Overcoming Chronic Health Challenges with Dave Hompes
In this Conscious Conversation, we’ll be exploring how to overcome chronic health challenges with functional medicine and the Hompes Method with Dave Hompes. Dave is a researcher, educator, and clinician in the fields of nutrition, functional medicine and human behavior.
His mission is to provide balanced information to empower people to rejuvenate and optimize their health, wellness, and performance. Dave’s Hompes Method synthesizes clinical nutrition, functional medicine, genomics and the intricate interplay between mind and body to deeply investigate reasons why wellness has declined.
Visit him: https://www.davehompes.com/
- “Symptoms are like warning lights on a dashboard, they light up to alert you to the fact that something in your car needs attention. Like the dashboard lights, symptoms are merely signals from your body alerting you to the fact that something is wrong and as such, symptoms should be blessed for they are your early warning mechanisms that are simply alerting you to problems before they become serious.”
- “They have a whole cluster of those symptoms; it’s not just one area, it’s many different areas. Some of our clients list 15 or 18 different unique symptoms that they are experiencing and their is no medical term that explains those patterns. It’s very difficult for doctors because they’re not trained to look at things in a kind of global or holistic fashion. They’re trained to find something very specific that is “wrong” and then hang a label on the person that has that specific problem. These clusters of symptoms tend to be given names that end in ‘syndrome’: irritable bowel symptom, premenstrual syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia syndrome.”
- “There’s a pill, potion, and lotion for every commotion, but the fact is that we need to get to the underlying reasons for those symptoms which often times are just fundamental imbalances in the body. Too much bad stuff in the body that shouldn’t be there, not enough good stuff that should be there. Let’s rebalance that seesaw if you’d like and all those chronic symptoms start to improve and move away.”
- “We have a fundamental challenge here in that because so many people are walking around with these clusters of symptoms, they ignore them because so many other people have them and then they believe that it’s normal for them to feel that way. I think that many people just don’t realize how good they could feel and that’s a challenge.”
- “Typically what happens is you go to the doctor and they say there’s nothing wrong here and they tell you to take the meds, you take the meds, the specific symptoms go away that the medications help to deal with and you think it’s great.
3, 6, 12 months later you develop another symptom and you go back to the doctor. So, your body is always trying to give you the signal. You suppressed one symptom, it gives you another one, you suppress it again, it gives you another one and it will keep building the symptomatology until it’s literally yelling at you.”
- “The strengths of the medical system are very, very high techniques of diagnosing early to prevent disease and then to treat a nasty disease once it’s developed and to save your life in an acute situation, an emergency.
- Functional medicine, which is where I work, is more about helping people deal with chronic issues that have developed over time and rather them try to be at each other’s throats and say that one is right and one is wrong, those two approaches should be synthesized so that people get the best of both worlds.”
- “A gastroenterologist will look at the gut, but will not consider that the gut really is a window or a doorway into the rest of the body. It’s where you absorb nutrients from your food into your body and it’s where you block toxins and undesirable compounds — you poop them out. So, if you have a problem with that system and you’re allowing some of these obnoxious compounds to get into the body and you’re not absorbing the nutrients that you need, you can develop a problem anywhere and everywhere in the body as a result of an issue in the gut.”
- “So if we can optimize the environment the genes have the best opportunity to express themselves in a way that provides optimal wellness and performance, rather than illness and disease. So, if we can control the environment by making healthy choices we can keep ourselves healthy and we can get ourselves well again no matter where we are on that Vitality Scale.”
OSMARA: For today’s Conscious Conversation we’ll be exploring how to overcome chronic health challenges with functional medicine and the Hompes Method with David Hompes. David is a researcher, educator and clinician in the fields of nutrition, functional medicine and human behavior.
His mission is to provide balanced information to empower people to rejuvenate and optimize their health, wellness and performance. Dave’s Hompes Method synthesizes clinical nutrition, functional medicine, genomics and the intricate interplay between mind and body to deeply investigate reasons why wellness has declined.
Individualized protocols help his clients reverse a wide range of health challenges, rejuvenate health and optimize athletic and work performance.
“Symptoms are like warning lights on a dashboard, they light up to alert you to the fact that something in your car needs attention. Like the dashboard lights, symptoms are merely signals from your body alerting you to the fact that something is wrong and as such, symptoms should be blessed for they are your early warning mechanisms that are simply alerting you to problems before they become serious.”
I love that new perspective on symptoms. Dave Hompes, welcome!
DAVID: Thank you, Osmara. Thanks for having me, it’s great to be here. I’m looking forward to sharing the love.Read full transcript
OSMARA: Yes, absolutely. We’ve got a lot of good stuff today and the main premise is, how do we overcome these chronic health issues with the Hompes Method? I’m so excited to talk about it because I think it brings a fresh, new perspective on wellness and health.
DAVID: Yeah, I mean the Hompes Method came about through my own experiences really. It’s almost like almost all the good things in life, they come about by accident. I had food poisoning in 2004 when I was on holiday in Egypt and it led to a whole lot nasty symptoms that lasted for a couple of months back in 2004. They kind of gradually went away, but then I had a period of stress about 3.5 years later in 2007 and all of a sudden the symptoms came back and no matter what I did, I couldn’t shake the symptoms.
At the time, to look at me you would have thought there’s a pretty fit and healthy looking young guy — I was 32, 33 years of age, I was a personal trainer, I was following a pretty good diet, my lifestyle was fairly clean compared to where most of my friends were and yet I felt awful inside. I had a lot of anxiety, depression, my digestion system was kind of like an out of control washing machine.
I felt tired, I wasn’t sleeping well, my sex drive was basically on the floor as well. I went to see the doctor and the doctor said they had plenty of people coming into the clinic feeling that way and to give it a few months or weeks and it will go away. Of course, it didn’t.
Again, I’m looking at my diet thinking it’s pretty clean, what could be wrong with me? That’s when I hired a functional medicine doctor in California and I worked with him at distance from here in the UK and we ran a bunch of lab tests that typically are not run by conventionally trained doctors and we found that I had some hormonal imbalances and we found that I had some digestive infections.
To cut a long story short, just by taking some herbs and looking after my lifestyle a little more carefully, 90 days later most of those symptoms had gone. I was so inspired by that, that I just decided that I would develop my own method in the same way and then just went about getting trained up in that area of work and here we are now.
OSMARA: Usually it starts out with, we deal with the challenge and we are pressed and pushed to come up with our own solutions or help out in our own way and one of the things that I love about your approach and functional medicine is that, you know, a lot of us deal with a lot of recurring chronic symptoms and because it’s not this sharp shooting pain that we have to go to the doctor, we kind of get use to living with it and we get use to life with it. We kind of just put it on the back burner, but what you’re saying is that putting it on the back burner can actually exacerbate the problem. Is that right?
DAVID: Yeah, I think you’ve hit on a couple of really, really important points there. These chronic symptoms that we experience … most of our clients that come along are really concerned because they don’t have what would be classified as a medical condition or a disease so to speak. So, they might have symptoms in what I call the 7 Areas of Health which is digestion, reproduction and sexual function, energy, chronic aches and pains, mood, sleep and problems with their skin, hair and nails.
They have a whole cluster of those symptoms; it’s not just one area, it’s many different areas. Some of our clients list 15 or 18 different unique symptoms that they are experiencing and their is no medical term that explains those patterns. It’s very difficult for doctors because they’re not trained to look at things in a kind of global or holistic fashion. They’re trained to find something very specific that is “wrong” and then hang a label on the person that has that specific problem.
These clusters of symptoms tend to be given names that end in ‘syndrome’: irritable bowel symptom, premenstrual syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia syndrome. That’s kind of an admission that ‘we know there’s something wrong with you, we do believe you, however, we don’t really know what’s going on and to be honest there’s not really much we can do about it.’ That’s the first problem.
The second problem is the medical system is really well set up for helping people with acute challenges, nasty infection, advanced disease like cancer, or trauma — if you get knocked down by a car they can save your life. It’s just phenomenal how the medical system has developed in that area of care, but when it comes to the day-to-day symptoms that are really affecting people’s lives, affecting their work life, their social life, their family life, their ability to achieve their goals in all the different areas of life, the medical system simply doesn’t have an answer for that.
It’s just, take all these pills or all these potions and lotions… I like to say there’s a pill, potion, and lotion for every commotion, but the fact is that we need to get to the underlying reasons for those symptoms which often times are just fundamental imbalances in the body. Too much bad stuff in the body that shouldn’t be there, not enough good stuff that should be there. Let’s rebalance that seesaw if you’d like and all those chronic symptoms start to improve and move away.
It’s not rocket science, but sadly it’s not really known out there that these types of approaches are available.
OSMARA: Yeah, yeah and I love your 7 Areas of Health. It really hits a lot of what I see out there is happening. Can we go over examples in each of the areas?
DAVID: Absolutely. So, if you’re talking about the digestive system, a lot of people are diagnosed with something called irritable bowel disorder or disease. They have bloating and wind and gas and loose stools or constipation, abdominal cramping and pain, heartburn, acid reflux, and sometimes bad breath along with those symptoms. So, there are a lot of people walking around with those symptoms.
In terms of the sex drive, the libido, the reproductive health, we also have menstrual irregularities, erectile dysfunction, menopausal problems and all the things that go along with that as well. Some people obviously have overt issues with fertility, where they’re really struggling to conceive as well.
Then with our energy levels, we have people who are walking around with, let’s say energy should be a 10/10, they may be walking around with a 7,6,5 out of 10 in terms of their energy scale. That’s not enough to keep them in bed and diagnosed with this chronic fatigue syndrome, but it’s enough to almost make their life a living hell because they just don’t have enough energy to get done what they want to get done during their day. Some people have fluctuating energy levels that are awesome in the morning, but by 3 or 4 o’clock in the afternoon they crash and then they come back up again at night and they can’t sleep because they feel so energized. Other people feel lousy in the morning and then pick up as the day goes on. Different things happen with the energy levels as well.
Chronic aches and pains can be anything from morning stiffness to arthritic pains, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis.
Then we have mood challenges which may include irritability and anxiety, kind of the hyper of the spectrum. Then we have depressed and feeling really down at the opposite end of the spectrum. As you’re probably aware through the work that you’ve done, Osmara, some people fluctuate up and down and feel really great one day and then the next day they feel anxious and then two days later they feel depressed. There can be many reasons for that, but the mood can be just kind of all over the place. That can be related to the gut, to the hormones, and what have you.
Then, we have skin, hair and nails and we have sleep — problems getting to sleep, staying asleep, waking up 3 or 4 times in the evening or at night once people have managed to get to sleep. People dreaming with nightmares which can actually be caused by biochemical imbalances, believe it or not. Then we have the outward stuff, the beauty side of things. We have the skin, acne, psoriasis, dry skin, oily skin, etc. We have hair that’s falling out, that’s greasy, that’s dry and then we have brittle nails, nails that crack easy. All of those are outward signs of inner problems.
They’re the kind of symptoms that people are walking around with and when we ask clients to list them and get really honest, typically most people can list at least half a dozen, maybe a dozen and sometimes maybe even more than that. When they get really honest with themselves they’re not happy about the way that their body is functioning in those areas.
Then of course we do have the mind as well — we have memory, focus, cognitive function which goes hand in hand with this.
We also have weight management as well and I don’t put that in the 7 Areas of Health. I typically find that people have weight management challenges whether it’s underweight or overweight because of the challenges that they’re having with their digestion, with their hormones, with their energy production in the body. Usually when we help people deal with the other 7 areas, the weight issues, whether the people want to gain or lose weight, tend to start to work really nicely as we go along without addressing the weight as a specific issue.
I think if we’re not careful we can get too hung up on the weight issue and ignore all the other signs and signals, the lights on the dashboard, that you mentioned in the quote, the body is sending.
OSMARA: Some of these things are so subtle or so small that you wouldn’t really think there’s something going on unless it’s some recurring thing. So, what would you say would be a guidepost or a sign that it’s more than just bad PMS or more than just some indigestion?
DAVID: We have a fundamental challenge here in that because so many people are walking around with these clusters of symptoms, they ignore them because so many other people have them and then they believe that it’s normal for them to feel that way. I think that many people just don’t realize how good they could feel and that’s a challenge.
Another challenge that reinforces that mindset is the fact that when people go to the doctor and explain these clusters of symptoms, even the doctors because they only have an 8 or 10 minutes appointment, there’s no doctor/patient relationship unless you go to a private physician. The doctors can’t give you enough time and so they say it’s just normal and it will go away — if you have to take some painkillers, take some painkillers, if you need to take some laxatives, take some laxatives, antacids, antidepressants, whatever it may be just so you can get by.
There’s this overarching belief in society that it’s normal to feel crap and that’s not the case. So, like I said 5 minutes ago, look at health or wellness on a scale. Look at it as a Scale of Vitality where a 9 or a 10 is as good as you can feel and a 1 is basically as bad as you can feel. Somewhere around a 1, 2 or 3, you may be diagnosed with a nasty medical condition — it could be diabetes, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, possibly cancer or something like that.
You have a real nasty medical condition there, but has that condition developed overnight? Do you go to bed on a Monday night feeling amazing and in tip-top health and then on Tuesday morning suddenly have diabetes, heart disease, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis? The answer, of course, is no. So, what’s happening there?
Those conditions usually develop over a long period of time, but there are exceptions to that for sure, but for most people, the challenges have developed over time. The body all along that journey has been giving early warning signs and those early warning signs are as you kind of drop from a 9 or 10 down to an 8 or 7 and then a 6 and then a 5 and then a 4 on that vitality scale, you get the symptoms. You experience consciously the symptoms in the 7 Areas of Health plus changes in your body composition.
So, your digestive symptoms, your hormonal symptoms, your reproductive symptoms, your energy levels, your mood, your skin — all of these areas your body give you feedback like the lights on the car’s dashboard saying, “Hey you! There’s something not quite right here.” Typically what happens is you go to the doctor and they say there’s nothing wrong here and they tell you to take the meds, you take the meds, the specific symptoms go away that the medications help to deal with and you think it’s great.
3, 6, 12 months later you develop another symptom and you go back to the doctor. So, your body is always trying to give you the signal. You suppressed one symptom, it gives you another one, you suppress it again, it gives you another one and it will keep building the symptomatology until it’s literally yelling at you.
So, it starts with a whisper — “hey there’s something not quite right here.” Then gradually the intensity of the signals increase until you actually start to listen. Unfortunately, we still have this medical system that’s set up that doesn’t really address the reasons why those symptoms or chronic conditions are developing. We try to medicate them, if the medication doesn’t work to suppress the symptoms they start to chop out parts of the body that are causing the symptoms like the ovaries and the uterus and so on and so forth.
Angelina Jolie is a classical example of this. She had her breasts removed, obviously that’s not the topic of this conversation, but I’m just drawing the general picture here. So, what can we do about that? Well, we can just stop and think, is it wise to keep suppressing the symptoms? Is it wise to ask the mechanic to fix the dashboard light or is it wise to look a little more deeply into the function of the car to find out why the dashboard light has turned off? In other words, is it wise to start to look at ourselves, at our lives, get a peek into our physiology with functional lab testing to find out why those symptoms have developed so we can actually fix them once and for all and reduce our risk of developing problems further on?
It’s a slightly different approach, but it goes hand in hand and complements the conventional medical model very, very nicely.
OSMARA: Yes, it’s very preventative. I love what you said about the feedback where instead of putting band-aids and trying to mask the malaise or that feeling off, really look at it because that’s your body and life trying to get you to look at something. It’s so great and the fact that I’m so big on the whole Biohacking way to maximize not just your health, but your performance — your mental acuity, your emotional mastery, your sense of fulfillment in life and your level of inspiration.
To be able to hack our biology, I think more then ever now we have these tools. Like you were talking to me the other day, with a swab and an at home kit you can get all of these tests and know exactly where your systems stand in your body without ever leaving your home, just by doing these simple tests.
I think that is just so amazing and I think that it puts the power back in our hands as people and the better that our vessel is obviously running, the more inspired and impactful we can be to create the life that is really a masterpiece which is really what the Metamorphosis Chronicle is all about. So, I really love that you brought that up.
DAVID: I totally agree with you because this issue with the lab testing is a really big one because many people just don’t realize what phenomenal technology is actually available to them. I think we have a very challenging situation and you and I discussed this as well the other day, where probably more than any other profession, medical professionals, whether it’s physicians, surgeons or pharmacists are kind of are put on a pedestal by the general public.
They’re almost looked up to as god-like figures that the doctor knows everything, that the surgeon knows everything. These guys and gals who are educated and become these magnificent clinicians are real experts in what they do, but they don’t know everything and they’re working within a certain box, a dogmatic system that has strengths and weaknesses just like every other system does.
The strengths of the medical system are very, very high techniques of diagnosing early to prevent disease and then to treat a nasty disease once it’s developed and to save your life in an acute situation, an emergency.
Functional medicine, which is where I work, is more about helping people deal with chronic issues that have developed over time and rather them try to be at each other’s throats and say that one is right and one is wrong, those two approaches should be synthesized so that people get the best of both worlds.
What really frustrates me is when patients just believe what the doctor says and don’t go looking elsewhere. My job is to try to switch the light bulb on and expose all of these cool things that are available to these people. So, as you said with the lab testing, using stool samples, urine samples, fingerprint blood samples, saliva samples, where you don’t even have to leave your own home because the test kits are sent to you and the samples are analyzed by truly specialized labs who really hone in and focus on one or two really key areas of how the body should be working.
They’re developing immensely beneficial technology that many medical professionals don’t even know exist. Just because the doctor doesn’t know it exists doesn’t mean it’s not helpful. Some of the things that we can find if we marry in that testing, along with the typical medical tests that are run, is phenomenal. When we put the two together, we can create a jigsaw puzzle of what is going on in somebody’s body and then we can customize, truly individualize a program or protocol or series of protocols over time to address all the imbalances that we find.
It’s a very scientific way to do it, but again at the same time, something that you touched on, we want to be teaching people how to look after themselves and not be reliant on us. I say, you know, if it takes me a month to coach you to get better and you stay well the rest of your life, I’ve done my job. If it takes me 12 months, I’ve done my job. I don’t care how long it takes as long as when we are finished working together, you know how to look after yourself, how to listen to your body, when to run tests, you know where to get the tests, you know what to discuss with your doctor, and you feel totally empowered, in control, and at ease with your body so that you’re not scared and concerned about your health moving forward.
If that’s the case at the end of a working relationship with a client, I’ve done my job to the best of my ability.
It’s not the case of having people come back and rely on me. I openly encourage people to take control of themselves, go away and research everything, not rely on what I say and we have an open relationship where I’m just a guide. I have a certain level of expertise in these areas, but I want my clients to become experts in their own right.
OSMARA: Yeah, I completely agree with you on that — putting the power back in the client’s hand. That’s one of the things that I really admire about functional medicine, as I said earlier, it is really irrefutable science and no time in history have we had the ability to have these lab tests tell us exactly what’s going on inside of us.
I had a friend diagnosed with H. pylori, but it took multiple visits to multiple doctors to figure out – was it an allergy, is it this, is it that? So many things and a simple test could have just shown immediately what was going on. The tests don’t lie.
DAVID: Absolutely, I mean gosh I know all about H. pylori because it’s one of the main factors that was making me feel unwell. My first functional medicine project was actually creating a whole website and a series of literature books on H. pylori because when I went online, when I found out I had H. pylori in 2007, when I went online all that I could find online was limited and brutally honest, inaccurate information about H. pylori that was misleading to the public and just supplement companies trying to sell a pill or potion trying to knock out the H. pylori.
Again, none of that is really empowering. It doesn’t educate people about why the H. pylori is there in the first place, how to keep it away once you’ve gotten rid of it, whether your family members have it, what else may be going on alongside the H. pylori. So, just an example, we know that H. pylori tend to thrive, as do many other organisms in the gut that shouldn’t really be there like parasites and small intestinal overgrowth, they start to gain control of your digestion when your digestive system falls out of balance first. So, if you have low stomach acid levels, if your pancreas is not making enough enzymes, if your gallbladder is squirting out enough bile into the intestine … all of those things make the environment for viable to all these bad bugs that grow.
Nobody was talking about that in 2007 and they were just saying to take the herbs and the antibiotics to get rid of the H. pylori, but nobody was saying that the H. pylori was just going to come back unless you empower yourself and get your body working properly.
When it comes to these chronic infectious organisms or imbalances in the gut, you have to focus on healing the person as well as removing the bad bug. The medical system just says to take antibiotics and then they expect magically the gut to heal itself. Someone may have had that disease for 10 years or so. The analogy that I like to use is like this: look, if you get a piece of glass stuck in your finger and you pull out the glass, that doesn’t mean that the finger heals straight away. It’s the same with the gut. If you have things in the gut that are causing problems, simply removing them doesn’t magically heal the gut overnight.
That leads to huge amounts of confusion because people say they’ve taken the meds, but they don’t feel any better. It’s because the meds are only performing one step of several steps in that healing process.
OSMARA: Not to mention that a lot of times these antibiotics are very strong and they have themselves side effects that impact our bodies even more.
DAVID: Absolutely and we get so many emails saying that people have taken the antibiotics and they feel worse than before they started or that they finished the course and feel worse then when they started or there’s no change.
There are side effects that are documented. Going back to the H. pylori, the therapy is only 60-70% effective now and it varies depending on where you are in the world and what strains of H. pylori are involved. Of course there’s this whole thing coming out now that we are possibly heading into an antibiotic apocalypse where there’s so much bacterial resistance to the antibiotics now and the big pharma companies aren’t developing any new antibiotics that in 20 years time, standard infections might start to really hurt people because they antibiotics simply are not working anymore because we have overused them.
The reason we overuse them is because we think that the doctor is a god-like figure and we have to obey what the doctor says rather than taking responsibility and empowering ourselves to make our own bodies bullet proof so we don’t get these infections in the first place.
OSMARA: For those who are listening who are not familiar with H. pylori, tell us real quick what exactly is it? A lot of people are getting it, but I had never heard of it until that point.
DAVID: It’s very common and it’s a bacterium which lives in the stomach predominantly. It can live elsewhere in the body and elsewhere in the digestive system, but it’s known as a stomach bug. In 2005 a couple of doctors were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine for showing that H. pylori can cause stomach ulcers and adenoidal ulcers which are small intestinal ulcers.
It causes a lot of inflammation and irritation in the areas that it infects. It has a corkscrew shape and you can sort of picture it on a very microscopic level drilling into the tissue causing an immune system response that causes inflammation and pain. Now, the symptoms it typically causes is heartburn, acid reflux, bloating, gas, sometimes diarrhea, belching and burping, and what have you.
We know that it can also reduce stomach acid which causes problems with the absorptions of vitamins like B12, minerals like iron and it can trigger other responses in the body. It’s literally associated with dozens of potential symptoms from migraines all the way up to heart disease — literally, it’s implicated in heart diseases in some instances and diabetes. It’s really crazy.
Doctors won’t really recognize or test for it unless you have the classic symptoms, but you can be carrying this thing around as you can with many of these digestive homeless infections and you may be feeling tired, you may have skin problems, you’re just not feeling well and all of that might be coming from the gut because all the symptoms in the body are linked together.
A gastroenterologist will look at the gut, but will not consider that the gut really is a window or a doorway into the rest of the body. It’s where you absorb nutrients from your food into your body and it’s where you block toxins and undesirable compounds — you poop them out. So, if you have a problem with that system and you’re allowing some of these obnoxious compounds to get into the body and you’re not absorbing the nutrients that you need, you can develop a problem anywhere and everywhere in the body as a result of an issue in the gut.
Going back to H. pylori, it probably is the most common bad bug that we find when we run lab testing with our clients, but it’s by no means the only one. I’m shocked at why this thing doesn’t make the front pages of the newspaper. Say in the United States or Europe, 30-40% of the population carries it around. In Australia it’s probably 15-20%, it varies depending on where you are, but ultimately this thing is nasty — it can lead to stomach cancer.
We never hear of it. All we ever hear about is the invention of this new fancy drug to treat cancer, but nobody is out there in the popular press and media teaching about all the underlying reasons why everyone doesn’t feel well and that’s usually due to foods that shouldn’t be in the body, organisms that shouldn’t be in the body like H. pylori particularly in the gut, toxins that shouldn’t be in the body. It’s about things missing that we need like optimal nutrients that come from good foods, healthy foods. It’s about all the substances we need in the gut to digest our food properly like stomach acid and enzymes. It’s about having the right hormonal balances and what have you.
If we can get that seesaw right and remove the bad stuff and put the good stuff back, it’s highly unlikely that we are going to need any of these fancy new wonder drugs that come out because we are looking after ourselves. Way back in 2000 the centers for disease control in the United States did a really simple 2 page PDF document called “Genes and Environment” and it looked at this whole idea that illness is caused by genes, that we are helpless, that’s there’s nothing we can do, it’s all about our genetics. They said it’s all about the interactions of the genes and the environment and the environment is infections, nutrients, food, chemicals, all the things we’ve been talking about. So if we can optimize the environment the genes have the best opportunity to express themselves in a way that provides optimal wellness and performance, rather than illness and disease. So, if we can control the environment by making healthy choices we can keep ourselves healthy and we can get ourselves well again no matter where we are on that Vitality Scale.
OSMARA: Absolutely, keep ourselves strong. I want to make a distinction actually because there’s the outer environment and the inner environment and the inner environment is also often overlooked, but let’s talk about the role that our emotions and our mental state and our beliefs and our values, the role that they play in the strength of our immune system and our body’s ability to fight off things and to be strong.
DAVID: Absolutely. It’s such a wide topic and it’s really, really difficult to cover it in a couple of minutes, but I found it to be absolutely critical in helping people achieve their goals. The mind, whatever we define the mind as, is a very, very, very powerful tool that can either create wellness or illness.
I’m actually reading a book at the moment, it’s a phenomenal book called Cure. It’s just called Cure, by a lady named Jo Marchant and it’s all about the role of mind over body. It’s not voodoo, it’s not airy-fairy, new-age stuff, it’s bonafide science looking at things like the Placebo effect and the no-placebo effect and what we think in terms of taking medications and how we take them on healing us.
It’s just unbelievable because they’ve shown in many cases that the actual medications themselves only have a limited healing potential, but when you synthesize the healing potential of the medications or whatever healing modality a patient is using or choosing, the power of the mind can double, triple, quadruple the healing effect.
It’s a huge one. One of my early mentors, a guy named Paul Check, way back in the early 2000’s said, “Health begins with a choice and you can choose to take the actions you need to take to become healthy or you can choose not to.” There are many factors that affect that decision-making process based on our conditioning from childhood all the way up to what we deem to be valuable and important to us in the here and now.
If you value your social life, going out, getting drunk, taking drugs, staying up all night, dancing, nightclubbing — kind of burning the candle at both ends — if that’s the best value that you have in your life and then someone like me comes along and says, “Well, in order for you to regain your wellness you’re going to need to stop doing that” then the likelihood is you’re not going to make that decision because it’s too painful for you to sacrifice what you really love doing, if that’s your highest value.
However, if you have a situation with a young mother who’s got two young kids to look after and she’s gradually losing her ability to be a good mom and her highest value is being a mom and she can see that by getting healthy she can become a good mom, she’s likely to make the decision to do whatever it takes to get healthy, no matter how much effort that takes on her part, no matter how much she has to spend, no matter how many tests she needs to do and all of those different things because she sees how important being healthy is.
One of the questions that I ask my clients when I start working with them is, who wakes up in the morning thinking I am going to dedicate my life today to Mrs. Jone’s getting healthy, reaching and getting the health goals, getting the results that she wants to achieve? And of course the answer is, nobody. Apart from that person herself, Mrs. Jones. Husband, kids, workmates, friends, none of them are waking up with the express intention of optimizing Mrs. Jones’ health and performance. It’s only Mrs. Jones who can do that.
The first step of becoming healthy and claiming that level of wellness and performance that we all desire is to actually own it and make the decision that it’s our responsibility. Yes the doctor can help, yes the osteopath can help, yes the dentist can help, the nutritionist can help, we can create a team around us of guides and helpers, but ultimately none of them can actually do their job optimally unless we own the fact that it’s our own control, our own empowered state that’s going to get us there.
I think that’s really, really important. That’s how the mind and the values all fit together to create a situation in which a person is ready to make the change.
OSMARA: Absolutely, absolutely. I was reading this book called “The Brilliant Function of Pain” and it’s pretty much the premise of the quote that I used in the beginning of the episode where pain, whether it be spiritual, mental, physical, emotional, it’s a feedback mechanism. It’s a way that the intelligence of our body and our being is trying to get our attention to look at what really matters and to look and to be more in tune with what is going on with our own selves.
I love what you said because when we are out of touch with our bodies we miss those signs and when we miss those signs, something that is a faint whisper of a symptom turns into a huge knock and if that doesn’t get our attention then it knocks us on our ass, literally.
That’s why I think it’s so important to have these tools so that we can go inward and turn our senses inward and really listen so we don’t miss the signs because I think that life is difficult enough with our family and our kids and our partners and the job and this and that and not to mention we are bombarded with emails and social media and all of these things that are vying for our attention.
If we get wrapped up into that we get into, what I call the autopilot epidemic, which is then because of these imbalances we start overeating or we start drinking too much or we start not sleeping enough, not moving our bodies, or moving our bodies too much. I think that at the crux of it all really is how do we stop the world out there so we can take a little bit of time to go inside and when we do that, amazing things happen.
DAVID: You know, the whole thing in life from my perspective is to try to empower my life and my clients in all the different areas of life whether it’s health and wellness, finances, spirituality and try to get them to see the bigger picture of why they’re here and what they want to achieve.
If you can get people focused on that, on their purpose, on the things that are important to them, the body changes remarkably and I’ve seen some of the biggest improvements in life of my clients when they’ve actually made decisions within their life, not lab testing, not nutrition changes, not diet changes, exercise or any of these other types of modality, but making decisions in their lives to do the things that they love to do and all of a sudden two months later they say, “you know what I feel a hell of a lot better.” That’s crazy. We didn’t have to even address what was found in the lab tests because we just got them to love what they’re doing and all of a sudden the symptoms went away.
So, this brings me to a perfect point which is I believe there are three points on a triangle and we all have our health challenges based on an interaction of these three points. I work predominantly on point one which is the biochemical side, the functional medicine side, the nutrients, the hormones, the neurotransmitters and what have you.
Then we also have the mechanical and structural point on the triangle which means if you have a problem with your spinal alignment and your posture and that’s causing a whole bunch of challenges in your body … if I give you a vitamin C supplement, that’s not going to change the way that your body is functioning if the real trigger is the structural issue that you have. That’s where you might have to see an osteopath or a chiropractor or somebody who can actually help realign you and to do some exercises to keep your alignment in place to keep you in place and keep you pain-free and healthy. We have to acknowledge that is a really important point of the triangle as well.
Then we also have the mental, emotional, spiritual side which is our beliefs. It’s how we … who we are and how we feel we relate to all the different levels of existence, to our family, to our community, to our country, to the world, to the galaxy, to the subatomic level as well which is getting really funky and how we really believe we fit in with all of that and what our purpose is in all of that and our values and our decisions on a day to day basis and what have you.
If that’s not right and we are really struggling with that area of our lives it’s going to probably upset the biochemistry and you may end up upsetting our posture because if we aren’t confident we will tend to slouch and that might then lead to spinal problems. So, all of those points on the triangle bounce off one another in two directions and it’s wise to consider all three of those points. I will regularly refer them out to other clinicians when I think one of my clients needs some help in another area, an area that’s not really in my expertise.
OSMARA: The immune system is such a funny thing and it responds to such funny things. For example, cuddling and hugging for long periods of time can actually boost our immune system. Laughing can strengthen our system. So many things that we take for granted and our physiology really impacts the state of our unseen world right where you were talking about the body is the systems and they’re all interrelated and not like all separated and cut up.
DAVID: Absolutely, absolutely. If you break the body down you obviously have — when you look at yourself in the mirror you have a human being that’s made of symptoms like the gastrointestinal system and the muscular system and then you break that down into its specific organs and glands and they are broken down into specific tissues which are made up of different cells and you break the cells down and they’re made up of organelles like a nucleus and cell membrane and then you break those down and they’re made up of macromolecules and then you have molecules and atoms and then beneath the atom you have your subatomic particles and then you have kind of mathematical equations beneath that and you start to just get into the world of energy and quantum physics and it starts to just mess with your mind because ultimately we can’t really argue with the science we’ve somehow uncovered through technology that we are really vibrating matters of energy.
So, we look like an entity, we can touch and feel ourselves physically, but when it breaks down we are really just atoms, subatomic particles and then mathematical equations and it gets really, really interesting. It starts to open up the mind to a whole new world that we previously weren’t aware of and it changes the way that we see ourselves in the world and in existence if you’d like.
I find this very fascinating and I find that a lot of people get really inspired when they start to look at things. You don’t have to go into huge amounts of detail, but just to learn this stuff and see there’s more to life than just what the media is telling and the day to day stresses and this whole thing is just a magnificent organized field of energy.
All of a sudden as that perception shifts. Their desire to be, do and have lots of new things in life that they previously didn’t believe was possible, kind of comes into their awareness and it’s life-changing and as they become aware of that, folks start to make wiser decisions and their health and wellness improves as a result of that, not to mention their relationships, finances and whatever else.
OSMARA: Yeah, absolutely. How you do one thing is how you do everything. The slightest little choice is a reflection of who we view ourselves to be and how you said, more importantly, how we see ourselves in relation to everything else.
DAVID: Absolutely and I think if there’s one final thing that I could say, one real heart-felt piece of advice that I could give to anybody who is listening it’s don’t wait until it’s too late. So, if you image the vitality scale where 0 is death and 10 is optimal vitality and say a 1, 2, and 3 are going to have chronic medically recognized diseases, a 4, 5 and 6 is where you’re feeling really lousy, but you don’t necessarily have a chronic disorder that the doctor can diagnose and then sort of a 7, 8, and 9 up to a 10 which is not easy to achieve is where you’re in pretty good health. Certainly at a 7 you’re probably in better health than the general population and 8’s and 9’s are generally feeling really good and a 10 is a health master — don’t know how many of them there really are.
We all still really have a health challenge here or there no matter how well we claim to be. The longer you leave it, the further down the vitality scale you fall, in general, the harder it’s going to be to get back up again — the more it’s going to cost financially and energetically to get back up again. So, it’s wise to consider functional medicine as a tool not only to improve wellness where it’s actually been declining but also to prevent that decline in the first place.
So, it’s available to anybody on the vitality scale whereas the medical system is really dealing with people and helping people who are already beneath the 5 on that scale. Functional medicine is a tool that can be used anywhere on the scale to improve wellness or to prevent future unwellness.
So, the overarching comment that I would really like to get across is, don’t wait until it’s too late. Take action, empower yourself, learn how to look after yourself, whether that’s with a functional orientated doctor, an integrated doctor, a nutritional therapist that practices functional medicine, a chiropractor that practices functional medicine. No matter who it is, arm yourself with a team that is going to help you optimize your body which ultimately is the vehicle of which you’re having your experiences.
OSMARA: Absolutely, absolutely. You’ve mentioned so many good nuggets that were going to put up a resource on the blog. For those of you that want to know more about the Hompes method and all these nuggets that you said. So, David this was awesome. Thank you so much for being here. I had a blast with you.
DAVID: I had a blast too. Thank you for having me and I hope everyone enjoys it.
OSMARA: Okay everybody, thank you for joining us. Tune in for next time. Until then, In Lakech.