Kevin at a cocktail party. You might instantly go into a really protected self-preservation, cell danger response, sympathetic nervous system mode, and not sleep that night and be a horrific conversationalist at the party, et cetera, just because that name might draw something like that up.

Don:  Exactly. Because now, your mind is viewing that data thinking there's a danger, there's a lion in the room, and we're in danger. And people don't even understand why they're experiencing these things. My wife couldn't tell you why she was feeling fear all the time. She just thought that that's just the way she is. That becomes her identity of who she is. I'm an emotional person. And before I understood this, I met a lady one time who told me, she's, “Oh, I'm just very emotional.” And I said, “Yeah. I can see that.” I said, “How would you like to stop that?” Because if you have an emotion, there'd better be an action you can do, otherwise, there's no purpose to the emotion. It's going to wear you down. It's going to drain your energy. It's going to make your life much more difficult. So, if somebody is coming at you, it makes sense to be angry or fearful. But if you think about somebody who came at you 10 years ago, that makes no sense to have that emotion. It's a glitch, what I call a glitch, and that's what we fix.

Ben:  Now, River and Terran, in terms of your perspective on what you went through yesterday with Don as we gathered in the basement downstairs and went through those four hours, how do you guys feel that this would equip you to handle something that might be stressful, or something, even like a horrific car accident, or something like that that might be traumatic for you in the future? Like, what kind of things did you learn that might allow you to process that differently or approach that differently?

River/Terran:  Well, I think it just gives you more knowledge on what to do when you have trauma, like what you can do and what you can do to manage it. And then, it would help you in the future to stop it and update your mind because you know it's in the past and you can't do anything about it.

Ben:  How would you use, would you say, like the–remember how Don had us basically imagine a time when we were like super relaxed or in the flow and create both a symbol, and kind of similar to almost like neuro-linguistic programming, an actual anchor, a physical reaction that is associated with that.

River/Terran:  Yeah. So, you could probably do that a couple of times, and then also do the things where like–there was one where you had to think of all the scenes in 10 different squares–

River/Terran:  And then mix them up.

River/Terran:  –and then you're like mix them up and your brain gets confused.

Jessa:  That one was help for me.

River/Terran:  That one helped me, too, a lot.

River/Terran:  I liked the one where Don snapped, and then I had to name something in the room because my mind was like, “Wait, that's not in the story.”

Ben:  Yeah. And can you explain what was going on there, Don, where you had us take the traumatic experience and chunk it into 10 different mini scenes? What's the purpose of that exercise?

Don:  That basically was taking–if you remember, we went through the scene twice, right? And then, we went backwards, and then I started mixing them up. And what that's doing is the brain, just like you said, that was perfect. The brain realizes, “That's not how it happened. We're not in this scene right now. What's going on?” And the same thing when you're saying when I had you snap and open up your eyes and look around the room. I was taking you from a scene into the present, and your mind automatically says, “Oh, well, we can't be pointing out pictures and chairs and things if we're being–“

Jessa:  It's not part of the story.

Don:  It's not part of the story, so that's not real. And then, it quickly reprocesses it into an alpha-brainwave state. So, now you can remember the event, but you're not going to feel the emotion because your mind knows there's no threat.

River/Terran:  Yeah.

Jessa:  Yeah. I thought the [00:47:50] _____ where you mix it up, that was probably the most effective for me because I kept trying to remember what happened in each scene.

River/Terran:  Yeah. I was trying to get the exact scenes. He's like, “Three. What was in three?” Remember. And it was like, “Okay, three.” He's like–

Ben:  Yeah. Actually, Jessa and I were talking about that as we were falling asleep last night about how–you can almost feel as you're reliving that experience and going through these visualization exercises, this internal questioning about whether you're visualizing it properly. Am I a good visualizer? Am I doing this the right way? And you experienced a little bit of that, Jessa, didn't you?

Jessa:  Well, and honestly, I think that's part of the trauma that I was speaking about before because I've grew up my whole life second-guessing if I was doing anything right. So, even if I'm in yoga, and then they're like, “Breathe for this count and out this count,” I'm constantly, “Am I breathing correctly? Am I doing this right? How does this look?” That's just how my mind works.

Don:  It's interesting because that's one of the things that we also talk about is when you have trauma, it also, we attach meanings to it. “What does it mean about me that this happened? I'm weak. I don't assert myself. I allow people to push me around.” Or, “I'm not smart enough. I'm probably not going to do this right. I'm going to mess it up and I'm going to get in trouble.” Right?

Jessa:  Yeah.

Don:  That's a meaning that gets attached. But when we clear the event, the meaning goes, too, because it didn't mean that at all, it just meant that you had a learning disorder, and it didn't mean that you couldn't do it. Nobody could have done it under those circumstances. You could have taken Albert Einstein, give him your brain, and he would have had the same problem. So, it was never about you.

Jessa:  Right. Yeah.

Ben:  Now, what's the success rate with something like this? The program, the TIPP, it stands for The Inspired Performance Program, right? So, your program, TIPP, someone comes in, they go through this four-hour experience, how often do you have someone who's just like, “I don't get it, I can't reprogram, I can't visualize them”? Or they just can't seem to get out of that cell danger response. Does that happen?

Don:  Very rare. And it's almost embarrassing to say how high the percentage is. It's got to be as close to 99%. The only time I've had people who have struggled, if they're heavily medicated because the mind can't process what we're trying to do. I had one guy come in and he was drunk. And I thought, “Oh, good. I'm going to at least try it and see if I can get it.” And I couldn't get it because he couldn't process what I was trying to take him through.

Jessa:  Of course not. Yeah.

Don:  And then, even people who come in, I was telling you about the guy who had crashed his plane, he did not believe it would help him, he didn't want to do it. And then, after going through it, it changed his life. So, we get that all the time. And what I say is people say, “Well, what if I don't believe this can help me?” And I said, “It's science. You don't have to believe in science for science to work. Gravity works whether you believe it or not.”

Jessa:  It works within a construct, yeah.

Ben:  Yeah. And what I think was interesting, and this might be interesting for people listening as well because I think a lot of people don't want to share the trauma with their therapist because it is embarrassing or it's difficult to talk about, but I don't think at any point yesterday, we actually shared with you at any single point what trauma we were actually working through.

Don:  Now, that's the great part about this. It's not important for me to know. All I need is for your mind to get the update done. And whether it's an incident that I know about or I don't know about how would that benefit you, it wouldn't. My wife, when I took her through the program, couldn't share some of the details of her childhood with me. So, you can imagine doing it with a stranger. So, I'm meeting people for the first time, it's the first time I met you guys, that would not be easy to sit there and have to open up and share things, but nobody has to do that.

Ben:  Right, right. Now, another question that I have is related to what you were talking about earlier. Are you working with the drunk guy and that didn't work so well? What about when there are other factors at play that might be more, I guess like neurochemically related or biologically related that are aggravating the issue? Have you ever had to work with someone who has severe serotonin imbalances, or who might have like mold, or mycotoxin, or Lyme, or other things that might be contributing to that cell danger response? Have you ever considered the idea that this work could be combined with or approached from almost like a functional medicine angle as well?

Don:  Yeah. And here's what's interesting is what I think happens is that even if they're having some of those other issues, like you said, Lyme or things like that, when we get the mind back into balance, it can then help you address that. But if it's in a constant fight-or-flight state, it's not going to help with that maintenance.

Jessa:  It is causing inflammation.

Don:  Yeah. And a lot of times, what I'll see is the chemical imbalances are coming from the mind. So, people will say, “Oh, I've got this imbalance or that imbalance.” And so, I say, “We do that scan before and after, and we'll see all these markers change.” And I'm looking for cortisol, serotonin, GABA, all that stuff.

Ben:  Tell us about the scan that you do. This is really interesting.

Don:  Yeah. It's a scan that basically scans the entire body for about 700 different biomarkers. Now, I don't need most of those. I'm really only looking, like I said, for sort of the psychological, the cortisol, GABA, serotonin, or epinephrine stuff.

Ben:  What's the scan called and how does it work exactly?

Don:  It's called an AO Scan and it measures frequencies. So, basically, everything in your body is a frequency. And if it shows up as red, then it means it's overactive. If it shows up as blue, it's underactive. And if it's green, it's balanced. And so, I had a lady come in and she said, “I've been really researching. My daughter has, I believe, a serotonin imbalance.” And so, I said, “Okay.” She says, “Can you tell me the level?” I said, “I can't tell you the level, but I'll tell you whether it's high or low.” And so, she came in and we did it, we did the scan, and I said, “You're absolutely right. She has low serotonin.” She goes, “That's what I thought.” And I said, “But it's not the cause.” I said, “She has a gut issue. Her gut is all out of balance.” And I said, “That's causing the serotonin.”

Ben:  And the AO Scan showed both the gut and the serotonin issue?

Don:  All the stuff going on with the parasites, the bacteria, all that stuff going on. And I said, “So there's where the problem's coming in.” I said, “But if you came in and said, ‘Give me a serotonin level,' and I said it's low, they'd put her on a supplement like 5-HTP. And as soon as I said that, the daughter says, “They tried 5-HTP with me, it didn't work.” And I said, “Of course not because it wasn't the problem.”

Ben:  Right. It's the Band-Aid approach. Now, is this like an MRI scanner that you crawl into?

Don:  No. You put it on your head just like these headphones that I'm wearing, and it basically sends like a microcurrent. It was the Russians that developed it, the Russian cosmonaut program. And it said everything in your body is a frequency. And so, they know what all the frequencies are, so the brain will send this microcurrent, and it'll come back as either not in frequency or over the frequency.

Ben:  Fascinating, those darn Russia. I have a joke that anytime you want to make something sound super legit, you just say, basically, they've been using this in Russia for years, or you say it was developed by NASA. That automatically lends legitimacy.

Don:  Stop the question.

Ben:  Yup. All questions stop there. So, back to my introduction. I was talking about Spartan World Championships, and I saw you had worked with this guy Robert Killian, who wound up just like smashing the race. With a guy like that, I don't know how much you can share, but was that a deal where you gave him an anchor that he used during the race, or did you instead deal with some horrific trauma he'd had in the past? What's the situation like that like? With as much as you can share.

Don:  Yeah. I mean, he's a Special Forces Green Beret. So, you can imagine he's had some trauma, right? But the trauma, and he shared this so I'm open to share this, one of the traumas that he had is he got accused of being a cheater because he picked up a bag that had a hole in it when he was running the race.

Ben:  A sandbag. That's happened to me before where you grab the sandbag and you're like halfway through this horrific sandbag carry, and all of a sudden, the bag rips wide open because it's been damaged or they didn't pack it properly.

Jessa:  Which has been thrown around a million times where it came to you.

Ben:  Right. It's been thrown around a million times. No, not–yeah. I like to think I'm one of the first people to get to the sandbag.

Jessa:  But they've used it in multiple races.

Ben:  Yeah. And then, you're standing with the sandbag ripped wide open, you're like, “What do I do now? What's the honorable thing to do? Do I go all the way back up and get another sandbag? Do I blame this as a race error and just keep going with the sandbag I'm with?” Yeah. It's a tricky scenario.

Don:  And so, what happened for him though is then one of the other racers started putting online that he cheated. He knew it had a hole in it and he didn't do anything about it, so his integrity as a Special Forces Green Beret is now challenged. So, every race he's going in after that, that trauma is looping. He's now going out of his way probably to show he's not a cheater and prove. And so, that was really an effect on him. So, that was part of one of the things that we fixed for him. And then, what I believe happens is when we have this unresolved trauma, we affect, and this is what I talked about the ATP, we affect the energy in the cell, the ATP in the cell. So, when this goes into cell danger response, nothing's getting into the cell, but nothing's getting out of the cell. It's a temporary pause to protect the cell until the danger is passed. But if the danger keeps looping through memory, it stays in an active cell danger response. As soon as we fix that–that was on Friday. I worked with him on Sunday ran in the race. So, obviously, he didn't do anything different training-wise, just more energy freed up.

Ben:  Yeah. I think it's super interesting, this idea of the cell going to cell danger response because a big part of–and we were even talking about this at our dinner party last night, this idea of a book like “The Body Electric” by Robert Becker, or “Healing is Voltage” by Jerry Tennant, and this idea that all of your cells operate based on this precise electrochemical gradient across the membrane of the cell. And one of the things that happens when you're stressed, or even when you're pushing yourself hard with exercise–and actually, they've even shown–I did a podcast with Dr. Joe Mercola about this in response like high levels of EMF or radiation, you see a steep influx of calcium into the cell. And it's not lactic acid that makes you sore after workout, it's actually calcium and calcification. When you get that calcium influx, basically, the cell's electrochemical balance is thrown off and it doesn't work properly. You see the same thing with something like rigor mortis, when all the muscles on this tonic tight state, that's because when someone goes into rigor mortis, what happens is there's this calcium influx into the cells.

And we were talking yesterday during our session a little bit about animals and how they deal with stress. And there's another book called “Zebras Don't Get Ulcers,” and it's about this idea that in the animal kingdom, an animal like a zebra, literally, after it's been stressed, goes into this tremor, this shaking response in which it's shaking off the stress with a kind of tremor. And there's even a form of therapy based around this now called tremor therapy. But I'm convinced that one part of the reason that works is the same reason that a nice cool down after a hard workout leaves you less sore the next day because you're working the calcium out of the cells.

Don:  I agree. My wife ended up with frozen shoulder. Have you ever heard of that?

Ben:  Yeah.

Jessa:  Yes.

Don:  That's where that calcium–

Ben:  I used to get that when I played tennis.

Don:  Yeah. That calcium builds up right under that shoulder. She thought she was having a heart attack. She couldn't move her arm, she couldn't lift her arm, and she just had to work that calcium out from underneath.

Ben:  Mm-hmm. Wow.

Jessa:  That panicked me, too.

Ben:  Super interesting. Now, have you ever done any type of testing or studies on this to see what's happening at a neurotransmitter level, or the calcium levels, or anything like that, or ever thought about just actually running a study on what you do?

Don:  We're actually doing some studies now. So, we're doing some cortisol testing. So, we're going to show the difference pre- and post. We do the AO Scan as well, and we show a huge change in the biomarkers from that. It's amazing how many things change. So, again, what we're looking for again is that cortisol level–I had a lady come in who–it was a friend of mine who was a psychologist. And he said, “Can you see her right away? She wants to attempt suicide and I think you need to get her in.” We brought her in. She had about 300 markers that were all red on her test.

Jessa:  Oh, geez.

Don:  And when we were finished, it was down to about 30.

Ben:  Holy cow.

Don:  And it continued to improve because her nervous system was so dysregulated, her body maintenance was completely off. Now, if you met her, she was young–not young. I mean, she was in her, probably 40s, but she was attractive and she looked healthy, but her body was a mess, complete mess because it was totally out of regulation.

Ben:  Wow. Now, when you do this type of work, what's the largest group that you've actually worked with at a time for something like this?

Don:  Generally, the biggest one I had done when I first started is I did a group of 10, and it worked really, really well. And then, we went up to a bigger group, we ended up doing 40. And then, I went to one, I did 140 in one room. I actually didn't know it would be that many people. And when I got there, I was like, “Oh my gosh, this is a massive room.” And I took him through the four-hour program that we did and it was amazing. I had people coming up afterwards saying, “You've changed my life. I'm calling my mother right now because I realize now what I've been going through.” And so, just so many little things like that that people were saying afterwards. It was incredible.

Jessa:  That's so encouraging.

Ben:  And so, you go from one-on-one, all the way down to–like, you did the family work with us yesterday. Had you done much family work before, or with kids?

Don:  Sometimes. I've done some with some kids, but family–I mean, it's great to do it as a family because now you all have this commonality to share. And so, now you know those tools that you can sort of remind each other. “Hey, you're using your tools.”

Ben:  Right. And talk to me about the–because we haven't delved into this yet, but I got an email this morning from your institute. I guess your people magically know that we've been through the program now. And it contained a link. Have you guys checked your email yet, River and Terran?

River/Terran:  No, we haven't yet.

Ben:  Okay. So, we all got an email this morning and it's got this link to this online portal where you have all these audios that we're supposed to go through, like these short audios in the 30 days leading–in the 30 days after the actual session with you. What are the audios? What's the intention of those?

Don:  Well, when we do–remember I said that we have the two memory systems. We have the explicit memory system, and then we have the associative procedural memory. So, that's the patterns, behaviors that we get into and locked into that we don't even know we're doing anymore. So, when we do the four hours, we really work on an explicit memory. And then, the audios are designed to start working on procedural associative memory. The programs or codes that I say get built because all of a sudden, you just start doing something, you don't even think about it. That's what a habit is. You're not thinking about it anymore. So, the audios take you through sort of a meditative, quiet, alpha-brainwave state challenging some of those. For example, it'll say, “What qualities do you–” afterwards, you answer some questions, but it'll be, what qualities do you admire in people? Who do you know who have those qualities? Is that a quality you could say you have? And then, you start thinking about, “You know what, I don't really have many people that I know that have that quality. Why am I hanging around with these people?” Maybe I should be changing who I'm hanging out with or what I'm doing. But it changes the neural pathways, and that's how it does–

Ben:  And so, you just listen to these audios each day for 30 days following the session with you?

Don:  Yup.

Ben:  Okay. Got it. How long are they?

Don:  About 10 minutes.

Ben:  Okay.

Don:  And it's easier now because you don't have that explicit memory interfering with making changes, where most people will say, “Oh, I'm going to change a habit. I'm going to do this. I'm going to spend 30 days doing this.” But if they've got a trauma or an event that is interfering with your ability to make that change, you can be saying, “I'm going to do this.” Your conscious mind is saying, “I'm going to make this change.” And your subconscious sitting back there saying, “Not so fast. That's not safe. We've been hurt when we did that before.”

Ben:  Now, I did a podcast a few years ago on neuro-linguistic programming. And I had an NLP practitioner, Andy Murphy, who worked with me prior to a couple of the Ironman races that I did. I was telling you this story yesterday. And part of neuro-linguistic programming is you set an anchor that you associate with a certain emotion or a certain element of performance or success. And in working with him, I found that the anchor that I set worked fantastically, especially for the bike and for the run because it was pressing my index finger against my thumb, and that was the anchor that I set. And I painted myself into a corner, though I made a mistake in that. Of course, you can't use that anchor while you're swimming because you got to have the hand open while you swim. And so–

Jessa:  Just do a pull with three fingers.

Ben:  You can't. When you're drafting on someone, then every last second counts. If you close one finger, you're screwed. Once they're a foot up, you drop off their feet and you're lost. And so, I get the concept of the anchor. Jessa, did you create an anchor yesterday?

Jessa:  Yes.

Ben:  Okay. What was your anchor?

Jessa:  Fingers to temple.

Ben:  Fingers to temple. What about you guys, River and Terran?

River/Terran:  Mine was actually similar on [01:05:53] _____.

River/Terran:  Mine's big breath in.

Ben:  And mine also was a deep nasal breath again, which wouldn't work well for swimming, but I don't plan on doing an Ironman anytime soon, so I think I'll be fine. But the idea of the anchor, how would we actually use that? Would it be when we are going through trauma, when we're beginning to recall trauma? Like, where does the anchor fit in?

Don:  So, we use three symbols. We have a visual, and auditory, and then a touch. And so, the idea behind it is you use that when you want to perform at your highest level because it calms your nervous system down right away. So, the idea behind it is as you listen to the audios, you're continually repeating all those tools I gave you. So, we're now teaching your brain that when it sees that symbol, hears that statement, or feels that anchor, it automatically goes into alpha-brainwave state the same way you felt that day when you're outdoors and you felt that peace. So, it's an automatic response.

Ben:  Right, because we had three different things that you had us create to bring about that peace. Maybe River or Terran could illustrate, but basically, we had–well, you guys, describe to me like one of the relaxing scenarios that you came up with in your mind to create your anchor.

Terran:  Mine is just like standing in the sun, basically.

Ben:  So, standing in the sun, relaxing. So, what was your symbol then?

Terran:  A sun.

Ben:  A sun. And then, what was your anchor?

Terran:  My anchor was touching my forehead.

Ben:  Okay. What about yours, River?

River:  Mine was just like playing in the water and going to the really cool places in the forest like the tiny waterfalls and stuff like that. And my symbol was water. And then, my anchor was big nasal breath in.

Ben:  Big nasal breath in. What about you, Jess?

Jessa:  My visualization or my experience was hiking on a very cold week, and all the ice crystals had grown probably almost an inch on every single needle fiber, everything. So, everything just glittered, and the sun was out, and it was just glittering everywhere like diamonds everywhere.

River/Terran:  Everything looked like a giant spice ball.

Jessa:  And I just thought to myself, “God curated this just for me to experience,” and that was like a really awesome experience.

Ben:  And so, what symbol did you use?

Jessa:  The sun because the sun is what caused everything to sparkle.

Ben:  And then, what was your anchor?

Jessa:  My anchor is to touch my temples.

Ben:  To touch your temples. So, basically, we can use that anchor, Don, anytime that we want to bring ourselves into the zone or into this relaxed alpha-brainwave state?

Don:  You. And it automatically works, and it's amazing. People who have had panic attacks for years. We had a gentleman, 30 years of panic attacks. His symbol was an ocean. And he said, “I can't believe that as soon as I think about my ocean, it just shuts off instantly,” because you've trained your brain to say when you see the ocean or you think about the ocean, or feel that touch, or hear that statement, you're telling your mind everything's safe. And it associates, there's the associative part of our brain. It says, “I can't be seeing the sun and not be safe.”

Ben:  Interesting. So, when people do this, how effective is it if–let's say someone were to go to the shownotes. And again, you guys, if you go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/donwood, I'll just link to everything we're talking about, the books, the other podcasts I've mentioned, et cetera. But how effective is this if someone does it like via Skype or via Zoom? Can you get the same effect?

Don:  It's amazing because one of the other things that we did is we developed an experience that you can do online. So, it's just me taking you through the whole program four hours the same way. And when I first developed it, my wife even said like, “I think you're stretching in here. I don't think you're going to be able to have people do this on their own.” That's not true.

Jessa:  Well, after experiencing downstairs, I could see how you could take it digitally very easily, because a lot of it is just–

Ben:  Yeah. So, we can do that because we wanted to feed your chicken.

Jessa:  Yeah. A lot of this is just visualization in your own head and it's not like–I mean, it's nice to have you there and discuss and ask questions, but I don't think it's totally necessary.

Don:  We're getting amazing results with the digital experience.

Jessa:  Yeah.

Ben:  So, that's called the TIPP digital experience?

Don:  Yup.

Ben:  Okay.

Don:  So, you just do that. And so, I don't have to even be there. And we get great results with that.

Ben:  But then people could also actually fly to Orlando and do it at your institute?

Don:  Do it directly with me.

Ben:  Okay. Got you.

Don:  Or we have the group stuff. So, we have three delivery systems and they're all very–

Ben:  The group stuff, meaning, you travel to a group or to a corporation to do something?

Don:  Yup.

Ben:  Okay.

Don:  [01:10:26] _____ through it at the same time.

Ben:  Gotcha. And then, also, just so you guys know, who are listening in, if you go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/donwood, I've got a link to that digital experience, and then also to the personalized experience in Orlando. And we have a code, I think. It's BEN15 gets you 15% off of any of the work that you do with Don. But give me an approximation of how much something like this–let's say somebody's listening in, they feel like they're dealing with trauma or they're an athlete, they want to have a performance breakthrough, let's say they want to hop on with you with like Zoom or Skype, how much does it cost to do something like that?

Don:  So, directly with me and the personal experience is 5,000. And then, the digital experience is 14.95. But I think our teams have worked together to give everybody a discount.

Ben:  Yeah. There's discounts. It's BEN15. And then, when somebody does something like that–you said to work directly with you, for example, in Orlando. But do you have other practitioners who you train? Like, let's say a coach, or a therapist, or a trainer who wants to learn how to do this themselves. Do you also certify people?

Don:  We're not yet. We're looking at doing that. One of the things that we're working on is training people to facilitate the digital experience.

Ben:  Yeah. I was going to say you got to replicate yourself, man, the whole–what if I get hit by a bus scenario?

Don:  Exactly. But the idea is that if they take them through the digital experience, it's the same way as of them doing it but they can facilitate it, which sometimes when we're dealing with veterans, we just did a big group of 10 veterans with a guy who works with these veterans. So, they feel very safe working with him digitally. So, it's as good as having me there. And then, he just guides them through each module and says, “Any questions? Anything I can answer?” But he doesn't have to learn the whole program because that would take time. It took me a long time to develop it. And like I said, it's language, it's pacing, it's all those things that make a difference.

Ben:  Yeah. When we were down in the living room, it seemed like you had it all–like we took a little 5-minute or 10-minute breaks here and there, but it all just flowed from start to end with the first hour, hour and a half or so. You're just educating us on how our brains worked and how the whole process works, and then we got into the visualization, the breathwork, the meditation. We finished with this really cool, like, 15, 20-minute meditation. That was one of my favorite parts. And then, now, we'll go into the audios for 30 days, 10 minutes a day, doing the audios. I like it for a couple of reasons. A, because I can see the efficacy, and I've seen the testimonials on your website, and I saw what Robert did, and I felt it and experienced it myself. But then, I also like the fact–because I get a little bit disillusioned with this, honestly, especially, I don't know if it's the health and fitness industry that I'm in or what, but it seems like everybody's turning to like plant medicine, or 5-HTP, or all these things that supposedly released the trauma. Yeah. I see a lot of people returning that stuff over and over and over again.

Jessa:  Don and I were having an interesting conversation about that with holotropic breath. And I told him my experience with holotropic breath was really–like, it was great, but I felt like it was very influenced by the people who were leading the session, the conversations that I had leading up to the sessions because those were the things that came up in my holotropic breath, things that I'd never ever even considered as trauma because I had conversations about it beforehand, came up in my holotropic breath, which I was like, “This is very odd because I've never ever even thought of this as traumatic.” And so, yeah. And part of it I thought was–and I could be totally off base, but it was because I felt like I had to almost come up with an emotion surrounding something that I didn't really have an emotion around just because I was around people and having those conversations. And that was the whole point of the holotropic breath was to come up with some kind of trauma, and I just almost felt like I was conjuring up of trauma.

Ben:  Yeah. There's a host of variables when you introduce either exogenous substances into your body, or you induce a similar neurotransmitter response via something like holotropic breathwork. What happens is that the thought patterns, or the visualizations, or what you experience in a situation like that where you're flooding the receptors with neurotransmitters is heavily influenced by what you may have experienced in the days leading up to that event. Meaning, if you say like–let's say you're going to go to like an ayahuasca ceremony. And on the plane ride down to Peru, you watch some movie that was maybe like a horror movie with scary clowns or something like that. All of a sudden, you're processing clowns during your ayahuasca ceremony just because it's so subjectively related to what you might have experienced leading up to the time, which is why you have to be very careful with stuff like that.

Jessa:  That's why I like not having to converse with him about my traumas is because he is not influencing–

Ben:  Don doesn't know.

Jessa:  –yeah, the way I feel like I should be feeling in this moment. So, not having to disclose–I mean, it's not that I'm–honestly, all my traumas I am not ashamed to talk about. But when you're with a practitioner–and I feel like it influences the way you experience, like you feel like you need to experience the emotion. It needs to be like much bigger than it may be you actually really experiencing yourself.

Ben:  Right.

Jessa:  So, I liked that.

Don:  Yeah. And that's why we call this a performance program, not trauma therapy, because I don't believe there's anything wrong with anybody. You had your own unique set of what I call your atmospheric conditions that are affecting the way your mind operates. So, if you've had a lot of that, it's going to be very dark and stormy. How could you not produce dark, stormy thoughts?

Ben:  Yeah.

Jessa:  Right.

Don:  Right? So, what you have to do and what is happening in my estimation is when they're doing the pharmaceuticals and all these kinds of things, they're just blocking that Google search to get into memory to temporarily pause you from thinking about the trauma. But it's not fixing the problem. I said this to my daughter the other day, and I said–this is actually about two months ago. We came in from a walk, and we walked out and I saw the pool, and I said, “Here's a great way of explaining what we do. If that pool was two feet down in water, if we were a water therapist, we would say, ‘Oh, we need to fill up the pool.'” I say, “The way we think about it is, ‘Why is there a leak? Why is the water down? Let's find out what the problem is because we can fill up the water and we're doing that every month. Let's find out where the leak is and stop it before we try to fill it up.'”

Ben:  Right. And I love anything that's not a Band-Aid solution. I mean, that's why I love functional medicine. It's why I love tackling the root cause of the issue, not just Band-Aiding it.

Jessa:  Well, it's holistic. It is the whole, yeah.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah.

Don:  And the great part about this is it lasts. So, I've had people who've gone through this from years ago who are still telling me from very horrific trauma, who was saying they can think about it now and there's no emotion anymore.

Ben:  Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Don:  It's gone.

Ben:  It's a horrific business model, man. That's what it is.

Jessa:  It's not the Gillette, but this is [01:17:33] _____.

Ben:  I love my chiropractic therapy I get every week, but it's like, “See you next week, see you next week, see you next week.” Well, Don, this is fascinating. And I know River and Terran, you guys didn't get a chance to talk, too, too much on today's show, but anything else you guys want to add before we start to get ready to get Don over to the airport so he can go back to beautiful sunny Orlando?

River/Terran:  I don't think so. It was really cool though.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah. Well, I thought it was cool to do it as a family. It was just really neat also to see River and Terran get equipped with again non-Band-Aid-based solutions that they can use to deal with stress and trauma as they go forward in life. And just like I think every young person should be taught, things like breathwork, and meditation, and body awareness, and mindfulness, and presence. This is another tool in the toolbox that once you have it, and you own it, and it's in your head is free for you to basically use at any time without needing any other tools aside from your own brain to be able [01:18:36] _____ this stuff.

Jessa:  Or just knowing that it's available. You know what I mean? You don't have to go put on the other presents. You have this much more holistic option.

Don:  You don't have to suffer with it. And that's the great news at your age to learn that, that you can fix it, you don't have to manage it, because if something ever happens, hopefully, nothing ever happens and you live this beautiful life. But if something happens, you're going to realize that you can find a solution to it. You don't have to live with it. And if you think about something that happened to you five years ago and you're angry, you're going to say, “Well, that's useless.”

Ben:  Yup. Whole different perspective. Yeah. Well, folks, for those of you listening in, BenGreenfieldFitness.com/donwood. If you wind up on Don's website, you can also use the code BEN15. That'll get you 15% off of any of the experiences with Don. And I'll also link to all of Don's books and everything else again at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/donwood. And Don, I know we got to get you back to beautiful Orlando. I think [01:19:37] _____.

Jessa:  Did you notice a few snowflakes this morning?

Don:  I did.

Jessa:  It snowed for a hot second.

Ben:  You missed your chance. You might get a few as you walk back out to the guest house. Catch one and bring it back to Orlando.

Don:  This is so beautiful here. I love where you guys live. I was just saying yesterday when I sat there and I watched the trees, and they were just like a symphony of the movie, and I was like, “What a way to wake up every day?”

Ben:  Yeah. We like that forest.

River/Terran:  More pine trees.

Ben:  Yeah. We like the little Greenfield forest. Well, Don, thanks so much for making the journey out and for showing us what you do, and I'm really excited to open you up to my audience and let them experience some of your unique flavor of therapy that you do.

Don:  Oh, I really appreciate the opportunity and meeting your family. What a beautiful family.

Jessa:  Thank you.

Don:  Congratulations on all of that.

Ben:  Thanks. Well, we're biased. We're all good. Alright, folks. Well, BenGreenfieldFitness.com/donwood, and until next time. I'm Ben along with Jessa, River and Terran, the Go Greenfields, and Don Wood, signing out from BenGreenfieldFitness.com. Have an amazing week.

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 hormone, 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. When you listen in, be sure to use the links in the shownotes, use the promo codes that I generate, because that helps to float this thing and keep it coming to you each and every week.



Dr. Don Wood is a guy I've been hearing about for years from multiple trusted friends of mine in the self-improvement and self-mastery realms, so I finally decided to connect with him and his work more deeply.

I recently hosted Dr. Wood at my house in Spokane, Washington so he could—by working with me and my family for a four-hour session—showcase the special flavor of therapy that he does.

Dr. Wood is the founder of the Inspired Performance Institute and developed The Inspired Performance Program (TIPP™), which is a cutting-edge approach to high performance using advancements in neuroscience. After years of research, Dr. Wood coined the term “emotional concussions™,” which are events and experiences in your life that may have had a profound effect on your current behaviors and habits. If you experience PTSD-like symptoms, health issues related to an overactive sympathetic nervous system, or impediments in your progress towards everything from business success to relationship issues to athletic performance, Dr. Wood says nothing is wrong with you—you might simply just need a reboot.

Dr. Wood's work is based on the idea that events and experiences throughout our life continue to play a role in how you experience life in the present. He has also realized that there was a better way of treating these types of issues. He says…

“Teaching people to live with, manage and cope with the daily stress doesn’t fix the problem. The solution comes from understanding its source and providing a long-term permanent solution.”

Since 2015, the Inspired Performance Institute has worked to create innovative strategies to help people heal from the limiting effects of trauma so they can feel and perform at their best. The result has been the development of TIPP, Dr. Wood's revolutionary approach to performance improvement that is based on the idea that our minds have developed some glitches and error messages in the ways they store information about events from our past. And apparently, we all have these glitches!

Even high-functioning individuals, like executives and professional athletes, have so-called glitches from their pasts, and once “reprocessed,” their performance evolves to a whole new level. Once the mind is updated and refreshed using the Inspired Performance Institute’s NEURO technique, a part of TIPP, individuals are able to remain present, calm, and focused, and their performance naturally improves. After they reset the mind with TIPP, they restore the body with their NOWW program.

A chronically dysregulated and imbalanced nervous system can lead to anxiety, depression, PTSD, panic attacks, addictions, or even chronic illnesses such as autoimmune disorders, thyroid problems, cardiac and gastrointestinal diseases, and even cancer. TIPP, TIPP KIDS, and the NOWW program are designed to help reset the mind and restore the body to optimal states of health, performance, and wellness.

Dr. Wood actually separates trauma into two camps. Most of us think of trauma as a clearly defined, often injury-inducing event like a car accident or a mugging. He calls this big ‘T’ trauma. The second type of trauma he calls emotional concussion. These are experiences that affected us psychologically but may be more loosely defined or harder to pinpoint. Dr. Wood says that a very large percentage of the population is dealing with unprocessed trauma when you consider these two types of trauma. Unresolved trauma or disturbing events and experiences from your past may be interfering with your ability to function at your highest level. These experiences may limit your ability to regulate your mood, focus, or connect with others in a healthy, loving, and safe way.

When you experience a traumatic event, your body has a physical response to that trauma. Trauma triggers that fight or flight (aka active state) response. This creates inflammation in the body as a way of pausing the immune system so that the body can use all resources to respond to the trauma. When we are no longer in danger, the body allows everything to return to normal. What a lot of people don’t realize is that when we have unprocessed trauma, we think about it. And, when we think about it, we relive it, which results in the same fight or flight response. We have the physical response to the trauma just by thinking about it! If we are doing this constantly, the immune system can’t function properly—which, over time, results in autoimmune issues.

Often we dismiss the idea that trauma is the cause of an issue because we may not recognize the experience as trauma. Dr. Wood uses a great analogy in this episode that points to the high-definition memories we have of traumatic times in our past vs. the muted memory we have of a non-threatening event (like the dinner we had last night). These high-definition memories can be very powerful and can trigger a physical response. The first step in identifying them as triggers is to recognize the level of the memory and the physical response it brings. In Dr. Wood's program, they actually monitor the brainwave state to determine the response to memories.

Recognizing the physical response to memories of past trauma is not enough, the brain needs to be reconditioned as to how it responds to that memory. This is what Dr. Wood does with TIPP. This program gets the mind to reset that high-definition memory into the same format as a day-to-day memory. By doing this, the body no longer sees that memory as a threat and it no longer triggers the fight or flight response. The brain is no longer sending an error message. He points out that far too often we treat the symptoms caused by these trauma responses—for example, treating anxiety, depression, or inflammation that will never be resolved if the trigger memory is not reset.

Many people block bad experiences or they dismiss them as not being traumatic. This may lead them to believe that these experiences can’t be the cause because they don’t have these vivid memories Dr. Wood is talking about. However, these memories may still be operating on a subconscious level and can still put the body into an active response state. This happens because our minds receive too much information for us to actively process. So, the mind does something academics refer to as “time slicing.” This is when the mind takes in information and slices off some to be stored in the subconscious where it can be processed or accessed later. Then, when we encounter something similar, the mind goes searching for reference and the stored memory, resurrecting the memory in full color. This can trigger an active state response.

For many people, the idea of unearthing or talking about their traumatic memories feels traumatic in itself. Dr. Wood says that his patients don’t need to actually discuss the experience or share the memory. This type of work can be done without having to revisit the event consciously!

During this discussion, you'll discover:

-How Dr. Wood began his work…12:38

  • Didn't deal with trauma that other kids his age dealt with
  • Was exposed to real dysfunction when he met his wife; father ran the house with fear
  • Trauma creates inflammation in the body; affects neurotransmitters, affects your immune system
  • Wood developed the program during his Ph.D., in clinical counseling psychology
  • Existing school of thought was to cope with trauma
  • Let's figure out how to fix it, not manage it

-Techniques used to manage, rather than fix, stress…17:05

  • CBT: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Trauma manifests in addiction and auto-immune disorders due to constant sympathetic state
  • Trauma inhibits maintenance of the nervous system
  • Wood and his brothers have never been hospitalized, partly due to his safe upbringing
  • The problem is coming in from memory
  • Humans are the only animals that store specific details of our lives
  • Our nervous system is always present in the moment
  • Time slices
  • Humans have two memory systems:
    • Explicit memory stores all the details of an event
    • General

-How trauma isn't always experienced on a battlefield…29:50

-How to reprogram your brain…36:38

  • Traumatic memory is stored in a beta brainwave state
  • Alpha flow state, reprogramming traumatic experiences
  • There's nothing wrong with anyone; it's what's interfering with your brainwaves

-Not just accepting, but laughing at the problem…39:43

  • Emotion is useless
  • How does it benefit you to dwell on how you were done wrong?
  • Associating danger with things that remind us of trauma, conscious or subconscious
  • If there's an emotion, there had better be an action to follow it up with
  • Otherwise, it will serve to drain you

-How River and Terran may process trauma in the future after a session with Dr. Wood…45:17

  • More knowledge on what to do when trauma comes
  • Think of scenes in 10 different squares
    • Go through each scene twice; brain realizes it's not the same
    • You'll remember the event, but not the emotion because there is no threat perceived
  • We attach meanings to trauma: I'm weak, I'm not smart enough, etc.
  • Internal questioning about your ability to visualize
  • What does trauma mean about me?
  • The meaning goes when you clear the event

-The success rate with Dr. Wood's TIPP program…49:45

  • The only ones who have struggled are heavily medicated, the mind can't process what it's trying to do
  • Science works whether you believe in it or not
  • It's not vital to deal with a specific trauma; simply internalize the process

-Whether this work could be approached from a functional medicine angle…51:55

  • Chemical imbalances are coming from the mind
  • AO Scanof the entire body for over 700 biomarkers
  • Headphones that send a current through the head and body

-How a Special Forces soldier overcame trauma thanks to Dr. Wood's practice…55:30

-Studies showing what happens at a neurotransmitter level…1:00:00

  • The largest group Dr. Wood has worked with:
    • Began with ten
    • Eventually tested 140 in one sitting
  • Ideal to do it as a family because you have the commonalities

-Anchors used to recall trauma…1:02:30

-Whether the effects can be felt via Skype or Zoom…1:17:45

  • TIPPdigital experience
  • Also do it with Dr. Wood in Orlando, or with groups he facilitates remotely

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

– Dr. Don Wood:

– Podcasts:

– Books:

– Other Resources:

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