Source File: BenAhrensInterview.mov
Ari: Now speaking with Ben Ahrens who is a personal friend as well as a health and
performance coaching expert. So Ben, thank you for talking to me.
Ben A: My pleasure, thank you for having me on.
Ari: Absolutely! Lets talk about what you’re doing right now with the biomedical stuff and
then I want to talk a little bit about your history and then the book. So let’s talk about
what you’re currently working on.
Ben A: Absolutely so I am current executive vice president at a company called Innovative
Medicine, we work out of Midtown Manhattan and we are doing research and
developmentandprimarilyfocusingoneducatingmedical doctorsin a new paradigm of
personalizedmedicinethatreallytakespersonalize protocols, personalized treatments
to a whole new level and focuses on a particular type of blood analysis that goes…
Without going too deep into explanation, that goes beyond even the genetic factor to
evaluate bloodbasedonsomethingcalled [00:58 ricin]. So it’s a little bit different from
biochemistry. The basic kind of rundown is that it arrives at extremely personalized
program treatments that have been proven clinically over the past 12 years to get
astounding success rates. And actually part of my health has much to attribute to that
Ari: Cool.So I want to get into that basically and your diagnosis of Lyme disease and pretty
much it almost killed you so let’s talk about that. What happened and sort of how did
Ben A: Yeah, absolutely. So as many people know unfortunately in the north east, Lyme
not a massive problem, itdoesn’tleadtochronic degenerative types of conditions for a
subset of people. For a few, it does and I have a lot of insights as to why that I’m not
going to get into at this time; it’s really topical discussion unto itself. But for this case,
just suffice it to say that my condition was extreme as delineated by severe
demyelinatingpolyneuropathy, I was bedbound for three years. NYU [02:11 inaudible]
medical Center actually did a study on me and through a series of spinal taps and
upwards of nine brain scans, found that to had the highest titers of lyme in the spinal
fluid and on the [02:24 Western blood] and I had brain lesions in the prefrontal cortex
So basically I navigated to the conventional route doing long-term high-dose
intravenous antibiotics. I had a briefly inserted catheter stitched into my arm and
insertedinmy heart for about a year during bouts of intravenous [02:45 inaudible]. All
the while myconditioncontinuedtodeclinetothe pointwhere Icouldbarely figure out
howto cook an omelette ortie myshoessoit waslike a dementia I was diagnosed with
MS, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia; all of these sort of hard to understand
Ari: Yeah. Now the neurological aspects were kind of the most scary because that’s when
Lyme disease becomes fatal really, when you have the neurological effects. And it’s
astoundingtome how you went from being in a neurologically depressed state where
you couldn’t tie your own show still being able to overcome this. So what was the
Ben A: Yeah, you’re right. Once it goes into the central nervous system, it tends to basically
short-circuitthe central nervoussystemandcause a whole host of problems; everyone
will reactina verydifferentway. Again in my case, it was dementia and all those types
of symptoms. And the way he can actually lead to fatality as it has in many cases is
through encephalitis which basically causes inflammation of the cerebrospinal fluid,
brain information and can lead to death in that way. And yeah, I wound up in the
hospital several times, it was not pleasant.
How I overcame it isreallythrough number one, dealing with the most immediate and
the physical factorswhichare treating the infection itself. So I navigated and found my
wayto a clinicthatwas doing much more integrative type of therapy where they were
addressing things like the total load of toxicity. They were addressing of course, the
bacteriathemselvesbutinwaysthatwere a little bitmore subtle andgentle,Iwouldsay
just long-term high-dose antibiotics which can actually increase toxicity and add more
stress and pressure to the whole system. So they had a very intelligent approach of
putting this together and that really did wonders for the physical part.
Now even after the bacteria was eradicated, or might even say suppressed to a level
where itwasn’treallyaprimary factor, I still found myself stuck in a negative feedback
loopof these symptomsthatwould keep me basically bedbound. I would go for a walk
around the block one day and wind up literally in bed for about a month just trying to
recover. Not to mention there was a burning sensation through phantom pains, there
was blurred vision, sensitivity to light and sound and all of these types of things and
that’swhere I hada compilationof researchledme todifferenttypesof neurocognitive
rehab; primarily using neurolinguistic programming or NLP of which I am now
practitioner and different ways that I assembled through study of habit design and
science of small winsandthingslike thattobasicallyinterruptanegative patternevenif
it seems like sickly physical or physiological pattern.
The mind is extremely powerful and the mind is key here in that you can choose how
youare goingto respondtoa particularsymptom.Now thismightsoundlike Iamsaying
something to the effect of well, somehow this is in your head. Absolutely not! All of
these physiological effects, these symptoms am talking about absolutely go into the
bodyand everythingcanandwheninfact inmy conditionmeasuredveryprecisely.I am
sayinghoweverthatthese symptomsdocome backinto the head because you become
consciously aware of the pain. Of course, that’s like saying if you put your hand on the
stove you’re going to realize, “Oh s***, the stove is hot!”
Ben A: Now, you can choose actually there is a point at any discomfort where you can choose
howyou’re goingto respond.Thisiseasiersaidthandone andtakesa lot of trainingand
it wouldsometimestake upwardsof 100 timesa dayreminding myself not to overreact
to these symptoms. And there are very precise and systematic ways that I go about
doing that using these NLP techniques but through the process of continuously
disrupting the negative feedback and eventually replacing it with a positive feedback
loop, basically choosing to not associate these symptoms with something that was
extremely negative, harmful or fatal I was actually able to create physiological effects
such as lowering cortisol, increasing positive hormones and basically increasing the
types of hormones and biochemicals that lead to healing and decreasing those stress
hormones that lead to continued degeneration.
Ari: Wow! Okay. So what does that sort of protocol look like? Once you’ve dealt with the
infection and numerological regeneration and stuff, what is the… Are there
supplements, other than NLP, what does that protocol look like?
Ben A: Yeah I mentionedfirstthingoff isthe physical aspectwhich was absolutely needs to be
addressedandIalso mentionedthat Lyme insome cases, Lyme isjust… I’malmostgoing
to use it as an umbrella term and as a good example because Lyme has it all. There is
lotsof neurologicalailmentsoutthere,there issome complex chronic conditions these
days as we know Crohn’s being one of them.
All of these, the one thing they have in common is they are always multifaceted and
multi-systemic.Meaningit’sneverjustone thing.People like toplace the blame on one
thingso that theycan attempt to find a silver bullet to eradicate that one problem and
the logic says if you eradicate the one problem, you will end up back at full health.
Unfortunately,withof these kindsof complexchronicconditions,youare alwaysdealing
witha multiplicity of factors. So it’s more of a total load problem. You are dealing with
stress, neurological andotherwise,you’redealingwithmalnutrition, inability to absorb
nutrition,hightoxicity,inabilityof the lymphaticsystemtoproperlydetoxifyyourself.So
yesyouare right.On the physical aspect,there were nutritional supplements involved.
Of course,there were some thingslike fishoil,vitaminD,high-dose multivitamins,some
intravenous therapies as well…
Ari: Like what? What were the intravenous ones?
Ben A: So a lot of the intravenous ones were… There was some chelation my case to help
extractthe heavymetalsbutto the protocol that I underwent,the medical protocol was
reallyveryholisticandintegrative view of the body.Soitwasn’tjustgoinginand saying,
“Okay,heavymetalsare the problemthereforewe are goingtodo extract heavy metals
using chelation”. It was also a question of why are the heavy-metal is the problem?
For instance isitbecause youare livinginanarea where you are exposed to high heavy
metalsor the wateryouare drinking isextremelyhigh content of heavy metals? Or is it
that yourlymphaticsystemisimpairedandthe organsof eliminationsystemsuchas the
kidneysandlymphaticsystemare notequippedto adequately deal with a normal level
of heavy metals. Or is it a combination of both? So the kind of magic in this protocol is
that it’sable to go into the evaluation component, decipher precisely what the source
of these problems was so in my case it was a combination of both chelation but also
takingsome homeopathicremedies,some natural remediesand some pharmacological
remedies oftenregulate,youcould saythe organsof eliminationtobasicallydotheirjob
more efficiently so that I ultimately wouldn’t need all that much chelation; I would be
able to justbecome more efficientat excreting what’s not advantageous to my body in
the first place.
Ari: Were you using any liposome or [10:40 inaudible] for instance or…?
Ben A: Yes. So those were key. Also [10:48 phosphotital cerine, phosphotital choline] for
phospholipid exchange postthe antimicrobialphase of thistherapywhichwas essential
for basically generating a lot of the damage that was accrued throughout the several
years of illness.
Ari: Okay so now let’s… And we can get very deep into the weeds in this but I think we’re
going to lose some people. So let’s talk about the book and the set point concept
because this is really exciting.
Ben A: Right so basically it is based on upwards of 100 patients that I spoke with and
interviewedthroughoutmyexperience andnow workingas executive vice president at
Innovative Medicine I had the chance to interview and speak with some of the top
medical doctors, physicist, scientists from around the world.
I began to formulate a theory that I am trying to encapsulate in a book which I am
working on at the moment called The Set Point Effect. It’s not a brand-new theory by
any stretchof the imagination.It’smore of anextrapolationof an existing theory which
iscalled SetpointTheory butbasically Setpoint Theory was something that came out in
the 1950s which aims to explain why a person’s body fat or body composition would
settle ata certainpoint,let’s say six weeks or 10 weeks after they began to diet. When
someone made aseeminglydramaticshiftin their lifestyle, they always seem to settle
at a certain body composition.
Nowyearslatertheywouldextrapolate thisconceptandapplyitto psychologyand they
have kindof retooledit as the hedonistic treadmill theory or The Theory of Happiness;
they like to give things a fancy new cover but basically they’ve done those kinds of
experimentsthatI am sure you of heard about where they have taken people who are
going along their lives and then like winning the lottery and then a second group of
people likebecomesparaplegicor undergoes some massive accident and why they are
found is that over about the six-month period of time, their level of happiness,
contentment,acceptance,seemstosettle backtoa certainbaseline that was at before.
So what I have done in this book is taken this to whole next level. I say that we have a
certain baseline which I called a set point that is the hidden determinant or you could
say the initiation point of yes, our body competition, our happiness, or strength, our
thoughts,ourphysical strength,physical performance and I have applied this in certain
veryspecificwaysusingNLP,usingvisualization techniques, using meditation, to show
how if you make a change not to the external part of what you’re doing, let’s say your
goal is to increase your physical strength in the gym, by using the same type of
visualization techniques that athletes of been using, musicians have been using for
decadesnow,youcan actuallymake a change to your baseline,toyoursetpoint.And by
workingonthat level and making a change to that area, the intended goal will actually
happen,whatI wouldlike to say effortlessly; that sounds like a bold statement but it’s
actuallytrue,it happens virtually effortlessly as the outgrowth of a natural process. So
it’s kind of like the downstream effect of making a minute and a subtle shift to an
upstream probably. So the key really relies on being able to identify your setpoint,
whatever it is you’re sticking point.
So we all have these pointswhere we feel stuckinlife;whetherit’sstuckwithyourbody
fat, your body weight, strength goals in the gym, sleeping, assessing different areas,
overcomingfears,we all have differentsticking points. So the key I argued here and try
and tie in as much research and experience as possible, is not to try and force change
from the outside in but you simply identify and make small tweaks to these upstream
setpointsthatwill have amassive effects in the downstream or what we say is the end
Ari: Yeah, so you're basically saying, “Screw you homeostasis!”
Ben A: Yeah,in a wayI am. Homeostasisagain, that sort of idea it’s a determined by literally a
relief systemthatIhave foundinextreme examples inmyself where Iexperiencedmany
examplesthatIam goingto account forin thisbookof what wouldotherwisebe termed
as spontaneous recovery. I believe that in medicine now and with the advent of
quantumphysicsinto the medical arena you can actually delineate all of the pathways
and precise processes responsible for changing these baselines and for creating
physiological changes in the body simply through thought alone. There is tons of
researchdone inthis;Bruce Lipton,biologyof belief has gone into this. James Ashman,
biophysicisthasdone greatworkon thisbutto the base conception is yes, homeostasis
isfor a lack of a betterterm, more of a state of mindthan somethingthatissetinstone.
Ari: So can yougive us some practical example of something you might want to change and
how you might go about doing that?
Ben A: Absolutely. One thatIhave actuallydone recentlyisthe example that I just mentioned;
changing your level of strength in the gym.
Ben A: So let’s say you want to increase your strength on a particular lift, say 50%.
Now it’s important to note that we like to think that our strength is a product of how
much muscle we have, that there is some kind of direct correlation there but we
actually know that that’s not true because we all know the example of the 90 pound
motherwhoruns outand sees her child trapped under the truck wheel and can lift the
truck. We also know from experience that when you go into the gym, let’s say you
pulled an all nighter and you haven’t slept for 48 hours, you go into to the gym, your
only able to list about half as much as you were the day before. The reason being, it’s
not because you all of a sudden lost half of your muscle mass, that it’s just gone; it’s
because of the central nervoussystemlacksthe abilitytosufficiently recruit the muscle
fibers that are needed to contract to that amount of strength.
As I’d love to say when I was doing a lot of coaching and personal training, your body
can handle. The question is can your mind? So a very specific way of how this could go
intoeffectisvisualization before a workout or for perhaps first thing in the morning. If
youvisualize yourself doing a certain lift and X amount of weights doing all the steps, I
urge people toactuallytrythis.Go intoa state of deep relaxation, take 10 or so breaths
or something and it just really, really relax your mind, relaxing physiology.
Anothercomponent,nottogo off ontwo bitof a tangenthere butany exertionthatyou
do is only as good as your ability to recover from that exertion. Polarity is one of the
things I talk about in the book and it’s this was called the super wave theory that for
everypeak,soa peakin thiscase wouldbe exerting yourself in the gym; there must be
an equal andopposite value orperiodof recovery.Similarlyit’salmostlike the bottom…
You envision it, the bottom of a skateboard raft; you want to get a vertical lift on the
upswing,youneedto go to the bottom of that value and build up enough momentum.
Andthe way that’sdone inthe physical realm is actually through the mind and training
not justyourexertionmechanismsaswe know fromyour time is an endurance athlete,
and I knowas well fromcoachinga lotof endurance athletes, everyone is very focused
on training their exertion mechanisms and doesn’t even very much consider training
their recovery mechanism…
Ben A: … Which is most important. Yeah, if you practice going into the gym and performing a
high exertion left for instance by training to go to a very deep place of recovery and
doingthat through breathing, through meditation, through visualization and then, out
of that basically following up your visualization with a lift that mimics what you just
visualized,justwatchwhathappens,youwill findyour strength improved dramatically.
One keytipto actuallyimplementingthisis a thing called the science of small wins and
thisissomethingthatI use every single day and had profound effects where basically I
was able to reverse two years of what I called conditioned failure when I was sick and
unable to do a little physical things. I conditioned a lot of failure responses basically
where I would set certain goals physical or otherwise and I would fail to meet them. It
createda verypowerful negative feedback loop which I overcame in about two weeks
time simply by implementing the science of small wins.
So for instance, it was very hard for me to get out of bed, to just go to the shower, to
stretch,to do anything,itjustfeltabsolutelyexhaustingatall times.So what I started to
do was set extremely tiny goals for myself that I knew I could accomplish even if they
seem difficult which at times, they were such as okay, tomorrow morning I’m going to
getout of bed,I’mgoingto doa new flex orstretchforone minute perside and that’s it
and I woulddoit.AndeverymorningI would lay in bed and visualize exactly how I was
goingto do itevenitwas that one thingand eventually I would add keep flexor stretch
plustake a shower;stretch plus shower plus brush my teeth until it was so in me more
and more. But to the process of actually setting up your own neural network that
supportsyou; visualizingyourself doingsomethingandthendoingsomethingwhat I call
habituating success through the science of small wins.
So goingback to howthe worksin the gym, the keyis not to go insane with this. It’s not
too say, “Okay, I’m going to visualize myself lifting 400 pounds” when my max bench
presshas onlybeen225 or something.Youdon’twanttodo that because you end up in
a conditionsfailure feedbackloopif you do and likely will fail to achieve that goal right
of the bat.
Instead,picksomethingthatyou believe you can do or maybe you’ve done before and
stop about 20% shy of your maximum. Do this for two weeks. So let’s say my normal
benchpress is 225 for 10 repetitions, I want to build that up to 315 and I know that I
have done 315 but I have not been able to do it for 10, so you’re going to visualize
yourself doing it for three and you go through the process, you go through relaxation,
throughtrainingand recovery mechanisms to get that full value so you can launch into
the peak. You visualize yourself doingitforthree andthenyou doit and youdo that two
weeksina rowuntill youliterallyconditionasuccessfeedback loop in your brain and in
your body where nowyour central nervous system is in contact, the gears are engaged
and youare literallycarryingoutwhatyou’ve told yourself you can do. It creates a very
powerful response and it’s one way to begin to move the needle and change that set
point to make incredible gains.
Ari: That is totally awesome!
Well then,we are basicallyoutof time here.Thisisreallybeengreatand again, Ben and
I are friendsandwe talkaboutthisstuff on the time andit’s just so cool to hear this in a
really sort of succinct and intense way actually.
So where is the best way for me to find out more about you and what you are working
Ben A: Great. So two things, www.thelimitlessself.com is where I blog; you can find a lot of
these articlesandthingsthatI postabout thistype of stuff.I alsoset up an event, this is
the first time that I ever offering an event of this nature where I am going to be
providingthe specifictypesof setpoint coaching or set by regulation therapy as I called
it and for that, that’s going to be in the beginning of September, there is a limited
number of seats. And I have actually set up a promo code just for your listeners Ari. If
they go to www.changeyoursetpoint.splashthat.com and enter the promo code
“lessdoing,”one wordtheywill get30% off and that’s will be a 90 minute presentation,
practical application Q and A session on exactly how you can change your set point
pertaining to physical and mental well-being.
Ari: Well thankyouBen and that’s very generous of you. And for the listeners, we’re going
to have links to all of this in the show notes so don’t worry if you are driving your car
and you can to write that down it’s going to be there and Ben, thank you so much for
your time, it’s been great talking to you!
Ben A: Thank you Ari, it’s been a pleasure!