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  1. 1. 1 Source File: Title: BenAhrensInterview 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 success. 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 you recovered? Ben A: Yeah, absolutely. So as many people know unfortunately in the north east, Lyme disease,chroniclyme isaprettyprevalentproblem.Formanypeople,theygetLyme,it’s 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 and everything.
  2. 2. 2 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 complex conditions. 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 turning point? 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.
  3. 3. 3 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!” Ari: Right. 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.
  4. 4. 4 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
  5. 5. 5 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 goal. 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
  6. 6. 6 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. Ari: Yeah. 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
  7. 7. 7 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… Ari: Nope. 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,
  8. 8. 8 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 on? Ben A: Great. So two things, 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 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! ***End***