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SuperFeast Podcast

Author: Mason J. Taylor

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Welcome to the SuperFeast Podcast! Join tonic herbalist and health educator Mason Taylor as we explore the magical world of Tonic Herbalism. We will explore the relevance of these ancient herbs and medicinal mushrooms in our modern culture of health to invigorate the body, restore organ health, create badass immunity and bring harmony to the hormones. Want to enhance performance, longevity, energy and radiance? Then dive in with us and learn why tonic herbal adaptogens have been used for millennia for this exact intention. So get ready to activate your SuperHuman health as we deliver this deep tonic herbal philosophy right your eardrums.
106 Episodes
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Mason and Tahnee (the dream team) join forces on the podcast today, to introduce us to Shen, the Third Treasure of the Daoist system. Mason and Tahnee reveal our new SuperFeast baby - the SHEN blend, journeying through the herbs present in the formula and the actions and virtues they afford us when we work in harmony with them. We're beyond thrilled to finally have our beloved SHEN blend launching ready for our SuperFeast community to explore, completing our propriety Treasure series, sharing the stage with our darling JING and QI blends. If you're new to the Three Treasures and want to learn more, check out our JING podcast here and QI podcast here. Mason has also written a brilliant article on the Three Treasure so you can read it here. Enjoy!  "Shen.. It's just you, without the bullshit"  - Mason & Tahnee   Mason and Tahnee discuss: The Three Treasures of the Daoist system. The treasure of Shen, what it is, how it is embodied. The East vs West approach to the mind, the Heart vs the brain. The importance of building strong foundations within the body in order to cultivate Shen. The healing profiles of the herbs in the new SuperFeast SHEN blend. When to use the SuperFeast SHEN blend and why. The difference between the Poria in our Masons Mushrooms and the Spirit Poria in our SHEN blend. Harvesting our Poria and why we source all our herbs Di Dao. The beautifying effects of the SHEN blend.   Who Are Mason Taylor and Tahnee McCrossin? Mason Taylor: Mason’s energy and intent for a long and happy life is infectious. A health educator at heart, he continues to pioneer the way for potent health and a robust personal practice. An avid sharer, connector, inspirer and philosophiser, Mason wakes up with a smile on his face, knowing that tonic herbs are changing lives. Mason is also the SuperFeast founder, daddy to Aiya and partner to Tahnee (General Manager at SuperFeast). Tahnee McCrossin: Tahnee is a self proclaimed nerd, with a love of the human body, it’s language and its stories. A cup of tonic tea and a human interaction with Tahnee is a gift! A beautiful Yin Yoga teacher and Chi Ne Tsang practitioner, Tahnee loves going head first into the realms of tradition, yogic philosophy, the organ systems, herbalism and hard-hitting research. Tahnee is the General Manager at SuperFeast, mumma to reishi-baby Aiya and partner to Mason (founder of SuperFeast).   Resources: The Video Of Mason Harvesting Poria In China   SuperFeast SHEN Blend Product Page Superfeast SHEN Blend Blog  Q: How Can I Support The SuperFeast Podcast?   A: Tell all your friends and family and share online! We’d also love it if you could subscribe and review this podcast on iTunes. Or  check us out on Stitcher, CastBox, iHeart RADIO:)! Plus  we're on Spotify!   Check Out The Transcript Here:   Mason: (00:01) Hey, everybody. Here with Tahns.   Tahnee: (00:02) Hi.   Mason: (00:03) So we're going to be talking about Shen today, Third Treasure.   Tahnee: (00:06) Mm-hmm (affirmative). Exciting time.   Mason: (00:08) Yeah. It's finally about the combination of the Three Treasures of blends in the superfoods range, so it's been awhile.   Tahnee: (00:15) Jing, Qi, and Shen.   Mason: (00:18) Very good, Tahns.   Tahnee: (00:18) I've been spending too much time with Aiya.   Mason: (00:21) Yeah, Daoism for kiddies.   Tahnee: (00:29) All right, boys and girls. Yeah, I think it's exciting because we really like this Daoist idea of Jing, Qi, Shen. It's such a great way to kind of view the body and our experience as a human on this earthly plane. The Jing holding our DNA and our kind of, I guess, connection to our ancestry and the strength of our constitution, our bones and our body and the Qi being the animation of that, the metabolism and the fire of our life and then Shen being that which is eliminated by those forces being in harmony, right?   Mason: (01:07) Yeah, exactly. I mean there's so many different ways. It's such a colourful conversation. I've been thinking about Jing, Qi, and Shen a lot lately and how to make them as something that doesn't seem theoretical like you have to remember, but something-   Tahnee: (01:21) Lived?   Mason: (01:22) Yeah, exactly. It's why metaphors are so good. It's why I've been enjoying talking about thinking if you take the human body and it's just a bunch of bones and DNA and hips and marrow. And you just lay it there and it's not moving and it's got all this potential, but in order for it to have potential, you need to put the batteries in and the batteries need to have charge. Batteries being the Kidneys, the Jing is so if you just take that human body and all its potential, it can't do anything yet, it's just pure physical potential, and then you plug the Jing in by putting the batteries in and they're charged batteries. They're not batteries that are Jing deficient, smashing coffees and absolutely flogging yourself. Put the batteries into the Kidneys and then all of the sudden, you have the rising of Qi.   Tahnee: (02:08) The lights go on.   Mason: (02:09) Exactly, the lights go on. Qi moves. That body can get up and animate and move around. Then to really drop into Shen and live and for me to be feeling Shen. Because I used to use analogies about the candle, which I still enjoy. Talking about it like this in the human body, then from there, if you just have potential in the physical body, the Jing, amazing. You've got life.   Tahnee: (02:31) Lights are on but nobody's home, right?   Mason: (02:34) Exactly. You're animating and you're moving, but where's the personality and the soul and the lessons and the enjoyment and all that? That's Shen, and that's why it's important, it's an important distinction that the spirit, because that's one spirit, your spirit can emerge from your heart, come through. Therefore, you have your soul present and you can become wiser and more virtuous. These are all things that are your Shen, and it's an important distinction that Daoism, Classical Chinese medicine before it was modernised and colonised in the 50s, to turn it into what's known as Traditional Chinese Medicine currently.   Mason: (03:11) The Spirit was cut away and definitely in the Western medicine, there's no Spirit that's present. It's just all... Literally a scalpel's gone and cut away the spiritual elements of medicine, but Shen, you can't really talk about health long term from a Daoist perspective or yogic perspective, any of these that will kind of have ancient roots, without acknowledging that the spirit and the spirit of organs and one's own soul and spirit, it's pivotal to understanding how we can become healthy long term.   Tahnee: (03:45) Mm-hmm (affirmative). It's funny you talk about analogies because I've been studying a bit with Nevine Michaan from Katonah Yoga, and she talks about the body as a house. And if you've got the architecture and the structure, which is your Jing effectively. And then you've got the lights on and you start to move in, that's the Qi. And then, if you make it a home, you make it a place where you want to be where it has a comforting essence of pleasure and joy and warmth, then that's the Shen.   Mason: (04:17) You weren't there on our last retreat at Tanya's when I used that exact analogy. I said, "Look at this room. This is the Jing. See how there's nice things and people. Put flowers over here and some incense on. It keeps it moving, the doors are open. That's the Qi. There's life moving through it. But then, only over years can laughter settle in, and oils settle in to the kitchen, that have actually been lived in."   Tahnee: (04:44) Yeah. And that's what makes something beautiful. And that's what the Daoists say. When someone's Shen is harmonised in their body, then they're lit up from within. And they're attractive, and they're expressed. They're just full of purpose and intention and presence, but it's not seeking or striving. It's just like a nice home where you go in and you're just... It's nice to be in their presence.   Tahnee: (05:12) I think that's such a beautiful way to think about it.   Mason: (05:15) You can't fake Shen. You definitely can't. You might be able to on Instagram, but not in real life.   Tahnee: (05:21) Well, I think when we look at what Shen even does, if you have a Shen disturbance manifesting as a symptom of anxiety, well that's the opposite of a comforting, safe environment. You don't feel safe. You feel unsettled and unhinged and stressed and out of alignment. Well that's a Shen disturbance. And so yeah, absolutely. We want to support this in ourselves and in others. And when we see it, when we recognise it in ourselves and in others, it's a nice thing to cultivate and build.   Tahnee: (05:56) And that's what all these practises are about. Meditation and even the Qi Gong and the cultivation exercises are about stabilising the Shen so that energy, that soul lives in the body and is expressed through this life. And then, we move on to whatever, higher points of consciousness, whatever you want to do. After that, it's up to you, guys. We're here for the Shen.   Mason: (06:17) Yeah, I've been talking about the fact that it comes when Shen is in harmony and able to consistently express itself. Obviously guys, at the end of this, you'll see Shen isn't something to be developed overnight. It's certainly not something you get. Everyone's just got their Shen, and it's highly correlated. It is literally like emerging from the Heart organ system, so the Heart Fire. So the Heart is the emperor organ. And all the other organs are essentially serving the emperor.   Mason: (06:51) When the Heart Fire Qi is flowing harmoniously... That's the idea behind the Shen herbs and all these practises, to ensure that we've got enough Blood so that the Shen can travel through the Blood. The Blood's Shen's home-away-from-home.   Tahnee: (07:07) Envoy.   Mason: (07:08) Heavy envoy.   Tahnee: (07:09) Take it around.   Mason: (07:10) To take it around to ensure that we're enlivening and bringing light and soulfulness and consciousness to every little area of our body. Tahns is just getting some water because water is needed to build Blood. These herbs and practises are also ensuring that we've got Qi tonics to support the movement of blood; therefore, the movement of Shen through the body because life requires movement. If the waters get stagnant, Blood gets stagnant, then we're not able to bring in life to ensure that there is a harmonious flow of the surrounding organs, which is all of them, but especially the Liver. We really want a smooth Liver flow, the Liver being the mother.   Mason: (07:51) The Liver-Wood, being the mother to the Heart Fire to ensure that... The Liver is ensuring that we've got strong strength through the capillaries and ensuring that we've got that uprightness so that Blood can move through and get through as well as Qi can get through and move through the body, as well as creating that suppleness, especially through those Blood vessels which means that we can bring curvature to the way that the Blood is moving, and therefore, cool the Blood down.   Mason: (08:19) And so, if you don't have those things, if you're stagnant, which is something I'm prone to, as you know, Tahns, if you're stagnant through your Liver Qi and especially if you lack that Yin and that suppleness through your Liver, Liver-Wood, then you're going to get a downstream effect where there's going to be a lot of Heat through the Blood, therefore, a lot of potential excess Fire.   Tahnee: (08:43) Yeah, when you think about friction, right? If you're rigid, so this is a thing. The Blood moves in spirals or vortexes. When you go and check out Gil Hedley's work, he talks about the heart not being a pump but being a valley where the vortex water layer... It's just spring water does in nature.   Mason: (09:00) Creating more of an implosion suction.   Tahnee: (09:03) Yeah. Exactly. More like your circulatory organ than a pumping organ. And if you think about rigidity, if you think about the vessels becoming really rigid and you think about a movement along that, rigidity creates this friction which creates Heat in the body. And so, that's not idea. That's going to burn up your Fluids. It's going to create all sorts of implications down the track.   Tahnee: (09:26) And yeah, the Hun as well. There's a spirit in the Liver called the Hun which can invade the Heart, can invade the Shen and cause mental disturbances and the psychological aspects of that. So when we're looking at a Shen, harmonised Shen in a human is like a person who's healthy mentally and not got a lot of psychological disturbances. But when we do have these imbalances, we can end up with the Liver invading the Heart. We can end up with all sorts of troubles.   Mason: (09:58) So the Hun is the part of our... It's more of our infinite Spirit guys, that travels after this lifetime, the Spirit that goes on.   Tahnee: (10:07) Yeah. Well I always think of the Shen as my universal consciousness, the part of me that came down to be, to animate the form. My Shen is that. My Hun is my astral self, so the part of me that can travel the realms. And it's one thing to take it to a really advanced, philosophical level. But the way it works in the body is why we're here. We want a clear path for consciousness, a clear channel for consciousness to come through. And it shines out of us. That's the idea.   Tahnee: (10:44) And then, this Hun is meant to keep connecting us to this astral self that can live beyond the physical realms, I suppose. So it's the creative. It's the vision. It's the future seeing. It's time doesn't exist because I live in all time.   Mason: (11:03) Yeah. Part of our intention here is to bring our higher consciousness, our Shen, and bring it through and crack it through into this reality that we're at now. What I was talking about, all the things that these practises and Shen herbs do in bringing a smooth flow of that hot Fire Qi, ensuring that we've got a smooth flow of the Liver cooling the Blood, so and so forth, stabilising the Heart.   Mason: (11:26) What happens then, the Heart as the emperor that all the other organs serve, that is when you get a smooth flow of Qi through that organ system, that's when the spirit of that organ system may express itself. So it's the same when we have a smooth flow of Qi through the Liver, then the Hun may express itself.   Mason: (11:47) If you have disturbance, if you have Heart Fire disturbance, what happens is it's like frustration that's going to get expressed from the Liver, but I just use that term. It's frustrating for the Qi. And then Shen's going to... The spirit of that organ system is not going to be able to express clearly. And therefore, we're going to see that expressed in anxiousness, mental disturbance, depression, insomnia. And then, going down the line, psychosis, so and so forth.   Mason: (12:23) As you know, you can see the Shen is the window... The eyes are the window to the Shen or to higher consciousness or to the soul, as we say. This is what our Daoist herbs are doing. This when you need to be working with someone clinically if you have this level of psychosis or mental disturbance. But you can see as someone moves down that line of having extreme anxiety, extreme depression, mental disturbance, and psychosis, you see the eyes starting to glaze over or to grey or to dull, and that's where Daoist would immediately go, right there's a direct Shen disturbance.   Mason: (13:06) And then, you'd need appropriate diagnosis at those points.   Tahnee: (13:10) Well that's when you lose your grip with reality. Right? And that's the Hun because the Liver's also the outward expression of... I would say they eyes are the outward expression of the Liver. I don't understand the psychology of TCM as well as I would like to, but from what I understand, the Hun... Because the Liver does invade and overtake the Shen, we sort of lose touch with reality. Because that sort of sense of schizophrenia and a lot of those... Because Chinese medicine doesn't talk about symptoms or diseases like we do in the West. It talks about patterns that would be Liver Heat or Liver invading Spleen or whatever.   Tahnee: (13:57) But what I understand is something like a schizophrenic episode would be literally a case of the Hun becoming more dominant. Or when you have poor Blood to anchor the Hun, you don't sleep well, and you have wild dreams where your Hun will wake you up, Liver will wake you up in the middle of the night at 1:00. That's a really common thing we hear here in customer service a lot of the time.   Tahnee: (14:20) It's like, "I wake up every night between 1:00 and 3:00."   Tahnee: (14:23) And it's like, "Oh well, that's a sign that you probably don't have enough Blood to anchor the Hun, so you're not getting a really good sleep. So when it starts to move, that Liver time, it wakes you up because it's such a burst of Yang energy through the body."   Tahnee: (14:38) So the psychological stuff's super interesting and definitely something I'm still learning a lot about. But just understanding these kind of energies that animate us and create our experience is really interesting. So we would not look at... Even when we go to talk about the herbs and what they do from a Daoist expertise, if you nourish the Fire, if you nourish the essence of the Heart, if you work with that energy, if your intention and your presence and your practise is about that, it's going to feed it.   Tahnee: (15:11) I know Tony Robbins hijacked it, but intention, Qi, Blood, those things all follow one another. I think it's where your energy intentionally goes, your energy follows.   Mason: (15:21) Where the mind goes, energy flows.   Tahnee: (15:25) Yes. That ability to focus your intention, your energy, your mind. And then, let your energy follow that. And then, your Blood will follow that because Blood follows Qi. That's how you do a Qi Gong practise. That's how you do even when you practise the medicine. You have to be so focused on so present because you're conducting the flow of Qi and the flow of Blood. You're giving Shen to that practise, whether it's your Qi Gong practise or your healing practise or your herbal practise.   Tahnee: (15:52) So intention is such an important part of what we do of Shen because it's bringing Shen into your life.   Mason: (15:59) And guys, when we're looking at Shen, the mind is put in there in terms of the definition, within the definition. And it's kind of like the mind is definitely a tool used in the personality. It's something that's used in order to express our personality, process what's going on in life so that we can gain more and more wisdom, when Tahns talking about being there and being a practitioner bringing Shen to the table.   Mason: (16:26) In order to offer a healing space for someone, people around you, be a good person, be less of an asshole, I think we'd all agree that continuing to cultivate our virtuous nature, which isn't an easy thing to do but it is considered a dividend of developing your Shen, that you cultivate those that are associated with strong Shen. Forgiveness, compassion, love, like deep love, deep gratitude, and the capacity to really have that virtuous nature be a part of yourself.   Mason: (17:07) And so, the mind and Shen have an interesting relationship. Because if you are extremely Shen deficient, and if you're shying away from that part of yourself which is more than just the physical, then you see the mind take over the show more and more. And therefore, you move into this place of the way that you get virtuous, you have less... You put a glass ceiling on yourself, I find, in terms of your capacity to really tap into your higher self. And over years and decades of work, have that higher consciousness emerge through your organ systems and be embodied so that forgiveness and that love and that gratitude is something that's just... You don't have to think about it. It's just there, and it's just dripping from you. And that's when you see that in 90 year-olds and 100 year-olds.   Mason: (18:02) They just come to work, and they're just legends. And they're just beautiful white lights to be around. And you see when you don't do that work or don't allow that more mystical aspect of yourself that the mind can't grasp, whether you really want to go into Daoist thought or be religious or spiritual or whatever it is, it doesn't matter. Just let go, just that little bit. Then the mind needs to go into morality.   Mason: (18:23) And so, you do the right thing and be forgiving. Whereas, Shen is where you start to dissolve any sense of right and wrong. And when you can move into that place and get to that, when you can get away from wrong and right, you really do have an opportunity to discover that part of yourself which is virtuous that's outside of the morality and the right and wrong of what you're current clique is telling you, how you should be and how you should be a good person.   Tahnee: (18:53) That reminds me of Rumi, "Out beyond the idea of right doing and wrong doing, there is a field, and I will meet you there." It's just like my teacher says the more spiritually aware you become, the less you'll subscribe to cancel culture and woke movements and all of this stuff because we start to see that everything, depending on your perspective, exists in shades of grey. There's no... I could say I'm right, but I could just as easily say you're right, really if I start to think about it.   Tahnee: (19:27) I think one thing I wanted to quickly make the distinction on too is the mind as in the brain, and the mind as in the Heart. Because in Daoist thought, the Heart is the mind, but it's not how we think about mind. So we think about the cognitive machine that whirls around in our heads which is more associated with the Kidneys. In Chinese medicine, it's called the Sea of Marrow. So it's literally an extension-   Mason: (19:54) The brain.   Tahnee: (19:55) Yes, so the brain is literally an extension of the marrow in your bones. It's kind of this blood-filled goopy thing floating around in your skull. And if you think about your skull as being a bone, it could really be the marrow because it's literally encased in bone on most sides. But yeah, the Heart is more the perceiving mind that is beyond that logical idea of things being rational. Because if you've ever had even a kind of heart-based experience, it's not a rational experience. It's sublime, and it's feeling-based. And it's intuitive, and it's everything that the mind is not.   Tahnee: (20:37) So there's this... I guess the best analogy I have is from yoga, but it's this idea that yeah, we have the functions of the mind which are useful and essential. We can't get through life without them, and great, but we don't want to live there and limit ourselves to that. We want to remember that there's this bigger self that is perceiving all of this and living all of this as well, and that can hold all of this even though the little mind might not think it can.   Tahnee: (21:05) And that to me, is sort of what Shen and the Heart hold in our... No matter how much weird shit goes on around us or what traumas we experience, there's this part of us that's bigger than all of that that can hold it. Like I said, the language I have for this is more out of yoga than out of Daoism, but I've seen this stuff in the Daoist texts as well. From working with Mantak Chia, I know that he also speaks about these things too. That's kind of the big, capital S, self. So that's what the Heart really projects, I suppose, and holds for us in this lifetime.   Tahnee: (21:40) So it takes us out of this small s, selfish self that has greed and wants to be pissed off at someone and wants to be right, and wants to be at war with the world in some ways. The best example of that I think of is a meta-meditation, like a Buddhist where you make all beings be happy. And then, make people that hate be happy, people that are evil be happy.   Tahnee: (22:04) It's this kind of practise where you practise being grateful and being compassionate to people you would normally not like to yourself, which is a massive thing for a lot of people. "can I truly be loved and be happy?" So I just wanted to distinguish between the mind and the brain which we would naturally link to as Westerners, having been raised in our culture and the mind to be the Heart, which from an Eastern perspective, is a little bit more out there and broad and big.   Mason: (22:34) Yeah. Well the taking of Shen herbs, I'm glad you brought that up. And just to keep it really simple, it is associated with the Shen herbs if you are feeling what we call that monkey mind, you'll find that through developing Shen and through taking Shen herbs and focusing on bringing your virtuous nature through. I find it to become evident, we all have this experience. But especially we can think about having a chip on our shoulder.   Mason: (23:05) In business, it's the best dojo, having resent towards competitors or someone that's wronged me. I'm not saying it takes... Forgiveness isn't something that just is done. The capacity needs to be developed. And over the years, I've experienced that nature of, "Do I really want to live with this resentment of someone because they're ripping this off, or they're not doing it the way that I think they should be doing it?"   Mason: (23:36) And it's the classic, spiritual one-on-one lesson that you're the one that needs to live with it. I don't need to live with it. But in order to calm yourself enough, just quiet that monkey mind. And as well, go through and do that deep work over decades and decades so that the monkey mind can be quiet to begin with. You see the pay off. You can see why the Daoists are like, "Yeah look, of course we need a strong body. We start with Jing, and we start with a strong body so that the Qi can move, and we want to cultivate lots of Qi and life."   Mason: (24:10) But what's the point if you don't develop your Shen and your virtuous nature? The reason we do that, the reason we want to be athletic and athletically apt is because you see a lot of people say, for example, a lot of people whose parent here. You'll see they'll get to 60, say 65 or 70, and there is just no way they've got the Jing and the Qi to get in there and do some deep psychological work and create forgiveness or get off the right or wrong. So just say politically, be able to get to the point where they can open up and take more of a broad view of life for their capacity to be happy, not have a monkey mind, not have resentfulness.   Mason: (24:54) And therefore, it kind of goes a little bit further with the dysfunction, if you don't develop your Shen. All of the sudden, you're stuck with your dysfunctions. You haven't developed a virtuous nature, and therefore, you become one that projects onto children, other family members, society, "This is what's wrong. This is why I'm right." Or you become extremely timid and don't have the capacity to stand for yourself and express your spirit. And it's an absolute, to be really blunt.   Mason: (25:24) I don't think it's right or wrong that people end up that way. But when you look at an objective level, if you have people who don't go into maturation, which is what Shen is, a lot of wisdom, then you become a burden. Right? And you become someone that projects, and it's not my job to be like, "That person's making me a victim."   Mason: (25:47) That's not what I'm saying. But if I'm saying from myself, if I got to the point where I'm 70 and I've got my anger issues that I haven't really worked on, "I don't like being judged," I know how much of a problem I'm going to be and a drain I'm going to be for Aiya. And that's really a harrowing feeling, and the Daoist and all these wise cultures saw that's the point. I don't care how big your muscles are, how much Qi you've got in your Spleen, if you can't really embody compassion, then what was it for?   Tahnee: (26:22) That's interesting because this phase of life... I think I'm right on this. I think earlier, when you're a little kid, you're in the Wood phase. And we're in the Fire phase now which is really about the soul learning through living and learning through trial and error and making mistakes. And it is kind of like a student-ship of the soul, ideally. And it's interesting given our culture how little people invest in their own spiritual development, I guess. I'm sure the people in these podcasts are slightly different, but in general, it's just not really a priority for people until they get a lot older. And like you said, the baggage is so heavy by then, yoga talks about every experience we have creating an impression. And if you dig the same line 100 times in the sand, it becomes a very deep line, and it's very hard to get rid of.   Tahnee: (27:12) And I think that's these kind of... You see people as they age becoming really stuck on certain ideas or certain things just loop and loop. It's because early on, when they had the opportunity, I think, to become conscious of that and to start to shift their perspective and their behaviour and their patterns, they've chosen not to do that. And the Bhagavad Gita talks about you want to put the reins on the horse and teach the horse. And then, learn to control the horse so it pulls the chariot in the right direction, not too fast, not too slow. And that's what I think this Shen stage of life is about.   Tahnee: (27:48) And then, we hit the declining... Oh sorry. I think we're always ascending. We hit the declining years, and then we hit the deep wisdom years in the 70's. And all of the things have to happen for us to end up there. And I think that's where-   Mason: (28:03) A lot of opportunity's lost.   Tahnee: (28:04) Yeah. If you've just hustled and made sure there's money and done your thing and whatever, you've not spent a lot of time on yourself and worked through your own stuff that you've brought through, which we all have. That's part of living. Then, you're going to end up in a bit of a shit fight later on, I think. And I think that's a lot of the people I talk to with menopause and when I spoke to Jane Hardwicke Collins about this. We talked about how women have that transition period in their late 40's, early 50's where suddenly their life catches up with them. And they realise all the places where they've bent over and not given to themselves first, and where they've been taken for granted or prioritised the things that weren't in service to them.   Tahnee: (28:53) That's the teaching of that time, and it's an invitation. The Blood has stopped. The Blood remains in the body, and that's when the Shen really rises in a woman if she's willing to meet it. But it means looking at all the things that are uncomfortable and all the things... Shen isn't all just sunshine and rainbows unfortunately. Sometimes for it to shine through, like you're saying, we have to do a bit of work. Peel away some of the layers.   Tahnee: (29:15) And that's why meditation is correlated with Shen building. It's being able to sit there. And again, I don't know the Daoist language for this, but in yoga, you've got the higher mind and the lower mind. And the lower mind is always there. It's not like you're calling it, the monkey mind. It's just monkeys are monkeys. No point trying to stop a monkey, but you don't want to live from that place. You want to live like you're watching the monkey and going, "What a funny monkey," and giving it a banana and being kind to it, but knowing that monkeys will do what monkeys will do.   Tahnee: (29:48) And living in this higher place that takes a bit of practise because A, it's not common in our culture. It's not really celebrated to not be easily reactive, and people love drama. How much do people love drama? Netflix is just drama to the enth degree, and it's fun.   Mason: (30:07) Drama's fun.   Tahnee: (30:07) It is fun. But it also catches us, and it spirals us through these emotional things. And it really can be damaging to our health.   Mason: (30:15) Well it's distracting. I think the biggest thing, if you start looking at the fact that you've got... You're saying we're in our 30's. We've got a good 10 years to dive in there and maybe do some therapy or do some... For me, it's do some integrating from a crazy amount of plant medicine I did in my late 20's and actually allow that to maturate into something. Consistently catch myself, consistently make decisions about where I dramatise. And just get in there and get really gritty. And you only have a certain amount of time.   Mason: (30:48) I'm not saying we're not allowed to do anything that's completely entertaining or total drama-dom.   Tahnee: (30:53) Well it's supposed to burn.   Mason: (30:54) Yeah, exactly.   Tahnee: (30:55) It's meant to be fun as well.   Mason: (30:55) Exactly. Oh, god to be meant to be fun. But in terms of just how distracted we let ourselves go, without going into morality, it's right or it's wrong kind of thing. But at some point, you go, "Shit, I better get on the horse here and develop myself a little bit."   Mason: (31:14) So the nature of meditation, the nature of why the Daoists saw Shen herbs... These are the herbs that tonify the organs associated with Shen, mainly the Heart, Heart Fire. But also, we're seeing the correlation between Shen tonics, Liver-Wood tonics. And then, you see some supporting herbs in there that are doing some work on the Spleen and Lung, and then, the Kidneys of course. Because you were talking about the lower mind and the upper mind, being the Kidney associated with that monkey mind.   Mason: (31:52) You can't really correlate the way the mind is seen the West with the way the Daoists see it.   Tahnee: (31:56) Oh yeah, where the brain is the Kidney.   Mason: (31:58) Exactly. So if the brain is the Kidney, and then the Heart is our higher thinking and our Shen, that's why there's herbs like polygala root that are in the SHEN blend that are actually running along the psychic vessel, the penetrating vessel from the Kidney to the Heart in order to connect those two styles of thought and bring sexual energy and bring a virtuous way of relating to our sexual energy, and merging that with the heart. It's also called our Will Strengthener, and it brings pure will power to our way of being.   Mason: (32:31) So you'll see herbs like polygala being some of the most potent Shen tonics because it brings a calming effect, not because it's a carminative, not because it down regulates the nervous system, but because you come integrated in a way. That without, you're not going to be able to spiritually develop yourself because you've got this drive and this sexual hunger and this power to create. Yet, that's not merging necessarily as smoothly as it could with this loving, forgiving, jovial, non-judgmental, non right and wrong, non shame-based way of living.   Mason: (33:06) And so it's really just calming. So these Shen herbs, you can see quite often, you start taking a herb like reishi, many people have felt it, but especially if you take SHEN blend with herbs like polygala. You can immediately feel, due to all the various actions, a calming effect. And that's good, but we're not taking this so you can be calm today. The idea of the SHEN blend and Shen herbs is we're going to be taking them either sporadically or over time. Maybe it's week on, week off, however. I don't know how you're going to take it.   Mason: (33:41) But in conjunction with meditation, doing your work, doing your practise, showing up with self, going to therapy, just being real. Taking that trajectory towards being someone who is, in their older age, able to have a laugh and a sense of humour. When life hits them, have water go off a duck's back. What happens if you lose a million dollars? Are you going to be able to let that go?   Tahnee: (34:06) Well that's the thing with the Heart because it's so much about... So the Heart has four... Normally in Chinese medicine, all the organ systems are in pairs. But the Heart is two pairs, four in total. And it's administrative role of the Triple Burner, the San Jiao, which is about regulating temperature and fluids across the three Dan Tien. So around your Heart-Lungs, around your digestive function, around your reproductive function. So that's one aspect of it.   Tahnee: (34:35) Then you've got the Small Intestine, which is about the ability to be discerning. So that's a really important function of the Heart, not judge but to just discern, to know the difference between what's true and what isn't true, it's own perception, which is assimilative and eliminative, getting rid of, a function of the Small Intestine. And then you've got this pericardium which is this protection around the Heart because the heart gets damaged by our interactions with humans.   Tahnee: (35:06) If we get heartbroken or even if we're just treated poorly in any way, every little cut starts to go deeper and deeper. And so, that's so much of the Fire years. Like I said, the human is also learning to relate and learning to forgive and not be hurt by our interactions with each other and to find the people or the types of people that are going to be the most suited to us, and this idea of remaining open-hearted throughout our lives.   Tahnee: (35:40) And that's something you see again in older people that have been hurt. They close off from love. They close off from receiving any goodness from anyone because they've been hurt once, or twice, or three times. So that's one of the offerings of working with the Heart energy and Fire energy, to stay in the space of open-hearted-ness and to remember that the Heart is protected. It has this whole meridian designed just to protect it from overheating, from being hurt, from being damaged.   Tahnee: (36:09) And when we do get broken-hearted, to honour that, and to let ourselves time to heal instead of rushing on. So I think that sometimes the Shen can get hidden when we've become so damaged that we won't let ourselves be seen.   Mason: (36:25) So heart-broken.   Tahnee: (36:26) Yeah. It's a classic thing, but this is just our relating and our ability. If you think about a saint, they're able to sit with anyone and not judge. The leper comes to Jesus, and he's like, "I love you. I love you like my child." The rich billionaire, fat person, the whatever, everyone comes, and they don't care. They sit there, and they love them. And there's no judgement , and there's no story.   Tahnee: (36:54) They accept things for what they are, and that's something that is an offering, I guess, of this Heart energy. So yeah, that's what I thought would be a useful thing to remember. As well, it's our relating and our inter-relating, and our joy in being social and being with others and being a part of a tribe. And again, it's what these years are about. Finding our tribe, finding the people that we want to be with, finding our place in the world, finding the people we want to share our lives with.   Mason: (37:27) And remember that there's no definition. We're not looking at important... I can feel Tahns is really honing in and giving you an example of what the pure energy of Shen is terms of a saint. That is within us, but integrated with all the other parts of our body. That's there and can be purely expressed while you're a smart ass, while you're just enjoying what's... You don't have to walk around being-   Tahnee: (37:51) Yeah. Whatever your personality is.   Mason: (37:52) Exactly.   Tahnee: (37:53) And most saints are very funny, give them half a chance. That's Buddha, you have a sense of humour. I think people forget that the cosmic joke is very funny.   Mason: (38:07) One of the virtuous things when you're high in Shen is extreme political incorrectness.   Tahnee: (38:13) I've never met a Daoist that wasn't funny, ever. They've all been f-ing hilarious.   Mason: (38:18) Uh-huh (affirmative). So Shen herbs, the way they're going to generally work is to bring a stability to the way that Fire rages. Remember, Tanz was talking about being comfortable within your body. It's like the fire in the hearth, the fire in our home, that is the Heart. And if it's raging too high or if it's erratic, it's going hot and cold. And when you think about it, you're sitting next to that fire. The flames are licking out. You're not going to be able to sit next to it.   Mason: (38:49) Now, that's your Shen. Your Shen is you, your Spirit, sitting next to the fire in that home. And if it's raging, it's going to be start and a bit fiery itself. And it's not going to be able to sit there and be calm. You're not going to be able to have calm emotions. You're going to have erratic emotions. You're going to have an erratic mindset. You're going to be cracked out.   Mason: (39:07) If it's too cold, how are you going to really... You're really cold long enough, you are not going to allow joy in your life. You're not going to be able to express it. And that's what Shen is about as well. So a lot of these Shen herbs are about bringing a stability to that Fire. And that stability, a lot of the time, is coming directly through the Heart, maybe moving the water Qi from under the heart in the case of spirit poria.   Mason: (39:33) Pearl, a great stabiliser, especially because it's a real cold herb for the Liver Yin. Therefore, it's going to ensure that we don't have this excess Fire, Yang, within the Liver-Wood, which is going to create these brittle branches that are then going to excessively feed the Fire very fast. We have suppleness and cooling within the Liver-Wood so that we don't have as much Fire. And Wood being fed into the Fire; therefore, we're more stable.   Mason: (40:01) And then the other way that they work, they're basically nourishing of the Shen. So the reishi mushroom, the asparagus root, the albizia flower, these are Shen nourishers. And so, that's literally about cultivating that Fire and going and building in a way that's going to be burning appropriately for the season. And this is why our practises, our spiritual practises, our meditation, the way that we're interacting with nature and our emotions, it needs to be seasonal. Because you remember, everything is really coming down to us developing Shen.   Mason: (40:40) And different seasons, you need your Fire to be doing different things that requires you acting in very different ways. Remember, all organs and practises are essentially serving the emperor of the Heart eventually. So just being aware of that and remembering Shen, developing your own Shen. Getting to know you and your Shen, you're going to keep on hitting brick walls in terms of being the way you think you should be, the way you think is virtuous. And you might have to go and do some... You might have to have some real dark nights of the soul as you go along. And they get easier as you go along to really learn, "Well, that's just not going to happen. This is the nature of who I am and how I act. I'm going to have to go and deal with it and express myself in a way that isn't the Disney version or the picture-perfect way."   Mason: (41:23) And if you can do that on the other side of it, there's this ease where all the crap, more and more... It's never perfect, I'm being idealistic. But more and more, all the crap falls off you like water off a duck's back. And there's some things with us, and now it's a funny time to bring up relationships since I just put that post up on Instagram about us quitting SuperFeast and being an official power couple.   Mason: (41:49) But one thing I've just noticed, like most relationships, it's always the amount of Shen you can develop in a relationship... And it's chalk and cheese if you look four years ago to something you'd say, and I'd take it personally and bring it up in a hostile way. Verse now, if you bring it up, a lot of the time it can just be, like I said, water off a duck's back.   Mason: (42:15) And the same with you. I can feel adjustments to the way that you say things, and I feel less and less when you bring them up. I don't feel them as injustices. Not all the time, but I can bring things up a little, with a little bit less charge and a little bit more forgiveness. And I tried doing it the right way for a couple of years and being a better man, and it just wasn't working. I had to go in and be like, "Far out, what's actually going on here?"   Mason: (42:42) And sure enough, after a while, as everyone's experienced with relationships and at work and with their children, things start smoothing out a little bit more. And since we've all had the experience of seeing ourselves develop and potentially becoming less erratic or less timid or something like that, you just go, "Wow, I've got the opportunity to take this and run with it, make this the main driver of my life to make sure I end up as an 80 or 90 year-old that's super functional and fun to be around, or at least carries a little bit of wisdom, has the energy and the capacity to share my wisdom and be a joy to be around."   Mason: (43:20) That's why the Shen herbs... That's why reishi was depicted in Heaven by the Daoists. It's why the Shen herbs were considered... They were the most revered. And it's why they were the ones that would eventually be consumed the most. You can just get yourself and your lifestyle set where you're developing your Jing, and you're not leaking a battery. Easy. You've just got your sleep practises, cool. Eventually, you don't have to think about that quite as much.   Mason: (43:50) And the same as Qi. You've got your practises. You've got your Qi Gong. You're allowing your emotions to move smoothly. You're eating an appropriate amount, appropriate for the body. You've got deep breathing going on. You're spending time in the sun. You're charging. You're developing that Qi. Then, you're free to just go in and actually just consistently work on your Shen. It's always where it ends up. It seems boring in the beginning of the journey. But at some point, you're like, "God, this is where it's at."   Tahnee: (44:26) Boring to whom? I think it's such a pleasant outcome, I suppose. When you start to feel like you've integrated and settled and grounded, and obviously a continuing process. But I remember the first time I took reishi. I think I took it to... It wouldn't have been vipassan. It must have been a non-vipassana, but it was a 10-day retreat. I think it was a tantric retreat in Thailand. But just the grace of the herb with the practises, it was just so beautiful and really connecting to yourself in that way, I think there's something really beautiful about when you start to experience your Shen. It's definitely not boring. I think there's an ideological thing, perhaps it's a little bit virtuous sounding. And a bit like, "Oh."   Mason: (45:27) It sounds wanky.   Tahnee: (45:28) Yeah. I get that.   Mason: (45:29) Me too.   Tahnee: (45:29) I definitely thought that as well sometimes. But I think the lived experience of it is really beautiful. And when you're living in that place, even if it's for periods of time as it becomes more integrated, you tend to sort of move in and out of your own evolution. I'm sure many of you can relate to that. But yeah, there's this real beauty and grace in sitting and resting in that kind of awareness of the Heart. You look at all the traditions from the Christian traditions, I may argue that they all came from the same place, possibly the Vedas. But they're pointing to this union of fire and water, this Heart, Kidneys, the Daoist example of this.   Tahnee: (46:17) And yeah, when we've nourished ourselves on this level, which many of you have working with Jing herbs, and working with changing lifestyles and building more functional ways of being, and you start with herbs. Herbs in the SHEN blend or just Shen herbs in general, it's a very quick and powerful transition, I suppose, into that more conscious state, without sounding like a total douche.   Mason: (46:48) But you're easy to be around.   Tahnee: (46:49) Yeah.   Mason: (46:50) Way easier to be around. And the whole factor, we talk about personality. Because we're not talking about an idealistic way of being or a spiritual way of being.   Tahnee: (47:00) It's just you.   Mason: (47:01) It's just you. That's the whole point of it.   Tahnee: (47:03) Without the bullshit.   Mason: (47:04) Without the bullshit. We can't reiterate that enough. And I think everyone has to go through their experience of trying to develop themselves towards an ideological way of being. To think, "I'm going to be accepted by this little cult here if I act in this way." And that doesn't just count towards spiritual hand-on-heart stuff, which for some people, that's-   Tahnee: (47:25) Their truest expression.   Mason: (47:28) Exactly. But it's in all manner of ways. The guy who's working on Wall Street and thinks that he's gotta be a hustler and work that way his entire life. It's same deal. Its just like, "Pop your head out of ideology a little bit. Maybe you have to stop being so Jing deficient to begin with. Get your lifestyle where I can see you can have some Qi. And all of sudden, you've got the energy to actually get some Shen coming, developing, and cracking through."   Mason: (47:50) And that's what the Shen character is, the written character. It's the sun, moon, and stars with a rope coming up to them. The two hands pulling down to signify the connecting of the supernatural and that part of ourselves that's way beyond this.   Tahnee: (48:09) Yeah, highest consciousness.   Mason: (48:11) Bringing it down here and merging it with us. So you're going to like this blend, guys. It tastes bloody delicious.   Tahnee: (48:19) Which is lucky because Shen herbs are bitter usually.   Mason: (48:22) Yeah. And of course, we've got reishi in there as a big one. It's the queen of the mushies. So you can already see, it's going to be working on the nervous system, immune system, Kidneys, Liver health. It's going to be doing a bunch of other things. But in terms of calming the monkey mind, bringing some calmness to yourself, less erraticness in the emotions, giving you the capacity to express a bit more happiness and develop that Shen and everything else that we've talked about. Go deeper in meditation. For some of you, it's going to be really, really good for sleep.   Mason: (48:53) We've had a couple of people who have just been atrocious with their sleep. And Shen's been able to come in quite immediately and help them go super deep with continued usage. For others, it's not a sleep blend. For some people, when you get your Shen expressing, perhaps too quick sometimes, the dreams can become quite out there. Some people love it.   Tahnee: (49:20) Especially if you're Blood deficient, I think.   Mason: (49:22) Yeah.   Tahnee: (49:23) Yeah. It's good to check up with a practitioner if you're not sure.   Mason: (49:28) Don't try and treat any kind of psychosis or extreme insomnia or depression or anything with this SHEN blend. And we're not just saying that as a disclosure.   Tahnee: (49:41) Disclaimer, yeah.   Mason: (49:42) I said disclosure. No, that's like a UFO podcast is next. Talk to your practitioner. But the Shen herbs can be used in conjunction with other treatments you're doing. But just go slow with it. But reishi's in there, so of course, that's just opening the heart wide open. I'm very excited that a bunch of you... Another major herb in the blend is the albizia flower. It comes from the tree of happiness.   Mason: (50:05) This flower is an absolute shining light. You just smile. I smile when I look at it. It's just a great mood elevator. And then we've got asparagus root as the third major herb in there.   Tahnee: (50:22) She's a legend.   Mason: (50:23) Yeah, shatavari's a legend. And so, there's a lot going on, integrate hormone regulator, integrate Jing tonic in itself. But asparagus root was used by the Daoists in order to allow us to fly. And so, with our meditations and in life, the idea is in life, if something happens and shit's hitting the fan, you're going to be able to fly up, rise above the situation. Look down, get a more of a bird's eye view so that you're not just reacting to it down on this animalistic level, this reptilian level.   Mason: (50:52) And it's the same in your meditations. You bring this buoyancy so you can fly through yourself with greater ease and just get a couple of, "Ah yeah, all right. I can see how I'm doing that and doing that." Such a great herb. But that's the one sometimes people... I don't think you like that at night.   Tahnee: (51:09) I was laughing because it makes me fly at night, only if I take large doses. I remember taking three teaspoons one night, and I was up till about 4:00 in the morning.   Mason: (51:19) Jesus.   Tahnee: (51:19) Do not do that at home.   Mason: (51:21) Oh I'm sorry. I wasn't Jesus in exclamation. I was just like, "I'm pretty sure that's what Jesus did when he went to India and studied his spiritual practises." But whatever.   Mason: (51:29) And then, we've got some more support, a secondary, bringing in spirit poria. So spirit poria, medicinal mushroom, bringing in that secondary medicinal mushroom magic.   Tahnee: (51:41) Not to be confused with regular poria.   Mason: (51:41) No, it's a much more precious, I guess I'd say. Poria's one of my favourite herbs by far. Spirit poria is the sclerotium that makes up about sometimes 10, 20% of the actual... You break off the fruiting body-   Tahnee: (52:03) Which is regular poria.   Mason: (52:04) Which is regular poria growing off the pine. The mushroom was inoculated into the pine, then put under dirt. But right there, normally you can't get access to the mycelium, the body, the inside. But with spirit poria, that is just that 10% or maybe 20% where it's emerging from the pine. And it's in that transformation. It's in that process of transforming the pine.   Mason: (52:31) And you can also get to access to the body, which you can't get in the wild of any other herb. And so, it's got this otherworldly quality. So it's got all the Qi, Spleen tonifying-   Tahnee: (52:43) Functions.   Mason: (52:44) Water metabolism functions and immunological functions. But it's just got this additional bringing of transformational light into the Heart.   Tahnee: (52:54) So just a quick fun fact, because chaga is also a sclerotium. So that means they aren't true mushrooms in terms of the actual expressed fruiting body, which is what you would normally get. So just for people that are interested. Because I think a lot of the time, we say chaga mushroom, we say spirit poria mushroom. And we say that because it's easier than saying chaga sclerotium and explaining that to someone. But this is what makes these particular herbs really special, chaga and spirit poria because you can't really cultivate sclerotium.   Tahnee: (53:33) Chaga's never been able to be cultivated. Spirit poria isn't cultivated in a lab or anything like that like you can get with most medicinal mushrooms. They can grow them in an artificial environment. You can't do that with these guys. So these are cultivated in an outdoor setting, like how they would grow in nature. So just a fun fact.   Mason: (53:52) We'll put a video of me-   Tahnee: (53:55) Harvesting.   Mason: (53:57) Yeah. At the poria farm. And I explain what spirit poria is, and you can actually see me pointing out. So go to the show notes for that.   Tahnee: (54:04) And they grow in tropical parts.   Mason: (54:06) Yeah. Yunnan.Yunnan provence. There was a hotter region, they were growing in the middle.   Tahnee: (54:13) In the grass. In the middle, yeah.   Mason: (54:14) In that middle belt of China, but it poria was becoming more popular. And the local government or the provincial government, wasn't regulating the harvesting of pine. And so, 95% of the herbal world doesn't give a shit about that, and they continue to do that there. But those doing Di Dao, who were doing true Di Dao, part of Di Dao is sustainability or leaving it intact. And so, it moved to secondary preference. And we moved to a secondary preference, which is Yunnan Province. It's still Di Dao. It's still said, "You go get your herbs from Yunnan Province in this micro-climate in the ancient text."   Mason: (54:56) But it's just not our first-   Tahnee: (54:58) Preference.   Mason: (54:58) Preference. Which is as always, guys, with the sourcing. We're going to prioritise the environment.   Tahnee: (55:03) Longevity of it. Yep.   Mason: (55:05) And so, yeah. So the farmers who I was meeting, they moved their whole operations and their whole family. And they moved to Yunnan. And there, the government's like crazy regulatory. And that's why there's a cap on how big your farm can be because you can only go and harvest so much wild pine. And they send helicopters over. You've got to prove and show that you've used all your tags. And they go through, and basically if they find that you've taken any other additional pine, then you're going to get some serious fines.   Tahnee: (55:36) Fine-age. And I think too, when you think about what sclerotium is, it does have this part of the tree still in it. That's where a lot of these medicines come from. Because if you look at pine and you look at birch were chaga grows, they're both very potent trees in their own rights. Spiritually, the pine is the Daoists' favourite bloody tree. I talked to Master Chia about the pine. He loves a pine. But incredibly medicinal trees as well.   Tahnee: (56:07) And then, even oak, which is what lion's mane is grown on.   Mason: (56:10) And reishi.   Tahnee: (56:11) Yeah, really medicinal trees. So for us, having that tree energy is really important.   Mason: (56:19) Tree Qi.   Tahnee: (56:19) Yeah. So we don't work with grain growing or anything like that which is, again, another thing that's commonly done in cultivated environments. So you've just got to think about what the energetics are going to be of these herbs when you consume them. So again, another fun fact.   Mason: (56:38) Yeah. Then we start getting to the assistant herbs. Pearl, I've talked about. That is a micro-ground pearl.   Tahnee: (56:50) Yeah. So it's not an extract. Sometimes people get confused, but it's literally ground up pearls.   Mason: (56:51) It's ground up pearls, very ancient medicine, very mineral rich, energetically Cold. Just a beautiful Shen tonic, so calming to the mind, and one of the most beautifying. It's a really beautifying blend as well for the skin. Between the asparagus root, the pearl, and all the Blood building herbs that we've got in there, plus no scrunching with anger. No crow's feet. That's what happens when you're a bit more happy, but pearl, and yes-   Tahnee: (57:22) Just smile lines.   Mason: (57:22) As always. Yeah, just smile lines. And pearl, as always, sustainably harvested, because we've had a few people ask where they're farmed. In the wild.   Tahnee: (57:28) In fresh water.   Mason: (57:29) Yeah, fresh water. Polygala, I talked about. It's one of my favourite herbs, the will strengthener, connecting the Kidney sexual energy, the Waters, as Tahns was saying before. The ideal behind this life is taking the Water, mixing it with the Fire, creating alchemy. And polygala is one of those herbs that is taking the Water of the Kidneys and connecting it with the Fire of the Heart. And of course, the Kidneys are the regulators, kind of like the grandma of the Heart. Just clipping it, we need Water in order to keep that Fire under control and keep it grounded and rooted.   Mason: (58:06) So I'm very excited that you're all going to be taking polygala when you take this blend. Got rehmania in there as a Blood builder. Beautiful Shen tonic in itself, but especially grounding in bringing that Yin Jing Water energy and that building of Blood so that we can get the Shen moving around.   Tahnee: (58:22) Love rehmania.   Mason: (58:22) Rehmania's amazing. And then, some aged citrus peel. That's in there as a Spleen-Lung tonic as an augmentor of the Spleen, Stomach, and Lung to ensure smooth integration of the other herbs. It's a beautiful assistant herb. And then, the other assistant which goes in, which is a pretty typical one traditionally in Shen with other Shen herbs, is longan. It's a beautiful Blood and Qi tonic. Heart and Spleen energy, so longan is used in smaller amounts. It's considered in its own right, the longan fruit, as a Shen tonic just to be taken on its own.   Mason: (59:03) In terms of when you put it in there as an assistant to other Shen tonics, you see this amplification of the nourishing of the Heart. It's palpable. I've tried it without the longan, and then with. And it's super palpable.   Tahnee: (59:22) So that's probably why it tastes good because longans are delicious.   Mason: (59:26) Longans are delicious. That's the dragon eye energy coming through, guys. So it's also a Qi tonic. So it supports the Blood moving through the channels because you can't just build the Blood. You need the Qi tonics there moving it around.   Tahnee: (59:43) It's a really good women's herb too. And it is kind of like a lychee if you've never seen a longan before.   Mason: (59:43) A little lychee.   Tahnee: (59:43) Yeah, like a little, round, brown lychee. But they grow around this area and in the tropics.   Mason: (59:51) You find them at Harris Farm when they're in season.   Tahnee: (59:56) There you go. Harris Farm.   Mason: (59:58) Yeah, I know.   Tahnee: (59:59) First time they've been mentioned on the SuperFeast.   Mason: (01:00:00) Yeah. I know because every time... My mum was at her old place, Harris Farm was up the road.   Tahnee: (01:00:07) Yep. I've been there.   Mason: (01:00:10) Yeah. You've been there.   Tahnee: (01:00:11) They have some good organic stuff actually.   Mason: (01:00:13) Boronia Park.   Tahnee: (01:00:14) Shout out Boronia Park.   Mason: (01:00:15) Yeah, shot out Harris Farm, Boronia Park yeiiiiiwwww! Down in Sidney there. Mom's moved on up the road to Putney since then. But guys, any questions let us know, in terms of taking the Shen. I personally like it in the morning. It sets me up for a really calm, it's not calm as in a floppiness. When you have your Shen tonics coming through, there's a calmness. But I feel really my value, I feel principled in that sense, just to give you that little bit of a sense of how I feel. It's not just calm and just like, "Yes. Sweet, man. My thoughts are slow."   Mason: (01:00:56) No, no, no. My thoughts are kind of like... My mind is calm. My thoughts are able to come through real clearly. I feel crispy, and I feel my principles. I feel virtuous in hopefully a non-egoic way.   Tahnee: (01:01:10) You're tuned in, like the radio channel's clear, it's coming through. You've got that connection. I think that's the feeling of being dialled in to yourself, which I think is not a... The calm is from the steadiness of the mind instead of the doubting mind, the kind of the mind that is not completely satisfied is a very agitated state to be in. And so when we're calm, when we're just clear and we're getting the frequency right for ourselves, it's a really beautiful feeling.   Mason: (01:01:45) Mm-hmm (affirmative).   Tahnee: (01:01:45) I think, and I agree. I personally like it in the morning, I've taken it at night while we're trialling it. I didn't have any issues with it, but I just feel like it's a really nice way to start the day.   Mason: (01:01:55) Yeah.   Tahnee: (01:01:57) Beautiful intention to set.   Mason: (01:01:59) And it's good. It's like smoothies. Adjusting hot water with a touch of milk and honey works that way. Goes in with any teas. You can do hot chocolates and coffees with it and smoothies with it. Same deal. If you're doing it at night... As I said, I've got to reiterate, for some people, they didn't love it in the morning. Some people were just like, "Nah, I didn't really need to be that... " They didn't need that Shen tonifying steadying.   Tahnee: (01:02:23) Stillness.   Mason: (01:02:23) But at night, was when they really benefited and really were able to go deep into a Yin state for them. So find, pick your time. Pick what's appropriate for you. Chamomile tea at night, beauty. You're laughing.   Mason: (01:02:37) Hit us up if you've got any questions.   Tahnee: (01:02:38) Yeah, really excited to hear your feedback your all, and experiences and all those things. So let us know. We love hearing from you guys, and-   Mason: (01:02:49) Shen on.   Tahnee: (01:02:49) Shen on. I also say [shu-yage 01:02:51], bon voyage.
In this wonderfully conceptual discussion, Mason and Tahnee cover the emotions that may arise during Spring, the Spring archetypes and how to essentially, live more aligned to nature and her exquisite rhythms. The dynamic duo discuss their fave Liver Yin herbs to support your Spring experience. Tune in, to be invited to explore seasonal living and what that may look like for you - you are going to enjoy this one. Mase and Tahns explore: The Mason term: Spring trap, just what is it? Just how important grounding is We are a part of nature (can I get a hell yes to that)! Frustration, feeling stuck, menstrual challenges, hay fever... why are these things common in Spring? Exactly what is Wood energy and how does it translate in our day to day lives The Spring archetypes... the general, the artist The natural tendency for us to seek out bitter, cleansing foods during Spring Herbs / mineral to consider: Beauty Blend, Schizandra, MSM     Resources: How To Get Grounded When The Seasons Change (article) Why Chinese Medecine is Failing Us Rhonda episodeYinYang Wuxing Rhonda episode 100 Days of Schizandra challenge, join us! Dan  Sipple Gut Bacteria podcast episode Spring Shopping List (below)   Q: How Can I Support The SuperFeast Podcast?   A: Tell all your friends and family and share online! We’d also love it if you could subscribe and review this podcast on iTunes. Or  check us out on Stitcher, CastBox, iHeart RADIO:)! Plus  we're on Spotify!   Check Out The Transcript Here:   Mason: (00:00) Hey everybody, how are you going?   Tahnee: (00:01) Hi, everybody.   Mason: (00:03) Time to talk about some springtime magic. Wonderful season.   Tahnee: (00:07) Favourite season.   Mason: (00:08) Favourite? It is a season, though. This is something that happens in the West is Spring, is just this transition. It's like the half caste of the season, same as Autumn, where it's just that bridge between from when it was cold to when it's going to be really warm.   Tahnee: (00:25) Yeah, we sometimes act like we're in transit, I guess. And we forget to actually stop and enjoy the scenery in springtime, and it's beautiful. Springtime has been springing for a few months here, and we've had all the baby buds and the new shoots on the trees, and all the deciduous trees have their leaves back. The sun's different. It's in a different position in the sky. I'm getting up earlier and staying up later. It's just a different energy in the air at this time of year.   Mason: (01:03) It's definitely an interesting season, and if we're going to talk about seasons. We're going to talk about transitional periods, and remember that there is going to be that time when you're coming from Winter, even though it's not an absolute moment when it's Winter, and now Winter's stopping, and now you're in Spring.   Mason: (01:23) But you'll definitely feel you're entering into a transitional stage between the dominance of those two types of Qi, going from the watery Qi of Winter to the woody Qi, that uprising Yang Qi of Spring. And it's important to remember that between all of these elemental seasons, there is that little bit of earth.   Mason: (01:45) This is the biggest. It's the 'spring trap', I call it, when people will be quiet, especially if you're respecting Winter and you've been really quite dormant, and you've been patient, and you're gathering wisdom, and you dip it into that sage, meditative, more nourishing kind of vibes in the coldness of Yin.   Mason: (02:05) And then you go, "Oh my God. Yes." The days are starting to go and they'll get a bit longer and, "Oh my gosh, it's a little warmer." And all of a sudden everyone goes complete barefoot, and straight away, they snap into that Spring time, bouncy, Yang energy, which you can maybe do when you're younger. But as you get a little bit older, get a little bit wiser, you just want to remember, you want to just stop, step onto the earth for as long as you need.   Mason: (02:33) If you've been out of whack and you haven't been living seasonally, you're going to need to go and step on the earth between the seasons a bit longer. As you go living in with the seasons longer and longer and longer, you can just jump on for a couple of days and then Spring into that woody type energy.   Mason: (02:48) I know, if you haven't been in this conversation for a while, this might be a little bit conceptual, but stick with us. We're going to explain what we mean by the Wood Qi, where that comes from, what its characteristics are, how to navigate the Spring, what the opportunities are, what the emotions are that will be processed. How you dip into the aspiring energy, so you can use this time to really ensure that you're on track with life and you're in flow and in a sustainable flow with the seasons, as well as the herbs to take, so on and so forth.   Mason: (03:21) But just remember, ground yourself between the seasons. If you can just be patient, ground, lots of nourishing foods between the season. Obviously, as Tahns said, we're a bit later in Spring now, so that opportunity would have come and gone. But connect to your body. Don't leap into that generic conversation around Spring. That it's like, "Oh, it's this time to get creative. And it's time to come out and stretch and crack and go hard, and plan lots, and have a big vision for life.   Mason: (03:57) Just make sure you go and ground as you're coming out of those, in any season, especially Winter, for a long time. Connect to your body, and then you can gently feel into what the Wood Qi feels like for you in this season, and the kinds of opportunities it's going to present. Sorry for going off on a bit of a conceptual vibe there.   Tahnee: (04:16) No, I think what you are talking to is well explained by people like Rhonda Chang who we've had on the podcast recently. It's this idea of Qi is energy changing form in different phases, depending on different orientations. Just like if you're facing the sun, you get hot and sweaty on one side and you might get less sweaty on the other side.   Tahnee: (04:46) As the planet shifts around, we're coming into a getting hot and sweaty on our side time. And so there's going to be certain energies that shift in nature and that shift in us. We are part of nature and we're responding to that. So, I think the old traditions really beautifully capture this observation of nature and what's happening. And then they paint a picture around that instead of maybe what we try and do in the West, which is to overlay our agenda on nature a bit.   Tahnee: (05:17) And I think that's what's so beautiful about connecting to this Five Phase theory, which is what we're really talking about when we're talking to this Wood energy, and what makes us about going back to this earth energy. If you imagine a compass and you've got the North, South, East, and West directions, and then always in the middle, you've got you, Earth, the orientating point, the pivoting point on which everything spins.   Tahnee: (05:42) So, what Mase is talking to is you need to stay close to centre in order to navigate these kinds of shifts in energy, and these shifts in the phases of our lives and our days. They're really circadian rhythms. They're really seasonal rhythms. They're really annual rhythms that we're talking to. And every culture, really, except ours, was aware of how much nature and the solar system and the spin of the earth, and everything, was affecting the life of the human.   Tahnee: (06:15) And so I think one of the gifts of the Daoist lineage is to revive that connection to the stories that nature's telling us. And Spring time's a beautiful story. It is about renewal and rebirth. I've been watching trees that I was like, "Maybe they died." You know? And suddenly they're covered in leaves.   Tahnee: (06:37) I was thinking I might have had a brown thumb all of a sudden, but like plants that I'm not used to growing suddenly bursting forth with life out of nowhere. Our grapes, this different, strange thing that I've found when we bought the house. And it's the same with watching the whales come through with their babies, and we're watching this playful, joyful energy of, "Oh, the sun's here and the cold's starting to go. I can reach for the sun. I can reach for the stars. I can express myself in that way."   Tahnee: (07:05) So that energy is really there. And if you tune into yourself, it obviously depends on how far South you live. Like those of us a bit further North have had this vibe for a while, but you can feel that you're starting to maybe become a bit more active and feel a bit more drawn to the outdoors. It's a transition.   Tahnee: (07:28) And I think what our culture does is get stuck. We get stuck in, "One way is the way, and this is the way we do it all the time." And the invitation of seasonal living and seasonal thinking is, "Well, no. We're cyclical beings and we're constantly churning and turning." And the phases embody that. The Wood is about that upright growth. Trees grow up toward the sun, and they go out.   Tahnee: (07:54) And the energy of Spring is a little bit wild and it's vigorous and it's energetic. It's the winds of change and it's a big energy. It's not always a fun energy. It's in us all the time. Just because it's Spring time, doesn't mean we don't have Wood energy in us all the time. But it's worse in Spring time because nature is in that Wood energy phase, and so we're attuning to nature, like a little harmonising kind of pitch fork.   Tahnee: (08:23) Suddenly, we're going, "Okay, well nature's doing that. I'm going to do that." Even on a very subconscious energetic level. And so if you're already a bit out of balance in that area, which would show up as things like hay fever, menstrual difficulties, irritability, and frustration, and anger, feeling stuck, feeling stagnant, poor Blood circulation, those kinds of issues.   Mason: (08:43) Eye issues, losing vision in life.   Tahnee: (08:46) Yeah. Those are all things that are going to indicate that, in general, your Wood energy's out of whack, and now, because the season is so strong and wooden, and it just can easily overdo it in you, and then you're going to end up expressing some of these difficulties.   Tahnee: (09:02) So, it's this really interesting. I always am curious when a season shifts to see how I respond, and how my body responds. We talk about it's like a report card on how well you honoured the previous season's energy. We were talking before we came on that maybe we could have been a bit more Yin this Winter.   Tahnee: (09:24) It's hard, sometimes, to remember to honour the energy of the seasons. And none of us are perfect, and we're not trying to be, but it's just a nice point of reflection of like, "Well, we had a beautiful year, but what would I do differently?" I would maybe socialise less or give myself less commitments over that period of time because my energy, naturally, wants to withdraw.   Tahnee: (09:48) So, those are things that each person has to work out for themselves. Some people thrive in certain seasons more than other people. But for me, springtime has always felt like a new year for me. It's a bit early in terms of the actual new year, but yeah, there's a sense of new opportunities and new vision and new growth. And there's juicy young leaves that you see on the trees, that are just so ripe to be of service to the rest of the plant. They're just soft and young and vibrant, that verdant green colour. Yeah. They really embody that.   Tahnee: (10:28) And that's what the Daoists were pointing to. They were pointing to the colour of Wood energy is green. Their embodiment of it is bamboo, which is long and strong and flexible and -   Mason: (10:40) Erect.   Tahnee: (10:40) Yeah, and really powerful, but also yielding. And these are things, like we often think of Wood and think of a big Oak or a big dry, crusty piece of wood that we put in a fireplace or something. But the Daoists, being around the China area, the kind of references were really those beautiful old trees that lived forever and held the wisdom of forever, but also kept bringing forth new life and new growth. And then the bamboo, which is this incredibly interesting plant that embodies so much of the Daoist kind of philosophy.   Mason: (11:17) What she's talking about is nature is unfolding at this time of year, but it is unfolding in relation to the position of the Earth in relation to the sun. And so, what happens is the Qi of our world, of where we are, and the Qi of our atmosphere and the Qi of Earth takes on a particular quality. And then nature, the trees, us, our organs, animals follow the new formation of that Qi. And when they look at the characteristics of the Qi, they said, "Wow, that really reminds us of the characteristics of wood."   Tahnee: (11:51) It's a metaphor. It's a story. It's a story to help you understand what you're seeing. I'm watching, every single year around the time when the sun hits this point in the sky and the days get longer, that these sorts of things start to happen. Well, what's a great metaphor for that? It's the young sapling, it's the piece of bamboo, it's the ancient, wise tree. So, they teach us these beautiful stories that help us to remember. And if you don't have writing, if you've got a verbal lineage, you need stories because otherwise you forget stuff. And so, it's a gift to have this stuff written down, for sure. But it's also beautiful to tell the stories, I think, so that we can start to understand.   Mason: (12:42) I mean, even beyond those stories, you can see the qualities if you're living in a non-colonised manner. It's why it's important to ground between the seasons, so you can really connect with yourself. Coming out of Winter, especially, where, ideally, we have had less aspiration during that time.   Mason: (13:03) Ideally, we have had less aspiration during that time. We've had less agenda. We're not looking for kicking goals and getting these big gains, which isn't always possible. And we need to see how that works in with the lives that we've crafted for ourselves, but then to go from that energy to the aspiring energy and audacious energy of Spring, it's why it's important to get out of our head, because if you just transition in your head too quickly and you get into the 'spring trap', you haven't gone into your body and felt what quality of the quality of Wood is there for me this year. And so I'm going to elaborate on this now because there's archetypes I like to use, especially going, kind of taking the... running with Charles Moss's archetypes, the Walley? Matt Walley? Not Matt Walley, that's the-   Tahnee: (13:54) Walsley.   Mason: (13:55) Walsley. And it really helps me tune into... if I look at the archetype of that Liver Wood season as we go in, we know there's that shade of the Liver that's that artist, that creative artist. And if I don't ground between the seasons, I just jump into mentally knowing that Spring time's all about creativity and coming up with these big visions and coming up with these big ideas of where I'm going to take myself this year and into the future, but there's a big balancing act to that Wood Qi energy, which is described as the general of the army. And I really like it. Some people don't really like relating to a general, but there's nothing else really that encapsulates.   Tahnee: (14:46) Well, the other one that I like is the architect. So I can't remember who taught me that one, somebody did, but yeah, the general is a great one. I mean, so you look at where this comes out of a feudal kind of society. So there's a lot of metaphor in Daoism, especially as it became codified into a kind of medical system, there's a lot of reference to feudal characters. Emperors, and generals, and ministers of the grain and all these kinds of things. And yeah, if you think about what a general does in an army, it's a strategic role, it's a role where you're making plans and controlling resources and allocating resources. And you have your assistants who are incredibly important in making sure that the orders are followed through.   Tahnee: (15:35) And that's really the Liver and the gallbladder in the body. The Liver with the Blood, taking the Blood and filtering out what is necessary for continuing health and longevity, what needs to be eliminated, what needs to be kind of transformed, what needs to be stored. It's a huge role. And then the gallbladder with the bile, taking that bile the Liver produces and concentrating it and transforming it further and then eliminating it into the digestive tract so it can be excreted or recycled. There's this kind of supporting role, I guess, that that organ plays kind of on a physical level, but also on a metaphorical level.   Mason: (16:19) Well right hand to the emperor, the Heart.   Tahnee: (16:21) Yeah.   Mason: (16:22) Right? And so the general in the system of the Liver is the one kind of actually doing all the work. Most important, like head of the organs is the Heart. Heart goes, everyone goes.   Tahnee: (16:34) Well and the Heart sings to the right... it sings to the Liver really, because the Liver is the dreaming, it's the visioning of the Heart. So again, we can segment these things out, but really what we're looking at is kind of different functions of really the same kind of energy. It's all Qi, but the Qi that wants to dream and look to the future and envisage where we're going, that we manifest as Wood Qi, as Liver Qi. And then the Heart overseeing the whole operation, but kept separate because you don't let the emperor see everybody, you don't let the emperor talk to every person that comes through. You give the emperor space and protect them so that they can do the job of ruling the kingdom. And so the Heart is kind of a little bit removed really.   Tahnee: (17:26) So the Liver is the one doing that work, and it's sitting over in the east of where the sun rises, sitting where we kind of open ourselves to possibility and the dawning of a new day. And if you think about Spring in terms of a daily circadian rhythm, it's that, the sun rising and that zenith toward that peak Yang of full expression, oops, which is the fire time is summertime. So you can think of Spring time as a dawning. If you think of Winter as the depth of night, as midnight, as the kind of time of rest, but also of kind of subconscious stirrings and dreamings and an integration and reflection, then okay, we've done that work. We've taken the time to really, to integrate and to draw the lessons and the teachings out of what happened in the cycle before.   Tahnee: (18:21) And now we're into a new cycle, we're into a cycle that brings new opportunity to take what's integrated and to create something new. And so this is always happening in a spiral, really. And if you look at the mathematics of nature, the spiral is where... the double helix, all of these things, it's like we're in the same place, but we've grown. So we're now in the same place, but looking from a different place. And we just keep doing that year to year to year. And the idea being that over time... And this is why the Daoists wanted to be a model. It's not because they wanted to live forever, it's because they knew that every year they lived, they gained more knowledge and more insight and better understanding of nature and themselves and humans and heaven and Earth. And to cultivate the amount of healthy, clean, Qi it's required to be a really healthy human and to sort of transcend this form, almost that takes a lifetime. It takes more than a lifetime. So-   Mason: (19:16) And what you were saying about learning year to year, it's a massive one because as I kind of... I really, really like these two sides of the coin being the general and the artist. That for me, it really embodies... Although it's segmented and I'm going to talk to you about how these two archetypes are emerging into one formula, it really talks to this erect practical uprightness of the Yang, of the Liver that is like a general. And that general will be very pragmatic and going, "I need to ensure the survival of everyone here. What happened last year's campaigns? What happened in the campaigns of the last 10 years? That lofty dream that I've been having and trying to manifest that has once again led to no yields. I don't have enough troops. I don't have enough Jing, I don't have enough energy to go and do it. I'm actually going to have to readjust. I actually don't have the skills to go and do this."   Mason: (20:17) It's kind of like it clips you on the side of the head, and that's why I like to really bring this up. Because especially in the wellness community, in the woke community, you can go a long way. You go right into the artistry and right into the big vision, you create this massive vision for yourself, which is very supple and yielding and bendy. And sometimes you just don't have quite enough of that Yang to make you erect and practical and plan and strategic, and really create a solid run of events and a very practical onboarding of skills. And then a longterm vision going, we've only got so long this year of if you're campaigning as a general. We've only got so long. We need to really make sure, be realistic about how many Ks we're going to be able to travel and so on and so forth, how many resources we're going to have.   Mason: (21:10) And if you drop into your body and feel that, eventually you might need to have... like for me, I've had to have a couple of bit more really extreme balancing, sitting in that Yang energy where I've gotten really practical about where I'm trying to take my life, realising some things are a bit pie in the sky, or if I want to do some of these things, I'm going to have to take two steps back and actually deal with with some emotions. I need to just actually get a little bit more clear, which is a huge aspect that comes up in Liver. You need to clear a lot of baggage. You need to cleanse the Blood. You need to get rid of a lot of waste so you can replenish and bring suppleness to the entire orchestra of your tissue.   Mason: (21:51) And as I've been going along, you can see in the way that you relate as a general being very Yang, all of a sudden blending in is this... All of a sudden the dreaming and the vision comes in to that practical Yang driving energy. And likewise, if you're sitting in that supple Yin Wood energy, all of a sudden in your dreaming, the practicality and the patience case starts coming into your visioning. And so it's a very important time of year. I find a lot of people I've been talking to, especially in this context, have needed to take a couple of practical steps back. And then those people who are living their life 100% practically with no dreaming are learning how to be a little bit more like bamboo and invite some of that suppleness so that they can bring a bit more of their vision and their deep inner dreaming to the way that they live.   Tahnee: (22:47) Well, and I think that's the core of what Liver kind of offers us, I suppose, or the Wood energy offers us, is the ability to make plans, but then the ability to be adaptable when things don't go to plan. And again, if you imagine a general, they're thinking on their feet, they're dealing with things that they had no idea were going to come up, there's consequences with every decision they make that they have to be really ready to handle. And I think that's why it's such a good analogy really for what that energy does. Because the Liver doesn't know what you're going to go and eat. It doesn't know what kind of chemicals you're going to be exposed to. All it knows is that it's got a bunch of jobs to do and it's going to do them and it's going to do them to the best of its ability.   Tahnee: (23:34) And that's why you see over time things accumulate with people. And that's why I've become so conscious over my lifetime of learning to adapt a bit more to these kind of natural seasonal trends, because it just gives your body a chance to catch up on the cleaning house. And springtime is such a natural detox time people talk about. And I just know for me, all Winter long I did not have an interest in a green vegetable. Like a couple of things here and there. Whereas suddenly I'm just like, I want juice, I want fresh things, I want to have parsley. I'm looking at the weeds in the garden, I'm seeking those bitter flavours, I'm seeking the sour flavours.   Tahnee: (24:16) And there's just this natural pull toward those things that cleanse. And that's where we look at things like herbs, you've got your Schizandras and those kinds of things which have that astringent kind of cleansing effect. And you can just feel that that's what's needed at this time, that the body's had that big boost to nutrition and nourishment over Winter time, but now it's time to clean out a little bit, make sure we're light and ready for these big shifts towards summertime. And yeah.   Mason: (24:46) Yeah. I mean the replenishment of bringing suppleness and freshness to the tissue by bringing cleaning to the Blood, if you don't take advantage of it at the beginning of each Spring, then that's when you find that there's a necessity as you get down the track of needing to do these huge big cleanses, because all of a sudden all these symptoms have started to kind of creep up on you. For me, getting onto, as Tahns was saying, some of those more bitter greens, I still haven't been really drawn to too many salads. I don't think we've really been going down the route of eating too many raw foods still.   Mason: (25:30) I think where that comes in as well, is that if you've been off track for a while in terms of not really honouring the season, which we're going to be, we run a company, the company doesn't just kind of shut down in Winter and all of a sudden having five hour days and three day weekends. Although we're trying to move ourselves in that direction where we actually can do that. But I mean, opening an American company at the moment probably isn't on our side.   Mason: (26:03) American company at the moment, probably is on our side since we're always going to be in the opposite season as well, but you need to respect the fact that you've been off-track on the season. You can't just all of a sudden go, "Great, it's springtime. It's heaps of raw food, it's heaps of salads, and it's heaps of juices. I feel heaps of cold foods." It doesn't really work that way. I'll just say it won't work that way for us anyway, but we've definitely started being attracted to bringing a little bit more freshness into all of our dishes, bringing a little bit of dandy. We've been going pretty hard on that Australian bush food, Davidson plum, finger lime, kakadu plum, a touch of native pepper, Lilly Pilly.   Mason: (26:48) We've been doing a freeze dried one of those every single day. We've been hitting MSM, the sulphur really hard to get the Liver flowing in that way. But then Beauty Blend, at SuperFeast is the one. I went for two weeks. At the change of season, once I've gone and stood on the earth and then I'm ready to ease back into that springtime energy, I always feel Beauty Blend with Schizandra, come up at that time. And a lot of people get drawn to doing the 100 Days of Schizandra at the start of Spring. And whether you're doing that or whether you're doing what I do, just getting onto those Liver herbs, the Schizandra, the Gojis, Pearl, and Longan, what you're doing is... And at the same time you could be layering in beetroot juices and these kinds of things as well, a bit of MSM.   Mason: (27:31) You're ensuring that you Liver has got the capacity to get in and cleanse the crap out of that Blood so it can be light and it can make sure that all the tissue that's getting delivered, all that Blood, is going to be juicy and supple. And that's really a Yin... These are Yin herbs as well, which is something I find a lot of people in the West are really craving. If you think about if everyone's excessively Yang, we're getting excessively brittle and firm and the aspiration is looking in a straight ahead direction. And we look at what the Yang does in the body. It makes the capillaries and the Blood vessels really nice and strong so the Blood can rush through, but if we don't have the Yin, the Yin brings that yielding and that bending into those Blood vessels.   Mason: (28:19) And if we don't have that, then the Blood's running hot. And a lot of people are running hot. A lot of people in the West are running Yang, and that's why we have neck issues, tightness of breath. And these are all things that we're looking at when we've got an excess of that Liver Yang. And so that's why I especially find it really useful for people to get on those Beauty Blend Yin herbs, Yin Liver herbs, just to make sure that you're getting supple. As you start bringing a bendiness along with that erectness of the Yang, once you bring that suppleness especially of those vessels, all of a sudden you see the Blood starts running through like a nice babbling brook. And so all of a sudden you can feel it. The Blood cools down a little bit, it's got a little bit more of an inviting feeling. And so that's something I really recommend everyone to be doing at the start of Spring.   Tahnee: (29:10) And that's that balance of Yin and Yang energies. That's why the bamboo is that perfect analogy of if the wind blows, the bamboo just bends. It doesn't need to resist the wind. And that's always the kind of teaching story of the Liver energies. You don't become brittle like dry wood. You stay soft and supple like a young sapling or like bamboo so that if you're trying to get to the sun or you're trying to navigate a change in your environment, you're able to yield to the change and not be knocked over by it and not be killed effectively by these big changes. And that's what I think if you think of a good leader or a good architect, a good architect drafts his vision or her vision, but then he or she will talk to the builder and talk to the engineer and then things will change.   Tahnee: (30:02) And then it's just constantly evolving and adapting as the build progresses. And once you're on site and you notice where the sun sets and how the wind blows and things will adapt and change. And so it's this constant ability to be in reference to nature, but then hold your own kind of vision. And that's what this vision of the Liver is, it's revelation, it's keeping the Heart satisfied that the Heart's on its path. It's keeping the Heart open to what's possible so the Heart doesn't become depressed. And we're talking about Shen, we're talking about these ideas lately and that's a lot to do with this function of the Liver and its capacity to move Blood through the body and its capacity to clean the Blood and the Blood being the kind of conduit that Blood and Qi are intimately related and the Heart circulating the Blood.   Tahnee: (30:55) So there's this real strong relationship between what we see the Liver function expressing as and also the other harmonious aspects of the human being. And so the energy or the emotional aspects when we are out of balance with our Liver is we're going to be frustrated. PMS is just such a classic example. It's intimately related to the Liver. It's this increase in histamine in the body for a lot of women, which creates heat and irritation and frustration. And histamine being, if you think about, well, that's a Liver, what's the word, hormone, and it's sort of irritating and it's flowing through and it's creating this excess heat. And so then we get frustration, irritability, crankiness, these kind of classic PMS symptoms. And then you're going to get also the inflammation and swelling that comes with that, which again, is all part of this overactivity and over Yang activity of the Liver of theW ood energy in the body. And so one of the things we try and do is we try and preserve our Yin throughout our cycle so that when we hit that week or two before our period, we're not depleted and so we're not running hot. We've got enough water in the tank, water in the Blood to keep the Blood cool. And like Mase was saying before, enough suppleness and flexibility to yield to the changes of our cycle as well. And you see that a lot with menopause too, with the hot flushes and women's getting overheated and that's just the body's lost the ability to regulate and that's because we've spent our lifetime depleting that Yin Essence of the body.   Tahnee: (32:36) And if you're listening to this and you're menopausing, well, frigging great. It's too late now, for sure. But it's just I think sometimes interesting to reflect on what we learn, because I've cooked myself a thousand times and it's been a really good teacher for me to learn okay, well, that's what happens if I push it too hard. My next period is bad, I end up having symptoms in inverted commas of PMS that I don't normally get. So then I know that those were decisions or lifestyle choices I made this month that have affected that.   Mason: (33:07) Talking about getting yourself cooked, as you said, the Liver sometimes needs to make hard decisions. So first of all, we enter into this Liver season. I've really recognised that because I normally burst in, I fall for the spring trap and I burst out and I really like that this is... I'm a creative, so it's my time. It's like a balm for me coming in with patience. If I can come in with a little bit of patience to the Liver season, what I've realised is we want the spirit to be happy and we want the emperor to be happy. And the Liver does, but if you want to be good leader, you don't just say yes all the time to everything. And this is where it starts. Maybe if you haven't rested properly in Winter, you're not going to have the best opportunity. But if you can come in with patience... Well, say you don't have patience and you come in and you just go I just got all this vision, I'm not bagging out the idea of having your cake and eat it too, but you're going to need patience if you want to do that. And you also want to know how richly you want to go into different sectors of life. Do you want it all, all these four things and four career paths, or do you want to just do two in a way that you can go really down, dig down deep down the well and get that richness? And so when you get to the Liver time, if you have a bit of patience, this is where you can prevent yourself going down, I find for me anyway, the time when you can really start looking down the barrel of your life as you plan and you're practical, how many times am I going to cook myself?   Mason: (34:54) Right? If I keep on going down the route of in my vision I'm this, and I've got this, and I've got that, then you can start making really big decisions about saying, "Look, I know my spirit would really love doing this right now, but I'm just going to have to possibly shelve that." We've been having these conversations. It's a really hard one for me because I want everything yesterday. And what I'm realising is that it's a big process for me.   Mason: (35:28) If I'm all of a sudden something that was always in the plan, whether it came up subconsciously, whether I'd consciously decided that was my spirit, my career path, or the kind of expectation I had on myself, or whatever it is, I get to this point in Spring at the moment that I realised if I continue to have this expectation on myself and if I continue to tick off all these aspects of who I am as a professional, or as a person, I'm thinking about the pressure that I had on myself as being a health educator and someone also studying Chinese medicine and then also running the company and just all the things, it's at this season where I start going, "I'm going to start letting go of that now consciously. I can't give that to the Heart right now, but this is going to mean I'm going to be able to double down and really start manifesting some solid shit in my life if I just pick two, a couple of really core parts."   Mason: (36:29) I feel for me the opportunity to really mourn the letting go. It's going to come up, it's the tag team between Spring and Autumn, that if you can make those practical decisions of your life path right now. In a business sense, it's like for me, I choose for something to happen in four years rather than one year, or vice versa, whatever it is, I can just make that decision consciously and then know when I get around to the Autumn time, I'm going to have the opportunity to really mourn that part of my identity or that part of that aspiration that I'd had and was possibly a little bit juvenile. And I've decided to chop that off. You chop it off in Spring and drop it, and then as it gets down to it, it starts really breaking down over Summer and then creating nourishment for yourself in the soils as you get through late Summer and then Autumn. It's been a real huge realisation for me.   Tahnee: (37:40) I think it's tricky because these energies are in us all the time, so you might grieve in the middle of springtime and that's fine. There's a stronger pull toward this type of energy. And I think as we create a vision for ourselves, by nature, we have to let go of some things. You don't go to the desert and there's a rainforest in the middle of it. It's just the desert is the desert and the rainforest is the rainforest and nature is smart like that. It knows what to leave out and it knows what to bring in. And I think as we become more natural in our living and our thinking, we then start to see well, it's actually not my Dharma or my Heart's vision really to see this through. That's a pressure I've put on myself from outside. I think when you look at the Liver in its worst expression, it's type A, it's controlling, it wants everything done yesterday. It's full on-   Mason: (38:48) It's angry.   Tahnee: (38:49) Angry. It's irritable, it's frustrated. It's can't understand why things haven't happened. It's up and out, up and out, up and out. And that's not ideal and that's why the yielding in aspect of it is so important in that we can soft-   Tahnee: (39:03) That's why the yielding in aspect of it is so important in that we can softly adapt while holding the vision, but I think also like if you think about the body, it's the tendons and the ligaments of the body, that it's kind of governed by the Liver energy and the eyes, and you think about what the eyes do or how we see, right? They're our vision and you think about the third eye and yes, we've got our day to day eyes, but we've also got this eye that can access to our spirit and that's what the Liver does as well as it's the home of our spiritual vision, really the Hun kind of the aspect of us that's from heaven and while we sleep, but that little guy dances off into the kind of heavens and dreams for us and has those adventures in the astral realms and then comes home to land ready for that expression in the light of day.   Tahnee: (39:54) And I think that's something that's really kind of important to remember is that Liver energy and that reaching for the stars is an aspect of what this season is really all about. It's about dreaming really big, but then yeah, there's an element of reality to what we can really pull forth and what we've, with the resources we have. And again, that's why the general is an excellent analogy because he can't go to war against an army of 10 million. If he's got 10,000, he has to be sneaky. So he has to plan a Ninja attack or something. Anyways there's so many great stories through history of people, who've been incredibly creative and visionary and how they've tackled problems and projects. And they've done the impossible with their dreaming. And that would be an example of strong Liver energy.   Tahnee: (40:41) And you can see it in people's bodies. You can see those people that are wound up tight that looked like they were about to snap and that would be someone whose Liver Qi's really unbalanced and really Yang and kind of could do with a bit of softening.   Mason: (40:54) And at the same time, as you get the Qi flowing through the Liver, if you can honour and respect the energy within yourself, if you start getting onto those Liver herbs and Liver foods that you've got, if there's a little post, we can on SuperFeast a little shopping list, you get onto the dark leafy greens and the beetroots and black sesames and fatty fish and oatmeal and chives, daikon, it's time for garlic and lots of berries, liquid chlorophyll, artichokes, radishes, cucumbers, cruciferous veggies, eating Liver if you're that way inclined. If you you move into that more cleansing energy, you're cleansing the Blood, therefore you're cleansing the skin. You're not having these big, these rashy breakouts. If you do all these things, then all of a sudden the spirit of the Liver, the Hun can come out and express itself.   Mason: (41:59) It's not frustrated, the Liver Qi is not flowing and not respected. Then you're going to get dysfunctions. You're going to get on one side angry and frustrated, that can become a timidness, right? And so you're just timid and you've lost what the expression of the will of the spirit, as it runs through the Liver is which is an aspiring energy. You're aspiring for something more, you're aspiring to create. And you've got audaciousness in the way that you do it. Is this something like the way that Rhonda was explaining it that really had the penny drop for me and because I know I've kind of talked about it in a little bit of like a getting back on track, kind of like a redirecting your energy into a more of a holistic Liver Qi energy, which can seem like it's kind of taking a step back and being quite practical.   Mason: (42:50) But once you have amalgamated that upright, confident, very pragmatic and plan-having general with this big creative vision-having beautiful artistry, artist self inside of you, all of a sudden, they kind of can mix into one. As we know, Yin and Yang do emerge into one and you can't separate them. They're just in a constant flow between them. All of a sudden this audaciousness of your spirit can begin to emerge and you can continue to aspire in a way that's practical and linked in with all the other organs. Your Liver is not running off and going, "Right. I'm going to take this show from now." And forgets that it's going to have to work with all its friends.   Tahnee: (43:40) Yeah. And so that's where herbs can play a role, I think, in integrating that energy and harmonising it in the body and creating that space. And we've talked about Schizandra which not only works on the Liver, but works on all of the organ systems. So I love Schizandra in seasonal transition times. And not just in springtime, but it's especially relevant in springtime the yin Liver herbs that Mase spoke about, the Beauty Blend, especially being the kind of personification of that. But also just like a lot of Western herbs, milk thistle, dandelion, burdock, you can look through most health food stores and naturopaths these days have little Liver supporting tinctures and things you can explore. I'm personally I'm a big fan of dandelion and milk thistle occasionally, but really like Schizandra, I think it works so well for my constitution, but yeah. It's a fun, little kind of exploration of what really supports me in this time.   Tahnee: (44:45) And some of those foods Mase was talking about, if you think about liquid chlorophyll is such a cleansing and cooling food, but also really providing that kind of nutrition for the Blood and when we end up with things like Blood deficiencies and stuff, we just put extra stress on the Liver. We put too much strain on, and that's why really high fat diets, especially lots of saturated fats can be deleterious to the Liver. Again, I know lots of people are into those kind of keto diets these days, but from a kind of a Daoist perspective, not contraindicated necessarily, but just again, if it's a time when the Liver is already strained, fat is what bile needs. Bile needs, I'm sorry, fat needs bile to process it. So that can put a lot of strain on the body to produce extra bile and to make sure that that's being digested.   Tahnee: (45:39) So there's kind of always little nuances to each person's requirements and needs and constitutional needs, but dietary fibre is super important because the bile is one of the ways the body gets rid of a lot of toxicity. And if your body is recycling the bile at the duodenum, which can be really good if you don't have a lot of toxicity in your body, but if you're doing something like a heavy metal detox or any kind of big cleanse, you really want to make sure you have a lot of fibre at that stage, because that's where if you have enough fibre, it will sweep past the duodenum and kind of get that bile down into the colon and excrete it out of the body. Otherwise it's going to sort of be recycled into the body and it's going to take a lot of those fat-soluble kind of toxins back into the bloodstream. So, just remembering that it's probably a good time of year to stay high in the fibres and not just be too much, I guess. In a high, fat low fibre diet. So yeah, any other insights?   Mason: (46:44) I think so. I think you've also just covered on there that there might be a time perhaps Winter might be a time where you're really enjoying a little bit of a high fat period. With any diet, remember a dogmatic stance is going to be something, an ideological stance is something that will eventually, most likely take you out of a seasonal rhythm. So just remember the seasons are a really good way because it's constantly changing every year and it's a constant opportunity for you to tune in to your body and your value system and the reality of what's available. And remember that a part of... It's tempting as a part of this huge global colony is to constantly just forget that we're in the place of we've just got this ultimate choice and then therefore people are looking for what's right.   Mason: (47:37) Therefore the choice that we make, we want to be right all the time. And it's just generally not going to happen. If you get out of a colonial civilised stagnant way of living, that tries to cut nature out of everything and you step right back into the seasons, it's going to consistently challenge, especially the ratio of calories that you're taking. So it's definitely a good opportunity, I think, to challenge any of that high-fat ketogenic kind of tone that you have there and even if it's just, I'm not saying it's right to get off keto, but just have a look. Have a look at what the potential benefits are of looking elsewhere.   Mason: (48:17) And likewise, if someone's absolutely shit scared of fat, it's your opportunity at different times of seasons to start challenging that, where that information has come from and the keto one, you can start looking at the data there is on what the types of, I think you can go back to the episode that I did with that bacterial balance with Dan Sipple and you can start getting a few reasons of what the impact of excess fat is doing and the growth of particular bacterial species in excess that then go and create incredible amounts of inflammation.   Mason: (48:51) Then loosening up at the of the gut wall junctures and leads to leaky gut, so on and so forth. So yeah, I'm kind of like, it's a nice, Mediterranean diet kind of time as well I find in Spring, lots of fibre, lots of colours. There's lots of variety and, yeah. Meats, some meats on the side, bean and legumes on the side and just do a lot of, yeah, and can get that cleanse on.   Tahnee: (49:18) Great. Well, yeah. Thanks everyone. And go spring into Spring.   Mason: (49:23) See you next time-
We're so stoked to have one of our favourite guests, Rhonda Chang, back on the podcast with Mason today. Initially we weren't sure whether our SF community would be ready to receive Rhonda's wisdom, however, to our absolute delight everyone frothed on her first episode - you can check it out here. We always knew we had to have Rhonda back on to continue sharing her deeply authentic application of the traditional philosophy and practice of true Chinese medicine, or what Rhonda refers to as 'Yi'. Rhonda has a brilliant article explaining the difference between Yi and what many of us know as modern Traditional Chinese Medicine, I highly recommend you check it out here.  Mason and Rhonda discuss: Yinyang wuxing theory and how that relates to the body and organ systems. The qualities of the five elements; Water, Wood, Fire, Earth and Metal.  The spirit and body as inspearable parts of the whole, and the importance of holding this view when working to heal dis-harmony in the body, mind and spirit.  Rhonda's classification of  tonic herb. How the practice of Yinyang wuxing is a method of healing, and not a 'medicine'.   Who is Rhonda Chang? For the past 40 years Rhonda Chang has been involved in the study and practice of traditional healing. The journey has been long and tortuous. Rhonda began her studies at the Beijing College of Traditional Medicine. After graduation Rhonda worked as a physician at a number of hospitals in China. In 1986 she migrated to Australia and opened her own treatment clinic.  Rhonda operated her clinic up until 2012, where she felt that government regulation was overly restricting her practice of healing and that the professionalisation of TCM in Australia had subordinated it to modern medicine. Since then Rhonda has focused her energies on writing books and promoting a return to traditional YinYang Wuxing healing principles. Resources:Rhonda Website Rhonda Podcast Rhonda Books   Rhonda's Facebook Group     Q: How Can I Support The SuperFeast Podcast?   A: Tell all your friends and family and share online! We’d also love it if you could subscribe and review this podcast on iTunes. Or  check us out on Stitcher, CastBox, iHeart RADIO:)! Plus  we're on Spotify!   Check Out The Transcript Here:   Mason: (00:01) Rhonda, thank you so much for joining us again.   Rhonda: (00:05) Thank you for having me.   Mason: (00:07) Absolute pleasure. It was by far one of the favourite podcasts from the community that we've ever had.   Rhonda: (00:15) Nice to hear. Yes.   Mason: (00:16) Yeah. A big feeling of nostalgia for everyone, I think, as they returned to our roots.   Rhonda: (00:24) I'm so glad, actually, a general public and so interest in this kind of talks, which very encouraged.   Mason: (00:35) Good. I didn't know either how, whether our community would be ready or willing to have the conversation, but people who have never studied Chinese medicine have written to me, old friends saying I listened to that podcast and I really resonated. So I'm encouraged as well. So we covered so much of, especially the content in your book, Chinese medicine, masquerading as Yi. And I got to get my pronunciation of Yi.   Rhonda: (01:11) Yes, that's right.   Mason: (01:12) And then what was that? Sorry.   Rhonda: (01:15) I said, I'm calling the Yi, just tried to separate from the Chinese medicine because when you talk about Chinese medicine, when you're using that word or even traditional Chinese medicine, people get confused to this modern Chinese medicine, seems they've taken over the name, so I prefer to call Yi as a..   Mason: (01:35) I agree. It's almost in the long run. It is going to be less energy to just return to a classical word. Like Yi, we do tell people, if we're speaking English, we will refer to classical Chinese medicine as Yi and masquerading Chinese medicine is TCM, but still you're right. But Chinese medicine-   Rhonda: (01:59) It's hard to. Yes. I think this medicine, it's not really about a Chinese, it's about the philosophy. So I called them Yi because of that. Even before the Western medicine come from China, the Yi, didn't have a Chinese there and only the Western medicine got into China and then they try to separate. So they call the CE, which is a Western medicine and the Gong E, Chinese medicine. So that's how the name come from and that's only last the 100 years. So before that it was just Yi. That's what I actually like to go back to Yi.   Mason: (02:38) Huge distinction. That already takes so much of the commodification of this medicine out because Yi belongs to the earth. It doesn't belong to a nation, a civilization.   Rhonda: (02:58) That's right. Very much. It's not about the Chinese. It's about the tradition of the healing. So it's about the earth and the moon and the sun and the us and the oldest class. Yes. So it is.   Mason: (03:11) Just as we go into discussing the concept of what Yi is at its essence and the yinyang wuxing cycle. I just found a quote that you had on your Facebook group, which I encourage those who want to study more yinyang wuxing yi is that the Facebook group?   Rhonda: (03:34) Yes.   Mason: (03:36) A quote from the book of changes, when the sun reaches its Zenith, it will decline when the moon reaches its fullest, it will wane heaven and earth, wax, and wane. They all comply with the regulation of time, let alone people let alone ghosts and spirits.   Rhonda: (03:53) Absolutely. Yes. I love that phrase.   Mason: (03:57) It really sets us up for where we're going to be going today in this continuation of health and harmony.   Rhonda: (04:04) Well, if I'm going into that, it's a lot to talk about it. And that's what I'm writing this, I'm writing this a new course. It's about how the sun positioned the moon and the world. We call that the sun position on earth. We call the (inudiable), which heaven kind of a positioning on earth. And then the moon time circle around which it gives us that sense of time. Isn't it? So the time and the position, how they form that so-called the yinyang wuxing was here and our body with the meridians and the organs. Yes. But I wouldn't go through that because that's a lot of new names that people won't really get it so quickly, but we just talk about Yin and Yang and we'll see how the wuxing. We cut off of how the wuxing concept came from, but we just talk about what is the wuxing now in which we call that Woodfire and Metal and Water.   Rhonda: (05:09) In my other courses, I actually explained how this concept came from. It wasn't just abstract. It was exactly from the sun, the moon and on the impact on us, that's how that happened. But we'll talk about wood, because everything got a Yin and Yang, which we call that Yin is kind of a contraction and Yang is expansion. So everything got Yin a Yang, like a wood. The Yang of the would erect the Yin of the Woodcontract isn't so that bending and that solid. So they go Yin Woodand become solid. So that actually we say everything, just about all wuxing, everything you see it's about wuxing thing, kind of variation and different ways of presenting. So as our body basically have this Woodthing, organs, we call wuxing organs.   Rhonda: (06:15) So your liver is like a Woodso the Yang of the would make you errect isn't it. And so the Yang of the liver makes your body straight and the Yin of the body flexible. So you can bend. And then that's what organs are. Your body also is said, Yin and Yang that, what is the Yin of the body is your flesh, your bones and your muscles and all this material and the Yang of your body is your spirit. So what is spirit and the body do is spirit using your body to perform their desire or their thoughts? like what, we call thoughts. So your body is actually responsible to perform what your spirit wants. And then your spirit actually depends on the body to perform.   Rhonda: (07:23) So if there's no body they can't perform, and if there's not spirit, the body will rot because the spirit makes the body lively. The spirit is a Yang. Anyway, that's in the book. I explain the more detail. So we say what the spirit do for your Woodis... So if your spirit, Yang of the wood, Yang of the spirit, the Woodspirit, I call them a striving tool. What they do is they make you kind of you want to fight. And the stand for yourself strong. The Yin make you flexible and acceptable go along with it. So, but if your Yin is not good, what do you do? You fight? And that if your Yang is no good, you kind of timid.   Rhonda: (08:19) So you can't cope with the problems and hide yourself because you're scared. So that's how everything you got. If you have a problem with your muscles? So if you muscle can't move or tight, always what we say, that you've a Yin problem, isn't it? So if you are muscles can't get you erect, so we say that it's your Yang problem. And you can actually look at all this and then your body too like Kidney. Kidney is Water. Most people can relate to these, isn't it? Because Kidney  really is a Water organ. So what that Water do is that it's got Yin and Yang, which this Yin and the Yang of the organ study, or even in the traditional texts, it hasn't really explicitly describe this insight or Yang side of each organ.   Rhonda: (09:26) They can quite often, you hear people say, this herb's a good for your Kidney  energy, but what is Kidney  energy? So instead Yin and young it's completely different because the Yin of the Water make you sink, isn't it? The Water go down and the Yang of the Water make you go up, you vibrate and so make you move. So what the Kidney  do is reserve, Kidney  reserves your body energy, your heat, because they call the steam, the Water is called a steam. And then they reserves your heat that make things a moving and then transform to wood, because the Water create a wood. But if Water is all frozen, they are hard to create any of these. When they say Yang in the Water, and then the Wood start to grow. So this is the relation of that Wood thing Water create wood.   Mason: (10:27) It'll be warm. We warm up the Water. We create vapour that can rise up to the liver.   Rhonda: (10:31) That's right. It's not that it has to rise up to liver the make the Water runny, so the liver. What they do is that when they evaporate, they go up to the sky. Isn't it? That in the Water. So that's our Lung . That's in organ, that's our Lung . A Lung is like our sky and in the small world. And then the Water rising up where the Lung does like the sky does they can gather the Water. And then when they do it, they give us a rainfall. So they gave a moist to all over the world. And that's what your Lung that's exactly. So Lung get us all the moist from the Kidney  rising. And then Lung also does is a separate from the bad/good, or what do you call it? A turbid and the fresh. So they gave us a fresh rain and that makes your body fresh.   Rhonda: (11:20) We'll talk about Kidney . That's what is in Yin side and Yang side of Kidney . So what the spirit do with the Kidney  Yin and young is your Yang of the spirit to get govern the Water we call that enduring. What they do is because a Kidney  actually is Water. Water really can hold on anything, absorb anything, but then it pushes everything. It can actually destroy everything. How does steam like Metal and the storms and the Water can destroy them, isn't it? But on the other hand, Water is the softest thing. So it actually takes everything. Anybody can go in there. Isn't it? Anything can get into it. So that's the Water. So what happened is if you have good Kidney  energy, you tend to bury a lot of things. You can handle a lot of things. And if you don't have a lot of Kidney  energy, you can't hold on anything. You look at everything you think that's too big for me. So you don't have the Kidney  Yang energy, but if you don't have a Kidney  Yin energy, of course you dry it out. Yes.   Rhonda: (12:42) So that's the Kidney . Kidney is a Water organ. So it's a Yin in nature. So what they most like is a Yang Qi. A lot of people say your Kidney  deficiency very rarely is your Kidney  Water Yin deficient, because unless you don't drink and you drink, you got Kidney  Water really. But if not hold Water, is Yang problem. But sometimes that your Water is that ge a so slow and rotting, but that's complicated. That's not just your Water problem, that's your soil problem because the Water is not bounded. so there're no banks and they flooded everywhere. And of course your problems. It's all linked. That's why we call it the soil.   Mason: (13:28) To spleen, to clean it up. [crosstalk]   Rhonda: (13:36) We get it from the liver, which is the wood, and now we'll go backward. Okay. And what create the Woodis the Water and what creates the Water is the metal. And then that's kind of a people feel very difficult to understand how the Metal create the Water, isn't it? Because of Metal have this nature gather the things. They're kind of a concentrate, isn't and then they separated the pure, the cleaner, so that's what Metal's kind of nature. So if you put a Metal outside and you find in the humid, they all running Water, isn't it? Especially the cold, you can see the Water or running outside. So that's what I do that draw the kind of moist. And then they gave them around Water. So they create Water. That's what Metal create the Water in the nature as well.   Rhonda: (14:27) Like there're stones and you find all the rivers with the stones, because they gather them them and then they make them separate them, clean them and leave them running. So that's what your Lung s, because of your Lung s gathers Qi, air and then gathers moist in the body and in the whole system is actually acting as a gatherer, hold everything together. So that's why you get Qi so you body actually in the one piece rather than floppy. So if you see somebody very floppy, you find themselves can't breathe very well. So what happened is it's a Lung metal. It doesn't work well. So you body is not gathered and it's kind of sloppy. That's what it gets. So that's what the Metal does and middle actually we say in naturally, how does it, they gathering so they're kind of dry, so they liked the Water. And I mean, they, they gathers those moist. They collect the moist and then they`cannot dry. So if you have a Lung Metal indeficient, you don't gather the moist and you get a very high fever because you can have dry cough and the sore throat and a fever start because you body it got too hot. And then if you go to a Lung Metal or Yang deficient or problems, I don't like to say deficient because the most time some people ask me, what's the deficiency and damage. I used two words; damage and deficient. Deficiency doesn't imply you got a kind of a disease. It's not rotten. It just weak in that site. But when you have damage, that means that the function is got something else in there, like a rubbish in there or darkness or there's something blockage.   Rhonda: (16:33) So it's a more damage and that's what Metal does. So when the Yang is deficient, you get a mucus, you cough and you get thick and you body even smell, odors, because your Lung is not giving you fresh, separate the turbid and the freshness. And then in the body, other senses, they use the Lung actually get the things together and the separate them. So then use a large intestine to dispose all the waste. That's what we do the poo, which is our body's kind of waste. And also they dispose from the skin. So that's why in the Nei Jing says that the Lung actually controls your skin. In my book, I actually talk about skin represent all organs as well. So each organ have problems or showing skin as well. But that's one Metal and what created the Metal is soil. We all know, that isn't that? So soil actually got up. People translate this as earth. I don't like to use nice earth because earth is like the whole globe, but soil is just...   Mason: (17:59) Yeah, exactly. I get that.   Rhonda: (18:03) That's soil. Yeah, exactly. Yeah.   Rhonda: (18:04) It is that actually. So the soil, what soil does is soil actually sticky at her [inaudible 00:00:18:13]. So everything gets them to the soul. That's what the soil is nature. So, when the Yang of the soil it's loosening kind of like separately. So when you actually have things into the soil and you'll find that they take everything. They're not like metal. Metal is gathering, kind of consolidate them, but soil just take everything. And now what they do is that process now. So then they process them into whatever. So what it does in your body. The soil does is that you take all the food into the soil, isn't into your soil organ, which we call the Spring   soil. And then what it does is they separate from, I mean, not separate, they process them. So then into all your organs need.   Rhonda: (19:09) So they make into what you need. I mean, people say nutrition, you have to eat certain things. You don't because the soil actually have collect all the information as well, not as collecting, what do you call the food or things. And they collect all information from all of your organs to say what they need. And then it processed food and supply it to make the Yin and the Yang kind of a balance into certain parts of the body. So if your Kidney  need the most, they probably kind of gathers, kind of sorted out most things that supply to the Kidney  and if you kind of wherever you need it, it's actually processed there. So, that's what I call sorting you know, sorting out. So why is [inaudible 00:02:04]. That's what soil does.   Rhonda: (20:06) So if you have problems with the soil, I mean, apart from the food you... Can't take, if your Yang of the Yin soil problem, you just don't want to eat this. You can't take things eat. And then if your soil is not a processing and then not sorting, and you find you eat but you get hot, thick coat all the time, you feel sluggish and you don't have the enough taste of the food. You might have taste of food, sorry. You just don't feel fresh and after eating you just feel heavy. So if you don't really have, if you have a Yin problem of the soil, you do actually have trouble to taste the food because your organs are not really telling your body what they need. Yeah so, that's you just don't know and you can eat, but you just don't know what is right for you.   Rhonda: (21:05) So you don't get the message yeah, properly. Yeah. So the body in the emotional thing as what we call the soil. Soil is the reason, like the reasoning, because of they have all the message coming to you and then it's sorting out thi and then they're sorted out, work out what all this message is about. So I called them the reasoning. And this is, if you have a problem, you know how the people do like that. They have so much things and they just feel their head is too heavy. So they don't know, they can't work out things. So, that's when the Yang problem, when there's a Yin problem you just can't receive. You don't really know the message.   Mason: (22:28) Yeah. You just finished talking about the the reasoning Ju   Rhonda: (22:31) Yeah. Reasoning Ju . Yeah. I called them my Ju.   Mason: (22:34) Will?   Rhonda: (22:37) That's right. That's will. You know, reasoning will, you could say, but I call them a Ju because it's not just the will. It's about more meaning. It's like sometimes it's not what you will, what you wish to do, but it is like inbuilt, you just want to be proud. It's not your will to be your wish to be proud but you kind of that's all your nature is, so we call that Ju it's like, you stand for, you can't help yourself. Yeah.   Mason: (23:14) That Ju being essentially the been the spirit of each organ that you've been talking about.   Rhonda: (23:20) That's right. Yes, and so when we talk about the soil the Ju that's what the spirits actually using the Spleen soil to kind of act in their reasoning. The reasoning took out the Yin and Yang. They ying make you kind of receiving and the Yang make your working out what they all mean. So yeah, that's the soil. And the back after the soil, it's the fire. Yeah. I mean, what goes backward? Because we came from the woods. It's easy to talk this way. Yeah. So, when we say fire. Yeah. That's right fire. Fire is your Heart  . Yeah. Because we say we got all this heat in the body, isn't that where they come from, it's come from the nature and is maintained by the nature. So how you get this heat? It's not, I mean, we say we've got a food and a we burn.   Rhonda: (24:25) It's not true. As soon your spirit goes, you don't burn, isn't it. You don't have the heat. So it's your spirit that actually connect your body with the nature and that with the sun, the moon and the nighttime, that's why you need to cover up because of spirits resting. So it needs you hold on to what you get in the day, so that your time and spirits open. I mean your Heart   actually got a Yin and Yang. The Yang actually release to get the spirit out. So the spirit make your body active and you connect to the world and you're interacting with each other. And the nighttime spirits go inside and they rest. So that's what a Heart   does, Heart   in kind of the ground. So it makes you hold back and the Yang make your rise. So the spirits up, and that's when you're acting.   Rhonda: (25:19) So that's what the Heart   majorly do. That's why we say the house of your spirit. Yeah. That makes your body kind of warm, make your body active. When you're active, you tend to create a heat. Isn't it? So that's because your spirit and the make your active, make you kind of strong and then make your rice heat. Yeah. So, but then of course, if you're done really reserve a lot of heat in the Kidney , when you create this heat, you don't just expense spend it. It's like have a bank. That's in your Kidney , Kidney . I always tell people I say your bank. So if you drink a lot of freezing cold Water, you use your banking savings to warm up that Water and that kind of yeah, drain a little bill. I always say that fill the Waterville that they're heating the Fire   bill is a lot...   Rhonda: (26:14) A lot cheaper than the body's Kidney Water heat bill. Where we got to actually the fire. Yeah. So, that's what a Fire   does. And then if you, I call this a spirit to control your Heart   fire. I called them aspiring Ju. It's like you aspired to do things. You kind of have a lot of desire. You're active and you're bright and you can see your eyes actually kind of light. That's why you actually see something you really like to do. So we said, this is your desire. That's where your Heart   Yang Fire   and the Yin make your ground says, don't go mad, don't go. Like you see something I want to buy all of it, and then you're what do you got the Yin side of that, the aspiring Ju is saying, no be careful with your money.   Rhonda: (27:14) So then ground you down and to make you calm. So when is it make you're active, when it make you calm so that's what it does. Yeah. So if you find that lot of people when we call them a Heart  broken in English. Isn't that? So, so called a Heart  broken is your Yang of the Fire   damaged. Your Heart   Fire   damaged. So then you just look, everything bland. You don't really have any desire. You just lost yourself. Yeah. But when in that kind of cases, what I do is that I use your Kidney , our warm your Kidney . I use a lot of foods. These things make the Fire   actually make the Heart   fire, the body of the Fire   kind of warm. So they're helping, what do you call that aspirant Ju. Your helping your Fire   spirit to, to perform.   Rhonda: (28:06) So, and then also you ground this Fire   into the Kidney s. So then you gave them a support, sort of give them a lasting kind of heat. So gradually they feel back to themselves and that they're running again. So that's how you work with the spirit and the body. Yeah. I mean, people think oh, that's only the spirit, but you work because it's spirit and body inseparable. When is separated the body will die and rot away and the spirit of become ghost. So it's, don't know where to go and lets your journey finish and you know where you go. So, that's a fire. And then what create Fire   is the wood. So we come back to this cycle. So it Woodcreate fire, Fire   create the soil, soil create the Metal and Metal create the Water and Water get back to work.   Rhonda: (28:55) So, that's how every organ is in the body. So then you may say, what about my arm, what my fingers? So your fingers or your arms, it all have this, a five elements as well. So every five organs control every part of the system. Yeah. So if you say you're tense your tight muscle, then we say, okay, maybe your liver WoodYin have a problem. Isn't it? But if you actually have say rash or something on your arm then what we say is a liver WoodYang damage because your liver actually is your blood ocean, it's all of your body blood. And then when liver WoodYang damage, you blood does flow free. So that's why you get the problems with the, what do you call them? That blood problems. When you see the rashes it's always Blood stagnation. Yeah. Stagnation. So we called them liver WoodYang damage. Yeah. Always.   Mason: (30:01) And I really liked in your book, you're taught like you really, you, you were talking about the blood vessels and this really allowed me to drop in to see the liver would medicine to be that Yang is that a erectness of the blood vessel as if we have no yin, we run the blood runs too hot. But as soon as you bring in that Yin and that suppleness and that bend to the vessels, all of a sudden there's more of like a babbling brook and they can cool down.   Rhonda: (30:27) That's how it is. Yeah. That's yeah. That's basic five so-called the five elements and the five organs and then controls your body sickness. Yeah. I mean, any sickness, you give you any kind of example, you can include these five elements in the Yang side and the way you work that out and you can choose your acupuncture points or you can actually using your herbs. And yeah, you'll find.. Because in one of the blog, I think I write about how you recognise herbs. I mean, people, we were educated in the university says all this spirit of herb or they called Shen Nong...   Rhonda: (31:09) You know, like what they translated is he actually carried a little where you had a picture, carry a little basket and go around in the nature and the collecting herbs and the tasting herb's. And it says the three times he almost died and it's all, that's all lies because the Shen Nong is the emperor. How could he actually carry a basket to go around the mountains, asking people? He organised this. But what he did was he didn't really organise these people to go around to see what people using for herb. Because a lot of people don't know enough herbs why does he? How can he get all this message information? In fact, he sent the scholars out who actually going to testing or collecting or watching how animals and all the herbs are growing. And then they separate them into yinyang wuxing nature. And then they can use say I think I saw one of your herbs or two.   Mason: (32:14) That's Eucommia everybody. Yeah.   Rhonda: (32:20) Yeah. And then it says, it's very kind of it's good for your so-called Kidney . And they're also good for your bones and the muscles. Isn't it? So what you do is that if you're actually kind of peeling the skin and you're breaking them, it's got that kind of fine fibre and the really elastic that's what actually works on your liver. It's a give you liver Woodkind of a Yang and Yin because it's a flexible, that outside is a firm is hard and they grow in the cold areas. Yeah. Generally they don't like, like Queensland weather, and yeah they liked the colder places. So what they do is when you actually Yang, you like yin. So they actually kind of warm things. So that's the way they strengthen your bones. So Kidney  controls the bones. So that's why we say that actually help your Kidney .   Rhonda: (33:20) Yeah. Give you the flexibility as well as the strength of the bones. Yeah. So yeah. That's how you're actually watching all the herb. So then when you got this problem, you say, okay, well I'll have this, but of course, a lot of things that have different degrees. I like to use a lot of herbs, which they call the poisonous. It's not because they poison it's because they got strong kind of a yinyang nature. So when we talk about poison is not talking about like a Western terms of poison for more, formaldyhde, benzene, that's absolutely poison. And then you can't get away that not benefit from it. But when we say poison, it's like, they go the strong yinyang nature. So if you like a actonite, fu zi what we'll call it (inaudible). That gives you so much heat. And if you're overtaking can dry up and you die, of course, and you get a spasm and then you kind of, you got rid of all your moist and then you die.   Rhonda: (34:20) It does. But when you're actually eating them properly and processing properly, it just beautiful power. And I use that. And I like, because that gave you absolutely desirable strength to correct the sickness. So if somebody freezing cold, I mean, cold. It's not just you feeling cold, but internally cold, like everything, not running, people get a blue lips and the blue toenails, everything. So that means that you're, there's nothing flowing. Isn't it?   Rhonda: (34:56) There's not enough heat. You use that. It's so useful because I say most of the problems is your lack of a Yang team, the heat, because your body is Yin and most of your problem is the Yang problem. You don't have enough power, enough strength. We all desire power. Isn't it? In every way. So that's actually I like those kind of herbs and also some herbs. I mean, that's most people say my tastes not very good because all my formula is so strong. It's because there's some of the herbs, like a myrrh and frankincense it's got that kind of really terrible taste, but they get so beautiful to clean up your blood, blockage. Like if you had a, it's I called my liver WoodYang herbs it very beautiful to help your blood flow smoothly and it cleaner.   Mason: (35:56) Yeah. That was the myrrh and frankincense, you said? Yes. Yes.   Rhonda: (36:00) So that kind of things. And the myrrh and frankincense.   Rhonda: (36:03) Yeah. So it's that kind of things. And [inaudible 00:36:04] doesn't have any kind of too strong effect. So they don't really hurt at all. I think that you can actually making the little tablets every day having been it's definitely good for you cleaning up, but yeah,   Mason: (36:17) a bit of a tonic.   Rhonda: (36:18) Hmm. Yeah. Oh, it's it's yeah. Well, one we called tonic and I kind of a field. Yeah. What is tonic? Everything is tonic.   Mason: (36:30) Yeah you're right.   Rhonda: (36:31) Everything make your body flow is tonic. And when you need it, it helps you flow. That's tonic, isn't it. But so, there's no bad herb or good herb to me but, some herbs like a Ginseng. I call them because they're so they're strong, they're good. But then at the same time, it doesn't give you any kind of off the balance. Those herbs, so you could say them tonic, actually. Yeah. You can just, long-term taking them. And without any problems, like food, almost like food, they just don't taste as good as food, but then they act like a food. Yeah. So those things you could say are tonic and they actually benefit every parts of your body. And also like a liquorice, that goes your wuxing organs and also help you kind of breaking down any kind of problem, harmonise. It's kind of a soft up of any poisons, anything, any in your body. So you don't call them tonic. Yeah. That's   Mason: (37:34) We could have, we could, because we, we love the tonics here. We love the tonic herbs.   Rhonda: (37:40) Or you could say they're tonics, yeah. I think that's the kind of, yeah.   Mason: (37:44) I think it's a good distinction you make there that anything used appropriately can all of a sudden become a tonic because you're using it within its,you know, within its yinyang wuxing nature. That's right. Yeah. It will bring life.   Rhonda: (38:00) That's right. Yeah. Yes. And especially I would call it. Actonite is a beautiful, tonic is a strong strongest tonic, but of course you got to take a little bit of careful. So you will not really kind of using them. Like you, don't [not, 00:02:20], I mean like some people, if they have a bit of, you got to know the body condition like that. And then you may not talk about it as the general tonic, like, say, you can just eat, but I'll definitely say that's a very strong tonic. Yeah. But some herbs like, like Ginseng I'm talking, it doesn't give you, it doesn't matter what your body condition, you take it, it's always nice. So, I mean, in the modern sense, you say that's tonics, you know? Yeah.   Mason: (38:49) Yeah. But I mean, even with, because we're taught, like, what we were talking about before was with, with the Shen Nong for Everyone, I do encourage everyone quite often, I'll remind everyone again, it's nice to have a few of them the Shennong Divine Farmer Materia Medica. I believe, well, the pronunciation Shennong Ben Cao Jing.   Rhonda: (39:06) Yeah. That's right. Ben Cao Jing. Yeah.   Mason: (39:06) Ben Cao Jing. Ben Cao Jing, I think is how they say it's a translation. I'd like everyone to have a copy or two, if they're interested in that's where we see, as you were saying, the poison inferior herbs, the regular herbs, and the superior herbs.   Rhonda: (39:26) Yes. That's right, yes. Yes. The superior herbs. Yes. There's no damage and there's no problem. Yeah.   Mason: (39:33) But even with the ginseng, I mean, as you said, we call it ginseng or (inaudible), like a tonic. However, there's still always going to be, you know, a time when it's not appropriate or a time when you... So therefore you've needed to put understanding of the herb in order to ensure that it stays a tonic and not harmful, folks. So you're never going to not...yeah.   Rhonda: (39:57) It's like ginseng. I mean, it generally good, but sometimes you're taking them when it's not, so-called, appropriate. It's not really kind of correct to your condition in not, you don't notice anything. You just feel like you waste your can put into the soil, the soil say that's not needed. So it's probably the way or get rid of them as a waste, you know? Like, so that's how, how, how things are, you know, like sometimes like say when you're so thirsty a drop of Water, you appreciate so much, isn't it? But when you don't need too much and you have it, you just feel all "ahh", holding onto your stomach. You think I'll having, 'm drunk , you know? So everything got a kind of, yeah, you got to understand the, the concept of the yinyang wuxing and your body. And then you can actually work them better.   Mason: (40:52) Well, and that's, and that's why, you know, at SuperFeast, that's why we focus on the superior herbs because there are herbs that people can engage with without causing damage to the body. But what I like about them is, as you said with Water, you know, if you're, if you're not thirsty and you're hydrated and all of a sudden you drink a lot of Water, you'll feel something without doing much damage, but you will learn-- you'll also learn something about your body and you'll learn something about the elements. So you've done no damage. And you've learned about how, you know, how to look after yourself, which is, that's what I like about superior herbs as well.   Rhonda: (41:26) Well, that's very important, but that also, when you talk about this herbs, like yeah, individual herbs, you can actually make them like, say superior and inferior or whatever. But if there's herbs, formulas, if you make it into a formula and you can actually balance them all and the benefit, all of the things,you know, like in my book, I've got this RCN formula and which,you know, like the Kidney , Kidney  formula, Kidney  energy yeah. That's, that's basically balances every part of the body and the people taking them, like every daily things, because it, it just help you reserve your heat, helps you reserve your energy.   Mason: (42:19) Well, this is where I like your book. I mean, I've read a lot about the five elements,you know, which I know is even that translation doesn't really do justice to what we're talking about with the wuxing organ or organ system. And what I really, really love about this continue as I, as I learn more and more about the elemental cycle, is that when we think about the liver physical anatomy, the organ, yes, of course I can get my hands under my liver and under my ribs and I can feel my physical organ. But when I drop into my body, when I get out of my head and stop thinking about anatomy, when I drop into my body, I can't think about this reductionist organ. I can't isolate it. I can't feel isolation.   Rhonda: (43:11) Hm!   Mason: (43:11) I can't feel necessarily phase one and phase two. But, when I come, because ,that's a very stagnant system, when I come fully into the yinyang wuxing cycle, I can really get a sense of the quality of Woodinternally.   Rhonda: (43:28) Yes. And then you feel freer thinking, that's why I'm really against this so-called modernised or what they call the modern Chinese medicine because they using this anatomy. And they actually limit your thoughts, because when you're thinking about anatomy and you're thinking about the materials and you don't think about a spirit part, and you don't think about the cooperation and you don't think about, and then if you say "My arm got a problem", or "I've got a rash" and you think about rash rather than thinking about what is going on in the wuxing organs, isn't it. So then you limited yourself and then you try to find the so-called herbs that cure rash. And then when it doesn't work and you're going to find another one, you're going to find another one. And whose is it for?. I mean, individually, you might going to try everything and after a while you just give up, because you're just going to disappointed.   Rhonda: (44:22) Then you go to Western medicine and, but, if you stop thinking that you're thinking about a blood, you thinking about that this rash as a blood not flowing. So then you thinking about a liver with Yang damage and you suddenly thought, "Oh, what actually makes the woot erect?" And you start looking at the herbs and you start looking at a surround you and the food, everything. So you're suddenly free and you have a hope and you do have hope and you can find everything around you to help. So that's how important is you have this kind of concept of yinyang Wuxing.   Mason: (45:05) Yeah. It helps so much in a day-to-day level, too, you know. And as you were, you were talking about, you know, your Kidney  formula that helps bring a flow to every part of the body. If you're waiting for a symptom, if you're waiting, if you're in a, if you're in an anatomical reductionist mindset, it makes it very difficult to be dedicated and feel that what you are wanting is to support Yin Yang transformation consistently through the body, you don't get attracted to maintaining harmony,   Rhonda: (45:37) That's right, yeah. And then also you lose power. You lose your own power. So as you say, if you thinking about yinyang wuxing, you suddenly connect yourself to the whole world, whole nature, and you suddenly feel freer. You don't waiting for the drug company, give you information, what the drugs do or something, and you suddenly thinking, okay, everything surround me. "What things can help me?" And you really do freer and you become active and you become emotionally. You're not going to be too sad, and just waiting there to tell you, then tell you how long you're going to live and what condition you're going through. All that. Yeah, you absolutely can convert that problems. Every problem, all kind of problem. If you're thinking about that nature where you can, a lot of people feel very difficult belief because, I had a patient and then she got home with all the herbs once. And then her son was telling her: "Mum, you just going backyard and collecting all this rubbish and then you boiling up and your drinking.   Rhonda: (46:35) And I said to her, and then, so when he came, I said, "You think you can just go into the shops and buy these little chemical drug and you take, you don't even know what it is. And I said, do you have absolutely any idea what's in there or what they do? You just got to trust. Isn't it? I said, I'd rather trust, nature than trust all those people." Because quite often these drugs, they, they kind of telling you one thing, but it's only about it. You know, you do a PhD for three years, isn't it? Three, four years maximum. And then you, you, you announce something. It says, Oh, I had this, rats test or something. And that developed this, something, something. And then for that life, you're not people don't live like rats in a few years. We'll live like a 70,80.   Rhonda: (47:25) Now people even like, you know, 90 years. You don't know in 20 years down the time, if you actually 30 and 20 years' time, you have a problem with this. It's only about a, what do you call it? A 50's and irreversible, or the problem happens. So I say, I definitely trust nature better because you're part of nature. Really? You thinking a lot of people, I mean, I, once actually there was somebody, I can't remember her name, very famous for, you know, television or radio person. And then she said, "Yeah, I wonder where we come fro. You know, you come from the earth and the heaven, earth, soil, create you. That's what it is." We were kind of almost like isolate ourselves so much from nature. And now we're thinking we come from somewhere else. But if you're thinking about yourself, you do come from nature, whatever the problem you have, it's in the nature. Of course, the chemical things that we created and damage ourselves, but still there's nature way to get you corrected. So you got to look for it. I mean, there's always that.   Mason: (48:42) I love it! Before we go. Just wanted to touch on one last little piece that I think is really important when discussing yinyan wuxing. Yeah. And then I'll let you go. And then I'm going to have to ask you back on the podcast to talk about herbs. Just a little distinction that I think what has happened as a hangover from the colonisation of Chinese medicine and Western medicine thinking is that when we talk about liver Yang Qi and Yin Qi that people, and I'll just speak for myself, I've had to really work, to not relate to, okay, I have Yin Qi I have damaged or low Yand Qi. And now I just need to increase the Yin Qi so that I've got my Yang Qi and I've got my Yin Qi in the liver. I put them on the shelf in my liver and then I'm healthy, cause I've got both those things, but it's a transformation.   Rhonda: (49:39) That's right. That's right. So you can't really just thinking, "Oh". I mean, sometimes it's like that, like say, I eat something really bad and you suddenly get a, you know, like a kind of a diarrhea or even poison feeling. You know, you feel really bad, you just give a big cleanup herb. So, so get the, you know, get rid of the rubbish and the Yang is rising again, and then you fine, and that kind of a single problem is like that. But if it's something a bit deeper and the more problems, like a, almost a little bit of chronic and you can't work on that, you got to think about it, say, okay, you've got to cut him off. Of course, you know, the rotten trees, the rotten fruit, rotten things, you got to cut them off. Otherwise they do kind of affect the tree regrow and sometime they drop off anyway.   Rhonda: (50:28) But other times that you got to cut off. So how do you cut off? It's not operation, you've got to use the herbs. So which I kind of strong and get rid of a poison, you know, like sometimes a little bit of harsh or some herb's a little bit of poisonous even, you know, get rid of the rubbish. And then on the other hand, what you do is that you got to support your body to regrow. Isn't it? Regrow that liver wood. So what do you do? You work on the Kidney , you work on the heat in the Kidney . So you get a Water kind of flow and you get the nutrients grow. So that's when you actually get the liver recovered. So that's how you do. But also sometimes, you know, a lot of people I used to see, because I think I had quite a good practise and I had a lot of people refer, but often you're not   Rhonda: (51:18) People come in with very complicated problems. Very few people come to me just for flu or something. I love those because you gave a few packet, they gone, they finished. But quite often, you get very complicated cases and all mess up. And then some people come to me say, "I can't take any herbs. I take it. I react. You know, I get a very bad feelings, even food, and I'm just sensitive to everything." So what are you going to do with this kind of things is so what we say, your soil, you're not soaking up. Everything is too messy. So what are you going to do? You got to loosen the soil, gets things moving a bit. So you don't really treat the regional problem and you treat the soil, you get the soil loosened, you get all the things sorted out who belong to who, and then, you know, and then you sat working on that side.   Rhonda: (52:07) So it's... Yeah. It's all.   Mason: (52:12) sorry.   Rhonda: (52:13) Sorry. It's all kind of connected interconnected. That's why wuxing can't be separated no, but say, if you have a or you just lack of Water, you pass out, what do you do? You can Water. And that's very simple problems, but once things are connected or complicated, like a flu, some people get a cough, you know, really bad cough. And then in my book, I think I had this case and that it just can't get over it. And then you have all kinds of a Lung herbs it's not working. So what do you do is that you work on the soil because soil create the metal. So you got to actually help them get a soil rising and then get the, what do you call that metal? Get the Lung metal, new metal. So then you work along that way and the school. And sometimes you, you know, your liver problems and you actually work on Lung because the Lung controls the, what do you call Lung Metal controls the liver wood. So you can have use Metal herbs and to chop off some of the, you know,bad wood.   Mason: (53:18) Yeah. Getting rid of some of the putridness.   Rhonda: (53:21) So all these herbs are very real, this philosophy, and this theory in a clinical practise is very, other say, direct help. You can't get away. And when you work on that, it's just so it's freer. Yeah.   Mason: (53:40) That's all we want. Like, that's something again, like you go, well, let's remove the blockage or restore the ability to create so that we are back into, into a flowing of harmony of, oh, what you that's. The other thing I wanted to bring up is that the Qiqua continues to be of a transformation for me because it's like, we're not just trying to restore a Qi.   Mason: (54:03) Patient for me because it's like, we're not just trying to restore a Qi in restoring Qi it is non-stop Qihua so we'll finish on this I think it's a nice distinction.   Rhonda: (54:10) Yeah. What is Qiqua you know if you, actually learned the [mandarin language 00:54:20] , have you heard that, the [mandarin language 00:54:19] this is the one which I have to talk about it, which I'm writing in this course, it's called the [mandarin language 00:54:29] it's the yun it's you know yunqi. You've heard about Yunqi it's like a luck people say it's luck but it's not. It's the sun movement, sun position on earth and the time that created this atmosphere, that's called the Qi. And how this Qihua how this changes is the Yin and the Yang kind of meeting together. If you talk about [mandarin language 00:01:02] I think it's got the oldest, lots of your kind of terms-   Mason: (55:02) Yeah. Correct.   Rhonda: (55:03) which is the time of the earth, you know, like a time movement of the earth, which is time we call the time. And that actually kind of work with the sun position and create these atmosphere, the qi, weather. So this weather changes it's called follow this wuxing cycle, you know, from Spring   to summer and to really hot heat, and then to dampness, and then to, what do you call them? Dry Autumn and try the cold Winter. So that's kind of what they call the little qi. We call the liuqi. This six Qi is the dry is the Metal and the Water the cold is the Water. And then the Spring   is what we call the Wood the you know, in the early Spring   is the wood. And then the rising heat, which we call the [foreign language 00:56:09] , like a main heat, the initial heat. And then there's a, [foreign language 00:56:14] which is called a spreading heat. And this is the six Qi where the Fire   has two parts. One is initial and one is spreading. So this, after all, it's a five qi, this is the circulation of the Qi and that's called a qihua from one transformed to the other. It's called a qihua. Yeah. That's how it is. Yeah.   Mason: (56:40) And if we get into that flow, then we can enjoy life.   Rhonda: (56:43) Yeah because it always says that so-called this qihua is following so-called the season, but in your body actually this qihua actually there's this qihua. I just writing because very confusing one part because they suddenly changed a position and then people can't understand, because it always say day and night is a combined creator something it's like, say, you know, your, what do you call that Water? You know, all the wood, say, for example, your trees, if you only have the daytime, you don't have nighttime it doesn't really go isn't it? So it's actually night and day joined together and then create the wood. So there's certain position, certain time. So that's what we call the [inaudible 00:57:36], which is again too many new terms. [laughing 00:57:36] But that's how the qihua come from. That's how the Qi and how the change, how the transformation is about. Yeah. That's a it's a, what do you call that? It's kind of a field there's for thousands of years I will say I'm reading all kinds of books nobody explained the way, because in the old times, maybe that's just like a common sense.   Mason: (58:00) Yeah.   Rhonda: (58:00) So they don't have to explain a lot of things in detail, but to us now, we,re just lost because they say this, and you're saying, why this come from? Where are they from? You just don't understand it's like when you're using computer, you know, you tap tap and everything come up and you say, how did this derive? And you don't know because we're so used to this. And now we think we're just using them, but we don't really care about the initial. And then you can't develop it. So good mathematics. Mathematician has to go through this from one plus one, or, you know, dividing and plus, they have to go through these steps. So rather than just using computer and to get the result. So this has being a hard work for me.   Rhonda: (58:44) Yeah.   Rhonda: (58:44) I'm trying to explain them the way that we can understand. It's like a one plus one, how this come from and you got to, I mean, there's a result there, but we don't have the steps coming from. So I'm trying to work through this. It's like a, [mandarin language 00:05:02] you know a lot of people say [mandarin language 00:05:05] is like a five, you know, heavenly, stance but really it's the position of the sun because in the book of a change, you know, they say it's position and time, everything is a position time that's what the book of change is about, time and position. That's how you are, you know, because you're born here and in this time, that's crazy if you put your Yin like another place, you'll be different, isn't it?   Mason: (59:36) [Aggreeing 00:59:39].   Rhonda: (59:37) So they'll be all different. Like, yeah. So everything is a position and time. So what is the position? Position is the same position to the earth that gave you the position. If we didn't have the sunrise sundown, you want to have a sense of position. There's no position. It's not everything be the same, isn't it in the back.   Mason: (59:59) [Aggreeing 01:00:03].   Rhonda: (59:59) So that's position and that's what we call the [phase said in mandarin language 01:00:06] and the [foreign language 01:00:06] is the time. So I worked this out and then there's not many people really talk about that directly. So I actually explained everything like that book of change, and also about the [mandarin language 00:06:21] and the, you know, this [inaudible 01:00:22] called the [foreign language 01:00:22] it's all about this time and position, and that's how you treat the people and treat them, you know, choosing your point choosing herb's. So, yeah, anyway.   Mason: (01:00:34) Well, no pressure because I know it's going to take a little bit of time, but well we're waiting, we've got a lot of people that told us they're going to be waiting for that course, but we're patient that's okay. We know. Well, because you've got the step of doing the de-colonisation, which is huge. And, and that's something I really appreciate your time.   Rhonda: (01:00:54) I'm glad that you did because of that took me eight years to get that down. But now I feel thinking back I say what's all that point to talk about how the change should really just working on energy to say how it really is carried forward with real herbs, real medicine, real healing [laughing 00:07:12] but anyway, it is because if you don't really kind of separate yourself from this modern and this [inaudible 01:01:21] you lost yourself, you can't go back to the roots unless you're really careful understand this is, you know, you push this off, then you can clearly know where your role is. Yeah. One so your listeners actually wrote to me and said that she wants to going to study Chinese medicine, you know, like become a practitioner. And she said, "Which of your book should I read?", I said that the first book will prepare you not to get a poisoned by them.   Rhonda: (01:01:49) [Laughing 00:07:52].   Rhonda: (01:01:49) And the second book, give you a clue how the real medicine should go. And now I say, you get this ready and then you go into the course and you might not get yourself too confused and too damaged. Yeah. I mean, at the moment, people has to go through this course to get a qualification to be able to practise. But in the future, I think we're going to have a set up a new practise again, we call the Yi practise which is not governed by this Chinese medicine. So like when Chinese medicine first started, there's no recognition there is nothing, but we were freer, well, alternative healing, but now they've become a complimentary. So it's not really powerful anymore. So we're going to set up a new one, which I call the Yi-practise and we're not going to govern by name so we're going to set up all this our way. [Laughing 01:02:42] That's if I get there anyway,that's the aim, because I want this, the Yi to be stand on it's own again rather than to be kind of a, what do you call set? Like a hot, somehow got to hold on to somebody else to do it because we were independent kind of healing system. Yeah. Can't be combined. It's not the same thing. Yeah.   Mason: (01:03:07) No, it's not. Yeah. It's not. Yeah. It's not some little novelty on the side to be complimentary to western medicine.   Rhonda: (01:03:15) Plus it's very very powerful, it's not really, I would say it's more powerful and the safer than drugs and cheaper really. I mean-   Mason: (01:03:24) So much cheaper.   Rhonda: (01:03:25) Oh so much cheaper. Really you just have a little bit bottle of tablets, the herbal tablets, or you have a package of herb's and people say, oh, $20, $30 a day but then you know how much drugs you're going to take and how much expensive is that? And how much environmental damage and how much really it's what do you call it? Animal tests, all these things go on. It's just terrible really.But anyway, I won't go through that. [laughing 01:03:53]   Mason: (01:03:56) Now we're going to get to that. I mean, just the amount of disease that's going to get prevented because people get into a mindset of continuation and harmony and-   Rhonda: (01:04:05) Yes yeah. And it's powerful really. It's not a yeah. Somebody also wright to me, I think from your course also said you know, before they always thought that, you know, they hear all the talks about how Chinese medicine are not very good and then said that after listening to your podcasts and I realise, actually, I'm so happy that it's powerful kind of a practise. I said it is. Modern Chinese medicine is not powerful because they, they don't have principles you know, they don't have a proper guide and if you have a proper guide this is a very powerful medicine very much.I mean healing. I still try not to say medicine, it's a healing. It's a very powerful healing. Yeah. Very, very good.   Mason: (01:04:57) Alright great.   Rhonda: (01:04:57) So anyway, yes,   Mason: (01:04:59) Everyone, everyone go out and buy Yinyang Wuxing Spirit, Body, and Healing. This book is amazing. It's one of those ones, buy a couple and go and give it. We've had a lot of acupuncturists listen. And a lot of Chinese medicine students listen to the podcast as well and express how much they've appreciated it. [crosstalk 01:05:20] Talk a lot about how, you know, they felt that. They were trying to come back to the roots-   Rhonda: (01:05:27) Yeah.   Mason: (01:05:28) Not knowing how so it's been nice to provide some guidance as well.   Rhonda: (01:05:32) Thank you for your promotion on this [Laughing 01:05:34] because we [crosstalk 01:05:34] we want more people to know [laughing 00:11:38].   Mason: (01:05:39) Well, that's, I mean, when I got into this, I just wanted to see people not degenerate early in life and have space to evolve and become better people. That's like very simple when I was like all right I like Daoists philosophy and I like the herbs that the Taoists were saying like you're saying, "Oh, you know, these are the superior herbs and they can be used like a food to keep everything rolling and in harmony" I was like, "that's a good outlet" But it doesn't stop there because herb's are such a small part. It's this [crosstalk 01:06:11] it's so much more.   Rhonda: (01:06:13) It's all the philosophy and the, even the outlook of life and [crosstalk 01:06:19] everything involved. Yeah and practise as well. Yeah herbs, acupuncture. Yeah, I mean later, maybe while I get my course ready and I can talk to you a little bit more about how acupuncture, how yourself can actually help yourself acupuncture and the knowing a few of the points and the how you can do it. Yeah. Because [crosstalk 01:06:40] yeah, because yeah. Well, for a lot of people, you don't have to know everything about accupuncture. We'll just teach you a little bit, easily point, very easy and the safe points and how you treat the general field problems, very simple ones and all easy ones. But there's also powerful. It's like your tonics.   Mason: (01:06:59) Like a [inaudible 01:06:59] yeah [crosstalk 01:07:03] . Well, yeah. Medicine isn't to be institutionalised and it's never so complicated that you can do all nothing.   Rhonda: (01:07:13) Yeah. Well, for a thousand years in China, medicine healing wasn't the, what do you call it? The institutionalised, wasn't govern. It's the people actually in public, accept you. If you don't work, who's going to see you. And the only way you work, you got the good names and then people will follow you and the people will treasure your skills, you know, and they're always, they call it a scholar physician and then there's also just the technicians. Yeah. I mean, people with a simple problem, maybe you go to a technician and the people actually have a real problem or rich people and they all go to this scholar physicians, and they all know everything about it. You know, like a philosophy, Daoism and Yin and Yang and the wuxing and the book of change all these things and then they become a physician practitioner. Yeah. I mean, scholar, physician. Yeah. So there's a difference in it yeah. But anyway.   Mason: (01:08:15) It's definitely something worth preserving-   Rhonda: (01:08:19) Yes.   Mason: (01:08:19) Even if it rather become the dominant medicine, preserving it so it's present on the earth.   Rhonda: (01:08:24) Yeah. I wanted it to be a dominant medicine because that will be so good for earth. You know, there will be no poisons to create in the river and in the Water system. and then in the air, it's just good for everybody.   Mason: (01:08:40) Well, let's hold that vision will allow our spirits to shine through our organs and help that vision. [Laughing 01:08:46]. Rhonda thank you so much. We love you and we look forward to having you back on the podcast, whether that's talking about the course or I'd love to just go through and talk about many of the herbs, your favourite herbs as well.   Rhonda: (01:09:05) We can actually also talk about some particular cases that you've sometimes you know, you have a people asking, then we talk about how these yinyang wuxing principles actually should guide them into this, the healings and all that. Yeah. I, well, that's kind of a chats. It's good. It's good for my inspiration too, but I keep the acupuncture part I need more time to get my things working out for us. Yeah.   Mason: (01:09:36) We're not going anywhere.   Rhonda: (01:09:40) [Laughing 01:09:40] At school.   Mason: (01:09:40) We'll wait patiently and I'll just make sure everyone goes and jumps on your newsletter list on your website and also Facebook group yinyang wuxing yi, Y-I.   Rhonda: (01:09:52) Yeah. Well, I mean, at the moment maybe people get disappointed because I don't do too much. I just got a feel I'm on the Facebook at the moment are putting on few of, what do you call them? The words at the moment I'm teachng field Chinese classical Chinese words where they come from, what they mean, because this is important for me in the future with the course. If you don't understand the words in that translation, it just doesn't work the same. So eventually I'll be the charts, everything going to be in Chinese. So I want people to know that basic and then later because yeah, you can actually make a translation of charts, but then I feel there's not too many words to learn and if people understand that and they eventually will, you can actually read the Chinese chats, you know, you can go in there to search your own kind of answers for lots of things. So I feel, yeah, that's what I'm doing at the moment. Yeah. My husband doing all this animation and the words [crosstalk 01:11:01] He actually write for me first and as well so I just can, I did a little bit and have a look is right and then maybe I add something up. Yeah. That's all. So we're doing that to get the words going at the moment. Yeah. And-   Mason: (01:11:17) Amazing.   Rhonda: (01:11:18) Hopefully I can get a course of ready soon.   Mason: (01:11:21) Great. We look forward to it. Okay.   Rhonda: (01:11:23) Thank you. Thanks very much .   Mason: (01:11:24) Good bye for now. Speak to you next time.   Rhonda: (01:11:27) Thanks so much. Yeah. Okay. Bye.
In this special interview Mason shares a deep conversation with one of his greatest inspirations in work and in life, Stephen Harrod Buhner. Stephen's work in herbalism, heart perception, plant medicine, earth poetry, Lyme's disease, bacterial intelligence and more, has reignited the journey's of many into the indescribable "imaginal" realm that plant enthusiasts, artists and adventures throughout time have known well. In this chat Stephen invites us to reach beyond the reductionistic mental approach to life that our Western culture insists upon and "trains" us for, to discover and dance with the wild non linear spaces that lay within. Mason and Stephen touch on many beautiful topics ranging from wild terrain medicine, herbal antibiotics and the effect of pharmaceuticals on the planet. Delving into the mystical and empowering realm that is driven by feeling, the place where we can start to develop a deep relationship with the planet and the plants that help us to heal. Stephen's books and work are transformational, and we cannot recommend them highly enough! Among Mason's favourites are; The Lost Language Of Plants, The Secret Teachings Of Plants, Plant Intelligence And The Imaginal Realms and Sacred And Herbal Healing Beers.    Who is Stephen Harrod Buhner ? Stephen Harrod Buhner is a interdisciplinary, independent scholar, polymath, Fellow of Schumacher College UK and head researcher for the Foundation for Gaian Studies. Stephen is an extraordinary human who, like many (if not all), cannot be summed up in a simple paragraph, to read more about the universe that is Stephen Harrod Buhner, please see his extensive bio here.   Resources: Stephen's Website Stephen's Books Stephen's Articles The Foundation For Gaian Studies   Q: How Can I Support The SuperFeast Podcast?   A: Tell all your friends and family and share online! We’d also love it if you could subscribe and review this podcast on iTunes. Or  check us out on Stitcher, CastBox, iHeart RADIO:)! Plus  we're on Spotify!   Check Out The Transcript Here:   Mason: (00:00) Stephen, welcome to the show.   Stephen: (00:02) Hey Mason, thanks for having me on.   Mason: (00:04) Absolute pleasure, and an honour. And I'd like to just let you fill people in, there's that little bit more completely about who you are and the work that you're doing.   Stephen: (00:15) Well, I didn't ever possess the DNA fragments, which allowed me to fit into the boxes of life. And actually, I think there's a lot more people like that than most of us realise. And for whatever reason, when I was born I was tremendously stubborn. And then when adolescence hit, I pretty much just decided to sort of follow the sense I had of what I needed to do. And I had been very close with my great-grandfather, who back in 1911, when he started to work. There weren't that many antibiotics available. And he really was a horse and buggy physician that went around to people's houses for the most part. And it was mostly botanical medicines, and we used to walk a lot in the forest around his home, and spend time, and there was this kind of feeling that occurred being with somebody like that, in that kind of an intimate space and spending time in natural landscapes.   Stephen: (01:28) And there was a feeling to it that I just didn't find in cities or in the schools I went to. And when I hit adolescence, I just pretty much left home at 16 and began to follow that. I wanted to have that kind of experience in my life all the time.   Stephen: (01:49) And a number of years later I ended up, when I was 20 actually, living in the high mountains of Colorado and kind of learning the forgotten crafts, and I rebuilt this old late 19th century cabin and lived in there for a long time. And just started working with wild landscapes and slowly got into plant medicines.   Stephen: (02:13) And then, in the early '80s got into them more seriously. And it's a kind of a funny thing that I've been in a lot of communities over the years, people, they're doing earth ceremonies, our permaculture, our ecological work, whatever. But, there's something about the herbal communities around the world that have a substantial difference to them. Most of the people, not all of the people involved, the more medically minded are different.   Stephen: (02:49) But community herbalists all around the world, there's this experience that most of them have had where one time in their life the plant saved their life. They became ill, doctors couldn't help and may begin taking a plant medicine that maybe grew in their front yard, or that they found somewhere and they got healed. And there's this thing that happens in this moment when a plant heals you. Nothing is ever the same again.   Stephen: (03:20) And these people, some sort of luminosity entered their life then, that's extremely difficult to explain to the more technological world, to reduction that's from mechanical of any sort. There's this ... Where all of us in our liberal tribe are pretty much indoctrinated in this sort of orientation of needing to work on behalf of the earth, or save the earth.   Stephen: (03:51) But, very few of us actually experience the earth saving us. And when that happens, it starts to pull us into this really deep world that has a different kind of dynamic going on, and it's been the kind of reality framework that we're trained in, in school. And interestingly enough, the feeling of that experience is extremely similar to what it felt like to be with my great-grandfather and walked through those woods. So it's a way of living and a way of life, that is very difficult to explain if you haven't experienced it. And it's sort of, I tend to think that the greatest hope for us as a species life and that shift of experience. It's not a mental thing, or a thinking thing. It's an experiencing a feeling thing. And it's very, very different and much more rewarding, I think.   Mason: (04:50) And that's one thing I appreciate about what you talk about, what you teach so much because you don't shy away from that deep realm, that deep world. That is ultimately for me, I've kind of felt like I've arrived more into reality, especially as I've read your books on Secret Teachings of Plants. And I've gone out and I've had my own experience with particular herbs and medicines. And it's a real slippery subject, and I like having the slipperiest topics as possible. I like making it slippery for the minds, the mind can sit down and get back into unison with the heart.   Mason: (05:26) And when I've been out there, and all of a sudden I can feel that connection and that unity, and that ... It was like a brotherhood, or like a brother or a sister in a plan. All of a sudden we're connected on a realm that intellectually, we're not going to be able to grasp it.   Mason: (05:44) I love that you've gone about doing books such as Herbal Antibiotics, and Herbs for Hepatitis C and the liver, and you've really ... Especially the work you've done with Lyme's and healing Lyme disease co-infections. I appreciate that you're putting that work in. In all your books, you satisfy that beautiful aspect of mind that we as humans have. But then you never shy away from opening the door to that magic realm.   Mason: (06:08) I absolutely love it. And what you term is what opens up as a possibility of heart perception. Can you speak a little bit more about the heart's physiological role, and then more esoteric role in allowing us to actually perceive plants, and perceive the language and information that's coming in from all around us from the planet.   Stephen: (06:33) Yeah, we are in many ways labour educated in the West. We're considered to be children of the Enlightenment. And for the Enlightenment thinkers and writers, the understanding that the heart was a perceptual organ that our feeling, our capacity to feel was integral. It was so fundamental to their orientation, but they didn't even really think that they needed to talk about it that much. Though, you can find many of them talking about it in various places.   Stephen: (07:10) But what tends to happen, there's this odd dynamic that happens with human beings and I think it's pretty much of a universal phenomenon and it's especially true in the West. Where you'll have some tremendous innovation that occurs, and it doesn't really matter what field that it's in. It could be writing or music, or it can be the Enlightenment, a new kind of thinking or something. And it's all very exciting and there's all this innovation that begins to occur, but slowly what happens, the more psychologically damaged members of the movement begin to take over everything, and they begin to reduce it down to some sort of logical absurdity.   Stephen: (07:56) So in the dynamics of the Enlightenment, what happened is as time went on they began to take out more and more, and more of what I consider fundamentally human about who we are as a species. They begin to just isolate reason, or what they consider to be reason from all other capacities of the human being, especially our ability to feel.   Stephen: (08:22) And so, of course human beings do still feel, but most of us are trained to be very suspect about our capacity to feel as soon as we start to school. But the weird thing is that all of us have experiences. And so, one of the things that I began to try to do in the work is to reinvigorate the mind with the capacity to feel. If we're going to supplant reductive mechanicalism with a different paradigm, it's going to have to be elegant and it's going to have to not be just sort of vague or fuzzy. It needs to be extremely clear, and that means bringing into our awareness capacity that all of us posses as human beings.   Stephen: (09:12) I mean, the conflict between the mind and the heart, or the mind and the body is extremely old. Plato was Socrates' most famous student, but he was an elitist, and he was anti-democratic. He didn't believe in people because people had killed Socrates, and Descartes kind of took it to a logical absurdity of when he said, "I think, therefore I am." And separated the mind from everything else, and made it the root of human existence.   Stephen: (09:43) But, I mean if you think about what we do, one of my best examples, I mean there's zillions of them that I've used. But, when we go to a new place, we go to a restaurant or something like that, that we've never been to before. Everybody does this, it doesn't even matter if it's the most die hard rationalist, reductionist on the planet, everybody does it.   Stephen: (10:06) We go to the restaurant, we walk in the front door, and we stop a minute. And we look around the place and in that moment, we're feeling into the place. Like how does this place feel? Does it feel warm and welcoming? Does it feel off-putting? Do we feel like this is a place we want to spend our time in?   Stephen: (10:26) Nearly all of us has had the experience of going into a new place like that and looking at our friend going, "You know this place feels kind of weird. Let's leave." And we do.   Stephen: (10:39) And nearly all of us has had the experience of seeing a little puppy walking across the floor who hasn't seen us, and then you know they're so cute, and we start looking at it, and we go, "Here boy, here boy." And the puppy looks up, and in that moment there's something that's exchanged between us and the puppy, and the puppy feels it, we feel it. It doesn't go through our mind, it goes through some other part of us.   Stephen: (11:05) And what the ancient Aphiemians is referred to that's a moment of what they called aphesis, where there's an exchange of soul essence between what they would consider the heart field that the human being and the heart field of a puppy, the feeling self. And that's kind of dynamic, most of us know the experience of coming home when we expect somebody to be there and we walk in and we say, "Hello." And then all of a sudden, we realise the house feels empty.   Stephen: (11:35) So this capacity to feel is root to us, it's a sixth sense that all living beings have access to. It's one of the ways that helps us to determine safety in our environment and to extract the meaning from things. We experience meaning, and we extract meaning, we analyse meaning, we get to meaning by our feelings, not by our mind.   Stephen: (12:02) So another example I use is you walk in and your spouse is there and you go, "How are you doing?" And they go, "Fine!" And if you just were a complete rationalist, you would respond to the form, which is the word, fine, with an exclamation point.   Mason: (12:23) "Really fine!"   Stephen: (12:25) "That's good, I'm really glad you're fine." But that's why extreme rationalists really can stay married, because they can't respond to the meaning that are being communicated from their spouse. But we know that when our spouse says, "Fine." Like that, they're not really fine. So the form doesn't really have anything to do with the meanings of things, the meanings of things are something we pick up through feeling.   Stephen: (12:50) So there's been a lot of people in the last few years doing, this guy named Rollin McCraty has been doing some great work. But, there's a number of people who have with looking at the heart as an organ of perception, and really the heart has since it has neurons in it, very much like the brain, it makes the same, it uses the same neurotransmitters, it has memory. When we perceive things, the feeling of the meanings of things that go first through our heart and then are routed to the brain for analysis. And the science on all of this is pretty good. Not that that makes any difference to rational reductionists.   Stephen: (13:32) But nevertheless, this is a thing that all people know from their own experience to be true, it's just in the West, we're trained the more we go through school to distrust this capacity that we have to alienate ourselves from it really. And then the weird thing is, is that after a while we begin to not feel well, and I mean if you look at the real meaning of that. Yes, our feeling capacity is stunted, we don't feel well. And so people then begin using more and more pharmaceuticals to try to deal with that. When the real solution to it is reclaiming our feelings.   Stephen: (14:15) I say this over and over, the greatest act of disobedience that we can engage in is to reclaim our feeling sense. And to begin to ask yourself every day about everything we encounter. How does this hospital feel? How does this doctor feel? How does this doctor's office feel? How does this book feel? How does this restaurant feel? Because how things feel tells us about its essential and deep nature, and it allows us to begin to craft a life that's built on a certain kind of aesthetic richness where we literally become more and more alive, and we begin to feel well. And that's the thing, it's actually ... Einstein said, "We can't solve the problems facing us by using the same kind of thinking that we use to create them. We need a different kind of thinking." And by that, he did not mean just thinking with a rational brain in a different way. He was really clear about it and went on in depth that it had to do with this restoration of the feeling sense, to reclaimer is what James Hillman once said, "To reclaim the response of the heart to what's presented to the senses"   Stephen: (15:38) That's really what I mean by that, it's the way out of our dilemma and it's certainly the way out of all of the antidepressants that most of the Western world is now taking.   Mason: (15:50) This is so normal, that's the beautiful thing ... That's what I love, you just giving those examples where we can go, "That's right, that isn't something completely coming out of left field that I've never done before." It's something innate, it's inherent to the human race, and all living beings on this planet without that ability to connect in with that [inaudible 00:16:10] and interact with the world and communicate with that world around us. And that's, for me, that's been one of the top things that has given me the capacity to actually begin doing some deep healing within myself because I shut it off when I was very, very young. I've shared the example of being very confused about why I felt as a teenager I needed to be close to tobacco, yet being really confused about the fact that I didn't know at the time my culture was only giving me access to their tobacco that had its soul ripped out and chemicals put in it, and then I was told, "That thing that you want, that you feel into that's going to kill you."   Mason: (16:52) So I'm like this teenager going, "Why am I doing this then?" And I've had to go on that healing journey to go into the jungle and connect with the real tobacco and go, "Right, okay. I've started healing that relationship with myself." And I can trust myself once again.   Mason: (17:06) It was a very, very little slippery thing that I had in my past, I need to go back into my past and reclaim that feeling ability. And as well with beers, I was a bartender for many years after school, and I loved the act of mixing these concoctions and balancing them out with bitters and medicine that had been fused into the liquors, and beer fascinated me.   Mason: (17:33) And then when I got into the health scene, all of a sudden it was like a, "No, that's not allowed. Beer's bad. Alcohol's bad." In this blanket statement that went over and just said, "You know that part of you, that felt affinity for something, shut that off."   Mason: (17:46) And so now, through just I've got a fascination with that culture of creating beers, I loved your book about that as well. And what I've learned now, I've been able to go past the reductionist approach to beer that our culture has and tap back into the real living essence of what that lineage is.   Mason: (18:06) And that's been very healing for me, that's brought back a lot of my ability to trust myself and trust myself to navigate my own health path and not be reliant on external systems.   Stephen: (18:18) One of the things I like to say is that a Protestant is somebody that knows that somewhere, someone is having a good time, and they have to put a stop to it.   Stephen: (18:30) I was raised with the stupid fundamentalist protestant upbringing. That pretty much worked to take all of the joy out of everything. As if somehow we're going to live to be a million years old. I mean there's this old saying I heard from this guy in Europe once, he said, "You know, what's really weird about America is nobody can die of old age. You die something that you did that you shouldn't have done." Yeah, that is really bizarre.   Stephen: (19:00) And there's, there's this weird belief that if only we do the right stuff, we're going to live to be like a billion years old. But the thing is, the realisation that we're meant to biodegrade. That we're supposed to biodegrade, that were biodegrading right now. Everything is supposed to biodegrade and that's really important, except for us.   Stephen: (19:22) But nevertheless, that's true. And no matter what we do, we're going to end up dying. But reclaiming that, I mean Rilke said a great thing once, the German poet said, "Not only do people not live with their own lives anymore, they no longer live their own death." And I thought, that's a really interesting thing because it's so hidden away and people try to hide just from the awareness of it. But the thing is, there's all of these dynamics. We're rubbing up against life and going through all of these processes while we're alive, and life is meant to be experienced and rubbed up against, and enjoyed in the passion of it, and it's fantastic.   Stephen: (20:13) And so you talk about the dynamics of tobacco, and they've got these weird beliefs about alcohol and tobacco, and about all different kinds of drugs. I wrote about the necessity for psychotropic hallucinogens in my newest book, Planned Intelligence and the Imaginal Realm. It's fundamental, these things have been around for hundreds of millions of years, and they affect the neural network of every living organism on the planet. And they shift them in particular ways that are extremely crucial for the ecological functioning of the planet, including human beings.   Stephen: (20:52) So this things, like one of the things that you touched on when you were talking there, is, in the West we've been trained to lose touch with the wisdom of the body. The body is a highly intelligent organism, it's very, very intelligent. If it wasn't we wouldn't be alive. Our immune systems, for instance, has to be able to analyse millions of incoming dynamics that are occurring. And to craft responses, they have to decide is this thing that's coming in beneficial or non-beneficial?   Stephen: (21:31) If it is not beneficial, what is it? And it has to identify it. Then it has to figure out a way to respond to it and then to deal with it after. Very, very sophisticated. There's no way that our conscious mind could even do that at all.   Stephen: (21:47) So the wisdom of the body is this incredibly crucial thing. Now, when you're looking at the largest biological oscillators in the body, there's three of them. The brain, the heart, and the GI tract. And for a long time, I was wondering why are there so many sensory neurons in the GI tract. I mean there's massive, massive numbers. It's absolutely huge, and it's called ... People have heard of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. But there's also the enteric nervous system, which is the GI tract.   Stephen: (22:20) And if you actually even cut, which I mean, scientists are weird, they do weird shit like this. But, if they cut the nerves that go from the GI tract to the brain, the GI tract will continue to function just fine. And they don't really understand why, and it took me, gosh, a long time, 10 years, 12 years to figure out what it does.   Stephen: (22:46) And when these biological oscillators, the brain, the heart, and the GI tract, as they oscillate, they create electromagnetic fields. Now the heart's electromagnetic field is about 5,000 times stronger than the brain, and it extends out indefinitely out of the body. But it's strongest at about 12 to 14 inches from the body's surface. And everybody can feel it if you get up close to somebody, you can tell when you're in their space. And that's when you've gotten inside that strongest portion of the heart field.   Stephen: (23:24) But the enteric nervous system also creates this electromagnetic field that goes outside of it, and whenever it encounters any other kind of electromagnetic field. The two fields tend to merge and the GI tract begins to analyse what's out there. The interesting thing is, one of the things that it does, is that it can analyse different food substances that we're encountering before we eat it.   Stephen: (23:53) And there's two different types of substances. One, are substances that it just encounters the electromagnetic field of the plant, whatever it might be, and it can ... Once the two fields sort of merge together, it can figure out whether the substance is edible or not. And whether or not the body needs it.   Stephen: (24:15) And other substances, it has to taste once. And one of the reasons that babies crawl around on the ground and put things in their mouth all of the time, is they're calibrating that capacity of the GI tract to analyse substances.   Stephen: (24:31) And of course this makes perfect sense from an evolutionary and ecological frame of reference. Than when an organism can do that, it provides a safety dynamic about the kind of foods it's going to take into itself. And all organisms can do this.   Stephen: (24:48) Bees do it all the time, everything does it. And it's not unusual that we would do it. But we're trained out of trusting the wisdom of the body. And when I first heard about this and talked to it, it was a woman named Geneen Roth, who wrote a book called, When Food is Love. And she was enormously overweight, right. And so she'd been trying to lose weight, and she was hanging out with all of her friends, and she tried this diet and that diet, and all these diets, and nothing worked. And so, one day, she had this really unusual idea, she just decided to eat whatever she wanted, whenever she wanted it. And her friends were like, "Oh, no you can't do that. You'll weigh a million pounds and then you'll die."   Stephen: (25:33) And she's like, "No, I think that's what I'm going to do." And she began doing it, and at first she did gain a lot of weight. But what is interesting is because, then she would always ask her body what it wanted to eat. And after a while she began to lose weight, and she lost more and more weight until she got down to exactly the weight she wanted to be. Because instead of eating with her head, she was letting her stomach and her GI tract decide what it wanted to eat.   Stephen: (26:05) And there's been a lot of studies that show for instance, if children are allowed to eat whatever they want growing up, they have very few eating disorders later in life. But, if they're forced to eat three meals a day, and some sort of stupid nutritional pyramid. After a while, they have eating disorders, because they're eating with their mind, not their body.   Stephen: (26:27) So a big part of what we learned if we begin to re-inhabit our inner being with the world. I mean it's important if we take this other path to begin to re-inhabit our inner being with the world.   Stephen: (26:45) And one of the primary dynamics that's important in that is beginning to trust our bodies again to trust our feeling sense, to reclaim the wisdom of the body. [inaudible 00:26:56] the great German poet said once, "It makes a wonderful difference if you find in the body an ally or an enemy."   Stephen: (27:06) And in the Protestant Western tradition, we're trained to view the body as our enemy. And it's kind of that part of Plato, Socrates, Descartes, Spinoza thing of the mind versus the body. But we're really an integrated organism, and that's really the way out of our dilemma. And certainly the way out of our much of our personal and happiness, I think.   Mason: (27:30) Yeah, I love that so much. When I hear you say that, I think about like what I'm feeling right now and people listening right now. I kind of just feel that come home to yourself. That you don't have to fight anymore, relax, you can be gentle and start that ultimate love story, which is that love story with yourself and your body, and find that ally and that friend.   Mason: (27:55) I think it's beautiful. And I think just that alone will just immediately switch us out of this chronic reductionist mental state that innately, inherently keeps us stressed out. And everyone is just stressed, that's it, that's a core part of why we're stressed. I know it's why I was stressed. All the diet, figuring that out and all that, I'm going to leave that for a moment, that'll all come. I'm just going to cut everything and just ensure that I've got this relationship.   Stephen: (28:26) Right. And it's a big part of it, and just one little phrase that I came across years ago, was by a woman, Laura Lee Rourke, and she had a call [inaudible 00:28:36], I can't remember now. And she said, "When you once again make friends with your body, you're ready for the Holy communion of breaking bread with yourself."   Stephen: (28:50) Isn't that a great line?   Mason: (28:51) That's awesome.   Stephen: (28:51) God, I love that line.   Mason: (28:54) Wow, breaking bread with yourself. I love that. And all of a sudden, this opens you up, you get to go deep into that world, and into that realm where it stops being such and ambiguous, lofty conversation about navigating through being attractive and attracting your own medicine. Like working with a living system and getting the skills on how to navigate that living system of the earth, the elements, the herbs, the plant medicines. As opposed to just simply going to an institution that goes, "Listen, you don't know it, we know it." It's the same with many nutritionists and dieticians, not all of them.   Mason: (29:37) But, just coming into that realm and having people like yourself and what I endeavour to do is empower people to be their own medicine and trust their own instincts, their heart essence to allow them to start to get into communication with the essence of the herbs and with practises, so that they can very, very tangibly and in a feeling sense go, "Yeah, that's my medicine and I'm going to that right now." And I didn't need anyone to tell me that.   Stephen: (30:06) No, and that's what is a thing. I mean ... Another fascinating story that I like, that I talked about in the book, Lost Language of Plants, is how the different members of the ecosystem our kin out there, how much knowledge of plant medicine exist among animals. I mean, we're animals too, but we're trained to think of the distinction between us and the rest of all living organisms. But you know, when people find out the major story that has the most impact is about chimpanzees. And chimpanzees know over 100 different medicinal plants to use, but the amazing thing is, is that they know exactly how to use them.   Stephen: (30:54) So for instance, this one ... If a chimpanzee is ill, let's say they have intestinal parasites, and so what they'll do, early in the morning they'll leave the group of chimpanzees that they're with and they begin walking through the forest until they find the plant. They're using basically the capacity of their body to determine what plant they need. And when they find one of them, they'll sit down and quite often they'll lean over to the plant and they'll hold the living leaf of the plant in their mouth. And they just sit for a while, and that's sort of the way it allows the body to determine the strength of the plant, if that's the one they need. If it is, they'll use it, if not, they move one to another one, until they find the right one.   Stephen: (31:41) Now this particular plant, in this particular example, it's kind of like Velcro, it has these sort of really stiff wiry hairs on the surface of the leaf. So, the chimpanzee will pick the leaf, and they fold it up kind of like an accordion, the paper in an accordion, back and forth, back and forth. And then they kind of fold it up into a little pill shaped form, and they swallow it. Now, it will only work to cure these parasites if used in exactly this way. If they chew it up, it won't work.   Stephen: (32:21) So what happens is, they swallow it whole, and it unfolds in the stomach. And then, what happens is the stomach acids begin to leach the different chemical constituents out of the leaf. The leaf drops down into the duodenum and begins going through the small intestine. Where bio-acids and other dynamics pull more of the constituents out of it. Now those constituents, what they do, is they put the worms that are attached, the parasitic worms are attached to the bowel wall with their mouths, and it puts them into kind of a coma.   Stephen: (32:55) But that wouldn't be enough, all that does is allow them to not be so active. But as the leaf unfolds, the sharp edges of the leaf, plus the Velcro hairs literally scrap the bowel clean. And then when the chimpanzee poops, they're all just kind of pooped out.   Stephen: (33:16) So the interesting thing is, like a lot of people go, "How do they do that? They're just animals. They can't figure that out" I have this friend of my, James Duke, who's really an interesting guy, and he says, "You know ..." because he's got a PhD, and he's trained in all of this stuff. And he goes, "You know, I can kind of get over how over millions of years chimpanzees might sort of figure this out. That sort of makes sense to me. But the one that really, I have difficulty with is ..." he said, "In Africa, there's some plants from the Americas that were transplanted to Africa, and the baboons have learned to use them in a near 500 years exactly the way that all of the people use them for medicine." He said, "I can't get my head around it." He says, "There must be some way to gather knowledge about the will, that's different than the rational approaches in which I've been trained."   Stephen: (34:17) And he's right. In a sense, we're trained in the field, of the world it's like software programming. I mean people call it beliefs, but software programming gives a better idea of it, software programmes behaviour. And if we're ... Programme does all this software that says no other intelligence out there but us, we're not going to see if it's there.   Stephen: (34:44) But what happens to all of us? The software programme we've been given and we've been trained in has very little to do with the real world itself. And over time, what happens is the real world begins to break through that programming and forces us to see that there's something else going on. And very much the same way that plants break through concrete sidewalks. We have our software, here's a kind of a concrete sidewalk, where we think everything is safe and predictable and linear, but in fact, this wildness keeps breaking through and rather than being terrified, I think the proper response is to be excited. I mean there's nothing more boring than a sidewalk, really, in the long run.   Mason: (35:30) And the wildness, it's breaking through, it's doing it out there and it's doing it in here, right?   Stephen: (35:37) I know.   Mason: (35:38) And you were talking about wild terrains earlier, and just the medicine of being in amongst the wild terrain. Can you speak about that a little bit more?   Stephen: (35:47) The interesting thing is that we're made to walk in wild terrain. The hippocampus in the brain, they used to have this ... Look, most of what scientists know is wrong. And the fact that it's wrong, is I like to say it's concealed and open access peer reviewed journal article easily accessible in the internet, where scientists don't know where to look.   Stephen: (36:15) But the thing is, we know less than 1% of what's accurate about the world in which were emersed and from which were expressed. So it was extremely common in the late 20th century for neural scientists to make ridiculous pronouncements like, "The brain doesn't make more neurons after birth." And all of this stuff. But in fact, the brain is constantly regenerating itself and making more neurons and restructuring itself in really unique ways. And, the hippocampus, which is the part of our brain that tends to deal with meaning with the encountering meaning and to identify meaning.   Stephen: (37:01) One of the things is, if we walk through wild landscapes, it tends to be more healthy to produce more sensory neurons that are much more sensitive to the meaning fields that we encounter. Whereas in domesticated landscapes, it tends to become almost a bit comatose and not reactive.   Stephen: (37:21) So, the thing is, one of the things I say over and over again, is that one of the hardest things to do is to train ourself to see what is right in front of us. It's the hardest thing of all.   Stephen: (37:37) Now, one of the things I'm playing around with now, which really drives many members of my liberal tribe completely crazy is the following:   Stephen: (37:47) Okay, so we have all heard of carnivorous plants, right? Like venous fly trap, that's like the really famous one. But what those people don't understand is that there's a great many passively carnivorous plants, and there's one whose name I don't remember, I have to look it up again. Because I'm going to talk about this next month sometime. But, there's this plant in Spain, I think it was, where the stalk ... a massively strong stalk with these massively strong prickles on it, and quite often if sheep get too close to it they'll become entangled in it and they'll die. And what happens is then they rot and fertilise the root of the plant. And the plant grows really big and healthily.   Stephen: (38:33) And I've seen that with burdock before, this plant that was near our house. Where every year, I would find it or it's progeny came back, I find bats or small birds caught in the prickles on the burdock would die and rotted, and then shelled down around the root, and fertilised it. And as I began to realise that there's passively carnivorous plants and began to look with that eye, begin to see it more and more, and more.   Stephen: (39:02) So that's sort of upsets conventional thinking dynamics. But then it even goes further. So there is these two guys that were doing studies on birds in this one region of the United States in the forest. And so, what they would do is they would put up this really fine netting, it's almost invisible to the eye, and the birds would fly through the forest and they'd get entangled in the net. So the next morning, the guys would go there, untangle the birds and they would keep a record of all of the birds that they were capturing, because they were trying to get an idea of the ecological diversity of bird flocks in that area.   Stephen: (39:44) But after a while, they would come every morning and there would be no birds. Every morning there was no birds, no birds. And they were like, "This is really strange." So they put up a motion sensitive camera in there. And, they wrote a really nice peer reviewed journal, [inaudible 00:40:00] people.   Stephen: (40:02) Anyway, so then they're looking at the camera, and so they see the birds fly into the nets and the birds are caught there and everything, and then they see this herded deer come along, and the deer stop, they walk over to the net and they eat the birds.   Mason: (40:16) Wow.   Stephen: (40:18) Okay, so this is like ... But, these are herbivores everybody things. And then I started looking at ... It turns out that horses are also carnivorous, that horses throughout history have been known to eat meat. The battle horses, during the Middle Ages, in the battlefield, they would then go around and begin to eat the dead. Which also really screws up everything.   Stephen: (40:44) But then, if you start to really think about it, what in herbivores life is. If you look at cattle, or just even wild buffalo of any sort, any kind of foraging animal that's moving through grasslands. When they come across bird nests that are built on the ground. They just eat the baby birds if they're there. They eat everything.   Stephen: (41:11) But if you think about it, if they're eating the grass, they're eating insects and everything else. But it happened to be on the grass, so they're not herbivores, they're a special kind of omnivore just like we are.   Stephen: (41:26) But this kind of belief system that Bambi eats meat is completely alien to the way we've been trained to think. And it's a perfect example of how we're trained with a certain software programme that has very little to do with the actual world.   Stephen: (41:43) So when we go into wild landscapes, the very first thing that starts to happen, even if we're unaware of it. And sometimes it takes a long time depending upon how suppressed or repressed we become in ourself, how out of touch with our ability to notice or to feel. The very first thing that starts to happen is the reality of the world starts to press against this very strange analytical framework that we've been trained in and that have very little to do with the actual world. Then as time goes on, cracks begin to appear in that paradigm and that very safe linear world in which we've ensconced ourself. And after a while, more and more cracks become.   Stephen: (42:33) And then, if it breaks open enough, we begin to become barbarian. Which I think is very important. To be barbarian means to no longer be of the cities. To be civilised means, literally to be of the cities. And we begin to reclaim a certain kind of pagan sensibility, a certain wildness of perspective to really understand the earth and what the earth is, and how it is. We have to become wild again in just the way the earth is.   Stephen: (43:07) But once we do that ... What's interesting is that all of the civilised people, like Robert Bly the poet, American poet, had a great way of talking about it. He had this great book, he said, "Friends I've Eaten from Darkness."   Stephen: (43:23) And I loved that, and it's like, he said, "After a while, people can tell that you have eaten something that they have not." Would be eat the wild, it begins to grow inside of us, and we begin to change. Our language changes, our life changes, and the people that meet us can tell we've eaten something that they have not.   Stephen: (43:45) But in our time, I think it's really our job to eat wildness and carry that with us into the world because we are in the midst of a paradigm change. The collapse of the old linear reduction as the paradigm, which has exhausted its potential and really doesn't work. And a new paradigm that's beginning to emerge.   Stephen: (44:08) And of course ... When I was in my 20s, I thought paradigm shifts would be a lot of fun. And what I realise now, no, they're incredible horrible times, because the entire civilised structure is based on the old paradigm, and when it collapses, so does the civilised structure before a new one can emerge.   Stephen: (44:28) But that's really in a lot of ways our job is to carry this wildness into the world and to spread it around.   Mason: (44:35) Yeah. Absolutely, spread the wild in the world, and in ourselves. And it can be simple right, just looking at a wild terrain all of a sudden, I felt that experience in my brain and my heart coming alive again.   Mason: (44:50) And it's like you feel that symbolic relationship, that I'd forgotten for so long and it's kind of the essence-   Stephen: (44:58) That's really what you're describing is, re-inhabiting your inner being with the world. It's really what it is, I mean, that's a perfect description of it.   Mason: (45:07) Oh, good. And I feel like right now the conversation moving into herbalism, I feel we've been able to come here now. We've made all these beautiful distinctions and it's starting to come into perception of this deeper realm. We're not talking about herbalism as this fraction part of life, or some fraction thing that gets used to heal us. But rather, we can start seeing now how we can actually, as we get to know the planet that we're living on. We can actually start having a relationship with it and watch these various expressions of medicine that pop up that we don't just cut off and use. Can call us in, and we can call in, and we can develop a very strong bond.   Mason: (45:53) I'd like to hear a story from you about a particular herb that maybe you've developed a relationship. I know for me pine pollen was one, I'll never lose that connection. When I think about pine pollen right now, I get a very particular feeling of that moment when I was walking past constantly in front of my house a couple of years back, and the plant would be like just calling to me just, "Hey, notice me, notice me, notice me." And then a couple of weeks later, kicked into bloom. I got up there, harvested the pollen, and dried it out, put it into some alcohol and tinctured it for about six months, some of it a year.   Mason: (46:27) And I experienced that restoration of my androgenic sexual hormone system. And I don't need to use it that much, but nothing will every take that away. And so, I'd like to hear a story from you.   Stephen: (46:44) Well that's ... I'll do two things with that. And the first one is just to talk a little about the pine pollen. The thing about pine pollen is, when I started off in herbs in the early '80s and looking at it in some depth. One of the things that was extremely common, I mean most herbalists tend to be women in the United States. It's probably also true in Australia, tends to be true in Europe from what I've seen.   Stephen: (47:20) They were of course very interested in estrogenic plants, plants that would help with menopause, or plants that would help with menstrual cycles to normalise them. There was quite a body of work done on plants that had estrogenic capacity. But it took me 10 years, 10 years before the obvious question occurred to me, "Are there any androgenic plants that had testosterone?" I mean there's a lot of plants that have estradiol, and various female hormones in them. Chemically identical to that of women's bodies.   Stephen: (47:55) But 10 years, it took me to ask the obvious question. And then, I looked around and there was virtually nothing on it in the herbal field anywhere in the world. And people, "Ginseng is kind of a male tonic for their sexuality." But that's about as far as it went. And I began looking, and then of course I found that pine pollen is the highest that has massive amounts of testosterone in it, chemically identical to the testosterone in our bodies.   Stephen: (48:30) And of course it's obvious, it's like ... We tend to think that the plants didn't do anything until human beings showed up on the stages, like they're pining around for our emergence or something. But no, these chemicals and the medicinal qualities of plants has been an active part of ecosystem, homeodynamics, and health for millions upon millions of years. That's part of the way the earth's ecosystem regulates itself.   Stephen: (48:59) I mean, plants can't exactly call the doctor or go to the hospital, if they're infected with a bacteria or virus, they have to analyse it and then they make their own chemical responses to it. And that's why they work for us, because physiologically we're extremely similar. We're not that different than plants, or any other organism on the planet, actually. We taught that we aren't, but we are.   Stephen: (49:23) So your description of that moment, it was that moment, which is the thing that's hardest to communicate to people. But you shifted out of a certain frame of reference into another, and you had an experience of living medicine that will never ever leave you. That plant becomes an ally in that moment, and it's a living medicine, it's not like a pharmaceutical, which is kind of a dead medicine.   Stephen: (49:52) So the other story I have to share about that is, this woman I was working with years and years ago, 25 years ago maybe. And she came to me and she was probably 28, and she had a very difficult menstrual cycle, massive cramping and pain. And she was Caucasian, her skin was extremely pale in a real unhealthy way, as if she'd never been around the sun and her eyes were pinpoint focused, and her musculature was really rigid, and her voice was kind of a monotone. And she was going through a very horrible divorce, and she was really unhappy.   Stephen: (50:38) And so then talking to her, and all of a sudden, I just had this idea of this plant, Angelica sinensis, which grew around our house. It's wild Angelica, we were at 9,000 feet in the Rocky Mountains, and so let's go for walks, so we start walking through this, and where we lived then, it had never been logged, never been farmed. It was like this original rich old growth place, really magnificent. And there were about 150 medicinal plants I worked with there over the years. And walking through [inaudible 00:51:21] old ancient landscape, and we'd go down this hill and through the forest groves and we'd get to the bottom where there's this little stream and we're walking along it.   Stephen: (51:35) And she was in front of me, and I was just watching what happened, and we're walking along. Angelica tends to grow about six feet tall and it's in a perfectly poised between heaven and earth. It's this quite magnificent plant. And she's walking along and she catches a glimpse of the plant out of the corner of her eye. What Henry David Thoreau called the unworn sides of the eye, that peripheral vision that sees so many things. And she just stops and she's been drawn to it, almost against her will, it was like the most amazing thing. And she's just touching the leaves like the body of a lover, and she's going, "What is it? What is it?" And I said, it's Angelica. And she's going, "Oh my."   Stephen: (52:20) And then all of a sudden, she stops and she goes, "It's hallow inside isn't it? Just like me." And I said, "Yes, it is." Because it has this hallow stem. And so I said, "You know, ask it to come inside that hallow space inside of you." And she did, and I watch her whole body shift in that moment, that her skin was flushed with colour, her eyes became soft, focused, and luminous. Her voice became much more emotive in its tone. Her whole body just relaxed and she said, "Oh." And it's in that way, in that moment like what you were describing, the moment when a living medicine comes into our body, and shifts our entire experience.   Stephen: (53:08) And we found another one of the plants and harvested the root, and I gave her some tincture, and she began using it. After a month or two her menstrual cycle was normalised and all of the cramping and pain went away.   Stephen: (53:22) But that moment for her, for the rest of her life, that plant, that experience will never leave her. It's a living medicine. And it's one of the things ... I've looked a lot at emerging disease dynamics, because we've disrupted the ecosystem of the planet. And more and more diseases are emerging, and more and more of them are becoming difficult to treat. And resistant bacteria is one of them, from overuse of antibiotics. And people will ask me, they'll say, "Well, won't a bacteria develops resistance to the herbs? And I said, "No, and there's two reasons for that."   Stephen: (54:04) One, is an herb is not simply a raw drug, it's a very sophisticated medicinal substance, it's got maybe somewhere between 100 and 1,000 different chemical constituents in it. And they're very sophisticated, it's not a single silver bullet like an antibiotic that the bacteria can analyse and create resistance to. They have to develop resistance to this very complex chemical gestalt.   Stephen: (54:35) But secondly, you have to understand, plants are living medicines. And the reason why they've developed antibacterial capacities is because they get infected by bacteria too. The same ones that would infect us. And if the bacteria develops resistance to what they've created, they then innovate immediately and by the next year, they've created responses to deal with the new resistant dynamic in the bacteria.   Stephen: (55:05) And if you look at berberine plants for instance, like goldenseal or philodendron, or bayberry, or things like that. Any of the plants with berberine in them, they'll contain berberine, which is a broad spectrum antibacterial, it's not very systemic if we take it, it tends to be limited to parts of the body it can touch. But it's a very potent broad spectrum antibacterial substance.   Stephen: (55:33) Well of course, a very long time ago, millions of years ago, bacteria begin to develop resistance to the berberine so they could continue to infect the plants. Well then the plants in the bacteria created a specific dynamic to do that, what's called an efflux pump inhibitor or efflux pump dynamic. Where the berberine goes into the bacterial cell, the bacteria pumps it out again so it won't be affected. So that's called an efflux pump, and the plant created an efflux pump inhibitor to shut down that part, and they've got ... When you really exam these plants, they'll have between 5 and 15 substances that all act synergistically together to shut down the bacteria's capacity to do that, and they're always innovating.   Stephen: (56:22) Evolution hasn't stopped, it's always going on. So these are living medicines and it's a very different kind of world than the pharmaceutical world that we've been used to. To which in a way, they're creating dead substances from an analytical orientation, and they have very limited application actually.   Mason: (56:46) And we're just coming out of winter in Australia, and it's getting so bad. Obviously everywhere in the Western world, and beyond the Western world where antibiotics have been used. But our government has actually started setting up campaigns warning people of wasting antibiotics of colds and flu's, because driving to that fact because they're adapting, and they're evolving and rendering-   Stephen: (57:11) Right. But they've been saying this for 50 years.   Mason: (57:17) Wow.   Stephen: (57:18) And it's like, one of the reasons why, and so they periodically try to lay the blame on the patient.   Mason: (57:26) Yeah, I know right. It's not a guilt trip.   Stephen: (57:26) [crosstalk 00:57:26], "I have to give it to them, because they come in asking for something." And I was like, "No, you don't. You have people come in all the time asking for pain killers, asking for opiates. Do you just give them those? No you don't. But you give them antibiotics, why? Because you think that they're a benign substance."   Stephen: (57:44) But they're way more dangerous than opiates in terms of their ecological impact. Plus you have all of the wastage from the pharmaceutical stuff, the stuff that's left over when they make antibiotics, it's dumped into the ecosystem that affects ecosystem function.   Stephen: (58:05) Most people don't realise that the majority of pharmaceuticals are not biodegradable. But once they're dumped into the environment, they continue to do whatever it is they've been designed to do pretty much indefinitely. And then, antibiotics that have passed their due date, they're either flushed down the toilet or thrown into landfills, and on, and on, and on.   Stephen: (58:27) And doctors ... The other thing that's important to realise. The technological, industrial, medical complex has virtually only one thing. I mean they've got a couple, but for the most part, they have only one thing that can cure disease, and that's antibiotics. Most of the rest of the stuff they use suppresses symptoms so you can continue to live doing the same things you've done your whole life without changing your lifestyle, but it's merely suppressing symptoms. So if you have blood pressure, you take a high blood pressure medication, which suppresses the high blood pressure, rather than looking at the root cause and changing that.   Stephen: (59:13) Doctors are not going to give up antibiotics, they use them prophylactically all of the time. Dentists always use them, they're not going to stop. So we've got this problem that the entire [inaudible 00:59:25] of technology medicine less on this antibacterial foundation which can't be sustained because virtually the entire earth ecosystem rests on a bacterial foundation that all human beings. And this comes as a shock to most people, we are simply bacteria morphed into more complex forms.   Stephen: (59:55) The work of Lynn Margulis was really seminal in that respect and showing that there's only one form of life on earth, and it's bacteria in various types of complexity. And by declaring war on disease, we've declared war on ourself. And by pumping out millions and billions, and trillions of pounds of antibiotics over the last 70 years, we flooded the earth's ecosystem, if bacteria had not developed resistance all life on earth would already be over.   Stephen: (01:00:30) Most people don't understand that. So we've created this thing where the age of miracle drugs is coming to an end. Antibacterial substances are coming to an end of their usefulness and we're about to enter a whole new frame of reference, which it's going to be very, very different than what went before. There's no way around it, but there isn't a bacterial researcher on the planet that has not said that it is inevitable that this is going to happen.   Mason: (01:01:03) Wow, we're getting the wake up call aren't we?   Stephen: (01:01:05) Yes we are. And it doesn't matter where we look. We all know that we've exceeded the capacity of a planet that we've damaged the ecological balance in ways that can't be reclaimed. And of course, the implications are terrifying and very few of us really want to look at it or talk about it. But the human species is in for some difficult times, there isn't any way around that.   Mason: (01:01:31) And in turn, so it's nice to see that it seems to be a very resounding shift. We know that the doctors and dentists aren't going to give up the use of the antibiotics.   Mason: (01:01:43) However, we're now at that point where we're going to stop going to war on our planet and on ourselves, since we are heavily bacterial and we have our ancestors, right, a bacteria. That's a reality, right?   Stephen: (01:01:59) Yes it is.   Mason: (01:02:00) And now we're going to come home and start developing some relationships as well with the planet and with ourselves, and start falling in love with ourselves again. Start falling in love with the planet and nurturing through that. I just really appreciate you. Just going deep, and going into that deep space with me Stephen and-   Stephen: (01:02:18) You're welcome. You see, a lot of people, when we start talking about this, they're so very depressed and very ... But the thing for me is that the way through this really is dependent on the individual genius of millions and millions of people. I'm fundamentally a democratic person, I believe in the individual, and I believe that the individual genius of people. I mean one of the examples I put in my new book, Planned Intelligence and the Imaginal Realm is, so these doctors have been working for like 10 years trying to figure out how a certain HIV protein folded, because if they can figure it out, then they can create a medicine that would interfere with it. And they spent millions, and millions of dollars trying to figure this out, and they finally gave up.   Stephen: (01:03:17) And then, one of the guys on the team had this idea, he said, "Well, why don't we just put it out because the gamers on the internet. They work with puzzles like this all the time. Why don't we put it on the internet, and see what happens." And they said, "Well, nothing to lose, because we can't figure it out."   Stephen: (01:03:36) And in seven days, there were 250,000 people working on it. In 10 days they had solved the problem.   Mason: (01:03:44) Wow.   Stephen: (01:03:46) The thing is, the solutions to the problems that we have that we're facing are not going to come from the established kind of areas that we've been trained to rely on because they think in the old paradigm. But permaculture came from ... I mean I love so many great activists that come out of Australia and that whole region, Bill Mollison is one of my heroes, I mean permaculture was a great invention. It's a fantastic thing [inaudible 01:04:19] in Japan coming up with natural farming and the whole herbal renaissance, it's going around the world, and all of the different things. These things are being innovated by individuals, most of them without PhD's outside of the frame that the elite think is most important, and they're creating these magnificent solutions and there's this whole tribe of people emerging now that understand that, and are sort of following that thread by following their feeling sense.   Stephen: (01:04:50) And they're starting to innovate solutions on the ground, in the environment where they live. And the thing I always tell people, over and over again, is trust your feeling sense, trust your own inherent genius. Because the solutions to the problems we face are going to come from that, not from the institutions that are dependent on the old paradigm.   Stephen: (01:05:14) I believe in that, I will never stop believing in it.   Mason: (01:05:19) Thank you for that. And we won't either. Stephen, it's been so good having you on this show. There's so many other things I want to ask you, and my mind is kind of like thinking, "Oh, you were saying like the majority of the herbalists being women." So there's been a lot of oestrogen building herbs.   Mason: (01:05:35) And now it makes me think again about the standard herb that we used to make beers in our culture is an estrogenic herb, right? The hops that we use in herbs and it's like straight away, I think, "Right, okay. There we go. We've reduced beer down to just some formula. Rather than the herbal tonic. And there's the possibility of actually having androgenic herbs in beers, right? If we go back to the way that they were originally used.   Stephen: (01:06:02) Well it is interesting about that ... Because it was Protestants that put hops in beers, starting about late 1400s, early 1500s. And hops is the most estrogenic plant on the planet. So by putting a lot of hops in beer, basically adults with sexual drive in the male who drinks it, and puts the drinker to sleep. Before that the herbs tended to be more sexually stimulating and it would tend to wake you up more. So it's fascinating that men are going around drinking these incredibly estrogenic substances.   Stephen: (01:06:43) But there's a guy in Scotland names Bruce Williams who started making traditional Scottish ales and he makes a pine ale, which is very ... has a lot of testosterone in it that's a great beer. Reclaiming these old traditions, they change everything, and there's a lot of wisdom in our ancestors in what they did that just because they didn't have PhD's doesn't mean that they were stupid. I mean, it's sort of the most interesting things that I see all the time. It's like, we just assumed our ancestors prior to World War II were really stupid.   Stephen: (01:07:24) I mean, how did the human species even survive until after World War II when we had PhD's? Well you know, I think there was something else going on then.   Mason: (01:07:36) Me too. And if there's anyone here in Australia creating androgenic beers, drop me a line. I would love to help you out, and if you're doing it the old ways, and especially like you've read the Sacred and Herbal Healing Bees, one of my favourite aspects is that person having a relationship with the bacteria and the spirits that come into the brew to kick it up. And so a lot of the time the brew won't actually kick off until you've given a little offering back to the earth, or back to the directions, right Stephen?   Stephen: (01:08:06) There's a very ancient tradition of, before people knew about yeast, the way that they know now. They would make ... They knew that something came through the air that would cause the fermentation to occur to cause these sugary substances to become alcoholic and for them to get inebriated.   Stephen: (01:08:31) Individual solitary drinking was unusual back then. It was more of a community dynamic, but virtually every culture on earth ... Virtually the only culture I can pretty much find, I couldn't find any example of fermented beverage was really the Australian Aborigines. But every other indigenous culture on the planet that I could find, had a history of creating fermented beverages of intoxication.   Stephen: (01:08:58) And I thought, what was kind of interesting to me is that the Aborigines were also the only indigenous culture on the planet that I could find that had a concept of dream time, in the way that they talked about it. So, I wondered if there were some relationship there.   Stephen: (01:09:14) But no, human relationship with fermented beverages is tremendously ancient. And it turns out that the people that settled in the region that came to be known as Egypt, and that led to the emergence of those great civilizations there. They actually stopped in that location and built cities, because the grain naturally grew there. And so, one thing I like to say is that, civilization didn't occur because we started thinking, it started because we started drinking. That was the root of it, intoxication. We just have gotten way, way too far away from our root.   Mason: (01:09:55) Absolutely. Time to grow, get our roots deep back into the earth. Stephen, for those people that would like to look at your work and look a bit more into what you're up to. Where can ... Is there a website where they can find you?   Stephen: (01:10:09) Yeah. Our website is gaianstudies.org.   Mason: (01:10:17) Beautiful. And I recommend everyone to get on there or to Amazon, or wherever it is that you buy your books. And I just probably recommend just buying at least three of his books off the bat and diving in head first. It's an incredible journey. And I'll also put all that in the show notes.   Mason: (01:10:36) Stephen, it's been an honour, and just absolutely awesome having you here. I appreciate so much.   Stephen: (01:10:41) Thanks Mason, it was a pleasure.   Mason: (01:10:43) [inaudible 01:10:43] next time.   Stephen: (01:10:43) Okay. Bye-bye   Mason: (01:10:45) So there you have it everybody. A beautiful interview with Stephen Harrod Buhner and myself. I hope you took a lot out of that. There was a lot of beautiful juicy information. However, I feel it was a very, very empowering conversation. One that allowed us to bypass the mental noise of our world and start easing a little bit more into the reality of the world that we live in, the earth that we live in, the plants that surround us.   Mason: (01:11:13) So I hope you can really take away some of that magic that we touched on in that conversation, and express that magic in your life and feel the health that oozes from that space, and the vitality and the energy. That's where it's at, that space there.   Mason: (01:11:30) So you can definitely, I'd recommend you go over to gaianstudies.org and check out Stephen's stuff, a little bit of what he's doing. I meant that, what I said at the end of the interview, just grab three of his books, just go for it. Look into the Lost Language of Plants, The Secret Teaching of Plants, and many others. There's so many there, they'll be relevant for you. Herbal Antibiotics is one that you might be able to get very good, very beautiful resource for you so we can start shifting over from the pharmaceutical approach of medicine, and start getting into some natural healing, living antibiotics from the herbal realms.   Mason: (01:12:11) Head over to gofundme.com/healinglyme2nd, and I believe his crowdfunding campaign is going to be finishing very soon. But it would be beautiful and encourage to join me in contributing a little bit so that they can get to their benchmark and Stephen can continue to do this incredible work that he's doing in the world.   Mason: (01:12:43) So thank you very, very much for listening. Please subscribe to the podcast. And if you could leave a rating and a review, that would be beautiful. It enables me to get this feedback direct from you, so I can continue to deliver these interviews in this podcast for you specifically.   Mason: (01:13:04) Thank you very much for that, and until next time. Stay enchanted.
We've got our favourite Movement Monk, Benny Fergusson, back on the show with Mason today. The gents continue the conversation around embodied movement and the many elements involved when exploring life and personal growth through the physical form. As always Benny is humble in his delivery and intelligent in his approach, inviting us to delve beyond the gross layers into the subtleties that lurk beneath our habits, patterns and intentions. Another beautiful and insightful chat to wrap your ears around. Mason and Benny journey through various terrain, discussing both the tangible and intangible aspects of movement as experienced through the lens of the body, mind and spirit. The gents explore: Movement practices as a continuation of both Yin and Yang, Benny shares how he is embodying this concept in his current practice and what is showing up for him as he explores. Changing your relationship to discomfort through stretching "to me stretching first and foremost is a metaphorical idea, a symbol of going to where there is discomfort and finding resolve in that." - Benny. The Western approach to chronic pain and how to address it through a consistent and curious movement practice. Pain as an effect, not a cause of dis-ease in the body, mind or spirit. The Western perspective that a diagnoses is the pathway to a cure, how to release our attachment to this ideology and begin to view pain and discomfort as malleable information as opposed to a static state. Feeling safe in your experience of the body as a foundational tool for embodiment and healing. Benny's hardware vs software analogy, and the importance of addressing both the physical and mental/emotional programs that inhibit us from feeling ease within our experience of the human form. Honouring the seasonality of practice without judgement. An introduction into Benny's 5 levels of activity; physical, work, contentment, spiritual, and silence. Benny's new Movement Monk platforms and the courses he offers. Who Is Benny Fergusson? After living with chronic scoliosis & pain for years, and getting no lasting relief from mainstream fitness and therapies.. Benny embarked on a journey to heal his body and get to know himself better. Through years of research and the practice of movement & meditation arts, Benny found a way to restore his physical freedom, leading to profound personal growth. Benny now shares his findings with his students at MovementMonk.xyz.   Resources: The Movement Monk Website The Movement Monk YouTube The Movement Monk Facebook The Movement Monk Instagram    Q: How Can I Support The SuperFeast Podcast?   A: Tell all your friends and family and share online! We’d also love it if you could subscribe and review this podcast on iTunes. Or  check us out on Stitcher, CastBox, iHeart RADIO:)! Plus  we're on Spotify!   Check Out The Transcript Here:   Mason: (00:01) Hey Benny, thanks for coming on again, man.   Benny: (00:04) Thanks for having me Mase. It's good to be back.   Mason: (00:07) Yeah, can't do in person this time. We've got a Queensland border shut down.   Benny: (00:14) Yep.   Mason: (00:16) Fun times. Look, just leading on from last conversation, I wanted to have you back on because I'd like to consistently have you back on and see you as a constant source for helping me come back into my own movement practise in my own body, in more and more comfortable ways. And that's an ongoing conversation. I like the structure of your new Movement Monk website, and the way you're offering people navigating through the vast amount of intentions, and ways of becoming more comfortable in their body and expressed in their body. But at the same time, I like the level of malleability there is, which means we have to keep on having these conversations. You're a podcast favourite.   Mason: (01:10) Where are you at in your practise at the moment? What's floating your boat? Just out of curiosity for what's coming on in the present.   Benny: (01:23) There's been an interesting thing that's been coming up lately. It's just about this experience of a continuum between Yin and Yang. And that can sound really conceptual, but for a long time, where it's shifting for me at the moment is I have certain practises that I would put probably in a Yang box, even though I don't fully separate Yin and Yang of course. Not that I have a choice, you just can't. There's definitely a lean towards Yang, strengthening type, more strenuous intense physical practises, deeper stretching practises, all that sort of thing. And then more restorative Yin type practises.   Benny: (02:12) So for a long time I put them in two different boxes. And just in my practise recently, what's been unfolding that I've just been enjoying to its full, is it can be a continuum. Going in two different movements and different practises, where they might start challenging. And where part of my mind in the past would go, okay I do that thing until it's challenging and once it becomes easier, I look for the harder thing.   Benny: (02:41) Instead I found that there's just so much juice to continue to stay with the harder thing, and as it becomes easier, to continue to go deeper into it.   Benny: (02:53) What's that?   Mason: (02:53) Into the easy-ness almost?   Benny: (02:57) Sort of. It presents a different opportunity for growth, I've found. So it's not necessarily easy, it just changes. Say for example, I'm a big advocate on stretches being relevant to movement, and not just being able to be a wet noodle and flop into them, but not have actual practicality to the way you move through life. In some stretches that I've started in, I wouldn't be able to be in the position for more than 30 seconds. At that point, it would really fall into that Yang space. But then as I allowed myself to go into it, then my ability tolerance, ability to relax into that situation started to expand. So I've had to go into different positions for three minutes and beyond. This is like the same movement, but then going down this pathway, this continuum where the Yang starts to converge into Yin. It's just been really interesting, just observing the effects on the body as that's happening. It goes from more neurological to muscular, to fascial.   Benny: (04:11) When a lot of people talk about, Yin yoga, affecting the tendons and the ligaments and all that sort of thing, and often there's debate around is that even a good idea? Is it even possible? All that sort of thing. I've just been observing my own body through this process and it's been quite interesting just having a physiological kinesthetic experience of these adaptations occurring. And not to mention, the ultimate thing for me is that the changes of the mind that have been occurring. Just how I've been relating to my body and experiencing my body, in simple movements.   Benny: (04:48) But yeah, that's one thing that's been a really interesting line of inquiry that I've been pulling at the thread of in stretching practises and movement practises.   Mason: (04:58) If you don't mind me asking just another little follow up from that, because this is really interesting. I've definitely experienced in my practise, and working with you, when I was doing consistent Yin yoga so on and so forth. I did feel it does impact you mentally and emotionally, but sometimes I find it difficult to look at that beyond just a remedy style. I realised this morning, I don't actually like remedies. I don't like remedy medicine. I respect it and need it, but I personally don't have an affinity towards it. Being a health person I feel you have to. People go, hey I've got this going on, what can I have for that?   Mason: (05:44) And same in movement, I generally don't love remedying myself when it comes to my movement practise. That's why I like tonic herbs, because it's long term. You just mentioned there that you've been noticing some mental changes through that stretching. So it's one thing to stretch for an issue or problem, it's another thing to stretch and follow that thread without ... Not that it's bad to remedy yourself, I do it. But without that, and just exploring and then seeing a benefit emerge for you and your symptoms mentally. Which is a nice surprise. Can you just walk me through what it is that you're noticing, and how something like stretching, which doesn't seem that relevant to life, how you find it actually extremely relevant to everyday life and affecting you in that way.   Benny: (06:39) Yes. That's a big topic, and there's lots of different things that I could comment on that. To keep it simple to start, to me stretching first and foremost is a metaphorical idea, symbol of going to where there is discomfort and finding resolve in that. Not through it changing, but through you changing your relationship to it, to allow your experience of that challenge to change. For me, it keeps me on my toes in a really wonderful way I find. It's so easy to get comfortable, it's so easy to get complacent, so easy to just go, it's enough, and rest in life. And while I love to be restful, I like to just always have things challenging me. Kind of like an animal, they thrive on that challenge. It's a funny thing when you observe an animal. There's this relaxed alertness about them, even through they've got so many stressors that are potentially placed upon them. Another bigger predator could come and eat you in any second, and all that sort of thing.   Benny: (08:12) As I observe myself being a human, and just humanity in general, there's an opportunity I feel for greater resilience, where the circumstances of our external environment don't impact us so much. And this is something I feel is incredibly relevant at this time as we're going through what we're going through with humanity, is just there is so many changing circumstances in our external environment that we have zero control over. I look at stretching as an opportunity to go into that. I hope this sounds okay, there's a guy that's decided to mow the lawn.   Mason: (08:59) That's okay. That happened on a podcast last week, with a guy in Hawaii, and he's like, "Oh my god, my lawnmower guy just came. Is that all right?" I'm like, whatever.   Benny: (09:15) For me if I look at the thing that drives me into it, I'm fortunate now I've moved through a lot of the chronic physical challenges that I had, even the chronic mental emotional things. They're not there so much in my every day reality. So these things, going into stretches, they in a way it's a conscious choice for me to go into a challenge and not necessarily know how to work it through, but to let my subconscious processes surface in that moment where things are tough, and then allow this wonderful unfolding process where I don't know what's going to unfold. I'm not trying to really control the outcome, yet it's a really wonderful thing just as you connect with it, experience it rather than think about it, the challenge that is, in the stretch, and then allow it to resolve itself. Maybe not in the moment, maybe over time.   Benny: (10:17) It's a very different way that has emerged for me mentally, of looking at my body and looking at life, of problems aren't problems. They're opportunity for deeper solution. So I intentionally put myself into situations, not out of a masochistic intent, but just to test my resolve. I've just found that as I do go through transitionary times, it's more graceful. It feels more graceful within me. That's been a big journey for me. I think I have an ongoing thing that I need to be aware of, I've noticed, around, I'm tenacious but I can also be really stubborn, And sometimes I find it difficult to course correct and adjust. If I set my heading and then someone goes, let's go over here, for a long time that would really discombobulate me.   Benny: (11:19) So through these practises over many years, it's allowed me to be much more adaptive. That's one thing, just getting to know my own inner nature and finding ways to have more grace in those things. Maybe that's an abstract but also practical perspective of why I've been diving into stretching, why I like it, and it's not just about being flexible. That's a wonderful bi-product.   Mason: (11:50) It does lead us somewhere else. That explanation, definitely explaining why there's an aspect of your teachings that isn't just about, all right now here's my handstand course, and now here's just how to get super flexible course and do the splits, or how to be functionally strong. You've got such a huge focus on tension release, people working with pain and chronic pains and chronic disconnections from their body. I always knew you were working on that, but I understand it's a hard area to speak to when our society especially sees anything chronic like that you leave alone, and that's just the realm of a practitioner, of an institutional practitioner. Which I think is obviously great that we have these, but the idea of returning to having certain subtle practises that aren't promising the world, just being like, here's some steps that you can maybe take a stab at to try and work on that stabbing pain, or that stabbing disconnect that you have from your body. And the way you approach it is without, we don't know where this is going to go, we don't know whether things will be healed or not, but you might as well explore it.   Mason: (13:15) That's what I'd really like to ask you about. The journey when people are living in chronic pain, or perhaps maybe not chronic pain, they feel pretty good but they're uncomfortable when they start to try to move and upgrade their body or nourish their body. And how those are, if they're the same, if they're dramatically different, and just what your approach is to that wide world of discomfort and pain.   Benny: (13:47) Well there's a couple of different types of situations that come across me, people that are in chronic situation. Chronic pain can be physical, can be mental/emotional. Also there's an interesting thing that happens when I work with people, where people are comfortably uncomfortable with their experience. They often just get to that point of maybe discovering the present moment to a deeper degree, where they're seeing things more as they are, where then they start to then realise, actually I've been in discomfort for a long time and I've been accepting that as the status quo. I've become comfortable with it, I haven't really been willing to actually look at it in the face and ask it, why are you here?   Benny: (14:56) I've been doing this for such a long time that it's continued to evolve and I do my best to not assume that I know anything, or that I teach anything. Because that's part of the challenge that I notice that a lot of us go through. You have a problem, whether it be pain, whether it be anxiety, depression, I'm going to say all these big words, but I don't actually think they're that big. They're just things that are happening that are out of alignment, and we recognise that at some level. I sometimes say the voice of the heart speaks and says, hey something's not right.   Benny: (15:43) There's different volumes of these things. Sometimes it can be very acute, where you can have chronic back pain and it gives you that stabbing pain all the time. Anyway, I'm just prefacing these things because if anyone's listening, the main thing is you're body is always talking to you. The first thing that I like to establish is, the rebalancing of this nature of cause and effect. Often we treat effects as causality, and that's something that might be a bit of a mind bender for some people. Looking at pain as a cause of an experience, or a certain emotional experience as the cause, it's not. Pain is an effect. It seems so simple, it's just a signal from your body that's rippling from something else.   Benny: (16:38) When I work with people, I allow scenarios, situations, or I do my best to support those scenarios to happen, where we give ourselves permission to actually be in the experience without analysing the experience and judging the experience, and trying to fix or change the experience. Because if you just keep addressing the effect, it doesn't really do anything. It's like trying to stop the ripples of a stone that's already been thrown in a pond. And you're trying to contain them. The stone has already been thrown. It's already landed.   Benny: (17:26) This is part of why we need to go into things innocently, we need to go into things not trying to fix it. Because if you do, you create more stress on the system on top of stress that may already be there. This has taught me to only have those conversations with people that are ready to have those conversations, and often it happens because you've tried this, you've tried that, you've tried so many different things and nothing's worked. Because nothing will ever work, because you're the one who turns the cogs subconsciously, at an unconscious level, and what we need to do is become aware of those unconscious factors, so then we actually have power and authority over the way that the cogs in the body and the mind work, without being controlling. But we participate with the subconscious realm.   Benny: (18:30) It takes us on a wonderful journey of discovering what it is to have a body and who we are as individuals and human beings, and how our environment affects us, how it has affected us over thousands of years. Because then we go into the ripple effects of family bloodlines and genetics and all sorts of different things. It's amazing when you start pulling at the thread of those effects, you keep being willing to go deeper in, things present and they continue to challenge me that are beyond belief. I don't particularly have a belief system around reincarnation and all of that sort of thing, or past lives. Yet in my work, going into the body, things have surfaced more than I can count, that I can't question, from so many different people, saying this experience as I'm going into it is not related to this life that I've been into.   Benny: (19:45) And maybe I'm going down a bit of a different topic, but the thing that I'm challenging is that there is so much more to our bodies than what we realise, and if we limit our experience by these effects, these symptoms that happen, discomfort, pain, emotional turmoil, inner conflict, all the things, they all affect the physical body, We severely limit our experience of what it is to live. I'm really interested in getting deeper into that, without needing to try and have a neat little answer.   Mason: (20:22) On that, if the body is always talking and, from what I'm hearing, connection to the body is obviously a number one step in order to ensure that we are actually able to stay consistently connected to the cause, rather than as you were saying, thinking that the effect is the cause and trying to stop those ripples in the lake. Really that resonates, and as I become distracted with lots of petty things in life, it's just such a default. That frantic, try and stop this from rippling out, because I don't want it to get any worse, rather than just observing it.   Mason: (21:12) Can you explain to us the way you'd be taking someone through, say lots of pain, lots of discomfort, from a symptom point of view, lots of mental disorders. How you get them connected, or how do you facilitate them connecting themselves to the body, from a [inaudible 00:21:36] perspective of what you do, which is long term personal unique practise, without a label, without the need for external practitioners?   Benny: (21:50) One thing that I've found very useful is the use of principles. So if we can have almost a toolbox of principles, then we've got quite a lot of power, I find. An example, for someone that is in let's say a high level of pain, it's important to first discern whether that's due to you just stubbed your toe, an immediate acute incident. In which case, just do what you can, it's already happened like that. Or if you've injured yourself and that sort of thing. Or if it's an ongoing thing. The thing is though, if it is an ongoing thing, what tends to happen is the longer we're exposed to it, actually the more we adjust to the experience. It's sort of like the cold water effect. If someone just dips their foot in and out of the cold water, it's that oh shit moment. The experience is intense.   Benny: (22:56) If you go into the cold water and you're experiencing it for prolonged periods, actually you start to then get used to it. Where you start to, at least in my experiences, not be able to even feel where your body ends and where the water starts and vice versa. Part of the challenge that can happen with pain, is often it becomes so integrated with our being that it becomes part of us, that we don't know where it starts and we don't know where it ends, it just exists, it's there. The going into it, that's the challenge that a lot of people have.   Benny: (23:34) That's when the intensity peaks, and that's why it hangs around often at this, it might come up and down like a bit of a rollercoaster ride, but we haven't gone into it and really looked at it, really experienced it at a sustained level, often because the experience of it scares the shit out of us at some level. There's fears that come up, there's memories of maybe incidences of when we did it, or maybe those memories have been distorted. There's a lot of stuff in there. Using a principle like, what can we do to experience safety in that experience, and of course safety is very perceptive, but using it as an anchor point, as a principle, then allows us to look at multiple different methodologies and techniques that might be suitable. Without trying to say, this is your problem, I'm going to diagnose it and treat the diagnosis as the cure, which is a real mistake. A diagnosis is not a pathway to a cure necessarily, and often we treat it as such in the West. Oh, you've got this and that, and that's your problem.   Benny: (24:54) That's just information, that's all it is. That's information to be inquired further into, but the willingness to go into that, that's where the real work starts. And there's no one way to do it, and that's where I find that we have to go into it with a real open space to be willing to first look at it to see things more consciously. Whether that's a simple thing like, I've got a pain in my body and I just spend five minutes a day just looking at it and breathing, and then I go about my life. And that's all you do. You microdose that experience, that adds up. Do that for a week. And the thing is, that's not one exercise, that's not one magic methodology, that's not any of these things. It's you connecting with the experience and allowing an integration process to happen. No one can take any credit for that, and that's why it's really difficult and why I don't see a lot of practitioners talking about it, because it really crushes the shit out of your ego as someone who would like to help other people. I've had to really overcome that.   Benny: (26:12) I love helping people, but really I can't help anyone. I do my best to create a space where they can help themselves, and I'm just there being someone that has had a multitude of personal experience, a multitude of shared experience with other people, so I freak out less in those things. Not many things freak me out, so if someone's freaking out I can go, oh okay cool. We can look at this in maybe this way or that way, consider that. And say, okay cool. We give ourselves a bit more permission, we go a little bit deeper down the pathway. Miracles unfold all the time in my observation with the work that I do, and also mundane, wonderful, simple things that don't mean anything unfold too and that's all great.   Benny: (27:04) Using principles is a really useful thing. The establishment of safety in our experience in the body is a really principle to start, because no other practises ... You can try and put a breath work practise, a relaxation practise. You can try and push it over the top, but we resist it often. This is my observations. So whatever we need to do to become safe.   Mason: (27:34) I'm sorry, I was just going to say, you mentioned in order for integration to occur, obviously we have an integration of mind and body especially. And is that what you were talking about, essentially we're looking at that in order to feel safe, we're looking to be able to facilitate consistent integration, because obviously it's not something you just plug it into the wall and go, okay cool I'm integrated for the rest of my life.   Benny: (27:59) Totally. The beautiful thing is, once we start and go into this type of process willingly, it then starts you on a process of self discovery. A process of discovering what it is to inhabit a physical body, because in its essence, is a huge limitation. The more I go into my own experience, the more I start to realise that this is just a bit meat suit for a bigger aspect of ourselves. I can't pinpoint that, I can maybe call it consciousness, I can maybe call it a spirit or something like that. But I do have so many experiences and have observed for other people as well that there is a bigger aspect of ourselves that is being contained in this vessel.   Benny: (28:52) Even if you just look at a simple thing like our dreams. Often I would have a lot of dreams around flying, and I'm flying and it's wonderful and this feeling of this infinite capacity of freedom. And then I wake up and here I am, I can't fly. Here's this dissonance, yet that limitation has been such a wonderful vehicle to then rediscover freedom in the limitation. Any challenge that happens in the body, it's a vehicle of freedom waiting to be discovered.   Mason: (29:37) I feel you on that, and it's nice to get that insight in terms of, when you're going in with slight discomfort but with disconnect because we're in our head all the time, or maybe a discomfort we weren't really aware of, or something chronic. You're looking at ... I might bring in another analogy and have you explain it afterwards, of the concept of software verse hardware, but I'll finish with my question if that's all right. Not even a question, I'm just ensuring that I've got this. The principle being will go into those challenges, try and facilitate a space where integration is possible, and where that becomes something that can potentially be done, or continue to be done, is when we are experiencing a level of safety within the experience of our body and within the slight physical challenges that we're putting on ourselves. That physical challenge could be sitting there and feeling the tightness in our neck, or it could be a slight stretch or movement exploring that area, in order to feel it, in order to allow that integration and that connection to occur so that safety can be present and we can observe and continue to go along and see what unfolds. Is that essentially-   Benny: (31:02) Totally. And maybe I'll just add in one other piece that's maybe useful for this. As we go into those experiences, the first thing that tends to happen consistently is you go through a process of awareness. And then the challenge that arises is sometimes then the experience feels like it's getting worse, but often all it is, is we're becoming more aware of the experience. That can be a sticking point for some people, whereas lets say we have that intention to go into the body, to experience greater levels of safety, to experience safety that's already there as well, we become aware of shit that maybe we don't want to look at and then we backtrack 10 steps and then on and on we can yo-yo. If we have a little patience, we keep letting that awareness unfold, then there's often this delay effect, this slingshot effect of perception that catches up. Because in order for us to see resolution for challenges that are happening, the perception of what it is needs to expand. It's kind of like paraphrasing Albert Einstein. You can't solve a problem at the same level of consciousness that it was created.   Benny: (32:15) This is where that two step that I've noticed, for a long time I was like, oh observation, awareness, powerful. Powerful, powerful principles of practise. Yet I realised over time with working with lots of people, we need time to let the perception integrate with what we're actually seeing. Because if you see something, you have an experience and you're like, that's bad, that's this, that's the other thing, well who is it that is forming that perception? And that's the thing that we need to work with. That aspect of our consciousness.   Mason: (32:50) That would fall, and it would be great if you could elaborate a little bit when you do talk about software and hardware and those things, and I hope that's still relevant.   Benny: (32:59) Yeah it is.   Mason: (33:03) The software element being that mind looking at pain and going, that's really bad, or even going, you know what? It's good because it's not so much pain considering I'm inside all the time and whatever it is. It doesn't matter what the judgement is. Would that fall under that there's a software disconnect between the mind and the body, and so in terms of allowing that integration, that software reprogramming to come back to nature rather than a more ego construct? Is that about right?   Benny: (33:39) Yeah, totally. I use this software/hardware concept as a framework because a lot of people understand computers. If there's something going on with your computer, you've got to look at is there stuff going on with the operating system, the programmes and all that sort of stuff that make it work, the code? All of those sorts of things. The things that you don't see, you just expect it to work. And when it doesn't you're like, oh shit, what's going on. And then you've got the hardware, it might be your physical screen or your headphone jack or something like that. It's important that we honour both, because sometimes there's often different camps of going, it's all in the mind. So then we just look at that software situation, yet some things are-   Benny: (34:33) Yeah, all that stuff. And there's nothing wrong with that, that's important. But it's not separate to the physical body. What I find is we need to have an honouring of both concurrently. And this is not to put any negative effects on things like psychology or anything like that, but you can talk and talk and talk about different things, but if you have not physically allowed yourself to experience it at an energetic level, or an emotional level or a physical level, then we don't have a direct experience of what it is. We just have an interpretation of what it is. This is where looking at perceptions is important contextually to the physical body. As a simple practical example, it might be let's say someone experiences that what they code as anxiety in there body, or maybe they have an experience of physical pain. One thing that we can do is we can then put ourselves in the experience. We can then start to observe it, notice our perceptions of it. These are all software things. But we're observing it in the situation.   Benny: (35:57) Often a lot of the time when I work with people, the challenges that I give people is, take the practise into your life. I was working with a lady the other day, where there was for a pathway in her life she's been challenged by often not feeling in control of her destiny in her life, and that's created a lot of inner turmoil. So she'd interact with people, she'd find just coincidentally she'd meet a lot of very big personalities and that sort of thing. And within herself she'd start to shrink down and feel small, and that would then start to set off a cascade of emotions. It's almost like you're not in alignment with who you are right now, or something like that. It's just to simplify it.   Benny: (36:47) So in this example, first she had to become aware of it over time and then the question formed of, what is this? I'd like to look into this a bit further. So we talk about it, we look at it. But then really ... So I stood in front of her in this case, and it doesn't matter whether you're physically present. We can do all these things actually online as well, it's quite interesting. But I'm standing there and I said, okay now just allow yourself within yourself to start to have the experience of being bigger. It seems like an abstract concept, but her software had shrunk down because of certain belief systems, all sorts of different things. And so then her energy field, which is resonant of the physical body, had also shrunk down. How do I know this? Just because I've built perception of these things over time right. So she didn't have a concept of this at the time.   Benny: (37:45) We talked about it and I said, "Now just for way of experimentation, just imagine that you were bigger than your body. Let yourself be bigger. Expand into your space now." And as we're talking I'm like, oh whoa this is a different person here that started to emerge. I could feel it, she could feel it. Then what started to happen was this convergence between software and hardware, where her physical body started to give her different experiences as a result of that shift in the software inside. But we're continuing to go through this process. Becoming of things she's started to see the perceptions that were allowing this circumstance to be, through some of the practises that we've been doing, and then it starts to ripple out and affect the physical body.   Benny: (38:39) It can go both ways. It can go physical to more mental/emotional, or hardware to software, or software to hardware. Maybe that's some advanced concepts that can be really simple if you just understand what you're looking for, and if you have a broader perspective around all the things that can affect the body. It's not just as simple as one emotion is a problem, or a traumatic experience is the problem, or a pain in xyz muscle joint/nerve is the problem. It's never that neat.   Mason: (39:22) It's not in a nice neat little package. And also, from my perspective, say one of the biggest challenges, for lack of a better word, is that one, the nature of the remedy mindset sits there societally and therefore in myself, and also I feel like it was reflected in most of the way we approach releasing things from the body and upgrading the body and so on and so forth. Often we're looking for peak experiences and cathartic experiences, and that's where the most value is placed. I've definitely been there, it's still quite a journey for me to acknowledge the intrinsic value in a consistent daily practise that is extremely personalised and mine, and the responsibility lies fully on me not a big experience that's potentially been facilitated, or a different type of experience, or a big dance to release emotion. A big this, go and do these things to make these shifts, whether they be a hardware shift ... And I'm not saying just going and seeing an osteo. That's good.   Mason: (40:53) I know you're kind of the same opinion in general. It's nice to have these abilities ... And I'll let you speak for yourself in a second, I'll just share my point there with hardware. I need and use and lack the intervention on the hardware, or even on the software. But for me the problem has come when I haven't been padding out that, probably with the majority of my approach with my own unique consistent small dose practise, that isn't necessarily ... It might become cathartic, but it is one of consistency. I don't know where you fall on that. Is it a different ratio for different people and what's appropriate at different times of life? Whether it's external intervention. I feel like there's a general deficiency of internal daily intervention going on within the way we approach our physical body and movement practise.   Benny: (41:53) There is an emergence of what I would sometimes refer to as the chasing rainbows effect, where the healing world is very full of this. I have zero interest or intention to poke a finger at something and say, "You're wrong, healing world, for doing this." I see it as just something to be aware of, and something to ... You can start with something that has the best intentions, I'm going to do this thing to heal my ancestral wounds, to heal my body, to heal my emotional trauma, to whatever it is. Straight away if you just look at a basic principle of what we focus on grows, then you're making the healing a bigger thing that actually the essence of you. And if that becomes a habit, that you get some sort of kick out of, it can then become an addiction. An addiction is a result of habitual behaviour, and what we're looking to do is to live more intentionally rather than habitually.   Benny: (43:16) If you can look at anything that you're doing and go, okay, and really your body is a wonderful bullshit metre. Because you can tell yourself, "Oh yeah this is great for me" and you can create all the reasons and justifications. If we notice that, I'm doing this because of that, watch carefully. Because reason often is a result of habit. That reasoning mind is just an aspect of our consciousness built on past experience, which I think I've mentioned in our previous things. If you say, "I'm going to do this to get that" just watch. It's not to say it's bad, but just really be careful at that point.   Benny: (44:00) If you go into those things, awareness is your super power there, to start to then, and listen to the body. It might be you've got to make a decision to do a certain practise or whatever it is, and there's some sort of resistance in your body. Listen to that. It doesn't mean that it's bad, there's something unconsciously that it's guiding you toward. I just find that's really useful in this idea of daily practise, of just a daily practise first of listening and responding to what we listen to. So as that happens over time, we get more into subtlety of experience and we seek less these peak experiences, because you start to realise, holy shit. There's so much beautiful subtlety of life force moving through us all the time, that I don't need to seek those extreme highs all the time. There's that resting in the experience.   Benny: (45:09) Moral of that little thought, is that nothing wrong with any different modality, nothing wrong with chasing rainbows, and I've been down this path myself so I can spot it quickly in myself and I can see it more in others. Check yourself, All the time. Listen to your body, doesn't have to be a big thing, and just be aware if you're acting out of habit or actual intention. Where does that intention come from? Is it from a space beyond reason? I'm doing this thing, I don't know why, but I'm getting pulled toward it.   Mason: (45:49) I'm going to give you a tricky one now.   Benny: (45:51) Good.   Mason: (45:52) In terms of practise and every practise ... You've worked with me a long time, you know I'll have my periods when I'm really rolling, and then my periods when I became a little bit more distracted, or I'll be a little bit of a brat around it. And over the years I've realised I enjoy different shades. Whether I'm even enjoying them, I don't feel like I'm justifying the actions. I'm like, my actions are my actions and I'm going serve the wave of ... Because I want to stay engaged, and therefore it might be different types of time in nature. It might not be a sitted practise, it might not be stretching, it might be something else. Anything to keep me engaged. But none the less, my inner brat comes up or all of a sudden I'll realise I just shafted my practise for a while because I've made myself too busy. All the blah blah blah things. And I know it's something that just consistently comes up and you consistently allowed me to draw back by not making it a morality thing or right or wrong.   Mason: (46:59) Even when people are trying to be inclusive about people who do have a practise verse don't have a practise, and how long it is. There's none of that, but none the less, just for other people who are real brats about it like me sometimes. Yes, you've got this really beautiful slow ... Come back and they can start by listening. Can you just give us a couple of other little principles or little tools or techniques to slip us back into that place where we are engaged? Whether they're a couple of thoughts that come to mind. Maybe if this intention that's got a bit more sex appeal about it, to draw you back in, or some different shades. I don't know if this question makes sense, but there's lot of different people out there and sometimes something new will come up and it'll go, wow and it really ignites me, that drawing back to my practise. And so I'm just wondering if you've got a number of little things that come to mind you can share. Fire side round.   Benny: (48:08) Well, I would say just one thing. If we can all just let our hair down for a moment. If we do have practise, if we have had practise and we feel pressure to have practise because someone said it was good. Put that down. It's a habitual framework that's based upon hearsay and opinion, and everyone's got their own path. Often, the best that we can do is honour the seasonality of practise. Just the same way that you wouldn't ... We've become accustomed to this reality where you can get the fruits and vegetables you want every day of the bloody year.   Mason: (48:54) That's a really good point.   Benny: (48:58) I don't know if it's addiction, or just become used to constancy, if that's even a word.   Mason: (49:07) Yeah, we all want to pretend to be this aristocratic royal tier of humanity that gets what we want at all times.   Benny: (49:16) Yeah. It's a massive illusion. We're importing stuff from all over the world. One of my wonderful friends and students in Austria, Marcus, I love talking to him and I love travelling to Austria, that's one of the places where I often teach when travel is allowed. Here they have very clear seasons. They live near the Alps so they go through periods where the sun is shining, so the fruit and vegetables grow, so you eat those fruits and vegetables. They have periods where the snow is falling, and you're not going to get many fruits and vegetables growing in the snow, so you'd cellared some things for the winter so you're prepared. So you've built up an abundance in that period, then you feast on that abundance that you've built up over that time period.   Benny: (50:11) This can be looked at also with physical practise as well. If we can go through different phases and listen to the seasons, listen to the different planetary effects that are happening in our body, environment effects, and we can respond and adjust to them. And everyone's got a different macro and micro cycle, if you do listen to it.   Benny: (50:36) What I would say, is this very simple, maybe sexy answer to this, is the more we can get out into nature, the more you start to then notice that you naturally resonate with these seasons, these cycles of nature that happen. It's often when we insulate ourselves from the natural order of things, that we put ourselves in the Coles and the Woolworths environments, the homogenised idea, and we mistake that as reality. That's when we start to get stuck, I find. Because the mind starts to reflect that environment, which is very rigid, it's very contrived.   Benny: (51:23) I was in my friend's car and they've got a temperature adjustment to .5 of a degree, which is crazy. What level of control do we have over our comfort and the things that we like in our life. If we look at these little things, these mod cons that we built up in our modern society, and how that can really disconnect us from ourselves, which then ultimately disconnects us from a really deep practise that touches your heart, that honours the fact that you're a constantly changing organism all the time. Your needs are always evolving. We've just got to look at those needs and go, okay what do I need and what can help me facilitate those needs. And that's where some practise is helpful, because you then work stuff out.   Benny: (52:17) That's one strength that I've found really useful for me and that I impart to others, is I've just worked a lot of stuff out. You have a lot of options and you get better at narrowing down those options based upon a given moment, rather than trying to push or force someone to be someone that's not right for them at that point in time.   Benny: (52:40) Connect to nature, find your inspiration through that, because you are it. And you're always changing, just like nature is. Let your practise be reflective of that. I find that's a helpful framework.   Mason: (52:52) Yeah, beautiful. It's a crystal clear reminder, as soon as you said respect the seasonality of the practise and the way it gets approached. We'll start landing in now, but one thing I might just dangle for next time you're on, to spark up the conversation, is the phases of the day. You haven't explained to me yet. I'm curious and maybe I can hold off until we do the next podcast. You observe and construct yourself and you say roughly, but five phases through the day. Was that about right?   Benny: (53:31) Oh yeah, activity levels. This is how I choose to live my life really, of looking at being conscious of when I'm in different activity levels. This is something that's been imparted to me through my teacher, and the lineage of wisdom that has been shared to me, and I've continued to adapt it to what's right for me.   Benny: (54:02) Those five activity levels are physical, work, contentment, spiritual, and silence. So this particularly for me was really helpful, because I've been self employed for a long time, I took my work everywhere with me. I love what I do, it's in my heart all the time, yet it has been a practise for me to really consciously go, okay now I'm going into a work time slot. And that work time slot is something that I choose and I define every year, and on my birthday I look at what are the things I'd like to explore and experience in my work. Then as I go into it, I've built this wonderful container of what work means to me, rather than just this thing that I do for money.   Benny: (54:55) Physical. For a long time I just did my physical because I though that that's what I had to do to look good, and all that sort of thing. But as I've started to make that a more conscious process, well then physical practise, what I would like to explore with my physical body, has started to change. It's made me look at my body in so many different ways, and that influences my practise. It's not just about being the most flexible person around, or being the strongest or the healthiest or anything like that. It's drawn me into a deeper line of inquiry, of relating with my physical body. And what things I can do to support that relationship.   Benny: (55:42) Contentment, I completely neglected this for a long time. Of carving space for things that allow my contentment, whether that be an interaction with friends or family, or just spending time in nature. Filling up with all that wonderful inspiration that's around. They are the three things that most people will relate to. The spiritual aspect, the silence aspects go a little bit deeper. We can definitely talk about them more in a future podcast if that's relevant. I like to, at least for my work, keep the things intersecting through the physical body as much as possible. I'm not a spiritual master or don't claim to be, yet I'm quite interested in the spiritual aspects, the spiritual aspects of the mundane. Drinking water, that could be a spiritual practise if you chose it to be.   Benny: (56:38) These things are really useful for me, where I can just check in at a given point in time and go, ah. If I'm trying to do something for my life of happiness, and I'm in contentment, but I'm thinking about work, am I really allowing myself to be content, to fill up in that space. This is often what a lot of people do when they go through their life, and they get depleted physically because they're never really fully doing what they're doing. They're trying to do something while they're doing something else, and that expends a bucket load of energy, which is really just a waste. It's a waste, and our physical body only has so much.   Mason: (57:21) Can I first say, all those things as examples, are something that a spiritual master would say. I'm super interested to go into it next time, especially ... Really well put, I relate to it, I'm massively relating to it. I probably have enough there to muse upon and chew on already. So I've love it for a discovery session for myself next time, especially where I'm at this point where we're looking at the team here, well my own life and the team here at SuperFeast, and we're really trying to bring that natural element, natural ebb and flow, and these phases to the work day to really facilitate people ensuring that they're working towards to their own contentment and goals. They're doing an appropriate style of work, at appropriate times of the day. Looking at what actually happens when you're digesting, and what the type of work or meeting you've booked in when you're in your digestive time. So on and so forth.   Mason: (58:21) We're in this weird nine to five kind of world, which we don't do nine to five, we already shave off quite a few hours for our full timers as a step. But what you're talking about we'd really be able to integrate that into the way our leaders are helping facilitate the health in everyone who's in their team, the way that we recommend that people construct their days. Just as recommendations to try and facilitate ... Whatever gets facilitated when you do have those areas of your life allocated as ... I'm with you, work is, when you love it, it can dominate with yourself. Space for contentment, I looked recently and everything in terms of work and physical can become merged together, where I see as what I do for my health. Because I made health my life. All of a sudden it's my work and it's my job to stay healthy, and so I become literally bitter towards my health practises, because it's something I see as I need to do to keep up the business identity, or whatever it is.   Mason: (59:45) I'd love to go into that with you next time. I'd really enjoy that. I'd also like to give you some congrats on the new platform, MovementMonk.xyz. Really cool, really customer oriented. Well done, man. I'll let you explain it, but where it was several courses and you'd sign up for the course and have lifetime access. Whether it's tension relief and flexibility, freedom from pain, whatever it was. Now you've got this big web of the various courses and the offerings, including led videos where you're leading people through a practise, and allowing them to carve out and create their own journey with more relevance and freedom. Does that ... Yeah if you just elaborate on it.   Benny: (01:00:45) Yeah that's been the bigger intent, of just looking at what can I do to allow someone to discover the inherent freedom that they do have within their body and within themselves. That's not a one-size-fits-all approach. I found to have ongoing explorations, conversations, collaboration, communication, really important. Our whole platform, our whole service offering is oriented around that. Whether someone's just starting the journey of going, "Oh yeah I like this idea of mind/body connection and getting to know myself through my body" and all that sort of things. What would that look like? We've got options for that to take people through that in a simple way, in our physical freedom challenge.   Benny: (01:01:33) If people haven't been fully connect to their body for a long time and they need that bit more personal support and to and fro in a community environment. So then we can start to not make it where you feel alone in these experiences, because often when we're in pain challenge and all that, at least my own experience, you feel like you're the only one and no one else understands. No one else gets the pain that I'm, because here I am in it. But then when you're around other people who are not just dwelling on their pain, but actually sharing about their experience and sharing about how they're actually overcoming it, how they're actually moving past it. It's really inspiring to instil the belief that it's possible.   Benny: (01:02:24) Our academy that we've just launched, that's to really start to see where we can take it. Where we start to open up physical practises that go deeper than your mainstream fitness work outs and they challenge your idea of what exercise can be. And also we look at the mind aspects and start to look at how our consciousness actually affects our physical body. It's always evolving. I feel so happy that I've put together all of my experiences and we've put together a foundation that now I can grow, with people around the world. That's what I'm really interested in, in this next stage, just continuing to have awesome conversations with people, to not be the guy that knows everything but to continue to learn and grow together, and bring people together where we have an open space of learning around the physical body and all the stuff that can connect with it.   Benny: (01:03:22) I'm really happy that you can see the benefit there, Mason.   Mason: (01:03:28) Yeah, well it's practical as well. If someone's like, "I've heard breathing practises are really good." All right, there's breathing practises. You know it's not going to come ... There's lots of people doing cool things, I hope everyone knows that I just admire Benny's work. But in the sense of, "Here's something, you explore." They're really proven practises and you're fine to do it in your way. But you can take it pretty far. You can get into some pretty deep and advanced breathing practises if you're going through Benny's style.   Mason: (01:03:57) Likewise if you are just in the place where you're like, "Well I would like to be more flexible, but I want to do it in the way that's... At the demise of other aspects of myself." But I do want to be flexible, I do want to have this iron strength. But your flexibility styles, I really enjoy it. It's always effective. I guess I don't want to be a gumby so I'm not dedicating the time to really go nuts with it. I don't do much and I stay really ... Tahnee's like, "It's annoying how flexible you remain" in certain ways, despite how little I do.   Mason: (01:04:38) The strength work, the exploration. Just simple distinctions. The plank exploration, the push up explorations that are on offer, it leads to a real worldly strength which I see coming through in a way that when I get to [inaudible 01:04:55] in particular ways, there's an embodied strength there that's super practical. For anyone that's on that wavelength as well, it's a good place to go and get some tips and ideas. I'm about to talk to you about offering it to the SuperFeast team, so make sure you get onto a little corporate offering there, because I think that'd be a big one.   Mason: (01:05:19) Thanks so much for coming on. I do encourage everyone to go and sign up to the academy, and the best place, MovementMonk.xyz?   Benny: (01:05:27) Yeah, come check it out. If you've got any questions just drop us a line and we're here to help.   Mason: (01:05:32) I should say, xy zed. I'm not Sesame Street.   Benny: (01:05:36) It depends. People in the US are listening.   Mason: (01:05:42) Great. MovementMonk.xyz. All right bro, big love to you, have a great day. Get out into nature, enjoy the beach there.   Benny: (01:05:54) I will. There you go.   Mason: (01:05:58) Oh yeah, great. And I love the fact that everyone in the audio medium is like[crosstalk 01:06:02].   Benny: (01:06:02) I am now showing a picturesque view of the beach, and it looks wonderful.   Mason: (01:06:08) It does look wonderful. Wherever you are in the world, go enjoy the beach.   Benny: (01:06:11) Or just a tree, an indoor house plant, a pet, another human. Nature's all around us. Thanks so much Mase.   Mason: (01:06:26) [crosstalk 01:06:26] See you man.   Benny: (01:06:26) See you man.
We know that gut health is trending, it's pretty hot right now, right?! Well, tune in to today's episode as Mase explores SIBO with a bonafide SIBO doctor. Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, it's a deep dive today, exploring what the heck is this actually?! Mason and Dr Nirala cover the nuanced approach required to treating SIBO, exploring why it may be overdiagnosed and other gut symptoms (constipation, food sensitivities and more).   If you've ever traveled to a third world country, got some sort of bug, 'fixed it' and then realised you never truly recovered, then today's episode is for you! (Also, if gut health and immunity are important to you, you are going to love today's episode.) Dive in, here are some of the stuff discussed in today's episode: The nuanced nature of SIBO when compared to irritable bowel syndrome To heal from SIBO, a strategic approach is required, not just a one-size-fits-all What role chronic stress plays in suffering from SIBO How hypothyroidism, mould exposure and other autoimmune diseases are connected to SIBO The misunderstanding around 'reseeding' the gut How the 'breath' test works in diagnosing SIBO Which foods to avoid during SIBO Dr Nirala's dietary treatment plan Dr Nirala covers the three possible treatment plans (herbs, antibiotics, diet) A brief touch on the Blood Type diets   Who is Nirala Jacobi? Dr. Nirala Jacobi, BHSc, ND (USA) graduated from Bastyr University in 1998 with a doctorate in naturopathic medicine. Dr Nirala practiced as a primary care physician in Montana for 7 years before arriving in Australia and is considered one of Australia’s leading experts in the treatment of small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), a common cause of IBS. Dr Nirala is the medical director for SIBOtest, an online testing service for practitioners. Dr Nirala is so passionate about educating practitioners that she founded “The SIBO Doctor”, an online professional education platform. Dr Nirala lectures nationally and internationally about the assessment and treatment of SIBO and is the host of the popular podcast The SIBO Doctor podcast for practitioners. Dr Nirala is the medical director and senior naturopathic physician at The Biome Clinic, center for functional digestive disorders in Mullumbimby, New South Wales. Dr Nirala is the co-founder of the Australian Naturopathic Summit. When she is not actively researching, seeing patients or lecturing, Dr Nirala can be found enjoying the beauty of nature   Resources: Dr Nirala's Instagram The Human Microbiome Project Dr Nirala's  FREE SIBO Questionnaire The SIBO Success Plan 8 Hour Course SIBO Mastery Program (for practitioners) Visceral Manipulation Barral Institute Feeding Your Microbiome (Dr Nirala Podcast with Dr B) The Blue Zones book Healthy to 100 book Blood Type Diet   Q: How Can I Support The SuperFeast Podcast?   A: Tell all your friends and family and share online! We’d also love it if you could subscribe and review this podcast on iTunes. Or  check us out on Stitcher, CastBox, iHeart RADIO:)! Plus  we're on Spotify!   Check Out The Transcript Here:   Mason: (00:00) Hi, Nirala.   Nirala Jacobi: (00:02) Hi, Mason.   Mason: (00:03) Did I pronounce your name correctly?   Nirala Jacobi: (00:04) You did.   Mason: (00:06) Okay. Nirala Jacobi?   Nirala Jacobi: (00:07) Very good.   Mason: (00:08) Yeah, yay.   Nirala Jacobi: (00:12) Yes.   Mason: (00:13) Okay. Guys, got to do it in person today, which is-   Nirala Jacobi: (00:17) What were the chances of that?   Mason: (00:19) Considering you live in Wilson's Creek, I think they're pretty good. But in terms of the chances of doing it, two people, that's a party but I think that's a legal party at these times, isn't it?   Nirala Jacobi: (00:29) These days, it is.   Mason: (00:31) Oh, pretty legal. Goji is sitting in the room if you hear Goj wrestling around, but dogs don't count. Guys, we're talking about SIBO. We got the SIBO Doctor here. I'm following you on Instagram for, I think, like three years.   Nirala Jacobi: (00:51) Wow. Okay.   Mason: (00:51) Yeah. I've been aware of your work. SIBO has been one of those things I used to say, facetiously, that it got trendy about three years ago in terms of I don't know where you see the mass awareness come about in the naturopathic and medical circles or whether it's even really accepted in the medical circles but, obviously, you would have watched the trend occur and then the mass misdiagnosis and then realisation that we're actually able to test and find out that it is this SIBO, which we'll find out from you what it is. Why did it, all of a sudden, hit mass consciousness? What I see a few years ago anyway.   Nirala Jacobi: (01:42) I'm going to go back nine years. I've been a naturopathic doctor for about 22 years now. I have practised in Montana and saw everything from heart disease to urinary tract infections to actual IBS or irritable bowel syndrome. We had really good result rates, but there was always a subset of patients that just did not improve. Then fast forward nine years ago, I sat in a lecture at one of our conferences and heard about SIBO. It was like a light bulb went on because it explained those cases that just didn't improve with conventional naturopathic approaches even to irritable bowel syndrome.   Nirala Jacobi: (02:27) Then, I started to become an expert in SIBO. I moved here about 15 years ago, Australia, but I became an expert and started lecturing for other supplement companies and to practitioners and started a breath testing company because there was just nothing here at all about SIBO. I think one of the reasons why it has really exponentially grown the interest is if you think that about 11% of the world's industrialised nation has IBS. IBS, according to conventional medical texts and the conventional medical approach, has no real cure.   Nirala Jacobi: (03:18) To find something that actually is the cause of IBS that is so profoundly responsive to treatment, I think, really gave hope to a lot of people. Now, of course, with that comes the fact that SIBO is often, as you mentioned, I do think there is an element of overdiagnosis. Everybody just basically treats according to the symptoms, which is not what I recommend at all. Because in that case, you can use antimicrobials and things like that for far too long.   Nirala Jacobi: (03:53) I think it has to do with the fact that there really wasn't other options for people. They really improved when they began to treat SIBO, or I saw a dramatic improvement in my patients when we finally treated the cause rather than just giving probiotics and giving fibre and giving all of the stuff that we know how to do, and people were actually getting worse, not better with those approaches. That was really my journey into this.   Mason: (04:22) That was probably about a time when I think naturopathic medicine got a little bit more integrated even. There were all these different pockets. All of a sudden, naturopaths, even though they were specialising in particular areas, became aware of just all these different specialisations, became I did say trendy for that reason, because it was about the end of that era where people were really trusting health coaches who would read up about the symptoms of SIBO and, therefore, put their clients onto an antimicrobial or whatever it was and just flying blind. You've got the breath test of your business where I see it's like if you're in Chinese medicine, you are doing pulse and tongue and the questions diagnosis. If you're in naturopathic medicine, you need that testing most of the time, I'd imagine.   Nirala Jacobi: (05:25) Yeah. I'm a gastrointestinal specialist. I don't just do SIBO. I specialise in functional gastrointestinal disorders, so I do a number of tests. This, I think, is a big shortcoming of practitioners where they consider the finances of ordering a test for a patient. I always tell practitioners that I teach, "You're not their accountant. You don't know if they want to test or not want to test, but it's your job to give them the best options and the diagnosis," because if you're just reading, you're not going to get better because SIBO is a really distinct condition that requires a really strategic approach. There's different kinds of SIBO.   Mason: (06:10) That's always what happens. Yeah. It's the same with PCOS or whatever it is. There's different arms. Obviously, there's different sources. There's mainly four major causes, is that right?   Nirala Jacobi: (06:25) There's four major groups of causes.   Mason: (06:27) Okay, okay.   Nirala Jacobi: (06:29) But maybe what we should do is backtrack and really define what SIBO is, right?   Mason: (06:33) Yeah, good idea. Well leading, you can tell you have a podcast.   Nirala Jacobi: (06:35) Yeah. All right. Let's talk about ... so that people can really understand that it's not just bacterial overgrowth, and as soon as you kill the bacteria, boom, that's it, you're cured. In some instances, that's the case, but it's actually the exception rather than the norm. But SIBO stands for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. It's a condition where bacteria that are typically usually found in the large intestine are, for some reason, found in the small intestine.   Nirala Jacobi: (07:03) Now, the surface area of your small intestine is about the surface area of a double tennis court. Imagine having a massive bacterial overgrowth right where you absorb your nutrients, where you release your enzymes, where you do all of these different important digestive functions and, all of a sudden, that surface area is just chock-a-block with bacteria. These bacteria ferment the food that you're eating into hydrogen gas. There's a group of bacteria or a phylum called proteobacteria. The main gram-negative bacteria in that group are Klebsiella, Proteus, E. coli, those types of bacteria that are the biggest culprit for causing SIBO.   Nirala Jacobi: (07:47) Why is this happening? This is how we get into the underlying causes. I think one of the main driving cause of SIBO is, imagine you've gone to Bali, you had a case of food poisoning, or if your listener is in America, you've gone somewhere else and you had food poisoning. You came home, it resolved, but then you still have ongoing digestive symptoms. Actually, over time, they become worse, you go to the doctor, they diagnose you with IBS. That is the classic scenario.   Nirala Jacobi: (08:19) What happens there is the bacteria that caused the food poisoning are not the bacteria that are causing SIBO, but they're the bacteria that are damaging to the enteric nervous system, which is really the motility, the brain of your gut. You are meant to have this innate ability to clear bacteria from the upper gut, because the body doesn't want them there. You're supposed to sweep them all towards the small intestine. When you've had a case of food poisoning that results in this damage, you actually cannot effectively clear these bacteria from your upper gut.   Mason: (08:55) What is it that's affected in the small intestine and it stops you from having the motility to move it out?   Nirala Jacobi: (09:03) This part of the nervous system is called the migrating motor complex. It's a part of the enteric nervous system. Enteric just means digestive or your gut. It's basically the brain in the gut. This particular section of the small intestine is meant to clear these bacteria out every 90 minutes on an empty stomach. Imagine that you've had this food poisoning and it damaged that section or that particular part of what clears the gut out in the upper gut.   Nirala Jacobi: (09:32) That actually can be tested with a blood test. We're trying to get it to Australia. Because of COVID, we've had some issues. But we do want to offer this test for people to test for these antibodies, because if you know that's the cause, the proper treatment for SIBO for you would be to have antimicrobials, whether that's the conventional antibiotics that are indicated for this or herbs. Then you must follow it up with something called a prokinetic, which is a medicine that aims to reset this migrating motor complex. That's probably the biggest group of people that have this as an underlying cause.   Nirala Jacobi: (10:10) But then you also have people that just were totally stressed out for a long time. Chronic stress, as you probably have discussed this before, causes you to be in this chronic fight or flight. If you're in chronic fight or flight, you're not in rest and digest, it turns off your digestion. These natural antibiotic fluids, like hydrochloric acid, bile, digestive enzymes that are meant to kill bacteria are very poorly produced and, therefore, you suffer not just from maldigestion, but then also bacterial overgrowth. That's a different kind of cause of SIBO that then wouldn't necessarily require the prokinetics.   Mason: (10:50) Like a stealthy, slow-grown...   Nirala Jacobi: (10:54) Yeah, yeah.   Mason: (10:54) I like that you're just actually bringing up those antibacterial fluids. I was going to ask you, and you did it straight away.   Nirala Jacobi: (11:04) Yeah. Then the other one, there's more, the fourth group ... The first one would be a matter of a problem with motility. That is not just this, what we call, post-infectious IBS. It can also be hypothyroidism, other autoimmune diseases, mould exposure. All kinds of things can cause this problem with motility. Then you have these digestive factors, and not a big one because a lot of people don't think about this, but previous abdominal surgery that causes scar tissue known as adhesions that actually attach to the small intestine in the abdominal cavity and cause like a kink in the garden hose. That prevents bacteria from leaving the small intestine. Also for that, you would need prokinetics. You can see how it's so much more intricate than just, "Here are some antibiotics," or "Here's berberine and here's Allimax."   Nirala Jacobi: (11:59) One last thing I'll say about SIBO before the next question is that there are two groups. I've mentioned the proteobacteria that produce hydrogen. There's another group of ancient organisms. They probably live on Mars, too. Honestly, they're like extremophiles. They live on the bottom of the ocean. There are these ancient archaea. They're not even bacteria. They produce methane. Methane, we know, causes constipation. If you're somebody that's been diagnosed with SIBO methane or SIBO-C or SIBO constipation, it's likely that your methane is high. That's a different kind of treatment. That's starting to be thought of as actually a separate condition. That's advanced SIBO discussion.   Mason: (12:46) I like that. We always got this travelling of these bacteria up through the ... Is it the ileocecal valve?   Nirala Jacobi: (12:55) Ileocecal valve.   Mason: (12:57) Ileocecal valve. Is that a constant occurrence of reality?   Nirala Jacobi: (13:00) No.   Mason: (13:00) No?   Nirala Jacobi: (13:01) No, that is not how it happens. These bacteria, they are normal in very, very small amounts. Nothing in your body is really sterile. Nothing really, even though we think it is, but it's not really.   Mason: (13:17) But we've been told it is.   Nirala Jacobi: (13:17) Yes, exactly.   Mason: (13:17) Programmed.   Nirala Jacobi: (13:18) Yeah. It's like modern medicine at the time thought that's what it was, but it turns out that one of the most famous bacteria that survives the stomach is H. pylori. We know it can survive very well there. But you have maybe 1,000 bacteria or colony-forming unit per mil in the upper gut, just below the stomach, the duodenum. Then as you progress towards the large intestine, actually, the diversity and the sheer number of bacteria increases. That's normal.   Nirala Jacobi: (14:00) These bacteria, even though gram-negatives that cause SIBO, are actually not pathogens. They're called pathobionts. Pathobionts are organisms that you normally find in low amounts. But when they get overgrown, they become pathogenic. I often tell people, my patients, I say, "Your gut is like a white supremacists neighbourhood. It's just one kind of bacteria, and you need diversity and you need low numbers of those organisms." That's what we're aiming for.   Mason: (14:36) There's, I guess, an as above, so below, we've sterilised everything in our environment, in our house, and we have low bacterial biodiversity there, we're going to see low bacterial biodiversity internally. Is there a particular macro or even micronutrient cycles that that gram-negative bacteria ... What did you say? What was the group?   Nirala Jacobi: (15:02) The group is called proteobacteria.   Mason: (15:03) Proteobacteria. Is there anything that would feed them excessively?   Nirala Jacobi: (15:08) No, it's basically food. Those bacteria are usually found in higher amounts in the large intestine. They're normal there. A pathobiont becomes problematic when it outgrows its environment or the other bacteria in that location. They've actually just did a microbiome assessment study on the small intestine. I think the other reason, just to briefly sidetrack to get back to your first question, why is this such a big deal now, is because we know so much more.   Nirala Jacobi: (15:44) The Human Microbiome Project that's undergoing, it's like discovering the universe, because what happened before we were able to actually understand what was happening in the small intestine, we couldn't culture out these organisms because they would die. They were anaerobes. They couldn't be cultured out. Now that we have this different technology that uses RNA and DNA, we can understand far more. Now we actually understand the normal microbiome of the small intestine a lot more. It's totally fascinating to be in this field of microbiome research.   Mason: (16:26) Of the large intestine bacterial testing and analysis of the biome, testing has got a little bit more efficacy with that, is that right?   Nirala Jacobi: (16:33) Oh, way more.   Mason: (16:34) Way more?   Nirala Jacobi: (16:36) Way more, because it used to be culture-based, it turns out it's like fairy dust of what actually is in the large intestine as a representation of the ... We know about Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. That is literally just 2% to 5% of your entire microbiome. There are so many more species that do fascinating things.   Mason: (16:59) We've had the chat on the podcast a couple of times of why just throwing a probiotic in the gut is ... Quite often, you can get a little bit more sophisticated.   Nirala Jacobi: (17:09) I think we're at that place now where ... I'm somebody who used to just do a probiotic. "Yeah, just a couple of Bifido, couple of Lacto, you're good." But now, I'm way more strain-specific. I would use Bifidobacterium lactis HN019 if you're constipated. I'm not going to necessarily give a whole combination of products, or I give you Lactobacillus rhamnosus if you have leaky gut and eczema, for example. It's a lot more fun now than it used to be.   Mason: (17:46) Yeah, I can imagine. It's like rather than just having your shotgun, you got the Men in Black chamber. You walk and there's all different types of guns and grenades all over the wall, but in a more life-giving kind of ... Like a seed gun.   Nirala Jacobi: (18:01) I like that. Actually, this brings up a really important point, is that even when I went to naturopathic medical school, it was taught to us that we could reseed the gut. Remember that?   Mason: (18:15) Mm-hmm (affirmative).   Nirala Jacobi: (18:15) We cannot do that. These Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, they are response modifiers. They actually do something that is not involving reseeding. If you've lost a lot of your native species because you were on chronic antibiotics for acne, or Lyme disease, or whatever that may be, if you've lost a lot of your species or have really reduced them, probiotics will not reseed what you've lost. You can't do that. It's a really important point because some practitioners still preach this method, but I had to really switch my thinking. I tell my patients, "I'm going to give you this probiotic for this symptom. I'm not going to give it to you because you're reseeding." You can't do that. Not if it's 5% or 2% of the gut.   Mason: (19:01) In terms of it being for the symptoms specifically, is that because the probiotic is able to do it like having a short-term effect within the gut and then it's on its way?   Nirala Jacobi: (19:11) Yes, exactly. Exactly. That's what probiotic research is really good at, is seeing what symptoms a particular strain can alleviate.   Mason: (19:24) Obviously, we've touched that medication and antibiotics can be another reason why we could lead to SIBO and IBS.   Nirala Jacobi: (19:33) Medications like proton pump inhibitors that stop stomach acid, there's some debate whether or not, but I have seen people definitely have a problem with SIBO after using chronically proton pump inhibitors, and others that are more slowing the gut down. Medications like opiates and things like that, morphine will really slow it down. But then that's pretty temporary, you're not going to see chronic SIBO with that.   Mason: (20:05) Yeah. The stress factor, you're looking at a combination, mould exposure, stress, and antibiotic here and there, it's kind of a cocktail of reasons, I imagine.   Nirala Jacobi: (20:18) This is always the overwhelming part for people. It's like, "Oh, my God, where do I even begin?" But this is where a really skilled practitioner can ... I actually have a questionnaire that you can get on thesibodoctor.com. That is a questionnaire about finding the cause for SIBO. You can download it, it's free, as is the diet that I've devised for SIBO. You can take that to your practitioner and it can whittle it down to what the possible causes are. It goes through these four groups of causes.   Mason: (20:52) That's cool. Something that I really like about your approach is I'm hearing just on your website right here, you've got the patient course, practitioner course. Obviously, you're a practitioner and you've got a focus on the patient being able to understand it and get to the source themselves, getting, for lack of a better word, empowered around it, getting informed, and then bridging the way that they can then take that questionnaire and they can create a dialogue between them and their practitioner.   Mason: (21:25) It's something we always ... You go there automatically. It's why I like your work. It's something we always try to do and talk about on the podcast when we're chatting with practitioners as well, because it diffuses it. You've even got great resources there of like once you've treated yourself, how are you going to stay out of that practitioner office, which it's overlooked quite heavily. I don't know what your thoughts are on that.   Nirala Jacobi: (21:49) The SIBO Success Plan, which is the patient course, it's an eight-hour course that goes through everything from leaky gut to all these different things, it really was born out of a necessity. In a perfect world, everybody would have a practitioner that is SIBO savvy that can nail this thing for you. But I got calls from people or emails from people in Finland and from all over the world that just said, "There's no one here. No one can help me." This is the course that really had to be made for people like that. They don't have a practitioner.   Mason: (22:26) You go straight to sibodoctor.com/sibo-success-plan/. So good. Eight hours?   Nirala Jacobi: (22:35) It's eight hours because it's eight modules. One of the reasons I shouldn't say I love SIBO, because SIBO is a medical condition, but if a practitioner is listening to this, if you can master SIBO, you got the gut down. You understand practically most of the things that can go wrong with the gut, bearing in mind that there are other issues that are more anatomical problems and stuff.   Nirala Jacobi: (23:06) But everything from, like I mentioned, leaky gut, the effects of stress on the gut, what to do when you're constipated, how to help yourself with different home treatments, I have an online dispensary guide that guides you through all the major products that are out there that are for SIBO, and pros and cons and stuff like that, and food sensitivities, histamine intolerance, salicylates, oxalates, SIFO. SIFO is small intestine fungal overgrowth, which often accompanies SIBO. There's a lot there that I had to cover to really make it comprehensive for people.   Mason: (23:46) Do you do a leaky gut analysis on a patient as well? Is there always going to be a presence of SIBO and therefore-   Nirala Jacobi: (23:55) Not always. No.   Mason: (23:57) No?   Nirala Jacobi: (23:57) The thing is SIBO can cause leaky gut.   Mason: (24:00) Can cause... Right.   Nirala Jacobi: (24:00) But just because you have leaky gut doesn't mean you have SIBO. But it is a major cause of it. They've even done research on, all right, well, one month after clearing SIBO, the intestinal permeability was also resolved. If you have the wherewithal and the fortitude to get rid of SIBO, then you can also get rid of leaky gut.   Mason: (24:24) I think it's important that you said you do love SIBO because it's, as I mentioned before in the podcast, we're at that point where my mum, she's nine years post-aneurysm, 24-hour care, in a wheelchair all the time. We've done well to keep her off medications and keep her going well, but it's just this bloating that's been there and it finally got to the point where we're like, "Right, we got to test for SIBO," and so we've got there. We're doing the breath test thing. Is it five days?   Nirala Jacobi: (24:52) No, it depends on if you're constipated.   Mason: (24:55) All right.   Nirala Jacobi: (24:55) If you're constipated, it's a 48-hour prep for this test because what we want to do is have bacterial fermentation really down, really reduced before you then start the test, which is a three-hour test where, first, you get up in the morning, you drink this very sugary drink. That's a prebiotic substance that promotes the growth of those bacteria that you've starved over the past two days, one or two days. Then you're measuring your breath every 20 minutes. If we see a rise of hydrogen or methane before 90 minutes, that's the window of SIBO.   Mason: (25:36) Yeah. If you get the methane, then we're going into that real nerdy, new sector of SIBO. Is that right?   Nirala Jacobi: (25:46) Yeah. [Laughing].   Mason: (25:47) For that instance, my stepdad, he's managing that and he's just looking at like, "All right, test, okay, we can handle it," and trying to get a bunch of carers to all unite and align on that and then looking at having the management of the diet. I think the SIBO diet is the thing. That's why I say I appreciate you saying that you love SIBO because ... But I am curious when you're approaching, how do you keep the excitement up with your patients when you're-   Nirala Jacobi: (26:21) That's a really good question. I think that even just this morning, I spoke with somebody who has been ill for so long, and I'm not saying that just curing her SIBO is going to be the be-all, end-all. People are complicated. There's no one approach to it. You can have somebody who has childhood trauma. We know from studies that even childhood trauma can cause what they call adverse childhood events. It can cause a major shift in the microbiome, for example.   Nirala Jacobi: (26:53) You can have somebody like that that you work with in finding a good practitioner around trauma and regulating their own nervous system. Then you have somebody who just discovered that their house was full of mould, or you have somebody who has an autoimmune disorder or chronic viral infection. It always is different presentations. It forced me to really become really good at all these different conditions, and that's why I think if you can really not just look at SIBO, but the underlying causes for me is where it's really at where I continue to learn also.   Mason: (27:32) Yeah. I guess that's the exciting part, is knowing that you're not just going to have another random go at figuring out what's wrong with you, but you're actually ticking things off to be like, "Look, if it's not this, great. We know it's not this. We know it's not this. We know it's not moulds. That means you're getting closer." I think just the trouble is finding a good practitioner.   Nirala Jacobi: (27:56) We have an answer for that. On thesibodoctor.com, we have also the SIBO Mastery Program for practitioners. After they've completed all three levels, they're eligible to be listed free as a SIBO doctor approved practitioner, so all the people that are listed in there. We had to purge a whole bunch. We had to start fresh from scratch this January. As we go along, this list will get bigger and bigger, but they all have taken these very extensive training courses that covers all of these topics. I think you're pretty safe. A lot of them do Zoom calls. I will say that. Nowadays, we're forced to do more and more virtually.   Mason: (28:37) Which is amazing.   Nirala Jacobi: (28:39) It's amazing. It has its drawbacks. I do, as a practitioner, a hands-on practitioner that does physical assessment and certain manoeuvres, I miss that part but-   Mason: (28:50) Can you explain what the physical assessment and manoeuvres are?   Nirala Jacobi: (28:54) In America, we're trained like physicians. We're actually like naturopathic GPs, if you will. We're trained in physical exams. I always enjoyed that part of my practise, too. Some people have things like the ileocecal valve problem, which is the valve between the small and the large intestine and it can be stuck open, and then you have this backflow problem with bacteria. You can easily manipulate that with using different manoeuvres, or the hiatal hernia manoeuvre, which is part of the stomach moving into the thorax. It's those kinds of things, as well as physical exam and stuff like that. You get a lot of information from looking at somebody's body, for sure.   Mason: (29:39) Yeah, 100%. I can get the drawback, if we can get back to getting in-person as much as possible, great. Otherwise, if you're in Finland and you don't have a practitioner, "Oh, well, that's wonderful."   Nirala Jacobi: (29:49) Honestly, well, 90% of my practise is virtual, and then sometimes I'm like, "Okay, stand up, lift your shirt, press there." That will have the work.   Mason: (29:58) Yeah, you do what you have to do.   Nirala Jacobi: (29:59) Yeah.   Mason: (29:59) Do you ever recommend for people to be physically manipulating their own gut with massage as treatment?   Nirala Jacobi: (30:07) That's a great question because let's hypothetically say ... Well, let me rephrase it. Yes, if it's for just the ileocecal valve. I do have a little video on my Facebook page, The SIBO Doctor, where I go through how to do it, how to actually release the ileocecal valve yourself. It's not going to be as great as when a trained practitioner does it, but it's good. The massaging of the gut, let's hypothetically say that you're a patient that's listening to this and you're like, "Oh yeah, I may have SIBO."   Nirala Jacobi: (30:45) You may have had abdominal surgery for things like you may have had caesarian or you may have had your appendix out or you may have your gallbladder out or the myriad of other things that would be considered routine surgeries, and you have adhesions. That is not a good thing to massage your own belly because it can trigger more scar tissue formation, but light touch, we're just talking light touch. For that scenario, I usually refer to a visceral manipulation practitioner.   Mason: (31:17) What's that?   Nirala Jacobi: (31:19) Visceral manipulation, so the viscera are the organ up in the abdomen. It's extremely light touch but they are trained to actually feel the rhythms of these organs. Don't ask me what that is.   Mason: (31:31) Actually, Tahnee, my fiancée, she's a Chi Nei Tsang practitioner. Do you know that? It's Daoist abdominal massage.   Nirala Jacobi: (31:37) Oh, okay. Yeah.   Mason: (31:38) We've talked a little bit about it. I was wondering whether that's what you were talking about.   Nirala Jacobi: (31:41) Right. No. Visceral manipulation, as far as I know, there's a group from The Barral Institute and they have a very specific technique to very gently break down scar tissue or break up scar tissue.   Mason: (31:58) Okay. That's good to get that resource because there's people listening to the podcast, like Tahnee's not practising and she gets asked a lot about doing abdominal massage, so to be able to tune in with another group of practitioners that are doing this I think will help a lot of people. All right. Well, that's going to be in the show notes, gang. When we do get to treatment and, obviously, the dietary charts, there's different phases of healing of SIBO?   Nirala Jacobi: (32:27) No, so what happened is, okay, so in a nutshell, the food that promotes or that feeds the bacteria are foods that are high in fibre. That makes sense. Those are healthy foods that feed our own microbiome. That's why we want to eat them. In a case of SIBO, the bacteria are like miles further up so they're fermenting in the wrong place, and so you want to minimise those foods. Those foods are known as from FODMAPs, so Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols. Did I miss it all? Did we miss one? Anyways, so these are fermentable fibres.   Mason: (33:06) Forgot the A?   Nirala Jacobi: (33:09) And.   Mason: (33:09) Oh, okay.   Nirala Jacobi: (33:13) I know, right? Those are the foods that typically are to be avoided when you suffer from SIBO. What I did is I took that diet from Monash. Fantastic work that they did over there to really pinpoint this. Before then, we didn't really know. I took that and put my own spin on it because I found even with that, people were reacting. I made it more restrictive, also added in SCD stuff and that type of thing, because I'm a very structured person and I don't like wishy-washy, vague treatment plans, and so I needed to structure it for myself.   Nirala Jacobi: (33:49) What I found is that I got very good results by having a diet that was in two phases. Then I called it the bi-phasic diet. Phase one was the most restrictive part where you have almost no grains and no fruit and really the high-fermenting foods, and you are basically getting tested for SIBO and you're waiting for your test result. I was already seeing dramatic improvement by the time they came back and yes, indeed, the test says it's SIBO, so then we initiated antimicrobials. That then prevented a massive die-off reaction of just throwing in antimicrobials in a system that was still really activated.   Mason: (34:33) Okay. You've got them going for, what, a couple of weeks now?   Nirala Jacobi: (34:35) A couple weeks, yeah. Yeah. I really did it for practitioners so that they could also tailor it. It still has different food ... Some people are very sensitive to histamines when they have SIBO, and that means no fermented foods, so no sauerkraut, those kinds of-   Mason: (34:55) That was very confusing for people, I think, about 10 years ago when capers and sauerkraut and body ecology diet and all that were going off real big time, and then some people will just get these intense levels of bloating every time they'd eat sauerkraut and kimchis and they wouldn't get it. They're like, "What's going on? This is a healthy food."   Nirala Jacobi: (35:14) "Persist. Persist. Keep it up. It's just your body detoxing." No, it's your body reacting.   Mason: (35:18) Yeah. Herxing became the ultimate. Just, "Oh, it's just a Herx."   Nirala Jacobi: (35:20) Yeah, yeah. Exactly.   Mason: (35:24) Is that normally enough to reduce the die-off from being too hard for someone just recently getting on the diet for a couple of weeks?   Nirala Jacobi: (35:32) It depends. The other thing is if somebody's really constipated, I don't start antimicrobials until at least even with the aid of magnesium oxide or something, I get their bowels moving, because if you add in antimicrobials in a really constipated system, you really are begging for a Herxheimer reaction because the river is not flowing, there's algae growing, it's muddy, it's not moving, it cannot clear out these toxins. I get the system ready before I add in antimicrobials.   Mason: (36:06) That's the most important part, is getting the river flowing.   Nirala Jacobi: (36:11) If you're constipated.   Mason: (36:11) If you're constipated.   Nirala Jacobi: (36:12) Yeah, I would say that that's often when people feel really horrible, when they start something like that and it's just not working. It's ironic because with these archaea or these methanogens as we call them, these organisms that produce methane, once it's actually reduced by the help of antimicrobials, you can expect that the bowel returns to normal, but you can't expect it if you're using some form of garlic extract to combat your methanogens. It will take you a couple of months, or if not longer, to really reduce that level to such an extent that you can have spontaneous bowel movements.   Mason: (36:53) What antimicrobials are you normally using?   Nirala Jacobi: (36:57) When we talk about treatment, there's three kinds. You have your herbs. You have your conventional antibiotics, and these are very specific antibiotics that are not for ear infections or sinusitis. Then you have a third treatment called the elemental diet. Herbs are usually berberine-containing plants, some essential oils like oregano, clove, those kinds of things. There's a bunch of herbs that I use and an extract or a low-fructans kind of garlic. Garlic typically is a FODMAP food, but if we use it with a high-allicine content, we can use quite a lot of it without a problem for these archaea, and we know that they're really effective for that. Then when you look at antibiotics, you're looking at rifaximin, which is a type of antibiotic that stays in the small intestine, doesn't get absorbed, and it's bile-soluble so it works in that perfect environment.   Mason: (37:57) Like the way doxycycline works, I think.   Nirala Jacobi: (38:00) No, doxy is way more broader and you will absorb some of that. Rifaximin is not absorbed. It stays in the upper gut. Then you have neomycin for the methanogens. Some people use metronidazole or Flagyl, and I shy away from that because I think as practitioners, we're the custodians of our patient's microbiome and we have to really respect that. Some people, I have seen some shocking microbiomes, let me tell you, by just looking at stool tests and things like that. Stool tests will not give you any information about the small intestine but, very often, it's not like it's only in the small intestine. Problems continue on with the large intestine.   Mason: (38:44) You're going to have an overgrowth most likely in the large intestine?   Nirala Jacobi: (38:45) Yeah. I've seen microbiomes that are completely denuded, like a clear-cut rainforest, and you're trying to regrow it and no wonder they're so reactive. You had actually mentioned my last podcast guest on my show was the guy who wrote Fibre Fueled, Dr. B., Dr. Will B.   Mason: (39:10) Dr. Will B. Yeah, that's what I call him instead of [mumbling].   Nirala Jacobi: (39:11) Bulsiewicz. I think it's Bulsiewicz.   Mason: (39:15) Yeah, I can never... We were in Arizona.   Nirala Jacobi: (39:19) Oh, right.   Mason: (39:20) I met him at the mindbodygreen weekend. We had a we called it dads gone wild night...   Nirala Jacobi: (39:28) Oh, do tell. Do tell.   Mason: (39:29) Yeah, it wasn't that exciting. It was just me, the DJ, and Dr. B just having chats about the gut and veganism and getting on the gluten-free beers.   Nirala Jacobi: (39:44) All right. That sounds like a hell of a party.   Mason: (39:49) Yeah, it actually was. I think tequila made its way at some point, which is wonderful.   Nirala Jacobi: (39:54) You were in Arizona after all.   Mason: (39:55) Exactly.   Nirala Jacobi: (39:56) Anyway, I really appreciated having him on the show because here he was, a gastroenterologist, epidemiologist, highly, highly trained specialist, and he had a sort of "Come to Jesus" moment when he really started to study the microbiome and started to work on it for himself. Now, he's like a complete convert about protecting the microbiome and regrowing it. I just think he's done a really good job with that book.   Mason: (40:25) Is that where his book is coming from? From that angle or-   Nirala Jacobi: (40:28) Fibre Fueled, yeah. I'm not his publicist, but I have the book and I read it and it's pretty good. Half the book is recipes, so vegan recipes, and how to regrow it. One word of caution, don't start with SIBO with that. We had this conversation. You can listen in on The SIBO Doctor podcast if you want to listen to the Feeding Your Microbiome. That shift is slowly happening. There's a lot more respect for the microbiome. I know of a lot of physicians who look back on medicine, on what it's done with antibiotics with real regret of like this was the wrong thing to do to just prescribe amoxicillin for every child's ear infection, or to prescribe for sinusitis, for these types of things. Still, to this day, it's happening day in, day out not just here but across the world where it's just way over prescribed, and it will catch up with you.   Mason: (41:33) It's an important part of any practitioner's arsenal to be able to reflect on what they're doing and not be too concrete and make sure you don't have too much morality and judgement of yourself if you did just follow the doctrine at the time, but make sure you've got the capacity to... motility to actually move on to what's important, because I know I wasn't really up on the conversation on testing the microbiome and I think we were chatting about that.   Mason: (42:01) Since then, I've got a naturopathic friend who he's basically moved a huge amount of his practise over to testing the microbiome and talking about how it takes out a lot of the guesswork, not only is it the antibiotics and seeing exactly the effect that they're having, which is great as well because you know what you've wiped out, but just dietarily as well, if it's vegan, high-carb, if it's carnivore or just high ... Whatever it is.   Nirala Jacobi: (42:32) Yeah, carnivore, I would never promote. Never because it is so hard on the microbiome. It just is. That's basically just meat, and unless you live in countries where, for centuries, that's what you did and I just ... Anyways, that's digressing but they are, and we agreed on that. We totally agreed that most diets, really if it already has a diet, then it's a fad mostly. What we know is where people live the longest and, to me, that's evidence and that's the Blue Zones.   Nirala Jacobi: (43:14) That's Dan Buettner's work. He wrote a book called the Blue Zones where people lived to be the oldest in the world, fully functional, still doing their daily work, very cognitively attentive, and very happy. There were seven hotspots in the world. They all had different things, but what they all had in common was 80% plant-based diet. For me, I'd go by that. I'd go by that. If people do well on veganism, then do that because the more plants you can eat, the more diverse your bacterial blueprint will be.   Mason: (43:56) That's always with the Blue Zones. Yeah, I first heard about it ... The book I got was Healthy Till 100, I believe it was. That book included a couple of other places. I'll put it in the show notes, guys, the scientifically proven secrets of, I think, the world's longest living people. Vilcabamba was in there in Ecuador, which I think isn't in there with Dan's work but, otherwise, it's like Okinawa, Sardinia.   Nirala Jacobi: (44:26) Yeah, and Loma Linda which is like eating processed vegetarian food.   Mason: (44:33) I think that their faith gets involved.   Nirala Jacobi: (44:33) Yeah, I don't know, but they got there in there, Sardinia.   Mason: (44:37) Maybe they're just right.   Nirala Jacobi: (44:38) Maybe. Well, who knows?   Mason: (44:40) Maybe their prayers are just better than health.   Nirala Jacobi: (44:41) Yeah, respect Loma Linda, California.   Mason: (44:44) Oh, that's right, John Robbins was the author of that book I was talking about. I like him. He balances out, because I think the thing with Dan's work which always I'm like, "So good," then he's like ... because I'm only talking about his behalf and it's like because it's 80% to 90% plant food and then 100% is the obvious conclusion, which I don't find to be the obvious conclusion.   Nirala Jacobi: (45:09) No, because I think and I will say if you look at the standard bi-phasic diet just to keep it in the SIBO spectrum, the standard bi-phasic diet is very animal protein heavy. Then I created a vegetarian bi-phasic diet, which is very amenable to vegans, and it's not just about taking the meat. That was a lot of work that I co-authored that with our clinical nutritionist, Anne Criner, here at our clinic. Then we have a third one which is the histamine bi-phasic. But there is something.   Nirala Jacobi: (45:41) A lot of people have tried veganism and it's just like, constitutionally, they just couldn't do it. I don't know what the answer is for those people because there are some people that just they get weak. Dr. B would probably argue that he thinks that everybody can live like ... I think, I shouldn't speak for him, but I don't know. I find that everybody is a bit different.   Mason: (46:09) Yeah, I'm with you as well. I find if you take one part of the body and solely focus on it, same if you're only focusing on the large intestine and the microbiome and not cellular, in particular cellular markers, then I can see how it would be really easy to justify a vegan diet. I was vegan and raw foodist for quite a while and then moved away from that direction and just was really questioning my need to eat a certain amount of domesticated vegetable and fruit matter.   Mason: (46:46) Then once I got back into the microbiome, I've really come to peace and to terms with the fact that, "No, you know what, that's ..." I was really rocking. I was rocking with that majority of my well-being, and even moving back into lentils and legumes and beans, which had a huge chip on my shoulder about. But then just staying open to ensuring there's potentially ... Like in the Blue Zones, meats are normally a side dish, and I like that.   Nirala Jacobi: (47:15) Yeah. I do, too. I know myself, I haven't eaten red meat in 40 years probably but I eat chicken occasionally. That's my one and only animal that I eat because also the carbon footprint. It's whole 'nother conversation, Mason. Nothing to do with SIBO. But in a nutshell, the diet is a therapeutic diet. It's not a stay-on-it forever diet.   Mason: (47:40) Greaaaaat distinction. I'm going to have to get excited about the diet. I'm going to have to get my mum, because I'll let you all know how. Maybe if I can have a chat again, get you back on here after, I'm going to use all your resources, all the listeners are going to ... I'll keep you in the loop of where mum's at, especially.   Nirala Jacobi: (48:02) Sure.   Mason: (48:03) Yeah, I'll let you know on an intro at some point where she comes back with in the test. If it's positive, then we'll go on that journey together. With meat and impact. Have you tried a wild, invasive deer or anything from around here. It's like-   Nirala Jacobi: (48:21) No, but I'm not opposed to it. I trust my body and I just have no affinity towards those things. Red meat, just no.   Mason: (48:35) Yeah, that's fair enough.   Nirala Jacobi: (48:38) We're really covering a lot of ground, but there's something about the whole blood type thing that I can tell you as a practitioner, that's been nearly a quarter of a century in practise that there's something about that. Blood type As tend to have a little bit harder time with digesting animal protein.   Mason: (48:58) Is that just going back to the classic book, The Blood Type Diet?   Nirala Jacobi: (49:02) Dr. D'Adamo.   Mason: (49:03) Yeah, D'Adamo. That's right.   Nirala Jacobi: (49:06) Yeah. Look, it's still got work to do, but I think there's elements that I certainly have seen be proved in practise. For me, I don't just need theories, I actually need evidence. For me, evidentially, I have seen that in practise, that people that are blood type O, they fade sometimes on a vegan diet because I don't know. I never got so fully into it that I can rattle off the science right now, but it has to do with rhesus factor and different ... Well, the theory was really that when we originated ... See, an evolution story.   Nirala Jacobi: (49:47) When we originated in Africa, everybody was blood type O because you needed to be able to eat dead animals and stuff. You had a very forgiving type of blood type that was not very reactive. Then as we moved north and into Europe, it wasn't really economical to eat your animals, and so you became more farmers and started to grow things, and that was blood type A. Then as you move further north, you had natural refrigeration, and that was the AB type or the B type, which can handle dairy really well. That's the theory anyways. I can tell you that much.   Mason: (50:22) It's a good theory.   Nirala Jacobi: (50:23) It's a good theory.   Mason: (50:23) That was always the thing with The Blood Type Diet.   Nirala Jacobi: (50:26) It checks out.   Mason: (50:27) It checks out. I remember The Blood Type Diet was a funny one because every practitioner I've talked to has said there is something to this-   Nirala Jacobi: (50:35) Yeah, there's something to it.   Mason: (50:36) But the science was never rock solid so it was open for criticism, yet anecdotally, it was on point. I love it. It's good to know. It's good to go into that world because as soon as you get into, as you said, you made that decision, it's why it's hard sometimes to listen to a practitioner talk about diet long-term because you know that the mindset is based on healing. Then as you said, this is a healing-   Nirala Jacobi: (51:03) Therapeutic.   Mason: (51:03) Therapeutic diet. Huge distinction because, otherwise, you stay in a "I'm sick" mentality long-term.   Nirala Jacobi: (51:11) Right. Look, I always tell my patients when you travel ... Well, it's a different world now, but if you were going to see Paris, I don't want you on this diet. I want you to eat baguette and dip it in the cafe au lait. I want you to eat things that you enjoy. Most of the time, when people travelling and they suffer from food sensitivity, it actually miraculously goes away. Of course, celiac disease is a different story, but there is this element of you just having just more endorphins and your secretory IgA goes up and all of that, and people can tolerate a lot of foods that they would not normally tolerate in a happy setting and a happy live-your-life, I want you to drink wine if you're in Italy. Why restrict ourselves to this myopic thinking, it has to look this way?   Mason: (52:03) It's refreshing. I like the way that you're bridging over there. It's something that I've always liked about your accessible approach because it's like bridge into what's actually going on and then I'm going to see your bridge out over there to live your life because, obviously, people do get addicted to being sick and something being wrong and then the fear of if I do something outside of the therapeutic-   Nirala Jacobi: (52:23) There's a lot of fear. There's a lot of food fear and there's this whole new term of orthorexia.   Mason: (52:29) Yeah, exactly.   Nirala Jacobi: (52:30) That's a real thing. A lot of people are so concerned about having made some small error on the bi-phasic diet. I'm like, "You've made no error. It's fine." Not just the bi-phasic diet but also anything, really. They get very, very hooked on that they did something wrong, and there's a lot of food fear and that. Imagine, you're sitting down to eat your meal and you're already worried about the food. Sometimes, I tell people sit for two minutes and just appreciate the food, just take a moment and get into a rest and digest before you eat.   Mason: (53:13) That's where the prayer comes in, the grace.   Nirala Jacobi: (53:16) It used to be prayer, it used to be grace, all of that. That's all. It's a thing.   Mason: (53:21) I feel like we go down this rabbit hole, that's probably another podcast talking about the orthorexia. I know it very well. I've had to go. I was so down the rabbit hole of raw foodism. I had to go and start eating things that I swore I would never eat again to start cracking myself out of just like that scrubbing myself clean with my diet. It's hardcore, and it isn't orthorexia, and it isn't eating disorder in varying degrees. But thanks for bringing it up, because especially when you're promoting a therapeutic diet, I always think the duty of care comes with making sure that people and patients are aware not to get stuck in it. Thank you for that.   Nirala Jacobi: (54:00) My pleasure.   Mason: (54:02) I had really a lot of fun chatting with you.   Nirala Jacobi: (54:03) I did, too. We've covered a lot of ground.   Mason: (54:06) We've covered a lot of ground. We run really fast on this podcast. Look, let's just repeat it again. The SIBO Doctor podcast, and it was episode 64 and 65 that we just talked about with Dr Will B. Worth probably checking out.   Nirala Jacobi: (54:26) It's on iTunes. It's on everywhere. You can go to The SIBO Doctor and just look around. There's resources. All the guides are free downloads, the handout on bringing that to your practitioner in terms of what caused you SIBO. It's a free download. There's a lot of videos, lots of stuff. I'm on Instagram, Dr. Nirala Jacobi, the SIBO Doctor.   Mason: (54:46) Perfecto. Thank you so much.   Nirala Jacobi: (54:48) Boom.   Mason: (54:49) Boom.   Nirala Jacobi: (54:50) Mic drop.   Mason: (54:52) All right. All right. That didn't work. That was a terrible mic drop.   Nirala Jacobi: (54:55) No, that's a very sensitive, very fancy road microphone.
Welcome to the second installment of the SuperFeast Water Series. Today Mason chats to Chris Sanborn. Chris is the lead visionary behind Alive Water and the director of the Find A Spring foundation. Chris is an absolute living water enthusiast who devotes a large portion of his time and energy to sourcing and harvesting the most nutritious spring water available. In this chat the gents explore the differences between the various water sources available to the modern human, and how these sources can either nourish or impair the health of the body, mind and spirit. The question of focus is; could obtaining good health really be as simple as consuming raw spring water? Tune in to hear our take.  Mason and Chris explore: Chris's spring water journey. The health outcomes that occur when consuming wild spring water. How wild spring water connects us back to the earth and our innate nature as human beings. The difference between raw spring water, processed spring water and water that has been treated through the municipal system. The water filters Mason and Chris are loving. Bitcoin, meteor mining and US currency.   Who is Chris Sanborn? Chris Sanborn is the leading visionary for Alive Water and the Find A Spring foundation. When Chris is not building tools to access fresh spring water in the worlds best glass he enjoys spearfishing, hunting, and foraging. Chris envisions a future where water is more deeply revered as sacred. Through this process people will return to a deeper connection with the spirit and beauty of this earth.   Resources: Find A Spring Website Alive Water Website Alive Water InstagramAlive Water Facebook Alive Water Youtube The Water Shop Website     Q: How Can I Support The SuperFeast Podcast?   A: Tell all your friends and family and share online! We’d also love it if you could subscribe and review this podcast on iTunes. Or  check us out on Stitcher :)! Plus  we're on Spotify!   Check Out The Transcript Here:   Mason: (00:00) Chris, thanks for being here, brother.   Chris Sanborn: (00:02) Thanks for having me.   Mason: (00:04) Absolute pleasure. Interesting. It's one I've known, heard you talking about water for a few years now. I think it was from the moment of inception of your company, which is A Live Water, because since you started, that's the water that I've been having, because I've been on a trip to L.A. at least once a year for the last five years.   Mason: (00:32) So, I've been advocating that the water that you're bringing down from the sweet, sweet springs. So, it's good to connect. This is the first time we've chatted. Part of the water series here at SuperFeast that we're doing, because I forget.   Mason: (00:49) We've got a lot of new people jumping on the health sovereignty train here. Even though I've been talking about spring water for 10 years, I'm sure it's the same for you, it's always good to give everyone a little bit of the refreshing dunk of the head into that fresh, effervescent spring water, so that they can get re-inspired.   Chris Sanborn: (01:07) I love that.   Mason: (01:07) No. It's what I drink. I know it's what you drink.   Chris Sanborn: (01:11) It's what a lot of people, most people don't drink. So, we've still got a lot of room to spread awareness.   Mason: (01:23) Tell me about this. It seems like a crazy idea. I actually had a similar idea, back before I started SuperFeast nearly 10 years ago, of going, "Maybe I'll bring a raw water to the market." I remember Vital was trying to do it at the time, not really getting much success. Then I looked at the logistics and I was like, "I'm just not going to be able to do it."   Mason: (01:47) But you've done it, then. You've nailed it, as well. Can you tell me about what it's been like so far, from the inception of your idea? Tell us what your company actually does, and tell us what that's been like, bringing it to this point where it's rolling.   Chris Sanborn: (02:04) It's been a lot of fun. Owning your own business is a roller coaster, especially when you're doing something that's really different, and changing the game.   Chris Sanborn: (02:21) Like you said, no one else was really doing the raw water thing when we started, and still, no one else is, to this day. Reusable glass, it's not a simple thing. It's not as simple as just packing water in a single-use plastic bottle and shipping it out the door. There's a lot of moving pieces.   Chris Sanborn: (02:44) So, yeah. I started maybe five years ago, just going to the mountain and collecting water, fresh from the spring. It just felt so amazing. There's certain foods, and there's certain superfoods that, there's rare ones, where you feel it right away. You're like, "Whoa, that's powerful." Nothing, for me, was as powerful as drinking fresh spring water, just feeling more energy, more peacefulness.   Chris Sanborn: (03:22) So naturally, I just wanted to share that with more people, since all the spring water available on the market is processed. So, at the time, it was, unless you were driving three hours to the spring, there was no way you could get that in Southern California. Other places, it's prevalent. There's springs that are close, especially Southern California.   Chris Sanborn: (03:49) Yeah, we started going out to the spring. It was a lot of fun, getting to go out to the mountains. I think there's something really beautiful that happens when you start to have that connection with water that our ancestors had, to see where it's coming out of the Earth, and tasting it fresh like that. You're in nature. You start to become aware of other things.   Chris Sanborn: (04:16) A lot of times, you go to a spring and there's watercress there that you can forage, berries. Whatever it is, it's kind of a good intro into foraging.   Chris Sanborn: (04:26) So, it's been a journey. We've evolved a lot. We've had the recent rebranding. About six months ago, I took over the Find-A-Spring project. So, that's been really exciting. We've totally transformed that side and added a lot of new features. You can upload test results now.   Mason: (04:55) Sweet.   Chris Sanborn: (04:55) You can ... Yeah, you can leave ratings, comments, photos, videos. You can have favourite springs, a lot more features. Which feels really good, to know that all the purchases that anyone's making for water delivery or a glass, are going towards supporting that global project of bringing more awareness and utility to the importance of having access to fresh, living spring water. So, yeah. It's exciting.   Mason: (05:30) Dude, that's so good for everyone. I think, again, it's been about nine years that I've been recommending that people go to findaspring.com. I'm really excited.   Mason: (05:40) Daniel Vitalis, he's been on the podcast before. He did such great work in that entropic element, to give people, basically, this is a database and rating system, guys, for wild springs, spring water, hot springs, cold springs, mostly for drinking water purposes.   Mason: (06:02) It's definitely helped me. As I've traveled around, I've found springs in the middle of Sydney, middle of Auckland, found springs going up and down the coast there, on the West Coast of America. As well, in the Blue Mountains, here in Sydney, for example, or out in the Dandenongs if you're in Melbourne. You go and find a spring. The spring's there and it tells you. More and more, you'll see people commenting on the etiquette there of the spring, and how to make sure it's respected and honoured.   Mason: (06:36) It's a beautiful community because going and collecting spring water, as you said, it's something that does connect us to the literal way that we've been drinking water for the entire time we've been here on this Earth. All of a sudden, it starts pressing on this industrialised, colonised mind, where people are paranoid about drinking a non-municipal source of water, or a non-processed water.   Mason: (07:05) Which goes to show, we're in a fundamental disconnect. The fact that you're providing clean water from Alive Water, and then also access via Find A Spring, where people can actually be. And the water's tested, as well, for contamination. We're trying to make this accessible.   Mason: (07:22) Can you talk about, first of all, what processed water is, and why that is something to be aware of? Also, in that sense, what you've found as the biggest benefit from people coming back to Alive, living water, as well as what the biggest hurdles are for people decolonizing away from processed and municipal water supplies?   Mason: (07:47) Three questions I threw at you there. Feel free to come back and answer it any way you want.   Chris Sanborn: (07:55) All right, yeah. I might need a reminder if I miss any.   Chris Sanborn: (08:01) Thank God for Daniel Vitalis and Leighton Anderson creating Find A Spring about 10, 11 years ago. That was the first resource I used to go find the spring that we started the water delivery service from. He also educated me on the difference between processed spring water and raw spring water.   Chris Sanborn: (08:35) Basically, every water delivery company, every spring water delivery company, certainly in the United States, what they're doing is, they're using ozone gas and/or ultraviolet light to sterilise and take out all of the life in the water, that could potentially go green. Because there are living microalgae in there that are healthy for us. They're what we're biologically adapted to thrive from. But obviously, it's not going to be very good for your bottom line, for shelf stability, if you have to not keep your water in a hot warehouse, hot trucks, all these things.   Chris Sanborn: (09:25) So, we had a lot of issues with that in the beginning, with the water turning green really quick. That's why we decided to move to this system where the water goes into refrigerated trucks, and then refrigerated storage before it's delivered. It's usually fine in peoples' homes, unrefrigerated, for up to a month, as long as it stays in a cool, dark place.   Chris Sanborn: (09:49) But at least in that way, people know they're getting their water as fresh as it would be coming right off the spring. Then, of course, it's not in these trucks and warehouses that are over 100 degrees in the summer.   Chris Sanborn: (10:06) It's just wild. When you look at the gambit of, most people, they're lucky if they're drinking processed spring water. It's like, "What's the next best thing?" There's a lot of these ultra-purists, that there's this notion that things are dirty in Western culture.   Chris Sanborn: (10:31) There's all these germs. We've got to wash our hands. Especially recently, a lot of fear with, "Oh make sure you wear a mask, and hand sanitizer, and social distancing," and all this stuff goes back to fear, people living in fear.   Chris Sanborn: (10:49) With water, specifically. It's like, "Oh the earth is screwed. Everything is polluted, so let's just filter tap water." Which, good luck getting out fluoride. That's really hard to get out. Even if you do, then you just have this lifeless, dead substance that has no minerals, so it's actually going to strip minerals out of your body, drinking ultra-purified water.   Chris Sanborn: (11:20) Then there's the ultra-alkaline, 9, 10, 11 PH, which is really not good for us. Basically what happens then is, is especially if you have a healthy, more balanced diet, you're drinking, a lot of people are drinking this super high alkaline, which is actually diluting their stomach acids, and making it harder to process food.   Chris Sanborn: (11:51) There's a lot of miseducation out there, a lot of ways to go.   Mason: (11:56) Out of curiosity, and our crew listening, most of them would have heard us, I think talk about that. Every now and then I have a rant about alkaline water. What alkalinity, acidity is your spring water coming out at?   Chris Sanborn: (12:15) It's different. I think you mean for the water delivery service that I have?   Mason: (12:22) Yeah, sorry. For the water delivery, yeah.   Chris Sanborn: (12:22) Yeah. Actually, I live been in Kauai, so we go and we collect our own water here.   Chris Sanborn: (12:28) But for Opal Springs, which is the water delivery service for, that services the majority of California, it comes out at eight, which is naturally alkaline. Then it actually slowly starts the drop towards neutral.   Mason: (12:51) Right.   Chris Sanborn: (12:52) Which is interesting. I think it just speaks to the fact that water is in this constant state of change. I think it's wrong to try and make it sterile and make it this pH. It's dynamic. It's water.   Mason: (13:20) Yeah it [crosstalk 00:13:21]   Chris Sanborn: (13:20) That being said, most springs are around the neutral level. There are some amazing springs that are slightly acidic, like 6, 6.5 alkalinity. I don't think there's any, there's no problems with those springs. Looking at what is the difference between the good spring and a bad spring, obviously, the number one thing is Industrial Age contamination. Which is a tough one unless it's a primary water source, which has never been on the surface before.   Chris Sanborn: (14:04) A lot of times, there might be a little bit of radioactive fallout, and potentially other things. But at the same time, we're breathing air with radioactive fallout. We're eating food with the rain. So, it's all perspective.   Chris Sanborn: (14:21) For me, going back to what I really look at for a good spring is very little to no levels of pollution, good minerals. You want to have a balance. There's some minerals, like calcium. You can have, like a mountain valley water, for example, their calcium is way too high, because it's hot spring water.   Chris Sanborn: (14:45) You boil it in a pot, and it gets all calcified, and white, and scaly. It's not the best. A little bit of calcium is good. Then, magnesium, potassium, all of these things that are in a good natural spring water, in their pure form without having to have it synthetically extracted from some vitamin source or whatever.   Chris Sanborn: (15:17) I think really, the amazing thing that natural spring water has, one is the natural microbes are probiotics and prebiotics that aren't really found in other foods. That's huge. That, alone, to just be drinking that source of health for our guts.   Chris Sanborn: (15:42) But then the other thing is silica, which a lot of people are deficient in, which is the skin, hair, and nails mineral. Most good spring water has lots of good silica in it.   Mason: (15:57) That's always my favourite spring water, when you're getting high silica.   Chris Sanborn: (16:02) Yeah. What's really cool is, some spring waters with high silica, you can actually see. If it's sitting for a while, you'll actually see rainbow crystals floating in the water.   Mason: (16:16) Awesome. Dude, so magic.   Mason: (16:20) For Alive Water, can you tell me about the source of that spring water?   Chris Sanborn: (16:27) Yeah.   Mason: (16:28) Also, just that big distinction you've made there. We've had a few building biologists, I don't know if you have them in America, but it's someone who comes and makes sure you realise that your home is like a layer of skin, and talking about biodiversity in the home, and obviously, how important are biodiversity of bacteria within the large intestine is. Likewise, in the home, and how it's a terrible idea to sterilise.   Mason: (17:02) What you're saying there, it's a nuanced conversation. Biodiversity in your water is what we've evolved with. If we're going to start somewhere with foundations of health, let's stick to what has worked for a long time, and keeping it within a bandwidth of, we know that this is healthy, and just how much I think this is why it hasn't happened, a business like yours hasn't happened in Australia. I've had friends who have tried.   Mason: (17:25) It's the effort, and energy, and love you need to put into refrigerating, keeping that water at a spring water temperature, from that point where it comes out of the Earth, all the way to when it gets delivered, which always amazes me.   Mason: (17:43) I'll shut up soon so that you can get on to telling us about your spring. I get messages, I think every fortnight from [inaudible 00:17:51], saying, "Would you like spring water this week?" I'm like, "I'm still over." I don't write back, but I'm not unsubscribing because it's so satisfying for me when I'm like, "Yes, here's my new address. Here's the Airbnb. Here's the instructions. I'm arriving Thursday. It would be amazing if you could get it to me Thursday. Friday, all right."   Mason: (18:09) Sure enough, it turns up. My six big vessels with sacred geometric etched glass. Of which I've taken one back to Australia, FYI That was a fun trip.   Chris Sanborn: (18:22) Good for you. That's the great thing about our glass is, we want to make it available everywhere, so people can go to their own springs. Wherever you are, some places might be longer than others, but typically, there's something good close by. Sometimes you've got to stock up. If it's a bigger trip, stock up for a while.   Chris Sanborn: (18:52) That water comes from Opal Springs in central Oregon. It's kind of like the High Desert up there, and then 800 feet, at the base of this canyon, it's just gushing out of this lava tube, 108,000 gallons per minute, with these little fire agates that look like opals. That's why it's called Opal Spring.   Chris Sanborn: (19:21) Consistent 54 degrees Fahrenheit and that water is what I, I am almost positive it's a primary water source, which is actually a fairly new idea. It's been very thoroughly scientifically proven within the last decade that the Earth either has these huge bodies of water below the crust that are even bigger, more water than all the oceans. Or there's actually a chemical reaction that's happening, that results in water gushing up out of these tubes.   Chris Sanborn: (20:06) I love this idea and this fact because what that does is, it gives us the hope that the Earth has a self-cleansing process. If we can just start to appreciate water more, and not putting horrible chemicals into the water supply, and the plastics. That's a whole conversation in and of itself, just the horrible things that happen just from people, with cleaning supplies, and washing their cars, and the dye industry, and on, and on, and on.   Chris Sanborn: (20:51) But I think the Earth can really regenerate itself. That gives me a lot of hope.   Mason: (21:00) Me, too. Very well said.   Mason: (21:03) The water, when it comes out, would you mind just taking me through? I'm so curious, what your process is, in harvesting; how you're harvesting, what you're harvesting in, what the process is, the time limit on taking it from there to a facility, how you're keeping it refrigerating, how soon from when you decant into your glass bottles to it being delivered, so on and so forth?   Chris Sanborn: (21:33) Yeah. Good question.   Chris Sanborn: (21:36) The spring itself has a cement encasement over the spring head. That's where we pipe from, to make sure, obviously, we don't want any chance for dirt, or animals, or whatever it may be, to get in there. It gets collected at the covered spring head. Then, for Opal Springs, it's actually pumped up. It's pumped 800 feet up this cliffside, with hydroelectric power, that's also produced from the nearby stream that the spring feeds into.   Chris Sanborn: (22:25) It's really cool. The way they do it there is actually not only renewable energy, but it also leaves a path for the salmon to continue their upstream journey, which I love. So, it gets pumped up. Then it goes into the triple washed, triple rinsed glass jugs, our two and a half gallon glass jugs. It goes directly into the jugs, gets the cap on it.   Chris Sanborn: (23:02) Then it goes into the plastic racks, which keep it safe from the glass shattering. Then it goes into a refrigerated truck. That's typically within a day, two days max, of it being bottled. Goes into a refrigerated 18 wheeler. The 18 wheeler goes to either our cold storage in San Francisco, or Los Angeles.   Chris Sanborn: (23:33) Then we pick it up from cold storage. Typically every morning, we'll pick up the deliveries from the day. Then, that goes to peoples' homes or businesses. Then we collect the empties to start the process all over again.   Mason: (23:51) When did you see, I'm sure you've had waves when you see adoption occurring. Originally, it would have just been the die hards and early adopters of spring water, all of a sudden taking advantage of this really cool service.   Mason: (24:11) But I get the feeling now you've been seeing more of a mass adoption as this is getting more normalised. It's always a good sign when raw water gets demonised in places like Forbes, and The Young Turks, and that kind of things, which that slander campaign happened three years ago.   Chris Sanborn: (24:31) Yeah. There was definitely a few millions invested in a slander campaign against my business and me, personally. That's how you know you're doing something right.   Chris Sanborn: (24:44) You look at cryptocurrency, which is something I'd love to talk about, if you're into it. It's just interesting how you see the same smear campaigns. Not the same, obviously, because they're very different things. But it's like, here's this technology that gives everyone financial freedom and abundance, and the media just wants to talk about how it's a big scam.   Chris Sanborn: (25:12) So, to answer your question, this last year actually, we've almost, not doubled in size, but we've grown 50% in size with no marketing. Which is just, it's amazing. I feel super blessed. Our customers are just so stoked, and they all feel the difference so much that they want to tell their friends. People feel it immediately.   Chris Sanborn: (25:42) I think even more so recently, we've had a lot of new business, just from people, "Oh, dang. Our health is really important. We might die if we don't take care of ourselves." That's ultimately the most important thing, is to not play into the fear, and all the stuff we shouldn't be doing, but more into the stuff that we just need to do to stay really healthy, like exercising, and sunlight, and local, fresh, organic foods.   Mason: (26:21) Yeah, I imagine lockdown did that for a lot of people. It was like it really split down the line of those that were like, "Cool. I'm taking it into my hands. I'm not just going to pander to my own intrinsic fear," And they started getting into action around their health. I imagine that would have been a tipping point for a lot of people, where you can bypass a lot of more colonial narrative around the way you should live, and just helps people cut through that, the propaganda, and come back to what matters. When it comes down to it, hydration, the water you drink, what's more fundamental? I imagine that helped a lot of people get over that little fear hurdle.   Mason: (27:05) Then, on the other side of that, you're talking about some of the benefits. I think it's something I forget to talk about because it's been over a decade, for me, exclusively pretty much, 98%, 99% drinking spring water. So, I kind of forget-   Chris Sanborn: (27:21) Yeah, and you're hanging out with all your friends that drink spring water, too. You're like, "Wait. Everyone knows, right?" No way, no one, hardly anyone knows.   Mason: (27:33) Hardly anyone. We're lucky, here. We've got a guy over the border in Queensland, that's got a good spring on his property. He harvests that day, and then comes over and delivers to you. But still, he's-   Chris Sanborn: (27:49) Oh, cool.   Mason: (27:49) Yeah. I do talk to him about it all the time, about, why don't you create a water that's not for drinking, that's for the plants and for the animals?   Chris Sanborn: (28:00) Oh, right.   Mason: (28:02) Because he's got that minimum regulation. In Australia, it's illegal to drink. For drinking water, it's a minimum UV.   Chris Sanborn: (28:08) Right.   Mason: (28:08) But I go and collect spring water when I want, but it's too good. We've got two of those barrels here at SuperFeast. At least our crew, they're collecting spring water that's been two days out of the Earth. It's better than nothing.   Mason: (28:25) But when you get onto that real, living spring water, you were saying a lot of people get onto it and then notice these benefits. What do you find is the most consistent benefit, just from getting onto spring water that you guys are delivering?   Chris Sanborn: (28:44) Sorry. My lawn guys came today, so I didn't hear the last part of what you just said.   Mason: (28:51) Yeah, that's all good. Say hello for me.   Mason: (28:56) I was just saying, when people get onto spring water, what are the common benefits? I forget to talk about the benefits and what I feel, especially in that immediate phase. So, what are those big and consistent ones, that people are feeding back to you from the Alive Water that they're getting onto?   Chris Sanborn: (29:16) It's interesting. I think when people start to drink living spring water, one of two things happens, or both things happen at different times.   Chris Sanborn: (29:25) One, their bodies are like, "Oh, my God! I can't get enough of this water," and they drink so much, because their bodies are ... There are so many people that are chronically dehydrated. The other thing that will also start to happen with some people is they're like, "Wow, I hardly need any water compared to what I was drinking before," because this water has so much good stuff in it that our bodies actually really thrive from. So, both of those things can happen.   Chris Sanborn: (30:02) Even just the taste; the taste is one thing that's an immediate thing people can feel. I've heard all sorts of stuff on what people had cured, from drinking real spring water; skin conditions, liver problems, all sorts of stuff.   Chris Sanborn: (30:24) I think at the fundamental level, it's like you're nourishing all yourselves more, so you're going to have more energy. You're going to probably need less food, because you're actually getting a lot of your sustenance from water. There are so many different things that it can benefit; everything, really. We're mostly water, so it's hard to pinpoint exactly one thing instead of just making a wider generalisation.   Mason: (31:02) I think for me, the realisation, as you said, you're mostly water. It's involved in every function of the body. Every bit of solid Jing matter within our body is watery. So, just enabling, giving your body a clean medium that, as you said, it's coming out in a natural ratio.   Mason: (31:28) People don't realise when we say processed water, people are like, "What filter should I use?" Just so you know, I get people on the podcast so that I'm not that annoying person that's just like, "I don't know," because I don't know. I don't care. Personally, I don't care. I'm trying to care a little bit more, because I'm investing in filters for my parents, and some friends who can't get access to spring water in a main city.   Chris Sanborn: (31:58) Yeah. Yeah, it's true. There's people who live in the middle of New York that just don't have financial resources to even be able to afford a vehicle to go out and harvest.   Chris Sanborn: (32:12) I'd be curious to know what you typically recommend. I do like the Berkey filters. I used to use those before, just because they say they filter out fluoride and keep in the minerals. I mean who knows, really? But yeah, it's a tough one.   Mason: (32:33) Berkey? How do you spell Berkey?   Chris Sanborn: (32:37) B-E-R-K-E-Y.   Mason: (32:42) Okay. I think I know the one you're talking about. That's not the chambered one with the little black mineralizing rocks with the white spots in it in the bottom, is it?   Chris Sanborn: (32:52) No.   Mason: (32:53) Okay. I'll have a look at it. I think Berkey's, I've got another mate in L.A., and I'm pretty sure that's what he uses, as well, but I will confirm. Because that's the other thing I'm trying to ask everyone on the water series. If you had to pick a filter, what are you picking, and what's the rationale behind it?   Mason: (33:09) That's probably, I'm more of a fan of something that's just trying to clear out as much of that positive charged industrial crap while maintaining some of the integrity of the water. I understand the going [inaudible 00:33:26] water, and completely stripping it, and then adding it back in.   Mason: (33:30) But there's something about that deconstruction and then trying to put together that recipe of what makes a water alive. There's a lot of assumption there, to think you're going to be able to do what the Earth does, to put a water in together.   Chris Sanborn: (33:45) Yeah, playing God.   Mason: (33:47) Yeah. It's a good option. I'll drink it. I'm not as hardcore as I used to be and just, "No! If it's not spring water, I'll just dry fast for a day."   Chris Sanborn: (34:04) I'm curious to hear. What do you do for your water right now?   Mason: (34:11) We've got, as I said, Tony from Wild Oasis is a good resource there, as that backup. Then I'm lucky enough to have a friend who lives up in the Byron, Hinterland. They have 200 acres up there. They've got a spring coming out of that dormant volcano, coming out of that volcanic soil, really beautiful high vibe spring. They've got that plumb in their house and feeding into the dams. It's a really beautiful spot.   Mason: (34:47) That place, it means a lot to me. They're family. That's where conceived my daughter. The waters there, they literally formed my daughter and formed me.   Chris Sanborn: (35:00) Wow!   Mason: (35:03) Yeah. So, it's one of those ones, it's private property. So people listening, please don't ask me for access to that.   Mason: (35:12) You definitely need to ask around, because it is around everywhere you're at. You go and talk to the old people, they'll generally know where a spring is. That's what we're doing at the moment, and then just doing the best we can with a whole house water filter. Which I'll share in another podcast [crosstalk 00:35:30]   Chris Sanborn: (35:29) That's [crosstalk 00:35:30] because that's the one thing that I found. I've been on a hunt for shower filters for years. I've probably bought, I don't know, a dozen different shower filters. I've tested them all. I've tested them before and after. I actually paid for lab tests. Do these actually work, even a little bit?   Chris Sanborn: (35:59) It's been shocking to see that the shower filters, the ones I've found anyway, haven't really done much. Yeah, if you're filtering in chlorine and fluoride, and God knows what else. If you're in a city, a lot of times it’s recycled water.   Chris Sanborn: (36:22) That's getting in your skin. So, the whole house water system is clutch.   Mason: (36:28) Yeah. To be honest, I try and not shower, and just go and jump in the ocean. But it gets to a point where sometimes I just don't want salt water on my body.   Chris Sanborn: (36:38) Yeah.   Mason: (36:41) As I've gotten a little bit older, it's something you were saying about, you don't need as much water when you're drinking spring water. There's a couple of books that talk about, like the indigenous mob here talking about living in the desert, and then having "whities" go and live with them, and saying, "You guys are not sustainable with the way you drink water. You drink far too much water. You don't need that. You don't actually need that much."   Mason: (37:12) I feel it comes down to, if you're walking in the rhythms of the land, and your inherent seasons, and where you come from, stress rolls off the body. When you're not stressed, you're not needing as many resources.   Chris Sanborn: (37:25) Yeah, makes sense.   Mason: (37:28) Yeah, definitely what you're saying. When you get onto a good spring water source, naturally you're not going to need to drink as much, because you are going to take a significant amount of stress off your body because you're on a real, living, good source of water, that's high in minerals and it's doing its job. Because it's in harmony with the Earth, it's nourished us in a species in that way, for a long time. So, there's something recognisable there.   Mason: (37:54) But then, for me, I've noticed as I've got a toddler, business is cruising. I've had to spend more times indoors. Stress has increased, stuff going on with family. My water intake goes up. It's simply not as effective, so I feel like that's a good distinction for everyone to remember.   Mason: (38:19) So, in that sense, even in that, that's why maybe sometimes I won't just leave myself salt water on my skin to dry me out and preserve me.   Chris Sanborn: (38:30) Right.   Mason: (38:32) If I'm up at the farm, at my mate's farm, a water permaculture farm. You know, you jump into the creek. You jump into the spring water. It's the best ever.   Chris Sanborn: (38:41) Yeah, that's for sure.   Mason: (38:44) Sometimes I like, I've got a spa at home. I'm going to move, doing that kind of thing, I like to soak in the winter. So, the filter I've got, I just went and asked, when I was living in Sydney, the people at the water shop. I knew a couple of those guys in Cammeray, there.   Mason: (39:00) So, I just called them up and asked where they were at. They said the best they had was the Aragon. Looking into it, I've got another friend who really likes that one as well, who I think is onto it. So, the Aragon, I got the 20 inch by 4.5 inch. I think it's a triple chamber scenario, but I know people will ask me about that.   Mason: (39:24) Then there's a Vortex upcoming, as well, which I'll talk about at another time.   Chris Sanborn: (39:27) Wow, that sounds great.   Mason: (39:29) Yeah. My friends just [crosstalk 00:39:31]   Chris Sanborn: (39:32) Do they do fluoride in Australia?   Mason: (39:35) We live in one of the only municipal councils where they don't do fluoride. I think [crosstalk 00:39:41]   Chris Sanborn: (39:40) Oh, nice!   Mason: (39:42) It's the Byron Shire. I believe it's Gladstone, just north of Brisbane that are the only ones that aren't doing it. Very lucky, but we have high chlorine where we are.   Mason: (39:52) So, yeah. We went and got our water tested by a building biologist. Then I sent that to the water shop people. They just helped me match what filter's going to be appropriate. Because obviously, I don't need to opt for something that's going to be specifically designed to get the fluoride out.   Chris Sanborn: (40:11) Right.   Mason: (40:11) So huge.   Chris Sanborn: (40:15) That's cool. That's really cool. [crosstalk 00:40:20]   Mason: (40:20) Yeah. I'm getting the Phion filter. I think it's by Haydo from Native Water. He's a Kangen guy, which I don't like Kangen, but I like him.   Chris Sanborn: (40:41) There's a few people that I love that are on the same train.   Mason: (40:45) Yeah.   Chris Sanborn: (40:46) I appreciate that.   Mason: (40:47) Let's not let opinions on water filters divide us.   Mason: (40:52) But him at Native Water, @native_water on Instagram, he's ordering me in a Phion structuring device, with a bit of clear tubing on either side, so you can see what the water's looking like that comes out of the whole house filter, what it looks like going into this Phion, and then how it's coming out structured. So, that's the next little upgrade we've got.   Mason: (41:14) Guys, I'm not a purist anymore. It's like, I'd like to be on top of it.   Chris Sanborn: (41:20) I feel you, bro. I feel you. Sometimes I'll be out, and I'm hungry, and I want some fish tacos. I'm like, "Oh, God. What kind of oil are they frying it in? What kind of pan?" You know what, fuck it. [crosstalk 00:41:38] Every once in a while, you've got to live your life.   Mason: (41:41) Dude, I'm reading-   Chris Sanborn: (41:42) I won't eat farm raised, I'll tell you that. [crosstalk 00:41:47]   Mason: (41:46) What won't you eat?   Chris Sanborn: (41:49) Farm raised, like farm raised fish.   Mason: (41:52) You've got to draw a line somewhere.   Chris Sanborn: (41:55) Yeah. Yeah.   Mason: (41:58) I'm reading-   Chris Sanborn: (41:59) But being flexible is good.   Mason: (42:00) Yeah. I don't know. I'm reading Medium Raw by Anthony Bourdain at the moment. It's been a while since I've tuned into his work. I'm just like, "Dude, that heart based, potentially in excess going towards gluttony, but just the pure enjoyment of love, and a story around food, is something that's often void, in the purest health scene that comes from logic.   Mason: (42:24) It immediately comes from an instinct need to get healthy, and then it comes down to logic, and morality. What you lose, generally in the long-term, is this activation of your senses and the romance. Which is something that I'm reading Bourdain's book, going, "Yeah, that's what was void for so many years, the freedom to just go and enjoy." Just go and enjoy life in general. Like you said, just go and have the fish tacos.   Mason: (42:54) Dude, anything else? Feel free to throw in whatever you want to throw in about Bitcoin, as well, because it's been a while since anyone's mentioned Bitcoin on the podcast, I don't even know where it's at.   Chris Sanborn: (43:07) Today, I'll tell you where it's at. One Bitcoin equals $12,500 US. It's the highest today for the year, on a bit of what we call a bull run, where the price is escalating quite quickly. I'm quite happy that my investment has been paying off.   Chris Sanborn: (43:32) It's interesting. I think the allure with Bitcoin, crypto, the initial lore is, "Oh, cool." We can all actually have money that appreciates in value, instead of depreciates like fiat, government backed currency. Especially right now, they're just printing it out of thin air. It's backed by nothing.   Chris Sanborn: (43:55) So, what does that mean? It means, next year, $1 is going to be worth 90 cents of what it is today. Every year, it's appreciation. It's what happens. The value of money, of fiat backed currency, it just drops every year.   Chris Sanborn: (44:21) Whereas Bitcoin, there's only 21,000,000. It's actually a truly scarce resource. It's not like gold where, sure, gold's great, but there's the idea that what happens if we find a huge pool of gold, maybe on Earth, maybe on a meteor. There's actually meteor mining companies that are in existence right now, that will be launching within the next few years. So, what happens when that gold supply, what happens if it gets 100x? Then gold, gold's not worth so much anymore.   Chris Sanborn: (45:04) Granted, gold is a great store of value. The thing with gold, too, precious metals, they do have industrial applications. There's things that they can actually be used for in real world, that have real value. But as a store of value ... Going back to crypto.   Chris Sanborn: (45:25) So, cryptocurrencies as a store of value, are so far superior than fiat. If I wanted to send you $10,000 in Australia, what would I do? How would I do that? I'd probably have to go to my bank, send you a wire, they charge a fee. Your bank's going to charge a fee. It's going to take a few days to get to you. We've got to figure out the currency conversion rate.   Mason: (45:58) Do you lock it in previously, or do you go for the current exchange rate? All that, paying for that fee.   Chris Sanborn: (46:07) Yeah. So, say I wanted to send you $10,000 in Bitcoin. I can literally do it in 15 to 30 seconds. What's your Bitcoin address?   Chris Sanborn: (46:17) Now, there's even, for example, you could send me money to C Sanborn.cyrpto, You could literally send me $10,000 in Bitcoin. I'll get the money within a few minutes, and we'll pay maybe 50 cents to $1 to the network, for the fee.   Chris Sanborn: (46:37) When you just think about all of these things; that there's actually a finite supply, it's faster, and I don't need approval from anyone. I don't need approval from my bank. You don't need approval. It's our money. No one's in control of it.   Chris Sanborn: (46:56) All of these factors, and the other thing is, it's trickle down economics. All of these stimulus packages that are happening now, the public's getting a little bit of that money, but the majority of it's going to the corporations and the banks. Then the public gets a little bit that trickles down after that, whatever's left over.   Chris Sanborn: (47:19) It's just not fair. It's not the future of money. There's a reason that the Bitcoin price is on a bull run right now; all the cryptos, not just Bitcoin. Bitcoin's great. I actually really like Ethereum, because it's faster. There's a few different ones that I'm a big fan of.   Chris Sanborn: (47:51) It's really cool that recently, the big thing this year that's really changed the game, and this is why I'm confident in having most of my savings in crypto. Because I don't think there's going to be a drop in price like before. That's a big thing for people, "Oh, but it's so risky."   Chris Sanborn: (48:11) Well, it is. It is. I'm not going to sit here and pretend like it's not. But I don't think the price is going back down, because of what's happened this year is decentralised finance, or de-fi, for short. Now, this is the idea that we can all be bank less. I can actually loan you money, and you can pay me the interest instead of a bank, by basically holding these cryptocurrencies as collateral. If you don't pay me back, then I just keep your Bitcoin, or Ethereum, or whatever it is.   Chris Sanborn: (48:55) But then, obviously, you don't want to do that. You want to pay me back with low interest, because it's through two people, or bigger. There's these big de-fi platforms, where there's big pools of resources. So, it just makes sense. It's like, "Why are we paying the banks all this interest for these loans, when we can just bank each other?"   Chris Sanborn: (49:20) So, that's where the game changer is happening this year. More companies are starting to accept crypto. You can buy our glass on our website, anywhere in the world. You can pay with Bitcoin, Ethereum, whatever it may be. We accept it. There's big, big businesses now that are starting to accept Bitcoin. Microsoft is one example. Horrible company; I don't think I have any Microsoft products.   Chris Sanborn: (49:55) Just one example of some of the bigger corporations that are, they know they can't-   Mason: (50:04) Can't fight it?   Chris Sanborn: (50:04) ... That it's the most valuable resource now. There's more and more big financial players that are starting to wake up to the fact that it's the future of finance. It's fun. It's a fun thing to be investing in. I wake up every day, and it's like, "Oh, wow. I made a few hundred dollars while I slept," usually.   Mason: (50:30) The highs and lows. The highs and lows. You've got to keep your long-term. I think it was three years ago we started accepting Bitcoin on SuperFeast. It was good. It was pretty clunky, so I just for the mental health of my bookkeeper, I just took it off back then. It's getting to a point, if everyone starts demanding it, I can get that, straight back up there.   Mason: (50:59) It's always, you reminded me, it's been a while that I tuned into the conversation.   Mason: (51:05) You remind what is really exciting there is the decentralisation and the return to sovereignty. I know there's always going to be, the parasites will come to see how they can use it to control people, of course. It's going to happen, no matter what.   Chris Sanborn: (51:24) There are centralised cryptocurrencies now, as well. XRP is one. It's the number three cryptocurrency, but it's not decentralised. So, you've got to watch out. Not all cryptocurrencies are created the same.   Chris Sanborn: (51:50) But that being said, there's still a lot of advantages to centralised cryptocurrencies over others; just that it's faster, it's permission-less. Now, who benefits from that network? That's a handful of people, which isn't very cool. That's not the way of the future.   Chris Sanborn: (52:13) The cool thing that's happening now is, there's a new model of actually confirming that a block has, what's called, there's block chain technology. It's basically these blocks that, every block is a verification of who the new owners of these currencies are.   Chris Sanborn: (52:39) So that's how it moves. It moves in these block chains, with all the data from who owns it. It used to be, and it still is, for Bitcoin, it's proof of work. Did you prove that you have the most recent data with all the correct owners? Okay, yeah. That's proof of work.   Chris Sanborn: (53:00) Now what's happening is proof of stake. So actually, now what happens is, you have money in the network that you use for staking. So, you're actually, it's proof of stake, so actually, I'm making the network stronger and more secure by having my money in a proof of stake network. Now I'm actually gaining money just from having money in this cryptocurrency.   Chris Sanborn: (53:26) So, instead of the miners getting paid, now we're getting paid just for having money in these different cryptocurrencies. It's a game changer.   Mason: (53:40) That makes sense. If it's a people led currency, it relies on individuals, not on institution. If you're someone that has stake, and you having stake, and that being taken and shown within the block chain, and shown to be evident that it's up to date, then you are contributing to the increasing value of the currency.   Mason: (54:04) Therefore, you're going to get a little bit of a kick back, rather than that going back to a centralised place. Yeah, I think that makes sense. Did I capture that?   Chris Sanborn: (54:12) Yeah, totally. Totally.   Chris Sanborn: (54:14) All of these things are coming online right now. I think a lot of people look at it and they're like, "Oh, man! I should have gotten Bitcoin when it was $10, $100." It's like, Bitcoin's, sure it's at the highest it's been this year. The highest it's ever been is $20,000.   Chris Sanborn: (54:38) So, a lot of people look at it and they're like, "Oh, man. I missed it. I missed that magic window." But it's like, if there's only 21,000,000 Bitcoin, and the future of money, a lot of people speculate Bitcoin could easily go up to $100,000 a Bitcoin.   Chris Sanborn: (54:58) So, I think now's probably the best time than ever to invest. Like I said, there's more and more companies that do accept it. The companies that do accept it, it's easier now than ever to accept it. You can integrate, even on Shopify, you can integrate, I have, we'll use Coinbase.   Mason: (55:20) That's what I was thinking, as well.   Chris Sanborn: (55:24) Yeah. They made it a lot easier. I actually like crypto.com a lot more than Coinbase. The other thing with that, that's a game changer. I have a debit card with them, which I convert all my crypto into fiat. So, whenever I want to, I went to yoga this morning. I paid for my yoga with my Visa card. I converted it from Bitcoin.   Chris Sanborn: (55:48) So, it's a real world application. Why am I going to have money in fiat, when I could just have it in Bitcoin, that's accruing interest, decentralised. And I get 3% back on everything I spend on that card. It's just like, "What?"   Mason: (56:05) Yeah. I think it's getting to the point, I think it's the initial shock and awe of it where everyone was, "This is too good to be true." Then went [crosstalk 00:56:16] big waves. Then there was that big dip, which everyone says is a crash, which I definitely don't know.   Mason: (56:24) But you look over, as you do investments, you look over a 30 year period. It's most likely a dip rather than a crash. But the bubble burst. Okay, so it did. It's probably got many bubbles in its life.   Mason: (56:36) But it's probably getting to that point where I realise I'm not an investor. I'm not someone that should be following the advice in terms of finance. But it always does make sense that, just like we were saying, if you want diversity with what's living in your water, and you want diversity with what's living in your gut, and what's living in your home, you diversify how you're investing, rather than that narrative.   Mason: (57:01) Some people just like to go completely into stock, or completely into Bitcoin, or Ethereum, or whatever it is. But it's [crosstalk 00:57:08]   Chris Sanborn: (57:08) Like your thing, it is good, diversify. You don't have to go all in.   Mason: (57:14) That's probably a nice, easy way to go in. I have got a bad bunch of friends [inaudible 00:57:20] for a little bit was just like, "Right, it's all over here now." It's like, "Okay, let's not drink all the Kool Aid at once if you don't completely understand it."   Chris Sanborn: (57:30) Totally. Totally. It's easy to get carried away, when you see all of your money going up. It's definitely good to keep a level head. I hold gold. I do hold cash, of course.   Mason: (57:47) Yeah, yeah, yeah.   Chris Sanborn: (57:50) I hold a lot of crypto, mostly crypto. [crosstalk 00:57:53]   Mason: (57:53) And a lot of water.   Chris Sanborn: (57:56) A lot of water, and that's more valuable than anything.   Mason: (58:00) I value that. The conversations, that can be so grounded. Returning a bit of that freedom to humans, the concept of sovereignty. Sovereignty's not, you're sovereign or you're not. It's a resonance. It's a quality.   Mason: (58:19) So, if there's things that help you regain that quality of sovereignty, will you feel pretty free? Good. Let's explore it. It happens. That's what happens with the water.   Mason: (58:28) So, dude, I'll let you go. I'm sure you've got to go and pay the gardener.   Chris Sanborn: (58:35) Actually, I've just got to pee.   Mason: (58:39) Well, let's wrap it up.   Mason: (58:41) So, Alive Water is the company if you're on, is it just West Coast still, or are you expanding?   Chris Sanborn: (58:48) Just West Coast for water delivery. We ship everywhere on the planet for glass. It's expensive for most places outside of the country right now, but we're working on that, to have more fulfilment centres in the near future.   Chris Sanborn: (59:06) Of course, findaspring.com is global. Log in. Check your local spring and contribute to the community. There's a lot of ways you can do that leave a review, leave a comment, provide a water test. If you're really gung ho, maybe you could find a spring, if there's not one in your area that's not on the map, and pipe it. You'll be a hero in your community, for things like that.   Mason: (59:45) Absolutely. That is hero. That's God status in the community, if you're that person, and as well with the testing. I'm glad you guys have taken it over, because it's been a great resource, but it did need some new life breathed into it.   Mason: (01:00:03) So, that's really exciting for me, because it ensures that I'm going to continue to recommend it. Findaspring.com. Some of you listening have been following along for 10 years, and hearing us recommend that site for 10 years.   Mason: (01:00:18) It's nice when something has longevity. That's what your body's going to have if you get onto good water. So, go get spring water if you're on the East Coast. You were just talking about shipping the empty glass around the world, not the water. Right?   Chris Sanborn: (01:00:30) Correct, yeah. We pride ourselves in having the absolute best glass for collecting, storing, and drinking spring water, the whole thing.   Mason: (01:00:45) Because we've all, I've been there, collecting water, and then all of a sudden, you're driving back, and it just shatters on you. The glass explodes.   Chris Sanborn: (01:00:56) Oh, yeah.   Mason: (01:00:59) My little barina.   Chris Sanborn: (01:00:59) We've come a long way with our design product, with our design process. We've got a lot of good stuff that's live now, and a lot of good stuff that's coming. So, stay tuned for the evolution.   Mason: (01:01:13) Is it Alive Water, what's the website?   Chris Sanborn: (01:01:16) Findaspring.com and alivewaters.com   Mason: (01:01:22) Alivewaters.com and I'm assuming @alivewaters on Instagram? It's a good Instagram. Find A Spring's a good Instagram, as well. I actually did realise that it was starting getting used again, that Find A Spring Instagram. So, that's really inspiring.   Mason: (01:01:33) Thanks so much.   Chris Sanborn: (01:01:34) We haven't made the official relaunch yet, but we're getting there. We're getting things to where they need to be, so it's exciting.   Mason: (01:01:45) Sweet. So good, man. Thanks so much for coming on. It's been awesome.   Chris Sanborn: (01:01:49) Yeah, thanks for having me. Thanks for the great work you do. It was great to chat with you.   Mason: (01:01:56) Likewise. Tell Maria I will probably be getting another delivery next year. Who knows what's going to happen in this crazy world?   Chris Sanborn: (01:02:02) Yeah. Hopefully, we can do more travelling again soon.   Mason: (01:02:06) Yeah. Sweet, bro. Catch you.   Chris Sanborn: (01:02:08) All right. Aloha.
Mason is joined by his best mate, and CEO of Clearlight Saunas International, Sebastian Mierau. The gents explore the medicinal wonders of infrared sauna technology and the many very tangible health outcomes that one can experience by spending time in them. Tune in for a fun and insightful chat between two of our favourite health nerd legends.    Mason and Sebastian explore: Sebastian's journey with Clearlight Saunas. Infrared saunas and weight loss. Infrared saunas and detoxification; the times and temperatures that work best. The healing power of the infrared vibrational frequencies. The pro's of getting full body exposure whilst in the infrared sauna. Sauna technology and EMF exposure. Stress as a foundational component to all illness and dis-ease within the body. The health benefits of extreme temperature exposure. The importance of replenishing the body with hydration and minerals post sauna. The link between heat therapy and longevity. Saunas and skin health.   Who is Sebastian Mierau? Sebastian is a lifelong wellness enthusiast with a passion for the outdoors, sustainability and happiness. Sebastian grew up in Germany and started his career as an environmental engineer, before starting his company in Australia. Sebastian is the co-founder and CEO of Clearlight Saunas International, specialising in luxurious and state-of-the-art infrared saunas, with huge demand around the world from residential and commercial customers. Clearlight has a focus on bringing wellbeing, health, and happiness to staff, customers, and their families. Some of Clearlight's points of difference are their lifetime guarantee, exceptional customer care, ultra-low EMF and ELF heaters, and full-spectrum infrared technology.   Resources:Clearlight Infrared Sauna's Website The Sauna Show Podcast Clearlight Life Facebook Page Clearlight Life Instagram Page     Q: How Can I Support The SuperFeast Podcast?   A: Tell all your friends and family and share online! We’d also love it if you could subscribe and review this podcast on iTunes. Or  check us out on Stitcher :)! Plus  we're on Spotify!   Check Out The Transcript Here:   Mason: (00:00) Hello everybody. Hey Seb.   Sebastian: (00:02) Hey Mason, nice to be here.   Mason: (00:04) Yeah. Thanks for coming into the humble little podcast cave at HQ.   Sebastian: (00:10) Beautiful cave it is. Yeah.   Mason: (00:12) It's a pretty nice cave.   Mason: (00:13) Enjoying your water?   Sebastian: (00:14) Yeah. Delicious water. I believe is spring water.   Mason: (00:16) It is. It is. In fact, it is. So guys we've got Clearlight infrared sauna, full spectrum here at SuperFeast HQ. So many of you would have seen that on Instagram if you've been following me. I've been doing infrared saunas since I was 16 years old. I'm grateful my mom got onto it early and she had one at her clinic. She had like a beauty clinic in Pyrmont in Sydney and then realised that women didn't want to get really sweaty in the middle of the day.   Mason: (00:48) Didn't even want to jump in a sauna for some reason, so she just brought it home. And so, I've been doing it since I was a teenager. So you would have heard me or seen me sharing about it on Instagram or any one of my talks. I'm a big advocate for it. And more and more now as the awareness of infrared saunas starts to explode a little bit more. I just wanted to do this podcast because I'm getting asked a lot by people.   Mason: (01:19) Why infrared saunas, why I picked Clearlight? Why it's a kind of a straight one, like saunas is an interest even in herb's in what I do, people say, "Why are you the best, Mason?" I say, "Well, I'm very good at what I do in particular." And I've chosen a little particular field of herbalism, but I could still recommend other people in the Chinese herbal world and medicinal mushroom world that I'd take and trust as well. I'm not like a standalone.   Mason: (01:44) But I feel like I don't know where the industry's at now. And I know I might be biassed. I've been a fan of Clearlight for a long time. It's probably like over 10 years now. But it's kind of a little bit of a different story for me. I'm like no budge on its only Clearlight that I'd recommend in the technological kind of sauna place because it's technology development that you guys really you're setting the standard in the market.   Mason: (02:10) And no one with that kind of like Dr. Raleigh and that behind Clearlight and then you, yourself, you don't really kind of starting to push the envelope there. You're just the market leaders. And so, I just wanted to kind of chat about why that is because, SuperFeasters sauna and the sauna that SuperFeasters sauna in, is Clearlight.   Sebastian: (02:28) That's good. I love it.   Mason: (02:29) So yeah. So do you want to just let us know, like when did you jump on with Clearlight and start your business and why did you choose that adventure?   Sebastian: (02:41) Yeah, yeah, yeah. So I think overall, infrared saunas have come a long way. It has been around since the late 1970s, and even back then, they were actually quite amazing because they were developed by people in Japan that were looking at what's the vibration of the body, what's the vibration of water? And if we can mimic this somehow with warmth, there's the health benefits that come out of it, that succeed by far what a hot rocks sauna can do.   Sebastian: (03:16) And having been in the health industry for so long, I came across Clearlight saunas at one stage when I traveled to the US and realised that would be really a great product to promote in countries where it wasn't available. And at that stage, there was nothing like that in Australia, in New Zealand, in the UK, in Europe, and quite a few other countries.   Sebastian: (03:38) But I picked those four for certain reasons. Had a business partner and still have a business partner who was in Europe and so on. And so we did that because otherwise, people had to, convert us using the US 120 volt sauna and bring them all over. It was really expensive. Yeah, so there was sort of one motivation. It was just an all rounder, it relaxes you, it detoxes you, it helps you to recover.   Sebastian: (04:05) You lose weight in it, you look younger, it does a lot to your skin as well. So it was just one of those products that just felt like, wow, this is amazing.   Mason: (04:13) Well, let's jump into the weight loss thing because obviously weight loss is a great benefit. But you can put like a chemist weight loss shake and a sauna. If you're just going to use weight loss as the claim, then you put them in the same category. But saunas, they've got a very deep effect on the body and a very kind of like within the natural harmonics of the body and the weight loss system and bringing regulation back to the body and the endocrine system. It's a very multifaceted weight loss tool.   Sebastian: (04:48) It is.   Mason: (04:48) ... loss tools. So let's just jump into what you mean by weight loss in a sauna.   Sebastian: (04:52) Yeah. Right. So, we always knew that it had an effect on your weight, but we wanted to figure out what it actually exactly does. And so, we partnered up with the US University in Bennington and what-   Mason: (05:05) Yeah?   Sebastian: (05:05) Bennington.   Mason: (05:06) Always struggled to pronounce it.   Sebastian: (05:08) Bennington. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I'll look it up for you in a moment. And the study is public, of course, but they used our saunas. And what we found is because we have the frequency right, it really, really tackled certain things in the body. And what an infrared sauna does that a traditional doesn't do is, it actually widens your blood vessels. So that's called vasodilation.   Sebastian: (05:29) Now, what that has to do with weight loss is that your heart actually needs to work a little bit harder. So that alone drives calorie burning through your heart, which is odd.   Mason: (05:39) In an infrared sauna.   Sebastian: (05:41) In an infrared sauna.   Mason: (05:42) So it's kind of like a [crosstalk 00:05:43].   Sebastian: (05:44) It's called a passive cardio. And that's really easy to do. So you don't have to force yourself to exercise. You actually sit in it and you burn about 600 calories in an hour. That's quite a bit, you have to walk quite a bit to get the same effect from it. So we found that people who used it, so it was, we had different test groups. And so one test group would use it. The other one would not use it basically would have similar diets in all the markers that we would know what affect the weight.   Sebastian: (06:14) And what we found is that people who used the infrared sauna just had that effect on it. And I think they lost within a couple of weeks quite a few percentage of their weight. And we also found that when they do it at night, it worked better, which had something to do with sort of way hormonally at that point of the day had. So there are certain things that have made a difference as well.   Mason: (06:38) That's a huge, just getting into rhythm when you were here, like doing Daoist herbs, the whole point is to get into rhythm with the sun and the earth, the heaven and the earth, and the seasons. And so, if you can get your body and your hormones into that circadian 24 hour rhythm. I like them in the morning, because otherwise, I kind of run a little bit hot. But it's like, I, sometimes like with ashwagandha.   Mason: (07:08) A lot of times, people like taking a sedative like that at night to really taken to sleep. But those things can steady me kind of first thing in the morning. And I really find that with saunas. So I'll just throw that in because it's definitely not a rule. And I also just do it when I can, I can't do it at night because I don't have one at home at the moment.   Sebastian: (07:26) It has to work for you. Yeah. And I'm sure we will talk about duration and temperature in a moment. But the other reason why we see a weight loss we believe is, so when you use infrared sauna correctly, you can detox really well with it. There's a certain temperature range that is better than others, which is normally between 45 and 55 degrees in our sauna.   Sebastian: (07:45) So what that means is that when you sweat at that point, you get like an oil sweat on, and that's something that you might find when you go out in muggy weather and hot weather, you have this sweat, but it's sticky. That's the type of sweat you get more in a lower temperature than a higher temperature. Our sauna's go up to 70 degrees, that's celsius. And so, this oil is normally the place where the body deposits toxins. So it wants to hold onto the toxins.   Mason: (08:13) So this is the ideal length and temperature being 45 to 55 degrees celsius for what's the duration?   Sebastian: (08:22) Well, we say normally 30 to 45 minutes depending on your body. Yeah.   Mason: (08:26) Okay. And so, at that temperature, you're fine. You're able to get down to these oil stores with like fatty oil stores.   Sebastian: (08:37) That's it.   Mason: (08:38) Okay. Is that right? The oil.   Sebastian: (08:40) That's right. Yeah. So, you excrete not only water. The body doesn't feel that it's heating up too much. So it doesn't need to switch to a water sweat, which pulls more temperature out of your body, regulates your temperature way more. So on the 70 degree or higher, if you go into a normal steam sauna, the temperature is way higher. So the body is just like, "I need to cool down. There's no detox time right now. This is just about surviving."   Mason: (09:06) That's an interesting distinction because from like a classical Chinese theory, they wouldn't want you to be sweating too much water in like a conventional sauna because they would see that then to lead to a Yang deficiency. And so, that's where sometimes it is seen as not ideal to be having really hot and really sweaty saunas if you're feeling a little bit Jing deficient and exhaustive to begin with.   Mason: (09:34) But does explain why an infrared sauna it's going to be a little bit more lax on that front. You're actually going to be able to like regenerate and use it in your therapeutic rebuilding of your Jing.   Sebastian: (09:49) Yeah. 100%. And we have some people that have just really high toxicity. I always bring up the painters example, painters that would have used lead pain. They don't want to detox too quickly. Because there's so much that would come out that it would actually because a problem for their health. So we have a certain protocol for them that we say, "Look actually leaves the door open, leave it almost on room temperature."   Sebastian: (10:13) It will be still really beneficial for you because there's not only the sweat anywhere that an infrared sauna effects. So there are two other pathways. One is the breath and the other one is the faeces. So your digestion system. And so, what we find is that some people go into a cooler sauna, but still detox. And we find some people just don't sweat straightaway. It takes up to 20 sessions for people to get a good sweat on. I'm sure you've-   Mason: (10:41) My mum was like that. I remember it took her a few months having saunas and she probably made it a bit too hot and uncomfortable, but then at some point, it broke. And she was able to sweat and it was no longer uncomfortable for her.   Sebastian: (10:55) Got you. Yeah. But even if you wouldn't sweat, there are still two other pathways. And the infrared technology, the therapy does work differently because it gives off a certain frequency and we believe in a bell curve. So it's not just one 9.4 micron, which is the frequency of water and 9.8 or what have you. But we do try to mimic what the body gives off anyway. So if you hug someone, that's actually an infrared exchange as well. And the frequency is a certain one.   Sebastian: (11:26) And so we try to target that one in particular, because we know that when you meet with a frequency, something that has the same frequency, it starts to vibrate, meaning water. So we mimic the water frequency. That's why many people suggest that Clearlight is definitely the market leader, because we're really aware of this benefit for detox, that you really want to meet these particular frequencies because they shake up the cells and the cells exchange more liquid through the membrane because it's the same frequency. And they actually create a vibration.   Mason: (12:00) I guess that's somewhat ... A real like visceral example would be like the breaking of surface tension on water. If you leave water sitting in a cup for 24 hours, it's going to start going stale and it's going to lose its electric edge. And it will have a strong surface tension. Whereas if you then pour that back and forth and kind of mimic a waterfall, you're going to increase some of that charge. You're going to break the surface tension through the sliding.   Sebastian: (12:30) Energising.   Mason: (12:31) Yeah. It's basically an energising without getting too blasé with the languaging. I definitely don't have a desire to go into deep scientific discussion in the way that I relate to water myself. Anyway, it's not the way I relate to it. The way I relate to what is it brings more life and charge and involvement. And so, I guess that's where I can really relate to what you're saying. Is it breaking that surface tension, bringing life to the water internally.   Sebastian: (13:03) Without drawing on it too much. But if you think about a glass, if you know what the frequency of a glass in your hand is, you can actually with the right frequency, burst it and it breaks. It starts first to swing, which is ... If you have a glass in your hand, and then you're a singer that has just an amazing pitch and really high pitch, the glass actually would start to vibrate, which means you're fairly close to its ideal frequency that the glass holds that are just frequent.   Sebastian: (13:30) And at one point, you will just meet it exactly where it belongs with the right strength and it will shatter. And so, that's a fact, that's just physics. And you can see that, you can actually do that. You just have to have the right stereo or some amazing singer coming to you and they can do it, a party trick. So same thing is true for the water. There's just a different frequency.   Sebastian: (13:50) And so, as that happens, you have this water really doing certain things. Now, tying that back to the sweat thing. So this, what I just explained happens regardless whether you sweat or not, it happens in your body, infrared, fine infrared, which is one spectrum of the whole, travels about five centimeters, roughly like between three and five centimeters, depending on your body type, into your body.   Sebastian: (14:14) And it meets water and as it meets this water and cells, this water will vibrate. And then will come out and come into your fluids. And then because the other thing that infrared sauna does, it widens your blood vessels through vasodilation. So it really gives it a good flush and brings nutrients at the same time to these cells. That has nothing to do with sweat yet. It's just happening anyway.   Sebastian: (14:41) So that's what I'm saying, look the temperature all very well, but at the end of the day, as long as you in front of these heaters, with that frequencies, you will see some benefit because it happens no matter whether you sweat or not. The additional benefit is definitely if you sweat, it probably happens faster because it doesn't have to travel through the lungs with the fluids all through your digestion system. But it certainly happens regardless of whether you sweat or not.   Mason: (15:08) All right. So, a few points there. So, in the way that it works similar to like, okay, let's have a look. Is there any relation to the infrared and sunlight as well as when you're in the sauna just the distinction of whether we want to be getting as much skin exposed as possible, like getting your shirt off if that's what's necessary.   Sebastian: (15:31) Yeah. Yeah. So there's a spectrum. So the funny thing is infrared, often people think they can see it and that comes from the '80s really when the near infrared was really, really popular, which were the red lamps and they were great and still are great, that people put in front of their face when they have problems, when they have cold or when they have a congestion or something like that.   Sebastian: (15:57) But that's only part of infrared. There some non-visible spectrum as well. So from the sun, when you look into the sun, that's a full spectrum of all sorts of things. That's a really hot object up there and it gives you the whole range of all different bandwidth. But the one that we filter out of that is far mid in the infrared. And there's also red light that comes a little bit below that.   Sebastian: (16:23) So some are visible, some are not. In our saunas, we have some that are not visible, which is the fine infrared, and the mid and near come from sources that you can actually see glowing. Yeah. So it is like the sun, it's just doesn't have the full spectrum. So you don't have the spectrum that gives you, I don't know, that people want to be aware of that people use sunscreen for and so on. It's not that. So that was your first question, right?   Mason: (16:50) Well, because it's like reminisce of a good sunbathing session at times when I'm in the sauna. And that's actually what I just did today. Like just before you got here, I got here, I think like just in time. And I went and laid in the sun down at Bruns for 45 minutes. And it's a different experience to a sauna, but it is reminiscent of like just how my nervous system can't help, but get into a deeply relaxed state.   Mason: (17:21) I can't help my mind shut off when I'm doing that. And that's similar to what it's like in a sauna. That's kind of what I was just wanting to draw that comparison there, let's get that.   Sebastian: (17:35) I see. Right.   Mason: (17:36) But the other piece that I mentioned, the getting the shirt off, getting skin exposed into the panels, whether that's necessary or not.   Sebastian: (17:45) 100%. So yeah, that is because it is a frequency that travels through the room. So even though the infrared saunas have the word sauna in it, and it benefits that it's a hot room, but it's not what it is about. And so, you need to let the frequency somehow come to you, the infrared therapy needs to somehow come actually to your body. And it doesn't travel well through fabric and depending on how much you wear.   Sebastian: (18:10) So we always say as little as possible and none is fantastic. And that's something people really have to look out for when they shop for infrared saunas. It's like they want to be exposed 360 degrees all around it, because otherwise, it doesn't make any sense. If you have infrared just on your back, the front will not gain a lot of benefit from it. Yes, stuff happens through the whole body, regardless, but in terms of getting the most off an infrared sauna, there's no doubt you really have to be exposed from all directions, from the side, your calves, your chins, your-   Mason: (18:48) Your chins?   Sebastian: (18:49) Is it what it is? No.   Mason: (18:52) Shins.   Sebastian: (18:52) Shins.   Mason: (18:56) No, no, no. You said the right thing. We're just assuming that everyone has a double chin, at least when you're in the sauna.   Sebastian: (19:03) That's right. That one too.   Mason: (19:05) Okay. That makes sense. Because sometimes, that's where the front panels on Clearlight's are kind of coming in. Now those front panels, is that they're the only full spectrum panels?   Sebastian: (19:15) Yeah.   Mason: (19:15) And so, everything is a far infrared red panel.   Sebastian: (19:21) Yeah.   Mason: (19:21) Right. So if I'm just sitting there in front of one of those front panels, I'm having that come up to my shins as my chins and my chest. But from what I understand, it doesn't travel as far as the near to mid frequency. And so, that's where it's beneficial that when that flashes up red to get ... I normally get my knees or my lower back, or my ass, or my front, my balls, everything or whatever it is. I lean forward and get my face and the chest-   Sebastian: (19:54) The chest.   Mason: (19:55) ... right. Is that the practise?   Sebastian: (19:57) Exactly. So, these heaters that you see at the front, they are called full spectrum heaters because they do far, mid, and near infrared. And there are slight differences in it. And they're created by halogen bulbs, which run way hotter than our heaters in the back. And the difference in temperature is quite significant. So the heaters at the back, you can touch. They're maximum 110 degrees hot.   Sebastian: (20:22) But you can actually touch them and you wouldn't burn yourself. Unless you're really, really sweaty. And then eventually it becomes hot. But the front ones are really, really hot. They are 250 degrees and plus sometimes. And so, you can't really lean against it. So from a technical point of view, we just decided to put them in the front. Also, they are so hot that you can't mount them on wood.   Sebastian: (20:44) We love the cedar wood. There are certain benefits when using cedar wood in your sauna, beside that it actually is much more hygienic to do that compared to other woods. So what we found is that, let's say someone has a back injury. And near infrared is known for going deeper into your tissues and reducing inflammation faster because it has actually more energy.   Sebastian: (21:08) That's also why the heaters are hotter because you have actually a frequency that actually needs more energy to actually be created. So those heaters in the front create something that travels deeper. And if you have an injury at the back, you would have to turn around and we haven't found another to, way around it. And it didn't seem to be a big issue because that's just one of those examples where it really, really matters.   Sebastian: (21:31) But there are many things we ... If you're just stand in front of them, sit in front of them, you are actually completely exposed from the front end. And we see a lot of benefits. There is a lot of energy going into the body in a way.   Mason: (21:43) And I'm trying to think of whether there's enough room to get a little stool or something.   Sebastian: (21:49) In some saunas, there would be. And we are always working more on it. And I've seen some developments that negate that to quite a degree very recently that we're working on. And actually, while I talk about future developments, you mentioned that at the very beginning, like why Clearlight and what is it? And Dr. Raleigh Duncan who founded this company 20 years ago realised that there's a better way to help people than being a practitioner himself and through these saunas.   Sebastian: (22:18) So I think what sets businesses like yours and ours apart, and many others out there is that there's a mission that is bigger than just, let's just sell many of these. But instead, thinking about like, let's just add a lot of value to people and figure out what people need and what they want and create it. And so, that's our company right there. There's heaters I think it's the seventh, maybe eighth generation of fine infrared heaters in the back.   Sebastian: (22:45) I don't know how many different versions of the front heaters I've seen being created because we found a better way to create a better vibration, to create more health benefits to people. And I think this is really important because it also carries the whole of our team. They just know they're creating a better and better product that just helps people better than what it was 10 years ago.   Mason: (23:09) Well, you guys are definitely engaged and I think it's also nice knowing you. I know you'd be the same in me that you wouldn't be able to keep on going if you didn't have a product that was quality and worked. Because at some point, it's vacant. It's interesting, I've seen...   Sebastian: (23:30) [crosstalk 00:23:30].   Mason: (23:30) Yeah. I know there's lots of people. I don't know who the competitors are anymore really. But I've always known and heard the stories from health celebrities who ended up selling a different brand, but actually use Clearlight themselves. Because we'll get to it. We haven't even talked about the low EMF yet. And on that, like another, can't remember what the company was.   Mason: (23:58) But Daniel Vitalis is a guy that's been on the podcast, obviously, you know as well, he kind of was like, he was like, got given a good offer by another company. Got it. Went in, thought it was pretty good, tested the EMF. I think that the time, they were a company that were like we are either on par with Clearlight or gone past them. And he tested the EMF himself and he was just like, "This is a piece of shit," called them, said, "Come and pick it up," and then ended up getting Clearlight, getting Andy and-   Sebastian: (24:35) And Raleigh.   Mason: (24:36) ... Raleigh on the podcast kind of going, "I'm sorry. I strayed from the flock." So, for me, it's good. Because I know when people are listening to this, they're like, "Yeah, yeah, I get you guys like Clearlight, but I'm like, no, seriously. It's like time and time again." But I mean there are several things and if anything you want to go into, but you might as well if you can lead it into what's going on with EMF [crosstalk 00:24:59].   Sebastian: (24:59) Yeah. Well, that's the thing. So we, about 10 years, Raleigh was really serious and said, "Look, something needs to be done about the EMF and sauna." So the two, three different types of infrared saunas in terms of the heaters, in terms of the fine infrared heaters, they used to be really just hard rods, similar to what you see, I think, in a light bulb in a way, and then there was a magnesium put around it or ceramic and they would create the infrared wavelengths.   Sebastian: (25:29) And that technology was made at the time. But it didn't have the right wavelength, it doesn't spread really over the body. So there are many reasons why ceramic heaters are just really, really old technology. The origin of technology has came out of the car industry out of all of them, because it was used to dry paint and people just started to use it because that was what was around in the beginning.   Sebastian: (25:51) However, when the new technology came around, which is called carbon heaters, the EMF went through the roof. So, that's the magnetic component of an electric field. It really went wild, like up to 200, the World Health Organisation would say it's only three. Three is what is safe. So, way higher than what is safe. And Raleigh saw that. And saw that, well, these new heaters are great.   Sebastian: (26:18) They really do a better job in creating the right wavelength. However, unfortunately, they have this EMF. And so, he came up with a couple of solutions, patented it, but then gave the patents to anyone who needed to use it. And so, here's the point when talking about good companies here. I just want to say that this technology is for free. We don't charge anyone for what we did develop 10 years ago, but some companies still decide not to use it.   Sebastian: (26:44) And that is something that amazes me. It's a little bit like you using miron glass, the way that you pack your herbs, the way you source your herbs and so on, there is really a better way. And if you know about it, you just can't help but doing it that way, rather than going to something that you know will harm people. So, EMF overall, and I'm sure people have looked into it. There's a lot of discussion, especially now with 5G coming out.   Sebastian: (27:09) But regardless, there's so many studies that just say you don't want to be in a strong EMF field ever. So infrared saunas that don't have a cancellation of that, of this EMF field to a healthy level, which is called to be three, but we really go to 0.1 or 0.5, whatever we can do and where you said it's normally zero. We wonder why you would not do that. And that's part of the electric field.   Sebastian: (27:36) The other one is the ELF. ELF is electric part of it. And that was harder to cancel out or to reduce to really low level, but we did it. So we made it normal. It used to be 20,000. We got it down to 800. So quite a bit-   Mason: (27:52) Can you explain what ELF is?   Sebastian: (27:54) Yeah. So ELF is also an electric frequency that is considered not healthy for the cells, for the human body. And there are indications and studies again that show that. And we just want to be on the safe side with that one, which hasn't had as much airing. But basically it's an electric part of an electric field. There's a magnetic one that everyone knows about. Heard a lot of talk about it.   Sebastian: (28:18) But actually there's also the electric part that has a lot of impact on your body too. So we cancelled that over time as well. I think it has been five years now that we've had that in place and it's basically grounding the sauna in a way and grounding the heaters that helps to take that electricity right out of the room.   Mason: (28:37) Yeah. Cool. Yeah. You're explaining it by actually grounding the sauna. Because it's one thing to have a grounding rod for the plug in of the sauna. It's another thing to ground all the electrics, all the intricate electrics throughout the entire device. I can imagine that took some effort.   Sebastian: (28:55) Yeah, yeah. That's right. Yeah. It really does because you have to be really specific to make sure that it's done everywhere and the cords and the cords are not normal cords, the cords twisted and shielded and all the rest of it. So yeah, you just have to put intent into it really, and then you just have to make these things. So that's something that we have just always been focused on since we've created a product that really works well.   Mason: (29:18) Where are we sitting at the moment with whether it's research or just what you know or what you've seen anecdotally from practitioners, whatever around heavy metals? Because it's been something that's kind of said in the health scene off the cuff. Pretty quickly, if the branding around infrared saunas from, well anyway, the particular health scene that we kind of came from like looking at like longevity saying, it's like, oh, yeah. And to get heavy metals out of the body, you have an infrared sauna. Where's that at?   Sebastian: (29:54) It still happens. No, it's true. Is that what you mean? Like whether there was a fact and it was actually not really what people experience?   Mason: (30:00) Yeah, I know it's true. No, it's true obviously, to an extent, because it's an overall detoxifying device. Just whether you still see that as like a standout of the sauna's therapeutic value.   Sebastian: (30:14) Well, here's the thing like, yes, we get all sick and there are really specific reasons why a person gets sick and it's different for everyone. But one overall issue with our modern lifestyle, it's actually stress. It really is stress. And so, what we hear people saying is like, "Once a day, I have my Clearlight time," and that really opened our eyes to what it really gives people. And that's a space to retreat to start with.   Sebastian: (30:41) But then the actual technology relaxes the body by dropping the blood pressure because of the vasodilation. You get in a really different state so from fight to flight to rest and digest. And as you do that, your body then gets the permission to start to heal again. It took me so long to really understand that actually this is so extreme. When you're on fight and flight, your body will just not restore.   Sebastian: (31:07) It's not meant to do this at that stage. It's good that it doesn't do that because you have to run from the tiger. The issue is, if you create a lifestyle, that means your body thinks constantly 24/7, that you're running from a tiger. Your body just stops, replenishing stops really healing for good until you break or until you have a really long weekend and you suddenly feel.   Sebastian: (31:30) And I definitely relate to it because I'm sometimes working too much and be in that state. So at the moment where you have that really long Saturday afternoon nap and you wake up and you're more tired than before, what really happens is your body just realises tiger's gone. I can relax. Now I have to restore. So, it's a long, long answer to your question.   Sebastian: (31:51) But my point is like, stress is the number one killer in the world because of heart disease and heart failure and so on. And you just have to get into this rest and digest mode and the infrared sauna is fantastic for it. And it has 20 other benefits or even more and more come out. And the heat shock proteins that also is part of it. And I can talk about it in a moment as well.   Sebastian: (32:16) But I guess I'm just pointing out that it's just a really good tool to get back to your relaxation part. And that really helps the body just like that.   Mason: (32:24) Yeah, you're right. It is fun to get heady and look into the hundreds long [crosstalk 00:32:32] of the benefits. But you're right. If you want to break it down and relate to this practise as something which over decades, you're going to be able to continue to utilise and for it to not have this, "This is going to fix you from what sick or you're going to be detoxifying heavy metals in this session."   Mason: (32:56) And kind of, you want to get out of that patient mentality and just go, "A part of my life is going to rest and digest."   Sebastian: (33:02) Make it a foundation of your life. Yeah. Yeah. There's so many cool benefits anyway. I wouldn't just use it if I just wanted you to lose weight, that wouldn't be enough. That's not what it delivers. It delivers so much more.   Mason: (33:17) Yeah. If you're only there to lose weight as well, it's an expensive investment just losing weight.   Sebastian: (33:24) Yeah. Yeah. It is important. It's all good. But talking about other benefits, I'm thinking of we talked about the perfect range, but when I look at biohackers is like, like Ben Greenfield, what he does with our saunas, is he puts a cock over the temperature sensor to just let them run really, really hot. And because he wants to harvest something that's called heat shock proteins.   Sebastian: (33:46) That's true for ... Cold plunges are also very popular at the moment. It's the same mechanism. So what your body does to various degrees depending on how hot it is, it creates certain enzymes in your body that start to fix your body. So, with extreme temperature, it becomes way more. So, that's what people like him do, but it's also true for way lower temperatures because your body actually responds to the infrared therapy like that. So you don't have to go that high. Yes. He wants to harvest the top. That's fine.   Mason: (34:20) Of the heat shock produce?   Sebastian: (34:22) Yeah. That's right. So they harvest, it's super complex. It's a field, proteins are so small and there's so many full. There's so many hundred thousand of them to figure out which one is which. That's not easy. But what we see a trend that definitely recovery works really well if you do infrared saunas. And some people do cold plunge similar thing. And even if the cold plunge is not like four degrees, but actually a bit warmer, it still does it. And that's my point. Like you get heat shock proteins, even if you are in a sauna that is only 45 degrees and it still counts.   Mason: (34:55) Yeah. Okay. And I definitely appreciate that. And the middle path is going to be more conducive to actual longevity. It's hard to balance out such extremes and it's nice. You can get away with it, especially in like the cold plunging combination. You can get away with these things sometimes, especially if you're young and you're feeling really robust.   Mason: (35:21) But then if it gets to a point where life is on, really on, and there's some crazy things going on and you want like a longterm lifestyle flow for sauna and cold plunging. Yeah. I appreciate that messaging because it's nice to have permission to know that you don't have be going a million miles an hour with like your sauna. Especially, maybe you don't want to be depleted.   Mason: (35:43) Use a nice soft, like 45 degrees with the door open. Because you've tuned into your body and you feel maybe it's not appropriate to really push myself right now.   Sebastian: (35:54) Yeah. Yeah. And the beauty about infrared therapy is that you can trust your body there. So we have people that would call after a couple of days of having a sauna and saying like, "Look, I actually have a headache." And I would ask, "Well, what's the temperature you're using that? And how long are you staying in?" "Well, we were so excited. We used a couple of times a day straight away like for 60 minutes."   Sebastian: (36:15) It's like, okay, that might be all of this. Like, there's nothing wrong with you needing the sauna. It's a tool and it's so potent. As nice as it is, it is really potent. If you stay too long in it, of course, your body will be flushed with more toxins, but also there's more, you sweat more and all the rest of it. So you just have to really work with your body.   Sebastian: (36:38) So people sometimes start like especially if they have health conditions, 20, 25 minutes, but they can build up quite quickly to a time of 45 minutes, if that's what they want, up to 60 minutes, we say. Of course, they are the extremists that do it way longer and they seem to be absolutely fine. But we always say, look between half an hour, 45 minutes, that's a really good time, that fits into a lifestyle normally, a Western lifestyle.   Mason: (37:00) And you like doing the ocean minerals during and post sauna?   Sebastian: (37:07) Yeah, as much liquids that you can do really because you do sweat them out. So, that's really important. And you can really make it routine. As you said, you jump on a rebounder before, that's fantastic as well. So, rebounding on itself is already good. If you make it a whole regime or thing that you do after work, you come home, you do certain things, including the ocean minerals. Fantastic.   Mason: (37:31) Yeah. So we were just talking about this. We did a live on the Instagram before this and I was saying, I've got our mini trampoline, the Bellicon set up there, top quality.   Sebastian: (37:42) Yes. Nice.   Mason: (37:43) Absolutely top quality best well.. That's a whole different podcast talking about the benefits of the mini trampoline, the rebounder, so incredible that far out. And it's a little protocol. You have a jump, that's a cardiovascular exercise in itself, you're working the bone density, your working ... Every single cell is getting jolted and you're pushing out little stagnant fluids.   Mason: (38:06) And you're squishing fat deposits that may be sat there a little bit too long. Every muscle gets moved. And then you do that for up to 20 minutes I think is the formal protocol. And then jump in the sauna for at least 40 and all that toxicity you've mobilised is further moved along through in a deep relaxation state. And it gets out, it sucked out, pushed out the skin, or dumped into the digestive system.   Mason: (38:32) And that's what Seb was alluding to there and then important recharge, get those sea salt, if that's all you got, otherwise, get a good ocean mineral complex, stay really hydrated. And then there's a bunch of other things maybe we can tack on a couple of other little bonuses that people can do inside the sauna. But before we get there, because we want to wrap up soon. Can you just talk about this study around longevity and saunas?   Sebastian: (38:59) Yeah. Okay. So there was a study that was done in Scandinavia. They selected 2,300 males over 50 that they would see. They just wanting to follow them for 30 years and see what their mortality is. So how quickly do you die basically? And so, the study went very well and they could see that if people use any form of heat therapy. So that would include things like the spa and normal traditional saunas, there's quite a bit out there. The sweat lodge is even they're still used. That's really awesome.   Sebastian: (39:42) But what they found is that if you use it one to two days a week, there was a slight difference, statistically significant that you would live longer. If you use it two to three, there were certainly visible that you live longer. What we always point out in the number that we have in our head is that you use it four times or longer, four to five times a week, or even seven times, you live up to 10 years longer.   Sebastian: (40:11) And that's not even an infrared therapy that has all the additional benefits to a normal heat therapy. But it was such a landmark study because it really explained to us a lot that what we have already seen, that people who actually do these things that they not only look better, they feel better, they have better health, but they actually live longer. It's a proper done study double bite and all the rest of it. So, we're really, really excited that that came out because it just explained what we have been wondering why so long.   Mason: (40:42) Yeah. And my skin, it's chalk and cheese, my skin really feels vibrant when I'm doing my regular saunas and there's many contributing factors to that. But there's been a while there where I have pretty good skin and I look after my organs. So I've got that sheen and shine, but I've been really getting like a good run of four saunas a week, back again. And the difference is incredible. That's obviously something you'd noticed, but is that something you noticed like directly?   Sebastian: (41:20) Yeah, pretty quickly. So something that people notice almost straight away when they use a sauna, are two things, and one is actually that they say, "I haven't slept as well for a long time," which probably is relaxation as well just nourishing the body really well because you actually have more fluids going around that type of thing. And the other one would be I hear from people, they're telling me that I have shiny skin.   Sebastian: (41:43) And on that. So talking from a business point of view, we knew who our customers used to be, and they would be in Hollywood, they would be in New York, they would be in London. And those are the people that are in the show business because they knew they would look better. And then almost same time athletes would also realise this is really good. And so, I know some really well that some teams around the world, sports teams that have had infrared saunas from almost day one, because they realised that as well.   Sebastian: (42:13) But those were the two paths. If you think about it, so recovery is something you can realise really quickly, you will realise it helps you. So that's good, really nice and tangible. And the next one is, how does your skin look? And then by the way, it's also pain management. So we have people with arthritis coming to us and I've said, "You will be fine, just test it anywhere. You would see what it does to you." So it's really tangible.   Sebastian: (42:36) So these were the first people that came to us and really said, "I want this." And then more and more people with maybe slightly harder to see like weight loss takes a while. So those came a bit later to the party.   Mason: (42:49) Yeah. The pain management thing was always amazing because that's why I like Clearlight. Because the customer service is good. Long, lifetime warranty. It's like that kind of ... But I remember you sending a couple of people, just buying them a couple of vouchers or I can't remember what it was. You sent them to a sauna.   Sebastian: (43:09) Just to try it.   Mason: (43:10) Just to try it and just to be like, yeah, like, just look on me. Just kind of like try it a couple of times at like what's ... You know there's-   Sebastian: (43:16) One of the spas.   Mason: (43:17) One of the spas. They're popping up everywhere. It's like three different ones with Clearlights on is in Byron alone at the moment. For those of you that can't purchase them, you can go and just find this sauna of center. But they'd go and they'd experience their acute inflammation based pain kind of like become easier to manage immediately. I always found that incredible.   Sebastian: (43:40) Yeah. Yeah. Really tangible, good to know that there is that to do. And I think that comes, if you look at health in a wider sense and I love you for many reasons, but I also love you because you always have a solution that often has nothing to do with going into surgery or to a doctor or something like that. If I have a tickle in my throat, I would, for example, stop that probably with apple cider vinegar or something like that.   Sebastian: (44:03) If I have a torn muscle anywhere, I would probably go into an infrared sauna first before I do anything really extreme in terms of fixing it. And I think it just widens your toolkit. And infrared sauna luckily it's one that has a lot of different things that it does for you. So, the herbs, they are all tools and just having that awareness like this is right for me.   Sebastian: (44:26) And if you couldn't buy a sauna, you just know, well, there's one around the corner and maybe this is only something that I can afford once a week. But if I'm run down, if I have certain things going on, that's a good time to really use it and just invest into, the couple of sessions to do that.   Mason: (44:42) Yeah. Amazing. Now very quick. Fire around, little additional hacks and things that you like to do in and around your sauna. I'll throw a couple in as well.   Sebastian: (44:52) You can exercise in your sauna. So some people do just yoga. Some people actually do hardest exercise, kettlebells, all of that. You can definitely do that. Handstand to get things moving even more, we have some saunas where it's easier because they are bigger.   Mason: (45:06) It's like what Waz our warehouse manager Waz has one.. [Crosstalk 00:45:09].   Sebastian: (45:09) He has the yoga sauna. So, that's a really good size to do stuff like that. Look, I find meditation is something that really works. You can really turn down the lights, there's a nice atmosphere in it anyway. The sound system is a good one, so therefore you can really create a beautiful space to really connect with yourself and get your nervous system right down.   Mason: (45:32) That's a set up I haven't really focused on is getting a little padding underneath me, just get something under my bum so I can really be comfortable and have a nice, deep, relaxing. I do like lying down, don't get me wrong, but it's definitely something I've ... Because I'm in the morning time having my saunas, I remain busy and I'm reading and researching, which is valid in itself.   Mason: (45:59) I could never forget the put some magnesium spray and mineral spray on the skin before getting in the sauna so that there's an interchange. And I suck in that oil and as I'm discharging the bad oil, I don't know if that's true or not.   Sebastian: (46:17) It makes sense. Your pores really open. And I'm sure it's absorbed. I would watch it because they could be quite tickly, like quite burny if you are deficient. But yeah, that's a great.   Mason: (46:29) Yeah. Definitely. I'm lucky enough not to experience that. But what I do for good measure, I get it on points, which I find either a bit tight or have some tension before the sauna and then after I've gotten out and I've showered, I cover myself because I'm still, my skin's still open. Love that one. And then the other one is gua sha.   Sebastian: (46:53) You're big on gua sha.   Mason: (46:53) Yeah. I'm getting back into the gua sha. Just a nice ... I still got that gua sha that I was given by Tekaha in New Zealand when we went into that tonic bar together. What was that? That's something Grey Festival Lynn?   Sebastian: (47:09) Grey Lynn Festival. Yeah. That's every year festival. Yeah. There was a good action in there. That was good project.   Mason: (47:15) That was good. Yeah, tonic bar with all the medicinal mushrooms and all that years ago now. That's a long time ago now. And then next door was our, your Māori friend, Tekaha, his Scottish wife Pixie. And he was a carver. And he said, he'd carved a stone and he didn't realise what it was or the shape of it.   Sebastian: (47:37) That's right.   Mason: (47:38) And I'd kind of put it out there that I wanted to get into the gua sha at the time. And he was pulling out a couple of things because I wanted to buy one for my girlfriend at the time. And this stone flashed and he just put it away, straight away, hid it somewhere. And I was like, "What was that? What was that?" It just flashed at me. I chose what I wanted to buy.   Mason: (47:56) And then he goes, "And by the way, this is for you." And he was like, "Yeah, that stone." It's just like a three pointed stone with different angles on the edge to scrape along the skin and you bring up the sha or the trapped wind, the toxicity or trapped heat of the body, pathogens in the body. And he handed that to me. He goes, "Yeah, I didn't know who I made that for. And that one's for you."   Mason: (48:20) A really beautiful guy. I still got that. I'm going to get onto it now, but scraping, just along those areas where I have tension when I'm in the sauna and my body's opening up. Just incredible.   Sebastian: (48:30) Yeah. Which reminds me, actually we have a lot of practitioner using it before they actually massage or treat a customer. You have to be a little bit careful because the body is extremely relaxed. The muscles can be really soft. So you really have to adjust your grip and stuff like that, but it really helps there. So if you have it at home and your partner wants to give you a massage as you do, then there you would probably have to watch it a little bit.   Sebastian: (48:53) But that works really well because straight away the person that gets the massage is relaxed, which otherwise takes 10 minutes or so to really fall into that massage. And another one is, I have my sauna next to my swimming pool. So at the moment, what's the temperature in Byron? I don't know, but it's certainly cold enough to feel the difference.   Sebastian: (49:15) So doing the changes of hot and cold, fantastic. I would love to have it plunge pool to do it also in the summer, a little chest freezer or something like that. But that definitely creates a heat shock proteins. Then it's just an amazing feeling actually. You wouldn't feel really alive doing it. That contrast.   Mason: (49:34) Always one of the favourites, always one of the favourites. That takes me back to my when I was introduced to that when I was 19 in Austria, and we'd be drinking Schnapps in a sauna and then run outside and someone that got too close to the pool would get pushed in the pool and it's in the middle of winter there. And two meters of snow. Wonderful. So, hey there's got to be guys even just getting in touch with Clearlight just seeing what's possible different price ranges.   Mason: (50:06) There's domes, just one man domes. That's what I got my mum on too. Because she's quite incapacitated, couldn't get her completely into a sauna. After her aneurism, she's got like a titanium plate on half of her head. So it can't heat that up, but I've got a dome, she's in bed, goes right over a body. Bam. She's got all these benefits. So, there's those.   Sebastian: (50:30) We have very different sizes. Most of them are made out of cedar wood for certain reasons. It's eco cedar wood. So we have two person, three person, the sanctuary ranges where people love it has a glass front. So you can look out when you want. We have a yoga one, we have one with people who have disabilities and that they want to wheel into it really big ones there as well.   Sebastian: (50:51) And in some way you can sit with quite a few people, so four or five people. And then we have the outdoor range, which are saunas that are highly powered because it's cool outside. So I have one of those. I have a dome as well, by the way. So I love them both. Both have amazing benefits. So, that's sort of the range that we offer to people and people normally find one that works. So, if you have a small condo, or a small flat, the one person, if you have outside area, great.   Mason: (51:21) And hey, that code.   Sebastian: (51:23) I was just thinking that. I was stumbling a little bit with my words because I thought there was something else I wanted to mention. And that's, so people really need to mention the name when they get in touch with us. And many people do, because they get a discount of, I believe, $150 on top of the discount that they might be around at the time anyway.   Mason: (51:39) Yeah. That code's just Mason, right?   Sebastian: (51:41) Yeah, exactly. Yes.   Mason: (51:42) I need to double check that. I think it is.   Sebastian: (51:44) You probably know. We don't have another big affiliate called Mason, so.   Mason: (51:49) People know Mason.   Sebastian: (51:50) Exactly. So, that's all good. Our team knows. But it's important to mention that. Yeah.   Mason: (51:55) Cool. It doesn't matter whether you're in the UK, Europe.   Sebastian: (51:59) Or internationally. Yeah.   Mason: (52:01) International. America, do I need to get in touch with Sage?   Sebastian: (52:03) No, I think you're all good. I think you're set up in America as well. So people get that benefit over there as well.   Mason: (52:08) No matter where around the world guys, just drop my name. They know me. Yeah, guys get onto it. It's a beautiful longterm habit. I've had lots of friends who looked at it, looked at the price and rah rah rah. Did their research and went, "Look, I can't do it right now." And then saved for two or three years and now they've got one, they've got their Clearlight, they've got a lifetime warranty, and it's a part of their life and they're starting to chip away.   Mason: (52:31) So you might want to combine with a couple of friends. You might want to just go and go to one of these spa places around the corner from you and use it a couple of times, but just get a long run up. Don't put pressure on yourself around it financially, but it's definitely a core recommendation in this world, and it's an absolute privilege to have access to the technology. So thanks Seb for bringing it to us.   Sebastian: (52:51) Thanks for interviewing me. That was fun.   Mason: (52:52) Yeah, that's all good. We'll do it again sometime.   Sebastian: (52:54) Brilliant.   Mason: (52:55) Sebastian, are you active anywhere at the moment with your happiness work?   Sebastian: (53:02) Well actually, I do have a podcast, it's called The Sauna Show. We had a different name previously, but the search anyway, I won't go there.   Mason: (53:12) [crosstalk 00:53:12] cheesy name. You didn't go with my suggestion.   Sebastian: (53:14) Your suggestion was The Hot Sauna Boys.   Mason: (53:16) That Sauna Boys.   Sebastian: (53:17) That Sauna Boys. That's right. [crosstalk 00:53:19] correct, you'd be closer to there and not das, das is German. It's great. And then if you type in sauna boys, you wouldn't find us, you would find all sorts of things. And you could imagine what that might be. So we decided to go The Sauna Show.   Mason: (53:32) The Sauna Boys, what did that bring up?   Sebastian: (53:35) We deal with it all the time. Yeah. So, that's something where you really want to make sure that Google understands who you are. But it's The Sauna Show. We interview people like yourself, actually, on it on a wider topic range of mental health as well of health in general, and combating modern lifestyle really, it's around that. And our Instagram that we use for Clearlight sauna stuff, which often has really inspiring stories about our affiliates, our commercial users, and private users as well. It's a Clearlight Life.   Mason: (54:08) Sweet.   Sebastian: (54:11) I've got a couple of features on there, myself. All right. Thanks bro.   Mason: (54:14) Anytime man. Cool.
Mason is joined by Jake Cassar on the show today. Jake is a bushman, conservationist, youth mentor and all round legendary character, who is out there doing good things for the planet and the community. Jake is a passionate bushcraft teacher with specialist knowledge in the area edible and medicinal plants native to both Australia and beyond. Jake works passionately to protect and conserve sacred land within Australia, and speaks with us today about the proposed development of the Kariong Sacred Lands by the Darkinjung Aboriginal Land Council.  "Good people have just got to band together and do as much good as we can. It's the journey, not the destination." - Jake Cassar Mason and Jake discuss: The mysterious big cat Jake has been tracking in the scrublands of Northern Sydney. Jake's work as a 'responsible adult' (Jake doesn't like the term activist) in the protection of the Kariong Sacred Lands and the politics involved.  The nature of activism; the sacrifice and the satisfaction. The value of coming together as a unified community, and doing what you can to preserve the land we live on with patience and persistence. The importance of appealing to the humanity in each person, and treating people with respect, even if you don't agree with their beliefs or behaviours. Moving from a survival of the fittest to a survival of the most co-operative mentality. Asking ourselves how can we best work together to create a safe and sustainable future.   Who is Jake Cassar ? Jake Cassar is a passionate Bushcraft teacher, youth mentor and conservationist specialising in edible and medicinal native and introduced plants in Australia. Jake is well known for leading successful campaigns to create new National Parks on the Central Coast and for his devotion to raising funds and awareness for local charities such as homeless outreach centres, mental health support services, suicide prevention networks, youth support organisations, animal welfare groups and many more. Jake is fast becoming known as one of Australia’s foremost authorities on edible and medicinal plants, and has been referred to as a “Bush Tucker Guru” by the Daily Telegraph and “Aussie Bear Grills” by the Today Show on Channel 9. Jake has featured on Triple J radio, ABC radio, The History Channel, and National Indigenous Television (NITV). Jake has spent most of life fine tuning his survival knowledge in what he calls “The University of the Bush” and has taught himself much of what he knows through personal experience spending over 20 years doing annual trips 'out bush' and living from the land for weeks at a time. Jake has worked with much respected Aboriginal elders in NSW and Central and Western Australia and has given presentations with well known people in Botany such as Les Robinson, Alan Fairley, Costa Georgiadis (Gardening Australia) and Aboriginal Bush Tucker Chef, Mark Olive. Jake has presented at Universities for nearly a decade with a presentation he calls " The Science of Survival" where University lecturers, Indigenous Elders and Indigenous students, all collaborate to share knowledge regarding the uses of native plants.  Jake’s presentations, courses and tours are upbeat, interactive, engaging and include a comprehensive display of native and exotic plants and an in-depth description of some of the plants uses. Jake will share information on how to make rope from tree bark, fire from sticks, soap from Wattle leaves and much more.   Resources: Jake Website Jake FacebookJake Youtube Coast Environmental Alliance Facebook Group     Q: How Can I Support The SuperFeast Podcast?   A: Tell all your friends and family and share online! We’d also love it if you could subscribe and review this podcast on iTunes. Or  check us out on Stitcher :)! Plus  we're on Spotify!   Check Out The Transcript Here:   Mason: (00:00) Jake, how are you, man?   Jake Cassar: (00:01) Oh, pretty good. It's all happening here. How are you?   Mason: (00:04) Yeah, I'm good. I'm very good. It's good to see your face. It's been a few years, been following along on your journeys and grateful for social media so I can stay tuned in to all that you're up to. And I'm really excited for all the... We're on a different podcast than the one we did originally. We're on the SuperFeast Podcast now, and I'm really excited about everyone meeting you and learning about your work and the important work that you're doing down where you are. So Jake let us know, what are you up to? What have you been up to the last 24 hours?   Jake Cassar: (00:38) Well, the last 24 hours I've been chasing this mysterious big cat that's been seen in North Sydney. I do a bit of tracking in all of my spare time. And I've started working with a pet detective agency recently, locating missing pets. I've been out there over the years finding missing pets, that's one of the things I do. And I've even found a few missing people in the bush with the help from some friends, one Aboriginal friend, in particular, helped us locate a missing person a few years back, which got on the news.   Jake Cassar: (01:07) But this time round, I'm out tracking another sighting of this big cat. Some people call it a panther. I'm pretty certain it's not a panther, but I don't think it's just a regular feral cat either. It's only about an hour and a half from where I live, so I've been out here in Northern Sydney in the scrub tracking it for the last few weeks actually. But I've been here for the last 24 hours.   Jake Cassar: (01:29) Excuse me, my sunnies is probably holding my eyes in at the moment. Because I've had about half an hour sleep on and off throughout the night, just getting up and checking traps and checking cameras and laying just baits to draw it in the trap that we set for it, wouldn't harm it, it'll go into the cage and catch it. And then I'm planning on extracting a little bit a DNA through its fur with a little bit of a follicle on it. And then if it's some kind of big native cat, which Aboriginal elders have suggested may very well be, we'll let it go.   Jake Cassar: (01:58) If it was a large feral cat, then I wouldn't have shot it, I have in the past, but I've actually got a wildlife sanctuary, the huge enclosure at Calga, the Walkabout Park, that'd be interested in taking it if it was the biggest feral cat ever seen, which it must be, this thing's a monster, to educate people about the issues around feral cats. So it's been really exciting. Lots of people following that on my Facebook page, on my Insta page. And you know, there's been a lot of heavy stuff going on as you know, Mason and its been a nice little break from all the heavy stuff and that mysterious creature in the bush, that's been fascinating humans for probably hundreds of thousands of years. It's back.   Mason: (02:38) Because we've all grown up whenever we'd go into the... From growing up in the city and even Tahnee, my fiance, living up in far North Queensland, everywhere you go, I don't know if it's the same up on the West coast, but on the East coast, everyone's got those sightings of the big black Panther that escaped from the circus growing up and the story. And we wonder if it's native, we were thinking about, we were talking about that... I wonder if that could possibly be a native cat and I was going to ask you that. So, that's fascinating. Have you able to been able to get any fur at all, just from tracking or you need it to be like a live sample?   Jake Cassar: (03:19) No fur yet, but I've got some really, really compelling footage in the last 24 hours. I've seen it about the last week, but I only got here yesterday and checked my motion detection / night vision cameras, and I've got an image of it. The problem is I've got them set up along about a five kilometre radius. The problem with the footage is you can pretty clearly see an area where it's coming and going. And there's a couple of landmarks in the background that might give away its exact location. And I'd love to share this footage, but I don't want every man and his dog going into the area trying to trap it. Especially if it is a cat that's probably been here for thousands of years.   Jake Cassar: (03:55) I think it's most likely a cross between a Asiatic Golden Cat, they call it. It's like a wild cat that lives in the forest, Catopuma is the genus. And it's certainly, from some of the evidence that I've found both in tracks, and on my video, I've got about 25 images on my motion detecting cameras, a cross between the Catopuma species likely and just Felis catus, your standard domestic cat gone feral. But as we all know, they can get two to three times the size when they get out in the bush, they can get enormous.   Jake Cassar: (04:27) And you chuck a bit of other wild cat into the mix, which are currently apparently a lot of the Asian wild cats can interbreed with domestic cats. Then you've got this incredible mix, which some people, if they want to jump on my Facebook page or Insta, Facebook Jake Cassar official or Insta, Jake Cassar Bushcraft, you can have a look at that video. You can have a look at the tracks that I found near where the video was taken, the plaster cast in comparison to different tracks.   Mason: (04:54) The plaster cast...   Jake Cassar: (04:55) Yeah, it's been really fun. At the very low end of the scale, it's been a little bit of fun. On the high end of the scale, we could be contributing something new to science here.   Mason: (05:06) I can imagine it comes in at a nice time, because it's been heavy down your way with all the illegal land clearing that's happened all of a sudden. You've been there for many years. For lack of a better word, your activist work was something, when I met you seven years ago, maybe we met and did the bush tucker, Bushcraft little run through the shrub there. Actually the first time I met you, I was with the Strongs.   Jake Cassar: (05:41) Oh were you?   Mason: (05:41) Father and son.   Jake Cassar: (05:41) Yes, please. [inaudible 00:05:40].   Mason: (05:42) Yeah. And Michael Tellinger. So that was the... And we were up at the hieroglyphs there and you, I heard that they were coming and you strode in and out, just like a shadow, all of a sudden you were just there. And then from there, we went on that little trek. And I think I happened to fall in that time when there was a native beehive that hadn't gone up and checked in about three years and we went in there and we had a bit of native honey...   Jake Cassar: (06:16) I gave you some of the honey, that's a privilege, not many people get to experience that.   Mason: (06:16) That was an absolute privilege, but yeah, since then you've been going hard. I mean, just watching what you're, it's interesting. You want to talk to us about what you're doing and why it comes down to someone like yourself in order to fund yourself and fund the protection of land and species, species getting decimated for the sake of further development, further non-necessary development, a lot of the time. It's just developers is just wanting more, more cash in areas that have cultural significance. Why is it you, that's having to go and work your ass off in order to fund yourself to go and do this activist work, that should be something that's done by, I don't know, say the land council.   Jake Cassar: (07:08) Well, in this case, unfortunately it is the local Aboriginal Land Council that's acting as the developers. And they're the ones trying to develop an area known as Kariong Sacred Lands, they're saying that it's not connected to Kariong Sacred Lands, but that's the whole point of the official Aboriginal place listing, is that all of that land's interconnectedness. It's not my place to go right into the why, it's more of the traditional custodians. And I acknowledge those before I speak a little bit about this kind of stuff, but that whole area is a really, really important meeting place for many groups coming together.   Jake Cassar: (07:37) The good news is, is there's a lot of Aboriginal people coming together in the background and supporting us, are now more in the foreground, but it's an unfortunate situation where you've got the state government, actually they're calling it the Aboriginal sep where they're trying to empower, is one way of putting it, Aboriginal Land Council's to develop some of these very, very special places.   Jake Cassar: (07:58) And, basically if anyone tries to step in the way of these totally unsustainable and destructive developments, they call you a racist. So, which is interesting, because a lot of members of our group are Aboriginal, and certainly that's a fascinating situation to be in, to be called racist, which I was called while fighting to protect Aboriginal sites alongside traditional custodians.   Jake Cassar: (08:24) So it was very clever, good one, Rob Stokes, the Minister for Planning. He's obviously sat down with a few people, and if anyone gets in the way and believe me, they won't get in the way, the Greens don't want a bar of it, the big environmental organisations don't want a bar of it because it's too, I guess, politically incorrect to go up against the Aboriginal Land Council in regards to land development.   Jake Cassar: (08:46) To that point, should Aboriginal Land Council's have the opportunity to develop land, absolutely. Should they be able to make money off the land, and largely attempt to do whatever they want with the land, absolutely. I would prefer that than any other developer. And that makes sense doesn't it? But if it's an unsustainable development that could potentially desecrate ancient sites of human occupation, could cause extinctions, in this case the development they want to do, actually several developments they want to do on the Central Coast will severely impact or just wipe out potential koala habitat. Aboriginal sites are known to be in these areas and dozens of endangered flora and fauna species. If anyone does that, whether it's a overseas developer, an Australian developer or local Land Council, then Aussies irrespective of our background should have the right to object to it.   Mason: (09:35) What's the strategy that they have to be able to call you a racist? Because it seems from what I can tell from the Land Council and my dealings when I went to Alice Springs and dealt with the Land Council, as the elders were being pushed off the land for mining, when we went up there and we went and we probably had a bit of a pie in the sky kind of mentality at the time. We all serving them letters and cease and desists and that kind of thing. And you know, didn't really go anywhere because they just steam rolled it and pushed that mob off the land.   Mason: (10:06) And so I wonder, because when you look at who's working at the Aboriginal Land Council, a lot of the time there are Aborigines working there. But from what I went through, and what I'm reading about the developments that they're talking to you about it and from what I've just, what I'm seeing myself, it seems they're creating this ornamental Aboriginal protection culture there, within the Land Council. And then if anyone, as long as it doesn't get in the way of the development that ultimately the big business and government wants to have, there doesn't seem to be that much proper protection. Like, you know what, there's some species in there, and there's some sites in there. So you know what, you just don't go there.   Mason: (10:54) They will look for justification at whatever cost to make sure that they don't actually protect the majority of this country. The majority of the country is sacred. As long as you don't get in the way of that, we're okay to keep on pushing these nice Aboriginal cultural ideas and take you on nice little tours. And it seems like this ornamental version of what's actually potentially the oldest culture on earth. It seems like a terrible representative.   Jake Cassar: (11:27) Well, there's a lot of good people in the Land Councils, and there's a lot of good Land Councils doing really good things across the country. As I understand it, as I've been told, there's a lot of great people in our local Land Council. We got a letter of support from our page, Coast Environmental Alliance, from someone who's on the Land Council to stop the Land Council development. So more now than ever good people irrespective of our background may just stick together for the sake of our children. Is it not up to you or I to tell Land Councils how they make their money, with respect should we tell them that they should be doing cultural tours and different things? I'd like to see that personally, I'd love to take my daughter to that. I think it's important, but should they be able to determine how they make a quid? Absolutely.   Jake Cassar: (12:10) But what it really comes back down to for me mate is, is if it's totally unsustainable, if it's disrespectful to the environment and if it's going to destroy Aboriginal sites, I don't care who it is, I'll stick my neck out and I seem to be at the moment, one of the only people doing it. Not giving myself a pat on the back, because it's been full on, basically me calling a spade, a spade, and saying that the Land Council is set to benefit from the illegal clearing. Someone got through and bulldozed that land. They're threatening me with legal action, looks like they're taking me to court. I've had threats of violence towards me over the phone, the racism calls. So, so many hectic things have happened from this, but that's the way it goes. That's the way it goes.   Jake Cassar: (12:55) And that's when you know that you're on the right path, that you're making a difference. If we don't stop this from going right across the state or the greater Sydney area, the state governments actually used quite colloquial words. They've said, we're basically testing this out to see how it goes in the greater Sydney area. And, in the background, if we can get all these unsustainable development through, again the Greens, the Greens are for this development, they say they're not opposed to it, they don't see any problem with it.   Jake Cassar: (13:23) They'll be wiping out endangered species and potentially Aboriginal sites and encroaching on the Aboriginal sites in the area, the traditional custodians are totally against this development. And they're on our side, on the side of the land more. So you've got Labour, Liberal, we should call them laberal. And, the Greens now locally, they've got to me recently, they'll have a shot at me for saying this, but it's the truth.   Jake Cassar: (13:45) I can show you the letter. You can post it under this podcast. Basically they saying that they are for it, and this is all about Aboriginal self-determination. Tricky thing for me to talk about, for anyone to talk about. If this is about that, our Land Council's got tens of millions of dollars in the bank, they are the richest Land Council in New South Wales. I've heard them boast about that on many occasions and I use them loosely, some wonderful elders on the Land Council, and some friends I went to school with. I'm not just sugar coating what I'm saying, I actually mean that, and the largest private land owner on the Central Coast.   Jake Cassar: (14:20) So they have other options. It's just interesting to see them teaming up with the state government. So you've got a private, I'm getting a bit passionate here, you've got a private land developer, who's got a bit of a deal going with the government, who puts together these supposedly independent panels that they launched during COVID when people can't protest, to just rubber stamp any development going through, again a private developer, ok, with a relationship with the government. We know developers do have relationships with government, but you've never seen it so open, to just destroy some of the most important parcels of land, some of the most important places full of koala habitat, full of ancient engraving sites.   Jake Cassar: (14:59) And if you stand in the way they're going to do everything they can to bulldoze over the top of you, quite literally, they're illegally clearing the land. I'm not saying who's done it. I think I believe I've found who's done it, the guy's admitted to it. The Land Council made me take that video down because of some of the things I've said. Yeah, well that was part of the legal action, they gave me a few days to reply or else they're going to sue me, and I've worked really hard for the very little I've got to put my daughters, take my daughter to a decent school and get her a decent education.   Jake Cassar: (15:26) I'd like to keep my car on the road, keep my guitar and sound system. I don't know how that works when they do sue you, but they certainly got the power to. The good news is, is I've got a lawyer now that's going to be working for me at least for a while pro bono. So that's been really, really helpful, but they're basically just trying to tie me up. And the reason they're trying to tie me up is because this is a much, much bigger picture thing. If they can float this, if they can float this thing and keep these weak buggers purpose from the Greens and lie about supporting Liberal and their State Planning Panels that are too scared to be politically incorrect and I get it. I get it, believe me, I get it. I'm not saying it's good, it's gutless.   Jake Cassar: (16:06) Okay. But I absolutely get what they're doing. They are going to not only destroy massive areas of bushland, but the Aboriginal people that I know who I do not speak on behalf of, I can again, put you in contact with these people if you want to interview, my indigenous friends that are traditional custodians. They're going to be disempowering indigenous people, because they're going to be smashing their sites. They're going to be smashing their sites like they're trying to do here in Kariong, and right across the greater Sydney area. And if they can float it, if they can float it, then they're going to roll it out across New South Wales. The state government are saying this at the moment. So this is the time where we make a stand. This is a time where people have got to come together, black, white and everything in between. If we don't now, we're fucked mate.   Mason: (16:48) As you said there are lots of beautiful people that are working within these organisations absolutely, but what I said in terms of it being ornamental, anything that is there being under as a, basically being a bit of a chest piece for the government at large. And as you said this, them saying that they're testing out, whether they're going to be able to basically get away with it here.   Jake Cassar: (17:09) That's what they saying.   Mason: (17:13) It's not surprising because they know ultimately people don't care because they know they've ultimately again, got this ornamental relationship with a lot of beautiful people and beautiful people who are trying to do good work, but under the guise of that, and saying we're empowering Aboriginal people, we're going to go in and create, and basically clear whatever we want and develop whatever we want, as you said.   Jake Cassar: (17:35) And a handful of people make a shitload of money and what happens to the rest of the community?   Mason: (17:40) Well, who makes the money in this situation?   Jake Cassar: (17:44) I guess the Land Council as a private land developer because they pretty much come out and just said that they're private land developers, which again, I'm not anti-development mate.   Mason: (17:53) Your elders, where do your elders sit on in receiving coin? Or just a little bit of an acknowledgement that, that's their land. If this gets cleared and they make millions and millions.   Jake Cassar: (18:07) When you say my elders, what do you mean?   Mason: (18:09) The elders in your area?   Jake Cassar: (18:11) Okay. Yeah. Because to make it clear I'm not indigenous, dad's from Egypt and mum's Aussie going right back to second fleet. The local elders, where do they sit in, in this whole scheme of things?   Mason: (18:22) Where do they see, in terms of where, if this goes ahead, and this multimillion dollar development goes ahead in that area, where do they set to benefit?   Jake Cassar: (18:31) Well, they don't set to benefit at all. They've written letters absolutely against it because they want to continue to use those areas for the reasons they do. It's not, again, not my place to go into it, but we've got, Darkinjung as they pronounce it in our local areas. Some Darkinjung people, the [inaudible 00:18:50], and some Guringai people are, [inaudible 00:18:51], [inaudible 00:18:54], I think is another local tribe. I think that's how they pronounce it. They're absolutely, absolutely passionately opposed to it. And they know why, because they know that land. They know what the engravings mean and the significance of those sites. The Land Council has said that there's no sites of significance within the area well they passionately disagree. And whether I've got a right to, or not, whether I've got a right to care about those sites or not, I've been gently visiting that area since I was about 11 years old and turning 45 this year.   Jake Cassar: (19:29) So been around a little while and I've dedicated 10 years of my life to protecting the land right next door, which is all part of what they call Kariong Sacred Lands. Part of the reason it got listed as an official Aboriginal place of significance is due to the work that I've been doing there with indigenous and non indigenous kids in juvenile justice, and DoCS/FaCS for the last 16 or so years, I met with the government there, met with elders.   Jake Cassar: (19:55) The Land Council actually supported, Darkinjung Land Council actually supported that area, being recognised as Kariong Sacred Lands. And I think again, the term here was used, the cultural landscape. So the overall landscape was really important. The bush tucker in the area is really important for the ongoing education of both indigenous and non indigenous kids side by side. And as you know, I run in four major elections as an independent and was able to eventually leverage a government. Rob Stokes, the Minister for Planning was actually involved in making that national park. I guess he wrote the check and we stopped the biggest development within any national park in New South Wales.   Jake Cassar: (20:32) Kicked off the sort of grassroots activism movement on the Central Coast, about 13 or 14 years ago, when we started having blockades and camps, and proper peaceful community actions, having three, four, 500 people at rallies, five, six, 700 people at concerts. I worked out we had over 45 events, over nine and a half years to get that in the national park and thousands of letters sent. And just sign much hard work. You know, the elections in particular were a pretty full on experience for me, the first federal election I ran in I was living in a tent at an activist camp at the side of the road. And going to these big forums with over a hundred people that was quite terrifying, but yeah, you do what you've got to do.   Jake Cassar: (21:19) And, when I walked my little daughter down there, she's about to turn seven in October. But when I walked her down there as a little two year old to the grandmother tree and showed her the hieroglyphs and tried to explain to her, even though she was only really little, what her daddy had done and her mum as well at the time, and the community had done to protect that land. And it was a very, very profound moment for me. And so it's been blood, sweat, and tears into protecting this land here. And, it's an incredibly unfortunate situation, Mason that here we are against the Land Council, some members of the Land Council. Because again, we've got some that are coming on board.   Mason: (21:57) Which is amazing all right, far out.   Jake Cassar: (21:59) It is. Yeah, it's incredible. And we're also getting some people within the government that are just been bloody awesome as well. Because, people are just sick of the rubbish. The magic word is we're not against development, we need development. It's a shame that development is a dirty word because what a great place Australia is in general, for world-class sustainable, exciting development that we need. We've got room for all kinds of different industry and to do it sustainably, but stop going for our most special places.   Jake Cassar: (22:32) Stop causing the extinction of koalas, get serious. I'm not a lefty or a righty or anything like that, I'm more of a centrist. I'm probably a little bit conservative in my old age, but just use some bloody common sense that especially after the fires that ravaged, this part of New South Wales, the greater Sydney area is an incredible, it's a Garden of Eden of ecological diversity. And it's some of the last bastions for koalas and they're still smashing their areas, their habitat, which is what's happening up here at Kariong.   Jake Cassar: (23:09) That's exactly what they're trying to do. They're not trying to do that, they have knocked down probably a couple of thousand koala trees. Now that was the illegal clearing that happened, I've got that on video, I don't know if you caught that.   Mason: (23:19) I did.   Jake Cassar: (23:21) We're looking into making sure that fines are issued and that land is regenerated. That more archaeological studies go in to that area. Just trying to keep an eye on it again. I'm going to give another plug to Coast Environmental Alliance, a little group we've got on Facebook. We've actually got close to 6,000 members. If you want to get involved in something, people that are watching this, that will bear results, win, lose, or draw. It's getting results because good people are coming together, again black, white and everything in between.   Jake Cassar: (23:50) We don't care what your background is. Join with us to push towards something extremely positive, sustainable development. We're not a no group, we're a yes group, but how can we work together to start to head in the right direction. But every now and then you've got to dig your heels in and say no more. If we don't, for example in this area, it's going to cause the localised extinction of koalas in this area, which will contribute to what they're saying, koalas being extinct on the mainland Australia or in the wild, rather in Australia within three decades, it's just not good enough. We need to draw a line somewhere.   Mason: (24:31) That's not, and I love how inclusive you are. And I really do recommend everyone follow your personal Instagram and Facebook for updates. But that's great to know that we've got that Facebook page there, whenever I can join the community and find out what action they can take, because there's also look, there's going to need to be resources and funds and people on the ground. As you said, it took nine years, for you to secure that largest area of national parks.   Jake Cassar: (24:56) Well, it was us, mate, it was a team effort, it was everybody that sent a letter. It was people like yourself. And I don't expect everybody to be, I don't like the term activist. I consider it doing your best to be a responsible adult for the country that you live in and do the right thing by your kids. Caring for the land is the ultimate act of self-care because you're caring for future generations, even after you're gone. All people have got to do is just follow what's going on. Send the occasional letter. We're not allowed to protest anymore, another debate, but people can take action. People can empower themselves by taking responsibility for the country they're privileged enough to live in, send a letter, make the phone call. If you go and see, there's always somewhere to send a letter to.   Jake Cassar: (25:36) There's always an action to take. With respect to a lot of environmental groups, mate they're experts at having meetings and delicious finger food and all that kind of thing. But when it comes to action, there's always something to do. You can write a press release, anyone. You could write a press release about this and send it to anyone. You can make a phone call about this. You can send an email, you can get in touch with me and say, "Jake, what can I do to help?" Which is my favourite question that I get asked. There's always a way of getting involved in environmental protection in your own area. People do things in different ways. And as I said, I not only know that a lot of people can't, work sometimes 20 hours a day like I do to protect the environment, which is what you've got to do.   Jake Cassar: (26:16) And I even don't recommend it for a lot of people because you'll burn out really, really quickly. But you know, realistically there is things people can do, but you start to see a lot of that. I know we touched on this last time, but a lot of the new age kind of stuff, coming into bloody activism now where they're talking about, activism's all about balance, and self-care, and taking it easy and that. No, it's not, it's about sacrifice. It's about hard work. You know, grab that balance wherever you can, don't get me wrong. Grab the self-care wherever you can, because there's going to be times where you're going to go without sleep. There's going to be times where you're going to have a lot of hate and anger coming towards you and probably from your own camp, a lot of the time other activists.   Jake Cassar: (27:02) That's been my experience, there can be a lot of toxicity within that movement. It's why I believe the doof scene and sort of the young hippie scene, if I had to label it has become less about activism and more about what's become modern leftism, I suppose. Its hard work, but it's deeply satisfying and it's absolutely paramount, it's critical that people step up now. It's really now or never, look at what's going on, I'm sorry to rant, but look at what's going on in the world today. We're just good people, good people got to come together, to say the left and right again, the left and right of politics wants to keep us all divided.   Jake Cassar: (27:39) Imagine if the beautiful indigenous people of our country, the first people of Australia banded with the beautiful whatever background. I don't like saying non indigenous because I'm from here. But imagine if all the good people in Australia dug our heels in and said nup, nup, you're not taking this any further. You're not going to keep trashing the land. You're not going to cause the extinction of koalas and all the other fauna and flora, you're not going to attack our water tables. Do it peacefully, do it respectfully, but do it passionately and stick together. Again, mate it's now or never.   Mason: (28:11) It is now or never. And your inclusive nature is like, all right, whether you're in politics, this organisation, whether you've got a business, whether you're a mom, whether you're a dad, whether you've got heaps of resources, not, whatever. It's just, as you said, it is a part of your own self-care practise to get involved, start protecting the land and doing the right thing. And it comes with the betterment of yourself ultimately. Man, I love it. And I love the fact that, someone like yourself is like, it makes me, which isn't, I don't think is necessarily a healthy thought. It makes me feel good, that there's people like you, Jake on the front line going, but ultimately what that does is it does really inspire me to stay involved, I'll keep on staying involved. Let me know and let us all know when there's any mass push for anything that you're going to be directly useful.   Mason: (28:59) Otherwise, I do encourage everyone to go and join that Facebook page, which we'll pop in the show notes. Everyone can get involved and keep your finger on the pulse. And I think another thing I've learned from you is to not get caught up in that, the delicious endorphins of jumping in, and getting upset and angry about what's going on and then burning out, and realising you actually don't have the capacity to hold that emotion. But rather going in sustainably, if you want to be screaming from the rooftops for sustainability from the government, from the Land Councils, from all these people, which is all we want. I didn't mean to insult anyone who is involved in the Land Council before. I just had to get my emotional baggage out.   Mason: (29:42) But, it's not about dragging any of these things down. It's just about, gentle asking for us all to become better, and sometimes we're going to bump heads, but ultimately you want to make sure you're going in a sustainable manner so that you can keep this up for the rest of your life. It's an important element of being alive on this earth. It's something, if we're going to learn anything from mob is that we're custodians. And I learned that from you a lot, that's why I love following along with you, mate. So I really appreciate you taking the time, especially since you've been tracking for the last 24 hours.   Jake Cassar: (30:15) Well, that's been pretty exciting. Yeah. And, back to people doing what they can, even if people do, like a shooting star burn bright for a little while and then burn out, that's okay. If you go to the top of CEA page, Coast Environmental Alliance, you'll see a pinned post there. As soon, in regards to this development in Kariong Sacred Lands, we'll be able to make submissions against that official submissions. But on CEA, we've always got a pinned post at the top of the page, which gives lots of information. And then there's an email for people to send. You want to send that one email, you can either copy and paste, but it's better if you put it in your own words, and then just follow through with each person.   Jake Cassar: (30:53) Once a week is fine, make a phone call, follow-up with a phone call. And then the key is to just not give up until you get answers, you can share things. My email's on there as well. So you can send things back to me. I've got this response from the local mayor or the local state member. If you're lucky and you get a response, and if you don't, then give them a call, give them a call and just keep chipping away. If we were to look at it like this, they've got a certain issue over here where there's piles or paper building up on their table. And you look at this issue here in Kariong and it's building up, building up, when this becomes overwhelming, especially in the lead up to an election.   Jake Cassar: (31:28) And just your average person, you know what, I focused on my friends that are Liberal voters, there's not heaps of them, but there's a few. So yeah, I had a Liberal politician turn up to one of our rallies and I heard him say to one of his minders on his way out, "There wasn't a Liberal vote in that place." And the penny dropped, the penny dropped. Then we stopped trying to appeal to the tree huggers as such, and lucky we've always been able to appeal to the general public, but started to really try and do letterbox drops in a local area and just try to appeal to everyday people with the kind of language we use. And that's what changes stuff. When someone messages, and says, "Listen, I'm normally a supporter of yours. I would vote for you in the next election. I love it that you've done this, this, this, and this." But if you don't and you've got to watch your wording, because you're dealing with a human being.   Jake Cassar: (32:17) If you don't support this and sustainable development, and again, I'm not against development, then I'll certainly won't be voting for you in the next election. And it's that kind of language not put so raw because again, some politicians will just reject you for saying things like that. It will certainly catch their attention. And that's really the kind of grassroots activism that works when they think that it's going to cost them the election. They say it's not about votes, but if they don't get re-elected, they can't do all the wonderful things that they promised just before elections. Some do, some deliver wonderful things.   Mason: (32:49) As you said man, got to drop all those political labels, right? We've got to not be caught up in that. That's all a smoke screen. We're all beautiful humans. And you know, ultimately as you just said, we're dealing with humans, we can always appeal to our own humanity, therefore other people's humanity. I needed that reminder, it's fun getting caught up in a little bit of us versus them for a while.   Jake Cassar: (33:12) I think there is a little bit of that, mate. I think there are some people that don't give a shit about the land and about our future, and they are focused on short term goals. But I'm more talking about the way that you interact with people, on a lesser degree, some people can be quite petty, and you see a lot of it on social media too. People don't agree with something, so they block them or they're just nasty or disrespectful in the comments. There's a lot of that getting around nowadays. A lot of politicians can be quite petty, so if you say something that upsets them, they will just ignore you. I'm just, I guess, talking about interacting with other people, even if you don't like them, with respect and just edging towards trying to get a goal.   Jake Cassar: (33:51) If you get correspondence from a politician and your toing and froing, here's that paper metaphor again, you've got the paper building up on their table. If they're getting back to you, then it shows there's an interest there. And if they're getting back to 16 other people that week, 20 people, 30 people, 50 people, and that paper keeps building up. And when they speak to someone further up the food chain in their political party, and they say, "What are the main issues that are pressing in your region?" They say, "Oh, this one." 'Oh, shit, what are we going to do? We've pretty much promised that that development's going to go ahead." I'm not insinuating this, but let's just say, for example, we've even set up a stacked planning panel here that's just going to approve it. What are we going to do? Well, it might cost us the election. This is how that stuff works, Mason.   Mason: (34:36) All right, well, let's keep on pushing, pushing and pressing.   Jake Cassar: (34:39) Yeah, we're good at that.   Mason: (34:42) Well, I think you've given everyone some really solid advice to where they can take it next. I appreciate you coming on. Were there any last messages or any little things you want to drop on everyone? And as well, tell them about your tours as well.   Jake Cassar: (34:57) Yeah, I'm a bushcraft teacher. I've spent the last probably 25 years. Wow, it's pretty cool to be able to say that, one of the good things about getting a little bit older. Spent about the last 30 years, my God, more spending time in the bush. The first time I did a survival mission, wasn't meant to be a survival mission, I was about 17 and lived off the land for like three and a half weeks. Up in (inaudible) national park. And then just basically kept doing that throughout my life. Went bush, just when I left working as a bouncer for 10 years, the local pubs and clubs. And I lived up in the bush for around four or five months up the back of Kariong, up there with an Aboriginal family that stayed with me for a while with their kids.   Jake Cassar: (35:40) And we all sharing knowledge and learning tracking together and developing our skills. And, since then I've started teaching. I worked as a senior ranger at a local wildlife sanctuary for quite a few years and I've done bush tucker talks right around Australia, worked with quite a few Aboriginal communities. University of Western Sydney, I'll go there and they bring between 50 and a 100 indigenous youth from remote communities there each year. For the last two and a half years, I've been leasing a property up at Mangrove Mountain, only an hour north of Sydney and an hour south of Newcastle. And I run tracking courses, bushcraft courses, mainly plant based because my forte is edible and medicinal plants, maybe we can get on and have a chat about that one day.   Jake Cassar: (36:24) And in supporting my courses, you're supporting all my environmental work, my youth work, I work as a youth worker as well, and in the local juvenile justice systems and places and running some programs up on the property up there soon, we calling it the Youth Trackers Camp. And yeah. So if anyone wants to get on board, it's all about building community.   Jake Cassar: (36:48) I don't sort of say very spiritual as such things very often. And I know that's very, very popular nowadays, but I do say to people, if you want to get involved in this brand of what's going on, it's all about to me, if anyone comes at me with wanting me to go and get into the ayahuasca, get into this, or get into that and learn about these spirituality and that spirituality, if it doesn't have at the core of it, and I can be quite arrogant here and I'll own that, if the core of it, isn't helping to create a safe and sustainable future for our children, then I'm really not that interested in it because in my opinion, that is the conversation we need to not only be having that conversation now that's the action we need to be taking now. Because if we don't, we're screwed.   Mason: (37:33) Yeah. That is at the core of all cultures. That and...   Jake Cassar: (37:35) It was.   Mason: (37:39) It was. You're right.   Jake Cassar: (37:42) It used to be. There's some pretty amazing things happening in the background at the moment, mate. I'm having some incredible conversations around the campfire with some incredibly wonderful people, some gentle people, but passionate people that are ready to go. And I've had so many people coming to me saying, "We should go this way, we should go that way, we should do this." I said, "I'm just going to keep doing what we're doing." Looking after the land, looking after the youth, taking counsel from the elders, which includes non-indigenous elders, anyone who's had the life experience and knows how to create again, to etch towards a safe and sustainable future for our future generations.   Jake Cassar: (38:16) When, I say our children I mean that collectively. Good people have just got to band together and do as much good as we can. It's the journey, not the destination. I tell people to go and learn survival skills because we're going to need them, that's becoming more and more apparent now that, that is highly likely to be in our personal future or in the future of our children or grandchildren.   Jake Cassar: (38:38) So it's not only survival, physically, being able to live off the land, but it's also survival, I'll use the word spiritually, how we can interrelate to each other, how we can work together. We're in this survival of the fittest society at the moment, we need to move much more towards how the land works and how all of our ancient ancestors lived. And that was survival of the most cooperative, resilience comes into it, being fit and being strong and sometimes survival of the fittest realistically comes into it, but you know, survival of the most cooperative, how can we best work together towards a safe and sustainable future? That's where I'm at.   Mason: (39:21) Amen. Everyone, especially if you're in Sydney, Gosford, Newey, it's easy for you to get down and do... And you've got day courses, you've got overnights. It's available to everyone and the youth work. You've always been doing such good work with the youth work. So, if that appeals to you, go check it out and let's definitely line up another chat talking about the bush tucker, talking about what it's like to actually come back and eat the food from this land and learn how to track this land. That'd be great.   Jake Cassar: (39:49) Good stuff mate, it was great spending some time with you again.   Mason: (39:53) Yeah, absolutely. Hope I'll see you soon.   Jake Cassar: (39:55) For sure champ.
Mason welcomes building biologist Nicole Bijlsma, back on to the podcast today, to take a deep dive (pun intended) into the realm of water. The pair discuss the contaminants that lurk in the municipal water supply, the serious implications they can have on human health, and the things we can do in the home to reduce our exposure. Nicole delivers punchy truth bombs from the minute the tape starts rolling on this chat. Nicole is a woman who is fully loaded with information gathered from her thorough research and clinical practice. Nicole uses her insights as an arsenal against a system that is generally corrupt and ill-informed. Today's chat is juicy and eye opening. The speed and precision in which Nicole hits her target when sharing her knowledge is truly impressive. An important and informative listen for all. "If you don't get a filter, your body and your kidneys will be the filter." So a water filter is absolutely necessary. It's not a luxury. " - Nicole Bijlsma Mason and Nicole discuss: Nicole's upcoming 'Healthy Homes' 6 week e-course. The importance of water quality, not just quantity, in regards to health. Chlorine as an antibacterial agent, and the threat chlorinated water can have on microbiome diversity.  The use of Fluoride as a pharmaceutical drug, and the health implications associated with its use in municipal water supplies. Australia as a minority in comparison to 95% of the global community who do not fluoridate their water supply. The common contaminants that can lurk in your local water supply, and how to reduce harmful exposure. Water filters, the ins and outs, and what to look for when purchasing. The obesogen hypothesis; how the body responds to a high exogenous toxic load. The National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme, and the loopholes that allow international products to enter into Australia without chemical testing. The correlation between tank water and lead exposure. The diet, supplement and lifestyle measures you can take to reduce your toxic load. Detoxication, prebiotic foods and dis-ease prevention. The dangers of recycled water. Alkaline water and low stomach acid. Water as an energetic medium.   Who is Nicole Bijlsma? Healthy Home Expert, Nicole Bijlsma is a building biologist, bestselling author, PhD candidate and CEO of the Australian College of Environmental Studies (RTO 21740) which she established in 1999 to educate people about the health hazards in the built environment. Nicole has published in peer reviewed journals, has written extensively for Body+Soul newspaper, is regularly consulted by the media to discuss mould, electromagnetic fields and toxic chemicals, and lectures in Australia and internationally at medical conferences about environmental health issues. Nicole's research involves identifying the impact of toxicants on human health, creating clinical tools to assist practitioners to identify health hazards in the built environment and investigating the impact of wireless technologies on brain and sleep function.    Resources:Nicole's Website Nicole's Book Nicole's Water Resources Australian College Of Environmental Studies WebsiteThe Australian Government Recalls Website     Q: How Can I Support The SuperFeast Podcast?   A: Tell all your friends and family and share online! We’d also love it if you could subscribe and review this podcast on iTunes. Or  check us out on Stitcher :)! Plus  we're on Spotify!   Check Out The Transcript Here:   Mason: (00:02) Hey, Nicole, welcome back.   Nicole: (00:04) Thank you, Mason.   Mason: (00:05) Our favourite building biologist and we're going to jump into the Water series. We're kicking off the Water series. It's been a few years now since I really been having the water chats with the SuperFeast community. And so there's a lot of new people on board, lot of people trying to sift through all the information and sift through the sediment in the water and just trying to understand whether they need a water filter, to begin with. I don't think anyone here's really questioning whether they want or need a water filter on a municipal supply. But as a building biologist what you'd be recommending people get on their house for bathing, gardening, all that kind of thing. And then also then we're going to go into the beautiful murky waters of drinking water filtration because that's one of the most confusing areas. I always say you get eight experts up on a stage, you get ten answers. But before we do that, how are you?   Nicole: (01:07) Yeah, I'm really good. Thank you. I'm about to, next year February, launch my Healthy Home course for the public, a six-week course on how to create a healthy home, room by room. So I'm looking forward to getting some really good, solid information and dispelling the myths that exist about mould and water filters and chemicals and how people can reduce that toxic load and reduce their exposure to things like mould and, of course, electromagnetic fields.   Mason: (01:35) Mm. I mean, busting all the myths... It's something I like about talking to you, and it's something I like about your book, which you may know is regularly just sitting out there. And so you're basically taking that book and turning it into an online course?   Nicole: (01:52) Yeah. It'll be very much, "Here are the hazards," not getting too much into heavy technical research, which is what I do. I'm doing a PhD. I'm a researcher. But really making simple tips on how to create healthy homes from food packaging to cleaning. How can you clean the house and reduce the up allergen load, but while at the same time create a healthy home with fresh air, got some bacterial diversity. Why sanitizers are the antithesis of a healthy home. All that sort of stuff.   Mason: (02:24) Well, what I like about that cool stuff is, you knock the foundations absolutely out of the park, and that's why I wanted to chat with you about water filters because I'm someone that will like fly past the foundational necessities of what we would need to do in order to have just a consistent healthy home or water supply that's going to ensure that the major toxins or the major, say like, deficiencies in terms of a bacterial diversity in the home... Those building blocks, those basic kind of like in the Buddhist term, "Chop wood. Carry water." if you have these present in your home, or if you have this present or not present in your water, based on what we know traditionally and what the data's showing, this is going to give you the best possible opportunity to have a healthy family and have a healthy body in yourself. Sometimes I get caught off flying in the absolute nuance of conversation when it comes to water and all these things. So I'm really I'm really keen to dispel a couple of myths around water right away. Are there any favourites that you just want to dive into?   Nicole: (03:35) Yeah. And my saying in relation to drinking water is, "If you don't get a filter, your body and your kidneys will be the filter." So a water filter is absolutely necessary. It's not a luxury. It's necessary. And it really got me, that five years into working as a naturopath, why we only spent at one three-hour lecture on how much water we should be drinking and nothing on drinking water quality, which, of course, can have enormous impacts on human health. I remember once giving this $40 probiotic to one of my patients and thinking, "If they drink this with chlorinated water, you're going to kill most of it on the way down, because chlorine is the strongest antibacterial you could possibly expose yourself to. What am I doing?"   Nicole: (04:23) I spent eight years at university doing an honours degree in Chinese Medicine and naturopathy, and we didn't learn about air quality, as I've discussed before or drinking water quality. So why would I prescribed a $40 probiotic when they get a drink with chlorine and kill most of it on the way down? And that really got me thinking about, "Well, what is in our drinking water?" So it depends on the source of the water as to what contaminant is likely to be present. As a result of the research I conducted on that, I then wrote a subject, which is part of the building biology course called Water Pollution, and it's really looking at all the sources of pollutants in our drinking water supply, and more importantly what filters we should recommend to our patients. But it actually is a 120 hours. It's quite in-depth. There's a lot involved, because it depends on the source of water.   Nicole: (05:17) Now if you look at these Australian statistics, most of us drink tap water. Around 10% of us drink bore well water, and that's only in the rural parts of Australia, especially in Western Australia and South Australia. And, of course, at least 20% drink tank water. And they all are associated with different pollutants in the supply.   Nicole: (05:39) So we start with tap water. We all know, of course, fluoride is the big one. A recent study by the Hach in 2017 was the largest study ever conducted on fluoride, and it identified the significant decline in children's intelligence or IQ if they are exposed in utero to drinking water that had fluoride in it. So we know that it has significant impacts. It accumulates in the pineal gland, which is about the size of a grain of rice. It affects the thyroid. There is so much data now on thyroid.   Nicole: (06:14) And I think there was a fantastic quote that was provided by... That I put into my book which I'll read, "No doctor would consider prescribing a pharmaceutical drug for a patient that he's never seen and whom he or she will never monitor for adverse reactions. Yet, this is precisely what water fluoridation does." And this is because fluoride is a pharmaceutical drug, and it's classified as a pharmaceutical drug because it treats a disease called tooth decay and plaque. So as a result of this, we're now putting a pharmaceutical drug in our entire water system that no one's monitoring, which is really an act of insanity. And the reality is most countries don't fluoridate, have never fluoridated their water supply, because giving this to the mass population and not monitoring this is an act of insanity and, of course, because of the growing body of evidence, it's now associating it with significant adverse health effects, especially in utero to an unborn foetus.   Nicole: (07:13) So as a result of that, very few countries actually continue to fluoridate their water supply. What the data is showing is that drinking fluoridated water doesn't actually protect teeth or bones. In fact, it displaces calcium and could increase the risk for hip fractures according to research by Colet in Canada. So what we're now realising is that we need a topical application of fluoride through toothpaste can provide some protection providing you spit it out, and that's why children that aren't old enough, you know below five, shouldn't be having fluoridated toothpaste, until they're old enough to be able to spit it out, because of course it's contaminated. It comes from a toxic slurry from either the phosphate fertiliser industry, which contains radioactive nuclides, lots of toxic metals in addition to fluoride, mercury, radium, lead, et cetera. So it contains other toxic contaminants, which is not tested before it is actually put into our water supply, and that alone is just insane.   Nicole: (08:15) So for Australians, which unfortunately are exposed to fluoridated water, unless you in some rural parts of Australia that aren't fluoridated, really the only options here are-   Nicole: (08:24) Yeah. You're not fluoridated, no?   Mason: (08:24) No.   Nicole: (08:24) Okay. And the fact that most countries... We're talking five countries that still fluoridate, which means hundreds of countries have never fluoridated, including most of Europe. You don't see tooth decay rates change, because they've introduced it into their water supply. What you do see in terms of improvement in dentistry is actually an improvement in diet and better dental hygiene, such as brushing your teeth with a little bit of fluoridated toothpaste and, of course, flossing and a good diet. That is the most important thing to prevent tooth decay.   Nicole: (09:04) So I want to make it really clear, most countries have never fluoridated. We're talking over 95% of countries, but those that do, such as capital cities throughout Australia, the only way you're going to get rid of fluoride is either with aluminium filters or with a reverse osmosis filter. Everything else, like carbon filters, may reduce the level, but the problem with water filtration is that they're all certified through a national body called the National Sanitation Foundation in the U.S., And most of the water filters are only tested after 20 litres is run through the water filter. So you don't really know, after thousands of litres, how effective that filter's going to because most the money to stood up for short time that what has been put through that filter system. And we certainly know things like carbon reduce very quickly in terms of their effectiveness to bind to organic matter like pesticides. But I'm jumping the gun. I don't want to get to water filters yet.   Nicole: (09:58) So in terms of tap water, we have fluoride. That's a big one. We have aluminium, and aluminium is added say, for example, in my water supply, we get it from Yarrow Valley Water, which comes from the Yarrow River. There's high levels of sediment in it. And in order to get rid of that sediment, they add aluminium in order to add as a flocculating agent, which gathers and sticks to the sediment and then sinks to the bottom. So they just get the water off the top and get rid of all the sediment. So you will have acceptable levels of aluminium in your water supply that we'll see, certainly in my water supply from Yarrow Valley Water, acceptable levels. So the Australian drinking water guidelines allow that.   Nicole: (10:37) The problem is aluminium, is it associated with dementia? We think so. It is associated with adverse health effects. The other area people can get aluminium exposure, apart from in their water supply, is if they have a hot water service and it has an aluminium anode in it. So basically, if you have a hot water service tank, steel tank, it normally has a stick in it, and it would normally contain... Aluminium would be the most common anode, and aluminium sacrifices itself in the water in order to reduce the corrosion of the tank. Once that aluminium anode has worn, that's when the steel tank starts to corrode and within seven years, you've got to get a new tank. What most people don't realise is that they can replace the aluminium anode at least every three years, and the tank will go on for at least double, maybe triple its life. Of course, problem is [inaudible 00:11:29]. People aren't going to earn money if they don't keep that turnover, dividends shareholders.   Mason: (11:33) Yes. [crosstalk 00:11:34].   Nicole: (11:33) The problem with aluminium. Yeah, you don't want the aluminium. So the big thing there is never ever drink hot water from your tap if you have a hot water tank because it could have aluminium ions in it. And, of course, a lot of the elderly do this. They put hot water to save the kettle boiling and that energy. They put hot water into their kettle, and then they boil it up. Don't do that, because if you have [inaudible 00:11:56] tank, you could expose yourself to higher levels of aluminium.   Mason: (11:59) Mm-hmm (affirmative). All right. Great. I love that tip. Where else we going with this? What are the myths?   Nicole: (12:06) Well, yeah, the other one of course... And. of course, aluminium can be high in just some areas or where they're getting bore or well water, where it's actually contained in the minerals. So as it's passing through the geology, and it could be exposed to high levels of aluminium, and that can be a big problem.   Nicole: (12:22) And another one, of course, in our water is that aluminium is very high in the fluoride slurry. So when they add fluoride, you can actually get significant levels of aluminium in the water supply just because it's part of that fluoride slurry, and that can be quite common as well.   Mason: (12:37) I'm glad you brought that up because that's something I talk about here and there, but it'd been about five years since I clarified that that standard practise with of the inclusion of fluoride into municipal supply. I wouldn't have suspected it would have changed, that slurry containing all the metals and all the other... And it was fertiliser. Was that the fertiliser industry?   Nicole: (13:01) [inaudible 00:13:01] fertiliser industry or aluminium industry, yes.   Mason: (13:01) That's right. The other thing you brought up, which I think is really important is whether you're on well water or, obviously, rainwater and especially if you're in a municipal supply is just getting it tested. I went through Rhys, one of your building biologists up here. He just brought in the sample. He sent it off to the lab. Boom. I knew exactly what type of whole house water filter I was going to be needing. But we get spring water delivered, so I wasn't really concerned on that level. But I got it for the business and then got it for the... Because even if people are showering, having a shower here, that's one of the times when you're going to be looking at that dermal crossover of the aluminium falling down onto your skin and into your mouth, and it's one of those things that freaks me out about travelling. Every now and then, I just don't quite get it together where I travel with my shifter and my water filter. I get to the hotel or the Airbnb, and it just doesn't work and my filter's a bit too fat to fit on the wall and-   Nicole: (14:00) You're hardcore.   Mason: (14:03) ... and so I'm like... Sometimes I'm just a little bit too scungy. Don't have a beach nearby, so I have a shower in the municipal supply and... Kind of not as full-on as I used to be. I take some charcoal or zeolites if I'm in those situations. But that's a little drop in the ocean. When you're talking about... You're talking about the build-up. That's just something people who consistently be doing is going, "Oh, when I'm cooking pasta, I'm just going to turn on the hot water."   Nicole: (14:36) Don't do that.   Mason: (14:38) Yeah, well... And it makes me realise when doing a water tests as well, it might be useful to get a test of the hot water as well to see what's going on in that area if you're on the municipal supply.   Nicole: (14:48) Well, you mentioned an important point there. In terms of dermal exposure, you absorb more chlorine through your shower water in your body than potentially evening drinking it. And chlorine is the strongest antibacterial, which is why, for no other reason apart for fluoride and aluminium as I've mentioned, and many others I have mentioned yet, but chlorine's really strong antibacterial, which means it's an anti-human because you are more bacteria than you are human cells. So chlorine helped got rid of the waterborne epidemics which is great, but it needs to be sufficient in the distribution systems, so there's significant amounts of active chlorine by the time it comes out of your tap. And for that reason alone, you need a carbon filter. You don't want to be drinking, ingesting chlorinated water. We know chlorine combines with other organic matter to form trihalomethanes which are very strongly carcinogenic, and that happens a lot in the showers, and of course, you absorb a lot of chlorine in the showers.   Nicole: (15:44) Now when I started getting into naturopathy, I found over the years that it was cheaper for me to recommend a client to get a KDF filter for their shower than it was to give them $200 worth of herbs every month that tasted bloody awful and went on and on, and it didn't make much difference to their eczema, when, in fact, chlorine is a really strong skin and lung irritant. So this was surprised a $70 filter could make such a big difference in reducing eczema in these people, because all my eczema patients were saying, "I can't bathe. When I have a bath or shower, I'm always worse." Of course, they're worse. Chlorine is a strong skin irritant. So just getting a KDF, kinetic degradation filtration filter, not a carbon, because hot water will enable bacteria to grow on the carbon. But KDF filter, that made a huge difference to many of my patients with eczema and especially for the bath and the shower. So that is something I strongly recommend.   Nicole: (16:44) There's also data to say that drinking chlorinated water over 35 years or so could increase the risk for things like bladder cancer or colorectal cancer. Now, that's really not surprising when you think chlorine kills bacteria, and your gut microbiome is the most important aspect to your health. So that's why I'd say before you even look at your diet, get a water filter, because you should not be ingesting any chlorine whatsoever. Yep.   Mason: (17:12) I just did my microbial report. Just wanted to get a real scope of what was going on in my microbial kingdom or queendom, whichever way we want to go. And I mean, I-   Nicole: (17:23) You're talking [inaudible 00:17:25], did you go up the bum for this one?   Mason: (17:27) Well, it came out of the bum, and then actually, nothing went in the bum.   Mason: (17:32) Just to clarify. I think I've got it up. I think went Microba. So they're local. And I was in that healthy range, and even though I was in that healthy range, right up in the healthy range, as well.   Nicole: (17:52) Oh great.   Mason: (17:54) My biodiversity is still quite low, considerably low, compared to where, what is... But that's kind of like shooting for something pretty special, but, nonetheless, based on what's possible and what's been identified out there and what would be an ideal real biodiversity bacteria, I was quite low, and that's with all the healthy eating and the herbalism and all. And I also probably have gone pretty extreme on particular diets over the years that have been a little more restrictive, and so I'm on a big rebuild and still on my little discovery at the moment, but, nonetheless, for me who's kind of doing... I'm doing a lot for my health, and still on that low biodiversity, so if I was then adding in the consumption of chlorine and an antibacterial like several times a day, it just goes to show why we do have... Why that link between autoimmune conditions and eczema would be creating such immediate flare-ups in kiddies when they're so... And going into big, chlorinated, indoor pools as well. I know it was always a big one for people I'd talk to. I'd suggest same thing, get a filter, and then it would still be happening and I'd be like, [inaudible 00:19:10] investigate and, "Are you the swimmer?" And I used to be a swimmer, so now I remember the difference when I quit, and I didn't have to go in that chlorine biodome a couple of times a week, how much clearer I personally became.   Mason: (19:27) So yeah, I think it's one of those ones that as you said... And the chlorine one I think is, it's too massive to ignore. Don't freak out you have to have a couple of showers here and there, and there's a little bit of chlorine going on is what I normally would put forward. I don't know what your take is, but just think about the consistency, just how many showers and baths are going to be having in your home. And we'll write down those filter recommendations that you have. Might grab some links off you to who you're currently investigating or maybe a couple with just the name or type of the filter, so people can get on to that, because it's an absolute. It's a necessity. We can't muck around with this anymore. It's too much of a foundational element of health. Were there any others that you wanted to go into?   Nicole: (20:13) Yeah, copper. Copper can be a big problem. Especially with old homes where you've got copper pipes. So it's not so much that it's in the drinking water system. It's actually coming out from the domestic pipe under the home. So if you've got copper pipe... Especially in the first five years, you've got shiny copper. What happens is that it leeches and releases copper ions into the water supply as its oxidising. So once you've got copper pipe that's been laid, good quality pipe for more than five years, and it's got that black dullness to which means it's oxidised and it's less likely to leech.   Nicole: (20:46) Now I had one particular patient who came to see me. Who put on 20 kilos of weight within two months, and hadn't changed her diet, didn't change her relationship, her job, anything. It eventually came down to she'd moved into a flat with her boyfriend in Melbourne, and within weeks, she had an acute abdominal pain and bloating, ended up in the hospital, and her appendix was removed even though it wasn't inflamed. And when I asked her about when the symptoms began, it was when she moved into this unit with her boyfriend. And I asked finally, after asking all these questions about the house, "Tell me about your drinking water. When you're away from the house for a good two or three days or more, what colour does it come out." She said, "It's a greeny-blue colour." Well, I said, "You need to get Yarrow Valley Water... Who was her water supplier... Out to check the levels of copper and lead. Don't turn your water on in the morning before they come."   Nicole: (21:38) She rang them that afternoon after the consultation. She saw me as a naturopath, and she said, "Look, my naturopath make me sick." They were there the next day. It was a free service. This was 15 years ago. And he said, "Look, the levels of copper are off the chart. I can't even give you a reading, because it's off our chart. It's so high." And it was a new apartment, which meant that the copper pipe had only been laid. It was still leeching high levels of copper iron. And you look at the symptoms of high levels of copper that's ingested, it's an acute abdomen. It reflects a similar scenario to an appendicitis. So I said to her, "I need you to get to the doctor to check the copper levels." And within two weeks the results came back [inaudible 00:22:18] said, "I've never seen anything like it. You've got high levels of copper in your body. I don't know what to do. Get back to the naturopath." And the problem was, because she...   Nicole: (22:26) We've got this hypothesis now, the obesogen hypothesis, that the way the body deals with toxins is to dump more fat, dump it into the fat tissue in order to shunt it away from the vital organs. This is something that Professor Bruce Blumberg from the University of California coined years ago, obesogens. That babies now are much more obese in Western countries before they've eaten eat food, because their toxic load is high, and they're probably shunting it to the fat tissue away from vital organs. Unfortunately, the foetus, their fat is only in their brain, because there's no fat on them when they're born.   Nicole: (23:02) So she had to detox over 12 months, because if she did detox quickly, then that would have exacerbated all the symptoms, because it would have loaded it into the blood. And that was copper, and that was in a new apartment. So if you're going to have copper exposure, it tends to be [inaudible 00:23:16] at high levels, acute abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, et cetera, but longterm, it can lead to things like miscarriages as well, and, of course, Alzheimer's. There's more data on that. Copper is used as an algaecide in spas. It's a very strong antibacterial like chlorine but also kills algae as well. So that's why it's not ideal to have in the water system, and that's why, again, it's really important that you have a filter, especially if you have copper pipe.   Nicole: (23:42) Now copper pipe, once it's oxidised and it's that dull nature, it's actually a good pipe to have, because it lasts for decades in the system, as opposed to the other pipes that are now available, like you poly pipes and your PVC, which is only used for sewerage. Sometimes you find the people's houses and they're drinking water, which is a disaster because it contains [inaudible 00:24:04] chemicals. But galvanised pipe is another one that with the lead solder you're getting potentially lead exposure. So sometimes the water contaminants have nothing to do with the drinking water supply. It's actually the pipes under the house that is contributing to the toxic load of these toxic metals.   Mason: (24:21) And something that always blows me away about whether we're going to get over the line, it's often an indicator as a society for me or whether we're actually going to develop or going to come out of ignorance using things like an off-gassing, new plastics and copper pipes and these kinds of things. And now it's very well known we can't be using these things straight out of the factory. But we've got such a fast growth model, and we got such a model that everyone's gotten like, "You've got no time" and "You've got no time to do that" and "If you do that and your competitors aren't that, then you're going to lose your competitive advantage." Whether it's that kind of Western mentality or whether it's the mentality where we just don't have ethics because no one knows about it. You can just plead ignorance, and therefore, we have the subtle lack of ethics in industry that just continue to go and just continue with practises that throw people under the bus and then leave them, like this woman you were talking about. Several people, you as an investigative naturopath and Chinese herbalist... Chinese doctor or herbalist for yourself?   Mason: (25:36) ... would know how painstaking it is for people to have to go on this investigation, and all the years just going through this detoxification. Anyway, that's my little vent about is our society going to make it or not? Will we develop ethics. Yeah, okay. You've got me thinking there about someone I know, as well, living in the city. Not that I'm going to go, "Okay. It must be a copper overload, so on and so forth, but it's got me thinking a little bit outside the box. I feel like even I sometimes if someone's been going through something for so long, and you get a little bit of... Their little hopelessness comes in, and you can only keep on pushing so much, but then I kind of felt like as a supporter of them fell into, "Is this just too hard? Is this just accepting that new normal?" And then every now and then, I get my little kick up the bum to be like, "No, come on, keep digging. There's going to be a-"   Nicole: (26:28) There's always a reason why people are sick. That was my mentality from the moment I studied naturopathy. I wanted to figure out what caused cancer. That was my drive. [inaudible 00:26:37] I was obsessed with it, because quite a few of my parents' friends had died from cancer in their 40s and 50s, and I thought, "No, there has to be... There's always a reason you just need to ask more questions to get to the root cause." And what I discovered studying naturopathy and acupuncture is that the root cause is not often addressed. Yeah, naturopathy looks at diet, but that's only one small part of a big pie of root causes, and most of those recorded there in the environment, which is why I establish the building biology industry in the college.   Nicole: (27:09) One thing I want to mention is that copper can often be in brass faucets and taps. And, in fact, in 2017, 1200 brass [inaudible 00:27:17] were found to have very high levels of lead in the Children's Hospital in Perth, in the new Children's Hospital in Perth. So these are things that you know... Lead can be... Sorry, lead can be in the brass taps and stuff, especially if they're imported overseas, because NICNAS, National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme, who regulates industrial chemicals, doesn't regulate imported goods. They're massive loopholes. That's why I wrote it in the book. You know, it's all very well to have your manufacturers in Australia that have to follow legislation and get rid of some toxic chemicals like formaldehyde and other things like this, but you can import those furnishings loaded with formaldehyde, which is a known carcinogen because that's not a regulated imported good. Most people buy stuff from overseas and Asia, so... This is the ridiculousness of the whole process. So even brass taps can be high in lead, and that's why it's really important that you don't have brass taps, or at least that they're tested or all have been in manufactured in Australia.   Nicole: (28:16) PVC pipe... So people drinking tank water and they have PVC, polyvinyl chloride, pipes from the tank to their domestic water, they could expose themselves to lead, because a lot of PVC uses lead as a stabiliser, not just phalates the chemicals I mentioned before with PVC, but also lead stabilisers is a big problem. Kettles have been largely the cause of kettles that have lead in the element that exposed people when they were buying and using these kettles [crosstalk 00:28:47]-   Mason: (28:47) You mean electric kettles??   Nicole: (28:49) Yeah. It's not such a problem now. It was a big problem 10 years ago. But if you just look at, there's a website by the government on recalls, and I like to look at that from time to time, to go, "Hmm, a 150,000 toys recalled from lead exposure accidentally that were imported. That's a problem." And that's not the only ones. They're the ones they've checked. Most of them they don't check. So I'm always saying to people, "Buy things that are made in Australia, because these toxic metals and chemicals are less likely to be present in our furnishings, in our toys and other things like that."   Nicole: (29:24) The other thing about lead is that if you... In Melbourne, the city of Melbourne or Sydney, they could still have pure lead pipe under the city, because that's what they used in early 1900s up to 1930. They used pure lead pipe. Now this is what they thought was the demise of the Roman Empire was the use of lead pipe, because it makes the men infertile, it affects their prostate, it make them mad, and, of course, drop their IQ. So this part of the reason, because they used lead as a seasoning, as a salt on their food, if you were in the upper echelons of the Roman Empire. They were exposed to very high levels of lead. And, of course, in your crystals... Could be lead crystals, your fine crystalware that you have for your port or your expensive wines, et cetera, that you keep in your crystal decanters. That could be very loaded with lead.   Nicole: (30:14) So lead is a big one, especially with ingestion and drinking water and, of course, the biggest exposure to lead happens in tank water. And time and time again in Australia, they're finding high levels or elevated levels of lead in people's tank water, simply because they're gathering the water from the roof catchment area where there's lead flashing around the chimney or anything that's poking out of the roof. They used lead flashing in the past. And, of course, if they're getting their water from this roof catchment area with the lead flashing, then it's going to increase the lead levels in their tank.   Nicole: (30:48) The second source of lead in tank water is the fact that we use thousands and thousands of leaded petrol for decades in Australia, and that lead dust, as the result of the car exhaust, is sitting along all our roads, all our major freeways, still. So if you've of tank water, and you're close to these major freeways, you could have significant or elevated levels of lead in your drinking water, because it's sitting as dust on the tank and getting into the tank that way.   Mason: (31:16) Just a little sidestep from water... Just curious, because lead's always been one of those ones in the back of my mind, knowing it's ever present. And if I ever get really present to the actual reality of how much there is in the environment, it can get a little bit overwhelming at times, so I have my little things, whether they're placebo or effective that I do to try to ensure that I'm... Whether I'm chelating or just keeping my detoxification channels open. But do you have a couple of little things that make you feel, whether they're clinically proven and you feel that you've proven them in clinic with clients, whether it's a supplement you're taking or a practise that you have to ensure that you're maintaining an ability to remove lead inevitably coming into the body?   Nicole: (31:59) Well, the main way I reduce is to avoid exposure, so I'm very cautious about the type of fish I eat. I don't eat fish more than once a month. Like the Nordic countries state for a woman of reproductive age not to eat fish more than once a month, because it's loaded with PCBs and mercury and other things like that. This is especially the larger fish.   Nicole: (32:18) Supplements very important. Supplements are critical, especially your antioxidants, because they help you deal with a lot of the toxins that we're exposed to, and let's face it, every generation is born with more pre-pollution, so our toxic load has increased significantly. So supplements is something I take every day. I get a compounding pharmacist to make those supplements, multivitamins and minerals for me, because I react to the reagents and the binders and the fillers in them. So they tailor it for my height, my weight, where I am in my hormonal cycle, et cetera. So that's an absolute, critical thing for me.   Nicole: (32:54) I also eat a lot of prebiotics and a lot of fermented foods. My parents are Dutch, so we were brought up on wog food like sauerkraut, which we used to hate, but you know it was normal food for us. Fermented cabbages and other things like this and yoghurts, et cetera, and Karnemelk, which was like a yoghurt, but it's very sour. It's like fermented milk. We were brought up on all that. And I think fermented foods and bacteria is now found that it's more effective than the liver at detoxing.   Nicole: (33:25) So the weight in detox chemicals is fermented foods, and especially prebiotics as opposed to probiotics. I've moved our way up to going to all these medical conferences that I've spoken at around the world, a lot of them, especially specialists in probiotics are saying they can cause ulcerative colitis and other colonic-related problems. You're much better off to focus on the food that the bacteria need for the short-chain fatty acids, butyrate for example, for this bacteria in the gut. So prebiotics, fermented foods are really, really important, and I think that's probably the most important advice I can give to help you detox... Support the bacteria to produce the B vitamins and to toxic chemicals at the same time.   Mason: (34:06) Yeah, after I did a podcast just recently with a mate of mine, Dan. We basically just went diving into that. He's learning off that... He's a naturopath that's, basically, really spearheading a lot of this research and presenting on that shift towards prebiotics. He's down in Tasmania. I can't remember his name right now. But it's gotten me-   Nicole: (34:27) [inaudible 00:34:27]?   Mason: (34:27) Yeah, that sounds about right. After a while I realised if anyone's been studying this stuff, they're studying with him. He's one of those guys. Got me really thinking about taking at least an aspect of my diet towards building up, obviously, as I said, the microba report, building up that biodiversity. And it's got me challenging a couple of my own belief systems around food. I'm kind of gonna go in that direction, because after looking at the research and looking at the practicality and the fact that just my own instinct and my own survival Instinct around building and eating for a strong biodiversity there in my microbial kingdom. I'm with you. It just seems like it needs to have just as much focus now as the liver would or the colon would and way more than the colon would and its flushing or anything like that. Just create that system that's going to keep you singing along. It's like your own health insurance. You could-   Nicole: (35:29) Absolutely. And that's why a water filter is critical, because you don't want to be ingesting things like copper or chlorine that you know are very strong anti-bacteria. You want to make sure it's not going to do the opposite to what you're trying to do with your diet by enhancing your bacterial diversity in the gut. And what we now know with the healthy home is that the more diverse the bacteria is and household dust, the healthier the kids are and far less likely they're going to develop asthma allergies. That's why using sanitizers in the home is an act of insanity, because it's the antithesis of what the research is saying. The kids in the Amish community have very low rates of asthma and allergy, and they have very high bacterial diversity, because they have farm animals and pets. They have big families. So they're shedding [inaudible 00:36:14] to 37 million bacterial genome copies. Every person sheds that every hour into the household dust. And the more diverse that bacteria is the lower the risk of asthma and allergies.   Nicole: (36:24) So I don't want to be starting to use the sanitizers all over the house et cetera. If you've got any gastro or someone's sick, you're much better off to get a microfiber cloth and wipe those surfaces like your handles, door handles, fridge handles, et cetera with a microfiber cloth just to reduce the load and lift it off the surface. You don't want to chemically mutate by using chemicals and sanitizers that are high in these petrochemical solvents and, of course, potentially hormone disrupting chemicals to the family.   Mason: (36:55) That's a good tip. And what you were saying just using that cloth to reduce the load, the bacterial load that you're potentially going to take it in with-   Mason: (37:03) Mm.   Nicole: (37:08) Which is unusual. Most of the time people don't have gastro, unless I've got a cold or flu and I want to reduce cross infection, then you're using a microfiber cloth on your high-usable areas, like your door handles, for example... especially your fridge handles, to prevent cross-contamination. But the most important thing is why is it that you could swab that entire family, and they've all got the virus or the bacteria, but only one person has symptoms? Because they're run down. So the big question is, "Why's everyone got that?"   Nicole: (37:39) Potentially, we all have coronavirus, but very few of us will show the symptoms. And that the real question is, as naturopath, "What is it that enables you to be exposed but not develop symptoms?" So how much sun exposure do you have? What is your diet like? How much clean air and clean water do you ingest? And what is your attitude like? And what's your stress levels like? And that's really the important questions to stimulate good health. It's a combination of all those issues.   Nicole: (38:06) You know Epstein-Barr virus, glandular fever, 90% of all [inaudible 00:38:09] to be exposed to the virus. I didn't get Epstein-Barr virus. Have you had glandular fever?   Mason: (38:13) Uh-uh (negative).   Nicole: (38:15) No, exactly. And I'm not sure if they swabbed you, they'd go, "Yeah." If they took your blood samples, they'd say, "Yeah, you've actually got the antibodies." Most people were exposed. The very few, a very tiny percentage actually develop it, and it's normally when they're immunocompromised because they're doing BCE or high school, year 11 and 12, because they've had a major stress. Someone's died. They're separated or a major trauma or poor diet or something like that that made them susceptible to that bug that their immune system couldn't get over it. And that's the reality of the viruses.   Mason: (38:45) Yeah, the fact that these questions... I understand why they're not being asked on a larger level of if we want to... People are going, "It's such a mystery why some people aren't presenting any symptoms," and I'd assume that's terrible science if they just going to leave it there and then shrug their shoulders and go, "All right. Move on." They're not doing any tests on what's going on hormonally, what kind of level of health you're seeing in the nervous system, as you're saying, some exposure. It's all a bit ridiculous, and some would say that viral exposure and bacterial exposure is somewhat how we've evolved to become who we are today. So changes [crosstalk 00:39:19]-   Nicole: (39:19) Yes, well, mitochondria are bacteria, so we are bacteria.   Mason: (39:23) Yeah, that's [crosstalk 00:39:24].   Nicole: (39:25) And there's some things we haven't discussed, like pesticides in our drinking water supply are really common in our tap water, for example. In bore well water, you don't know how much pesticides. My big concern with bore well water, which is only a small proportion of Australians who drink from bore water and a very high proportion of the U.S. that do. That's why they've had all those problems with the Love Canal, and towns in America where they're being exposed to all these flame retardants and other things like this... Is that with bore water you have to test on a very regular basis, because what the contaminants that could be, it can be naturally dry, because it's gone through rock that's highly radioactive or has high levels of arsenic, for example, in it. So you need to test. Or it could be upstream from a farm 200 kilometres away, but it's going into the aquifers, and it's now affecting the water supply. So with bore water, you really have to have a filter, because you don't know the fluctuations of what could be in it from any given moment in time, especially [crosstalk 00:40:22]   Mason: (40:22) Yeah, that's the reality of spring water as well now, unfortunately as well, but I think we've got the ability to test, so we might as well do it. Yeah, the pesticide factor's a huge one. I don't know where it's at in terms of... Again, I've stopped mentioning where the data is at, because I don't understand, you know, via each municipal council as well, where the pharmaceutical levels are, I know at one point everyone was saying, whether it's the radioactivity of people... Whether it's the recycling of water from the people on chemotherapy and radiotherapy and antidepressants and all that kind of stuff staying in the water supply. How much truth is there to that still?   Nicole: (41:06) Well recycle waste water. We know we can't get rid of phthalates and antidepressants and a lot of pharmaceuticals they can't get out of it if it's recycled. So I'm very anti-recycling water. Britain's water supply, most of that is recycled, and a lot of Arab countries also have recycled water, because they're water poor, in so far as water isn't common in their countries and deserts, for example. It just shows that the antidepressants in a lot of the pharmaceutical drugs and the pill, for example, you can't actually filter it even with reverse osmosis filter, which is considered to be the queen of all the filters. So that is certainly a problem and continues to be a problem. So you would be having detectable levels of antidepressants in Britain's water supply by drinking their water, because you actually can't filter a lot of those pharmaceuticals out of, and many of them are things like antibiotics, from contraceptive pill, antidepressants, anti-inflammatory drugs and, of course, you mentioned chemotherapeutic drugs which are highly toxic medications that are found in small levels, but they're still found in recycled water. That's why I would not ever drink recycled water.   Mason: (42:12) No. It must be why they're so happy, all those antidepressants in the water. So lets some jump into water filters. So would you suggest we talk about in a two-tier in terms of what we would use potentially on the house and then what we'd use for drinking water?   Nicole: (42:29) Sure. So it depends if you've got tank water, then you needed UV filter, because microbes in the tank and the mosquito larvae and the animals getting the tank, can cause E. coli and faeces and you don't want that, so they definitely need the UV filters as part of the water filter system. But the main thing is that... Water filter, it's not magic. It's proper, hardcore science.   Nicole: (42:53) If you have a particle filter, like what we call a "sediment filter," it will filter down to about 20 microns or so. So it gets rid of all your dirt and your sediment and your sand and other things like that. And that's normally the filter you would use prior to then going into a carbon filter.   Nicole: (43:10) The carbon filter is mainly filtering organic matter, like pesticides and petrochemicals and chlorine. So that's getting rid of a lot of the chemicals that have a carbon as part of their atomic structure. That's what we call organic, so we mean "organic" in scientific terms. That means it contains carbon, not that it's free from pesticides. So sediment filter, which is normally a white, pleated filter, will get rid of the larger particles and dirt, and then it protects and increases the service life of the carbon filter, which it'll move next going through. Depending on how the granulated activated carbon is activated as to what micron size it is, as to how small these sediments can pass through, and how effective it is at filtering organic matter, like pesticides and petrochemicals and chlorine. So you can get different types of carbon filters, depending on whether they're one micron, five microns, ten microns. So one micron is going to be 10 times more forgiving than 10 microns, because the pore sizes are much smaller in the way that it's been activated in a oxygen-free environment when they're creating these carbon filters. So carbon is really, really important. In fact, it forms the two or three stages of carbon in a reverse osmosis filter.   Nicole: (44:29) Reverse osmosis is normally a five or six stage filtration system, contains pre-sediment filters, which is the particle filters I mentioned, then a carbon filter, I believe at least one or two carbon filters, and then ultimately it'll have an ultra filter membrane, which is in the angstrom, which is less than microns. It's so tiny that it will get rid of the smallest atom, which is fluoride, out of the water supply. But that ultra filter membrane costs about a couple hundred dollars to replace every five years or so, as opposed to the pre-sediment filter which might cost you $10 to replace every six months. Carbon filters you might replace every six months or so.   Nicole: (45:10) So yeah, water filtration is not rocket science. It's about physically removing the particles and then chemically removing the particles, so you sediment filters for particles, and then you use carbon filters to get rid of the chemicals, and then the ultra filter membrane will get rid of the very small atoms like all your toxic metals and your things like fluoride.   Nicole: (45:32) You also have alumina or aluminium type of filters that will help or iron exchange, that will attract toxic metals that will reduce them out of the filter. I don't like iron exchange filters, because they can impart the resins back into the water supply.   Nicole: (45:48) The other issues with all water filters, especially if they have carbon is that once the chemicals are sitting on the carbon filter, if that's full, it starts putting it back into the water supply. So you have to replace the water filters. I don't like water filters that say you never replace them. You need to replace the sediment filter. You should replace your carbon filter, because once those sites are taken up by those chemicals, you need to get rid of it and put in a new water filter.   Mason: (46:15) So you're starting off, basically, with a reverse osmosis with that triple action, or is that third microfilter something additional?   Nicole: (46:27) Ultrafilter membrane? No, it's a part of reverse osmosis filtration system. I think reverse osmosis, it's the best in terms of physically getting rid of all the contaminants. There's no doubt about that. Some people would argue that it leaves acidic water. I would argue that everything in nature is acidic. If you look at the ocean, if you look at the lakes, they absorb carbon dioxide from the air from carboxylic acid and hydrogen ions, which actually makes everything in nature is slightly acidic.   Nicole: (46:54) I am really not into alkalizing the water, because your stomach has a pH, depending on before or after eating, of around 3, pH 3. And it needs to be to activate intrinsic factor, proteins to be able to create hormones and in order to digest proteins is really important. I don't want to alter that by drinking a whole lot of alkaline water and creating a buffer system in my gut, because most adults have low stomach acid, and their ability to digest proteins is already compromised, let alone drinking heaps of alkaline water and affecting your stomach acid even more. it doesn't make sense scientifically to drink alkaline water and equate that to alkaline blood. Blood alkaline is a very narrow range and to alter between it means you're probably going to be dead.   Nicole: (47:45) The only way to slightly alkalize your body in the blood is to go to a vegetarian diet. It's not by drinking alkaline water. So I'm not into alkaline water for that reason. I think most adults are low in stomach acid, and they need to be higher, and that's why apple cider vinegar, again, another fermented food is very useful and very useful for people with arthritis, because they don't digest proteins, so the apple cider vinegar helps them digestion helps them digest proteins, and suddenly their arthritis is better, because they're not absorbing proteins and polypeptides. It breaks it down into amino acids.   Nicole: (48:19) So I don't think we need to add another filter to the RO system in order to alkalize it at all. I think our nutrient should be coming from our food, not necessary from our water.   Nicole: (48:30) Now, of course, I haven't discussed the whole thing on the energetics of water, Masaru Emoto's research and all that stuff. You're at least 70-80% water, probably closer to 90%, now that we understand that we're bathed in this fluid. And I do believe how we think can affect the vibration of the water within us, without any shadow of a doubt. So in terms of the water and putting love and energy to it... I think we need more love and energy. We can take a lot more of that in the world-   Nicole: (49:00) ... But I think it's very hard to quantify that.   Mason: (49:02) It's one of those funny ones that it's not it's nice to... In order to be a real integrated person in this world, you need to have some real reality underneath your feet in terms of what you're saying and looking at the data and being able to actually back up your actions with some like, "Well, I'm using these filters in order to actually get these toxins out." But then otherwise, you're going to become a boring, stale, mental person if you just stay in that world altogether. And that's when you get like that... You shower it with that Earth poet love vibration that we can bring into us, just sending a little prayer into our waters before we drink it and appreciation for the fact that we've got access to water like this. I'm with you on that.   Mason: (49:45) And I'm also with you on the alkaline water. I've never been into alkaline water. And I've been an advocate for spring water for so long, and spring water's generally always acidic, and river water's always neutral, generally. And so, you've absolutely knocked it out of the park in describing why that's not such a great idea long-term. I can't say for sure that it's not good in short-term healing protocols, but I actually... I wouldn't be going there first, as you said, there's other ways to do it... And breathing as well. Breathing is one of the most effective ways to alter alkalinity in the body, whether or not you're doing that so fast or not.   Mason: (50:28) So do you go... Because the other argument around reverse osmosis is that it's demineralizing, it strips everything out and therefore, you need to go and add the things back in. It's one of the narratives around reverse osmosis. And sometimes I get a sense of it where if I've ever been in the city and getting those cartons of pure water that's reverse osmosis, sometimes feeling like it's... I feel like sometimes I'm left a little bit more... I'm wanting. Do you have any other strategies that you go-   Nicole: (51:00) Yeah. That's certainly an argument, and I think that's valid. I think adding a bit of salt, really good quality sea salt that's naturally full of lots of electrolytes and minerals are great way to enhance that. Yeah, it is something that you can do just by adding tiny little bit of really, really good quality salt to remineralize the water that way, especially when you're cooking. So, most of my water comes from... I do drink a lot of water... Would be I cook a lot of soup. So I'm adding all the minerals that are naturally in my organic veggies, et cetera, to the water supply and then really good quality salts to it that way. And I think that's where I mainly get a lot of those nutrients, just in the foodS that I'm cooking, and in the fact that I do it a lot... We eat a lot of soup here at home. So yes, I would certainly encourage people to maybe consider that, providing they don't have blood pressure, to add a really good quality, a little bit of salts to their water supply, especially if you're going to keep it in the fridge, too.   Mason: (51:57) Yeah. Good to hear. That's normally what I travel with. I travel with my little sea salt, and I just splash that in there to keep me going book. Just kind of bringing it home. Do you have anything in terms of a whole house filter or maybe just a shower filter as a minimum requirement that people could go and investigate?   Nicole: (52:17) Yeah, absolutely. So on my website, buildingbiology.com.au, there's a list of water filtration systems that I recommend. With the showers filters, I don't sell them, but you can get them through a lot of the plumbing stores, Arcadia Showers. I do have a list of water shops that people can go to, and they're everywhere really, but KDF, mentioned in the book, is a really good one. It's about seventy odd dollars, and you put it to your shower. The only problem is, it screws into the walls. So you may not have [inaudible 00:52:45] in your shower to be able to do it as you mentioned, but that's a really simple one to stop the water... to get rid of the chlorine, so it's not irritating your skin.   Nicole: (52:54) Obviously, a whole-house system is ideal, and there is an Extreme Wellness whole-house filter system that I'm about to get involved with, which it looks fantastic. And you're not changing the filters as often as the ones that I've had before. I've had whole-house filter systems before, and every six months I have to replace these massive filters that are $50 each, and that's the wholesale cost, which shows me how clogged our system gets very, very quickly. As I said, "If you don't get a filter, your body's going to be the filter." So it's really important as often as you can is to filter the water system, especially what you're drinking, because you don't want to put that extra burden on the gut and certainly onto the kidneys. So there's the list there online, on my website and, of course, my book describes the different types of water filter systems.   Mason: (53:42) Okay. We'll put that in the show notes. Jump over to the website. Always get the book and it's one of those books, I think I say it every time we talk, get a couple of them, because it's one of those ones, "Yeah, Healthy Home Healthy Family..." When you've got friends coming over, especially if it's... I think it's that pivotal time like when a mum or dad when they're starting to awaken to everything that's going on in terms of the toxic load within the house, and it gets really overwhelming... It's a really good book to just be able to go to your bookcase and just give them a copy. I highly recommend that. I've done that with [inaudible 00:54:20] couple, and I've done that, and I think everyone should... I got that habit from my mum years ago. She used to have a clinic, and then every now and then, someone would come in and start crying about the fact that they couldn't.. They were addicted to this or that, and she'd always have her favourite book to help him get over their addictions, and I always remember that. And those are the few books that sit in the back of my mind as one of those and yours definitely is.   Mason: (54:45) Now is the best way to get informed of when say you... It would be great when you're working with the whole-house filter, people to be informed of that or just when the course is going to be launched. Is the mailing list the best way to do that?   Nicole: (55:01) Yeah, so I'll let you know. As we discussed prior to this interview that I'm developing a six-week Healthy Home course for the public, which will be really affordable and to dispel a lot of the myths, how to reduce the toxic load in the house, how to clean, simple things like how to get rid of mould that doesn't use [inaudible 00:55:17] and how to reduce exposure and prevent mould in the first place. Exposure to wireless technology, how to live technologically without exposure. So yeah, I'm really excited to launch that, a lot of simple tips for mums and dads and to dispel a lot of the myths that are out there on all of these things in the house.   Mason: (55:36) That's so good. Yeah. I'm going to... We're going to Make sure we blast that out there to the SupestFeast crew aswell, because it's one of those things as well, we're doing tonic herbs and medicinal mushrooms and trying to look for immunological sovereignty, and building back Kidney. You know everything about that. And Jing deficiency in this world, but at the same deal, it's why we like having these chats, because... That's Goji in the background, coughing up a lung... A dog, not a human coughing up a lung.   Nicole: (56:01) I'm just glad you clarified it wasn't your backside.   Mason: (56:05) Sneezing, sneezing out a lung, weren't you, Goji. Sorry, I don't want to misrepresent you.   Mason: (56:10) If we can match all these beautiful things we're doing with herbalism and food and movement with... And something, it's really... It's underrepresented, ramping up creating bacterial biodiversity in your home and getting the chemical out of your home with these very simple tips. Understanding how to remove mould. It's huge and it just takes us to another level. So we're going to stay in the loop, make sure everyone goes and jumps on the mailing list over at buildingbiology.com?   Nicole: (56:38) .com.au   Mason: (56:40) .au   Nicole: (56:41) Beautiful. Thanks so much for coming on again-   Mason: (56:43) Thank you.   Nicole: (56:44) ... and learning us up about water.   Mason: (56:46) Thank you so much for inviting me. Anytime.   Nicole: (56:49) See you next time.
Tahnee is thrilled to be speaking with the wonderful Clare Pyers on the Women's Series today. Clare is an integrative medical practitioner who specialises in women's health, particularly in the areas of reproductive health and complex health conditions. Clare has a broad educational background including Chemical Engineering, Chinese Medicine, Integrative Medicine and Yoga. Clare is a leader in the industry of Chinese Medicine, having written the first comprehensive textbook that shows practitioners how to translate between the paradigms of Conventional, Functional and Chinese Medicine. A true renaissance woman, Clare also hosts Qiological, a podcast specifically crafted for Chinese Medicine practitioners. Clare joins Tahnee today, to bridge the gap between the East vs West approach to women's health, sharing her insights in a manner that is highly informative and easy to understand. Clare's clinical work is practical and thoroughly grounded in a holistic approach. Clare's methods allow women to feel safe, held and completely nourished on their journey to harmonious health.   Tahnee and Clare explore: How Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) views hormones, and the East vs West approach to addressing hormonal issues. The natural ebs and flows of the female reproductive cycle and the importance of the 'Chong Mai' vessel in TCM. The significance of the transitions between the body's phases of Yin and Yang, and how a disturbance in the body's natural course of Qi interferes with establishing menstrual harmony.  The masculine nature of Western society, and how operating a system that is dominated by this energy impairs female reproductive health. The Heart as the female palace of glory, and the Daoist system views this important organ. The misdiagnoses and misuse of herbs in polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Reproductive capability as a reflection of overall health, the idea that an organism cannot create new life in an environment (the body) where life is deficient. The Liver's role in female reproductive health. The difference between deficiency and excess. How TCM views menopause. The connection between the thyroid, iodine and salt. Hashimoto's and Graves Disease.   Who is Clare Pyers ? Clare is known for her expertise in the area of women’s health, specifically with women who have complex health problems. Clare has worked in the health industry since 2001in both mainstream and natural medicine settings. Clare has a broad educational background including Chemical Engineering, Chinese Medicine, Integrative Medicine and Yoga.  Clare hosts a podcast for Chinese Medicine practitioners, exploring a range of topics that are relevant for colleagues in her field. Clare is a leader in the industry of Chinese Medicine, having written the first comprehensive textbook that teaches practitioners how to translate between the paradigms of Conventional, Functional and Chinese Medicine. Clare is considered an expert in being able to explain the way these 3 different ways of understanding health and illness overlap with one another.   Resources:Clare's Website Clare's Facebook Clare's Instagram Heavenly Qi Podcast   Q: How Can I Support The SuperFeast Podcast?   A: Tell all your friends and family and share online! We’d also love it if you could subscribe and review this podcast on iTunes. Or  check us out on Stitcher :)! Plus  we're on Spotify!   Check Out The Transcript Here:   Tahnee: (00:04) Hi everybody and welcome to the SuperFeast podcast. Today I'm here with Clare Pyers, who I'm a massive fan of, so very excited to have you here today Clare. Clare is known for her expertise in the area of women's health, and especially with complex health stuff, as well as fertility. She has an amazing podcast called the Heavenly Qi podcast, which is a little bit technical, but even if you are new to Chinese medicine, it's a really great listen, and I've learned so much from it myself over the years. And Clare's been working in the health industry since 2001, so she's done all sorts of things from chemical engineering Clare, all the way through Chinese medicine, integrative medicine, yoga.   Tahnee: (00:46) And she's just this incredible leader in Chinese medicine in terms of really bridging these worlds of functional and conventional, and Chinese medicine. So she's got this amazing book which I have here, The Integrative TCM Guide to Pathology, which if you work in the health space I'd highly recommend you get a copy of. It's a bit of a bible around the SuperFeast office. And, yeah I love how she articulates things and how she teaches so I'm really excited to have her here today. So thanks for joining us Clare.   Clare Pyers: (01:16) Thank you so much for having me, and what a fabulous introduction. I'm very honoured to be here with you today, and I'm looking forward to our chat.   Tahnee: (01:24) Yeah, same. So we've had a few requests from our audience around, kind of bridging the divide I suppose, between the Western idea of hormones, and the TCM ideas of patterns and Yin and Yang and Qi, and how all these things work. So, I know you've worked a lot with women's health and fertility, so I imagine this is something you're dealing with all the time. Are you able to kind of, I guess give us a sense of how hormones fit into the scope of Chinese Medicine practise? Because they didn't identify hormones per se in the ancient texts but, we can see the effects of their actions, right? Would that be an accurate way to describe it?   Clare Pyers: (02:03) Yeah. And so, Chinese Medicine was created thousands of years ago, and the concept of hormones really is a, it's a Western science, reductionist, I guess understanding and description of the flows, the ebbs and flows of the body, which is essentially what hormones are. It's a complex interconnected series of systems in the body, that really regulate the ebb and flow of our daily life, and our weekly and monthly life, all of the cyclical things that happen in our body. And so, Chinese medicine came about through a lot of observation, a lot of trial and error, what works, what doesn't work. And obviously, the most obvious place to start when we're talking about hormones is female hormones, and in particular women's reproductive hormones. Because there is a very obvious way to track the cycle with a woman's menstrual cycle.   Clare Pyers: (03:10) And so, from a Chinese medicine point of view, we talk about, there's a concept of this, the Chong Mai, this very, very deep internal reservoir of Qi and Blood deep within us. And throughout the month it fills up with Qi and Blood, and it reaches a point where it overflows, and that is how a woman menstruates. It's where menstrual Blood comes from, this idea of the overflowing of this Chong Mai vessel, kind of like this, I forget the, you'll probably remind me what the English name of it is, but it's like this very deep-   Tahnee: (03:55) Is it the conception vessel?   Clare Pyers: (03:56) No, no, no.   Tahnee: (03:58) Yeah I actually don't know. I always call it the Chong Mai too. It's the one that ends between the breasts, right? Or is that where ...   Clare Pyers: (04:05) Yeah. And it's very deep. I think it's called the, no, I can't even remember. I won't even try. It'll come to me later. But the Chong Mai is the place where women's menstrual cycle comes from. And obviously we see the natural ebbs and flows of the hormonal pattern in a woman, and it should arrive on time every month. And so from a Chinese medicine point of view, we see any disturbances, any deviations from that kind of, that optimal hormonal picture as indications of where a woman's disharmony is. So, if a period arrives early, if it arrives late, if there's pain, if there's emotional symptoms, if there's any other symptoms that are going on, then that helps to give us clues as to which particular parts of her body, and which particular ways her you know, she's lost her harmony within herself and how we can then use that information to help get it back, get things back on track.   Tahnee: (05:13) I think it's the ... Is it the penetrating vessel?   Clare Pyers: (05:16) The penetrating vessel, yes.   Tahnee: (05:19) Is it sea of Blood? Is that the ...   Clare Pyers: (05:20) The sea of Qi and Blood, yeah.   Tahnee: (05:21) Qi and Blood, okay. Because I know it from like the esoteric stuff that I've learned, like our ... So one of the things we do is breast massage, which can disperse that Qi and Blood through the body and actually prevent menstruation. But in a healthy, non Daoist person. Really what ... The energy rises and then it drops. Is that the kind of Yin Yang function, is the peak of that, like the Yang and then the Yin is that descent down to the uterus? Is that kind of how we would look at that from a Yin Yang perspective? Or, am I losing the plot completely there or?   Clare Pyers: (05:56) Well, yeah, so we talk about, so the two phases of a woman's menstrual cycle. So, before ovulation, the follicular phase, or the proliferative phase, which is, starts with menstruation, and then once menstruation finishes, then the lining starts to build up again, and the ovary is developing the egg ready for release. So, that part of the phase is governed primarily by Yin, and so Yin is that very, I guess your listeners are very familiar with the concept of Yin and Yang, but Yin is the female aspect, that quietness, solitude, going within introspection. And then there's a big surge of Yang. So there's ... Yin never stays as Yin and Yang never stays as Yang, they're always constantly engendering one another and flowing between one another.   Clare Pyers: (06:48) And so, once we reach a certain point, there's enough strength within the Yin to allow the Yang to rise up, and that's what sparks of ovulation to happen. And then the second part of the cycle is governed by Yang. And so we have the Yang part of the menstrual cycle, which is the luteal phase. So after ovulation, there should be an abundance of Yang in a woman's body, and then once the Yang has kind of done its thing, then the Yin starts to come back in again. And that drop of Yang back into that Yin zone, is what sparks menstruation. So we kind of have those two phases of the cycle, and that flow of Yin and Yang. And so, when, I guess there's lots of listeners who, women who are listening and even men who are listening, who have women in their lives, and familiar with the idea of painful periods or PMS, I guess are the two most common menstrual problems that people are aware of.   Clare Pyers: (07:55) And that's, in a very broad sense, is a problem demonstrating a problem of that transition from Yin to Yang, and that transition back from Yang to Yin. If there's a problem with that transition, then that's where we see problems with PMS and period pain and things like that.   Tahnee: (08:14) And so I mean, a lot of people will write to us and say, "Oh, I have low progesterone," which is a Yang, am I correct? Is a Yang hormone.   Clare Pyers: (08:22) Yeah.   Tahnee: (08:23) And sort of governs that Yang phase of the cycle. And so then, I guess one thing I'm often trying to ... I mean, this is something I've really been working on in my own head is like, coming out of that linear Western model of cause and effect, and there's a symptom and fix it. And I feel like I've been, for a long time still trying to untrain my brain from thinking that way. But, it's kind of like you're looking at relationships in Chinese Medicine, right? You're not just looking at the progesterone flow, that's the problem, you're looking at what really like, how is that relating to the kind of, I guess the harmony in the body. Is that a ... I'm not sure I'm phrasing this question particularly well.   Tahnee: (09:02) But, for me I think when I started to look at functional medicine, when they were saying, "Okay well it's really the relationship of the levels of the hormones, it's not just one hormone." That made a lot more sense to me than the more kind of conventional model which is, low progesterone, take Vitex, you'll be fine. That doesn't really land for me anymore.   Clare Pyers: (09:22) Yeah. And it's way more complicated than that, you're right. And from Chinese Medicine, we go deeper. So we say, "Okay, great, you've got low progesterone and that corresponds with Yang and so you have not enough Yang." But then we go further and we say, "Okay, well, why isn't there enough Yang? What's going on? Which part of that process of the body naturally creating enough Yang to support, to support life essentially," that's what progesterone is for, pro-gestation, is to support a baby. And so which part of this woman's physiology is having trouble in being able to create this? And so, as a practitioner I'll often be looking for signs of Yin deficiency, or Blood deficiency, and that can stem from poor digestion, it can stem from an inappropriate diet for that person's constitution.   Clare Pyers: (10:22) It can stem from excessive stress, not getting enough rest, too much exercise. All of those kinds of things is kind of where we come from, from a Chinese Medicine point of view. And I really like that you made, you made a really good point that it's not just purely about the actual hormone levels, it's about the relative levels of hormones to each other. So, a person can have low progesterone and low oestrogen, and they might present as being both Yin and Yang deficient, or maybe just Blood deficient. Or a person can have a good level of progesterone but not enough oestrogen, or vice versa. They can have good levels of oestrogen, low progesterone, and that can you know, any imbalance between the two can cause problems in and of themselves.   Clare Pyers: (11:12) And so, you've got to look at that relative harmony between the hormones themselves, as well as the actual levels to be able to determine what the best course of action is. And of course in Chinese Medicine, we're blessed with, a whole framework of the Chinese medicine diagnosis and so, I think it creates a lot more richness in our approach to being able to treat women really effectively, and especially with the difficult cases.   Tahnee: (11:44) Yeah. Well for me, I had amenorrhea after coming off the pill for a long time two years something. And when I started to learn more about Blood deficiency, like the Spleen and Liver and that relationship with the Kidney, then it sort of all started to go, oh, okay, well that ... Now I'm understanding that I'm eating this diet that's really cold, that isn't appropriate for me. My Kidneys are struggling already because I'm stressed out, and they're not able to pilot like my Spleen, and my Spleen's kind of just like, not doing anything, having a tough time. And I'm getting all these symptoms of bloating and I'm not making any Blood and so I'm not bleeding and, it was not that difficult related to just starting some meat, stop eating as much sugar, and really make a few simple changes that for my body were really effective.   Tahnee: (12:28) And I'm not saying this works for everybody, but that was my specific pattern, I guess. But that was a lot easier for me to understand even then going, like I'd been to all these Western doctors who were doing all these tests and blood tests, and it just was confusing me because, I was kind of healthy but I wasn't. I wasn't having my monthly report card and all those things. So it was, yeah, it's an interesting ... I think the storytelling and the imagining of the organs and their roles, is a really powerful way to engage with the body and to really come into sort of a place of relationship with the body, which then I think builds to help anyway, because you're trusting and understanding the body more. That's my opinion on that one.   Clare Pyers: (13:09) Yeah I think you're definitely right on that. One of the common things that I see, in terms of that relationship with yourself is that, women, particularly in today's day and age, although we have been afforded somewhat of a break from that with our Corona virus interlude. But, women are really in a male dominated world and we're encouraged to, you know for many women you're working five days a week, plus the extra responsibility perhaps of children or other things that you've taken on board. And, it requires a lot of masculine energy to be able to run a life in such a full on way. Being at 80 to 90% capacity all the time, really takes a toll, and it's not the way that our female hormones are designed to work at their best.   Clare Pyers: (14:04) We really ... One of the ways that I encourage my patients to reflect on this idea is, to really embrace the idea of, what would lady Tahnee do? How would lady Tahnee do this? Like, if you were Royal, and the old school idea of royalty. Because I think modern day royalty have very full calendars and a lot of responsibility, a lot of pressure.   Tahnee: (14:30) Meghan Markle or something.   Clare Pyers: (14:32) Yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly. But if you were a queen or a princess, and you just had to sit on your throne, and you could just kind of sip on tea and take long walks around your garden. You wouldn't be power walking around your garden and sculling your tea, and racing around. You'd be living a leisurely, peaceful, spacious existence. And even within the confines of a busy schedule and lots of responsibility, it's still possible to just connect with that idea of creating space, especially in the Heart. So from a Chinese Medicine point of view, and even when you look into female specific, Qigong, it's all centred around the Heart. So the Dantian is for men. Women very easily can get their Qi, their focus, their mind, their attention to their Dantian. But for women, our palace of glory from the Daoist point of view, is in our Heart, it's in the chest.   Clare Pyers: (15:43) And that's where we get a lot of a lot of binding, a lot of oppression, a lot of stuck energy. And if we can work out a way to experience the sense of spaciousness and release in this area, then it does a lot of benefit for our whole entire hormonal system, not just reproductive, but also thyroid and our digestion. So, pancreas and the other aspects of the hormonal system too.   Tahnee: (16:11) So we always call the pancreas, the 'spancreas'. Because it's kind of in the Chinese systems of the Spleen's body really. And I mean, I don't know if you know of Dan Ken's work, but he's actually arguing that the pancreas is a part of the spleen organ, like he's done some membrological work that would suggest that that could be true. But so when we're talking about that organ function, and that ability to sort of assist in regulating hormones, and I feel like Western Medicine is starting to get to this idea of like, the entire system, which was around a while ago, and then they kind of lost it and now it's back. But really like Chinese Medicine we're talking about the Heart as the emperor and as the brain, but then we've also got all these kind of sub brains, I suppose, that have responsibilities and roles to fulfil.   Tahnee: (16:59) And this Spleen, is obviously to kind of transform what we eat into this Qi that we need and also into Blood. And this is especially relevant for women, right? Because women are governed by Blood, so to speak. So, how does ... When we look at diet and we look at menstruation, and we look at women's hormones, and even things like insulin and the pancreas, and this kind of production or ... Because you know, I know a lot of women have issues with blood sugar and stuff as well. Is there stuff you see in clinical a lot, or what is sort of the common themes you see around the spleen and Blood and how that relates to women's health?   Clare Pyers: (17:36) Great question. And I'll bring it back to the example that you gave before with your own health and your own situation. So, it's quite common for me to see women who have amenorrhea,, and that could just be, they came off of the pill and their period never came back. Or there could have been a specific period of time that they noticed that they stopped having their period. And this idea of, everyone's going getting scans and getting tested, which is a great idea. But then, what's happening is that a lot of women are being diagnosed with polycystic ovaries.   Tahnee: (18:11) Misdiagnosed, you're right.   Clare Pyers: (18:13) And this ... Yeah. And this idea of amenorrhea in a woman who's not the typical, the classic old school diagnosis of polycystic ovarian syndrome, which is linked in with high testosterone, insulin resistance, excess weight around the tummy, maybe some facial hair, and that classic idea of insulin resistance. But then we've kind of transposed that onto this other set of women who are not overweight at all, in fact, a lot of them are underweight and they're not having periods, and maybe their hair is dropping. Maybe they've got some dry skin, yeah thinning hair. But we see these cysts on an ultrasound and we think, oh, that woman has polycystic ovaries so we treat it with insulin sensitising medication and, we just transfer it all across from this very different clinical picture to ... From one end of the extreme to the other.   Clare Pyers: (19:22) And these women instead of needing less insulin and less nourishment in their diet, they actually need more. And for some of these women, increasing their carb intake is what they need. A lot of the Blood tonic herbs and medicines that we use in Chinese Medicine are, they're fruits and they're very sweet. And a Blood tonic herbal formula is actually really quite yummy most of the time. Well, if you're into herbal medicine, I'm into herbal medicine. But you know, they're really yummy.   Tahnee: (19:55) Herbal medicine that's yummy.   Clare Pyers: (19:56) Yeah, we're not putting bitter-   Tahnee: (20:00) Yeah, pungent like [inaudible 00:20:01].   Clare Pyers: (20:02) Yeah, exactly. They're really nice tasting herbs. And so, I think that's a real trap of, when we're looking at digestion, that it's really easy to think a one size fits all diet approach, is what we need. We need to still be looking at, well what specifically is going on for this woman? And whether we're looking at it from a Chinese Medicine point of view, or from a Western medicine point of view, we need to be using that information, and assessing it for its merit, rather than having these preconceived ideas that, oh, I've got PCOS, I'm going to take Vitex. It's not going to work for a woman who's Blood deficient, it's not going to work if you're giving it to someone who is depleted because it has a very dispersing action.   Clare Pyers: (20:50) And people who are depleted need to be nourished. So from the idea of the Spleen, and Blood, and how we make Blood, and what our diet should look like, we need to be taking into account the entire picture of what's going on for a woman. So, if a woman is carrying extra weight, and has those kind of, the old school classic PCOS type of symptoms going on, you know drop down sugar intake-   Tahnee: (21:23) Yeah that's more your paleo style kind of.   Clare Pyers: (21:25) Yeah, yeah, go paleo. But if you need more Blood nourishing, then it needs to be a different approach. The Spleen is in charge of, of the sweet flavour and distributing the sweet flavour kind of goes to the Spleen. And we can also, as well as getting too much sweet food, which is, I guess the typical Western diet, is-   Tahnee: (21:54) Or the idiot that was eating like a packet of dates a day.   Clare Pyers: (21:58) Yes. Yeah, yeah.   Tahnee: (22:00) Healthy food.   Clare Pyers: (22:01) Yeah. But you know dates are a great Blood tonic and so part-   Tahnee: (22:04) In moderation though right.   Clare Pyers: (22:07) Oh yeah. You've got to also eat protein.   Tahnee: (22:11) Well, that's the thing I think people intuitively like, they crave sugar, it's like your body needs that. It's just it needs it in a form that it's absorbable and usable, and it's not just what we eat, but it's how we absorb it and transform it, right? Our chemical kind of magic of the Spleen, I think is one of the things that for me has really healed my relationship with food. It's like, I don't know, just coming to this like, like this little guy makes my body thrive. So I want to feed it well and nourish it.   Clare Pyers: (22:41) Yeah. And we need that good combo of protein and carbs, you can't just sit down with a packet of dates and hope for the best. There actually needs to be the building blocks of life, which is protein. And if we're not getting it from our diet then, your body starts to get it from wherever it can, which is your muscles and your internal organs, and the different tissues and fascia in your body. It doesn't leave your body in a position to be able to thrive. And really reproductive hormones and getting hormonal balance is all about being able to support life. For a woman it's about being able to bring another person into existence, which takes a lot of energy, and this is stuff that happened ... This is the leftover.   Clare Pyers: (23:27) We've got to run our Heart, we've got to run our Lungs, our brain, our digestive system, and really the hormonal system thrives when all of the rest is kind of taken care of. And so, when we're talking about optimising hormones, we really got to get a person's entire body into harmony, in order for the endocrine system to really be able to thrive. And so I guess that's where some of the complexity comes because, sometimes people are like, "I just want to fix my hormones. My digestion's screwed-"   Tahnee: (23:57) Not my life.   Clare Pyers: (24:00) Yeah like, "I don't want to change my life."   Tahnee: (24:03) I love working 60 hours a week, and running triathlons and not eating and it's like, cool.   Clare Pyers: (24:07) Yeah. So, we need to be realistic about what can be achieved by just kind of only focusing on one part. Sometimes we just have to come back to an understanding of what is actually going on in the body, and what's the purpose of our hormones.   Tahnee: (24:26) Yeah because I always think of sex hormones and, this is probably something we've talked about on the podcast before but, my partner and I talk about this all the time as it's, the sort of, you're only going to reproduce if you're thriving, that's sort of an evolutionary bias. And I mean obviously there's exceptions but, in general, that things have to be pretty harmonious for those things to be optimised so that, you know and the body feels safe to actually reproduce and that sort of makes a lot of sense to me from an evolutionary perspective. Like why would an undernourished girl menstruate if she's not going to have the Blood and the Qi to hold the child through?   Tahnee: (25:04) So it's sort of like a natural and intelligent design of the body. So when I started to think like that it made me realise, well, yeah, it's my job to nourish and support, and to really create the conditions where the balance, just occurs, almost on its own, and obviously there's lots of great medicines we can work with to get there faster. But, you do have to take some responsibility, I think at some point, and yeah change the flow. But yeah. And I mean, so that kind of brings me to the Liver I guess, I was just thinking because, that go, go, go kind of energy is really that strong Liver energy, like that expression and using your will to really get shit done.   Tahnee: (25:50) Which again is a very masculine energy, and also very prominent in our culture. And so many times when we look at hormonal issues, we are looking at issues with Blood stagnation and all, like you're saying, Yin deficiency or Yang deficiency, which can be Liver Yin and Yang deficiency, right? So, can you explain a little bit of how the Liver functions in terms of hormones and western and Chinese medicine if you like? But, a lot of people might know, but it'd just, yeah be good to get your take on that as well.   Clare Pyers: (26:18) Yeah, yeah. So the Liver really is in charge of, I guess, processing a lot of the hormone in the body. And so, if we're making a lot of oestrogen, if we're exposed to a lot of xenoestrogen, so this is from chemicals in your environment, chemicals that we choose-   Tahnee: (26:41) To put on ourselves.   Clare Pyers: (26:43) Yeah that we choose to put on ourselves that ingest, and exposure to things like plastics and things like that. A lot of those have an estrogenic effect on the body and, it just creates extra burden for the Liver. So our Livers are very, very busy in a modern day life, and that there's a lot of burden that's put onto the Liver. And so we need to pay close attention to the Liver from a western point of view and from a Chinese medicine point of view. And in addition to that, from a Chinese medicine point of view, it's not just the physiological aspects of what the Liver does, it's also those emotional and spiritual aspects.   Clare Pyers: (27:21) And part of that emotional, spiritual wellbeing of the Liver is, having that freedom of expression, especially around frustration and anger, and resentment. And things are definitely better now than what they were 20, 30 years ago, but women still, from a cultural and society point of view, are still not celebrated for speaking their truth and for being able to vent their frustrations. And this repressed anger, and repressed resentment, and smiling and nodding, instead of saying what you actually feel, and what is actually true for you-   Tahnee: (28:04) Or crying instead of being angry, like that was when I had to really work on.   Clare Pyers: (28:09) Yeah. That has it, it takes a real toll and it does manifest in in hormones for a lot of women. And so that's something that, I guess for the listeners, I really invite you to think about the ways in which you feel comfortable to express your anger and your frustration. A lot of women don't have the words for it, we have a lot of shame around this idea of being aggressive. We don't have this picture of, what does assertiveness look like in a woman? What does it feel like to be assertive? How can I be assertive without wanting to label myself as a bitch? And so I'm sorry if I'm not allowed to say that-   Tahnee: (28:50) No I was actually thinking it but I didn't want to interrupt you. Because it's like, yeah it's very true, a lot of women are afraid.   Clare Pyers: (28:56) Yeah. Yeah we're afraid of being called a bitch or aggressive. And, there's actually plenty of times where, it can be a very feminine thing to be assertive. Women often have their first experience of being assertive when they have young children. And you're trying to get out the door and you can become very assistive, and very effective in your communication when you're talking to a three year old, and you're trying to get them to put on their shoes, put your jacket on, we're getting out the door. That's a very assertive way of saying it. And when we get into mum mode, we can really embrace that. But for some women they're not at that particular stage of life, or they're choosing not to have that as part of their life. And so, there's other training grounds, I guess, but you need to create them a bit more for yourself.   Clare Pyers: (29:47) So the Liver is absolutely very important and, as we talked about before with the Spleen, there's times when the Liver is in excess and we need to do kind of more dispersing stuff, and that's where things like, milk thistle and things like that come into play. But then there's also a time in the Liver is weaker and needs to be nourished and supported. And that's where things like goji and schizandra can come in. And so we need to be mindful from a Western and a Chinese Medicine point of view, okay, well there's a problem with the Liver, what in particular is going on with the Liver, and how can we be targeted and specific? Rather than just going, everyone with Liver stuff gets milk thistle. Because it's highly inappropriate for so many people and the same with goji and schizandra and things like that.   Clare Pyers: (30:37) And so I think it's, we're clever people, we can apply this discernment in our thinking, when we're looking at the ways in which we treat our patients, if you're a practitioner, or the way that you can choose which types of herbs that you would like to take.   Tahnee: (30:57) You're working with.   Clare Pyers: (30:58) Yeah.   Tahnee: (30:58) So I mean, I didn't ask you to explain excess and deficiency before, but I wouldn't mind if you would just kind of touch on that idea for people. Because, yeah I just sometimes feel like these words maybe go over people's heads. So, you were talking about a Liver excess, or even just excess and deficiency in general, how would you be explaining that to the lay person coming into your clinic?   Clare Pyers: (31:23) Yeah. Well, that's a good question.   Tahnee: (31:26) Doozy for you. Sorry,   Clare Pyers: (31:27) Excess and deficiency in general, how about I start with that? So, I guess I often use the analogy of a river. And so, there can be lots of reasons why a river might not be flowing. But ultimately we want to be in flow, we want everything in our body to feel harmonious. And, that would be represented with a nice healthy river, that flows really well. And if the river is not flowing properly, then we need to fix it. And that's usually why people come to see me. And other practitioners is that, their river is not flowing properly. And so the river can get stuck, and filled with branches, and rocks, and all kinds of crap, debris, that's stopping the river from flowing properly. And that would be what we call an excess type of problem.   Clare Pyers: (32:20) So, there's extra stuff in the river that doesn't belong in that particular place, it belongs elsewhere in the world or elsewhere in the body, and so we need to support the body to be able to clear it out, send it back to where it belongs, so that the river can flow again once more. And those excess types of conditions, might manifest with things like, headaches and being really grumpy and, things that improve with exercise, things that improve with a nice cup of tea, things that, if we clear out some space, then you feel better.   Tahnee: (33:03) You usually get better, yeah.   Clare Pyers: (33:03) Yeah, yeah, generally speaking, it's difficult to describe in blanket terms.   Tahnee: (33:08) Yeah. But would you also put like detoxification in that category as well?   Clare Pyers: (33:13) Yeah, yeah. So a typical detox will be to get rid of excess. Then, we've got the other type of reason why a river might not be flowing, which is because there's not enough water in it. And so you just kind of get these patches of little puddles, but it's not really a properly flowing river and to be able to restore flow and harmony for that particular person, we need to fill them up. So we need to replenish them, refill the cup, and then their river will flow again once more. And so, things like nourishing diet, and having rest-   Tahnee: (33:47) And tonic herbs and those kinds of things.   Clare Pyers: (33:49) Tonic herbs and doing all the Yin things like in life is what will-   Tahnee: (33:54) Resting.   Clare Pyers: (33:55) I know, it's like a four letter word to some people, right? People like, "Tell me exactly, I'm just doing errands and I'm running around." I'm like, no, if you are not laying horizontal-   Tahnee: (34:06) Lie down.   Clare Pyers: (34:08) ... You're either on your couch or you're in bed, if you're not doing either of those things, you're not resting. So I've learned over the years, I have to be very specific-   Tahnee: (34:18) Black and white.   Clare Pyers: (34:18) Yes.   Tahnee: (34:20) R- E- S- T, yeah.   Clare Pyers: (34:28) Exactly, exactly. So, for those people, detox is not appropriate for those people, and they need replenishing, and rest, restoration. And so, that's where tonic herbs come into play, and those people will tend to feel better after having a sleep or a rest. A headache that doesn't get fixed with painkillers or the usual type of approach, it's a headache that gets better when you eat something, or a headache that gets better after you've had a sleep. And so that would be the way that you would identify if you've got some symptoms that I guess are deficient type symptoms.   Tahnee: (35:07) So, I think when we're talking about then hormones and looking at, I guess if we're looking at the women's menstrual cycle. So, if women are noticing at certain times that they're hitting, like say, I've spoken to a lot of people lately actually that are finding the luteal phase to be really long and kind of they're getting the PMS symptoms quite early and that sort of thing. So we'd be looking at someone who's Yang is deficient at that stage, is that kind of what-   Clare Pyers: (35:38) Yeah, more than likely. So if there's problems in the luteal phase, then usually speaking, if a woman's got a 14 day luteal phase, that's really great because, often that time between ovulation and menstruation can be shortened in women who are deficient. But it can be either, it's not just a hard and fast rule that all luteal phase problems are deficiency. But, yeah I would be looking more towards, what makes it better. And if it's ... Or what makes it worse. If it's worse after you have a fight with your partner, or if it's worse after a stressful day at work, or it's worse after you've done a workout, then that's all going to give clues as to whether ... The types of things that's going to improve it as well.   Clare Pyers: (36:37) But if there's problems all the way through the luteal phase, it's, I guess for me, the women that I see in my practise, usually they're really, they're just really depleted. It's almost like their body used up everything they had, to be able to get ovulation to happen, and then the body's like, okay, I'm done. I'm done. And a woman will experience that as you know like-   Tahnee: (37:00) It's become the princess.   Clare Pyers: (37:01) ... Yeah. Like sore tender breasts for like two weeks, and bloating for two weeks, and feeling grumpy or teary and emotional for two weeks, that's tough going. It's really tough going and often for those women they just need to dial things back and nourish themselves more. For a small amount of women, it's a combination of both as well. So particularly with women, for example, who have endometriosis, they can have a lot of problems being able to ovulate in the first place, especially if they've got a lot of endo-   Tahnee: (37:37) Like inflammation and stuff?   Clare Pyers: (37:38) Yeah. If there's endo on the actual ovaries, it's like their ovaries can't kind of breathe properly. And those women can have a lot of problems of excess and deficiency, and that's a little bit more complicated, and usually requires a lot of diet change as well as stress management, as well as herbal medicines so.   Tahnee: (37:58) I mean, I feel like people with endo need a practitioner just to really sort of guide them through and someone who's really sensitive. Like that's why TCM I think it's so great, because it looks at your unique pattern instead of, just kind of like oh endo is this, do this and do that. It's, obviously and that does not work so many times for people. You just got to go find someone who can really guide you through your healing journey, and help you understand what got you there. And then you've got the information not to get back to that place so. So when we're talking about menopause then, because this is one that we've been sort of, we're trying to do some podcasts on it actually, which we've got in the bank.   Tahnee: (38:39) But, yeah I just feel like it's a really common thing that I hear from women that they have pretty rough menopauses, and I always come back to evolutionary ideas, I'm like, how is it evolutionary beneficial for a woman to have a shitty, shitty, shitty time during menopause? It just doesn't make sense. It's the same with PMS, I'm like, why would nature give us PMS? It just doesn't make sense to me. And then when you learn about the Dao, like no nature does not give you PMS, our western culture gives you PMS, our behaviour gives you PMS. So I mean the same sort of thing with menopause. It's like, it's this accumulation of a lifetime of stress, and not listening, and going hard and then bang, big change, and women just do not have a great time sliding through that.   Tahnee: (39:24) So is that a kind of a ... Is there a moving into a more Yin phase and that's when we start to see like these things come up? Or is there a way you can describe that for us, that kind of embraces the TCM framework?   Clare Pyers: (39:35) Yeah, yeah. So look, I mean going into menopause is, you know it's a very important transition for women. And there are women out there who, are the very non vocal minority, who transitioned very easily through menopause, they don't have any symptoms at all, and they really do keep their mouth shut because, their friends and their colleagues have such an awful time, and they don't want to rub it in. And yeah. So, it's absolutely normal to just stop having periods, at an appropriate age. So we're talking about a woman who's around the age of 50, we're not talking about women who go into menopause at 40 because, my very strong belief is that that is just misdiagnosed, that it's amenorrhea. Because a lot of those women will see their periods return if they come and seek treatment for something else.   Clare Pyers: (40:32) So, if you have gone into menopause and you're not 50, then it's probably not menopause, it's probably just extended amenorrhea, regardless of what Blood tests say. A Blood test is just a snapshot in time.   Tahnee: (40:44) In time, yeah.   Clare Pyers: (40:46) Yeah. So I will preface it all by saYing that. And so I guess then we have to ask the question, what is the purpose of all of these symptoms? Why would nature come up with such a cruel set of symptoms? Insomnia and night sweats and, hot flushes during the day. And really we can trace things back quite a few years. It's not like a woman has perfect health leading up to menopause, and then all of a sudden starts experiencing these awful symptoms. Usually there's a very long lead up of some level of disharmony where the body has given out invitations along the way of, "Hey, I'm not happy, can we do something about this?" And it could be bloating, it could be period pain. Some women might have problems with fibroids, if we're talking about women's health in their 40s. And a lot of women at this age are kind of done with their families, and so they might just say, "Right, well, I'm just going to have an IUD put in. Because then I don't have to think about my contraception, and it's also going to sort out my heavy periods, and then I don't have to think about it anymore."   Clare Pyers: (41:58) Except then you do have to think about it at some stage down the track because all of a sudden you get smacked in the face with these really full on symptoms. So, there's an opportunity for women who are in their late 30s and early 40s, to really connect with their body and to get a sense of, what is it that my body really wants here? Do I need to be working five days a week? Is there a way that I can work less? Is there a way I can do less and conserve my energy for the things that really matter? And so, taking care of your adrenals and your Kidney energy, taking care of your Blood, taking care of your Yin are all things that are going to support an easier transition for a woman, as she transitions into a really important phase of her life. There's also a lot of cultural stigma around women over the age of 50.   Clare Pyers: (42:53) This idea of the wise old crone, we don't celebrate that. We dye our hair, we're 60 year old women who still have perfectly jet black hair, there's no framework within our society to celebrate the graceful ageing of women. It's slowly starting to change, but I think that as we embrace ageing, and as we celebrate wisdom in our older women, in our society, I think that that will also support an easier transition into menopause. But, it's the last big transition as a woman. We're born, that's like a massive thing that happens to us, we hit puberty, that's a massive thing that happens to us and there's lots of things that can go wrong or can go right. So we can correct a lot of things as in the transition to puberty, as well as things can go really wrong.   Clare Pyers: (43:51) The same with pregnancy. So for a woman, pregnancy can correct a lot of things for a woman, but it can also be a time when a lot of things go really wrong and stay wrong. And menopause is also another time where, if we have a really great environment around that transition, it can be an opportunity for a lot of really great healing to occur. And so, I think as for me, myself, as I get closer towards that age, I'm only 41 at the moment, I'm still a few years off, but I think I'll start to put some more attention towards creating resources for my patients to-   Tahnee: (44:32) And yourself.   Clare Pyers: (44:32) Yeah and myself, to have a better transition through menopause.   Tahnee: (44:38) Because I see a lot of thyroid stuff comes up as well, around that time. So can you explain a little bit about ... Because thyroid I feel like, I don't know, every time I mean I read something in functional medicine it's like, this new ideas about what's going on and how to test for it properly, and what you should really be doing and, so I'd love your take on what you see the thyroid's function is in the body and then, how that relates to transitions like menopause and, even because part of a lot of women have issues with the thyroid.   Clare Pyers: (45:08) Yeah. So the thyroid it's really the metabolism centre of the brain, it's like the great control switch that is in charge of a lot of things, it helps to transport energy into our cells, it helps to keep us warm, it helps to ... I guess it also helps with the flow of reproductive hormones and other hormones in our body. So if there's a problem with the thyroid, you can end up with Blood sugar problems, you can end up with menstrual problems, as well as problems with your sleep wake cycle. So, it affects everything, everything's all connected, the endocrine system, it's really difficult to separate out one part from another, the thyroid is very important. And the thyroid needs salt and iodine, to be able to make thyroid hormone.   Clare Pyers: (46:02) And so there ... Iodine is something that a lot of people don't get a lot of in their diet, and we're all told that salt is bad for us and so a lot of people are on this salt and iodine depleted diets, and wondering why their thyroid doesn't work so well. And so there are two things that are really easy to fix, really easy to fix is just have more salt and get some more iodine. And that can be a really supportive thing to do for your metabolism and for your hormonal health. And I guess from the point of view of the throat chakra, the thyroid is all about, being able to freely speak your truth. And so, coming back to what we touched on earlier, that's a really important thing for women in particular to get the hang of, is to, just to speak freely to allow that free flowing energy to happen through the thyroid and the throat area.   Clare Pyers: (46:59) In terms of, what happens around menopause and that transition, I guess there's a lot of pressure that's going on in the endocrine system and big fluctuations of progesterone and oestrogen as they're finding their new normal, and the adrenal glands take over in this time. So the adrenal glands, they kind of tick away in the background and have been the whole time and they create low levels of background hormone for us when we're in menstruating years and our child bearing years. But then, once the ovaries kind of shut up shop, say, right I'm done, I'm out of here, I've hit retirement.   Tahnee: (47:40) Vacay.   Clare Pyers: (47:41) Yeah.   Tahnee: (47:42) Bahamas.   Clare Pyers: (47:42) and the adrenal glands are continuing to create these low levels of hormones and, there's this beautiful relationship between the adrenal glands and the thyroid where they kind of ... They work in partnership to run our metabolism and our energy production. And so this is where we come to see our true debt I guess, to our adrenals and how much we've borrowed on credit, to be able to live the life that we have. And so if our adrenals are suffering, then the thyroid kind of has to pick up its game and that's ... And if your thyroid has been unhappy also from years of not having enough iodine, not having enough salt and eating a low carb diet and not speaking your truth, then the whole thing just kind of goes kablamo.   Clare Pyers: (48:35) And so that's where supporting the adrenals and just being judicious with the way that you spend your energy is really important to being able to maintain that thyroid health during the menopausal transition, just to make things a lot easier. And some women find that, a lot of women will develop thyroid issues around that time, and for a lot of women they end up on thyroid hormone replacement, and that can provide a lot of relief for women who are going through menopause. Who otherwise would end up on HRT or higher doses of HRT than they need to be on.   Tahnee: (49:16) So just, I'm conscious of time but I just wanted to quickly touch on the autoimmune sort of side of that because, that seems to be incredibly common now, that Graves and Hashimoto’s, those, both sides. Do you have a sort of lens on that for your work on what's actually going on? Is it just what we've been talking about? Too much, not enough, kind of that's the either side of it or is there, a little bit more nuance to it than that or? Because it's something I feel like-   Clare Pyers: (49:48) For a lot of people there's ... It comes back to the gut. And for a lot of people their gut is really not, it's not in good shape at all. And it's easy for people to collect these low grade, lingering infections as they go along through life. And it could be some type of gastro bag or Bali belly type of thing that someone gets and they never really quite felt the same afterwards. But for some people, there's not necessarily a particular event that they can pinpoint. But, an infection can find its way to the thyroid and can start attacking the thyroid. And it may not necessarily show up in Blood tests. So, there was a study I looked at, was very cool, was never reproduced and it was someone somewhere in Scandinavia.   Clare Pyers: (50:40) And he basically did a biopsy of all of his patients' thyroids, if they had symptoms of low thyroid, regardless of what their Blood test said, he did a biopsy on all of them and found that all of them had antibodies, they had thyroid antibodies there, and he treated them with thyroid hormone and all of them got better. And this is regardless of what their Blood test said, he just went based on symptoms and I'm like, wow, that's really cool. But no one has done it since so it's kind of not reproduced and so therefore it doesn't have a lot of scientific significance. But it's a very cool idea. And it does demonstrate that there can be problems with your thyroid that are not going to show up on Blood tests.   Clare Pyers: (51:20) So it is important to look at other metrics such as, your basal body temperature and how you maintain your body temperature through the day, and your heart rate as well. How does your heart rate change across the day? Does your heart rate improve or go down with eating? And what happens across the day. And there's a lot of very cool information from a guy called Ray Pete, who talks a lot on that.   Tahnee: (51:45) He's the guy that does the orange juice and ice cream diet.   Clare Pyers: (51:48) Orange juice and ice cream.   Tahnee: (51:50) I was really into him for a while because I was like, this sounds amazing. It didn't work for me.   Clare Pyers: (51:55) It sounds amazing. Yeah so there's, yeah so that idea of being able to, I guess support your thyroid in that way is very cool. But from what I see with my patients with Hashimoto's and Graves disease, a lot of them do have that low grade lingering infection, as part of what drives their antibody process. And so, more and more over the last few years I've been seeing a lot of success with my patients who have autoimmune thyroid disease and other autoimmune diseases, with addressing that, kind of that triad of, the autoimmune, whatever is happening with the actual organ, and then also the gut, and then also the immune system overall.   Clare Pyers: (52:38) And as we know as practitioners, if you've got one autoimmune disease, you're more likely to get another, there's lots of links between things like, autoimmune thyroid disease and autoimmune infertility. There's lots of links between thyroids and endometriosis, there's lot of links between celiac as well as rheumatoid arthritis, and celiac and ... Yep, there's so many autoimmune diseases now that are classified. And so it's definitely a very exciting and emerging area of medicine, and for practitioners who can do a really good job in identifying and treating autoimmune conditions, they're the ones who are going to be seeing the greatest success with their patients in the years to come, because it's becoming a really important part of clinical practise.   Tahnee: (53:29) Yeah. That's exciting that it's becoming more recognised too because I think even probably 10 years ago people were just suffering and didn't really ... It was just less clear what was going on but there's a lot more information out there now.   Clare Pyers: (53:42) Yeah. And that's probably a whole other episode, is all on gut and-   Tahnee: (53:45) Yeah if we can-   Clare Pyers: (53:45) ... Autoimmunity.   Tahnee: (53:47) Yeah, immunity.   Clare Pyers: (53:48) Yes. And we didn't even talk about men today either.   Tahnee: (53:52) Well I was going to say it'd be great to get you back on to do a men's, I think they do deserve their own podcast, [inaudible 00:53:59] speaking.   Clare Pyers: (53:59) They definitely do.   Tahnee: (54:01) Yeah and exciting that you're working on a book, right? So we can maybe wait for that to be finished, and then we can, yeah, jump on about that. But yeah, just wanted to say thank you, I feel like that was just a really awesome snapshot for people to just sort of start to merge these two sides of, I guess broad views, I suppose, of like the Western and the Chinese. Because so many people we speak to see a GP, but then they'll also be interested in that oriental, I guess lens of health. And so, yeah I think it's a really useful place to start bridging that information.   Tahnee: (54:35) So if you guys really enjoyed today, I would recommend Clare's podcast and her book. If you are a practitioner, I cannot tell you again, this is really good. And actually a lot of this stuff, how you've got all the descriptions of sort the Chinese patterns, that are associated with the different levels, I feel like that's just such a useful way to think about things and it's ... My partner and I always do our Bloods once a year and go through all this and see what's happening. But it's been really, right?   Clare Pyers: (55:03) Yeah.   Tahnee: (55:03) It's just a great, happy to have a book honestly for us, us nerds. But yeah, we've also got your website, so clarepyers.com, we will put your links and everything on our website but it's C- L- A- R- E P- Y- E- R- S.com. Do you do social media or anything else like that Clare? Do people find you on Facebook or?   Clare Pyers: (55:23) I'm very shy on social media, I post occasionally. Please give me encouragement if you see me post anything on Instagram or Facebook.   Tahnee: (55:32) You're a clut.   Clare Pyers: (55:33) Yeah. Yeah I'm there occasion, I hang out, yeah.   Tahnee: (55:36) Yeah, okay. And if people want to reach you, you have a clinic in Melbourne is that right?   Clare Pyers: (55:40) Yeah. So my clinic's in Prahran, and I see patients from all around the world actually. I see patients locally as well as online.   Tahnee: (55:48) Oh cool, via Zoom or something like that, yeah.   Clare Pyers: (55:51) Via whatever works at the moment, whatever the internet dictates. So I've been doing a lot of FaceTime this week.   Tahnee: (55:58) Oh yeah of course, yeah. Well and I guess everyone's internets are behaving weirdly in this time.   Clare Pyers: (56:03) Yes, indeed.   Tahnee: (56:05) Okay, great. Well yeah I hope if you need support you can reach out to Clare, or find someone similar who knows what Clare knows. I don't think there's anyone out there, but yeah. So thank you so much again for your time Clare, we really appreciate it and look forward to chatting to you again soon.   Clare Pyers: (56:20) Thanks for having me on, it was great to be here and I look forward to coming back soon.
Mason is thrilled to welcome Rhonda Chang to the podcast today. Rhonda is a traditional healer who specialises in the art and healing principals of yinyang wuxing. After becoming disillusioned during her studies in Traditional Chinese Medicine, in her native home of China, Rhonda decided to go her own way. Straying from the path of convention to re-educate herself through the exploration and deep analysis of the classical texts. After 30 years of research and practice Rhonda published two books: Chinese Medicine Masquerading As Yi — A Case of Chinese Self-colonisation and Yinyang Wuxing Spirit, Body & Healing, and continues to raise awareness around the true origin and principals of Classical Chinese Medicine. Today's chat is truly eye opening and informative. Rhonda is a rebel with a cause, and it is an absolute delight to have her with us, sharing her wisdom and knowledge with integrity and conviction.   Mason and Rhonda discuss: The difference between Classical Chinese Medicine and Modern Chinese Medicine, which otherwise known as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) The concept of 'Yi'. Wuxing - Five Element Theory. Rhonda's process of "de-colonising" herself from the standardised TCM curriculum she was originally trained in. Symptoms vs diagnoses; how Westernised TCM is still operating within a symptom based ideology. Rhonda's top tips for wellness.   Who is Rhonda Chang? For the past 40 years Rhonda Chang has been involved in the study and practice of traditional healing. The journey has been long and tortuous. Rhonda began her studies at the Beijing College of Traditional Medicine. After graduation Rhonda worked as a physician at a number of hospitals in China. In 1986 she migrated to Australia and opened her own treatment clinic.  Rhonda operated her clinic up until 2012, where she felt that government regulation was overly restricting her practice of healing and that the professionalisation of TCM in Australia had subordinated it to modern medicine. Since then Rhonda has focused her energies on writing books and promoting a return to traditional YinYang Wuxing healing principles.   Resources: Rhonda Website Rhonda Podcast Rhonda Books   Rhonda Facebook Group   Q: How Can I Support The SuperFeast Podcast?   A: Tell all your friends and family and share online! We’d also love it if you could subscribe and review this podcast on iTunes. Or  check us out on Stitcher :)! Plus  we're on Spotify!   Check Out The Transcript Here:   Mason: (00:00) Hey, Rhonda. Thanks so much for joining me.   Rhonda: (00:03) Pleasure. Thank you.   Mason: (00:05) Now, I don't often get nervous when I'm doing podcast interviews, but I'm... like, I didn't really tell you, I showed you that I've got your book sitting here with me. But I'm a real big fan of your work.   Rhonda: (00:20) Thank you.   Mason: (00:20) And ever since I first heard that podcast that you did on Qiological, which I'd stopped listening to Qiological a long time ago. I was still subscribed, but then the Chinese Medicine masquerading As Yi came up, and I was like... It got something awake in me because I had this consistent disappointment with Chinese medicine and I'm studying more of the Daoist path of medicine, but want to interact with Chinese medicine today, as it is, and kept on becoming disappointing and finding something disingenuous about it and you informed me about what that inkling is.   Mason: (01:01) So first, off the bat, thank you so much for that. Can you explain the difference between Chinese medicine and even, like, what the term Yi means?   Rhonda: (01:11) Yi, yeah. I call that an ancient Chinese healing called a Yi. Which, I mean, they translate Yi in English as medicine, but there's so much difference. There's a fundamental difference in theory, the understanding life, everything. So that's why I call them a Yi, I don't like to call them medicine. They're not really equivalent to Western terms of medicine.   Mason: (01:37) Mm-hmm (affirmative).   Rhonda: (01:38) Well, what a difference. Yi is... You know, Chinese medicine is created after 1950s. And the Communist Party actually took over China and they want to change everything because... I mean, it's not just Chinese Communist Party did it, it was actually from 1900, early 1900, after Opium War and China defeated and then they also did change in China.   Rhonda: (02:04) I mean, especially, I think, the contribution was America actually started to get all the young Chinese students going to America to study because the theory is these people going back, they will be the leaders of the country. And then they will... You know, kind of favour our country, our philosophy, our beliefs. So they did, and these people, later in... You know, like mid-1900, China was like internal wars and so many parties and the communists and the National Party and all this kind. But they all believe in science.   Rhonda: (02:43) So everyone... When they established the government, they want to ban Chinese medicine. And then when Mao took over and he said, "No, I'm not going to ban it, I'm going to modify them." So that's where they come from, the modern Chinese medicine. What they modified is they got rid of the theory. A lot of people are telling me, they say, "Why hasn't Chinese medicine always talk about Yinyang Wuxing ." But they talk about Yinyang Wuxing, which is completely different to what Yinyang Wuxing was in traditional ancient Chinese healing, the meaning.   Rhonda: (03:20) So what happened is they... What modern Chinese medicine do is that they recognise your body as anatomy and physiology and pathology and disease, exactly everything to Western medicine. And then they try to match the traditional healing technique, like formulas, acupuncture needle points. So then they match this, they say, "Oh, that description, just like a modern disease. What is it?"   Rhonda: (03:49) So then they actually kind of make a little bit of complicated, say. There was a wet disease and there was a... pneumonia, for example. There was a wet pneumonia, there was a dry pneumonia, there's a hot pneumonia, there's a cold pneumonia. And then they made up all different formulas for it, and then people just matching. But for a practitioner, you don't understand how this formula came about and you don't know how to apply them. You're just guessing. And if it doesn't work, you're paralysed because you say, "Oh, well, you know, the ancient people hasn't met this kind of cases."   Rhonda: (04:25) So wanting the traditional yi was, I mean, they don't really... there's no... I mean, the body recognised as the ba gua, if you heard of it. And that's what... what do you call the... Meridians. Meridians is a ba gua. You know, I was calling you before and there was a [inaudible] and Dìqiú. What is [inaudible]? [inaudible] is the sun position to the Earth, and they go square. East to west, isn't it? And north to south. So that's made a square. So then they call the Earth is square.   Rhonda: (04:58) A lot of people say Chinese old people didn't understand, they think the Earth is square. It's not that sense, it's the sun made our sense of direction. If there's no sun, then you don't really know where the west, left, and there's nothing, isn't it?   Mason: (05:13) Mm-hmm (affirmative).   Rhonda: (05:14) So that's what is the [kin der 00:05:15] and Dìqiú, which is the time of the Earth rotate themself and around the sun. So that's a time. And these two work together and make a big difference to how your body is and how you actually live. Say like, the sun may be in the right, say mid-day, but on the... you know, it could be summer. It could be winter, isn't it? So that actually make difference, too.   Rhonda: (05:43) So that was what medicine made kind of a understand your body. How you actually responding to the sun position, because a lot of people say, "Oh, we're not really kind of to do with the sun." But you do. You sleep at night because the sun is down, and you wake up in the morning because the sun is up." And even in the cold days, even in the cloudy day. So your body actually responding to the sun, the moon. The reason is the sun give you the heat, the Yang Qi we call it. And the moon, what they do, is the moon waves your Water.   Rhonda: (06:19) So when the Earth and the moon and the sun in the same line and what happen is the tide go high. So that's why your body... Your body's 75% the water, isn't it? So you're responding to that. And according to when you're born and you have different constitution. And then that's why you're waving the external differently. So then we work out how that your body actually responding to the sun, the moon, the so-called Meridians. That's what the time is. And then your internal organ is... What do you call that? We call that direction or wuxing. Well, wuxing is when the sun first rising or in the spring, what happened is that you, the Wood started.   Rhonda: (07:05) Your not is a first thing, isn't it? The Wood start growing. And now we say that's the Wood, that's your Liver, and your Liver responding to that. And then the... You know, like a longest day of the year, which is in that time, summer, and you're body actually responding to your Heart. And you can't help it, you're just responding to that because, you know, that make your hot... make you active, isn't it?   Rhonda: (07:32) Make your Heart desire. Yes. So then the winter, shortest day in the winter, and that was what we call... And your body also responding to that. That's your Water. So the Water actually go downward, and that's when you kind of go down. Yeah. So this is the medicine, traditionally. So how that work with your body is because in different times, because your body responding to the sun, the moon, and the time, so your body actually move around.   Rhonda: (08:07) We recognise that where they go. This is also not imaginary. It's also the sun always come from the East and going down from the west, isn't it? So your body responding the same way, and you're going... so the Meridian, actually running around like this, and the back and the forth. You know, the front. So then we recognise this is the point, and then when you have a problem, that means that you don't respond. Because you're part of our Earth, really. You're living on it. You cannot help it, to be effective.. That what we say. The heavens, Earth, and the people are in the one line. So you can't actually get away from it.   Rhonda: (08:49) But if people actually get in kind of, say, mood problem, so we say your Spirit blocked. So you don't respond, you can't connect to the... What do you call that? The spirits of the Heaven and the Earth. Yeah. So now if you have, like, a physical problem and one that doesn't really connect, you feel the pain. And that's why you feel sick.   Rhonda: (09:12) So what we do is from acupuncture point, you can actually choose your time. So your time, you just have to go slow, so then you choose your time with the acupuncture. And then with the herbs, and somebody just wrote me a email, says, "How do you say Yinyang Wuxing terms? How do you say these plants actually can help your... What do you call it? Like I said, Liver. Animals Liver, and it can help your Liver."   Rhonda: (09:38) So what Yinyang Wuxing terms in that? I said... I haven't replied, but I'm going to write a little blog about it. And you see, your Spleen, we call that, or your stomach, or your... What do you... The Heart, in our terms is all about Yin and Yang. So Yin and Yang in the Heart, which is Fire, you know? The nature of Fire, rise, isn't it? And the nature of the Water sink. So the plants, which have the same nature as your Heart and they also benefit your own Heart. Because they got the same Yin Yang nature. And the Water, the same.   Rhonda: (10:20) So if you have a Kidney problem, and then this plants or anything around you exist which have that same kind of nature, and you can use them either to rise your Water or to kind of increase your Water. And that's how so-called nutrition, but we don't really look at a nutrition point, you see? Everything is Yin Yang, you see. There's no thing says that, you know, you've got to eat vitamins or proteins or sugar to benefit you. It might, but in our terms you got to actually benefit your Yin and Yang. And so if your kidney have a problem, I mean, the Kidney is naturally a Water organ so they're kind of a cold.   Rhonda: (11:07) So for Yin and Yang, they need a heat. So then you need something warm for the Water, and you choose some plants, like cinnamon, and aconite. They're actually very, very hot and warm for the Water. So you add that in there, and then your Water rise in your body. And that's what I treat for edoema. That people have a edoema, and you use that. It's very, very well. Very, very effective, powerful. So that's what difference are. You don't recognise the body as the anatomy. So whatever disease... I wrote a little... what do you call it? E-book on this coronavirus. Because [crosstalk 00:11:45].   Mason: (11:45) Oh, you did? Cool.   Rhonda: (11:45) Yeah. The people say, "You haven't made this disease, how can you treat it?" So what you do is you actually look at a symptom and you interpret it into Yinyang Wuxing because fever comes so quickly, seems develop very fast. What I mean, it's the Fire, isn't it? So how do you put a Fire down? You actually Water control with Fire, isn't it? So you increase Water, and I choose a lot of herbs which are really kind of cool, and the Water, increase Water quality. So then you treat it.   Rhonda: (12:18) I mean, recently, I had a girl actually ask me what to do and she had a very bad fever and I think she tested negative, but she took some packet from my book, she got a formula, and then she took, like, three-packet-in-one in kind of two days. Her fever dropped like within 12 hours. Everything disappeared. 12 hours. Finished.   Rhonda: (12:43) Clear. Sorry?   Mason: (12:47) Did she have a COVID infection? Mm-hmm (affirmative).   Rhonda: (12:48) No, not... she just had a kind of fever, infection. You know, sore throat, runny nose, [crosstalk 00:12:53] maybe. I said, "It doesn't matter, it's COVID or anything because we don't really treat the disease." [crosstalk 00:13:00]   Mason: (13:00) Yeah, right. That's the same as going... you know, when we say "liver," we're not saying liver with a little L talking about the anatomical liver.   Rhonda: (13:09) Yeah, when we talk about Liver, we're not talking about anatomical liver, but we talk about Wood. We talk about our flexibility, and we talk about our strength. That's what a Liver does, what Wood does. Wood actually flexible, and firm.   Mason: (13:24) Mm-hmm (affirmative).   Rhonda: (13:24) So that's what we're talking about. So if you actually... You know, somebody kind of timid, you know, very scared for always that it's Liver with the Yang then, it's because they're not straight enough, so they're not firm enough. Isn't it?   Mason: (13:36) Mm-hmm (affirmative).   Rhonda: (13:37) So if somebody actually get kind of really angry, you know, very easy hot temper, so what we say, " lose the flexibility," so we say it's your Liver Yin problem. So we don't talk about a disease at all, we talk about a Liver as a Wood. And when we talk about the Heart, we talk as Fire. So the Fire... They're floating, but if they do float above the ground, they're not grounded. It's weird, isn't it? So what you do, you need to ground them. And that's where we work. So we don't really... I mean, like, somebody palpitated, you know, it really is always the Heart rising. And that's Fire in the Heart, it's floating.   Rhonda: (14:17) So what you do, you use a oyster shell and... What do you call it? Abalone shell and what do you call it? A mother of pearl.   Mason: (14:26) Pearl, mm-hmm (affirmative).   Rhonda: (14:27) You ground them. You ground the Fire. And it works. I mean, people that you listen to and they say, "Use this shell," they don't even dissolve Water, so you drink the tea, what that do? There's the calcium, but the calcium doesn't dissolve in the Water that you use, and you don't use it, absolutely a difference. And I remember that somebody read this somewhere, she read it and she said she got some kind of a cyst in her uterus and as she read some modern Chinese medicine report, said, "Oyster shells can actually dissolve this cyst."   Rhonda: (15:05) So she asked me to give her 90 grams. Normally, I use 30 grams. I did, myself. But anyway, there's no problem. I know that would be too heavy, but she didn't think of it, so I did 90 gram.   Mason: (15:18) Yeah.   Rhonda: (15:19) And then she said she couldn't really... She couldn't move. She just feels sick and doesn't want to move. Lazy, heavy. It's hard to see. So that's what difference. Yeah.   Mason: (15:33) I mean, the difference is so huge. And I think I underestimate how big the difference... And say, for myself, growing up in a Western society, which is fundamentally reductionist and fundamentally compartmentalises things, and then I'm given this Watered-down Chinese medicine and it's kind of like, as you've said in your book, it's like an ornamental Chinese medicine. And the Western approach, the pathology approach, the anatomical approach has this patronising nature due to the self-colonisation of Chinese medicine, right?   Rhonda: (16:14) Yes.   Mason: (16:15) So can you help me with my pronunciation? Is it in the '50s, what really dropped it for me was that there was... it's, this is a new medicine, you know? This is a new experimental type of medicine that's a fusion of some Chinese principles with Western. Is it [inaudible 00:16:31]? [inaudible 00:16:32]?   Rhonda: (16:32) Say it again?   Mason: (16:33) [inaudible 00:16:33]?   Rhonda: (16:33) Oh, [inaudible 00:16:44], yeah. [inaudible 00:16:34] is that right? No?   Mason: (16:42) Yeah. Yeah, the...   Rhonda: (16:43) [inaudible 00:16:44], yes, yes, sorry. Yeah.   Mason: (16:45) My pronunciation is so terrible.   Rhonda: (16:46) That's all right. That's all right.   Rhonda: (16:49) [crosstalk 00:16:49], yeah. [inaudible 00:16:49], yeah. [inaudible 00:16:51]   Mason: (16:52) That's what absolutely blew it out of the water for me, and so the way I kind of... I will use, say... I will refer to TCM, Traditional Chinese medicine, when referring to the [inaudible 00:17:04] [crosstalk 00:17:06].   Rhonda: (17:06) Yeah, [inaudible 00:17:06]. Yeah.   Mason: (17:07) Classical Chinese medicine when talking about Yi, and I don't know whether that's... how useful that is or not, but going in your book you kind of see that there's reference from some experts talking about half-baked Chinese Medicine, and a real Chinese Medicine. So all of a sudden I start realising that all universities here, all universities in China are teaching an experimental 70-year-old medical system that is...   Rhonda: (17:37) 60, yes.   Mason: (17:38) 60, right. 60-year-old medical system that is completely watered down, and...   Rhonda: (17:45) Very much.   Mason: (17:46) The fact you've talked about it, you just nailed on the head, they think it's just harmless that we go, "Look, let's just get the best of both worlds, the best of Western Medicine and the best of Chinese Medicine." But they are completely in... You can't put them together. And you cannot lay them on top of each other in any way, and you said there that they've gone, "Well, let's just start compartmentalising symptoms to make it easier for everybody." [crosstalk 00:18:15]   Rhonda: (18:15) And it's not easy, because it's not reliable. So, I mean in the book I say that there were some Chinese Medicine students says, you know, what do you call it, they knew Chinese ways like a fly bumping into the window. It's bright, but no future. And it's so true, it's so bright but there's no future. Because it's just fake, it doesn't work, because how do you really work on a different philosophy and then you're using a different kind of practise? So they're definitely not matching. And they actually decided to make it the best of two world, but actually they made it a worse of the two worlds. You know.   Mason: (18:56) Right?   Rhonda: (18:56) It's just so terrible.   Mason: (19:00) Well, because they don't actually... as you're saying, that style of medicine, the fake Chinese Medicine, TCM, which is being taught doesn't follow a logical scientific pathology based approach.   Rhonda: (19:10) No, that's right.   Mason: (19:11) Which can work in its own right, and for its intention. And it definitely doesn't follow Yinyang Wuxing principles.   Rhonda: (19:19) No, that's right.   Mason: (19:20) And it doesn't necessarily work. It's kind of flying in the dark. You see these studies come about, going, "We're studying the use of this formula for a cold, headache, due to blah blah blah." So it's like, straightaway we're in a symptom-based approach.   Rhonda: (19:38) Yeah.   Mason: (19:39) And they're basically trying to see what percentage...And some different formulas are going to have a different percentage of effectiveness based on the symptom, but they're like, this formula, what percentage can we accidentally lower the symptoms by using this formula? Right? Like, that's kind of like the only way I can see it, and I'm just like, it's... I get it, because it's so tempting to use anatomy and use pathology.   Rhonda: (20:10) Yes.   Rhonda: (20:11) And the problem is, it's not reliable. I actually trained the same way. I train exactly as... What do you call the modern Chinese Medicine who go through this university, that was the first time when China... You know, after the revolution, they reopened the university. I mean, during the revolution they stopped all the education, university, for nine years, I think. And then they re-opened, that's the time I actually got into university. I learned Chinese Medicine, and I was looking for some kind of traditional arts, you know, like philosophy, and absolutely nothing. And then there's nothing they explain. It's like, it makes sense.   Rhonda: (20:48) And I used to question the teacher and the teacher gave me a dirty look, and everybody look at me dirty, because they think, you know, "What do you know? Why do you really always getting in trouble?" So now I stop listening, and now I start writing stories no matter in the class.   Rhonda: (21:03) So after finish, you become a practitioner. And you're in the hospital. People come in for real sickness, you know? I remember I was in Beijing, a little country... Country... what do you call that? Like, a hospital. And the people... actually, the farmers, are travelling like 100K or 30K and in that time, they didn't have a car, kind of on the horse or on the... You know, so slow and all the track go "boom, boom, boom," and [inaudible 00:21:32].   Rhonda: (21:33) And then they come here 5:00 in the morning and they get a ticket and then they're waiting for you to treat it. And I thought, you know, you can't really just fool these people, you've got to fix them isn't it? So I start to learn myself. I learn actually from... You know, I follow the field of old people who didn't have a degree, you know?   Rhonda: (21:56) But they trained in the... Like, family train. But then they didn't really teach me enough, so I just got some of these formulas, and now I just thought of the formulas. I've got to be able to modify them. I mean, how did they create these formulas? So now I start to kind of try myself, because you're here... Because I read about traditional texts. In those days, not many available. You can't even get a proper whole Neijing publish.   Mason: (22:30) Whoa, that level of suppression.   Rhonda: (22:30) Yeah, it was very bad. And so you don't... I never really heard about Bagua until I came to Australia, you know, believe it or not. And... Yeah, so you couldn't really... you don't get too many sources for that. I kind of from here, there, I guess, here, and I was very... I mean, a good practitioner because I did kind of pay attention to it, and over the years of course I learned more role and now try more, so I get each kind of so-called problems overcome.   Rhonda: (22:57) And now when I'd done all this, I thought I'd better in teaching, we're told that all these disease you can't treat and how did I treat it? So I actually started, I thought there's something wrong with our teaching. I said, "All I did for 30 years I've been kind of training myself. If I was trained in university..." And I, actually, during the training myself, I had to overcome my education, so I called it decolonise myself.   Rhonda: (23:26) Because they colonised me, and then they gave me all this wrong information and you can't get away from it, you know? Like, people come in with a cancer and you go oh, cancer is damp heat. And you've got to use some cooling herbs, you got to really... You know, kind of things are breaking down. It didn't work, really. So what do you do? I mean, I know so many people who have been through all these Chinese doctors.   Rhonda: (23:51) I won't say they killed them, but they definitely not help. So what they did is they give you so much cooling herb, with a cancer what happens, you don't have your own heat. You don't have your own force to fight anymore. You've got to give them warm herbs. Of course you've got to clean up, you know? You've got to have herbs that... Like a rotten tree, you've got to chop them up, you know? Get rid, clean up, but at the same time you've got to nurture them and you've got a renew... What do you call that, leaves, isn't it? New trunks. So you've got to use warm herbs, and with it, with clean Water.   Rhonda: (24:24) But nobody doing that, so I thought, "I might actually get this sorted out and that's why I did a Ph.D. Little bit late and writing this book. So this is a masquerade, this book, it's during my Ph.D. study and eventually I produced this book. And then after that... After that...   Mason: (24:44) The book is amazing. The book is amazing. Every... it's so thorough.   Rhonda: (24:49) It's because, really, it took me eight years to get this delineated because it's so hard to make a clean... You know, everyone know what I write. Actually, my husband's being like my supervisor almost. And he read it, and he says, "What do you mean?" You know, "Why do you use Chinese..." Because he can't help it. You can't simply bring yourself into Chinese Medicine. So then I actually eventually decided not using Chinese Medicine anymore, I've got to use a different term because it was just so different. I don't want to mix up.   Rhonda: (25:20) And I was so angry about this kind of mixing up, because... You know, you waste your life going to university and waiting six years, you know, five years to study and a year in the hospital. And then you come out, and you land a fake thing. And then you have to... I mean, it took me years to just clean myself out and then try to re-learn. So I thought, "I must really write this and let people know about it." And I send to China publish, they wouldn't publish, of course. Yeah.   Rhonda: (25:52) I mean, [inaudible 00:25:53] but maybe in the future better because at the moment everybody who in this field in China who has authority, who has power, they all contribute into [inaudible 00:26:05] in Chinese, right? Of course they wouldn't let my voice out. So but it doesn't matter, so I thought, "I let them out here first and then eventually I'll get them there." Because...   Mason: (26:15) You'll get there.   Rhonda: (26:15) It's so savvy, not to get people learning this fake thing also. I was so angry. I'll write this book really with my patient. People deserve to know this, you know this. It took me, really, eight years, yeah, to get this cleared out and sold it up. And then traced out why they did that. I mean, it's a psychological kind of problem behind that, that was... I call them a self-colonising movement, you know, in China. Yeah. So that's... Yeah, it's very, very important, I think, to get knowing that. And then followed by that, and the people said, "Then what? I mean, how do we learn the tradition?" And so I thought I'll write another book about it, how I did it, you know? What I did. So that's what the second book is about, yeah.   Mason: (26:58) And the second book, the Yinyang Wuxing, Spirit Body and Healing?   Rhonda: (27:03) Yeah, that's right. Now I'm working on the third one, which actually going to talk about how this yinyan was in all this... The term was come about. Because these things, even if you read the traditional Chinese text, and like classical Chinese, it's very difficult to understand those books because of all the things that they take for granted that we know, that we don't. So when you read it, you feel like you go, "What are you reading?"   Mason: (27:31) Yeah.   Rhonda: (27:31) You can read the word, but you don't understand the meaning.   Mason: (27:34) Well, that's why I especially liked that the Yinyang Wuxing book is... I pick up several copies of Neijing and enjoy it and quite often I walk away going, "I read it, and I theoretically get it, but it was... the essence [crosstalk 00:27:51]."   Rhonda: (27:51) How do you apply? You can't apply, because actually, if you really start learning that from beginning, beginning how there's a Yin Yang above, how there's a wuxing what's come from, and then that's all about... Like, we call that, "Looking on the sky." You know, the stars. And then looking on the ground, say, what happens when the star in position or the sun, the moon, and Jupiter, where they're positioned and where we are.   Rhonda: (28:17) So then to actually form, and then the words, a lot of them, I thought about that, and then in the Neijing a lot of numbers, how many [inaudible 00:28:26], how many time.... it's so different time to ask you now to what we're using, so I am writing them, the current book, I'm writing to convert all this, the equivalent of what all that means.   Rhonda: (28:39) And then when you read a traditional textbook, you understand. So that's my first book, in the next one. And I'm actually a series of it, and then another one, which is herbs. How do you recognise herbs? And how the actual Yin Yang okay? So how you choose them when you actually use them. Because at the moment, you're looking at herb books, a lot of them say, "It's for Kidney, for Kidney." But Kidney is rarely... from a Kidney Yin and kidney Yang is completely different. So you've got to actually understand, so in what way it work for Kidney.   Rhonda: (29:13) And like, diagnose a sickness. "Oh, they call that a Kidney deficiency." What is Kidney deficient? That's the only half-words. You've got to make sure, they said, is it a Yin or is it a Yang. You know, and that makes big different, how you practise. Yeah.   Mason: (29:28) Well, let's go into that a little bit. You mentioned how it's sad that people think they're learning something authentic and they're actually learning something fake, which it's then... I like your work because you're providing a solution, because if there's no solution for where to point yourself, if you're an acupuncturist, and you just have to acknowledge that you studied something just new, you know? And it's not what you thought it was, there's a bit of an existential crisis sometimes, you resist knowing because you are an expert and you had these skills and the institution told you you had the ability [crosstalk 00:30:05].   Rhonda: (30:05) Yes, very much.   Mason: (30:05) [crosstalk 00:30:05] this and that, but you don't.   Rhonda: (30:08) Especially if you have a little bit of position, you know?   Mason: (30:09) Oh, yeah. [crosstalk 00:30:10]   Rhonda: (30:10) In that name. [crosstalk 00:30:10]   Mason: (30:10) Yeah, love the name as well.   Rhonda: (30:13) Yeah. [crosstalk 00:30:13]   Mason: (30:13) Love the accolades.   Rhonda: (30:14) Very, very, afraid to change. And that's why you're kind of defensive. Once I actually wrote a little bit and joined one of this internet group which are talking about Chinese Medicine, so I just said a few things. Oh, there were so many people up against it. So angry.   Rhonda: (30:30) And they asked... demand me explain. "No," I thought, "I don't really have time to explain to you all this in here," and then they kick me out of the group, and they said, "If you don't explain, you're better off, this is not a place to show yourself." Oh, all right. So I just dropped it, it didn't really matter. So many people, very defensive. Very defensive.   Mason: (30:51) What I see there is especially, there's something... they are wanting to learn and then stagnate, which is the main difference between a fake TCM and a real yi is I see that.. You said you were a good physician, and that is rare, and also what they want to do is they don't care whether they have someone that's good or not, they want to just be able to, as you said, commodify and pump out these physicians.   Mason: (31:23) Now the difference is, someone who isn't willing to really walk the path, acknowledge the fact that we are in communion with the sun, heaven, moon, the earth, the way it's moving, that's its own path, it takes its own discipline, and requires a certain amount of integrity, because there's... Yunyin is never ending flux. Verse, in the fake style, they want to say, "That's the symptom, and I'm going to fix that symptom." They still use the fancy words, damp, heat, it's still, to a Westerner, you're like, "Ooh, wow, this is so exotic, a damp heat."   Rhonda: (31:56) Yes.   Mason: (31:57) But it's still bullshit. [crosstalk 00:31:59].   Rhonda: (32:00) Yeah, exactly. And that's... Damp heat, it's a... You know, people think that's a diagnosis, it's not. What is damp heat? That's only a symptom. It's like if people say, "I'm actually Blood deficiency." What is Blood deficient? That's a symptom. That's not diagnosis. So you've got to really understand how that happened. All that is wuxing. You know, who created? Who made this?   Rhonda: (32:25) So you got to work on that, then you can treat it. If I say, "I got Blood deficient, no," I've got to say, "Oh, nourish the Blood, and I've got to find it. It's not, because your body actually able to kind of create everything. It's not really nutrition, that's why I'm kind of against this nutrition point, as well. I mean, when you're working in the natural food, you don't say it's because of nutrition.   Rhonda: (32:49) It's because the powerful Yang, or the powerful Yin, and that's how they actually make your body bouncy and make you well, rather than say, "Oh, this got some vitamins, or this got some kind of minerals and all rubbish." Yeah.   Mason: (33:04) It's harder to get ego attached on to it, because it's just a part of the nature of the universe, and the key term in the book that I saw the difference between, say, someone who's going to go to fake Chinese Medicine to someone that has the capacity to walk the authentic path is their understanding of Qihua and that was the biggest distinction.   Mason: (33:29) I realise when you were talking about Qihua and we'll go into what it is to explain to everyone, but a physician who just wants to treat the Blood deficiency and think that that's an actual diagnosis. They are going to treat the Blood, treat the Qi and say, "We've gone about that very holistically in accordance with the tradition."   Mason: (33:52) But they don't understand the transformative cycle of Yin and Yang and it's never ending transformation.   Rhonda: (33:59) That's right. Yes.   Mason: (34:00) Chi qua. Can you explain that? Because it made the difference for me.   Rhonda: (34:04) Yes, well, Qi which means like a force, like... We say things you can't really kind of grab it, that's called a chi, you know? But it's got a energy, but then it's kind of a airy kind of energy. That's called a Qi. Hua It's the transform, transformation. You know? We say, "How does the sun, actually the heat, transform to Water rise?"   Rhonda: (34:30) And that's actually become a Water Qi, isn't it? So then when the rise heat, we call it a Fire, kind of... what do you call it? Qi. And then when they actually turn you to... what do you call that? Growing trees, that's what we call that tree, like a Wood Qi. So that's actually called a Qihua, it's the Five Elements, kind of... oh. People say element, I don't quite comfortable with this word.   Rhonda: (34:56) But anyway, it's the transformation of one thing to the other and the force. So that's why we call it Qihua. So that's why somebody... In that book, I think I gave you an example, somebody at the university, a Ph.D. student, and then they talk about nutrition. I said, "I'll ask him," I said, "What about Qihua?" And then he said, "What are you talking about? What is that?" You know? He didn't understand at all. But Qihua is very important, it's how the changes. And you heard of [inaudible 00:35:25].   Mason: (35:25) Mm-hmm (affirmative).   Rhonda: (35:27) [inaudible]. Yeah, that's what I'm writing at the moment in the next book with theory part is also the sun position, and the Earth movement, and how to... That the sun movement, the position... Which you cause, you know, like the sunrise and sundown. We call that the [inaudible], that movement. And the Qi which is the Earth changing, and that create a different atmosphere.   Rhonda: (35:53) And that is what I call the [inaudible]. You know? That now turned into, like, a luck. You know, how your luck is. Because your luck is can't escape from the sun and the moon.   Mason: (36:05) You make your own luck.   Rhonda: (36:09) Yes, yes. Because luck is about a sun position and your time. So that's what it is. It's a time and a position.   Mason: (36:15) And I think the fallacy of the West is looking at that fundamental principle of life, that we are connected, and that our atmospheric positioning is going to effect us and our capacity to... you know, even considering if you're talking about something that in the West has a gravity, like... you know, the word cancer.   Mason: (36:37) And then to talk about it in context of Water Qi, Wood Qi. But because Westerners require drama, I think it's almost intimidating to go into what's seen as something that's just... You know, it's folk medicine, it's not real, that's why they've gone to Commodify Chinese medicine for the West, we need to actually take out all that terminology that has anything esoteric whatsoever and therefore, you know, therefore we're going to be able to sell this to Westerners.   Mason: (37:18) And if you look at where Western Medicine is, the detrimental scalpel, taking the scalpel to medicine and nature and separating them is... It's evident what's happened, and I just want to reiterate that this medicine is very, very effective if you go back to its roots.   Rhonda: (37:42) Very, very effective. In fact, I think I said in the other podcast, I mean, this is kind of a bit of personal, but I've actually been poisoned by formaldehyde and benzine. And I was like a Liver and the Kidney failure. I mean, I didn't go to Western Medicine so I couldn't really get any kind of [inaudible 00:38:00] diagnose, but I didn't really want it because, you know, you're that sick and you mentally kind of weak as well so I didn't want them to curse me, to say, "You're going to die in a few months," or whatever.   Rhonda: (38:11) So I actually totally relied on herbs, and acupuncture, and treating myself. And I'm actually on the mending, yeah.   Mason: (38:20) Wow.   Rhonda: (38:21) So, I mean, I'm still not 100%, like what I used to be, but I'm definitely still alive.   Mason: (38:25) Wow.   Rhonda: (38:26) [crosstalk 00:38:26] to this stage, I lost all my weight, like 42 kilos, and like skeleton. And couldn't eat, and I turned to just black, like a green and blackish. And, oh, I was completely... getting a fever every few days. You just... you're thinking, I mean... I definitely prepared to die, but I thought, "Even when I die, I'm not going to waste the medicine." There's no way I'll let them torture me. But I actually just rely on herbs and acupuncture and treat myself and I'm almost normal now. [crosstalk 00:39:00]   Mason: (38:59) Wow. You were talking about it being sad about practitioners being taught this new style of medicine. What I find sad, as well, is a lot of people listening, and like myself, I have... I'm going my path right now and I'm going to not go down the practitioner path for the moment, but I talk about this... I talk about the Chinese herbs as a fan.   Mason: (39:26) I talk about acupuncture as a patient and as a fan to this medicine and an advocate, but you can't... The problem here, in Australia especially, which I'd like you to talk to the people listening who go and have acupuncture, how to navigate the relationship within acupuncturist and find someone in this current day where you're not really allowed, technically, in Australia, to practise classical Yi. Right?   Rhonda: (39:53) That's right. It's very, very, kind of dangerous to practise. That's why I actually kind of erased myself. Because when you're being a practitioner, you agree that's when we kind of... You know, in 2012, when we become, like, a so-called, a government recognised practise and that's why I erased because by then, we have to sign a paper to say we agree their terms, and the one of the term which I can't agree is you got to actually become a... What do you call that? Assistant. Like, a complimentary to biomedicine. Which means if somebody come to me, I actually got to send them to Western doctors if I think they're serious. I mean, what I do?   Rhonda: (40:39) If I send everybody go to them, what am I doing? But then, when you treat everybody seriously, if anything happen, even when you're treating life and death, isn't it? If somebody happening something really serious or whatever, even to die, and you send yourself to jail, and they bankrupt everything they can fine you everything. So how can you really practise? You couldn't really do it. So most people, I think the best they do is just kind of... You got to lay back and do a little bit. I can help you as much as I can, that's all it is.   Mason: (41:10) Mm-hmm (affirmative).   Rhonda: (41:10) You can be serious now, it's kind of political condition. But this medicine, it definitely very powerful. And also a lot of herbs you're not allowed to have. And because this called biomedical kind of terminology, and they say this is poisonous, while the herbs, actually, I was importing and they said, "You can't," they said, "It's poisonous." I said, "Who actually kind of analysed? I want to see the paper says this poison." And they said, "Because this relate to another herb, the name's similar."   Mason: (41:40) Whoa.   Rhonda: (41:40) I mean, that is ridiculous.   Mason: (41:40) Yeah.   Rhonda: (41:40) So they're not... They understand nothing, basically. So you can't argue with them, so you can't really... it's very difficult to practise. I know... Well, I'm teaching, but I also feel sorry for people who want to practise the real thing. But at least you help yourself. They can't stop you help yourself, you know? Like, if I didn't have this knowledge, I'll be dead, long time. You know? Like, I'm still alive, and I'm still working. So it's...   Mason: (42:12) And kicking.   Rhonda: (42:12) It's something really good. You know, very important for yourself, to do this. So and I hope, actually, eventually if there's enough, that's one of my aim to do this course training, eventually we're going to set up association called the Yi Association. And we're going to set up our own kind of way, and like a Chinese Medicine before. They didn't recognise, but they can't stop you because they've not recognised it, we don't want them to recognise it. But they can't stop us.   Rhonda: (42:39) So we're in this kind of form, and enough people we're truly an association and we're going to push that all over the world. We're going to do this real Yi. You have to, because it's such a beautiful knowledge. You know, when you actually learn it, it's powerful and it's beautiful when you learn it. At the moment I'm doing a little bit on my Facebook group, the Yinyang Wuxing Yi Facebook group. Actually, I start teaching language because in my course, if you actually... You got to learn the basic terms, and then you'll be able to kind of follow me.   Rhonda: (43:15) So now I'm training a little bit of this work. I mean, even just the words are beautiful, really, to learn. I'm not teaching modern Chinese word, I'm teaching, like, the sun, how they actually first come, it's like the run, and then with the stroke, and the straight line. The straight line, which means... you know, if you know the bagua the straight line is a Yang , and the broken is like a Yin. And the straight line, what it means it's a sign is a powerful, it's firm. So that's where the words come from. And eventually they make a square, and with the line. And square means the sun actually is east in the west and north and south, going down, going up. And so that cause what they call the position of the Earth. [crosstalk 00:44:03]   Mason: (44:03) Square... I'm sure there's going to be people that want to know whether they can join your Facebook group.   Rhonda: (44:11) Yeah, yeah.   Mason: (44:11) Okay.   Rhonda: (44:11) Facebook group, open to... I mean, you have to ask to join in, but it's a group anybody can learn. So I made it as a group because I thought it concentrated all the things in there, so... yeah.   Mason: (44:23) Oh, yeah, of course.   Mason: (44:26) I mean, I'm really excited to hear that you have a page. And Tahnee my partner, who's a bit jealous that I'm talking to you, [crosstalk 00:44:32] next time, maybe we'll do a podcast with both of us so Tahnee can speak with you as well. She did have six months studying acupuncture at a university.   Rhonda: (44:43) Yeah.   Mason: (44:43) And [crosstalk 00:44:44].   Rhonda: (44:44) Well, acupuncture is good, because acupuncture, you have a little risk. So when you become acupuncturist, you're able to do all the things. And then you don't really have to talk about it. You know, like people come in if they like it, you don't really have to talk about philosophy or disease, whatever, they talk about what their problem, you go your own way, and then you chose point, then you do your way. And then it's less risk than herbs. But then, I mean, herbs and acupuncture are equally important. If you actually learn acu and you don't know herbs, I say it's like you got left arm, you don't have the right arm. You know? Like, you're half, really.   Rhonda: (45:23) So you got to have all of them and you'll be able to do everything. And also, after this new [inaudible 00:45:29] I don't know, if I live that long, I'll want to make the last [inaudible 00:45:34] I want to make is called a [true yo 00:45:36]. I don't know if you heard this [true yo 00:45:38]? Which is like a shaman, which talk about how you actually work on spirit and then to get people... Because we say your body is a spirit in body, that's how your life is. And then there's way, actually, to work on your spirit, to make your body actually live that. This is, in China, like a cure.. 1600 was, like, a government-organised practise and there's a lot of books.   Rhonda: (46:02) And then cure... what do you call it? Qing Dynasty in China, 1600. They didn't quite believe these things, so they didn't really kind of push them down, but the government didn't have this kind of practise anymore. Not in the imperialist kind of government, didn't have this department anymore. So it's become kind of a private and... What do you call it... We call it, like, ordinary people would still kind of practise, but of course, after war and this period and during the communism, of course, that's completely [crosstalk 00:46:34].   Mason: (46:34) Gone. [crosstalk 00:46:34]   Rhonda: (46:35) Recently, actually, there's a lot of book up here, which are hidden in Taiwan, the national library. And they actually started publish online and now I actually got all the copies of them. So I think one day I'm going to work on that. That'd be beautiful, really. I love that.   Mason: (46:52) That would be... I was going to say, like, I think Tahnee is going to absolutely love your course. You know, [crosstalk 00:46:58] the course that you're going to come up with, and then when you come up with that course, she would as well, but I especially want to be in on that one. You can get me in there for the prototype, I [crosstalk 00:47:08].   Rhonda: (47:08) Well, I mean, that's a long for idea, but at the moment, I really want to get these things done. You know, like the theory of [inaudible 00:47:14] and the medicine. Body, about body, how you actually reckon the body as Yin and Yang rather than anatomy.   Mason: (47:19) Absolutely.   Rhonda: (47:20) And all this. And then you got to recognise the herbs, how that actually in Yin Yang rather than chemistry. And then you've got to understand Meridians as, what you call.. Time, rather than, what point make what disease. And especially annoyed with the name in the West and the teaching acupuncture... Bladder number 45, or something, that's just ridiculous.   Mason: (47:41) Boring.   Rhonda: (47:42) You have to know the words, that's why I'm teaching the words, as well. Because all these words actually have meaning. There's meaning about these points, so you've got to learn that and you understand how that work together so that's [crosstalk 00:47:56].   Mason: (47:55) Yeah, well, then, there's life in the true word, there's life, there.   Rhonda: (48:00) Yes, yes, yes, yeah.   Mason: (48:03) For [crosstalk 00:48:03] is... Again, they've taken a scalpel, they've cut it out, and they've plunked it there, and it's not living. It's inanimate.   Rhonda: (48:08) That's right. That's exactly. It's not living. Yeah, everything got a living, you know? That's all we believe. You know? Life. You got to use life to survive, to make a life rather than using fake things, you know? Like chemical... chemical, you can't say they're not working, but then they carry it on with side effect and all the consequences. It gets really ridiculous, but once you're actually on the chemical things, you can't change them. Because it's like... say, if somebody actually had lots of chemotherapy and they come to see me, and that's most value I have, because when you have all this chemicals in there and they manipulate bodies, sometimes you can't even identify this is your own system problem, or is it the drug problem?   Rhonda: (48:48) So you go to actually try to get that... you know, kind of push it away and settle them down before you can really treat the real cases. So it's really difficult, yeah. I know, it's not... We're not in the good time, not in the right timing for this medicine, but maybe it's also good where they're challenging, so I think we probably make a change. Yeah. I mean, slowly, I'm starting. And then eventually more people will have this power, more people will join together, and they will fight.   Mason: (49:18) I think so. I really... I've seen somewhat of a resurgence, I think there's a renaissance, I think that people have realised how bored they are within a system that is basically like a grey piece of cardboard.   Rhonda: (49:32) Very much, very much.   Mason: (49:33) People want to live.   Rhonda: (49:33) Yeah, exactly.   Mason: (49:35) And as a practitioner, they want to live, therefore, help people live themselves.   Rhonda: (49:38) Yeah. I mean, you can't live like that, just... You know, material.   Mason: (49:43) No.   Rhonda: (49:44) It's a... what do you call that? Spirit is more important than... You know, we can live short, but if we live a good spirit and you feel like "I lived," but if you really live long and you're just like... It's terrible, you're just like a vegetable, it's not... No use, no good. Yeah. Definitely.   Mason: (50:01) Well, I'm going to continue to do the... What I'm going to do, I've got a few books that I like keeping around as several copies for when I meet someone, when I meet an acupuncturist, new acupuncturist friend, that I give out the Chinese Medicine Masquerading As Yi is one of those books. So everyone listening, as a SuperFeaster, it is mandatory reading to get both of Rhonda Chang's books. Yinyang Wuxing, Spirit Body and Healing.   Mason: (50:31) It's not actually mandatory. I'm just kind of like, putting it in that terminology. Highly recommended, and Chinese Medicine Masquerading as Yi and once you've read it, it's one of those ones that I think especially, like, Yinyang Wuxing, I'm at that point where I definitely need to read it again. I've read through once, and then jumped to different parts, and now I'm going to need to read again. Same with... Because this isn't something black-and-white to memorise, this is something to feel and experience. So I just wanted to... Before we head off, and I'm definitely going to ask you to come back on the podcast, and I think I'll definitely get Tahnee in there with um..   Rhonda: (51:07) Thank you.   Mason: (51:09) But considering a lot of the people listening here, not practitioners, but they are people who are developing their own personal health culture, wanting to understand their body in a crazy Western health scene that is just confusing at times. Can you talk just from a sense of one's own lifestyle and relationship to their own body without the context of them necessarily healing others, just themselves? What advice have you got in the principles of Yinyang Wuxing? How can they get more into the flow? How can they ensure that their in a preventative space and how to get... You know, bring their spirit, so they can have long-term health?   Rhonda: (51:51) Okay. Well, the very, very first thing is avoid eating chemical, if you can. You know, like a sugar. It's a chemical, but if you're eating this... I think there's another one which called Sri Lanka kind of a sugar and now I think Australia making them, too. It's... Dried the sugar cane juice, and you can use that. That's not really a problem.   Mason: (52:14) Mm-hmm (affirmative).   Rhonda: (52:15) And because of chemical, when they get in the system, and they... For a start, they're very fine, and they could attach in your system, and then they become like a blockage. And secondly, a chemical, it doesn't go the same way as the Yinyang Wuxing, you know, in your body transformation. So sugar is, and there's salt. Salt... Which a lot of people say, "I'm eating, like, a table salt." That's a pure chemical, very dangerous. Because the sea salt, if you have, it's 80-something, you know, different minerals. And the ratio is the same as your Blood. So you can't go wrong, and you don't need to eat this table salt and that add a bit of zinc and a little bit of... What do you call that? [crosstalk 00:52:57]   Mason: (52:57) Iodine.   Rhonda: (52:58) Iodine, all the different minerals. You have sea salt, and you actually kind of balance. But the sea salt, a lot of them on the shelf say, "sea salt," it's not real, it's not life. Because real sea salt, you crush them, you make them a fine, and after a few hours, they clap them together again, because they're life. And then if there's rain, you don't put water in there, they absorb the moist and they become kind of moist. And when they dry, they actually evaporate, like a sea. So that's a real life sea salt. And the salt and the sugar, this is two very important... And you've got to avoid eating chemicals.   Rhonda: (53:34) Because chemical, if they get out of your system, all right. But if they don't get out, they block your system, that's what we call cancer. Cancer is a blockage. It's something not flow. You know, if you've ever seen a cancer cell, and I actually... When we were in China practise, I actually... We had to do operation and all these things in the internship and the one guy actually had a leg, got a big cancer on his legs. It was smelly. You walked into that room, and you smell is that stink. Really, really bad. It just wasn't me. So what happened is the cancer, just cause blockage... They're blocked. They can't really move.   Rhonda: (54:17) So chemical really block your system, because they don't change. They're not really kind of... Like other thing. You eat meat, and you can't find any meat, animal meat in your body if you eat... What do you call it? Natural food, apple, you can't find apple in your poop, in your pee. But if you eat sugar, you find it is in there. So if they get out, you're lucky. If they don't get out, they're in your system, they block it, and then you cause the blockage and the Water will stale, and then they'll be rotten, and then mushrooms grow. That's what the cancer is. So if you want to actually be healthy, that's the first advice, no chemical. Yeah.   Mason: (54:56) Beautiful.   Rhonda: (54:56) And also warm things is better, because we're like a refrigerated drink, because we say your life is heat. You know? If somebody lying there, you don't know if they're alive and dead, and you touch them. If they're still warm, you think they still got life in there. If they're cold, you know they're dead. So what happened is your heat reserve, that's where your energy, that's what your force are. So if you drink cold drink, it doesn't go to your Blood straight away, that's why you bubble. You know, your pores all close off, you get goose bubbles.   Rhonda: (55:27) Because... goosebumps. And what happened is, because your stomach also hold out and then your body actually... Your energy, your Kidney reserve the heat, warm them up, and then they [inaudible 00:55:39], then they go into your system. So by then, what happening you lost your reserve. So it's better not to drink too cold drinks. Yeah.   Mason: (55:48) Keep yourself warm.   Rhonda: (55:50) Yeah.   Mason: (55:51) Put your coat on in winter.   Rhonda: (55:51) Yeah, and... I mean, if you're keeping clothes but if you're active, exercise, you don't put a lot of clothes on, it's all right. But internally, you don't want to cool your body down. Yeah.   Rhonda: (56:00) Don't drink too cold drink all the time. Yeah. That's basic.   Mason: (56:04) Beautiful. Well, but the basics are what, over decades, 20, 30, 40, 50, years, that's where the medicine is.   Rhonda: (56:11) Yes. Yes.   Mason: (56:12) [crosstalk 00:56:12].   Rhonda: (56:12) Yeah. [crosstalk 00:56:13]   Mason: (56:13) I love it so much. I've loved this conversation.   Rhonda: (56:16) Thank you very much.   Mason: (56:16) I'm sure you've got a busy day ahead of you. As I said, you're not going to go long without jumping back on the podcast, because I love it too much. I love your message too much.   Mason: (56:25) And I'm excited to join the Facebook group, I'll get the link off you and I'll put it in the show notes for everyone. But what's it called, just in case people want to look it up?   Rhonda: (56:35) Yinyang Wuxing Yi, which is yin, Y-I-N-Y-A-N-G.   Mason: (56:36) Mm-hmm (affirmative).   Rhonda: (56:37) And W-U-X-I-N-G and the Y-I. Yinyang Wuxing Yi. Yinyang Wuxing, which is the theory, and yi, which is the healing, and [inaudible 00:56:37] approach. Yinyang Wuxing Yi.   Mason: (56:37) The healing. That's Y-I, everybody.   Rhonda: (56:37) Y-I, yeah.   Mason: (56:37) [crosstalk 00:56:37] yi.   Rhonda: (56:37) Y-I. Yi, yi.   Mason: (56:56) Beautiful, everyone get the books. Where... Best place to get your books? Is that your website?   Rhonda: (57:01) Yeah, my website is rhondachang.com, and get book from there. But at the moment, because I don't have a printed book, I rely on Amazon to print. But Amazon, at the moment, they don't send to Australia. So have to wait a little bit, but you can buy it from Amazon.com.au, but they cost a little bit more than I would for sale.   Rhonda: (57:23) Doesn't matter.   Mason: (57:24) No one minds. No.   Rhonda: (57:25) Yes. It's worth it, they're funny. Because it's... If you're learning about Chinese medicine or if you really feel disappointed about Chinese medicine, and you should read this. And you understand the why, and you got a future, because you know where to go.   Mason: (57:42) And guys, that's it. If you felt disappointment in Chinese medicine, in acupuncture, you know, that Chinese Medicine Masquerading As Yi, that is a book that will... It'll validate.   Rhonda: (57:53) Yeah, open your eyes. Really.   Mason: (57:57) [crosstalk 00:57:57] open your eyes.   Rhonda: (57:57) Mm-hmm (affirmative).   Mason: (57:57) I love it.   Rhonda: (57:57) Thank you very much.   Mason: (58:00) I mean, I've got so many things I could go on about, but let's just call it here and I'll see you next time.   Rhonda: (58:03) Okay. No worries.   Mason: (58:03) Have a great, great day.   Rhonda: (58:05) Thank you very much. Yeah. Bye.
Tahnee is back with another soulful Women's Series episode on the podcast today. Clancy Allen joins us to unpack and explore the depth and nuance of the birthing process. Clancy is a Doula with prior professional experience as a civil litigation lawyer and training in kinesiology and yoga. It is Clancy's deep desire and burning passion to facilitate women on their birthing journey's, helping them cultivate their inner power, and find their voices within a medical system that is often unsupportive. Clancy creates a sacred container for women in the birthing space, helping them to recognise and dissolve fear and overwhelm, guiding them towards the harmony that exists between their intellect and intuition.   Tahnee and Clancy explore: Clancy's story and birth journey. The role of the doula in the birth space. The value of creating a birth plan and what a birth plan can offer you.  How to use your psychic antenna to align yourself with birthing allies. Pregnancy and birth as highly intuitive times in a woman's life. Birth as a portal to shadow work and self healing. Obstetrics and the technocratic model in child birth. The Birthing From Within paradigm. How to step into your innate power as a woman.   Who is Clancy Allen?   Clancy is a birth mentor and birth keeper, wise woman, and mother to a spirited 4 year old boy. Clancy honours the continuum of the childbearing phases from preconception, to pregnancy, birth and motherhood as potent opportunities for personal growth and transformation. After transitioning away from a half a decade career as a Lawyer to study yoga and kinesiology, it was pregnancy that catalysed Clancy’s interest in birth. Clancy’s passion to support women during the childbearing continuum was born with her son. Clancy went on to study as a Sacred Birth doula with Anna Watts (in the Byron shire), Birthing From Within, and the Radical Birth Keeper School. Clancy offers birth mentoring and birth keeping, postnatal mother support, mothering the mother ceremonies, and her online course, Yoga for Empowered Birth. Clancy holds space for women to recover their inner authority and voice, to remember their innate birthing wisdom and power, and to experience birth as a joyous initiation to mothering. Peaceful, primal, biological, loving birth is the revolution our world needs, now.   Resources: Clancy's Website Clancy's Instagram Birthing From Within Website   Q: How Can I Support The SuperFeast Podcast?   A: Tell all your friends and family and share online! We’d also love it if you could subscribe and review this podcast on iTunes. Or  check us out on Stitcher :)! Plus  we're on Spotify!   Check Out The Transcript Here:   Tahnee: (00:00) Hi everybody, and welcome to the SuperFeast Podcast. Today I am joined by Clancy who happens to be a friend of mine, but she's also an amazing birth mentor and birth keeper. Her name is Clancy Allen, excuse me. And we'll link to all of her website and everything a bit later on, but she's got a really awesome Instagram and a great website, and online courses, so lots of resources out there for mums that are in that birthing time or birthing phase of life.   Tahnee: (00:29) But I'm really excited to share Clancy with you all today because she's just someone that I've really enjoyed following her journey, and I've learned a lot from her sharing and her resources that she shares. She's got this really beautiful way of pulling in the facts and then also the weaving in the deeply intimate and personal experiences of birth. I'm really excited to have you here today, Clancy. Thanks for taking the time.   Clancy Allen: (00:53) Thanks Tahnee. Thanks for that beautiful introduction.   Tahnee: (00:58) Oh, that's so nice. But, yeah, I know we've had trouble lining this up because of life, but yeah, it's really nice to finally be here. And I was just thinking about you the other day and just I think I bumped into you, and you were really pregnant, and I remember you looked really beautiful; and at that point pregnancy was not even on my horizon. And, yeah, it's interesting we're both here now five years later with little people, so big growth for both of us, I'm sure.   Clancy Allen: (01:25) Yeah. But it's interesting because it wasn't that long after we did have that encounter and bumped into each other that you were pregnant, I think. Or I feel it wasn't that long.   Tahnee: (01:36) It's true. I don't know the exact dates but, yeah, it would have been no more than six months, I think. Well, when was Loui born?   Clancy Allen: (01:44) He was February 2016.   Tahnee: (01:47) Yes. Aiya's December, so yeah.   Clancy Allen: (01:50) Not too far apart.   Tahnee: (01:51) Yeah, so you do this amazing birth keeping work now. I know that you were in the holistic space then, but I imagine your birth was a really transformative way of you moving into this work. Are you able to tell us…? I know you were a lawyer at one time, how does lawyer Clancy become birth mentor Clancy? What's the journey there?   Clancy Allen: (02:16) Yes. I was a lawyer and I practised as a lawyer for six years, so it was a good effort trying on that career and seeing if it was the right fit. And it absolutely wasn't. And I always had this inkling, I suppose, that it wasn't. But, for whatever reason, I ignored my intuition around that and pressed on. And it was a lot of ticking the boxes and doing the things that we think are going to be important. And making decisions as a 17, 18 year old after leaving school for the rest of your life is, you know... A little bit insane.   Clancy Allen: (03:04) That was the decision I made and the path I took. And I practised as a personal injury lawyer in civil litigation for six years and just became very disillusioned with it all. And it was a very masculine career, long hours sitting at a desk. It really just wasn't fitting into how I saw my future. And the spaces that I was moving into, I guess, I'd discovered yoga and was really stepping away from that dominant narrative around our bodies and our health and medicine, and really starting to question all that and look at things through a more holistic lens.   Clancy Allen: (03:52) I think I saw a naturopath for the first time when I was a lawyer. Yeah, I was pretty late to the party with all that because I grew up in a house with two parents who were nurses so they very much in that, conditioned in that way and indoctrinated into that system and everything it stands for. There was a lot of unlearning, I suppose, and seeing things differently. And I found yoga and yoga was the thing that kept me able to keep going in law for a couple more years until I finally got to a crunch point and I had to leave.   Clancy Allen: (04:44) And I went travelling for six months in South America on my own and had no epiphany while I was there about what I wanted to do. Like I thought “Maybe the heavens will open while I'm on this epic backpacking journey in South America and I'm going to discover what I want to be,” but that didn't happen. It took more time. My partner and I moved up to the Northern territory and lived in Kakadu, and I did some yoga teacher trainings, and then I studied kinesiology for a year and I fell pregnant that year.   Clancy Allen: (05:24) It wasn't.. It was sort of a conscious conception, but it was like we had a conversation and then we were pregnant. There wasn't this extended period of trying, which we thought that might be the case, so it was like, “Whoa.” I did have a bit of ambivalence initially, and it was a bit of a surprise and just wrapping my head around the fact that now I'm pregnant. Wow, this is sudden and I still don't know what I want to be. And I think I was 33 at this time. I actually booked my first anti-natal appointments with an obstetrician in Newcastle, even though we were living three hours out of Darwin.   Clancy Allen: (06:23) And I thought, “Oh, yeah, I'll travel down there and see this obstetrician that a friend had recommended.” I'm not sure what I was thinking. But as I started to actually do some of my own reading and research, and learn about the obstetric model vs midwifery based model of care and what those two frameworks looked like and what the care might be like, I started to think, “Oh, okay. Then I think that's what I want. I'm really wanting to aim for a normal physiological birth here, so that doesn't feel like the right thing.   Clancy Allen: (07:00) And why am I trying to make it easy for my family and everyone else down in Newcastle to see me when my baby is born and meet my baby? Why aren't I…” We lived up in Darwin at that stage, why aren't I doing the things that make life easy for me and having my baby up here. I discovered there was these publicly funded home birth service and jumped on that. And I was really excited and just totally devouring everything about birth; and started to think, during that pregnancy, that maybe this is what I want to do.   Clancy Allen: (07:39) I heard about a doula and I just had this inkling that maybe working as a doula was what I would do after I'd had my baby. But I also thought it's probably just a phase and once he's born I'll be over it. But then nine months later, when I was still reading birth books, I realised I needed to do a doula training. And yeah, so it went from there and I've just done more and more trainings, learnt from more great teachers, have studied as an educator in the birthing from within frameworks, so really use their model a lot in my mentoring. And now have just started the radical birth keeper school with the amazing women who collaborate to found the free birth society. Yeah.   Tahnee: (08:45) Yeah. For people that don't know, can you tell us what a doula is first? Because I think some people don't even really understand that particular type of offering in that birth space.   Clancy Allen: (08:59) Yeah. It's pretty simple. A doula is a birth companion or birth support person who's there for the birth in woman's support but also the partner. Really it's not a medical role. She's there to meet the emotional needs of that woman and support her in that transition through the birth process. And usually there's prenatal education and getting to know one another, and building that trust and rapport with the woman and her partner, and up-skilling that partner so that he feels equipped to move through the process. And then post-natally they can also be some support as well depending on the doulas inclination to offer that. Yeah.   Tahnee: (09:50) And so, and women by my understanding, would typically choose that person to support them in any kind of birth setting. It's not just a home birth or any kind of… Outside the normal birth, for want of a better word. But so did you end up using a doula yourself for your birth?   Clancy Allen: (10:10) Yes. Yes. So I did have a doula. I had a nightmare at about 28 weeks that I ended up in the hospital. Whether this was a premonition or just one of those normal fears that women have about birth, I woke up and I thought, “Right, I need to get a doula because I've got this fear about ending up in the hospital and that's going to solve all my problems.” And it's only now, with a lot of reflection and hindsight, that I can see how I really handing my power away and looking externally for something or someone to save me from what I was perceiving as the worst case scenario in my birth.   Clancy Allen: (11:06) And by doing that I really was avoiding the actual work of looking at the fear and unpacking the fear, and was jumping into this problem-solving mindset. And yeah, a big part of my work now is around really tackling and confronting fears, which are totally normal part of these huge initiation and transformation that we undergo as women. Yeah, it can be overwhelming and it can be scary and that's multi-factorial why it's scary and overwhelming and individual as well. But yeah, for me, that was an avoidance thing and it didn't serve me to do that because I was not willing, I guess, to look at my fear.   Clancy Allen: (12:03) And I thought that by getting a doula that would just solve my problems. And doulas, unfortunately, are incredible and offer amazing nourishing support and space holding but they're not fairies who can come into a birth and wave a wand. They can't change the system and the inherent power dynamics and things that happen within that system that can be sometimes really negative and abusive. They're not bodyguards either. I guess, maybe, I had some misconceptions about all that. And there was a lot of other things too but, yeah.   Tahnee: (12:47) Yeah. I think sometimes, and we talked about this before we came on, there's an assumption that they have some rights, I guess, to control the situation in a birthing situation, but that's not the case really. A doula is a support person so they're not really able to intervene too much, from what I understand. Is that correct?   Clancy Allen: (13:11) Well, yeah. I mean, you have these institutions, hospitals, with a hierarchy within them where the obstetricians are at the top of that hierarchy. And then there might be nurses and midwives. And the doula is definitely way down the bottom of the line in terms of a pecking order and is, I think, seen by some medical providers, not all obviously, but as someone who's totally unqualified. And we don't have medical training usually, although there are some midwives who are doulas and that type of thing.   Clancy Allen: (13:54) But for the most part there's no professional medical training. There's an understanding of the medical system and normal physiological birth, so I guess our perspectives are not valued really by that hierarchy. And yeah, there's not much ability to sway what's happening if it has started to spiral. If things are running pretty smoothly and it hasn't turned into a spiralling stressful situation, there's definitely scope for the doula to act as, I guess, an intermediary and also support the partner to be the advocate.   Clancy Allen: (14:44) Because, let's face it, a birthing woman can't really advocate for herself to her full capacity because her prefrontal cortex is totally offline for very good reasons. She's in her primal brain and all those executive functions are just not there, which is how it should be. There's not much decision making ability, language. All that is compromised so it's really quite impossible for her, in such a vulnerable state, to be able to advocate for herself and even make decisions.   Clancy Allen: (15:27) Now I'm going off on a tangent, but even to give informed consent seems like it's just a false concept, because how can you give consent when your whole thinking capacity is impaired. And I guess impaired doesn't really sound like the right word because it suggests that it's like a dysfunction, which it's not. It's perfect. It's biologically sound and intelligent and perfect for her to be in that place. But then we expect her to make decisions and give informed consent and it just doesn't fit. It's incongruent.   Tahnee: (16:16) Yeah. That's so interesting you say that because… I mean, I chose to have a hospital midwife program home birth as well I remember lots of things I thought about before the birth. And then in it I just was like… I mean, the closest example I can have is like psychedelic drugs. I was completely on another planet and it was very embodied and very primal. But, yeah, they were asking me things and I was like, “I just can't process anything right now.” You know?   Tahnee: (16:52) I was thinking, Mase knew what I wanted and it was all fine, and none of the questions were particularly hard, but I was thinking afterwards, “Can you imagine if I'd had to make a decision about do you want to be transferred or do this?” I mean, I wouldn't have had a hope. I think about that a lot. And when you said earlier about it's so difficult and you've seen so many cases of consent not being given or not being able to be given, I think that becomes a really grey tricky area in terms of giving care to a pregnant woman and supporting the birth process.   Tahnee: (17:28) Given now what you know and what you've witnessed and your experiences so far, is there any advice or perspective you can offer on that whole idea of consent in birth and how that all fits together?   Clancy Allen: (17:44) I think if women are choosing to birth in the system, and let's face it 95% or upwards even, are, this concept of having a birth plan is often scoffed at and ridiculed. And there's this perspective that, well, anything can happen so what's the point in planning. But a birth plan, the power of it isn't in the document itself and showing up to your birth with this document that you've written and saying what you want. The power of the planning is in learning and understanding what the system might be offering you, what you may or may not want, and formulating that document ahead of time and in communication with your care providers.   Clancy Allen: (18:41) Having discussions with them about the various things that would normally go in the plan so that they're aware of your perspective on X, Y, and Z. And you have an opportunity, I guess, to iron out any possible philosophical differences, an opportunity to even leave that care provider if, during those discussions, it becomes apparent that they're just not willing to support the things that you want. Because it's never too late to find another care provider. Well, that I guess comes with the caveat that it depends on what the options are in your area geographically as well.   Clancy Allen: (19:27) But if there is another option, you can leave when you're 39 weeks and go and find someone else if you've just suddenly realised they're not on board with what I want here and they're not going to support that, and if you've got alarm bells and red flags. The power of that planning process and that document is really in the many discussions that you should have with that care provider before about what you want so that it's not a surprise.   Clancy Allen: (19:57) And when you're having those discussions, I think really important to be feeling into your body to get a sense of their body language because sometimes people can talk the talk but then when it comes to… And you hear that happening a lot with women who birth saying that I was fooled or tricked. They said that they would support this and then when I went into labour everything changed. You really have to have your psychic antenna on, I think. And we are all psychic but I guess we're all conditioned away from that.   Clancy Allen: (20:43) But we're especially open when we're pregnant. We have that real openness in our field, so dropping into that and getting a real felt sense of how you're feeling in your body in those interactions and if that feeling is matching what they're saying. Because I think that's really important, that unspoken stuff. But, yeah.   Tahnee: (21:11) I think what I'm really hearing is examining the full. I mean, I guess that was something I have witnessed and spoken with friends about. It's like this is how I'm going to birth and so I think it's important to do due diligence and actually examine the range of possibilities. And that was something, I know for me, we had to talk about. Well, what happens if I get transferred? And what happens if… And it wasn't to entertain fear as much as to make sure that everyone knew what we wanted in those stages, I suppose, and which hospitals we wanted to go to and which ones we didn't.   Tahnee: (21:50) And, again, you don't know what you don't know but you can, with a bit of education, understand what the different possibilities might be. I think it's this sense, and maybe what you were saying before about how you were looking at a doula to fix it instead of really looking within. It seems like your work has really shifted to that inner journey toward… There's that great saying that goes around on memes all the time; but it's, how you birth is how you live. Right? It's like what we're not willing to examine shows up when we birth.   Tahnee: (22:26) And I know that, for me, definitely I was in and out of my thinking controlling mind. I wanted to control the whole process. And then in the primal body the mind which was like, “Get out of the way. We've got this,” kind of thing. I could feel myself shifting in and out of those spaces. It was a really profound experience. But yeah, is that how your work has shifted. Is it more on the mothers in a landscape, I suppose?   Clancy Allen: (22:55) Totally. Yeah. And I think there's a lot to be said about what you just said as well, about looking at all the different alternatives, I suppose, and pathways that might happen and understanding them. You knew where you wanted to go if you did need to transfer. And I think there's this misconception that you don't focus on the thing that you don't want to happen because you don't want to manifest it. Something like, yeah, if you're fearful of having a caesarian then let's just not talk about it.   Clancy Allen: (23:33) And let's not focus on that because I don't want that to happen, so I just absolutely cannot go there. But we give the fear so much energy just by keeping it at bay and holding it away from our mind and our consciousness. Yes, my work is definitely about going into that and exploring that. And also we don't really recognise I think in our culture as well that we've been preparing for birth our whole lives but we just don't recognise that. We fall pregnant and then we think, “Oh, wow, I'm pregnant. What do I need to do to get ready for this?”   Clancy Allen: (24:14) But we come to birth with all our baggage essentially. It doesn't happen in a vacuum. We come to it with our beliefs, our assumptions, our conditioning, all the narratives out there around birth being quite negative. And we definitely take that on at some level. It's everywhere, that narrative and that dialogue. And even our own birth imprint from when we were born, what happened then? How did we interpret the world in ourselves at a body level? Did we feel it as a safe place when we were born?   Clancy Allen: (24:59) What's our own imprint there, because that can come into it? Our family stories and also the rite of passage of menstruation. What happened to us during that? And for me, at least, there wasn't really any celebration. It was exciting but it was like, “Well, here's the things that you need, pads, tampons,” and you just get on with it and carry on with life as normal. There was no awareness around the cycles and honouring and understanding the whole cycle and ovulation and all of that type of thing. That just was totally missing.   Clancy Allen: (25:40) And if you suffered in any way from that monthly bleed, then just take drugs or let's just put you on the pill and suppress it. And so that's our initiation to our bodies being totally disconnected from them. If that's happened to us, which for a lot of us it has, that then plays into birth because birth is a body-based event. We're forced into our bodies. And if it's foreign territory for us to be in that and have that somatic awareness and to stay with all that, it can be really confronting. And we can just want to block it or numb it, I suppose, like we've been conditioned towards with that earlier rite of passage.   Clancy Allen: (26:28) Yeah. And I didn't fully comprehend all that, I don't think, with my own preparation. I think I felt like by doing all the right things, getting the doula, doing the calm birth course, reading the right things and choosing to have a home verse through a publicly funded home birth scheme, that I'd covered all my bases and the formula was met, and I'd ticked my boxes, and I'd get the birth I wanted. I didn't understand the importance of really doing that inner work and looking at all my past stuff. And there was a lot there to look at.   Tahnee: (27:11) Yeah, there was.   Clancy Allen: (27:13) But I think it's never done.   Tahnee: (27:15) No. Absolutely not.   Clancy Allen: (27:18) That's what being human is, I think. Yeah, and that's where I really focus my work and my mentoring now with couples and women. Is looking at all that stuff. And also looking at the rules and agreements that we made as children. We decide how we need to be in the world when we're very young. We make rules that govern us even when we're adults. It might be, I need to be compliant and quiet to get love. That's when I get praise and that's when I get love, and so if I'm quiet and a good girl and obedient then I'm worthy of getting that love.   Clancy Allen: (28:07) And even just an agreement like that one that we might've made when we were five or whatever can carry on and come into the birth space and influence how we engage with a system that has that authority platform as well with the expert. Yeah, it becomes a whole big tangled web of so many things that can influence us in that experience that is going back to our entire life history really.   Tahnee: (28:46) I don't know exactly what happened with your son, but I know that you had some birth trauma. What was your experience in the end, and what was your process I suppose? I'm sure the work you're doing is part of your healing, but there are other things that really helped you transform that experience into something more meaningful.   Clancy Allen: (29:08) Yeah. After it happened, yeah, I was in a bit of a dark place and just learning how to be a mother and learning breastfeeding and was overwhelmed with all that. The trauma that had happened, I just put in a box for a little while, compartmentalised and got on with it, and perhaps was in a bit of survival mode. And then it was no more than six months later though after his birth that I was ready to look at it. I know women carry their birth stories with them for their entire lifetime sometimes and it's a really deep wound, but maybe it was because…   Clancy Allen: (29:55) I don't know why I was really willing to look at it pretty soon. I think that's a pretty early timeframe. At five months I started looking for someone who could help me unpack what happened and process my emotions and hold me in a container. I found a woman, she lives in your area, called Angela Fitzgerald. Beautiful woman. She used to be a midwife and a doula, and she's a mother and just holds really powerful space. I worked with her for at least six months, I think. We would talk on Skype and that was the beginning.   Clancy Allen: (30:39) And then something that was really powerful was getting my hospital notes from the hospital and looking at them, because I was meant to have a home birth but had to transfer because of a resource staffing issue from their perspective. It wasn't because of anything to do with my body or the process, so I ended up in the hospital. And I guess a common internalised feeling that a woman who's had a traumatic birth would be my body failed me, my body let me down, because you get that label of failure to progress or whatever might have unfolded, but that's a common story.   Clancy Allen: (31:30) Getting the records was really helpful for me because it confirmed that my body was actually progressing by their standards and measurements anyway, which I honestly don't hold that much value in. But at the time that was like, “Oh, okay. I was progressing.” And for a woman to even be able to progress in that environment is astonishing really because Dr. Sarah Buckley talks about the conditions that women need to birth and its darkness, privacy, not being observed, safety, familiarity, all these things.   Clancy Allen: (32:10) And yet you step into the system and there's lights, there's strangers, there's a room you've never seen before in your life and you'll probably never be in again. There's surveillance with monitoring, there's technology, all the things that are totally the opposite of what supports birth flowing and the hormones working. For any woman to be able to birth a baby in that setting is just remarkable and just shows how-   Tahnee: (32:42) Adaptable we are?   Clancy Allen: (32:42) Yeah, exactly. That was helpful, to see that and look at all that. I've done so many things. I wrote a big blog post on it which is on my website, and I think there are about 20 things that I listed that I've done that have been really supportive in me getting perspective, and being able to sit with my story now and not feel triggered or upset, and to really see the lessons. And Pam England said… She wrote the Birthing From Within book and she's who I've studied with. And she had a traumatic first birth experience, which ended in a caesarian. And I think she was a midwife.   Clancy Allen: (33:29) And so, her lifelong quest was working out what the hell happened to me. And she finally one day just cracked up laughing out loud and realised, just had this epiphany, that she'd been looking for a way to heal her birth experience and doing all these things and exploring and investigating; but the cosmic joke, and the reason she laughed, was because her birth healed her. Yeah, it just eliminated so much for her. And I feel like that's been the case for me as well. It doesn't take away that it was painful and it wasn't what I wanted, but there's been gifts that have come from it for sure.   Tahnee: (34:16) Oh, that's really powerful. It's such an interesting thing, what you were just talking about with Sarah Buckley's work, because I remember listening to her podcasts with Daniel Vitalis when I was pregnant and they were just so.. It made so much sense. And I was reading Ina May as well and she was talking about how birth is the continuation of sex and if you're not comfortable having sex in front of strangers under bright lights why would you even think that you could birth that way.   Tahnee: (34:50) And it is incredible to me that we come in… Some people do successfully navigate that system. And I think about my own mum because she birthed me in a hospital and she always said to me she had to tell the doctor to fuck off so that she could walk up and down the hallway. Because she was like, “I used to birth horses,” because she would bred horses when she was a kid. And she was like, “I knew that when you were birthing you don't lie down on your back. You walk up and down.” And she's like, “I had to tell them to fuck off so I could squat in the hallway,” and all this stuff. And I just laughed.   Tahnee: (35:21) But it was interesting that her way of birthing sovereign was to be really strong and almost masculine in it and having to take her power. And I remember feeling those kinds of feelings when I was birthing and I can feel how my own tendency, I guess, is to muscle through something instead of to soften into something. And I think even if you've had a textbook good birth there are so many lessons from… Because it's such a big process and an initiation. And it's like if you take the time to reflect and to really nurture yourself through that process, you can come out with so much juice for your own development.   Tahnee: (36:02) And here I am. Aiya's is nearly four and I'm realising I've still been doing the same things. And I was talking to Jane Hardwicke Collings and she was talking about how we menopause that way too. We menopause how we live so we'll muscle through it, or we'll whatever your personal shit is. That's my shit. And I think it's like we can use these opportunities. We can all come to these things, whether they're positive or negative or whatever the framework is, to just, to develop ourselves.   Tahnee: (36:32) And that's what I've seen. Your work, to me, speaks so much to that opportunity that there is in this experience, that some of us have and some of us don't. Not everyone chooses to birth, but it can be such a rich fertile ground for self-transformation and for understanding ourselves better and for healing so much, I think. It was kind of a long way of saying it's so nice to speak to somebody who had a traumatic experience who's used it to fuel that positive change, I suppose.   Tahnee: (37:05) And also, I think it's good to remember that everyone's having these huge initiations no matter what type of birth you're having, whether it's under hospital lights with obstetricians coming in and out or whether it's at home quiet. It's a big process. And the more, as women, we can all rise together and honour each other in that and support each other, I think that to me is probably the thing that's missing. And I didn't find it in the mothers groups and the women's groups. I just didn't find the depth, I guess, that I was looking for.   Tahnee: (37:40) Because you've gone and studied all these things, I imagine you're having these conversations a lot with women who were interested in similar things. I know you do ritual and circle and ceremony, are there more of those things happening now and if women are, I guess, trying to honour their transformation through this time? Is it finding those communities and networks or is it…? Do you have any advice or suggestions on how to connect to like-minded women or that kind of thing?   Clancy Allen: (38:12) Yeah, a great question. I guess right now we're in an unusual situation with the distancing that's been in place over the last few months. I feel really stumped with this question.   Tahnee: (38:30) I know I probably through the biggest question at you.   Clancy Allen: (38:32) Do I have to edit that out?   Tahnee: (38:34) No. I think what I'm getting at… And it is a big question. Because what I'm really feeling is like women divide instead of leaning in. There's this tendency to like, okay, well I've got the baby now. I've done the birth. It was shit, but it's fine. It's done. I've muscled through the birth again, or I'll get through it if I ever want to do it again for a sibling. But, I've got the baby and that's the focus. I guess what I'm getting at is, to me, there's this really fertile territory that we're like if we ignore that opportunity, it's going to come up again and it's going to come up again.   Tahnee: (39:16) Like you said, human life never stops. We keep going through these initiations and transformations. Yeah, I guess I'm just getting at I know you've worked in ceremony and ritual and that space. And I know in other cultures they honour the mother or there's the confinement phase and then I'm sure that grandparents and aunties and people hold space. We don't really have that in our culture, I guess. And I guess what I'm getting at is, in your experience, where do women find that? Is t through.. Are there women's circles? I know that that's becoming a lot more popular.   Tahnee: (39:55) Now you do prenatal yoga. Are there postnatal yoga places where people talk about these things? Are there other spaces, I suppose, evolving or coming through in your experience that honour the process? Because a lot of what I've seen seems to be women doing it on their own or within a smaller group of friends that are similar minded. But, yeah, just I'm interested to know.   Clancy Allen: (40:17) Yeah. I think what I'm really interested in when I create space in a circle setting for women is offering a different framework, because we have framed birth and everything really even around it, like the prenatal part and postnatal, as a medical event. And Robbie Davis-Floyd, an anthropologist that you might have heard of, she talks about the American rite of passage of birth and it being an initiation to the technocratic model of birth. And that worldview is that our bodies are machines that are subject to failure and malfunction, and we can't fix that with technology.   Clancy Allen: (41:08) And that the whole thing is a medical event. And the prenatal stage is a series of obstetric rituals which are essentially grooming women towards accepting this technocratic model, and then the glucose test. And that these rituals really have no actual basis in any meaningful value. And then you see those rituals continue in the birth process with often meaningless interventions. And I see that that's pretty true really, because a lot of the birth practises that are being used are not rooted in evidence-based practise. They're just cultural norms. It's just the way things have been done, so we'll just keep doing it that way.   Clancy Allen: (42:10) I think evidence-based practise only came in 15 years ago. No, it was in the ‘90s and then it takes 15 years for policies to change. Delayed or immediate cord clamping is still just done routinely even though we know that delaying it is preferable so that that baby gets all its blood. That's just one example. But we're really groomed towards just accepting this with all these rituals as part of this initiation. I'm really interested in showing women a different way, that there's another map, there's another framework.   Clancy Allen: (42:52) And looking at some of the things from the Birthing from Within lineage like the symbol of the labyrinth, which is this beautiful, spiralling, meandering path, and applying that as a map to what the birth experience is like. Because a labyrinth have occurred across all cultures way before there was any communication or as far as we know. And it's a metaphor or a symbol for something across these cultures that's meaningful and so we can apply that to birth.   Clancy Allen: (43:30) And when you walk through a labyrinth, it can be meditative but it can also be a little bit disorientating and confusing because there's these twisting turning hairpin turns. And you think, “Am I nearly there yet?” Or, “Where am I?” And that really parallels how it can feel in the birth dance. Sometimes you can start to think that.   Tahnee: (43:54) Are we there yet?!   Clancy Allen: (43:54) Yeah. Well, you're disorientated. It's this really beautiful metaphor and I'm planning to build one on our property here for women to actually come and walk through to have that real embodied sense of that as a different way for looking at birth, shifting this medical lens that we're so enculturated or acculturated towards. And it's just everywhere. And the story of Inanna, the Sumerian goddess who went to the underworld, that story as well really speaks to the descent that we women in that journey of descent during birth or it might even be postnatally.   Clancy Allen: (44:45) Maybe you have this ecstatic birth but there's a challenge or a struggle, so your descent to the underworld is in that period. And those stories, those ancient mythologies, that's the first story that was ever recorded ever on clay tablets in Sumer, which is now modern day Iran or Iraq. One of those, sorry. But it's really powerful. And those stories are in our collective consciousness. A lot of the time, if we've never heard them before, we're not aware of it until we hear them.   Clancy Allen: (45:22) And for a lot of us that awakens something deep within us, a deep recognition or comfort, because we can all relate to that journey somehow. Some of those tools are some of the things that I am weaving or planning to weave into circle when I get going again.   Tahnee: (45:47) Yeah. Post-Rona?   Clancy Allen: (45:49) Yeah. Yeah, post-Rona, just to show a different way and for women to connect in a different way, and to have more meaning around the experience.   Tahnee: (45:59) Well, I think what I'm really hearing there is this is a non-linear journey. Our midwives were amazing, but it was very linear. It was like, “This weeks, that weeks, [inaudible 00:46:09].” It felt like, “Tick the box, tick the box.” You go through all the things. And I think that idea of not being held to a Gregorian calendar, not being held to, “Oh, you should birth in this amount of time.” Or even with my birth like, oh, you're a first time birth or you weren't to birth till tonight when I was telling them I was in labour at 6:00 AM.   Tahnee: (46:35) And they were like, “No, no.” And I'm like, “No, no. Yes, I know I'm having a baby. I don't know why, but I [inaudible 00:46:41].” And they were like, “Oh, no, I said, "No, I am.” I was like, “No, I am.” I'm lucky because of yoga. I think that I really have cultivated more of a relationship with my body, but I think there's so much lack of education around the physiology and the body's wisdom, and that these things aren't linear and they don't occur on a timeline, and babies come when babies come, and the baby initiates the birth through its hormonal… All of that stuff.   Tahnee: (47:11) It's like there's this really beautiful bigger story, I think, not being told. And then, yeah, I can really feel that when you said about an honour and, yeah, I can really feel that. Even if you had an ecstatic birth, I didn't have one, but I'm sure I remember being in the collective. I remember being with every birthing woman at one point and going like, “Oh my God. I totally understand” I mean, it was like one of those epiphanies you have when you're on another planet. But I get it. I just get it. I'm in it. I know it. And it was like if I've been not feeling safe and medicated and whatever, I wouldn't have had that experience. Yeah, I think-   Clancy Allen: (47:51) That's so profound.   Tahnee: (47:53) But it's so empowering too, because you come out and you see women differently. I see women now with so much strength, and I can admit to less judgement too. I used to think and go, “How could someone book in a caesarian?” But in that moment actually I was like, “Oh, I understand that decision. I understand all of it.” And I was like, “Here I am being all non-judgmental in my birthing.” I'm like [inaudible 00:48:19].   Clancy Allen: (48:19) You're in this great philosophical chat yourself.   Tahnee: (48:25) I was like, “Oh, that's really…” I think I grabbed Mase and he was like, “Okay, crazy lady. Keep doing the things.” But what you said about ritual, and I'd never thought of it that way, but it's such a powerful way to think about. Everyone goes for the 20-week ultrasound and everyone goes for this and these are the celebrations of our culture and they don't celebrate the woman or the… It's like the device is celebrated almost or the technology.   Clancy Allen: (48:56) It's a ritual towards compliance and towards acceptance of that dominant medical paradigm and the body as a machine. And I guess that's a symptom or an effect of the industrial revolution and the industrial birth complex.   Tahnee: (49:16) Yeah.   Clancy Allen: (49:17) And I find it really sad.   Tahnee: (49:18) It is really sad.   Clancy Allen: (49:20) Yeah.   Tahnee: (49:22) I mean, it's dehumanising in a way because if you look at… I actually have a book that was written by a German author and it's The Body as a Machine and I think it was one of the first anatomy books, if not the first. But I don't want to make that claim because I don't know. But that actually mapped out all of the functions of the body as mechanical functions. And it's crazy to look at. It has the penis as this little…   Clancy Allen: (49:51) Like a wind up toy.   Tahnee: (49:52) Yeah, it's really funny. And all the organs, there's all these little factories pumping away. But I remember I was really shocked when I first saw it, but I also was like, “I can actually relate to this,” which shocked me as well. This part of me recognises that because I've been brought up in that culture and I was like, “Oh.”And I feel like that's so far from how we try and live but, yeah. And there's still a part of me that buys into that idea, I suppose, on some level, so more unravelling. But so tell me more about Birthing from Within. What else are you talking about or doing when you work in that paradigm?   Clancy Allen: (50:33) Yeah. One of the things that I like to share, just as a starting point for someone who's interested in birthing from within, is the framework or the three ways of knowing to prepare for birth. The first way of knowing is the modern medical knowing. This is being or knowing the stages of labour, the physiology of labour, what the modern birth culture and system is like. It's pretty linear, like just assimilating the information you need to know, learning, taking it on. We're all pretty comfortable in doing that.   Clancy Allen: (51:13) And that's the easy part of preparing because that's the part that's valued by society as well. That's got the research and the statistics and the facts and figures and the concrete knowing that you need to know. The second way of knowing is the intuitive knowing. That's your gut instinct and your connection to your body or your innate knowing, which is not particularly valued by the mainstream and really isn't in birth as well. Like in your example you said, “I'm having this baby now,” and they were like, “Oh, that's silly girl. No, you're not. You're a first time mum. You don't know.”   Clancy Allen: (52:03) Of course, you know. You're the expert of your body. You're the one in your body having the experience. And so that way of knowing is really about cultivating your connection to that; which a lot of us are so disconnected from because we live, from the shoulders up, in a very mental place. And then this way of knowing is not valued because even if you're saying, “I know this is happening,” or, “Something's not right,” but if it doesn't correlate to what they understand about what might be happening and what the evidence and the statistics or whatever says, then, you might just be dismissed or disregarded.   Clancy Allen: (52:43) And then, yeah, we really do have this whole doctor-God-expert complex, which if we are in that then we don't value our own knowing because we value what they say. We externalise the knowing. That's a big one. And I guess things like yoga can help people connect to that. And anything that's just, I think, quietening down the mind and getting into your body and connecting with the feedback that you have from your body can help you to cultivate that. A following what your intuition might say and seeing what the outcome is.   Clancy Allen: (53:32) And so then, the third way of knowing is the inner knowing or knowing who you are. This is more about that excavation of your history and your background, and your beliefs, and what's lurking in your subconscious, and how much of the negative cultural narrative about birth being a medical event that you need to be saved from, that you've taken on, and what you really believe and what your you're birth imprint is. Yeah, that's really about unpacking all that and having a good hard look at it and confronting the fears and moving through them.   Clancy Allen: (54:09) Things like, I guess, kinesiology or even just talking to someone experienced like a birth mentor or journaling and, yeah, looking at who you are and what you might bring into the birth space is that part. And that's the part that I just didn't really realise, I guess, when I was pregnant until after. And so that really needs to be the thing that you focus on the most, probably. Yeah.   Tahnee: (54:41) If you're working with women, are you usually starting reasonably early in their pregnancy, or yeah? Because I imagine it takes time to go through.   Clancy Allen: (54:50) Yeah. Yeah, that's ideal like spending an extended period of time. I've enjoyed that when couples have contacted me quite early on and we start at, say, 16 weeks or something. It really gives the space to build the relationship and to go deep into all those themes and things and for them to integrate it. Yeah, that's my preference, but that doesn't always happen. Sometimes people come in quite late in the piece. But for the most part I would say people are coming in at least halfway.   Tahnee: (55:25) Yeah. My friend did a short fear session with you, but is that something you offer as well where you just work on specific aspects of what's coming up for someone, as more of a mentoring counsel?   Clancy Allen: (55:41) Yeah. Those are usually an hour to 90 minutes. And if there's something specific that you're ruminating on, or maybe there's a few things, then we can look at that. And it's called a courageous excavation of fear process. It's about moving through it and really looking at it and picking it up and, hopefully, coming out the other side feeling more empowered, more confident.   Tahnee: (56:10) That's what I heard.   Clancy Allen: (56:11) Yes.   Tahnee: (56:13) Yeah. But I think in even just speaking it. I spoke to that friend about it afterward and verbalising fear to someone who can hold it and who isn't going to react or be triggered by it. It's really powerful, I think.   Clancy Allen: (56:30) Yeah. There can be some really good shifts with that work if the person is willing to be vulnerable. And your friend was, so she was the perfect candidate. Yeah.   Tahnee: (56:43) Where does prenatal yoga fit into all this with you, because you've got your online course and stuff like that? Is that mostly an offering because people are at home or is there a value in people attending classes as well? Or what's your kind of take home with pre-natal yoga?   Clancy Allen: (57:01) Yeah. The way that I do it is I structure it as a six week block that people commit to and come to so that there's that familiar container for the six weeks. And I was doing that in person, probably only three or four times a year, and that worked beautifully. And it's just evolved, I guess, over the years that I've been teaching it and it's become a really… I think it's a really awesome offering. And yeah, now the online version is the same. It's six modules, so you go at your pace.   Clancy Allen: (57:42) But the idea is that it's education about birth from this lens of birthing from within and my own flavour fused with the yoga with a little bit of optimal maternal positioning, things that I've learned along the way. And it's really about that second way of knowing, so cultivating that connection really and that inner knowing and tuning into that. Because that's a big piece that we can all just have more practise with, but especially important to get ready for birth. I was going to say something else, but I've forgotten.   Tahnee: (58:24) Well, you've moved into the online space.   Clancy Allen: (58:26) Yeah.   Tahnee: (58:26) Is that a version of that course, like a six week kind of...   Clancy Allen: (58:32) Yeah, it's pretty much what I teach in person. In fact, it's probably a little bit more because I've put some other resources in there and some bonuses, and I guess you can keep going back to it. That's the benefit of that. And it was accelerated by the Rona. It was always something I was going to create before that all blew up, but it just happened a bit quicker. I was waiting for the perfect time till I was pregnant again and I was going to film it when I was pregnant. I was going to make sure I'd done another yoga teacher training before, because that was important too.   Clancy Allen: (59:10) And then Rona happened and I'm like, “Well, I'm not pregnant and that teacher training that I was going to go to in Bali in August is not going to be happening. I guess I'll just stay to get this out now.” And, look, things are going back to normal, sort of; but, anyway, it's there as a forever thing.   Tahnee: (59:29) Well, that's great for people that can't physically be with you so, yeah, a really good offering. We were talking about this a little bit before as well but you've recently, I think, gotten, a little bit uncomfortable with the word doula in your own work. Can you tell us a little bit about… You've been doing that for a couple of years, I guess just as a last question and what is it actually like to be there for a woman and then, as you've witnessed all of that, what do you want to see more of in that space from different care providers and just women in general? If you could remould the model a little bit, based on what you've seen, what do you think it would look like? Big question.   Clancy Allen: (01:00:13) It would look like women knowing how powerful they are and really owning their inner authority, and unlearning the seeking that we do outside of ourselves to validate our experience or to approve of it or to make sure we're okay. I know I did, in a way, during my own pregnancy and I participated in that system. And in some of the ways I engaged and participated I can see now, with the benefit of hindsight and reflection and everything, that I handed over my power in many ways.   Clancy Allen: (01:00:58) And there were opportunities in that journey to stand more in my power, but I can do that now. And I guess if I can impart anything to women who are navigating their experience and moving through the system it's for them to really own their experience and step into their autonomy over it, and be the expert of their body. And I think, yeah, the women I'm really speaking to now have just had some clarity on this in the past couple of days, so I'm speaking this out loud now for the first time.   Clancy Allen: (01:01:40) But the women that I feel that I'm really here to serve are the women who have had an experience in the system that was less than ideal and they've come out saying never again. Or maybe they were traumatised or maybe it just was really average and they're like, “No, there's got to be a better way.” Or maybe they're a woman who's really disillusioned with her prenatal appointments and feeling like her body is just a faulty machine and there's got to be something more to this, more depths, more meaning, more spirituality.   Clancy Allen: (01:02:20) Or maybe it's the woman who's had a child who's been damaged by that system in some way, or maybe she's had a chronic health condition in the past and moved through that system and found no answers whatsoever. And so I think the women I speak to, or that I'm calling in, are those women who are sort of… Yeah, they don't want to participate in that anymore. They're really willing to look within themselves for their own authority in their experience.   Tahnee: (01:02:57) Exciting times for you. And the other bit of that was what it's like, I guess, just to finish on a positive note. I'm sure there are some really beautiful experiences you've had as a doula and working with women.   Clancy Allen: (01:03:11) Definitely.   Tahnee: (01:03:14) Just how rewarding that, maybe, is for you.   Clancy Allen: (01:03:18) Yeah, it's been so rewarding. I just have had beautiful nourishing experiences supporting women. I've seen women in their power. I've seen women come back from having induced births three times and then on her fourth baby having this beautiful home birth experience. Yeah, but just being there after a woman has given birth and done that work and opened herself and expanded physically but also spiritually and being able to hold her and love her and shower her with kind words and compassion and tenderness is really rewarding. I love that. I   Clancy Allen: (01:04:10) I've often stayed for hours after the baby has been born; and a recent experience, the mum, she really needed that support after so I had a little sleep on the floor in the hospital and was there when she woke up because she was in and out of consciousness. Those moments are really special, so I hold those really dear to my heart. And, yeah, doulas are incredible because I think for the most part we have so much love to give to women and, yeah, I really believe in women.   Clancy Allen: (01:04:51) And I think what I was saying before about who I'm speaking to, remembering your innate power can apply to any woman wherever she chooses that she needs to birth, whatever the environment is that she feels safe in. It is a huge opportunity to step into your power. Yeah, that's the bottom line of it all for me, I think.   Tahnee: (01:05:20) Yes. Full power. Awesome. Okay, well, I'll leave you with that and I think that's a really powerful note to end on. But if people do want to connect with you, obviously we'll put links in the show notes to everything but mostly through… Instagram and your website are your main communication channels. Do you use Facebook as well?   Clancy Allen: (01:05:41) A little bit, yeah.   Tahnee: (01:05:42) Yeah, like most of us.   Clancy Allen: (01:05:45) It's like the poor cousin.   Tahnee: (01:05:46) Yeah, but we've moved on.   Clancy Allen: (01:05:50) Yeah.   Tahnee: (01:05:50) And if people wanted to reach you, they can contact you through your site. And actually, if they wanted to arrange a Skype session if they weren't in your area, is anything like that possible?   Clancy Allen: (01:06:00) Yeah.   Tahnee: (01:06:00) Awesome.   Clancy Allen: (01:06:02) Definitely. Yeah.   Tahnee: (01:06:03) Oh, that's so great. I think there'll be lots of women out there that really can learn about you a lot and really connect to how you approach birth. I'm really grateful for your time and for telling us your story. And yeah, thank you so much for being here with us, Clancy.   Clancy Allen: (01:06:15) Thank you. Thanks for having me, Tahnee.   Tahnee: (01:06:18) It's a pleasure. All right. Well, I'll talk to you soon.
Mason welcomes Nicole Bijlsma onto the podcast today. Nicole is building biologist who single handedly established the building biology industry in Australia. After 15 years of clinical practice as a Naturopath and Acupuncturist, Nicole switched things up, changing her career pathway after noticing a strong correlation between the ill health of many of her patients and the health hazards they were exposed to in their homes. Nicole is a ball of passion, knowledge and insight, delivering the cold hard facts about environmental hazards such as 5G, EMFs, mould and more! Truly a woman on a mission, Nicole has great zeal for raising awareness and educating individuals on how they can create health in their body, homes and general environments. Mason and Nicole discuss: Building biology, what it is and what a building biologist does. The concept that the home or building we spend our time in, being like a third layer or extension of our skin. New home technology and exposure standards; human safety vs profit. The health impacts of EMF exposure. The relationship between immune deficiency and mould, EMF, chemical  sensitivity. The importance of taking a full case history when working to identify the root of chronic disease, and how the mainstream medical system fails us in this regard - "taking a thorough environmental exposure history is the most important thing a doctor can do, and none of them were trained to do it" 5G and why the configuration of the network is problematic for health. The origin of 5G technology, why it was developed and what it was used for.  The data on heavy metal load and electromagnetic sensitivity in humans. Identifying health risks in the home. The myths around EMF shielding equipment and technology. The importance of a healthy lifestyle and home environment in cultivating resilience against EMF exposure.  Who is Nicole Bijlsma? Nicole Bijlsma is a woman of passion, and her passion lies in environmental medicine. Nicole was a former naturopath and acupuncturist with 15 years of clinical experience who changed her career pathway to become a building biologist after noticing a strong correlation with many of her patients illnesses and health hazards in their home. Nicole is the author of the best seller Healthy Home, Healthy Family, was a columnist for Body+Soul (Herald Sun) and is frequently consulted by the media to comment on health hazards in the built environment (The 7PM Project, Sunrise, The Today Show, The Circle, Channel 7 News, Today Tonight, Channel 74, ABC radio, Fox FM, numerous webinars and podcasts). Nicole has thirty years experience lecturing at tertiary institutions in nutrition, Chinese Medicine and environmental medicine, and has published in peer-reviewed journals. Nicole's extensive knowledge in environmental medicine has seen her speak at various conferences both in Australia and abroad (USA, Thailand and New Zealand). Nicole single handedly established the building biology industry in Australia, was the former President of the Australasian Society of Building Biologists and established the Australian College of Environmental Studies in 1999 to educate people about the health hazards in the built environment. The college is the only institution in Australia to provide nationally accredited training in Building Biology and Feng Shui. Nicole is currently completing her PhD investigating health hazards in the built environment under the supervision of Professor Marc Cohen at RMIT.    Resources: Nicole's Website  Nicole's Book Australian College Of Environmental Studies Website Q: How Can I Support The SuperFeast Podcast?   A: Tell all your friends and family and share online! We’d also love it if you could subscribe and review this podcast on iTunes. Or  check us out on Stitcher :)! Plus  we're on Spotify!   Check Out The Transcript Here:   Mason: (00:00) Nicole, thank you so much for joining us.   Nicole Bijlsma: (00:02) Good to be back, Mason.   Mason: (00:04) Yeah, it's been about three years. We're on the SuperFeast Podcast and well it's been three years since you were on the Mason Taylor Show. Now we're on the SuperFeast Podcast, really stoked to be introducing to a much wider audience at this point. So I'm just really excited to share the work around Building Biology, the amount of people who have given me feedback around your book, and just how much it's become a staple for them, and just with really great grounded information. I really want to get this whole community and crew onto it. So let's just dive into it. It's a crazy time in the world. What's taking up a lot of your world and your focus at the moment?   Nicole Bijlsma: (00:54) Well, mould and electromagnetic fields take up most of my time, but I'm currently in the last year of my PhD, and I'm doing a randomised, controlled crossover study that's double-blind, which involves exposing 14 healthy adults to a baby monitor for two weeks. So it's second and fourth week during the intervention weeks, and they don't know if it's on or off, and seeing if it has an impact on their brainwaves, their heart rate variability and their sleep function. So we're currently crunching the numbers as we speak and hopefully by the end of the year there'll be a paper out of it.   Mason: (01:30) So immediately what I'm thinking is, "How long have baby monitors been a thing?" Here's a technology that was willy-nilly introduced and allowed and encouraged to be put next to newborns. Yet how many decades are we down the track, and have there been many studies like this that have been double-blind placebo and empirical?   Nicole Bijlsma: (01:51) Very little. Very little like this.   Mason: (01:54) So I mean this immediately throws us into a huge conversation around, as you were saying, being the focus of EMF. Everyone's in their home and that's why I wanted to have this conversation. A Building Biologist locally in the area, Rhys, when he first came to our place and we were dealing with some mould. That was four years ago when he came and chatted to us about the house being that third layer of skin and he was teaching us about Building Biology a little bit more. Since then he's come and done an audit of our new warehouse in Mullumbimby in-   Mason: (02:25) Definitely recommend people tune in with a qualified Building Biologist for commercial reasons as well. But it is a third layer of skin, our skin, our clothes, and then our house. And everyone's in the home right now and everyone's looking around and everyone's trying to rest and relax and finding there's some blockages in their way, and looking, "Oh wow, we're living in this plethora of technology." Yet, you're talking about something as simple and as innocent as a baby monitor, and yet there's a reason for you to be studying to see if it has ill effect on an adult and their brainwaves, and I'm sure in other variables. What's going on here with the need to review a technology decades down the track, rather than there being a watchdog or an Ombudsman to ensure that this technology isn't detrimental as it's being rolled out?   Nicole Bijlsma: (03:20) Well, that's a good question in relation to exposure standards. Exposure standards are not health-based standards. They're developed in compromise with industry to see what's practicable in a work place. There are no standards for residential settings because you can't suit yourself living in your own home. So unfortunately consumers wrongly assume when they go to the Telstra stores, Optus stores, et cetera, that because it's on the shelf it must have been tested, when in fact that couldn't be further from the truth. The way in which exposure standards are developed is manufacturers can put, whether it's telecommunications or agriculture, pharmaceuticals, not so much pharmaceuticals. But chemical industries can put products onto the supermarket shelf with very little testing because the burden of proof isn't on them to prove its safe. It's on researchers like me to spend their life to prove if it's dangerous.   Nicole Bijlsma: (04:14) And of course we have lots of examples in history where public health doesn't exist. Asbestos. We had potters from hundreds of years ago, with lung related diseases, exposed to asbestos because it's naturally found in the ground when they were cobbing, you know, using pottery et cetera. Whitman was a good example, where people were exposed to all of these asbestos fibres. And of course the latency period is 37 years or so. So it's the same with electromagnetic fields. We actually know how electromagnetic fields affect the human body at a cellular level, but we don't know what it is about the field that's triggering this type of reaction.   Nicole Bijlsma: (04:55) So with exposure standards, they're not health-based. Public health in this arena does not exist. They are waiting to see, and this is where they hide, that, "Until it's conclusive we're not going to do anything about it," because there's too many trillions of dollars to make. And that's the problem. Consumers probably think, "Oh, it must have been tested and it must be safe before it's there." In fact, it's the opposite, and that's why I set up the Australian College of Environmental Studies, a registered trading organisation, to train people to educate the masses that they can't make informed choices because they don't understand that these exposure standards are developed in consultation with the industry that's selling the product.   Mason: (05:37) So where do you focus in Building Biology and for yourself now? Here and now, what are you focusing on in the house? Some staples to ensure that we're at least not overly exposing ourselves. What's in our control?   Nicole Bijlsma: (05:54) Yeah, so basically if anybody just goes in and identifies other hazards in a built environment that are affecting their health. The first thing a Building Biologist is trying to do is to take a thorough exposure history, an environmental exposure history. So we look at the client's symptoms, and the symptoms will guide us as to what to look for in the house. So we know, for example, with asthma and allergies we're looking at dust mite load, we're looking for cockroaches, we're looking for rodent droppings and urine. We're looking for the pets. We're looking for things like mould, which is one of the biggest triggers for asthma and allergies. If they've got fatiguing syndrome, autoimmune disease, it is again mould. It's huge. I think at least 40% of the housing stock in Australia has some degree of water damage, whether it's a smaller degree of water damage being small risk, higher degree of water damage means high risk. So, yes, this is a huge part.   Nicole Bijlsma: (06:46) With electromagnetic fields I expect to see symptoms of specific headaches, palpitations, awareness of the heart beating, inability to sleep is a big one, fatigue, fibromyalgic type of symptoms. You know, these are the common symptoms. And ironically, once someone becomes mould sensitive, more often than not they become electrically sensitive. Once they become chemically sensitive they become more electrically and mould sensitive. I actually don't see the three of them as different because they all perpetuate each other. So the Building Biologist might be called in because a client has a concern about the smart metre, but we'll go in and see the visible mould, smell the damp odour, and we know that's going to affect their immune response to such a degree that they'll become more sensitive to other hazards like chemicals, electromagnetic fields from wireless technology, and of course, mould.   Mason: (07:39) With electromagnetic fields, is this at all creeping into the mainstream, or are you finding resistance to your work? Just for instance, like Lyme disease, right. You might go to a hospital in Sydney, someone will laugh you out and just say, "It's in your head." Here in Byron Bay, going to a hospital that will give you Doxycycline because they'll be able to recognise the eschar. So it's creeping up in the awareness and the acknowledgement. Do you know where the acknowledgment is at within the, for lack of a better word, mainstream medical system?   Nicole Bijlsma: (08:15) Well, they're not taught to take an exposure history, so if you don't ask the right questions you're never going to get the answers. And this is the problem. I published a study a couple of years ago with Professor Marc Cohan, interviewing the top environmental doctors in Australia and New Zealand who specialise in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and environmental sensitivities to see what are the best tests to identify toxic load. And the only thing they agreed on was that taking a thorough environmental exposure history is the most important thing a doctor can do, and none of them were trained to do it. They had to develop it themselves as a result of listening to their patients over many decades, to come up with their own exposure history.   Nicole Bijlsma: (08:55) And what we find with people, by the time they're diagnosed with an environmental sensitivity like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome... MS, I would say a lot of the patients I see with MS have significant mould related issues and biotoxin issues from Lyme disease et cetera, or stealth infections, is to take a proper, thorough history. And this takes 90 minutes. Now the medical system isn't geared to actually doing that. So for them to do it they could risk being deregistered because Medicare, really, they're geared in their trade to deal with acute diseases, which is great. But when it comes to chronic illnesses it's failing miserably, as everyone knows. And even across health industries, whether it's Naturopathy, Kinesiology, Chiropractics, we're not training them to take an environmental exposure history, so we don't understand that a lot of fibromyalgia and fatiguing syndrome we see is actually due to health hazards in the built environment.   Mason: (09:51) I mean it's such a symptom of our reductionist mentality that we're not a part of the environment that we live in. And it's one thing to be like what the medical system would see as just being a hippy, thinking you're going to be connected to the natural environment around you. But just the concept that you're not even going to be affected, no way, by the environment of the room that you're sleeping in every night, it gets a little bit ludicrous. And to think that that could be a mentality and that could be a way that you see the world. But it's understandable, as you say. They just don't get taught it. It's just not in their training, is it?   Nicole Bijlsma: (10:24) Well, that's the thing. A lot of the data on electromagnetic fields, mould, and chemicals is actually not in medical journals. When I went to publish this study about how the doctors assess toxic load, it was rejected by the medical journals as not relevant. So it got published in an environmental journal, where the doctors don't read it. This is the conundrum. They're not interested in getting to the root cause of the illness because it doesn't provide dividends for shareholders. And unfortunately, the longer I'm in this industry the more I realise it's about money.   Mason: (10:59) Absolutely. It is about money. So the big topic going around at the moment is 5G. And I feel pretty cruisy. We did a podcast about it recently and the one thing I share about most of these things is I like keeping a level head about my reaction and the way that I'm relating to EMF in my environment, or if there's going to be toxic exposure. As long as I can be really level and cool and chill about it so I'm not causing more endocrine and nervous system stress through my reaction. Then I'll kind of go forth and start considering. So I like having level conversations about 5G because it seems like in the extended internet world or Murdoch press world, is if you even mention it in any kind of questioning of 5G, then immediately you're in the camp of thinking that 5G causes COVID and all that kind of thing, which I just don't even want a part of that conversation.   Mason: (12:02) The part of the conversation I'm really interested in is in the context of what's going on now with yourself studying baby monitors, rather than testing 5G layered on top of 4G, or just for that matter, any new technology. How about we just slow down, think of a way, test it on humans, get it greener if possible. As you said, I know that's not a realistic thing to ask of a big conglomerate because all they want is money. Nonetheless, just to kind of reiterate, or I'd like to hear from your perspective. What is the stance of Building Biology, or the request or where you're trying to move in the direction of as these new technologies get introduced into the environment?   Nicole Bijlsma: (12:57) Yeah, well, 5G of course is very different to the other four generations because it's going to involve near instant connectivity, ultra low latency, so there's virtually no lag. I mean because who doesn't want to download 600 feature films a minute? Sarcastically.   Mason: (13:18) Yeah. Oh, yeah.   Nicole Bijlsma: (13:21) You know, 50 times bandwidth compared to the 4G, and connects billions of devices on the internet of things. The problem is that this generation is very different to the previous four insofar as that the infrastructure's very different. You need antennas every 50 to 200 metres from your home, because they're using millimetre wave radiation, which is incredibly small waves. And the reality is I don't even think it's going to work in Australia because a Eucalyptus tree will block the frequency. So unless you have a direct line of sight it's going to be difficult. And if you've got a lot of metal in your home that could reflect it as well, which could be a good thing, providing you don't have internet connection inside.   Nicole Bijlsma: (13:58) In terms of health effects, this is the contention. It's because it's high millimetre wave radiation, it's a different frequency, and that means there's actually very little data on its impact on health. The research that has been conducted has shown that it affects the skin temperature. It does alter gene expression. It does promote oxidative stress, which is what we know about all the other forms of electromagnetic fields, whether it's AC magnetic fields from current or radio frequencies from all your wireless devices. It causes oxidative stress. It acts on voltage-gated calcium channels, results in calcium influx in the cell, which results in all these free radicals. And once that overwhelms the cell, and there's not enough antioxidants then the mitochondria become affected and eventually the cell dies.   Nicole Bijlsma: (14:44) But in terms of the physical diseases, only the research that's conclusive says that it causes eye damage and cataracts. That's been really thoroughly studied in rodent studies since the 1960s, that it causes cataracts, because it hits... Because the eyes lack sufficient blood flow they can't dissipate the heat quick enough so it causes oxidative stress and cataracts. It also acts on the sweat ducts in the skin. And this is why it was developed by the military for crowd control. When you have 5G or high millimetre wave radiation projected towards a human it affects the sweat ducts because they act as helical antennas. It vibrates the two to five million sweat ducts and causes to heat from the inside out, which is really uncomfortable, which is why when you use it for crowd control people disperse very quickly.   Mason: (15:34) Wow. And that's like an actually proved in-use measure for crowd control?   Nicole Bijlsma: (15:42) Yeah, and that's what it was developed for. It was a [inaudible 00:15:46] device for the military. Absolutely. That's the problem. So long term exposure, we're not really sure, because this is the thing. We introduce a product like asbestos and we go, "There's no side effects." It's the poor dog defence. "My dog doesn't bite. 5G doesn't bite." You telecommunications say to us, "You prove it's dangerous, but we're going to keep it and expose it to the population for decades until you prove conclusively." That's freaking ridiculous.   Mason: (16:15) Yeah.   Nicole Bijlsma: (16:15) They should be required to prove conclusively that it's safe. And yet this is not the way capitalist society works. And unfortunately that's the problem. So there isn't a lot of data. I hear there's some coming out more and more, certainly in related studies, that it has significant adverse health effects at an animal study level. But of course the telecommunications will use animal studies to prove that something is safe for them, but then dismiss it when you show that it's dangerous. So that's the problem.   Nicole Bijlsma: (16:44) Now, as I mentioned, with existing radio frequencies in our wireless devices we know how they affect the body at a cellular level. You know, they suppress melatonin from the blue light. They increase oxidative stress. They cause permeability of the blood-brain barrier, et cetera. That's really well established. They increase the risk for glioma and acoustic neuroma brain tumours if you use them on one side of the head for five years for two hours or more a day. That's really well established and we've all moved on from that. The problem is that we're introducing millimetre wave radiation that was developed by the military for crowd control. There is quite a bit of study since the 60s on rodents and the impact on skin and of course cataracts and eyes.   Nicole Bijlsma: (17:28) And the problem with skin is that it's so high in mast cells. Olle Johannson was one of the first researchers to show that exposure to VDUs of computers in the 80s in Sweden causes this skin rash, because there's so many mast cells in the skin, because that's your immune system. It's that line of defence. This millimetre wave radiation stimulates the degranulation of our cells and a sympathetic nerve response, which is your body going, "Oh my God, something's attacking me. Quick, fight or flight." So we do know that that's how it reacts. But unfortunately we need a lot more research on this, which is why they should be delaying the roll out until they prove conclusively that it is safe, which they won't be able to do.   Mason: (18:10) You see, this is the funny backwards propaganda driven brainwashing that occurs. And you bring up the fact of asbestos a couple of times, and I had an uncle who passed away from a proven asbestos-based lung cancer through working on the brakes of jets. And it got to that point where it was like, you know, and a bunch of his buddies as well that were working on the tarmac as well, they went down. And so you go to try and get a little bit of cash to help you support your family from a particular airline and they've got a whole sector of lawyers within the company just ready to defend themselves to make sure that they're not going to have to pay out one iota to any of these people. They're just trying to find anything to prove that they're not the ones that need to be held accountable, when it's quite obvious.   Mason: (19:05) And that kind of thing has impacted many people, whether it's DDT, it's lead paint, whatever it is. It's cigarettes being promoted to pregnant women. Whatever it is, the company is just able to go ahead with it. And everyone can look back into the past with now 20/20 vision and see that, "Yes, that was probably something we should have curbed and maybe got a little bit proven before we'd just given free rein to the marketers." But just here in Mullumbimby it's been interesting with the 5G going up.   Mason: (19:35) There's of course a part of the population, you know the ones, which people would label as the trippers who, you know, they can go out there. They're imaginative and they're trying to be off in their mind trying to pull all the different, the web of things that are going on in the world, but they're going and they're doing their thing. They're a small part of the community that's been standing up against 5G rollout, and we were lucky enough to have one of the shires that said, "You know what, Telstra? No." There's been so much backlash of people just requesting, "Hey, can you prove this technology is safe before you roll it out?" because, as you were saying, like many things, we don't want decades down the track to have to roll that back. Now in order to-   Nicole Bijlsma: (20:20) Thank God for the people like you and a minority of the population who are actually making informed choices and taking the time to actually critically think and question what they've being fed, and look at the data and the research.   Mason: (20:34) Well, what's very sad is that if you oppose it, immediately what you're going to get painted as is an absolute paranoid tripper that thinks 5G is causing COVID-19 and you're off on another planet and you're just a basic scallywag and you're a dirty hippy, is the way that it's literally being painted here.. I feel like it's the design, right. It makes people scared to stand up and just say, "Hey, excuse me, I've got a reasonable request here," as our council did, and then I think on a federal level it got overrun.   Mason: (21:11) So surprise, surprise, Telstra just shows up and goes, "We're putting it up." And thankfully we've got a crew that really got onto the ground quickly. And we're starting to talk about PR wise, "Hey, guys, what are we actually talking about here?" Exactly what you're saying. "Listen, please just prove your technology that you're going to make billions of dollars out of is really safe. That's all." That's all. Prove us wrong. It would be amazing, which they won't be able to do, as you said. It's interesting how that very grounded request, there's enough brainwashing to make people think that you're absolutely batshit crazy for doing what should have been done with asbestos, right.   Nicole Bijlsma: (21:54) Oh, absolutely. Look, and in terms of the relationship to COVID, look there's very little data to support at this point. Maybe there is. I haven't seen it, and I haven't really got a comment on it, because I haven't read or seen anything credible that I can comment on the relationship between exposures to COVID-19 and electromagnetic fields. What does concern me is that we know people sensitive to electromagnetic fields have more metal in their body. Now where does the metal come from? It comes from amalgams and dental work. It also comes from eating high levels of fish, and aluminium and Thimerosal from vaccines. So it's interesting that a lot of these people, like kids on autism, have very high levels of aluminium in their body. A recent paper showed very high levels. And it isn't coming from their deodorants because they're only four when they're diagnosed. So where is it coming from? This is what we need to start thinking about.   Nicole Bijlsma: (22:48) For me the most important thing we can do as consumers moving forward is to keep as healthy as possible. Get out into the sunshine. Keep your house as clean as possible insofar as fresh air. A healthy home smells like fresh air. It's devoid of any artificial fragrances and smells, that you live in a bushy environment. Your house is like a dry mediterranean environment, so there's no moisture or dampness in the house, and that you have a healthy, preferably organic, diet, that you know your farmers. You know where the food is coming from so it's as clean as possible. Regular exercise, good mental outlook. I mean that's what health is. You don't need to wait til you're sick to get all this other stuff. I mean nature cure has been around a long time, and I think if people just follow basics. And they know in terms of their diet if they're crap or not. They need to act on that. They need to do exercise, et cetera. Keeping healthy is the most important way to reduce your exposures to infection and of course to deal with environmental changes in your environment, whether it's electromagnetic fields.   Nicole Bijlsma: (23:51) I want to make a point about EMFs. Certainly 5G, I'm completely anti because I can't prove it's safe. I get it. And the infrastructure is really concerning. But what we find, as Building Biologists, is that exposures happen the closer they are to the body. So people might have an issue about something outside of the house, but the reality is their highest exposures happen from devices inside the house closest to their person. That's the cell phone. That's the digital device. People often don't want to hear that. They're too busy wanting to blame someone for something else when in fact their exposures are happening in the highest power output from their cell phone, from their iPad, from their wireless device, from their speakers, from their printers right on their workstation.   Nicole Bijlsma: (24:32) So as Building Biologists, 95% of our role is to educate people. Yes, that is an issue, the smart metre, but look at the power output. It's very low at your favourite couch or in your bedroom. What's very high here is that you've got your phone under your pillow at night time and this is what it's doing. And that's going to have a far greater impact on your health than what's happening outside of your house. So let's start with common sense, what's closest to your person, and work our way out, because that's where the greatest harm is going to happen.   Mason: (25:06) I love it so much. I love that you focused on your health and your sun exposure and your great diet and all the things. Hydration being the number one place where you're actually going to be able to make a difference in your own life, rather than going, "Which EMF blocking device do I need to go out and buy in order to block me?" I like that as a fun extension and cherry on top when you can be kind of speculative, because from what I understand it's very speculative, that field at the moment, of what's-   Nicole Bijlsma: (25:37) Oh my God, there's so many people out there. Big rule of thumb. If someone comes to test your house and shield, don't do it. They might only charge $200 and have all the fandangled equipment, but they'll charge you thousands in shielding that you probably don't need. That is a massive conflict of interest for someone to come in, test your house for EMFs, and then con you into tens of thousands. We find this all the time. There's a company out there doing four-day courses and now everyone's an EMF expert, using instruments that aren't actually that great. And then testing for electric fields, which aren't even a problem, and conning people to spend $20,000/30,000 on shielding. Shielding is a disaster. Shielding is a last resort. And the reason is because when you start using shielding paint to attenuate radio frequencies you will often magnify the electric field. With people with electrical sensitivity, that's going to make them worse.   Nicole Bijlsma: (26:29) I find many of these people have spent thousands of dollars with this company and all their graduates, and they can't live in their house anymore. That is the big problem. So shielding doesn't work effectively 100%. Certainly, it often makes other things worse. So that's a problem. And that's why you always, whoever's testing your house should never be the one selling you the shielding stuff, because then you'll get an independent opinion and the $600 or $800 you spend on testing properly could save you tens of thousands of dollars in unnecessary shielding.   Mason: (26:59) That's something that's always evident. I've chatted to yourself and had interactions with Rhys and then my friend, Damien, over in WA, and SuperHealth is a big promoter of Building Biology as well. And the ethics are through the roof. It's something I've been having a conversation about a lot in different fields, in different expertise and in businesses, and definitely in government, the voidance of ethics, because when you're in like a quick fix you want systemic change and you can project your apathy onto your desire and your blame of everyone else because you need systemic change. And you know unless that happens then you're going to be a victim. "Poor little me," versus going, "Well, yes, I'm going to work for that, but I'm also going to work for that personal change massively and start actually taking responsibility for this." There's a huge difference there.   Mason: (27:54) And I think it's sometimes boring for people to hear that the onus is on yourself and the biggest thing is that you can go and whinge about 5G all you want. And I am definitely not saying that because you use technology you don't have a right to say, "I think we should improve things a little bit." I think that's not a valid conversation. But nonetheless going, "How about I learn how to responsibly use the technology that's in my house," and acknowledge the fact that it is probably going to be causing more damage than that that's outside systemically.   Nicole Bijlsma: (28:33) Oh, absolutely. Definitely. And that's a hard one for some people to swallow. Like I have my cell phone and I love my cell phone, but I know how to use it and reduce my exposure. So I will never put it near my head per se when I'm making calls. It's always arm's length away, normally with the earpiece, for example, loudspeaker and text as often as I can, because there's no way I'm going to put high frequency radio frequencies right near my head, for that reason.   Nicole Bijlsma: (29:03) So I'm making an informed choice, and that's the thing I train my Building Biologists in the Advanced Diploma is that, "Your role is to educate people. What they do with that information is up to them. If they don't want to follow it that's not your business. They're paying you for your time. You give them the information. Now they can make an informed choice." If they continue to use their devices, like me, I love this, that I don't have to be in my office. I can be from home to work et cetera. I love it. But that's an informed choice. I dye my hair. That's an informed choice. I know exactly what risks are involved.   Nicole Bijlsma: (29:35) So that's really ultimately what my goal is when I set up the college and the Building Biology industry, is to help people make informed choices because most people can't even do that because they don't understand the system is flawed. The exposure standards, which we started with, are not health-based standards. And that's why it's important that a lot of the work we do is to actually educate people. And simple things like move furnishing around. If you have to have a wireless router, let's put it in the room that's not being used and attenuate it by reducing the radiation by 95%, by getting onto the manufacturer's website and this is how we can reduce this. Yeah, you've got a wireless router, and use it in a way that you can use the internet on two or three rooms in the house so it's not bathing the whole house.   Nicole Bijlsma: (30:20) So we look at what the client's lifestyle is and go, "Okay, what are you willing to accept as a risk? This is what the hazards are. Now let's work together to reduce your risk in light of what you've just told me." It's not saying, "Slap on the wrist. Everyone get to Nimbin in a hamtent with bare feet and that's all you've got. There's no other choice." No, of course not. I choose to live with risks, get in a car knowing that it could be a coffin on wheels, et cetera. But at least I make an informed choice. That's what consumers don't understand is, most of them can't make an informed choice because they don't understand that the system's flawed and it's certainly not geared for public health.   Mason: (30:55) Absolutely not. And it's funny because I feel like it's quite common knowledge and everyone knows that a huge business only gives a shit about its profits, and the government isn't there to keep you really safe. I feel like it's an increasingly small, baby boomer kind of portion of the population that still really full-heartedly believes that the government's there to really keep you safe with integrity. Yet, this hasn't clicked over. And I feel like we're getting there, the fact that there are no standards for health here. And I think something you bring up, sometimes people just don't want to hear it. It's a little bit too much. I think that's a huge part of it as well. Acknowledging the fact that there's no standard for the fact we're heading towards smart cities. We're heading towards these huge technological rollouts and hey, we haven't paused and actually checked whether these are safe, and maybe they don't care and you've got to burden that. That's a huge one.   Mason: (31:57) And then your distinction, I think, is something for everyone to take here today, is like informed consent. At least when I know that I go in my car, if I take my phone off aeroplane mode I'm in a big metal box, and just having Rhys explain that all that is, is it's just bouncing around inside. And that's okay, but I'd probably recommend you don't stream YouTube or podcasts if you go in there. Huge. Huge thing. And I don't find myself being hypocritical if I'm doing it and I'm still asking for upgrades, and for everyone to slow down. But if I'm not comfortable with the decisions I'm making and I don't have integrity with my own decisions and I'm complaining externally, it definitely lands the responsibility back on my shoulders.   Nicole Bijlsma: (32:52) Absolutely. You mentioned a confined space like a metal carriage - tram, bus, truck, car. Imagine that as a house. You've built an energy efficient house with a metal roof, metal cladding around the side and a steel concrete slab. There's no way you should have wireless technology in there because it creates, like you said, the microwave oven effect. So it's reflecting and refracting off all those surfaces. So how you build that house is really important. That's why Building Biologists can be very useful. There's only a handful of Building Biologists that actually have the skills because it's an elective in the course on how to build healthy homes and work with architects.   Nicole Bijlsma: (33:33) But if you've got a lot of metal in the house then you should not be having any wireless device in that home because it will be bouncing off and creating hotspots in that space. So hardwired would be your best option. So understanding the interaction between the built environment and its impact on the electro climate of the house is really important. And that's something that we think about at the design stage, based on the client's lifestyle, whether they're willing to have hardwired or whether they only want wireless devices. That's fine but then it comes at cost. And that's what we educate them so they can make an informed choice.   Nicole Bijlsma: (34:03) And that's the thing. It's the synergistic impact. And, as I said, when people are in a damp environment, mould, now they could become more electrically sensitive, more chemically sensitive. So this is why we have to integrate. Well, you shouldn't be using pesticides in the house because you're exposed to a lot of that, that you've got to get rid of it and dry up that mould and get to the source of the moisture and get rid of all that fungal particulate, that exposure to that EMF.   Nicole Bijlsma: (34:27) So more often that not it's this accumulation effect over a lifetime, whether it's a combination of a tick bite early on in life, very poor diet throughout their teens or recreational drugs, and things like being exposed to high levels of electromagnetic fields because they're an electrician and then they go into a damp house and now they're sick. Well, that threshold has built up over years. And that's typically what happens before people are actually diagnosed with environmental sensitivity. So as Building Biologists, even though we say we can do an EMF audit, a mould audit, the reality is we could come in with the whole toolbox because the client doesn't know what they don't know. So when we walk in, based on their symptoms I know what to look for that I need to exclude, and it could be any one of those issues.   Mason: (35:10) It makes sense. It makes absolute sense. It's annoying when you're in a western go, go, go, go kind of way of living to be like, you know, all that stress you're going to accumulate and potentially... Of course, we know stress and pathogens and mould infection and that kind of stuff is going to eventually cause compromisation within the immune system and the endocrine system. And if you've got that from a robust teenager, 20-year old, don't really notice it. A little bit more when you're in your 30s, 40s, oh, it's getting a little bit harder. All right, now we start.   Nicole Bijlsma: (35:49) Oh, 40s and 50s it catches up with you, all the stuff from your 20s and teens.   Mason: (35:52) Got to pay your debt, yeah.   Nicole Bijlsma: (35:58) Pay your debt. Exactly right. Exactly right. But the more you can address those issues the more resilient you'll be for the environment. Now the environments change enormously because of the EMFs. We've talked about mould potentially. Chemical exposures, with each generation it's just worse and worse. Our immune systems are getting really bogged down with a lot of these hazards, which is why we have all these autoimmune diseases, fatiguing syndromes, et cetera. But the message is always to go back to basics, which is what I've mentioned before in terms of your stress, lifestyle, good diet, good attitude, and a relatively dry and healthy home that's free of chemicals.   Mason: (36:33) The dry and healthy home, I think, is the one that doesn't land on that. "You guys know how to stay healthy. Drink your water, get lots of sunlight, have a dry home." That's like-   Nicole Bijlsma: (36:44) Healthy home. Filtered water, very, very important. You don't want chlorine in your gut microbiome. Yeah. You could do a whole podcast on water, Mason.   Mason: (36:54) Well, I've actually got a water series coming up and that's something that I [crosstalk 00:36:58]   Nicole Bijlsma: (36:57) Oh.   Mason: (36:58) And I thought about you. So I will. We'll book in another podcast and we can go all through that because I think water filters is a thing you get 10 experts and you get 12 answers as to what the best filter is going to be. So I mean having a podcast where our aim isn't to give the recommendations, just to give all the knowledge, so then they can take that and run with it.   Nicole Bijlsma: (37:20) Yes.   Mason: (37:20) And what you're saying, hydration, sunlight, a dry... What was it? A dry, cool home?   Nicole Bijlsma: (37:26) Mediterranean-like environment, yeah.   Mason: (37:28) Mediterranean-like environment. What I like about that distinction of you're going to accumulate that, whether it's the permeability of the brain barrier, I think you were saying, through EMF exposure is one of these things. And let's try and get these studies in the show notes as well so people can go and cross-reference them themselves. Just like that exposure being accumulative and immunosuppressive potentially, or definitely, on the other side of the coin you get to accumulate all those benefits with all those exposure to the natural elements and all that you're doing for your health. What I like about this approach is that it's always going and then you can head in this direction, and it's just as good as it gets just as bad over there.   Nicole Bijlsma: (38:21) And how amazing is the body? It's so resilient to deal with all these onslaughts. So by the time it hits that threshold there's been a lot of onslaughts. And of course with genetics that does play a role. But we now know, since they've mapped the human genome in 2002, that genetics loads the gun but the environment pulls the trigger. Most SNPs and gene variants some people have and MTHFR would be completely irrelevant if they weren't exposed to toxic environments, because they've been in the gene pool for thousands of years. So that's the thing. It's the environment that's changed that's brought it out. Oh, you've got SNPs, heterozygous SNPs or homozygous SNPs in these detoxification pathways, so you're far more susceptible to these chemicals. But three generations ago no one was exposed to those chemicals so it wasn't important. Do you know what I mean? So that's why you've got to reduce the exposures to the electromagnetic fields and the mould and the chemicals and the perfumes and the air fresheners and the pesticides and plastics and the four Ps, which I talk about in the book.   Mason: (39:22) Yeah, I was just going to say, I was going to have the book to hold up, but someone had checked it out of the SuperFeast library, which is good. It's one of the ones that yeah, healthy home, healthy family-   Nicole Bijlsma: (39:32) I think another one for your library.   Mason: (39:32) Yeah.   Nicole Bijlsma: (39:32) I think it's through Booktopia. Yep.   Mason: (39:32) Booktopia?   Nicole Bijlsma: (39:32) Or my website.   Mason: (39:38) I'm going to get another one because I need one for my house as well as in the office. It's one of those ones. It's one of those ones, guys, that's like mandatory reading and presence. And it's one of those fun ones as a coffee table book because it's not paranoid. It's just practical. And so it's a really good gift as well for someone that's just opening up. It's just calling a spade a spade, which is what I like about your work, I like about Building Biology, I like about the book, because it's approachable. So thanks for that.   Nicole Bijlsma: (40:10) Thank you. Thank you. I'm currently developing a Healthy Home short course for the public, so videos and things like that. It will be very reasonably priced and it will be your room by room analysis of how to create a healthy home, room by room. So it's going to be a very practical series that will enable people to digest what I've got in the book, because you know this is quite evidence-based and there's quite a bit of scientific research on EMFs. I like the text but I'm going to simplify that and do it as a room by room analysis to help people with videos. Okay, how do we actually have food packaging that's healthy and drinking water and things like that? So that will come out within the next six months.   Mason: (40:52) Okay, cool. Where's the best place to get on a newsletter list so they can be informed as soon as it's out?   Nicole Bijlsma: (41:00) My website, buildingbiology.com.au. Lots of videos, lots of good content there that's very-   Mason: (41:07) Yeah, and it's a good site. I haven't been on for about a year or so. But yeah, it's like super, super rich with resources. The interesting thing is that there's like, you don't have to invest anything to start out with this kind of stuff.   Nicole Bijlsma: (41:24) No.   Mason: (41:24) You don't have to go out and buy the $2,000 device in order to be doing the right thing, blocking EMFs.   Nicole Bijlsma: (41:32) Absolutely. Absolutely. Knowledge is key. Absolutely.   Mason: (41:35) Amazing. Are you, yourself, Building Biology, on any social media platforms as well?   Nicole Bijlsma: (41:43) Well, I have a Facebook site where I post things from time to time, bit slack on that. And of course the Australasian Society of Building Biologists has a Facebook site for the public as well. And of course the college, I've got quite a bit of information there as well and the Australian College of Environmental Studies where people can do individual courses. Like there's this fabulous subject called Children's Environmental Health and it's really good. If you're really loving my book then it's like a snippet of everything, the Building Biology course, like allergens, electromagnetic fields, all of that sort of thing. So that's a really good place to start for people who actually want to get more detail and videos and things like that.   Mason: (42:21) I think it cut out just a tiny bit there. Is there a college website that people can check out?   Nicole Bijlsma: (42:26) Yeah.   Mason: (42:26) Because if you want to do this as a career, if you're young and listening to this or want to consider this kind of path, this is on. This is a legit career path.   Nicole Bijlsma: (42:39) Yeah, yeah.   Mason: (42:39) So where are they going to get that information?   Nicole Bijlsma: (42:42) So it's called the Australian College of Environmental Studies and the website is aces.edu.au. It's an Advanced Diploma of Building Biology, two years full-time, four years part-time. But there are individual subjects people can do. Like if you want to come here as a mould testing technician, that's one subject, four days, 12 weeks online, and you're earning up to a $1,000 a day. So that's amazing compared to what most naturopaths earn doing a $60,000 degree. It's the same with electromagnetic field testing technicians. Four days on campus, 12 weeks online, [inaudible 00:43:17]. And Children's Environmental Health, a great subject on looking at the health hazards in your home thoroughly in order to make informed choices about what's going on.   Mason: (43:26) And it's been cool to see so many practitioners branching out and making that a part of their expertise as well. It makes sense. As you're saying, it makes sense to be able to like get into the home. A lot of the time the practitioner in that really comprehensive 60 minute/90 minute consult isn't going to be able to actually tell you what's actually going on in their environment.   Nicole Bijlsma: (43:44) No.   Mason: (43:44) So I love it. I appreciate your work, and I'm really excited we've connected on the water thing. So we'll have you. Yeah, that should just be a month or two. Phone wants you so I'm going to let you go.   Nicole Bijlsma: (43:55) Thank you.   Mason: (43:58) Yeah, thanks so much. We really appreciate you.   Nicole Bijlsma: (44:00) Thank you so much for having me on.
The incredible Jane Hardwicke Collings joins Tahnee on the Women's Series today, to explore the cyclic nature of womanhood and the potency of menopause. Jane is a menstrual educator, midwife, teacher and writer. It is an exquisite delight and absolute honour to share in the vast nature of her knowledge and wisdom. The conversation shared between Tahnee and Jane is powerful, an important listen for all the women out there, both young and wise, who are keen to learn more about their own innate rythmns. Or for the men folk who are eager to understand and support their female friends and loved ones. Tahnee and Jane discuss: The cyclic nature of womanhood. Menstruation, menopause and the lunar cycle. The medicalisation of menopause, "menopause is not a disease. It doesn't have a diagnosis, and therefore it doesn't have symptoms." - Jane Hardwicke Collings Birth, menarche, motherhood and menopause as rites of passage. Rites of passage as key indicators of how individuals are valued culturally, based on which phase of the cycle they're in. How the menopausal shift in luteinizing hormone and follicle stimulating hormone can increase a woman's intuition and visionary capacity. What our experience of menarche teaches us about being a woman and how that impacts our experience of menopause. The cultural shame that surrounds the menstrual cycle in Western society. What menopause or 'mimi' signifies in the cultures of Australia's First Nations Peoples. The concept of the "mother line" or "red thread" theme when going through menopause. How to prepare for yourself for menopause - "the best thing anybody can go into menopause with is inner strength." - Jane Hardwicke Collings Who is Jane Hardwicke Collings? Jane Hardwicke Collings is a grandmother, midwife, teacher, writer and menstrual educator. Jane gives workshops in Australia and internationally on mother and daughter preparation for menstruation, the spiritual practice of menstruation, and the sacred dimensions of pregnancy, birth, and menopause – a modern-day Women’s Mysteries Teacher.   Resources: Jane's Website Jane's Online Courses The School of Shamanic Womancraft  The School Of Shamanic Womancraft Podcast About Bloody Time Book Cedar Barstow Website Christiane Northrup Website Lara Owen Website   Q: How Can I Support The SuperFeast Podcast?   A: Tell all your friends and family and share online! We’d also love it if you could subscribe and review this podcast on iTunes. Or  check us out on Stitcher :)! Plus  we're on Spotify!   Check Out The Transcript Here:   Tahnee: (00:00) Hi everybody. Welcome to the SuperFeast podcast. Today I have Jane Hardwicke Collings with me, and she's a grandmother, midwife, teacher, writer and menstrual educator. Jane was a home birth midwife for 30 years, and she gives workshops on mother and daughter preparation for menstruation and the spiritual practise of menstruation and the sacred dimensions of pregnancy, birth and menopause. She's a modern day women's mysteries teacher and she founded and runs the School of Shamanic Womancraft and International Women's Mysteries School.   Tahnee: (00:33) I'm very excited to have you here today Jane. You were requested heavily by our community when we were reaching out about who people wanted to hear from. We had I think probably 50 plus emails and messages about you, so you're very popular.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (00:51) Oh wow, that's cool. Thank you. Thank you so much for inviting me. I'm very honoured to be here with you.   Tahnee: (00:57) Yeah, super exciting. I wanted to chat to you today about menopause in particular. You do have such a rich background, but we've spoken a lot about birth and menstrual issues and the younger women's journey, but we haven't spoken a lot about these later stages of womanhood and what it means to transition from a woman who bleeds to a woman who no longer bleeds, and what that kind of means both on a spiritual level and on a physical level. I know you've got some insights around this and have a course coming on your website soon, which is really exciting.   Tahnee: (01:34) I wondered if you could, if you're open to it, share some of your journey with us and how you came to be interested in these topics. That would be a great place to start I think.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (01:43) Yeah, for sure. Thank you. Like this hidden rite of passage of menopause that seems to have been either ignored or forgotten or at least not talked about. As a midwife, I absolutely thought that there could not possibly be anything more transformational than giving birth until I went through menopause. I learned so much from my experience, and there wasn't that much around to learn from, but that's not a problem because the experience teachers one everything one needs to learn if one is open to it.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (02:31) I'm not sure which is feared more, childbirth or menopause. Probably childbirth because menopause is just not even talked about. It's something that we really, really need to reclaim and embrace because it's inevitable. You can avoid it if you like, but that would be a waste of an amazing transformational opportunity. My journey to menopause was, well it's kind of similar to other women who are obsessed with the menstrual cycle, which-   Tahnee: (03:13) More and more women are, which is really exciting.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (03:17) It's so exciting. Approaching my menopause, I was like, "Oh no, how am I ever going to be able to live my life without my menstrual cycle? I'm so obsessed by it. I use it all the time to guide me and working with the energies, et cetera. What would it be like without it? Oh no." I was approaching it with well I guess some worry about what life would be like without my menstrual cycle. It's very different. It's an interesting process to shift from the cycle of one's menstrual cycle into the cycle without the blood.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (04:05) When you learn all about the menstrual cycle, one of the most interesting things that we learn is that the blueprint for the menstrual cycle is to follow the cycle of the moon, and we won't go into that in great detail now and it's very easy to find information about it, but the point of raising that now is that the moon doesn't go away when your periods do. So there she is up in the sky and there's a return to the lunar clock or the lunar calendar, like a recalibration for one from the perimenopausal journey on to reconnect with the original blueprint cycle of the moon and be with that.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (04:59) It's not like there's no cycle anymore. There is that cycle that's always been there in the background anyway, and so the experience of or my experience of my cycle after my menstrual cycle stopped, which was to fully tap into the lunar cycle, is similar to the menstrual cycle but not as intense. There's not the high highs of ovulation and the low lows of bleeding, and I don't mean low in a negative way, I mean deep.   Tahnee: (05:30) Interior, yeah.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (05:32) The heights and depths of the menstrual cycle and not there in the post-menopausal cycle. There's similarities, like I feel the fully moon and the dark moon and the journey there and back, but it's not as intense. In some ways and for very, very many, many, many women, there's a lot of relief in that too, especially if there's been pathology around the menstrual cycle through the journey. The cycle remains and yet it is gentler. Shall I just talk a little bit about the whole thing?   Tahnee: (06:08) Yeah, I'm super interested. That just brought up a load of, because I had this intuition that it was a steadying I guess of those rhythms or like a harmonising, I suppose, because I know so many young women go through really big ebbs and flows, like the tides are big tides. Yeah, I've seen what you're speaking to, is what I felt a sense of what menopause is offering. I'm really interested to hear you speak more about it, so please, go.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (06:36) Yeah. Well it's a journey to that. I stopped bleeding when I was 56, and I'm turning 62 this year. I'm nearly six years since stopped bleeding, and is till have hot flashes. I have different sleeping patterns to what I used to have. It's not something that you go through and then it's back to normal. There is no back to normal. There is-   Tahnee: (07:06) The new normal.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (07:07) Exactly, which is what we're experiencing now with the pandemic. The big questions of what will it be like after this, when we get through this. What will happen? Will we be going back to business as usual? Those are all the same questions that women are asking themselves when they're going through the perimenopausal journey, and the answers to it are, well, let's see, or everything will be revealed or the unravelling will result in the answer to that, et cetera, et cetera, but the bottom line is that it's not business as usual. There's no return to normal. There is a new normal, which is something that we're all getting acquainted with now.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (07:51) It's very interesting how quickly and maybe not easily, but we adapt to or adopt new normals. I think the experience with the pandemic will be something that perimenopausal women will be able to relate to, like the whole unknowns around it. I'm saying the word perimenopausal a lot, so I just want to define that. Peri means around, so around menopause. Menopause is a moment. It's the last menstrual cycle that you have, and you never know. You never know when it's going to be the last one, like you never know when it's going to be the last breastfeed or never know when it's going to be the first period or you never know when the baby's going to come or whatever, whatever. It's one of those mysteries, as they're called. The women's mysteries. There's lots of mystery to them.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (08:44) Perimenopause is probably the term to use to describe the journey because, as I said, menopause just means the last period. Then there's post-menopause, which is when one has reached the medically designated period of time that you're meant to have no period for, to then be a post-menopausal woman, and different people say different things. Often it's one year without a period and others say two years to get your diagnosis of being post-menopausal, but therein lay the trick and the trap there because menopause is not a disease. It doesn't have a diagnosis, and therefore it doesn't have symptoms.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (09:32) You can see with the language used around it that it's really been-   Tahnee: (09:39) Medicalized.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (09:40) Exactly, and unfortunately like the menstrual cycle as well. It's a rite of passage. Menopause is a rite of passage, and knowing that gives us the clues about what it holds for us. A rite of passage is a major transformation in our lives and there's physical rites of passage and there's cultural rites of passage. Cultural rites of passage are things like getting married, first job, graduating, getting divorced, going to school for the first time. First car.   Tahnee: (10:21) First car. Yeah.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (10:21) First what?   Tahnee: (10:21) Oh, I said first car, I think we were in sync.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (10:26) First car, yeah. The big one.   Tahnee: (10:29) Yeah, 18th, all that kind of stuff, yeah.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (10:30) All of that, yeah. Then there's the physical rites of passage or the women's mysteries, that they call the blood mysteries. Obviously I'm referring to the female experience of those. Men have these similar rites of passage, but they're nowhere near as intense as the female version of it, like menopause for a woman compared to a say-   Tahnee: (10:53) Andropause or something.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (10:54) Yeah, or midlife crisis. Same with giving birth, like the woman's experience of becoming a mother compared to a man's experience of becoming a father is very, very different. Not not significant, but different. A rite of passage is this time of transformation and whatever happens during the time, whatever happens or doesn't happen, whatever's said or not said and whatever's going on in the world around you or in your family or whatever, all of that teaches the person going through the rite of passage how their culture values the next phase they're going into.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (11:34) With menopause, it's into the wise woman years or the ageing you, the middle aged you. What happens, teaches us how our culture values the next role we're going into and therefore how to behave to be accepted by the culture. So that's the case for every rite of passage. So birth, menarche or first period and then every pregnancy results in a birth regardless of whether it makes it all the way, and then menopause and then death. They're the physical rites of passage.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (12:10) This is such big work and I just want to really encourage your listeners to think about what each of their rites of passage have taught them about how their culture values the next role they're going into and therefore how to behave by what their experience was. Just to focus on menopause, I guess the thing is that what we've already talked about is how it's hidden and not talked about and possibly feared and kind of ignored, and so what does that teach us about how our culture values it? Doesn't, or it needs to be hidden or covered up or whatever, and therefore, how do you behave to be accepted by your culture? You stay invisible.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (12:58) You don't draw any attention to yourself, and you just keep it low and quiet and just carry on. There's even investigations by our scientific community, especially evolutionary biologists to ask the big question of why would it be that human women, human females, sorry, would live beyond their fertile years? What's the point?   Tahnee: (13:21) I've actually read that stuff online. They're like, "Only whales and humans live past menopause. Why is that?"   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (13:27) I know! As a post-menopausal woman to have one's value questioned, what is the use of me, that's a really-   Tahnee: (13:39) Devastating, yeah.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (13:41) Yeah, and ridiculous and information. A bit of a clue, right? A fertile woman is the most valuable woman, and obviously on an evolutionary level, that's a very important role, to be reproducing, but the reasons they've come up with that you would have read the most popular hypothesis is called the grandmother hypothesis.   Tahnee: (14:08) Yeah, the cultural reasons.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (14:10) Yeah, that the babies, the children of a woman whose mother is alive and helping her last, live longer or make it through childhood. The value of the post-menopausal woman, according to the evolutionary biologist's theory of grandmother is that the use of us is to help our daughters and sons, children stay alive by gathering more food and all of that kind of stuff.   Tahnee: (14:40) It's still so reductive too. I mean it takes away your value.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (14:47) Which gives us a clue to how our culture values wise women. It's not that many hundreds of years ago that the wise women were burned on the stake.   Tahnee: (14:56) Yeah. The witch trials [inaudible 00:14:58].   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (14:58) We got a long way to come back from that. The wise woman is not valued in our culture. Nobody's trying to dress up to look like her, are they? They're all trying to dress up to look like a 25 year old. She's actually the most loved and honoured-   Tahnee: (15:18) Archetype sort of thing.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (15:20) Exactly. The archetype of the wise woman is not one that's terribly honoured or cared about, and we see that through the experience that women have around the rite of passage. That's the whole thing about the rite of passage of menopause, and it's not an isolated event. Rites of passage build on each other, and one leads to the next. They are also massive healing opportunities because their transformation takes place there. To bring to menopause, what we would hope is that by the time women get to menopause, they've kind of awoken to their inner knowing and feminine wisdom and power and strength, but many don't and many haven't.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (16:06) What we can do in a conscious way of approaching menopause is to remember what we've learned about ourselves so far, because that's the person that we're going to meet at the altar of menopause, so to speak. It's a really huge experience, and it takes some time. It can take 13 years, and it's an experience that is like a birth. It's a labour and a birth, and the labour is the perimenopausal journey and can take, as I said, up to 13 years. The birth, the baby is the wise woman version of ourselves, and the entrance into the maga life season, which is a relatively newly recognised life phase or life season in a woman's life.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (17:07) Nature is such a great teacher. If we use nature as the teacher here, we can see our maiden years, which are like zero, from our birth to around 25 are our maiden years, and then at 25 we all go into our mother season, the summer of our lives. So the maiden is the spring, the mother is the summer and every woman goes into the summer mother season of her life at around 25 regardless of whether she has children or will have children. We enter these years from 25 to menopause, and in those years we are as if the creatrix. So we conceive, gestate and birth all manner of things besides human babies like careers-   Tahnee: (17:53) Ideas.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (17:55) ... [crosstalk 00:17:55], businesses, gardens, projects, whatever. Then at around ... Well the average age for menopause is 50, 51. So then we enter the second half of our lives. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, menopause is called the second spring, and so that gives a very nice perspective on it rather than the beginning of the end. Back in the day, when we were ... Well so the original archetypes of the female life story are maiden, mother and crone. That's the triple goddess that most people who are students of the women's mysteries are well aware of, and that's a very old story, maiden, mother and crone, and it comes from a time when we were mothers by the time we were 14, grandmothers by the time we were 30 and dead by the time we were 45 or so.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (19:08) If we reached menopause, average age 50, then we must be very close to death. That little perspective has unfortunately hung on.   Tahnee: (19:21) Despite many changes to life expectancy.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (19:24) Exactly. Now when we get to menopause average age 50, we now live to, what, let's say 100. We're halfway. It's not the beginning of the end. It's the beginning of the next half of your life. Rather than that being crone, which crone is the old woman, the winter of our lives. Now with our longer lives, we can embrace and invite in the autumn season of our lives, which would go from say 50, average age of menopause to just say 70, which would be the beginning of the crone or winter season of our lives.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (20:06) The menopause heralds the autumn season of our lives, which is a really powerful and potent and important part of the cycle of the earth. Autumn is the harvest season. It's actually, back in the day before we could go down to the supermarket at 1:00 in the morning and buy a mango in the middle of the winter, we were reliant on our gardening and farming capabilities to keep ourselves alive. Autumn, the harvest season was the time when we were so busy and so busy in community as well gathering together to do whatever we had to do with the 100 zucchinis that we had or [crosstalk 00:20:57].   Tahnee: (21:00) Pickling.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (21:00) Pickling. [crosstalk 00:21:01].   Tahnee: (21:01) Reaping what we've sowed, right, [crosstalk 00:21:03]?   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (21:02) Yeah, and sharing. You've got all those whatever, I'll swap you my pumpkins for your broccoli or whatever. If we can remember, whether romantically or actually, the sharing of the harvest idea, then that's what we can bring to understanding the autumn season of our lives, that it's an important part of our lives where we get to see and share our harvest and shift into a different kind of living style and experience based on not having the menstrual cycle anymore.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (21:50) The name that I was taught for the autumn season of our lives from one of my teachers in America, Cedar Barstow, is maga, M-A-G-A, and Cedar's about 10 or 15 years older than me, so she went through all of this before me, and was sharing her experience in her community when her group of similarly aged friends and colleagues, when they went through menopause, their mothers, many of them had their mothers still alive. They could see that they were crones, their mothers. They were old, wise women, and yet there was this cohort of them, around 50 or so shifting from the mother season into this other season, which they called maga, and they called it maga as a female version of the male term that's quite well known and used for men of that age called magus, which means magician.   Tahnee: (22:49) [inaudible 00:22:49]. Yeah.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (22:50) Yeah, exactly. Maga is one of the words that can be used, and there are many others that are used and that is enchantress or sovereign woman or matriarch or amazon, queen, warrioress, witch, priestess, changing woman. Get the picture, she's next level.   Tahnee: (23:24) She sounds like a dude. I'm excited.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (23:26) She's a total dudess.   Tahnee: (23:28) Yeah, dudess.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (23:31) She's very much one version of the woman we need now, the earth needs now. The earth needs now, these women who are aware of their sovereignty, who are aware of their power and their connection to the earth and magic and will. One of the most amazing things that happens post-menopause when two of the main hormones of reproduction actually change their role, that's luteinizing hormone and follicle stimulating hormone, which are part of the cocktail that make ovulation happen and sustain hormone levels for pregnancy, et cetera. They change their role post-menopause and they change their role to become neurotransmitters of the right side of the brain.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (24:29) The effect that they have is that they increase our intuition and our visionary capacity.   Tahnee: (24:38) Yeah, because I've heard they activate the pineal gland and that sort of third eye space I suppose, or the intuitive seat.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (24:46) Yeah. Imagine if the women in this phase in their lives were really aware of that first, but using ... That's what we need. We need visionaries. We need the intuitive grandma to participate in life. It's not like it's all over situation. It's a whole new story. The maga life season, I think the work of that, the story of that, the information about that has probably been one of the biggest and most impactful things that I've shared in my work and my writing because when women who are approaching menopause hear about this whole other season, it's like a relief and a bit exciting and gladness making that it's not all over. It's actually next level.   Tahnee: (25:46) It's just beginning.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (25:47) Yeah, exactly. It has a lot of responsibilities. Post-menopausal women not being so under the influence of their menstrual cycle have more energy. They don't usually have little children anymore. They're more established in themselves and who they are in the world and what they do and all that. They're not trying to figure out what to do with their lives, they're doing it. With an increased visionary capacity and intuition, they're a very valuable member of the community that I think that would be a wonderful thing to harness, like a band of post-menopausal warrioresses. I'm [inaudible 00:26:36] with that.   Tahnee: (26:35) Well it's funny, there's a group here called the Knitting Nana's and they send out all these amazing newsletters about fossil fuels, and they just dedicate their time to research and education around environmental issues. I'm thinking of them. I'm just thinking of also the Hindi life cycle has a similar arc where it's from zero to 25 you're sort of a student, and then from 25 to 50 you're in the child family, building stage of life and then 50 to 75 you're giving back to your community with your insight or wisdom. Then 75 to 100 is the spiritual years.   Tahnee: (27:13) If you look at all the longevity communities, because I know the Taoist tradition has a similar life cycle, and the indigenous people of this country had that as well, like until 30 you were a baby and then 30 to 60 were kind of those community years, and then onward into your wisdom years and your spiritual years. I think it's such a call to arms to women to use this transformational time to step into some greater sense of their own purpose and power.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (27:43) Absolutely.   Tahnee: (27:44) More so even than ... because I see so many young women seeking that really early, like in their 20s, and I'm compassionate and also remembering myself and thinking even from 18 to 35, I'm still not completely sure of what I'm contributing to the world yet. I'm still finding my passions and the things that light me up and things I can share without draining myself. I think that we've got to give ourselves more time, and it sounds to me like when you get into those 50s and 60s, you're starting to I guess condense. I think about Metal and how it condenses Water into something substantial and that wisdom of the Kidney energy and the winter energy in Chinese medicine. That's the kind of metaphor, I suppose, that's coming is that this is the time to condense all of your life experience into insight to contribute that back.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (28:35) Exactly.   Tahnee: (28:36) Yeah. Sounds purposeful.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (28:41) Our culture needs that now more than ever.   Tahnee: (28:46) Yeah. I think the leadership role, we're all obviously over this middle aged white men thing that's going on, it's about time we brought back some of this feminine power and wisdom. I've been reading a lot of the Celtic myths lately because I'm Irish descent and Scottish, and I've realised I've read a lot of the Native American, but not really so much from the Celts. They talk about the goddess of sovereignty, and when you're talking about that, I was thinking about that a lot, like that deep rooted connection to the land and that sort of sense of independence and self-composure and strength that comes from just tapping into those natural rhythms. This is all what's coming through for me listening to you speak.   Tahnee: (29:35) I'm curious, so many women, when they hear the word perimenopause, they just freak out. They just immediately I think go into panic and I've spoken to a lot of women, because we work with herbs so a lot of women contact us in those times and they're looking for something to sort of I guess make it all go away, and I'm obviously uncertainty as how to advise a lot of the time in terms of the emotional side of it because I haven't experienced it myself that I often think this is such a potent time for self-reflection and probably to step back from things for a period while we I guess assimilate some of these ideas. Is that something you recommend? How do people navigate this time if they don't have structures and cultural support?   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (30:17) Well it's really like a classic situation where wherever you go, there you are. Everybody is going to meet themselves at each rite of passage and really meet yourself. I just wrote down what you just said then about one of the main things women want to do is to make it go away. Where does that come from? I'm not going to wait for you to answer, I'm going to take us straight to the menstrual cycle.   Tahnee: (30:47) Yeah.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (30:48) She who was initiated into womanhood at the altar of menarche, so menarche being your first period, is the woman that grows up and goes through and has babies and then goes through menopause and into her old years and then dies. We are really looking at menopause, what we can really see is what was the experience that our menarche taught us about being a woman. The "make it go away" is the classic thing.   Tahnee: (31:26) Sure is, yeah.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (31:28) We've done some amazing research on the menstrual cycle and menopause. We did it in cahoots with the Victorian Women's Trust, and there's a wonderful book that was created out of all of the research and then the analysis of it called About Bloody Time.   Tahnee: (31:44) I like that name.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (31:45) The menstrual revolution we have to have, and anybody who's interested in the menstrual cycle and interested in the impact of it in our culture, it's a great resource and wonderful thing to read, and you can get it through the Victorian Women's Trust. Anyway, a big thing about the research there and anybody who is involved in menstrual education will know that most commonly the experience women have at menarche, their first period, teaches them that they need to just carry on regardless. Hide it. Don't really let anybody know about it and whatever you do, don't leak.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (32:40) What gets set up there is shame, menstrual shame, and we know that menstrual shame is actually the pandemic and menstrual shame leads to body shame, which leads to low self-esteem, which leads to all the behaviours associated with that including at its worst, eating disorders and self-harm. Also, actually leads to dangerous sexual decision making, and also the large use of hormonal contraceptives, especially the pill to turn it off.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (33:25) Our culture is very successful at making the menstrual cycle go away.   Tahnee: (33:31) It's our specialty.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (33:33) To our peril, right?   Tahnee: (33:35) Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (33:36) The menstrual pathology and the denial of cyclical nature of women and even the denial of the cyclical nature of the earth has been one of the main things that's got us into the total fucking mess that we're in now. Then we see that "make it go away" happen in childbirth.   Tahnee: (33:59) Oh totally, yeah. Numb me, inject me.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (34:03) Yeah, make it go away, make it go away. By the time we get to menopause, if we haven't awoken to the idea that "make it go away" is actually part of the way to keep women oppressed. If we haven't figured that out and have risen accordingly, then "make it go away" at menopause is a very easy thing to do. There's all kinds of drugs that you can take to make it go away, but the problem is it doesn't actually go away, it just goes on pause. The same for-   Tahnee: (34:39) With the birth control pill.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (34:40) With birth control pill, exactly.   Tahnee: (34:41) Yeah, like a weird faux pregnancy.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (34:43) Yeah, like you're in some sort of limbo, weird limbo land, and look, to be fair, for some women, their experience of the menstrual cycle and childbirth and menopause are so extreme and they don't have the internal or external resources to be able to navigate it. I really support everybody's choices in whatever they choose; however, I really want to be sure that everybody has all the information so that they can be making informed decisions rather than just the current-   Tahnee: (35:21) Yeah, well it's disgusting how little education is done by mainstream health when prescribing these things. That's something that I find so frustrating, and one of the reasons we're doing this series for women in the first place is just to have these conversations and for people to start to maybe at least educate themselves to a baseline level about what's actually happening when you take a hormonal contraceptive or when you medicate your perimenopause or something like that. The impact can be really deleterious, and people think it's themselves. They blame their bodies and they blame this ... Especially women because it's so easy for women to feel shame and to blame the body and to think of the body as something other than ourselves and something that needs to be controlled and managed.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (36:15) Absolutely.   Tahnee: (36:15) It's like, no, this thing ... I mean even during this pandemic, I've just let my body go fully, just completely natural and wild, and I don't know, I'm feeling so strong. It's been such an interesting, because I've been pretty au naturale anyway, but even just with like I'm wearing softer clothes because I'm not having to go out as much. I'm just feeling very different in this time, and that's been a big shift for me and I'm trying to even imagine if you're going through menopause, it gives such an opportunity to heal some of these wounds if they aren't already things that you've considered or worked with or started to navigate.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (36:57) Dr. Christiane Northrup has a lot of wonderful things to say about women's health, but she also has heaps on menopause, which is [crosstalk 00:37:05].   Tahnee: (37:05) Yeah, [crosstalk 00:37:06] really great.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (37:06) Yeah. She calls menopause the mother of all wake-up calls.   Tahnee: (37:10) Totally.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (37:11) It so is, because it's like everything that you've swept under the carpet comes out at menopause, and that's due to what happens with the hormones, which I'll just mention in a minute, but the other quote of hers around menopause is that besides being the mother of all wake-up calls, it's an experience that's designed to heal all the unhealed parts of you. If you don't want to heal menstrual ... Well if you don't want to heal your body shame and you want to keep being ashamed of your body and covering it up and altering it in whatever ways that you can, then you can keep doing that, but it gets harder and harder and has to happen more and more often and gets more and more expensive and probably more and more dangerous too to be altering your body in all the chemical and surgical ways that you still can.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (38:12) The opportunity at menopause is to heal all the unhealed parts of you. That's a big invitation, but it's an invitation that you need to be ready for and prepared for and open to. It's not necessarily going to be easy. It's one meets one's self there. It's not like some demon out of the cupboard, unless you've kept yourself in the cupboard and you've turned into a demon, then it probably will be. It's such an opportunity to grow up and to accept that there are things that are never going to happen again or things that are forever changed.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (39:07) In a world that's fixated on youth and beauty and the growth cycle, that's all seen as useless. It's quite a big shift that needs to happen within one's self to be able to really get the most out of menopause. Many women sail through it and have no issues, but those who embrace it as the transformation that it's offering are going to have the experience they need to have to teach them whatever they need to learn. One of the best things in preparation for menopause is to make peace with all your experiences through your mother season. One of the biggest ways we see that show up at perimenopause or definitely post-menopause is that there's going to be no more babies.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (40:07) That might be something that you're glad of or it might be-   Tahnee: (40:12) [crosstalk 00:40:12] or relief or both.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (40:13) Yeah. Relief or regret. There's so much of that. For some, the relief is like a whole new life opens up, and for some the regret is like the thing they've been trying to ignore for the last however many years they can't anymore. 60% of divorces apparently happen around menopause and initiated by the women. There's this them. It's like, "What have I been putting up with all this time," and that can be around anything. I mean it'll be around everything. At the first period, around menarche, it's like a veil descends on one, and it's the veil of oestrogen and progesterone.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (41:07) Oestrogen is known as the hormone of accommodation. What that means is that through the mother season of our lives, we sacrifice ourselves for our children or our businesses or our careers, whatever it is we're mothering. We sacrifice ourselves for it, and we're richly rewarded for that. It feels really, really good to dedicate our lives to the things that we really care about and want to help grow and survive and mature and all that.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (41:48) Then around say five years or so, before the last period, so you never really know, as I said, but there is some familiarity in family. If your mother hand a natural menopause, then your age will probably be similar to hers. About five years before that, this veil begins to rise, and so as the hormone of accommodation lessens within one's self, we're not so interested in sacrificing everything for everybody anymore, and the most uttered words are "How come I'm the only one who does anything around here?" or "Why can't you do that" or "You've been doing that for blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah."   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (42:36) People say, "You've changed." Yes, I've changed. It was okay yesterday, it's not okay today. Yes, that's right, it's not okay today. It's up in the air and it's confusing and it's confusing for the woman and it's confusing for the people she lives with, and it's a whole new ball game. The woman who's going through the experience, she kind of doesn't even recognise herself either, and she definitely doesn't know who she's going to be on the other side of this because she's never ever been that person before. What we have never run on the cocktail of hormones post-menopause ever in our lives, so it's a whole new version of us.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (43:22) There can be positives in that, and there can be negatives, especially around life purpose. For a woman who's had children particularly and post-menopause, there's her life, her children have probably grown up quite a lot and there's the negative version post-menopause called the empty nester where women's life purpose of raising their families is they're no longer needed for that, and that's quite a challenge. Christiane Northrup suggests to women around that that they try and remember what they were interested in pre-menarche, before they were socialised into being a woman through their menstrual cycle and being coerced kind of into being the way women need to be in the patriarchal culture. Prior to that, post-menopausal women who are looking for "What's my thing," can remember what their thing was before their periods started, that can be a bit of a clue to the un-brainwashed female version of themselves, and maybe they can pick up that interest post-menopause.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (44:43) The thing is that everything's different after menopause. You don't have the same ... the same things don't matter as much. It's very interesting. I had a big conversation with one of our wonderful aboriginal elders who shares her wisdom, Minmia many-   Tahnee: (45:10) Oh I've read her book. I love her book.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (45:11) Yeah.   Tahnee: (45:12) Yeah, Under The Quandong Tree Tree.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (45:14) Exactly. I sat with her one day with pen and paper going as fast as I could asking [crosstalk 00:45:21], and I said to her, "So what about menopause?" She said, "I don't know any woman whose worthy of the transformation into mimi. I don't know anyone who's ready for that, koori or white woman." She said, "Everybody's just trying to look young and keep doing what they always do, and they all turn into cougars."   Tahnee: (45:52) She's been watching too much TV.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (45:56) I said, "Okay, so in all the books around menopause and the talking about menopause, everybody says it's a time for renegotiating things, like renegotiating work/life balance, renegotiating relationships, renegotiating your relationship with your body, et cetera, et cetera." She said to me, "Oh that's such a western way of thinking, renegotiating." She said, "It's not that at all." She said, "Post-menopause, when you become a mimi," so that's their word for it, mimi, she said, "It's not business as usual, it's not renegotiated life. It's a whole new role."   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (46:39) She said, "The role of the mimi, the role of the post-menopausal woman is to weave the dreams for the grandchildren."   Tahnee: (46:47) That's beautiful.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (46:49) Yeah. It's not that you're trying to return to what life was like before the rite of passage of menopause, it's a whole new thing. It's not about trying to do what you were doing before. It's about weaving the dreams for the grandchildren. To my mind, that means preserving the world for our grandchildren and like that group that you just mentioned, the Knitting Nana's. You know the environment is a classic place where we have to be focusing for that.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (47:24) It's a total cultural shift to embrace menopause in a way that nature teachers us about the autumn. It's not a carrying on of the summer. It's not a repeat of the spring. It's the harvest. It's the time when you need to give back and share everything that you've learned and to continue to focus on yourself in the way that you need to be able to to get on with your life. You really need to be healthy. I remember in my very first menopause workshop, Autumn Woman Harvest Queen workshop, one of the woman who was going, just entering her perimenopausal experience said, "Oh, okay, I get it. I can't live on Vegemite sandwiches anymore."   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (48:17) You need to nourish yourself properly. I mean you need to nourish yourself properly the whole time, but the cost is higher post-menopausal. How you go through menopause, you're setting yourself up for your old age. So we need to train around menopause. We need to be doing exercise in the way that we would have been doing way back before everything got really easy. In the farming sort of way that we had to live, we need to recreate a lifestyle that's supporting our bodies and growing us strong and keeping us healthy, and we need to be nourishing ourselves on every level. Not just by food, but by adopting proper daily practises that include meditation and reflection and especially connection with nature.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (49:13) I think probably if there's one thing that I would suggest to anybody going through the journey of perimenopause and postmenopause is to spend as much time as you can in nature and time alone. Lara Owen and Susun Weed, two people who have written quite a lot about menopause-   Tahnee: (49:34) Yeah, I've spoken to both of them. I've been very lucky.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (49:38) Yeah. Good. They suggest that menopausal women take a sabbatical, take a year off to remember yourself, to put yourself back together into your being so that you're ready for the second half of your life. Time alone in whatever way you can, a bit like a red tent or moon lodge experience to the max, as much time as you can have just on your own and as I said, especially in nature. I think that the other important things around menopause are around communication and education.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (50:16) As the woman in the family starts to go through menopause, everybody needs to understand what's going on so that they can understand what her experience is and she can feel supported in that, in the same way that you would be around someone having a baby. If someone's getting toward the final days of pregnancy and the baby's coming and in the newborn period, that woman needs to be cared for in a particular way, and it's kind of obvious, and that's what's required, and same, same in menopause. It's a woman going through a rebirth and she needs to be cared for an understood in that process.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (51:01) It's not just a normal time anymore. Education and communication within the family and the community, and menopause workplace policies are a thing, especially in England because a lot of the women who work there are post-menopausal too. Menopause workplace policies are a growing and very important thing to enable women to be able to self-care during their working hours, and that can be as simple as having a bloody window to open or a fan to access or more flexible working hours for women who are experiencing insomnia, which is a very common experience in perimenopause.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (51:49) Rather than ignoring it or remember the legacy of the menstrual cycle, ignore it and carry on and don't let anybody know, but taking that into perimenopause makes life very, very difficult and a lot of women leave work because they can't pretend nothing's happening. A hot flush that comes, which affects about 80% of women in the perimenopausal journey, you can't ignore it. It's, say, a 90 second probably experience of an increase in your body temperature that takes all your attention and all your awareness, and if you're in a culture or in a situation where you have to ignore and pretend nothing's happening, that's going to be really difficult.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (52:38) More often what happens is women isolate themselves or quit their jobs because you can't pretend it's nothing's happening. Or you can be medicating yourself so that it turns it off, which is the other option, but then you miss the opportunity that I think we can see quite a similar experience around childbirth, say. If you have a drug free birth, you have a very different experience to if you have a drugged birth.   Tahnee: (53:05) I was wondering, are they kind of like a Russian birth, almost like a contraction in the sense of [crosstalk 00:53:10].   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (53:10) Exactly.   Tahnee: (53:13) I mean if you can give yourself that opportunity to be present with it, I imagine there's a lot of self-growth and discovery in that.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (53:21) Yeah. My experience with hot flashes, to be fair and to be honest, I find them extremely annoying. That's no surprise to me because anything that stops me and brings me into the present moment can be a bit annoying to me.   Tahnee: (53:41) Yeah, definitely.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (53:42) And there in lay my learning and my important thing that my hot flashes are obviously remaining to teach me.   Tahnee: (53:49) Remind you.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (53:49) Yeah, like come into the present moment.   Tahnee: (53:53) Totally. I feel that's similar with birth because I felt when I was birthing the contractions, when I was fighting them were much worse than when I learned to work with them, and the pain almost went away once I realised their function I suppose. I think sometimes we try and effort through things to keep ... I don't know what, I think I was like, "All right, I'm having a baby. We're giving birth." Its like, "No, you literally are going to ride the wave of this. You're not in control of this situation." I think that was a really powerful lesson for me, and I think in some ways that wisdom of the body takes over and it's humbling I think to be sat on your ass and told, "Sit back while we handle this."   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (54:42) Exactly. The clues for what your experience of menopause will be lay in what you just said. It'll be the next level version of that teaching.   Tahnee: (54:55) Yeah.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (54:56) About surrender and about trust.   Tahnee: (54:59) Control. Yeah, totally, which is like them of the last time anyway.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (55:03) Yeah. It's not usually a surprise to people what comes up for them in their menopause. It's the usual, yet it's the opportunity to really deal with it.   Tahnee: (55:18) Do you recommend women seek solace in circle with other women? I have a friend who works for us here at SuperFeast who I'm not completely sure how old she is, but I think she's around the 50 age, maybe like 40s. She is in a group with women of a similar age and they all discuss their experiences, and she started to have hot flushes and things. I know from her, just from speaking to her, that's been a really enriching experience and has given her a lot of confidence. Even, I'm her boss technically, so she communicates with me when she needs temperatures changed or to be in a different space.   Tahnee: (55:58) I think I've seen her really strengthen through that. Is that something that you recommend or are there other?   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (56:05) Totally. Women's circles, in whatever stage you are in your life, that's becoming a more and more common thing, but there's been a reclaiming to do that. I think that there's real benefit in women's circles with a variation of ages and that's basically what our four seasons journeys in the School of Shamanic Womancraft are circles of women from teenager even up to 65, 70, and there's an amazing teaching being in a circle with representatives from the whole cycle of our lives, and especially for the younger ones. Then the specific age circles, like as you're saying, are such opportunities to learn.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (56:59) Just thinking about circles of women who've got newborns, how much they learn from each other by just watching each other. Oh, I see she's fed off that boob and now she's going onto that one. Oh she's going back. They're watching each other, learn from each other, so we know that. By the time we get to the menopause experience, sharing our journeys with each other, just the very simple thing of realising, "Oh my god, I'm not alone," is so huge, and it normalises the experience that you're having. It makes your individual experience more real and accessible once you realise that everybody's going through something, and then individual stories are the things that are playing out with the actual sort of things going on in our relationships or with our body or whatever.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (57:52) It's so important to share with each other and to understand the process together, and the other really big part to remember is that each of us are simply and complicatedly the representative of our red thread or our mother line in our story of our lives. Each of us, when we come to these transformational rites of passage are doing our mother line story, so there'll be a theme or a pattern that's been going on in your mother line or your red thread forever, and it's not like it means that everybody has the same experience. You might not have the same sort of life story as your mother or your grandma, but there will be common themes in them.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (58:47) Helping ourselves understand what the story is in our mother line is so powerful because it's the healing opportunity that comes through these rites of passage where the pattern can stop and a new story can begin if somebody, and the person who's going through the rite of passage now decides, "I'm going to do the inner work so that the pattern stops repeating, the pattern of low self-esteem or depression or addiction or whatever it is. It's in their rites of passage where we can really do that big transformational work to not go down the well greased pathway of doom that's been playing out, I'm exaggerating, but in our red thread.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (59:44) Being together in circle and talking about all of these things, like what's arising and how am I experiencing that emotionally and physically and spiritually and stuff is really like the wonderful way and place that we all learn from each other. Women's circles are I think necessary all the time, and then especially during our big rites of passage.   Tahnee: (01:00:11) I mean I guess, I obviously want to be conscious of time and I want to wrap it up, but I'm thinking about communication skills. Is there any advice, because I think it's such a foreign, it's like foreign territory I suppose. A lot of women struggle to communicate their needs at that time. Is that where that sabbatical, even just a period of internal exploration I suppose is useful that you're able to stake a claim and ask for what you need? Is there any tips you can give in that space for people, because I think that's something I've observed in women I know going through that period of time that don't know how to communicate?   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (01:00:54) Yeah. Well for those for whom it's still in the distance, they can practise everything they need for the perimenopausal journey within their menstrual cycle. Perimenopause has been likened to the experience of the pre-menstrum. It's like during the say week three and week four of your menstrual cycle, everything that's not working in your life shows up.   Tahnee: (01:01:25) Yes, it does.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (01:01:27) You can let go of it with your blood.   Tahnee: (01:01:29) Yeah.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (01:01:30) If you don't let go of it, it just gets bigger, and that's an example of something getting swept under the carpet. For those for whom menopause is approaching but you're still menstruating, then pay attention to the second half of your menstrual cycle, so from ovulation or halfway if you're not ovulating anymore, so the week or two before the blood's ready to come, and if you're in perimenopause and the cycle's all over the place and you don't know when it's going to come, you're probably in that state all the time, so to pay attention to what you're feeling and what's arising and what you feel physically, what your emotions are telling you.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (01:02:11) I think before we can communicate with anybody about what we need and what we're feeling, we have to be able to communicate with ourselves. That's what the menstrual cycle gives us, like a bit of a feedback loop about what's working and what's not working. In the perimenopausal journey, the first person we have to listen to is ourselves. We can use mythopoetic language and archetypes to help us, and probably the easiest one in this situation would be to listen to the dark goddess within.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (01:02:45) The dark goddess is the aspect of ourselves who is telling us about all the things that need to change. If we could practise listening to her and not telling her to fuck off, really-   Tahnee: (01:03:07) I've been thinking about Kali this whole conversation. That ruthless cutting cords, cutting heads off.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (01:03:16) Exactly.   Tahnee: (01:03:16) Whatever needs to happen, yeah.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (01:03:17) Exactly. If we can firstly establish this communication with ourselves about what needs to change, and this is the biggest trick. We've probably been ignoring these things forever, so here they come very big and loud, and they burst out. First of all, establish a communication with oneself within about the things that need to change, and then start sharing that with the people we're in intimate relationships with, like especially our partners or our children or our work friends and colleagues and circle sisters, et cetera.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (01:04:00) One of the things that menopause is quite famous for is losing your memory, and I've forgotten why I've started ranting about this, so what was your question?   Tahnee: (01:04:12) I think we were talking about communication.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (01:04:13) Oh right.   Tahnee: (01:04:19) It's interesting you touch on that because I've just been doing teacher training with a woman who is in her 70's. We were talking about memory and how sometimes ... Well I'm curious as to your thoughts on if you have any thoughts on why we lose our memory in menopause because we were talking about how sometimes with meditation and things, you lose your memory as well. Yeah, it's just it was an interesting conversation. Do you have any thoughts on that or is it just a phenomena that occurs?   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (01:04:50) Well it seems to be a phenomena that occurs, but there's reasons why and apparently it happens at every big rite of passage. The parts of your brain get used in different ways, not shut down, but other things are more important.   Tahnee: (01:05:11) Like baby brain and all that kind of stuff.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (01:05:13) Yeah, all of that kind of stuff. It's not a problem, it's an important change. I find that the things that I forget, like if I ... After a period of time, I remember them. It's still there, but the things that are on instant recall are different now because different things matter.   Tahnee: (01:05:34) Mm-hmm (affirmative). Different priorities, yeah.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (01:05:36) Yeah, but it is a thing. It is definitely a thing, and thing, the word thing becomes such an important word in my vocabulary because it can mean so many different things. Like "That thing," or "Let's talk about the thing about ..." [inaudible 01:05:52]. [crosstalk 01:05:52].   Tahnee: (01:05:51) A multipurpose tool. Your Swiss Army knife of vocabulary.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (01:05:59) Yeah, exactly. Communication and education, prepare yourself for this. In the way that women do childbirth preparation and education, we need to do that for menopause too.   Tahnee: (01:06:14) Yeah.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (01:06:14) One of the ways I've seen that really work is within the four seasons journeys that I mentioned before, the School of Shamanic Womancraft. We have, as I mentioned, all variations of ages in the groups, and part of the yearlong training includes going to two of the Autumn Woman Harvest Queen workshops, which are the one-day workshops all about menopause. Mostly the women that come to those are women that are in it or have gone through it and want to understand what happened or women that for whom it's coming soon.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (01:06:50) With the four seasons journeys with the whole range of ages, there are many very young women that do these Autumn Woman Harvest Queen workshops, and they're learning about menopause like in many cases before they've even had children. It's so epic to see what these young women who learn about menopause, how their attitude to menopause changes in an instant, well not an instant, in a day, having learned about it and seeing that it's not this end story or this doom situation. There's a lot of amazing things that lay ahead.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (01:07:35) I've been able to see young women finish the day's workshop saying, "Wow, I'm really looking forward to menopause now." That's awesome.   Tahnee: (01:07:46) Yeah.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (01:07:48) I think education, which involves communication obviously, is what's required for so many things. We could be having this same conversation about death. Preparation-   Tahnee: (01:08:00) Yeah. My favourite topics. Why aren't we preparing for death when we're young?   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (01:08:05) Exactly. In many traditional cultures, that's what everything's about. The least we can do is prepare for menopause.   Tahnee: (01:08:17) And then prepare for death. I know you're not able to actually run your in-person retreats at the moment, or sorry, workshops and things, which is a shame obviously, but that will shift as things do. You mentioned I think before when we were talking about having a course coming soon for women about the maga stage of life. Is that right?   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (01:08:40) Yeah. I've recently just put out a pregnancy eCourse. It's called Pregnancy: The Inner Journey eCourse. Now I'm doing an Autumn Woman Harvest Queen eCourse, so all about harvesting the transformational potential of menopause or something like that. I can't remember what the tagline is, but I'm gathering all the bits and pieces for that. I've got some beautiful artwork that's just been made of an Autumn Woman Harvest Queen and a poem that's just been written, and I'm pulling together all the information and the process for women to do in the comfort of their own home in their own time. I'm very excited to have that in the mix.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (01:09:34) I would imagine it'll probably take our southern winter for it to fully-   Tahnee: (01:09:40) Get together.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (01:09:41) ... yeah, and then be born in the spring, or sooner. We'll see. These things run on goddess time, they're not to be ... they've got their own gestation. Yeah, I'm very excited to be bringing that eCourse out soon, and eCourses, pandemic or not, are really definitely one of the things of the future as we-   Tahnee: (01:10:04) Yeah. That's such a powerful way I think for people to explore these topics without the geographical boundaries limiting them.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (01:10:12) Yeah. I mean obviously it's not the same as sitting in a circle with everybody.   Tahnee: (01:10:15) Right, yeah.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (01:10:16) But there's very good things from them as well.   Tahnee: (01:10:20) Well I think for a lot of people, it's a place to start or a way to explore, especially what we were talking about earlier where some people don't have the resources to travel or afford many, many courses. It's nice to offer things like that.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (01:10:38) Yeah.   Tahnee: (01:10:39) It's something we wrestle with a lot because we used to do a lot of in-person stuff, and now with our daughter and the business, it's tricky, so we've been offering stuff online. A part of my soul misses the contact and the humans, but then another part of me is like, well, we're affecting people all over the globe, which we wouldn't be able to do if we were doing a workshop in our backyard.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (01:11:01) Absolutely. That's the point, right? We need to be the women the earth needs now. That's those who are soft and strong and resilient and adaptable.   Tahnee: (01:11:16) Full of love.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (01:11:19) The pandemic has pulled the rug out from underneath us, so we need to adapt. In order to adapt, we need to be resilient. That's like another great lead-in to menopause. It's all about adapting and developing resilience, to be able to do that. The best thing anybody can go into menopause with is inner strength.   Tahnee: (01:11:48) Well that's a powerful note to end on. I wanted to say thank you so much for your time. I've really enjoyed speaking with you, and I'm super excited to get to do some of your workshops some day. I'll link to your website, Jane Hardwicke with an E, Collings.com, but I'll put all the show notes and everything in there. Is there anywhere else people can find you? I know you have social media.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (01:12:10) Yeah, Instagram and Facebook. Lots of stuff going on there. We've got a very big project going on at the moment with the pandemic, that's all about supporting mamatoto's through birthing crisis. Lots of social media action.   Tahnee: (01:12:27) Great. Well I'll link to those as well, and we will follow up with you when the maga course goes live.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (01:12:35) Awesome.   Tahnee: (01:12:35) We'll put that in the show notes as well for people who listen a bit later on. For everyone out there, please get on Jane's mailing list and get involved. This is important work for women and men. I'm really passionate about, my poor partner gets the down low on all this stuff, but he loves it and I think as we have a business full of women, it's so important to be conscious of their cycles, and we also have a daughter, so I think if anyone's listening and you have men folks that are interested, please pass on these messages to them or let them listen to the recordings.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (01:13:07) Thank you so much for inviting me.   Tahnee: (01:13:10) Oh, such a pleasure to speak with you Jane. Thank you so much.   Jane Hardwicke Collings: (01:13:11) Thank you.
Mason is joined by the wonderful Jenny Sansouci on the show today. Jenny is a Brooklyn based author, blogger and certified health coach who has a keen interest in the healing powers of cannabis, CBD and medicinal mushrooms - a woman after our own heart! Jenny has just released her new book The Rebel's Apothecary: A Practical Guide to the Healing Magic of Cannabis, CBD, and Mushrooms. We're beyond thrilled to have Jenny with us today, sharing her knowledge around these healing herbs. Tune in for the full download. Mason and Jenny discuss: The medicinal use of cannabis. The journey that lead Jenny to researching and working with cannabis, CBD and medicinal mushrooms. How to talk to your doctor about using alternative therapies in conjunction with your standard treatment plan. The use of CBD as an adjunct therapy for chemo patients. The Eastern vs Western view of cancer. The healing potential of Psilocybin in depressive disorders.   Who is Jenny Sansouci ? Jenny Sansouci is the author of The Rebel's Apothecary: A Practical Guide to the Healing Magic of Cannabis, CBD, and Mushrooms. Jenny is a certified health coach and creator of the wellness blog Healthy Crush, where she's been writing since 2008. Jenny is a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and has been trained by functional medicine doctor Frank Lipman, MD in New York City.    Resources:Jenny's Website Jenny's Instagram Jenny's Book   Q: How Can I Support The SuperFeast Podcast?   A: Tell all your friends and family and share online! We’d also love it if you could subscribe and review this podcast on iTunes. Or  check us out on Stitcher :)! Plus  we're on Spotify!   Check Out The Transcript Here:   Mason: (00:01) Hi. Jenny, thanks so much for being here with me.   Jenny Sansouci: (00:04) Thank you so much for having me. This is super exciting. This is one of my favourite podcasts, so I'm really honoured to be here.   Mason: (00:14) Yeah. This is great. I mean, I feel... First time we've spoken, but as we were just chatting about before we jumped on the pod. It was an interesting little back and forth collaboration between us just without having spoken and that kind of like it really encapsulates the nature of how much as a community now and historically, how much has gone into and how much it's a unified effort to bring these medicines like herbal medicinals and medicinal mushrooms, CBD, cannabis, all these things. It's just, it's impossible for you. But so, like I said, it's not impossible, but it's only when you really drop into the nature of it, it's impossible for your ego to hold onto the accolades of, yes, I'm the one bringing medicinal mushrooms to the people or cannabis to the people. It's just this huge depth of everything.   Mason: (01:06) There you were talking about, your new book is The Rebel's Apothecary: A Practical Guide to the Healing Magic of Cannabis, CBD, and Mushrooms. It's just like, yes, what a title! And it's coming at a really beautiful time, a time when people are stepping into their sovereignty and approaching sovereignty in the nature of not relying, solely on institutions of medicine but increasing the medicine in their own apothecary and their own lifestyle. Talk to me about arriving at CBD cannabis especially, why did you... We'll get to mushrooms later, but why did you land there? And can you tell us about what you were saying, the historical journey to make this available once again to modern civilization and the shoulders of giants you're standing on?   Jenny Sansouci: (01:58) Yeah, sure. And just to touch on what you said at the beginning about the collective information that we're all gathering and sharing from so many different sources, including the plants and the mushrooms themselves, I feel like more of a messenger not the expert on these things or anything like that. There's so many people that have been researching these things for so long and so many people that have been using them as medicines for thousands and thousands of years. And you are definitely one of those people that I've learned so much from, and I'm so grateful for your work. I just want to say that right off the bat because while I was researching the book, I was listening to your podcasts and I was just fascinated by how deep you go into the research and how much you care about quality and science and really helping people get the best products that they can get. I just really appreciate that about you. So thank you for doing that.   Mason: (02:51) It warms my heart. It's like that's like it's just such a nice connective feeling the first time we're speaking. And just you're out there kind of sharing this information and we'll get to your personal experience and your father's experience and what's really spurred on. But just knowing that there's been that sharing through the mycelium of consciousness between us and knowing from that you're out there making all this information accessible through your book over there in New York while we're here just rambling on in the podcast. It reminds you that you don't have to do everything as well. It really takes the pressure off so we can just buckle down.   Jenny Sansouci: (03:33) Totally. Yeah. And that you can find the things that you need so easily. When I was researching the mushrooms and I would just put into the podcasts, I would just search Chaga and you came up immediately and I listened to your podcast on Chaga and I was like, "Wow, I really appreciate how much he cares about the research and science and how much he can really nerd out on these things." That's the kind of person that I trust who's going to really dig deep. So yeah, I really appreciate it and I'm happy to be talking to you now. It does feel like a really nice synergy, so thank you.   Mason: (04:08) Sure does. Yeah, I know.   Jenny Sansouci: (04:10) But back to your question about cannabis. The way that... It's really interesting with cannabis as a medicine. I personally never thought of it as a medicine. I smoked weed all through high school and college and I just thought of it as a recreational drug as did everybody that I knew. Same with mushrooms. I had only tried psychedelic mushrooms or button mushrooms or portobello mushrooms. In college I tried psychedelic mushrooms and it was all just recreationally and I never thought of these things as medicine. I mean, particularly with cannabis. I quit drinking and using drugs in 2007. And for me that meant cannabis, that was part of it.   Jenny Sansouci: (04:57) That wasn't something that I was doing regularly but for me just getting totally sober, I cut out everything. So I just never thought about it again. And in no way did I think about the advocacy for cannabis or legalisation. I just, it wasn't something that I cared about because I just thought it was about getting high because that's all I had ever experienced it as. And then 2017, 10 years later after I had given up all drugs and alcohol, my dad got diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer that had spread to the liver. And that was, I mean, anyone that's had that diagnosis or knows somebody that has that diagnosis, it's very destabilising. It's very shocking to the system. You're in this denial. It's scary. I knew nothing about cancer, except cancer is just a scary word and comes with a lot of fear.   Jenny Sansouci: (06:03) When he got diagnosed, we were totally blindsided by it. I had been in the wellness world for over 10 years at this point doing health coaching and blogging about different wellness topics and really interested in nutrition. But this was, for me I was like, this is a really huge thing that I now need to step up and try to figure out how I might be able to help my dad. And because I had so much experience with functional medicine doctors and looking into nutrition and herbs and supplements, I thought, he's going to go down the traditional route of getting chemotherapy but I want to figure out what I can do to support him, whether that's with food or supplements. And I had no idea cannabis was going to be part of that.   Jenny Sansouci: (06:54) I started doing some research and I found a lot of stories of cancer patients using cannabis, not only to potentially help their tumours. I'm not a doctor and I'm not going to say that it will help kill tumours, but there are plenty of anecdotal stories of people having that experience. But the biggest wide-ranging experience is having it help with chemotherapy side effects, which I didn't know this at the time but there are many chemotherapy side effects that are debilitating for people, whether it's weight loss, pain, nausea, not being able to sleep. There's so many different things that people experience just from the chemotherapy drugs, and there was people everywhere using cannabis to alleviate that.   Jenny Sansouci: (07:39) So that's how I started kind of getting into the research of cannabis. And from there, I did look into some of the history of even the legalisation. And I realised that the fight for cannabis legalisation has always included patients trying to get access to medicine. It's not just about people wanting to get high, it's been about AIDS patients wanting access to medicine, cancer patients, people that are just using it for anxiety or pain or just looking for relief. And that's been a major theme of all the people fighting for the legalisation for as long as it's been going on. And now I'm definitely part of that and supporting full legalisation for sure. But it was very unexpected.   Mason: (08:23) Yeah. It's definitely, I think it's gotten to the point where cannabis has hit the mass consciousness. I think it is even some, what we call like old fossils here, like liberals opposite here. Like you all Republicans around liberals here.   Jenny Sansouci: (08:41) Oh really?   Mason: (08:41) So I'm just like, yeah. So here old liberal voting fossils who are really stuck in their ways even going, "You know what? Yeah, that's a bullshit law that someone would try and stand in the way of cannabis being used in medicine." So it's kind of it's at that point where we're probably preaching to the choir. What's nice as you were saying, you're someone that's interested in health and wellness, you're doing it professionally as is everyone listening here where we talk to a lot of practitioners. However, that's something I like to say about myself is I'm like, I am consciously not becoming a practitioner.   Mason: (09:21) What I like is the approachability model where we can work with practitioners, as your dad would have been, as you were saying you've worked in a functional doctor's clinic. We have access and it's a particular world. But there's something... Sometimes that world needs to come off its pedestal a little bit and remember that that's its place and the majority of the healing is going to occur through integration of what we learn in that professional place and then executing it within the lifestyle.   Mason: (09:52) And so, the reason I really like your book is because for yourself, you can kind of like, I really relate to your position almost as like a lay person who just happens to be really interested in creating these reasonable grounded, "Hey, look at what's..." some anecdotal and then pretty good evidence based around medicinal mushrooms and cannabis use in these instances. Now, let's not make any huge claims here because this is an unreasonable thing to do, but that doesn't mean we should be scared from going forth and seeing how we can help, how can we get support, especially in the light of chemotherapy and real hardcore therapy.   Mason: (10:35) So, what was that experience for you when you were like, "All right, dad's got stage four pancreatic cancer." Very gnarly, right? A lot of emotions. You feel out of your depth, I imagine. I know I've felt that when my mum had her aneurysm and trying to like, "All right. Quickly, let's heal dead brain matter." It's like, it's overwhelming. And then you go forth and you go, "Well, I'm just going to find what's the most effective here." Can you take us through that journey because a lot of people would love to hear. What's going on for you mentally in finding your place in that process? Don't know if your dad was open to using these kinds of things in the beginning. Sharing that. Did you have your own inadequacies? Did you have your bubble burst when you thought you were going to do all the healing and then it didn't happen? What was that path?   Jenny Sansouci: (11:29) That's a really good question. Yeah. I mean, the thing is when you get a diagnosis like that, or someone you love gets that kind of diagnosis, it's very hopeless at first and you feel very helpless because cancer, it just, it feels like it has a life of its own and it's unpredictable. Every cancer is different. Every person is different. You hear stories of things going well, you hear stories of things going bad. But with stage four pancreatic cancer in particular, when you Google that, it's a mistake. Googling it is a mistake, let's just say that. Nothing you find is good about stage four pancreatic cancer. And I wished I hadn't Googled it because it was like a punch in the gut as soon as I read it because when you start to see the statistics on it, it's pretty dire.   Jenny Sansouci: (12:13) And so at first, I have a younger sister and my sister and I, we were all at the hospital when he got the diagnosis. She and I didn't want to have a breakdown in front of my dad because we didn't want to scare him even more. We went out to the parking garage and sat in the car and just cried and thought, it was Thanksgiving and we thought, we don't even know if we're going to be able to spend Christmas with dad. It's that kind of fast moving cancer. At first it was just extremely overwhelming. But after a couple of days of just feeling devastated and helpless, I started to feel very rebellious.   Jenny Sansouci: (12:58) And that's kind of one of the reasons I have the Rebel's Apothecary as the name of the book. I mean, the rebel thing obviously comes from the cannabis and the mushrooms and the kind of drug stigma. But also I feel very rebellious against the idea that things have to go the way the statistics say they're going to go. I felt very, I had this kind of strength that started to rise up inside me that was like, "No, there has to be something. There has to be something, you can't just surrender to this." My dad is like my hero. He's the best guy. I felt I have to try, I have to figure out something. I don't know what that is. I really thought it was going to go down the nutrition route, like I was going to totally radically change his diet.   Jenny Sansouci: (13:45) And that's why it was interesting your question about like what did you think you were going to do versus what you did do. Because I thought it was going to be some like juice cleanse or something. I was going to get him on green juices only. Knowing my dad, it's hilarious that I even thought that I would be able to get him to do that. So I thought it was going to be a diet thing and I was like, I'm going to do everything I can to help. I know there are stories of people that beat this. I know there are those really small percentage of people that can beat this, and I was very fiercely wanting to have that be our... Which I'm sure everybody feels that way when they get cancer. But I felt it very, very strongly.   Jenny Sansouci: (14:27) So I started calling around and I started calling the functional medicine doctor that I had worked for in New York City. I called David Avocado Wolfe, who I'm sure you're familiar with, a nutrition, super food expert. I called a bunch of other people that I had that I knew that might have some kind of tip to give me on whether it's immune system or cancer fighting or anything. I just kind of started gathering information and medicinal mushrooms came up from almost everybody that I asked. And I knew they would because I knew that medicinal mushrooms were very supportive for the immune system. That came up a few different times.   Jenny Sansouci: (15:11) And then cannabis came up very synchronistically in the sense that one of my friends recommended I look into CBD, and this was before CBD was having its big boom. It was kind of just this little whisper. And at the same time that I started looking into CBD, my dad had watched a documentary about medical marijuana that he had just recorded because he thought it looked interesting, but it was all about cancer patients using cannabis, a high potency cannabis oil in particular, to help with their cancer. And so, I didn't have to do any convincing on that end for him to be interested in that.   Jenny Sansouci: (15:48) And as far as the diet stuff went, I went in and met with the nutritionist at the hospital and their recommendations. They had some great recommendations, I will say, but some of the things they were saying were kind of just eat whatever you want as long as you can get calories and eat those sugary protein drinks that are in bottles.   Mason: (16:10) Feel free to rip into them. It's nothing personal. I mean, I've got nothing wrong with people who are working in hospital systems. I think they're doing incredible jobs and someone needs to do it. I'm talking to the position and that institutionalised response to nutrition that you're talking about. We've got dietitians mostly in those positions here and they're awful mouthpieces and I wish that they'd remember their own ability to critically think and not just be regurgitating the garbage that was stuffed down then by the robot lecturers at the university, because that's what it sounds like, and they're contributing to people getting very sick through following those guidelines.   Jenny Sansouci: (16:56) Yeah. They're staying inside the system where they were taught and they're giving the recommendations based on what they were taught. And it is unfortunate they're taught a system of kind of this mindset that it doesn't really make that much of a difference what you eat as long as you're getting those calories in. I mean, you see it with the food at hospitals. It's terrible. So, I had those conversations with the nutritionist. The one thing I was really impressed by that they said was they told him to quit alcohol and sugar. I was totally on board with those two recommendations. So those were the things that... Well, they told him to cut down on sugar as much as possible. He quit drinking alcohol right away, which I was like, thank God, because I can't imagine the way that alcohol probably affects cancer cells.   Mason: (17:46) Well, yeah I know, it is huge. And it's not like, it's like for one thing the carbohydrates, the second thing the amount of. We don't have to go into it. We know that kind of stress. Just even its existence during those times within the body. I'm not anti-alcohol in any way, I think most people know that by now. But yes, such a huge step people don't realise just how pivotal that is.   Jenny Sansouci: (18:08) I kind of got this idea that I was going to cook all of his meals for him. I moved home to my parent's town when he first got sick and I moved into a condo nearby and I came over and I started making all of these different meals for him. But one of the things I learned really quickly was that when you're on chemotherapy, your appetite is really messed up and things that you would normally like you don't like, things tastes like cardboard that usually would taste delicious. You have a really weird taste in your mouth. You kind of have no appetite. So, I realised quickly that I had to sort of let him eat whatever he could eat and then I could just add extra things into his diet rather than policing every bite of food.   Jenny Sansouci: (18:50) Some people when they have cancer, they're on chemo, they'll do a really strict... Like I know that if I got cancer, I would do a very strict diet. But my dad, I just kind of had to work with what would help him get food into his system so he wouldn't lose too much weight. With the diet stuff, we kind of settled on he eats regularly, but then we add a shake in every day. It's a green shake with a tonne of medicinal mushrooms in it. So as long as he has that every day, and then he's taking extra mushrooms and his cannabis oil, I feel good about that. So, it was more about me just adding a bunch of things in for him rather than taking a bunch of things out.   Mason: (19:30) I mean, quite often food wise, you get quite elated in the beginning, right? The feeling I'm going to cook every meal and it's going to be ideal and it's going to be perfect. I mean, we kind of forget you're going through something life changing, potentially life ending. It's existential. As you said, having a bit of a change and an alteration where you can start getting some things in is amazing. You kind of mentioned your dad already watched a documentary and so he'd opened that door. I think everyone, a lot of people can relate to like how are we going to open that door and how are we going to make this a smooth process so that it doesn't seem like what we're doing is medicating in just a different way because there's something wrong. Because that's so huge. And then you take out comfort foods, you do that whole thing. It makes it even more existential. It reinforces the stress factors that there's something wrong and bad going on.   Mason: (20:29) There's times where I just, I think it's what I'm talking about is like just the quagmire that you can be in during those times. Sounds like what you guys did well is you found an approach that satiated, something that was driving, you obviously driving him and the rest of the family without adding in additional stresses. I think that's pretty huge. I think that's like... It is something just there that like it's a part of all the success stories. You just go as far as you go. Some people can go all the way and just all of a sudden they're juice fasting and they completely radically change their diet. And that's just not the case. That's like a small percentage of people that can handle that. So then you went for... sorry, if you want to speak to that, go for it.   Jenny Sansouci: (21:25) Yeah. I think what has been key in that sense is exactly like you said, I don't want to drain him of his joy and his... the comforts and joys that he does have in his life while he's going through this process. So for me, I was like, I want you to add these things in and he was super open to it. But then also doing some of the things that he would normally do and then things that he would normally eat. And because he's been doing so well, we've just kind of kept on that plan. And as long as he has that shake everyday and he's good... I mean, he was so open to the mushrooms and the cannabis. I was surprised about that because along the way I tried to get him to do different dietary changes or just change the kind of bread he's eating or little things like that, and he's kind of just brushed it off.   Jenny Sansouci: (22:17) But with this, he was like, if there's one time to try new things and to just kind of take a leap of faith, it's now. It's when you have this kind of life changing diagnosis. So yeah, we went with it and we talked to his oncologist and we asked him we're going to get a medical marijuana card because at the time in Massachusetts you had to have a medical card in order to access it. And the oncologist said, "Listen, I can't tell you it's going to help, but I can't say that it's going to hurt. So go ahead and try it." And then I brought some... I do feel lucky in that sense because not everybody is like that.   Jenny Sansouci: (22:54) And I brought some of the medicinal mushrooms into him as well and showed him the bottle of the supplements and he said, "I don't know, I don't know anything about this. If you want to try it, we'll just monitor his progress." And so that's what I always say to people when they're like, "How do you talk to your doctor about these things?" I tell them, "Ask your doctor if there's any specific reason why you shouldn't use these things that's really specific to you. Maybe there is a drug interaction. Maybe there is some other condition that you have where you shouldn't use these things. But if not, and they can't show you any studies or documentation as to why they're saying no, it's probably because they just don't know anything about it. And they just don't know enough to be able to officially say yes."   Jenny Sansouci: (23:37) So I say, cancer patients are going from scan to scan. Usually it's like, my dad's is eight weeks between scans. And so I say, "Ask your doctor if you can try it for one round of scans and if things get better or not worse, maybe you can continue." Because it is hard to talk to doctors about that stuff.   Mason: (23:58) Well, it's one of the biggest pieces of... it's an unspoken thing. It's an unspoken skill. It's an unspoken thing. What you've just put in there I think is, it's ethics. You've been talking about ethics. A lot of, unfortunately, not all. There's so many great doctors out there, but there's a percentage. I don't know if it's majority or not, but it depends on probably the area you're in, who, as you were saying, they don't give a good reason and yet they'll just say, "So just don't." And it's like, why? And it's like, "Well, I just don't want anything to mess with our treatment." And it's like, "No, but hang on. There's like this, every single one of your clients is a different case study and they have completely different lifestyles. There's an infinite different amount of variables and the only thing that's the same is your treatment.   Mason: (24:53) It's unreasonable to say, oh, if we add in say something like cannabis, especially in areas where it's legal, and I'm going to have to put that little one in there. And medicinal mushrooms, it's like, that's just one extra little variable in the infinite amount of different ones that there is." They don't tend to really care that much if people are drinking or not. It's a recommendation of smoking or smashing cheeseburgers. And no judgement to any of those things, but as you said, there's a certain educational process that can go for patients and patients' loved ones in how to converse and what basically your rights are as a patient. You said like, look, are they providing information?   Jenny Sansouci: (25:41) And I think make sure you agree with their reasoning. If your doctor says something and you feel like that's not it, keep asking. That's one of the things that I did at every meeting. Like why, how are you measuring this? How are you measuring whether the treatments are successful? I want to know everything you're doing. And if they said no to any of the supplements, I would say, "Show me something that can tell me why you decided to say no to this." And if they can't, then I'll bring in my own research. And I printed out lots of different studies and articles and brought them into the oncologist showing, "Oh, look at this. This molecule inside cannabis has been shown to potentially kill pancreatic cancer cells. I thought you might want to know about this."   Jenny Sansouci: (26:25) So I'm constantly bringing in research to him because I don't know what kind of research he's doing on these things in his own time, if any. But I think it's really important for patients to do their own research, bring it into their doctor and have those conversations and really make sure everybody's in agreement on why you can or cannot use something.   Mason: (26:45) I think what I'm sensing from you as well is you're not obnoxious about the process as well. I think it's like a defence mechanism. And I think for me if I was going through this, especially through maybe my mid 20s when I was kind of feeling a little bit jaded towards the medical system, and I had maybe a little bit more of a superiority complex about the diet and supplements that I was in, that would immediately cause friction between a patient and the doctor or patient's family and the doctor because you're coming in with an obnoxious twang... Well, I think it's an important thing that you're making distinct there is that there was a genuine conversation genuinely going, "Hey, what would you be concerned about? Is it blood thinning effects? What is it that we generally need to watch here?" Because you do have a particular expertise we're going to draw on, and then go and do your due diligence in finding data. And if there are interactions with particular drugs, there's elbow grease in there. And I think it's something that people can really take away from that.   Jenny Sansouci: (27:52) Yeah. And one thing I like to tell people if they're curious, there's, and maybe you're familiar with this, but there's a website, the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre has a website where they list a bunch of different herbs and supplements and mushrooms and all the drug interactions. So you could literally go to their website and put Chaga into the search box and it will show you what are the known drug interactions and if there's any studies showing who should or should not use it. So that's a really good resource to just do your own self research before you speak to your doctor.   Mason: (28:24) That is, it's just too easy. It's just too easy things there. It's still handed to us on a platter. So the response was, that was amazing. The response, towards the cannabis especially, just primarily. So then how did you go about... You've got a medical card. It's a bit different here in Australia at the moment. We don't do med-   Jenny Sansouci: (28:49) How is it working there now? What's the status?   Mason: (28:53) I don't even know where the status is at. I mean, hemp seeds were finally made legal for human consumption like two years ago.   Jenny Sansouci: (29:03) Hemp seeds?   Mason: (29:03) Hemp seeds. And so, there's all this real grey legislative area. But, I mean, it's available. THC is a definite no, no. But yeah, it's kind of, it's a little bit... You're going to have to check with your local legislation where it's at with particular strains of CBD. But that's eased a lot, at least on that kind of the legislation side of things, but just no on THC.   Jenny Sansouci: (29:36) I think it will continue to as more research is... As the legalisation opens up and there can be more research, I really do think that what they find will be beyond the shadow of a doubt that this plant is a medicinal herb. It'll be obvious.   Mason: (29:51) And it's so obvious already. It's so unbelievably obvious.   Jenny Sansouci: (29:58) Yeah, it's obvious to us but people need those clinical trials to make the research available to be opened up.   Mason: (30:08) Yeah. And fair enough within a rigid medical system that they need though to follow that procedure. So how did you go about administering? Where did you go accessing? You said you went just to a local place?   Jenny Sansouci: (30:20) Yeah. We had to go to a cannabis doctor, which there are a lot of cannabis doctors I had no idea. But in states where it's legal medically you can just look up, cannabis doctor in my town. We found a doctor that would be willing to meet with him and could give him a medical card. We went in there, told the doctor he has pancreatic cancer. We brought his paperwork and everything, and of course he got approved. And then we went to a dispensary and the product that we got was the one that we had seen in this documentary, which is typically called Rick Simpson Oil, which is inspired by a guy named... You know about that?   Mason: (30:59) Of course, yeah.   Jenny Sansouci: (31:01) It's a highly, highly concentrated cannabis oil. The Rick Simpson Oil, the guy, Rick Simpson, who this is inspired by, his is typically very high THC. But most of the medical cannabis doctors I've spoken to always recommend a one to one ratio of CBD to THC for medical conditions because the two molecules work better together, they boost each other up so you'll have a really nice balance of that CBD and THC together in this oil. So my dad's using the one to one ratio. Very thick, oily substance. It's not something that you would use recreationally really. It's not really pleasant.   Jenny Sansouci: (31:42) You eat it and it's very oily. But he puts it on a little bit of peanut butter and eats it twice a day, the size of a grain of rice. It's a tiny, tiny amount, but just that little drop can contain like 50 milligrams of THC and 50 milligram of CBD in that tiny drop, which for reference of people who aren't aware, five to 10 milligram of THC is a recreational getting high kind of dose. So 50 is a really huge amount. But you can work up to having a tolerance to it so it doesn't make you feel too intoxicated and you kind of get used to it after a little while. But that's the product that he uses every single day and has been for years now.   Mason: (32:26) Nice. At this point with all the research you did originally and where you are now, having published the book, what continues to draw you back to cannabis for your father in this instance?   Jenny Sansouci: (32:41) Well, the thing that we realised right off the bat was his side effects from the chemotherapy. For the first couple of months before he got on the cannabis, he was having nausea and no appetite. His side effects completely went away from starting on the cannabis. He started sleeping well, his appetite came back, he was able to eat full meals again and gain the weight back that he was losing.   Mason: (33:06) Right away?   Jenny Sansouci: (33:06) And one of the things we noticed right off... Yeah, right away. Because, I mean, the THC is such an appetite stimulant that for people that have no appetite, when they're all of a sudden able to enjoy meals again, you know you can put that weight back on. I mean, the rapid weight loss is such a huge problem for so many cancer patients. So we saw that really quickly and ever since he started on the cannabis, he's had no side effects. He's had barely any nausea, maybe like a couple of very small bouts of nausea, which is usually one of the most prevalent things that people experience on chemotherapy.   Jenny Sansouci: (33:42) From the CBD, he started actually taking CBD before the medical card because we had access to CBD. And one of the things he noticed right off the bat is that his joint pain went away. He's been an athlete his whole life. He's had pain walking up and down the stairs and achy joints. And just from taking the CBD, he was probably taking 100 milligram of CBD a day, his joint pain went away. That was really interesting. He doesn't have to take Advil or those anti-inflammatory over-the-counter drugs anymore. He just does the CBD.   Jenny Sansouci: (34:17) He's been on this the entire time and his scans have been stable. His blood work is in the normal range and he's been off of chemo now for months and we just keep kind of monitoring his progress. The tumours are still there, but they're stable. I asked the oncologist like, "How do you know if the tumours are dead cells or if they're still alive?" And he's like, "Good question." So we don't know. We don't know what's going on, but yeah-   Mason: (34:46) I guess it's unlike that he'll be doing biopsy, right?   Jenny Sansouci: (34:49) Yeah, exactly. I've heard stories of people with different kinds of cancer that once they go to get surgery to have the tumour removed, especially people that have been using this cannabis, that it's just all dead cells. So you just really never know. So we just keep going and getting the blood work checked and getting the scans. And as long as he's stable, he's just off of chemo and just on the cannabis and mushrooms now. I mean, he's a believer at this point.   Mason: (35:15) That's so good. Well, there's another thing I found really approachable about what you just said. That's why I was really keen to chat with you because this is the bridging over how to make this accessible without having too much pressure on yourself. So, it's a different instance say of someone's going down the route of no chemo and radiotherapy and they're wanting to just treat themselves. At least in this instance we're not talking about that, but I don't know whether you've covered that or not from like in the book. If so, let's get to that. But in that instance, especially if it's a loved one who's a little bit like, "No, I want the chemo. I want to go down that route."   Mason: (35:52) Using the mushrooms as well, and using the cannabis in light of minimising the effects that the chemotherapy is going to have on you is a real, it takes the punch and it takes the pressure off sometimes if it's too much of a late for people to go, "I'm going to take cannabis to cure my cancer. I'm going to take mushrooms to cure that." So that's a very heavy thing. Cure is a very heavy thing. As you said, you're still in an unknown place. And so, that kind of agenda to put onto a medicine is something that some people, again, can handle it. They've got that mindset that loves it. I'm not that kind of person. I liken it as too much colour and nuance in a conversation to use the word cures. I really like that. I really like that approach. And in the instance of chemo not being present, is that something you talk about much or cover much?   Jenny Sansouci: (36:50) I don't cover in the book any recommendations of about not doing traditional cancer treatment because that's not the route that we went. I think there's plenty of people that have written books about what to do, like alternative ways to treat cancer. But I do think, I mean, if someone does choose to not get the chemotherapy or the radiation, I do think that both cannabis and mushrooms can be highly, highly supportive on that journey no matter what. I mean, I'm a big believer now. I mean, with the cannabis and mushrooms the way I see it is the mushrooms, as you know, are so supportive to the immune system.   Jenny Sansouci: (37:29) And so, to be able to keep your immune system strong regardless if you're on chemotherapy or not I think is hugely important. And the cannabis, not only with the chemotherapy side effects, but you just think about the anxiety and the lack of sleep that comes along with having cancer, going through an illness like this. Even if you're not going through chemotherapy, you're probably feeling a lot of existential questioning and you're probably feeling anxiety. You may be feeling pain. You may be, you're not sleeping well. So the cannabis can really be helpful for those things. I mean, I think for anybody, it could be a potential supporter for sure.   Mason: (38:08) No brainer. It's an absolute no brainer. The mushroom start rolling into the picture. As you said, it's a very, it's obvious. When your immune system's compromised, it's such an obvious thing. Cannabis, yes, we know the endocannabinoid system exists and we know that it has a huge modulating effect for many of the functions within our body. The mushrooms though are like full power immunity there. You can't go past them. As you said, everyone mention them in terms of a treatment protocol. You'd been kind of delving a little bit here and there into mushrooms, but I want to hear about it for yourself. Did you start really diving into your own medicinal mushroom usage at that point as well and sparking a love affair?   Jenny Sansouci: (39:05) Yeah, I did. I did. And that's kind of what the whole book is encompassing is two different audiences, I guess, of readers. Like it's the people that are maybe struggling with cancer and their caregivers, but then I have all these sections about different kind of general wellness topics that I got really excited about for myself. And especially going through a period of time taking care of a loved one with cancer, it was really important to me to keep my immune system strong, to keep my anxiety in check. I was losing sleep because I was nervous about all of this. So, I learned a lot with myself with CBD in particular, and then with the different medicinal mushrooms.   Jenny Sansouci: (39:52) I started using them for lots of different things, taking lion's mane and cordyceps for sure during the day a lot of times when I needed to kind of have that energy that we spent so many long days at the hospital during those first chemotherapy treatments. So I was always putting cordyceps and lion's mane in my tea because I was sitting there doing all this research. So I was kind of like, "All right, let me get the lion's mane. Let me get my brain working so I can do this research." And then I was taking chaga basically as an every day tonic just to... I mean, I think personally, I don't know what your opinion is on this, but I'm sure you'd probably agree. Chaga for me just feels like this really grounding everyday sort of hug, like just kind of a-   Mason: (40:42) Yeah, a grandfatherly hug.   Jenny Sansouci: (40:43) It makes me feel safe. It makes me feel like I'm being taken care of.   Mason: (40:47) Yeah. 100% agree.   Jenny Sansouci: (40:50) Yeah. Chaga became kind of one of my everyday ones. And then reishi I would take, in the evening I would drink the teas in the evening. And yeah, I just started to kind of incorporate them into this ecosystem of my everyday life along with the CBD. And so, yeah, I wrote a lot about that in the book. But I definitely started my own little love affair with mushrooms. And then with my dad, I mean, the thing that I think is really important about mushrooms and chemotherapy in particular is, so many people can't tolerate very many rounds of chemotherapy and a lot of people end up in really bad condition just because of the chemotherapy drugs and they can't go on because of that.   Jenny Sansouci: (41:39) My dad went, he had over 50 rounds of this really, really strong chemotherapy and his doctor said most people only can tolerate eight to 10 rounds. And I think that's because of the mushrooms. It has been shown that these different medicinal mushrooms can keep the immune system strong during chemotherapy and help the chemotherapy actually work better and help your body not break down during the process. And I really think that's why he's been able to tolerate that much.   Mason: (42:08) I mean, and again, that's a science in China to use medicinal mushrooms in conjunction. I think it's called, I haven't looked at it for awhile, fuzeng therapy. Z-H-E-N-G if anyone would like looking it up. And it's precisely as you just said. People say patients will die of the chemotherapy. And that's, I always say that's true to an extent but it's like, well no, they're not dying of the chemotherapy. They're dying because their immune system has been completely wiped out. There are emaciated and there's been no convalescence stage for healing. They haven't actually been able to build strength. And so, it's kind of disempowering to think that everyone is just going to die of the chemotherapy where this perfect example is like, is it ideal? That's up for debate? Is it a reality for some people on their journey? Yes. We're talking about that kind of pathway.   Mason: (43:14) Right now it's like Tamara, who I've just went and got my breakfast off and my hot chocolate from at the branches. She had non-Hodgkin's and decided for her going through chemo is the best and she megadosed medicinal mushrooms and she got, had her own version of the oils and things like that going on. And she just completely supported herself and the oncologist is like, "Oh my gosh. Wow. You came out of it really well." As you're saying, like 50 rounds for your dad. "Oh my gosh. How are... Normally people go eight or 10." Because there's been some very legitimate support of the body going on. So, how did you find... Did you just find on PubMed for yourself the research on chemotherapy and particular mushrooms. Was that what draw you to them mostly or was it looking for studies around mushrooms and pancreatic cancer? What was the big... How did you balance out between those two draws and intentions?   Jenny Sansouci: (44:18) Yeah, that's a great question. Well, the first two mushrooms that I heard about that were actually recommended to me by different people to look into were turkey tail and shiitake. Actually I'm curious at what you think about AHCC because that's made from shiitake mycelium. I know you're a big proponent of fruiting bodies. But the AHCC supplements that are derived from shiitake mycelium are used in cancer hospitals all over China and Japan in conjunction with chemotherapy to keep the immune system strong. So I know there's all this talk of fruiting bodies being superior to mycelium. And that's, I know there's a lot of research that shows up, but those supplements in particular, there are studies that show that they can help to boost the immune system with chemotherapy patients. So that was one of the first things that I found.   Mason: (45:08) Yeah. So my opinion on that is, and I love the question, is there's this huge mushroom industry and these different ways of growing mushrooms and you're growing either on grain or substrates or chips or eventually you get to growing on log woods where you can access the mycelium. For everyone, the mycelium again, just a little reminder, that's the, it's like the body of the mushrooms. If you're growing on something like rice or oats, then the mushroom body grows through them. Normally it's going to be going through wood. You can't access. But at the end, the fruiting body comes about and you can get rid of the rice or the oat and you can get access to that body.   Mason: (45:47) Now, there's a bunch of research around nutritive anti-cancer, anti many things going into certain substances within the mycelium. Now, because I'm quite adamant about the fact that I'm not a practitioner based company and I'm not producing a product for someone within a clinical setting, that's just not what I do. What I do is kind of like intention based, longevity based, growing on what is closest to nature as possible. Now, if the medical system turned around and said, "Hey, we need to provide 3 million people with reishi mushroom." I'm going to be like, "Cool. I'm not your guy. I can't provide you that."   Mason: (46:32) But all those people who, like in my instance, I'd consider a reishi to be kind of like a subpar reishi for my intention going forth. All of a sudden, that's not a subpar reishi to meet that demand for the people that are in a clinical setting that need reishi. And then potentially from the shiitake perspective, I'm like, yeah, go nuts. That's where super critical extracts, finding particular beta-glucans and compounds because practitioners need that, especially if you're in a Western reductionist model and you're going after particular receptor sites. I think that's really super valid and that's where it differentiates from what I do because I'm not advocating for a practitioner to use our mushrooms in various specific anti-cancer protocols.   Jenny Sansouci: (47:20) Right. Yeah. That makes a lot of sense. So yeah, the AHCC from shiitake was the first one. And I did find the research to go along with that, there has been studies. There are a lot of large scale studies with medicinal mushrooms in cancer. There's a couple, there's one with the turkey tail and with the AHCC in particular. But there are a lot of other smaller kind of preclinical studies with cancer cells in dishes with chaga and reishi and cordyceps and lion's, all of them actually. All the medicinal mushrooms. Well, most of them at least have some evidence of being helpful with the immune system and cancer. So turkey tail and AHCC were the first two that he got started on. And then I... So he's kind of on a blend of some mycelium-based products and some fruiting body based products. He takes the SuperFeast Turkey Tail every day actually. My mum puts it in his green shake every day.   Jenny Sansouci: (48:16) So we've got a little scoop of turkey tail going on. And then one of the other ones that he got started on kind of a few months into his treatment was the lion's mane because he was experiencing neuropathy, which is the loss of sensation and tingling in the fingers and toes. That happens a lot for chemotherapy patients. I had been doing some research into lion's mane and the neuro-regenerative properties of it and I asked my dad, "Would you be willing to put another mushroom in here and see what happens?" He said yes. Within two weeks he was able to tell such a difference. He was able to button his buttons again. He was able to feel his contact lens on the end of his finger again. He said he was able to reach into his pocket and feel the difference between a dime a quarter, which he hadn't been able to before. So the lion's mane has been super, super helpful for him for that.   Mason: (49:10) It often comes in the back end of one of these treatment protocols. Like just the nervous system cops so much, and then there are those kinds of... It's so, I mean, lion's mane has got its own immunological aspects going on and its own anti-inflammatory things going on within the GI tract and along the epithelial cells. It's worth just for that factor. But it's not necessarily a huge immune hit up like you're going to see shiitake and turkey tail and Chaga and Reishi B. But it's interesting, here it is again, how often it kind of slots into the back end of a treatment protocol just to stop any neurological degeneration or anything that... It's a holistic approach and what you're kind of talking about is just like keeping a finger on the pulse.   Mason: (49:56) You need someone in the household or yourself, but your dad's kind of creeping into this world. Obviously you're there, the rest of the family is there keeping a finger on the pulse, just judging the situation. It's amazing how scared people are to... That's Goji in the background, everyone. It's amazing how scared people are to keep the finger on the pulse because, well, I'm not a doctor and I can't do this and I'm not trained. It's like, no, you're not a doctor. And that's the whole point. You can provide a level of nuanced care and even if that is then feeding what you're noticing and what's possible, getting your spidey sense up and feeding that to your practitioners so that they can stay onto it. But making sure that that's not just going to mean more medications, that would be nice. Something I'd like to-   Jenny Sansouci: (50:49) Sorry, just to add one thing to what you said before about PubMed, that was, I spent so much time on PubMed, yes, and I found so much interesting information on mushrooms and so many really small studies that seemed so promising that there just hasn't been the funding to take them into a larger place. I emailed one of mycologist’s that I, Solomon Wasser, who maybe you're familiar with. He heads up the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms. I emailed him because he had done a small study on a Bird's Nest fungi with pancreatic cancer. It's this really obscure little mushroom.   Jenny Sansouci: (51:30) It was really promising and I was like, "Has there been any followup to this?" And he's like, "We have no funding for this. If we had funding for this, we'd be able to potentially come out with a drug for pancreatic cancer, but we don't." And I was like, "Oh God." That's just the problem across the board, right? There's no large scale funding for these studies. And I really, I want there to be it. I hope to be able to support that funding in some way. I just, I think that it would be a game if we could actually have these studies that doctors would pay attention to.   Mason: (52:03) Yeah. And again, it's our whole model. Unfortunately not to just ring it again, ring the bell again, but they're not getting paid when people get well. They're getting paid exceptional amounts when people stay sick. When you take a beta-glucan from a mushroom, it's very, very hard to patent it. I mean, the super critical extracts from chaga that have been used since the 50s, I don't even know if they're patented. It's a particular product taking a particular melanin based compound mostly from the chaga and perhaps they've been able to patent the extraction model and the machinery that's used to extract it. But nonetheless, there's nothing to stop another company coming over and saying, "Great, we'll do an extraction of chaga and we can provide data and it can be used clinically as well." Therefore, pharmaceutically it's not going to be valid.   Mason: (53:07) That's something interesting because we're in the Western model. Whether we like it or not, most of the time family members are going to end up in that model. And so, you had a real nice grounded approach because I've been in medicinal mushrooms for over 10 years and I don't like medicinal mushrooms being used as examples for treatment to cancer in terms of like, don't you know they cure it? I'm just like, that's a really unreasonable thing to say and here's why. Cancer is a Western terminology. It's a symptom-based terminology. It's a term. In China, or if you go pre-Mao, Mao Zedong pre-communism, when you're actually have classical Chinese medicine not the traditional Chinese medicine that Mao Zedong created when there's an amalgamation of Western symptomology and label-based disease mixed with a little bit of nice or a bit of a meridians and a little bit of acupuncture here and there. But they're treating things in the West, which don't exist.   Mason: (54:08) The word cancer doesn't exist. There's no cancer in classical Chinese medicine. There's the treatment of the body through the Yin Yang and the Five Elements. And so, we are looking at a new type of medicine and we're using traditional herbs that don't have 3000 years, at least, of clinical usage for cancer. They have 3000 years of clinical usage for various dysfunctions of Qi, for rebellious qi and deficiencies of Qi, blockages, so on and so forth. And so, we can't just jump at these small studies, as you're saying, which is the backbone of modern medicine, because we're playing that game.   Mason: (54:53) You need something to be comprehensively proven, large scale in vivo study. And we don't have that yet. So just, we know that it's great for the immune system, stick to the guns of what's reasonable. Don't make outlandish claims despite the fact that anecdotally it's looking really good. And I'm just talking about that in the context of, if you are really entrenched within the Western model and the Western cancer model. It's just, just watch your approach. Watch your approach because we need to play the game and stay reasonable. But then I feel you take that approach, you can go full power. So what kind of dosages were you getting your dad onto?   Jenny Sansouci: (55:40) Oh, what kind of dosages? He's definitely taking a smaller dosage than some of the studies suggest. I think some, like with the turkey's tail studies that have been out there, I think it's like six grams that people have taken for breast cancer. He's probably taking two grams a day of turkey tail. Probably three gram a day of the shiitake, the AHCC. And then he takes a blend of a bunch of different other mushrooms. It's probably maybe a gram of each one, maybe one and a half gram of each. It's a pretty low dose. It's kind of like a wellness dose. Honestly, he could be taking higher doses for sure. But he's been doing so well that we're like, all right, we'll just keep it how it is.   Mason: (56:28) And he's been doing it consistently, right?   Jenny Sansouci: (56:31) Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yep. Morning and night, yeah.   Mason: (56:35) Well, I mean, that's pretty... Just that's rad just there, the consistency factor versus the go hard for two or three months and then get annoyed when it hasn't healed everything. That's, it's definitely where it's at. And he's just doing that in his shakes?   Jenny Sansouci: (56:54) Yeah. Well, he's got some capsules that he takes, like the AHCC is capsules, the lion's mane he takes is in capsules. And then all the other mushrooms, the turkey tail and then the blend of 10 different mushrooms, that's in powder and in shakes. Yeah. So he kind of doesn't even know every single thing he's taking. I know everything he's taking, but he's just drinking the shake down every single day and it's doing something.   Mason: (57:21) So there's obviously that journey, whether you are attributing the current success completely one way or the other seems like you're just going, "Look, this is what we did. Seemed pretty useful. They seem to have some pretty visceral effects." This is anecdotal, but nonetheless, this is what happened. We introduced them, this was the good results. So sharing that information out. So tell us, where is he at now? When did things kind of really start to turn for him? Was it after those 50 rounds of chemo when we're just going to go, all right, let's see how it all went.   Jenny Sansouci: (58:00) Yeah, it was actually... It was 2017 he was diagnosed and it was this January/February that they said, "You've been really stable and your blood work has been in the normal range." For pancreatic cancer, there's a blood marker. It's called CA 19-9. And normal range is between 0 and 37, meaning there's no activity coming out of the tumour, there's no proteins being released. And his has been around 18 for over a year and a half probably. It started at like 18, 10. Some people start way higher than that, like thousands and thousands. He's been in the normal range and kind of the low normal range for quite a while. And they said, "Things have just been so stable. Why don't we just try to get you off of chemo just to give your body a break?"   Jenny Sansouci: (58:52) That was February. And now it's May, and he's just feeling really good, especially off the chemo. He has so much more energy. So he's doing yard work and doing all these different projects and he's in a great mood all the time and he doesn't have to go into the hospital and he feels really good. And he's still not having any pain or any indication that the cancer is causing any type of side effects or uncomfortability. He's good. So where he's at now is he's just going to get another scan in a month or so. And if things are still stable or better, he's going to stay off the chemo. But he'll stay on the cannabis and mushrooms like for life probably.   Mason: (59:36) In the foreseeable future. Well, and that's where, I guess, like where he can make those adjustments after a few years to be like, all right, do we stay in? And most likely you will. You just don't muck around. I definitely don't have any recommendations. Which then you go like, he'd be like, "Oh, I don't feel like medicating. That was something I was doing when I was in that kind of stage." Maybe you go for a more, a whole kind of shiitake kind of vibe rather than like a superficial extract. But potentially, but just like so if people were wondering where that conversation comes up because sometimes the biggest thing is letting go of what was healing us or a dose of what was healing us when things were bad and slowly just opening up to adjusting as we go along. I don't know if that comes up at all in the conversation, but you're still obviously still in it waiting for the test to come back. But I was curious, what was the prognosis in the beginning?   Jenny Sansouci: (01:00:37) In the beginning? Oh, they didn't tell us, they told him stage four pancreatic cancer that has spread to the liver, but they didn't give us like here's how many months you have to live or anything like that. But when you look it up, sometimes eight weeks is what people have. And usually it's just a few months is the usual prognosis for that. If they told him that prognosis, he didn't tell me and I wouldn't have wanted to hear it because I'd be like, no, I'm rebelling against that. But it's, yeah, it's usually pretty quick moving aggressive cancer typically.   Mason: (01:01:25) Is there anything else in the book that we didn't really cover here that you just want to give people a little snippet into, any little interesting parts along the journey? Anything interesting in the mushroom or cannabis world?   Jenny Sansouci: (01:01:42) Well, I guess, I mean, the thing that I'm most proud of in the book is that, kind of like we were talking about at the beginning of this podcast is I learned from so many different experts and I've really showcased all of their work throughout the book. So there's a few different cannabis doctors and cannabis experts that have been in this field for a long time that I went and interviewed and met in person and kind of got some of their protocols, especially with dosing. There's a lot of dosage recommendations throughout the book and it's all from cannabis doctors, some really amazing people. I went to a medical cannabis conference and I went to some medicinal mushroom seminars and I went on a bunch of mushroom walks.   Jenny Sansouci: (01:02:24) I have all these mushroom mentors and cannabis mentors that I was able to take all of their amazing work and just infuse it throughout the pages of the book. So, I'm really proud of that and I'm excited to kind of share those people's wisdom. I always say my favourite parts of the book are the acknowledgement section and the research citations because so many other people went into the making of this book, not just me. I think, yeah, I'm just, I'm excited that there's all the people that were on the scientific studies. The people's names that I kept seeing, those were the people who I reached out to for specifics and for fact checking. I had a bunch of them fact check the book. So I just feel really proud of that. Certainly there's a lot of science and stuff.   Mason: (01:03:09) Oh, good on you because that's often like that last little 5% that takes, you've gone back to the source and often that last little 5% to be like, let's just make sure everything is actually like... Just seeing them on the harp of truth.   Jenny Sansouci: (01:03:25) Yeah. I thought like, who are the people that if they read the book and said it was inaccurate, I would be horrified by that. Who are those people? And let me get them to fact check the book. So that's what I did.   Mason: (01:03:38) Yeah. I really like that approach. This is what I think the problem is with influencer culture and entrepreneurial culture where everyone goes like, you know what, just screw what anyone thinks, just put it out there and just speak your truth. Just don't let... And so all of a sudden you get this aversion to criticism when really all you need to do is find an appropriate place. Because there isn't an inner critic for no reason. You're not aware of outer criticism for no reason, it's because when it's not excessive, it has this beautiful contributory factor and...   Mason: (01:04:14) You went, it was a good example. I think when people are writing books, go and look for the criticism to make sure that you're not just putting out shit work. It's like, it's super obvious. I kind of got that. It's like, I kind of got that about my own work as well. I sit there and when I was like, the best example when I was a raw foodist. I'd read Western Price books and argue all the points of my diet to myself. And I do that today. I sit in a position and I can... You're morphed into the position of someone who would be like, I don't know, a sceptic or something. How would they approach the way I've done my work and how can I plug it up to make sure it has full integrity.   Jenny Sansouci: (01:04:58) Yeah. That's why I wanted to go directly to the source. I didn't want to just be quoting cannabis influencers in my book. That's not where I was finding my information. I was like, I want to go to the people who were involved in this research study because that's the source, that's the source of so much of this, and the doctors who are working with patients and seeing the results. You're not just someone who might own a CBD company and has beautiful labelling and... It makes a big difference when it's people who are really out there seeing how patients are being affected.   Mason: (01:05:33) Yeah. Going to the source, people don't do it enough. People take everything at face value.   Jenny Sansouci: (01:05:37) I mean, it's so easy to find the science, it's there. It's just maybe not as pretty as looking at someone's gorgeous little blog, but it's there.   Mason: (01:05:48) Just to finish it up, do you cover psilocybin, magic mushrooms at all?   Jenny Sansouci: (01:05:55) I do. Yeah, I do. I felt that I needed to. I mean, for me I covered it because I started to become very interested in it. Of course it's illegal and I don't recommend that anybody just experiment on their own, but people will and I have. There's a tonne of amazing research going into it right now, as I'm sure you know about. So I do cover some of the research, especially with treatment-resistant depression which I think is really, really, really interesting and promising. And there's some very interesting doctors and scientists looking into that. So, I think it's important for people to know about the changes that could be happening in mental health with psilocybin.   Mason: (01:06:40) What was the most exciting thing that you came across in that research?   Jenny Sansouci: (01:06:44) I guess the most exciting thing, I mean, one of the really interesting things, I came across a study at Johns Hopkins by Dr. Roland Griffiths who was using psilocybin for cancer patients to help alleviate their fear of death and their anxiety about the whole cancer process and the prospect of dying. And I think that's really, really interesting and I think that's an area that kind of gets overlooked, especially in the Western medical system, is the whole spiritual and emotional aspect of going through something like cancer treatment.   Jenny Sansouci: (01:07:21) It can be very difficult emotionally. So to see that there has been so much success in people using psilocybin and having that fear of death alleviated, I think that's really, really important. Something that's interesting to me also that's happening right now at Imperial College, London, is they're doing a study, I believe it's going on currently, comparing SSRI antidepressant drugs to psilocybin and seeing what the comparison is there. And I think that could be some really interesting research. I think it's really promising for depression.   Mason: (01:07:55) Oh, huge. Let's just, gosh, can you imagine. A couple of decades from now, head screws on to this medical system, it's not just a profit model. You can start integrating these things like cannabis, medicinal mushrooms, psilocybin. It makes sense. Just everyone's just... Everyone's-   Jenny Sansouci: (01:08:15) It's all out there on the earth. The earth provides us so much and I think that's one of the most important things to realise is we have this vast, amazing planet that's provided us with so many things that we need for different ailments, different human ailments of the human condition. And I think it's exciting to have some of those things being brought to the forefront and elevated again.   Mason: (01:08:41) Absolutely. I mean, you're doing your part, the Rebel's Apothecary. I'm really looking forward to my copy arriving.   Jenny Sansouci: (01:08:48) It'll get there on a boat.   Mason: (01:08:49) I'll get in touch, it's arriving on a boat, it's old school. I like that. It's like it's very folky. I got the free chapter though. So everyone can go, I think it's rebelsapothecary.com is the place you can go over and just get the information, go and get yourself a free chapter. I believe that's where they can access that as well.   Jenny Sansouci: (01:09:15) The free chapter, you can get through my Instagram, through the link in my Instagram bio. Therebelsapothecary.com is where you can go to pre-order the book. Although the free chapter is on my blog too, which is healthycrush.com.   Mason: (01:09:30) Oh yeah. I was looking at Healthy Crush before we came on. Been doing that for a while, right?   Jenny Sansouci: (01:09:34) Yeah. Quite a long time now. Mm-hmm (affirmative).   Mason: (01:09:37) Since like, what? Over 10 years?   Jenny Sansouci: (01:09:39) Yeah. I started blogging around 2008 and Healthy Crush started around 2011. But yeah, it's been a journey. That was back in the day where there were not a lot of blogs back then.   Mason: (01:09:52) No, [inaudible 01:09:53]. Yeah. That's definitely a-   Jenny Sansouci: (01:09:56) There were no influencers.   Mason: (01:09:58) No influences, yeah. I mean, it's like... Yeah, that's a good archive. Do you ever have a little bit of laugh to yourself going back over like 12 years worth of blogs?   Jenny Sansouci: (01:10:06) Yeah. People were like, how did you spread the word about your blog posts when there was no Instagram? I was like, there were only five blogs total, so I showed up really high in the search engines. That's basically it.   Mason: (01:10:22) It's so good. Can you just remind everyone what your Instagram is so they can go over and give you a follow?   Jenny Sansouci: (01:10:27) Yeah, sure. It's Jenny Sansouci, my name. J-E-N-N-Y S-A-N-S-O-U-C-I.   Mason: (01:10:34) It's way too easy. Go and get the book guys, be a rebel. We were talking, just saying then how it's going to be nice in the next couple of decades to see these really integrated. But it's not where it starts. It starts in your own home, apothecary. And so, just to leave everyone here, can you just share with us what apothecary in the modern world means to you and what you hope for people's home apothecary through reading this book.   Jenny Sansouci: (01:11:02) So good. Well, I think when you think of apothecaries, you think of these little medicine bottles all being lined up, you think of the image of the apothecary, but I think it's so much more than that. And I think it's about really creating, like infusing these different herbs and natural medicines into every aspect of your day, whether it's in your cooking or in your teas or in your topical solutions that you're putting on top of your body or taking things as a tincture, but it's everything. So, I really have created a little kind of ecosystem apothecary that encompasses so many different practises. And it's also not just about supplements and herbs, it's about your lifestyle practises and breathing and moving your body and the way you're thinking and your nervous system and just setting up your environment so it supports you. I think that's really the essence of it.   Mason: (01:12:01) So good. Thanks so much for coming on. Have a great time continuing to launch the book in this weird, slow style of launch where you don't have any of the... You're over there in New York not able to, as you said before we jumped on, not doing the book signings, not doing the big events. It's like the good old days when you started the blog right. I mean, [crosstalk 01:12:27]. It's got to be more reach.   Jenny Sansouci: (01:12:31) Yeah. I mean, this is... thanks so much for having me. This has been such a cool conversation and I do mention SuperFeast a few times throughout the book as a brand that I love. So I really support you guys and look forward to continuing to support you.   Mason: (01:12:44) Thanks for that. It was such a nice surprise to hear that as well. It's like we appreciate it and we'll-   Jenny Sansouci: (01:12:50) Yeah. I mean, where I find... I mean, your podcast is where I find people that I can see are kindred spirits and are really doing the work and putting out really quality products, I'm thrilled to share about it.   Mason: (01:13:02) Thanks legend. Everyone go over and get that book. It really is, just through the conversations with Jenny that I've had and just having looked at the chapter and everything that's in there, it's a really good one to have around in your own library and especially a good one to be able to hand to people that are going through something similar. It's a good gifting one, so maybe just get ready to gift that to people or just keep one and hand yourself. Thanks so much.   Jenny Sansouci: (01:13:28) Thank you.
Claire Dunn joins Tahnee on the podcast today. Claire is an author, journalist, educator and barefoot explorer. Claire is dearly passionate about fostering a deep connection to the earth, the self and community. Claire's work centres around ‘rewilding’ both the inner and outer landscapes. Claire has a keen interest in the psychology of the human-nature connection and offers retreats and Vision Quest's to help guide people back to their true and wild selves.  Tahnee and Claire discuss: The journey that led Claire to her rewilding work. The universality of our human connection to earth. The concept of "claiming place". Supported solitude and Claire's year without matches. Moving out of patriarchal cultural conditioning into an embodied feminine space. Claire's new book Rewilding The Urban Soul. The importance of knowing your neighbor in these isolating times. Self sufficiency vs community sufficiency.   Who is Claire Dunn? Claire Dunn is passionate about connection - to earth, self, and other. Claire believes that rewilding of our inner world is the key to rewilding our planet. Claire connects through her work as writer, journalist, educator and barefoot explorer.  In 2010, Claire immersed herself in the Australia bush for four full seasons as a kind of self-designed initiation. She tells her story of this transformational experience in her book, My Year Without Matches. Claire also worked for many years as a campaigner for The Wilderness Society and as a freelance journalist, writing for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, while studying postgraduate psychology. Claire is a passionate advocate for “rewilding” our inner and outer landscapes, and she facilitates nature-based reconnection retreats and contemporary wilderness rites of passage. She currently lives in Melbourne where she writes, offers personal mentoring, and lovingly tends her garden.   Resources: Claire's Website Claire's Facebook Claire's Events and Workshops   Q: How Can I Support The SuperFeast Podcast?   A: Tell all your friends and family and share online! We’d also love it if you could subscribe and review this podcast on iTunes. Or  check us out on Stitcher :)! Plus  we're on Spotify!   Check Out The Transcript Here:   Tahnee: (00:00) Hi everybody, and welcome to the SuperFeast Podcast. Today I'm here with Claire Dunn. I'm very excited to have her on the podcast. Claire is one of those amazing people that I got to meet a few years ago in Newcastle. And I've been following along with her journey ever since. And she's just this really beautiful passionate woman who is all about connection to earth and so and to each other in community and her work around rewilding, rewilding ourselves in order to be more connected to our planet, I think is really important and really powerful.   Tahnee: (00:32) So we'll be talking about that kind of thing today. But just to introduce Claire, she works as a writer and a journalist, as well as an educator and a Barefoot Explorer. And in 2010, she spent four full seasons in the Australian bush as this initiation, which she writes about in her book My Year Without Matches. I've passed that book around to so many friends who've all had similar experiences to me with tears and joy and inspiring us to go and hike barefoot through the bush and all that kind of stuff.   Tahnee: (01:03) But yeah, she's also done activism work, campaigning, she studied psychology and she now lives in Melbourne where she teaches rewilding skills to people in the city and outside. She does workshops and also retreats. So, pretty cool. Oh, and also personal mentoring I saw on your site as well Claire, which is really cool.   Claire Dunn: (01:23) Thanks Tahnee for [inaudible 00:01:25] here.   Tahnee: (01:25) Doing all good things. So tell us, is there anything I missed in that intro?   Claire Dunn: (01:31) I think you've covered all-   Tahnee: (01:33) Your entire life story. Yeah. I actually wanted to start there because I met you in Newy and I know you are ... Are from Newcastle? Are you definitely born there?   Claire Dunn: (01:42) On that area. Yeah.   Tahnee: (01:43) Okay. And were you raised there or were you ...?   Claire Dunn: (01:46) Yeah, I was raised on a farm about 45 minutes away.   Tahnee: (01:50) Which town?   Claire Dunn: (01:51) Outside Maitland.   Tahnee: (01:52) Oh, yeah. Nice.   Claire Dunn: (01:55) But yeah born in Newcastle when the hospital was right on the main beach there.   Tahnee: (02:00) I love that hospital.   Claire Dunn: (02:02) In my blood yeah.   Tahnee: (02:03) I can't imagine my ex partner's mum laboured through the storm while giving birth to her daughter and I ... Yeah, I thought that would have been a really powerful experience back in the day. Your whole life work is about this reconnecting to nature. But was that a theme in your childhood, or were you drawn to this a bit later on in your life? Or how did you end up where you are?   Claire Dunn: (02:26) Well, I was unconsciously drawn to it during my childhood, just through sheer luck of growing up on a farm that happened to be bordered by a river, with siblings who wanted to be outside and not much in the way of screens to draw us inside. So I yeah, I had a natural inclination to be climbing trees and exploring along the riverbank and making witches brews of herbs and flowers from the garden and planting my own garden and my parents were both gardeners and horticulturalists. So, we were just outside a lot. Always had animals and feeding animals and caring for pets and it was ...Now I think about it, there was that ample unstructured playtime in nature which is so vital for instilling that sense of nature being a friend an ally, a resource, a teacher, and for really instilling that magical sense of connection.   Claire Dunn: (03:32) But of course it wasn't until my adult years that I started to realise that that foundation, had really informed me and had set the scene for my passion and how my journey's unfolded.   Tahnee: (03:48) So did you end up in Newy university? Is that-   Claire Dunn: (03:52) No, I went to Sydney. Yeah, I started in Sydney, studied journalism and communications.   Tahnee: (03:57) I did that too. Isn't that funny?   Claire Dunn: (03:59) Yeah.   Tahnee: (03:59) Here we are full circle.   Claire Dunn: (04:00) I knew that I was going to have [inaudible 00:04:02] yeah might be like a lof journalist one of the major newspapers but, instead I really got my teeth stuck into environmental activism while I was at uni and that changed the direction of my life away from the career corporate orientation and really towards the ... Initially what was towards social justice and as fierce, what grew to be a fierce protection motivation for these wild places and wild creatures. And, that's when I moved back to Newcastle and started working for the Wilderness Society there and had five years.   Claire Dunn: (04:45) Yeah, living by the beach and working on forest protection and thought that that would be the continuation of my passion, but of course things change.   Tahnee: (04:55) That was always one of my favourite buildings in Newcastle, don't think it's there anymore. Like the building is but not the Wilderness Society. I saw while I was researching this some of your achievements in that role, which were huge, hectares of land protected, and I'm sure, lots of other accomplishments that weren't documented on the internet but, what drew into that, and then what pulled you away? Obviously you weren't there for longer than five years. So, what happened?   Claire Dunn: (05:26) What drew me in was ... It was what people describe as an eco awakening. Where even though I'd grown up immersed in nature, I wasn't really across the political and the global state of the ecological crisis until I went to university and had a close experience with a forest that had been cut down, got involved with a group of activists. And it was really turning my attention towards not so much the beauty of nature which had been my foundation, but really the crisis that we were facing. And it was a eco awakening in terms of both feeling out my deep love of nature, but also the peril that our planet was in.   Claire Dunn: (06:21) It really was a case of I can't just turn my face away anymore. Yeah, that became a passion for pretty much the most part of my 20s. The better part of my 20s was this environmental activism conservation work, but what started to happen was, on one hand there was just simple reality of burning out, expanding too much energy and putting all the youthful, idealistic values into way too much action and not enough stillness and rest. But there was also a deeper thread emerging which was, this growing interest in the human nature connection, and the realisation that the real threat, the underlying threat, the reason for our ecological crisis is, how our culture has become so disconnected from the more the modern human world, disconnected from our life support systems, disconnected from this sense of living in an animate sentient world.   Claire Dunn: (07:35) And I corresponded with a pull towards knowing myself more. I realised that I just hadn't really had the opportunity or had the motivation to peel off layers of the self and see what really lay beneath. So it was this merging of this interest in the human nature connection, and also this momentum towards individuation or greater self knowledge. And they kind of combined into a passion for wilderness survival skills, shamanic practise, nature observation and awareness tracking, which I really launched myself into in my late 20s.   Claire Dunn: (08:22) That propelled me in a whole new direction.   Tahnee: (08:28) This is a personal question, but I personally have found there's often a bit of a crisis of health, like a bit of a crash that comes with those big shifts. Seriously, it's like every time for me. And I know you've studied Jung's work, so when I heard you say individuation, but yeah, I think there's those like Dark Nights of the Soul and then we realise that we're close to what we were wanting to do, but it was maybe the wrong shoe on our foot or something was that a sense for you?   Claire Dunn: (08:57) Yeah, sure. Yeah, very much so in my life. I've been able to identify I guess what I would call moulting's is moulting's which happened multiple times in life.   Tahnee: (09:10) Oh, yeah.   Claire Dunn: (09:12) And they are often catalysed by crisis in some way. Break up, loss of faith in the path, health crisis, whatever. And they catalyse this moulting. But there's also a very particular moulting, that's a much deeper moulting, which only happens once in life. And that really is that shift that initiatory period of life where one moves their centre of gravity from more of an adolescent mindset into an adult. And it has [inaudible 00:09:43] ages within it but, most Westerners actually never go through that. They never go through that initiatory stage. And, I recognised it in hindsight as that pull towards an initiatory experience to myself in my later 20s.   Tahnee: (10:03) Because we don't have those experiences at all. Childhood to adolescence. I'm a mum.   Claire Dunn: (10:11) Right.   Tahnee: (10:12) Yeah [crosstalk 00:10:13] adults are children. Like they're still carrying those, that lack of sovereignty and responsibility I suppose that happens if you aren't initiated.   Claire Dunn: (10:25) Yeah, lack of knowledge of what their true gift is in the world and a way to, and a vehicle to give it, that's essentially what emerges after that initiatory period.   Tahnee: (10:38) And so you started to study these things, and did you spend some time in the States? I remember.   Claire Dunn: (10:45) Yeah. So that was part of my wandering within the cocoon if you like, was going over to study at this place called Tracker School in Amer