Mastering Posture, Pain & Performance in 4 Minutes a Day with Egoscue – #429
By: Dave Asprey
Why you should listen –
Brian Bradley, the VP and voice of the Egoscue Method of exercise, is completely changing the workout game, one 4-minute session at a time. An international speaker on the topics of improving posture, minimizing pain, and enhancing performance, Brian has trained some of the top athletes in professional sports, as well as Tony Robbins, another Egoscue enthusiast. In this fascinating conversation with Dave, Brian explains what makes this exercise method so effective, why head position is key to proper alignment and overall spine health, why sitting is a sport, and the best way to sit on an airplane or in a car to keep pain away. You’ll learn what to do while you’re lying on your back to increase energy all day, and about a type of breath work called east-west breathing, which can make a huge difference in your posture. And finally, Brian shares with Dave how Bulletproof Coffee has truly changed his life – and his reading habits!
Enjoy the show!
Follow Along with the Transcript!
*See full transcript below Show Notes section
Resources/Links for Brian Bradley
- Egoscue Website: www.egoscue.com
- Egoscue University Website: www.egoscueuniversity.com
- Egoscue Clinic Locations: egoscue.com/locations
- “Pain Free: A Revolutionary Method for Stopping Chronic Pain” by Pete Egoscue
- “Pain Free” book: YouTube discussion
- Egoscue Anywhere Video on YouTube, which features the exercises Brian does on the stage at Tony Robbins’ events
- Email address Brian mentioned on the show: PainFree@Egoscue.com *Brian offered that anyone who emails him about the Egoscue EAST-WEST Breathing Course will get it as a gift from Dave. It goes into detail the reasoning behind breathing yourself well, and why the diaphragm can’t be overlooked in rehab/training. Additional Info: Breathing is essential for life, and utilizing the correct musculature can make all the difference in your life – structurally. The breathing patterns we develop have more to do with our physical health than we realize. Once aware of our current patterns, we can use or even change them, to influence postural change and overall system efficiency. Many cultures have known the importance and effect of the mechanics of breathing on all aspects of human health. This class is a video series demonstrating the principles of East-West breathing.
- Brian on Instagram: TheMovementNerd50
- Brian on Twitter: @themovementnerd
- Brian on Facebook: TheBrian Bradley
- The Egoscue Method Twitter Page: @EgoscueMethod
- The Egoscue Method Facebook Page: @EgoscueMethod
- The Egoscue University Instagram Page: @egoscueuniversity1
- The Egoscue University Twitter Page: @EgoscueUniverse
- The Egoscue University Facebook Page: @EgoscueUniversity
- Tickets for the 5th Annual Bulletproof Biohacking Conference are now on sale! Not only will you hear from the world’s leading experts, there will also be tons of gadgets to play with in our tech hall, a total biohacking wonderland. Join us October 13th – 15th in Pasadena, CA. Go to BulletproofConference.com for tickets and info
- Why you want to listen to today’s entire episode until the end…what you’ll learn
- Cool Fact of the Day: DNA might end up in your new sunscreen…Dave explains how this new technology works
- Check out our Bulletproof Coffee Pods (compatible with K-cup coffeemakers)
- If you like today’s episode, check us out on iTunes at Bulletproof.com/iTunes and leave us a positive review
- Dave introduces Brian Bradley, VP of Therapy Protocol for Egoscue, and a human movement/pain/recovery/athletic performance expert
- If you want to watch video of this episode, go to Bulletproof.com/youtube
- Brian shares the history and background of the Egoscue Method, created by Pete Egoscue + Dave talks about his experience with it
- Brian discusses his goals for his clients, and the breakdown of who it’s most appropriate for
- Postural misalignment vs. inflammation – what’s really happening in our bodies?
- Brian gives key tips on what you can do when you are flying or spending a lot of time in the car to minimize the damage to your alignment – sitting is a sport!
- Why your head position is so important, how it can impact the perceived stress on your spine, and how this affects professional athletes
- How head position is linked to the cerebrospinal fluid in our brain, which impacts cognitive performance
- Why Tony Robbins is a fan of the Egoscue Method
- How Bulletproof Coffee has changed Brian’s life – and reading habits!
- Why lying on your back, being conscious of your posture and being in the right alignment can make you bigger, faster and stronger
- How the lymphatic system is connected to weight loss, and why lying on your back is key
- Brian equates this concept to childbirth; Dave mentions The Better Baby Book
- Brian mentions the Egoscue Anywhere video on YouTube, which includes a balance test and exercises
- How spending just 4 minutes a day on Egoscue exercises can be a game-changer
- What is East-West Breathing, and how do you do it? Brian explains…and encourages listeners to contact him at PainFree@Egoscue.com for more information
- Dave mentions The Art of Living breathing exercises and courses
- The importance of fascia, a type of connective tissue primarily made of collagen
- Brian and Dave talk about the Bulletproof Vanilla No Coffee Latte, and what Tony Robbins thinks of it
- Brian explains why we need to deal with the cause of pain, and not just the symptoms
- Brian’s three most important pieces of advice for performing better and being your best self in all aspects of life
- Brian repeats the email address for requests about the East-West Breathing Courses mentioned on the show: PainFree@Egoscue.com
Announcement: Bulletproof Radio. A state of high performance.
Dave Asprey: You definitely want to listen through to the end of today’s show, because this is a fascinating conversation with a guy who does a lot of work with major celebrities on teaching their bodies to move. We’re going to talk about things that cause pain in your body, and things that affect even things like traumatic brain injury. You’re going to learn about how moving your head changes things. You’re going to learn how to sit on an airplane, so you don’t have pain after you’ve been there for a long time. You’ll learn what to do while you’re lying on your back, to increase lymphatic flow so that you have more energy all day long. And you’re even going to learn a type of breathing called east-west breathing, which can make a huge difference in how your posture works. It’s amazing what your feet and your hips have to do with your brain. We’re going to go through all that for you with a guy who’s trained some of the very top names in professional sports, as well as Tony (Robbins) and a bunch of other people. You’ll find this just packed with info for you. You’ll also hear a pretty fascinating story about how Bulletproof Coffee helped our guest have enough energy to start reading late in life.
You’re listening to Bulletproof Radio with Dave Asprey.
Today’s cool fact of the day is that a thin layer of DNA might end up being your new sunscreen. We know, and if you’ve read Headstrong you definitely know this, that ultraviolet light gets picked up by DNA, and it can cause damage, but it can also stimulate positive growth. German researchers realized that if they could use DNA as a sacrificial layer, given that it is light-sensitive, that you could put this on your skin, so they made an optically transparent crystalline DNA film and figured out that they could hit it with UV light, and instead of your DNA taking the hit, the layer of DNA on top of your skin takes the hit. It protects your skin, and the more this stuff they made was exposed to UV, the better it got at absorbing it. As an added bonus, this new stuff they’re working on is hydroscopic, which means that when you put it on your skin, that it can store and hold water, which keeps your tissue extra hydrated.
So maybe there’s a way to allow you to go out into heavy sun and protect your skin, but still allow some of the ultraviolet light through. Because if you go out and you get no UV light, it’s just as bad as getting way too much UV light. Just because something is good for you or bad for you, it doesn’t matter, water is bad for you if you drown in it, and if you have no water you die of thirst, so there’s always a comfortable medium even with sunlight, and it’s kind of cool that maybe instead of estrogenic cancer causing chemicals in your sunscreen, how weird is that, it might be a little bit more appropriate to use a natural compound to block sunlight. Let’s see if that becomes a real product, I sure hope so.
Before we get into today’s episode, if you don’t know it, Bulletproof has coffee pods, so if you travel a lot, like I do, or maybe you’re just lazy and you don’t know how to make a good cup of coffee by grinding your beans, hopefully by hand in a tiny little grinder made my elves … Okay, maybe you just do it in a normal grinder the way I do, but you can actually get a coffee pod that will work in your hotel room or in your office room, that are compatible with the Keurig K-cups, and just as you’d expect, the Bulletproof coffee in each of these is third-party lab tested for 27 different toxins just like all the coffee that I make. The beans are obsessively selected, tested, and exotically processed, to be as free of these toxins that rob your performance as is humanly possible. If you’re going to drink coffee, which is a really good idea, don’t get the crash that comes along with it when you get a load of mold-derived neurotoxin along with it. Do what it takes to get your cup of coffee, and if a pod is the way to do it, we’ve got your back. Just go to Bulletproof.com and look for the coffee pods.
If you like this kind of stuff, you like today’s episode, make sure to go to Bulletproof.com/iTunes. It’ll take you literally one second to forward you to the right page on Apple in order to leave a positive review for the show. It makes a huge difference to me personally. I look at the review count every single day, and it tells me that I’m doing the right thing, and it tells me that the show’s helping you. Do that, it just takes a second, it’s a great way to say thanks.
Today’s guest is a guy I’ve shared a stage with a time or two, who’s incredibly knowledgeable about the science of human movement, pain, recovery, athletic performance, and he’s the vice president of therapy protocol for Egoscue, and he’s worked side by side with, the guy’s pretty well known now, named Pete Egoscue, who developed this method in 1991. The reason that we’ve shared a stage together is that we both present at the Tony Robbins Unleash the Power Within Conference in front of tens of thousands of people. It was really amazing, one of the first times I met him, to see him literally get 15,000 people all doing high-speed rapid movement all at the same time. It’s one of the most impressive things you’ll see, is a stadium full of people all doing Egoscue exercises at super high speed. It’s like watching a molecule vibrate. One of the impactful things, it’s still stuck in my brain.
Brian has also treated guys, you may have heard of Jack Welch, former NFL great John Lynch, golf legend Jack Nicklaus, and of course Tony Robbins himself. Brian is the author of a book called Egoscue Posture Solutions, and he’s written just countless articles on the topic of posture and pain. I have personally benefited from Egoscue sessions. It’s kind of shocking. If you look at the way Neo in The Matrix looks and sees zeros and ones falling everywhere he looks, Brian looks at everyone moving and he sees the zeros and ones in their posture and movement patterns, and he’s like, “Can’t we fix that!” He’s just got a gift of vision that comes from decades of hard work on this kind of stuff. He’s on a mission to hack pain, and to teach people to move better, and he’s here on the show today to teach you some things that you need to know about how your body works, things that I certainly didn’t know a few years ago.
Brian, welcome to the show.
Brian Bradley: Thanks Dave. How are you buddy?
Dave Asprey: I am doing really, really well. I hope my posture’s good enough. Is one shoulder higher than the other?
Brian Bradley: Shoulders look good. Yeah, you look great. You look great.
Dave Asprey: By the way, we might do a few little exercises, nothing too extreme, so if you want to watch the video here or at Bulletproof.com/YouTube, will take you straight to the YouTube channel, but you’ll be able to get everything you need to get if you’re just listening on the audio in your car, or in the office, or wherever else.
All right, I just have to say this. Egoscue is the hardest word to pronounce or spell. By the way, E-G-O-S-C-U-E if you’re wondering about this and you want to Google it. Egoscue. How did this come to be, and why is it named Egoscue?
Brian Bradley: That’s a great question, and you’re right, you will be tested. Everyone will be tested on the pronunciation and the spelling. I failed it the first decade that I worked with him. Pete Egoscue is a former marine in Vietnam, ended up with all these different hip injuries, back injuries, leg injuries. I ran into him in 1991. He had these back in Vietnam, and basically after the psychiatrist said, “Your pain is more on the psycho level versus the physical level,” he flips the guy’s desk over, walks out, and proceeds to pick up Gray’s Anatomy. I don’t know if you’ve ever looked at that book. It’s not the easiest read, especially when you can get online now and study anatomy, and find some 3D models and things like that. He opened up this book, black and white writing, done way back in the day, and he’s looking at it saying, “That’s interesting. If my pain is here, but my hip has a connection with the spine, the rib cage, the leg bone, let me start paying around with this.”
Here we have a political science Marine Corp major with severe injuries from shrapnel on his hip and back, and I ran into him in ’91 coming from the athletic training, university trained, exercise biz nutrition background, and going, “Wait a second. This guy’s figured out something in regards to cause versus symptom.” It really was the first time ever heard that, that somebody was actually saying, “You may have a hip injury or a rotator cuff pain, or a jaw pain, or a chronic neural problem in your hand, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg.” We all know what that picture looks like on that motivational poster; what’s down below is what needs to be addressed. It completely changed my life when I ran into Pete Egoscue in Florida at our clinic that we were opening up with Jack Nicklaus, because it was going after the reasons why Jack had blown out his back and couldn’t move, and then the next day shot like eight under. It was all over the golf world, “How did this happen,” and all of a sudden, the method exploded because of that.
That leads us to where we are now. People are always talking about, “When are you going to get Tiger Woods in,” and things like that. The client finds Egoscue in their own time, and that makes it right for us when they make the decision, and they believe they can get well.
Dave Asprey: It’s funny, about four years ago a friend said, “Dave, you have to go try this thing.” I’m like, “What?” She said, “Here. Look at this tower.” One of the tools, Egoscue, is this wooden tower where you hang your feet up and it kind of pulls on one leg or both legs, just has you relax for 20 minutes. I’m like, “This is ridiculous,” but I was having some low back pain. I have a screw in my knee. I went and I tried it and I was like, “Wow.” This really did move the needle with things that were entirely invisible to me in the way I move. I like to think I’m conscious, I’ve done advanced yoga, I’m I would say, above average in certain things, like I put my ankles behind my head and I can activate certain muscles, but it was a whole another universe of just deep knowledge. That was four years ago, and certainly it’s just become part of what I do and how I perform better. I felt it, but I didn’t feel it like I was going to go golf eight out of 10 or something. I haven’t golfed in 20 years. But what did you do in a situation like that to go from, “I can’t move, I’m locked up,” to, “I’m performing at the very top of my sport,” in less than 24 hours? Because I didn’t get that from my experience.
Brian Bradley: Remember, you coming in, and that’s probably a majority of our customers, they’re actually … I’ll say maybe a 20% minority is at their wit’s end. Literally they’ve sold their house, sold their car, done all this stuff, any more. The other 80% are going in saying, “Hey, I just want to perform at another level.” They want to function at a level and take the next step. Our goal is to get them to focus on the cause. When somebody comes in to us and says, “I have a herniated disk,” we congratulate them. “Good job. That’s what the disk is meant to do, it’s meant to herniate.” “Hey Dave, you have a screw in your knee.” Brian Bradley has his ACL tied down to the wrong place on the tibia because of downhill mountain biking. Maybe the dumbest sport known to man, because trees don’t move and rocks hurt when you hit them at 50 miles an hour.
Dave Asprey: It’s so fun! I’m with you there.
Brian Bradley: It is, it’s a blast. I should be dead for the stuff that I was doing. I just wasn’t that good at it, so I switched over to ping-pong. It’s much safer.
Dave Asprey: Me too.
Brian Bradley: Ideally this is … There we go. If we can get you to start thinking that, when somebody puts a screw in your knee or my knee, instantly that same side hip goes to a neurological place and says, “Maybe we should shut down this hip. Not turn it off completely, but we’ve got to change the patient that we’re doing, so we’re going to shut down the hip to change the way the foot’s striking the ground to protect the knee.” Then all of a sudden, our knee starts feeling better six months later, but nobody turned the switch back on at the hip.
What our athletes are doing, they’re dealing with, “I have a rotator cuff,” or “I have an elbow,” or, “I have a herniated disk,” and we start saying, “If we can get you hip-driven instead of knee-driven, ankle-driven, mid-back driven, shoulder-driven, we’ve got to focus on getting you as hip-driven as possible.” The athlete now unleashes a completely different potential that wasn’t here before they … Well the potential was there but they never opened it up prior to the accident. That’s what we mean by, the accident is a gift, because now it’s a focus that you’ve never focused on before. So instead of your body writing checks that, your talent is writing checks that your body can’t cash, we’re able to allow those checks to be cashed now because your body …
Dave Asprey: How much of the chronic pain, and so many people listening to this have, “That’s probably why my back always hurts, this thing always hurts,” it’s just kind of part of how it is; how much of that comes from postural misalignment, versus just stuff that makes you inflamed?
Brian Bradley: That’s kind of a loaded question now that I know that I’m on Bulletproof. Okay, inflammation, let’s see here. Considering how I’m addicted to Bulletproof, I will flat out tell you that it’s, I’m not joking, and I’m not just saying this because I’m on your podcast, but people tell me to shut up about it, I talk about it so much.
Dave Asprey: Thank you.
Brian Bradley: I truly believe … Listen, that was, kudos to you brother. The products, and just the message that you’re sending, totally corresponds with the message that Egoscue’s putting out, and absolutely corresponds with my good friend Tony Robbins’ method, so the three of us are literally changing what’s going on.
Dave Asprey: Oh yeah.
Brian Bradley: So to answer your question, the inflammation, to me, can be curtailed. Five years ago I would’ve said it’s 100% due to posture. Now I will say there’s absolutely a mix between all of it, because when you can chemically change internally, you’re now able to calm yourself a little bit because the symptom is more adaptable to your overall response, versus before when people were in so much pain, their eating is out of control, their drinking is out of control, their sugar levels are out of control; I’m working with muscle tissue that reminds me of beef jerky, and not grass fed beef jerky. We’re talking about that garbage grain fed stuff, where you literally tear their muscle tissue and it’s like, they’re no longer pliable. They’re dehydrated. Once they can make these changes internally, it mentally makes my job easier. I will tell you, every single person who makes a joint position alignment improvement, meaning your ankle, your knee, your hip, and your shoulder, once those are more in line, shoulders level, all that kind of stuff, your body is now full of an environment that allows all this healing to occur.
For example, I’m calling you from Maui, and two days ago I was on a paddleboard and I’m out there, I’m out there, I’m out there, and this wave comes in and starts to knock it over; I drop onto my stomach, onto the board, from the standing position, but the board was sideways. My right ribs, right above my liver here, I fractured the cartilage in between there, which is why you might see me taking a deep breath every once in a while. What I did is, that night I started thinking, “You’re injured. It’s time to get in the tower, it’s time to put the lumbar and cervical role, and it’s time to rotate in a couple days, to keep that muscle tissue and those bones rotated to the right place.”
Because when you do fracture that cartilage, remember, those ribs attach to your mid-back, and your mid-back will then start to make adjustments, and then your body just says, “I’ll just shut everything down.” My right shoulder starts to drop two inches, things just get off. Egoscue focuses on, yes, you broke the rib cartilage, that’s a fact, but let’s not allow that to create a pattern that now leads to TMJ and a herniated disk, two years down the road.
Dave Asprey: It’s that systems approach that made me really attracted to Egoscue, in that idea that something that happens now has repercussions days, weeks, months, and hears later. Because as a species, humans suck at correlating events that happen a long time after the trigger. Even if you have something for breakfast and it causes the afternoon crash, that six hours is enough, you’re probably going to think it was lunch, not breakfast, that caused it.
Brian Bradley: Correct.
Dave Asprey: Or if it’s four days after you eat something, you start getting joint pain, you’re never going to know that unless you’re a really crazy biohacker or you read something. I was happy you answered the question, which was a loaded question. My experience is that, if my posture is out of alignment because of a movement pattern that I’m unaware of, it’s going to trigger inflammatory cytokines. These are inflammatory molecules in the body, and it’s going to increase systemic inflammation. Same time, if I eat stuff that’s on my list of suspect foods that I know are guilty for me, or, I wouldn’t do this on purpose, but if somebody sneaks some fried oil into my sushi, you know they sometimes pour that leftover fried grease in the sushi, it’s disgusting …
Brian Bradley: Oh, yeah.
Dave Asprey: If something like that happens I’m like, “Okay, I just did something bad,” that’s going to trigger inflammation, and then the places where I have a lack of alignment, or I’m moving improperly, that’s where I’m going to feel it first.
My experience of Egoscue was that I used to get crippling upper back pains between my shoulder blades, and this has been something with me for my entire life. It was always knee pain, always upper back pain. Some days it was better, some days it was worse. I spent a lot of money on chiropractors, I could get some relief, and I could do detoxing, and all these different things would move the needle a little bit. Where I eventually got to was, I figured out for me that I have a more extreme nightshade sensitivity than I even realized when I wrote The Bulletproof Diet. I would still eat some occasional cayenne pepper because I like the stuff, I’m like, “Eh, it’s just a little bit,” but when I went really cold turkey on it, my back pain reduced.
But I still do Egoscue, because if, oh look, I slept wrong, or I moved wrong, or I over-exerted one side, if my alignment isn’t right, I’m going to have pain. If my food isn’t right, I’m going to have pain. I couldn’t tell you which one is the trigger, but if you don’t do both, you’re not doing it right, and then you’re going to spend some percentage of your precious energy dealing with the chronic pain instead of using it on anything else in your life that matters.
Brian Bradley: And you’re not a small dude. You and I standing together, I have to stand on a six-inch riser so we’re eye-to-eye. I get it. There are no airplane seats made for you.
Dave Asprey: Yeah, and when we stand next to Tony Robbins, the way you feel next to me, I feel next to Tony, because he’s like six inches taller than me or something. I’m like, “Whoa!” Yeah, it is worse when you’re tall, and what’s meant to be a head rest for me is a shoulder rest, so I hunch a lot when I fly, which is just horrible.
Let’s start there. Everyone who listens to this show flies, some more than others. It’s a blessing and a curse. You get to get somewhere fast, but you’re going to be doing these bizarre yoga positions and they keep shrinking the seats. What would you recommend, given these 20-plus years of working with Egoscue? What should someone do when they’re flying to minimize the damage to their alignment when they do this. Give me some tips here.
Brian Bradley: That’s easy. Let’s assume that everybody listening to this, let’s assume they’re driving right now. There’s things you can do. I get a lot of people who commute from LA to San Diego, San Diego to [inaudible 00:19:00] Salt Lake, places like that. You’re going to be 6’2”, eight hours in the car, two hours in the car, whatever it might be. I’m going out to Business Mastery I’m going to drive from San Diego to Las Vegas in a week. That’s five hours in my car.
Dave Asprey: Oh, I’ll see you there. I’ll be there too. Cool.
Brian Bradley: I’ll see you there, good. What I do is, I would say, listen, we know you’re driving, so please be careful. You want to take your lumbar support out of your seat. Flatten it out. Almost where you’re sitting in bad posture. But what I want you to do is take your tip of your tailbone, right at the top of the butt crack area, and really kind of push yourself back into the corner wedge of that seat. Then you can pump up your lumbar control and sit up a little bit. If we’re on an airplane, we might take a small pillow or one of our jackets, and put our tailbone all the way back against it, and then put that little roll, or sweater or something, behind our low back, right in front of the belly button area, and scooting your tailbone all the way back instantly, with that little roll there, forces your upper back to sit more in-line with the chair. And because you’re not slumping like that …
I know there’s a bunch of practitioners that I speak with around the world who are now combating the sitting position, well Dave, I got to put this statement out there because it’s very important for people to understand: sitting is not the enemy. It’s a reality, we’re not going to stop sitting. Sitting is a sport; we need to start training for it. We need to get our bodies well enough to sit functionally, so that when we do sit for three hours … My flight here for six hours from LAX, I got up off the plane like it was nothing, but I should’ve been handing out business cards the whole time watching other people get out of their chairs. Because that six hours of not moving was completely a dysfunctional breakdown to their body, and you can see them squirming in their seats.
Just by sitting with your tailbone all the way back, putting something behind your lower back as you pump it up in your car now, and then just relax your shoulders. Consciously say to yourself, relax them down and back. Don’t squeeze them, but they’re back. There are some people whose shoulders are up in their ears all day long, and they realize, well I’m holding, like you said before, I didn’t even know I was holding that much tension. From the eastern medicine standpoint, a lot of that emotional stressor shows up as that mid-back, shoulder demand.
So, simple changes like that, getting up and walking around the plane to open up your lymph channels in your hip, because sitting in flection doesn’t allow that to move the way it should. I don’t think just pumping your legs like that on an airplane while sitting is that big of a deal if your hip channels are shut, so you’ve got to get up and move around, possibly do some of the exercises that I’ll give you a link to on YouTube, that people can do those exercises that we do onstage at the Tony Robbins UPW stuff. I do those in the back of the airplane all the time, and I definitely do them when I get to the airport. Yeah, I’m a little bit of a kook, but you know how that is. You’re trying to go down a road that, you just don’t care what people think.
Dave Asprey: I’ll do handstands against the wall at the airport before I get on an airplane, and people think I’m nuts.
Brian Bradley: I love it.
Dave Asprey: But I am, so it’s cool.
Brian Bradley: Yeah. Nuts is a good thing.
Dave Asprey: One of the things that drives me nuts about airplanes is, the armrests are really high, and maybe if you’re small enough to tuck your elbows in and sit inside them that’s fine, but for me, the armrests force my shoulders up, because there just isn’t enough room. Then they put pressure on the ulnar nerve for hours and hours. What I find I do is, I actually take a pillow or a jacket or whatever, and I sit on it, to raise me up about two inches, so now I have two more inches of arm room, and my arms can be in a natural posture. But it’s usually not a full-size seat cushion. Am I doing a benefit if I get it under my hip bones, or am I doing bad things for my posture when I do that?
Brian Bradley: No, you’re actually doing a good thing, because you’re ergonomically correcting a seat, which was built, honestly, by the lowest bidder. That chair was built by the lowest bidder, so for you, remember, even a normal 18-inch chair that I have in this condo, it’s not built for you at 6’4”. It’s built for me, or it’s built for somebody smaller than I am. When you have to sit … I always do that. In my Audi, I have the little armrest over here and I just move it up and down where I’m comfortable. Sometimes when it’s too high I’ll go, “You know what, my shoulder doesn’t feel like it, because I’m driving for distance.” I will automatically force myself, sit back, and I’ll just drop my hands at nine and three as if I’m on the race track. You don’t ride with your hands out here, your hands at your elbows or dropped down. If you have to ergonomically correct something like that, as long as you can pelvically be comfortable, do what you need to do.
Dave Asprey: You also talk, and it’s kind of built into the entire Egoscue perspective, about having your head forward 15 degrees, and having your head forward 45 degrees, how it basically changes the perceived stress on your spine. Walk people listening through that whole conversation, and why it matters so much.
Brian Bradley: You’ll see a lot of people on YouTube now attacking forward head position. I don’t laugh at that, because it’s not a joke. It’s for real. What I really want to do is make some comments on there and say, you can only attack that forward head position by going right at the base of the width, which is the pelvis. You’ve got to get the femur head, the leg bone, and the pelvis, to speak to each other, and then you’ve got to get the pelvis, the spine, and the sacrum to speak together. Once you can reposition the pelvis and get a person more hip-driven, then that head will automatically position themselves.
For example, if somebody just has, their husband or wife is there with them, and they stand sideways in a pair of shorts only in the comfort of their house, and they take a side view picture of their posture without trying to stand up straight, they will be blown away at where the ankle bone is, that little bone that sticks out on the side of your ankle. If you drew a plumb line straight up and see how far forward the ear is, it’s probably anywhere from three to six inches forward. But here’s the test. Pigeon toe your feet, touch the toes together, tighten up your thigh muscles, which it’ll feel like you’re sticking your butt out, stand there for one minute, just like that, with your shoulders relaxed, have them take a picture of you standing in this position, and notice how your head position has now become in line with your ankle.
Now you can’t walk around LA or New York with your feet pigeon toed like that, and so please, let’s put that disclaimer out there, I do not want you walking pigeon toed. But just because of the standing position, it changed where the leg bone articulates at the hip joint, and that has changed the pelvis tilt, and that has changed the lumbar spine reaction to the upper back, to the shoulders. You can actually simply hack the head position being forward by getting the legs and the pelvis to drive this. That’s where these exercises are going.
The more you train from the hip out … Your listeners probably know this. When they’re throwing a ball or swinging a golf club, they don’t do it with their arms. Granted, most of them do, because their postural dysfunction took over. But Jack Nicklaus, for example, when he blew out his back, was an upper body mover, and we had to get him to become a hip mover again. My major league baseball players, the NFL guys that we’re working with now, are absolutely … This forward head position, and the chronic traumatic encephalitis stuff with their head, is a huge issue within the NFL. Our job now is to, we’re literally just chopping that to pieces and saying, if you get your body more hip-driven, more supple or movable in your shoulders and mid back, then that head will reposition itself, and you can kiss that CTE symptom good-bye.
Dave Asprey: Does this have to do with more cerebrospinal fluid circulating through the brain, and bathing the brain? Is that the mechanism of action here? What’s going on?
Brian Bradley: That’s exactly it. There was a special on, I don’t know if it was Bryant Gumbel or somebody, where they were taking an older NFL quarterback who’d been in for years, and they took the scan of his brain, and the whole frontal lobe was just white, clouded. You know what it’s supposed to look like, it’s supposed to have that walnut-looking idea, the ripples in the brain. An adjustment to his cervical one and two, using the NUCCA technique, they basically five minutes later showed that his entire brain was much more clear, and that more importantly, subjectively, to him, he said, “I feel like my brain flushed.” The pressure that he’s feeling on the frontal lobe is not necessarily the brain itself; it’s the pressure of the fluid that cannot leave the brain and come back down through the spine, and then back up and forth. It’s almost like the pulse is gone, because there’s a kink in the hose, in the neck.
Dave Asprey: This is fascinating stuff, because a lot of people don’t realize that that cerebrospinal fluid that runs up and down your spine, your brain sits in a bath of the stuff, and if you have a bigger brain than average, your hippocampal volume is higher, you actually have less of this fluid, and then circulation matters even more. If you’re kinking the hose you have a problem, and if you have a lot of toxins they can go into that. I’ve actually had my stem cells injected into my cerebrospinal fluid so they’d go into my brain. That fluid in there is something called exclusion-zone water. This is water that’s been changed by mitochondria in your body to become more liquid so that your brain can do what it’s supposed to do. If you don’t have sunlight you don’t have movement, which helped to change the water. You have inadequate nutrition, or you have a kink in the hose. All of these are going to lower your cognitive performance. Those are some of the thoughts that go into that Headstrong book, which is, what are all the little variables? The kink in the hose is a major thing.
I had a chance, about three years ago, to do some electrical stimulation work, so I have some very unusual Russian-derived electrical stimulation gear that you can use to turn on muscles that are turned off. I was working with a very, very advanced practitioner of [inaudible], which is a Filipino-derived knife fighting technique, so we’ll call him a grand master of his martial art. Martial artists, as you know, are supremely aware of body positioning and things like that, so really good posture, really solid, great movement, and what happened though was, when I’d turn up stimulation on certain parts of his body, immediately his head would scrunch forward and all that. I looked at him, I said, “You have a pattern here. When you’re dealing with stress you do that.” He goes, “Oh my God! I’ve been practicing for 20 years and I never noticed that under intense conditions my head is naturally moving forward.” As soon as he became aware of the pattern, he then worked on re-correcting it so that the next time he’s in a martial arts combat situation, he wouldn’t unconsciously make that movement, which was restricting flow to his brain and causing him to be unbalanced so he might be defeated by an opponent.
How much of this forward head movement is just habitual from looking at our phones, versus, I’m feeling stressed, so I’m tucking, I’m turtling a little bit here? Do you have a sense? Is that part of the Egoscue teachings?
Brian Bradley: It is, because I have a bunch of MMA guys and some high-end martial arts guys over the last 26 years doing this, that my boxers, they put their hands up by their face like this they’d round their shoulders over because this is now in a ball. They’re protecting themselves, just as if we were sick, or just as if an animal is injured. They go and curl up in the corner, and don’t touch them, you’ll lose your hand. This guy you’re talking about, honestly, he was a knife fighter, but let’s say he was doing hand to hand combat. The minute your head drops forward two inches like this, you’ve now, think of the NFL player, you’ve now dropped your frontal lobe two inches closer to me, the guy who’s trying to destroy you. You’ve now given me an unfair advantage that I can now start throwing, boom-boom-boom, and let alone I’m drinking Bulletproof which gives me the unfair advantage.
Dave Asprey: Geez!
Brian Bradley: I know. But ideally Dave, honestly, these guys are so unaware, so think about how you, in his expertise in the field, change the way that he now views the body. Honestly, forever, he will never be able to go back into his field and look at it the way he used to because of the curtains that you pulled away from him.
Dave Asprey: Just for the record, his body awareness was like 10,000 times mine. This was just where there was no stimulation that it became visible. He was definitely in the position of teaching me a lot more than I was teaching him. But the mindset there is, once you see it you know it, but when you look at someone, everyone you see, you see like 10 things like that, right? How do you make someone aware? In my case, they’ll run a big current until it does it, but that’s not normal. You have a client walk in the door, do you just tell them this, this, and this? It feels like rationally knowing doesn’t really change behavior.
Brian Bradley: No, you have to figure out the way that, this goes back to the NLP stuff, you have to realize that a person is either visual, auditory, or kinesthetic in their learning pattern. For example, when I’m talking to my good friend Tony (Robbins), right, I’m saying, “Okay, here you go, bla-bla-bla. Here’s what’s going on.” He might have a thousand things going through his head, because he’s changing the world one person at a time, or tens of thousands at a time …
Dave Asprey: Yeah, I’ll say.
Brian Bradley: So I know that he’s very kinesthetic. I go right at him and say, “You know what, we’re done talking, get on the floor. Do this, this, this.” He stands up and he comes up and goes, “I haven’t been able to take a breath like that in two weeks, are you kidding me dude? It could’ve been that much faster?” I said, “Yeah, you should’ve picked up the phone two weeks earlier. You don’t have to suffer from this stuff.” That’s why he does this stuff every day.
You know him as well as I do. He’s flat out crazy as it relates to what he does to his body. He’s all over the place, and tries all kinds of things, and he’s on airplanes, and it’s our job to basically keep him as healthy as possible. He has people around him that do that to, because he is so busy at, I’m not joking, changing the world for the better, because of the changing their mindset and their belief structures. Well somebody’s got to keep this juggernaut going, and that’s why the Egoscue’s done every day. Even if I have to just send him, “Try this exercise before you go onstage …” You and I will talk in Florida, “Hey Dave, try this before you do something going on stage and just see what it does to your feet.” I think the last time you were onstage you had the FiveFingers Vibram shoes on.
Dave Asprey: Yep.
Brian Bradley: I love them. They’re unbelievable.
Dave Asprey: The girls don’t.
Brian Bradley: You know what, who cares. That’s why we’re married.
Dave Asprey: Exactly.
Brian Bradley: Ideally, it’s, the older they are, the better they are, because they become more barefoot 10 years into it. Everybody’s like, “How long have you had those?” I’m like, “10 years.” Just don’t wear them barefoot or they won’t last 10 years, because they start to stink a little bit.
Dave Asprey: Yep, got to have socks.
Brian Bradley: So ideally, we’ve got to get people to realize that just a small change in their belief, just like what you’re doing with the butter … Dave, I hit so many people with your delivery of the Bulletproof coffee alone, and let alone the Bulletproof Diet. I’m not here to promote your product, because you guys do so well at that, but just hear me out.
Dave Asprey: All right.
Brian Bradley: I run into people who flat out tell me, “No, that’s wrong.” Because they’re nurses or they’re doctors or they’re this. I just tell them, I said, “Listen. You’re talking to a guy who, I’m not joking, my ADHD would not allow me to go through the years of university that I did. I would read a book to memorize it, take a test, and forget about the stuff. I’m not joking.” I tell people, at the age of 50, I learned how to finally read, because the brain finally cleared. Mixing that with the tower, and keeping my head in the right position, it’s an absolute game-changer. The things that I’m able to do at 50 right now are just, probably double what I was doing at 30.
Dave Asprey: You’re the second guy to say that. Another one’s a World Series of Poker winning champion who I did some coaching with. He’s like, “I started drinking Bulletproof Coffee, I turned my brain all the way, and now I can read.” He’s like, “I read two books a week. I never read anything before.” Thanks for telling me that. The metabolic energy, you always had your kinesthetic sense it sounds like, your ability to do what you could do-
Brian Bradley: Always.
Dave Asprey: And that’s what drives your success with Egoscue. But now you’re able to get more energy so you can read more books about it and things like that, which is kind of cool.
Brian Bradley: I don’t even think it’s … Let me clarify that. I’ve been labeled, “Don’t put Brian onstage if you don’t want people up and running and doing crazy shit all the time.” I’m just crazy, I get it. I’ve never been short on energy. You take me to Vegas, there’s a good chance we’ll be in prison before the weekend’s out. Okay, that’s not true, but still …
Dave Asprey: Yeah, you’re a high-energy guy.
Brian Bradley: That’s why I don’t really want to call this energy. I’m telling you, it’s been clarity. Somebody pulled the curtains away and said, “That’s where the sun is.” I was going, “Wow, I’ve been searching that for a long time.” It came across as I was … I’m trying this, my good friend Mark’s go me on this, and I’m going, “Let me try this, let me try this.” All of a sudden I’m like, “Wait a second. Whoa, whoa, whoa. I actually want to get up in the morning and read? You’ve got to be kidding me.” The guys I work with Pete Egoscue said, “Wait a second Bradley. Are you actually reading a book?” I said, “Yeah, buddy.” He said, “You know what, good for you. And high-five Dave when I see him, because you know what, I’ve always wanted you to do this kind of stuff.” It’s been a huge message, so thank you.
Dave Asprey: I had no idea. Thanks for telling me that. Just for people listening, we didn’t plan this. I’m humbled. Thanks man, I appreciate it.
Brian Bradley: No problem.
Dave Asprey: That’s so cool. All right. You talk about getting bigger, faster, and stronger by lying on your back and working your posture. That’s kind of a big claim, and I admit it would work better on Bulletproof Coffee, to your previous point … Just kidding. But how is it … There’s a lot of people listening to this who, maybe they don’t want to get bigger, but certainly everyone could use a little bit more speed, some people want more size, everyone could use a little bit more strength, especially if you don’t have to go beat yourself up with weights. So what does lying on your back working on your posture actually mean?
Brian Bradley: That’s a great point. I really push this idea because back in the 90s we were at a Strength and Conditioning Association meeting in Florida, and one of the major strength and conditioning guys raised his hand in the second row. Pete’s standing about 10 feet away from me, and we’re just onstage talking about this together, and he raises his hand and says, “You guys are the guys that say that you can just lay on your back and get bigger, faster, stronger,” waiting to stump us. He looked at me and he goes, “You want to answer that?” I said, “Please let me answer that.” I said, “Absolutely.” I just waited. And I waited, and I waited, and I saw the guy’s look on his face, and he wants to argue. I said, “Listen. I’m not telling you that I’m discounting your field. Strength and conditioning, I’m a huge fan of it.”
Dave Asprey: It’s important.
Brian Bradley: But if you’re out of alignment in your thoracic spine and shoulders, then there’s no way you are hip-driven in any of those moves. You are getting bigger and stronger and larger, but you’re doing it in a cocoon of dysfunction, versus, let’s get you bigger, faster, stronger in the right alignment, and now put you on the lacrosse field, the horse racing, let’s put you in the football, on a defensive lineman position, where people are slapping you and trying to get around you so you can get to the quarterback. They’re trying to control you and throw you down; our position behind that is, get yourself in alignment. You will get dinged because you’re playing a sport, but if you want to protect yourself as much as possible, build a set of armor around your body while you’re actually standing in the right position and not having to think about it.
Again, I look at you, you look at me. You know my story with, chemically, what I’m doing now, and focus-wise and all that, with Bulletproof, but I look at everybody when I see them, you’re right, it’s like The Matrix. I cannot go anywhere without saying, “I wonder if that person would get upset at me if I walked up and said, ‘Let me help you out with that right shoulder, it’ll totally free up your hips.'” Especially when you’re talking to women, when they’re saying, “I wish I could lose weight.” I’m losing weight in my stomach area, at the top part of it, my breast area, my tricep area, and my chin, and I tell them, “Aren’t you lucky that all the mirrors in your bathroom are waste-up, because you’re not happy from the waist down.” They pause, whether they think they want to punch me or not.
I flat out tell them, to lose weight, to this female, is to wake up the lymph system. To gain weight, to this male or female professional athlete over here, if you want to build more muscle tissue, yes, clean yourself up chemically, but ideally, getting yourself on your back to allow the floor to create your push up against your body, letting it organically change, versus somebody getting in there and adjusting you unto do all the work for you, will absolutely give you an advantage that you had no idea that you needed.
Dave Asprey: Now you’ve got everyone’s attention because you talked about losing weight, especially from the waist down. How does laying on your back and working on your posture, how does it actually manifest? If someone was listening to this right now saying, “I want to get my lymph activated, I want to be hip-driven as long as it’s going to make me lose weight more quickly,” or for whatever other reasons, “How do I do it? Walk me through the steps.”
Brian Bradley: Then I’ll let you tie that to the immune system when we’re done, because you’re going to know a lot more about that than I.
Dave Asprey: Sounds like a deal.
Brian Bradley: The little toe joints, the mid-foot joints, the ankle joints, to the knee joint, to the hip joint, all of those act as pumps, to be able to move. Here’s how a person will know this. They just take off their shoes while they’re listening to this. Granted, they can’t be driving, but when they get home, they get on their tile or their wooden floor barefoot, preferably no socks, to allow those metatarsal heads to spread out, and they walk across the floor and just listen. Even if they have to close their eyes, “Where’s my ankle hitting the floor? Where’s that heel hitting? Is it on the outside, is it on the center, is it on the inside?” When their foot goes and transverses to the toes, are they pushing off just the big toe area? Especially your listeners who have bunions: those bunions are not genetic. They are actually a learned mechanism on how you’re walking. Really, we should be congratulating your bunion, “Hey thanks for forming, because all you’re there for is to protect the damage that I was doing to the great toe joint from walking incorrectly.” When we use this, we pay attention to how their foot is striking the floor. Then putting their hands behind their head with their elbows pulled back and their shoulders pulled down, now have them walk again, and instantly their foot strike changes.
Let’s relate that to the lymph system. The body pumps northbound, or upward, so these people that are getting all this lymph buildup in their hips down, and they can’t lose it, especially around the side of their pelvic girdle and their hip joints. All that is, is fluid caught up at the cellular level. This is where we have to come into play. Because what happens to these people, not only are they chemically dysfunctional, but it’s almost like their filter is clogged. Because the door has been closed.
It’s like tilting a pelvis during childbirth. “Let’s pull your knees back toward your head, and you’re going to push this baby out your birth canal.” No you’re not, because you’ve now tilted a dysfunctional pelvis into a … It’s like throwing a water balloon at the fair through the perfectly round hole, but we’re going to tilt the hole downward 20 degrees, and you can never get that balloon to go through there. I just used an analogy that a baby’s head is like a water balloon, so I’ll get yelled at for that one, but ideally, it’s that simple. If you reposition the pelvis then the lymph system will do its job, or the baby can now drop into that birth canal. You know as well as I do how much bacteria, good bacteria, is in that birth canal, that should be bathing that baby as it’s passing through there to allow its immune system to do its job. All of this is related to overall health in immune system, but it can only happen with normal heel strike and normal toe-off, which happens artificially when your hands are behind your head, but wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have to think about it.
Dave Asprey: You’re saying that even something as complex as childbirth may be made much more complex because your posture is wrong, or because the way you walk is wrong. Maybe women who are pregnant who do Egoscue, or just learn to be more mindful of how they’re stepping, how they’re holding their pelvis, could have an easier delivery? That’s kind of cool.
Brian Bradley: How about, don’t worry about how you’re stepping or holding your pelvis in a way; let’s give you three or four exercises that we can say, just change your shoulder position, which then frees up your pelvic position, and your foot strike will change on its own. Now, instead of scheduling your C-section, let’s give your baby a chance to go through the normal birthing process, which will stimulate all the brain stimulation for them.
Dave Asprey: That was my very first book, was called The Better Baby Book, about how to have a better pregnancy and healthy outcome. There’s great evidence you want the baby to go through the birth canal if you can swing it.
What are these exercises, and do these work for me who aren’t planning to have children any time soon?
Brian Bradley: Yes, absolutely. I will tell you this, if your listeners, if they just go to YouTube and they search Egoscue Anywhere, E-G-O-S-C-U-E, anywhere, the first link will be out at UPW London, it looks like I’m in a big airplane hangar, I have a black Egoscue shirt on, and I run you through the arm circles, the elbow curls, the overhead extension, and then of course the greatest abdominal exercise ever, so they can look at themselves doing that crazy one in the mirror. I take them through a balance test first. Close your eyes, where’s your balance, left to right, front to back.
That’s a good way for a person to get in touch with their kinesthetic awareness. A lot of people go, “I don’t really feel it.” I’d be crazy if I asked the person “How do you feel again,” because they’re not in touch with that sense yet. But the more functional they get, the more in touch they will be with that sense. They can run through these Egoscue Anywhere exercises, and remember, the only thing that can be wrong with this is that I’m wrong, which isn’t going to happen. They’re going to experience this and come back and say, “You know what, Brian makes a lot of claims, but these exercises can back it up.”
I’ve seen this for 25, 26 years now Dave, it’s been a game changer for me, and I’ll be talking about Bulletproof in 26 years saying the same thing. It’s been a game changer, that big of a game changer. It taught me how to read again. Well Egoscue taught me how to move, and I luckily ran into that early in my career, working for Health Self Physical Therapy, and then finally started looking at this from a cause standpoint instead of saying, “She’s going to have a C-section because she just can’t move her body the right direction.” I’m sorry, these women are so much stronger than we are as men, let’s admit it. I mean honestly, they give birth. We get pain when we’re constipated. We’re just weak compared to them. We’ve got to give them as much of an advantage to have that baby drop into that birth canal by walking correctly, but by doing the exercises, because they have enough on their plate. They don’t need to be thinking about how they’re standing, moving, or walking.
Dave Asprey: These exercises are mostly, I remember some of my arms behind the head walking, and there’s various movements of the shoulders …
Brian Bradley: Yeah, this one.
Dave Asprey: Yeah, bringing your elbows together in front of you. These are relatively simple. What’s the average amount of time per day that it would take someone to do these?
Brian Bradley: About four minutes.
Dave Asprey: Four minutes. Huge investment. Do you need to do them every day?
Brian Bradley: I’m sorry Dave, let’s clarify. Set a timer for four minutes.
Speaker 4: Okay. Four minutes and counting.
Brian Bradley: What happens is, that’s my French press making my beans right, and all of a sudden, I can go, arm circles, elbow curls, overhead extension, the timer goes off, and all of a sudden, everything’s done at that point.
Dave Asprey: That’s hilarious.
Brian Bradley: And then the enjoy their coffee.
Dave Asprey: Because it actually is, four minutes is the amount of steep time for a proper French press. There you go, so your coffee’s brewing, and you’re literally doing your basic four-minute exercise in the morning. That’s cool.
Brian Bradley: I got to shut this timer off before it goes off. There we go.
Dave Asprey: That’s a really neat idea. Of course then you still have to have some time to put your butter and your Brain Octane in the blender, but that doesn’t take too long. I think I could make that work. Maybe I’ll get my kids to do it in the morning. They help me make my coffee, so you’re inspiring me to do my exercises more regularly.
One of the problems of being the Bulletproof executive is that I have more exercises and pieces of equipment that I could do every day than there are hours in a day, much less that I’m a dad and a CEO and all that, so it’s like, okay, which ones am I going to do today. Four minutes is a very, very small amount of time, and I would encourage people listening, I have done these exercises, I don’t know, hundreds of times over the last few years. I don’t do them every day, but there really is value in checking these out.
Brian Bradley: I will tell you this. You’re motivated by your children, as am I.
Dave Asprey: Yeah.
Brian Bradley: I always joke with people, the people that do Egoscue together stay together. So the family that does Egoscue stays together. Ideal, if you could say “Hey, here are my children, let’s put them in front of a mirror,” and you saw me at the last event where I pulled some kids onstage and did some stuff with them, I love the innocence of these kids because there’s no judgment there. They’re up there doing crazy stuff, whereas adults, we try to judge ourselves and go, “Is this going to make me look stupid,” or this, we always have to have a reason or a rule. If they could just take their mindset back to being a kid and say, “You know what, I’m going to coach my children through this,” and they’re going to do the arm circles, the elbow … I have teachers who tell me this all the time. They can’t stop the kids from doing that Running man, the greatest abdominal exercises ever. Who, I got ahold of Tony Horton, the guy from P90X …
Dave Asprey: Oh yeah, Tony’s awesome.
Brian Bradley: Oh yeah, and I’m yelling at him, I’m yelling at the computer saying … I’m yelling at him for this running in place kind of thing. Ideally it is no equipment needed, and they are something. If you real wrap your hands around their abdominal muscle, you can even say to your kid, “Wrap your hands around there and you’ll feel that Daddy’s kind of relaxed,” but the minute you start perturbing with that movement of your arm, cheek to cheek, it has to be stabilized at the base where it meets the pelvis. Your little kid will go, “Hey Daddy, it got real tough or real strong in there.” Now for them, you’re leading them down a road of, “Wait a second, I don’t have to do abs to have abs.” First of all I need to eat right, and muffin top goes away, and secondly, these muscles can fire just by moving my shoulders. Now they’re motivated to do it with you.
Dave Asprey: That’s a pretty cool setup. This exercise you’re talking about, literally, you’re sort of standing in place, and you’re running in place as fast as you can, moving your hands up almost by your cheeks, so you’re just moving quickly. It’s easier to see on video. You said people can search for Egoscue Anywhere? Or everywhere?
Brian Bradley: Egoscue Anywhere, it’s the fourth exercise, your legs aren’t moving, but yet there’s so much leg demand. Because if you add some time to it, 30 seconds to a minute, your hips will actually start to fatigue, because it’s like being a boxer. You’re kind of bouncing around like this, and all of a sudden, those deep structures around your pelvis have to stabilize that perturbance up above.
Dave Asprey: Yeah, especially the upper half of running in place.
Brian Bradley: That’s correct.
Dave Asprey: I can tell you, watching 15,000 people do this all at once as fast as they can is one of the more incredible things you would ever imagine, because you’re just like wow, one giant pulsating organism moving as fast as it can. It’s pretty cool stuff.
Brian Bradley: From now on I’m going to look at that crowd thinking that in mind, because you’re right, I didn’t think about it as how much energy, because everybody … 15,000 people at once doing the same thing, and it does look like this amoeba-like thing that’s moving and creating its own stuff. That’s fun.
Dave Asprey: You talk about something else, which is around east-west versus north-south breathing. What is that?
Brian Bradley: When you can see someone on an airplane especially, when they go to take a breath, their diaphragm sits at the base of their rib cage. The nerve that innervates the diaphragm comes from the neck. When you think about forward head, and jaw being offset like this, people are already kinking the hose that feeds the neurological message to the diaphragm. The diaphragm is a major breathing muscle. Thinking of it as a suction mechanism. When that diaphragm can engage, it drops down to engage, increases all the pressure in the stomach area, which by the way, pushes on the intestine, and allows us to have better peristalsis, but 22,000 breaths a day, if you can create that movement, it sucks more air deeper into the lungs. You’re actually breathing better by 35 to 40%. The unlocking mechanism for east-west breathing is to put your hands around your waistline, and you should feel that it goes east-west when you breathe in, instead of this, shoulders up, shoulders down. Shoulders-up, shoulders-down is that paradoxical north-south. When a person can’t catch their breath they’re like, “I can’t fire it.” But if you can get them to fire that diaphragm, almost breathing into their back/kidney area, that east-west breathing …
You know what I’m going to do? When we’re done I’m going to give you a link, or an email, that people can contact us, and I have a full course on this, that we’ll just give it to them for free so they can study this, and the exercises are tied right to it.
Dave Asprey: That’s cool. Thanks for that. I think a lot of people would appreciate that. What you’re reminding me of, the way you described that, is there’s a type of breathing called Art of Living, which about 30 million or so people, mostly from India, do this kind of breathing. I learned it in Silicon Valley working for tech startups that were founded by people from India, and I actually met a Nobel Prize laureate, I believe it was Mr. Black of the Black-Scholes model, won a Nobel economic prize, when I was meeting the founder of this breathing technique. One of the first things you do in Art of Living is, you put your hands right kind of over your kidneys, like right on your hips, and you breathe in, and you’re supposed to say, “So hum”. I literally, every morning for five years, did this kind of breathing technique, and every Saturday morning we’d get together with this group of just hyper successful entrepreneurs in Saratoga, and do these breathing exercises. It was really remarkable how it cleared your brain to do this kind of breathing. It was really about putting the breath in the diaphragm, and feeling the three different lobes of the lungs and learning how to move into them. It does stuff for your brain that is not rational, but you can feel the difference.
Brian Bradley: You’re focusing on it for how long per day when you were doing this?
Dave Asprey: You do about, I think it was about 10 to 15 minutes, and there was timing of breaths. I don’t know that I remember it all. It was in for four, hold for four, out for four, hold for two, I believe.
Brian Bradley: Got you.
Dave Asprey: It was probably some sort of box breath thing.
Brian Bradley: I think you have it. I just read it again in the Headstrong book. It’s actually in one of the middle chapters.
Dave Asprey: That’s a box breath that’s in there, but this was very specific. It’s called Art of Living, and they have a whole course for executives on how to do it. I actually learned it at the house of one of those very senior Intel executives. It was this roomful of people kind of going, “What?” It doesn’t make any sense, but it doesn’t have to make sense. You’re talking about lungs. Lungs don’t make sense. Lungs have their own [crosstalk 00:53:48], their job is to breathe.
Brian Bradley: Exactly.
Dave Asprey: Doing this weird stuff made a difference, but your description there of, when you’re breathing, and your hands are on your hips, you feel your hands move out when you do it right. Most people listening to the show right now don’t breathe that way, and when you learn [crosstalk] it changes things.
Brian Bradley: Yeah, they study it in front of a mirror, they’ll just see it going up and down. Dave, one more thing. You did that for, let’s call it 15 minutes to 30 minutes a day when you were focused on this. That still leaves us 23 and a half hours left per day that we’re doing that north-south breathing. You could literally breathe yourself well, 22,000-plus breaths per day, if you can get your shoulders to quit dictating your breathing, and get your diaphragm to dictate your breathing.
By the way, you have a big muscle in your body, I call it the filet mignon, and if you have vegetarians listening I’ll come up with another analogy. If we have the filet mignon, the psoas, if we can get the iliacus and psoas muscles, quit blaming them for all your dysfunction, if we can get those, which the fascia is directly related to the diaphragm, the link between those two muscles is critical, but the unlocking mechanism is the position of the shoulder. When somebody can finally get out of that north breathing, and then south drop, and we get them into that east-west, where you have your hands out there, without having to think about it for 23 and a half hours a day, and then maybe use a focused breathing for 30 minutes, the results are going to be unbelievable.
Dave Asprey: There’s some really neat stuff that happens, since we’re talking about fascia. Fascia’s that layer of connective tissue that ties everything together. It’s primarily made out of collagen, which funny enough, Bulletproof collagen, there’s a reason why I put that stuff in my coffee and in my food and things. Because you need a good fascia layer. But what we have now proven beyond any reasonable doubt is that your fascia communicates electrically. It is one of the planes of information transfer inside the body, specifically around where joints are, where muscles are, in space. There’s a whole layer of communication that doesn’t go to your brain between systems of your body over the fascia, which is one of the reasons that movement affects you so dramatically.
The other thing that fascia does, and that all collagen in the body does, is that it’s something called piezoelectric. Piezoelectric simply means that when you move it, it makes electricity. One of the things that happens is, literally, when you do these movements, you’re charging yourself in a very specific way, and weight building exercise, your bones are also piezoelectric, your bones contain collagen. A lot of times we just don’t recognize that fascia is an information plane in the body as well as a connective plane. I believe that’s one of the reasons Egoscue can do things that defy logic: Because we haven’t incorporated that into our logic paradigm. He says hold on, there’s a change in the information status of the body when you move your head, or when you align something properly. Now what would’ve been noise in the system goes away, the system works better, less noise, more efficiency. More efficiency, more energy, more focus, more ability to move, less chance of being injured.
It’s a fascinating system, and it’s why I think there’s a lot of room for hacking in. You see network chiropractic, you see some various movement disciplines that are sort of all circling around this idea, but certainly Egoscue has been very targeted, and just almost relentless in looking at the system of all this stuff, and having results that frankly kind of defy logic. But you talk about Jack Nicklaus, and I’ve gotten to know Tony, not as well as you I’d say, Tony Robbins, but man, he does not mess around. He has the world’s best of everything in terms of experts helping him on everything he can find. There’s a reason that you’re there working with him, because this stuff works in ways that are non-linear and just kind of cool.
Brian Bradley: You too, bro.
Dave Asprey: Thanks.
Brian Bradley: I’ll tell you a little story. I made him what I call the white drink one day. It’s the water and the collagen protein, and I put some local organic San Diego honey in there, and some vanilla, Madagascar vanilla.
Dave Asprey: Some brain octane.
Brian Bradley: Yeah, brain octane for sure, which was the key. The first statement was, “There’s no stimulant in here, right? I’m Tony Robbins, I don’t need a stimulant.” I’m like, “Hey buddy, you’ve got to trust me.” He took one drink of it and was going, “Okay, wait a second. This is unbelievable.” There’s the butter, we went through all the stuff, and I said, “If it’s too sweet, you take this out completely. If it’s not sweet enough, you know what, you’ve got to drink it. You’ve got to find where your palate is happy and then you can hack with that a little bit.” That was the kind of a-ha moment that we had, whether it was a year ago or six months ago or whatever it might have been. Because in his mind, coffee, it’s a big deal. Some people, I had my first cup of coffee in my late 40s because of you. I’m not joking.
Dave Asprey: Wow.
Brian Bradley: I couldn’t stand it. I could not stand it. Now I look at it and say, “The polyphenols are doing this; what’s that doing?” To my brain tissue alone, but in the gym … I have these personal trainers coming up going, “Dude, what are you training for?” I said, “I’m training for life, bro.”
Dave Asprey: That’s hilarious.
Brian Bradley: Sorry. I referee some soccer, I play some ping-pong, and I hang out with my teenager. I can’t let my teenager beat me. I’ve got to win, I’m the dad.
Dave Asprey: That’s awesome. It’s funny, that drink that, we call it the vanilla no-coffee latte. Because some people, coffee’s not right for them, and frankly I didn’t realize the amount of pure energy that Tony brings out. You could just see him in stage, just doing things that are literally superhuman, to move the mental state of that many people at one time. It’s damned impressive. I cannot imagine that man on coffee. He’s already a ball of glowing energy. I don’t think the coffee is necessary, or even advisable for Tony, and I wouldn’t say that for a lot of people. Having the cells in your body have what they need to be able to do their work is beneficial for everyone, and that’s one of the brain octane angles. I think it’s fascinating, you talk about your focus for reading, and certainly my ability to focus and just remain calm is changed from that stuff.
If you’re doing any sort of movement-based practice where you’re working to realign your nervous system, or you’re doing something that’s realigning patterns of your nervous system, which is really what Unleash the Power Within, a lot of what Tony is doing, is basically looking at patterns that your brain has for the world around you, and helping you to restructure them, it just takes masses of energy to do physical movement work, or emotional movement work. Just having more core energy there, for me, has allowed me to progress my life forward more quickly. I think that’s a core part of any overall development program, whether you want to be a better athlete or a better meditator, is just, where does the electricity come from for that?
Brian Bradley: That’s exactly right. Just to touch upon that, you have Tony Robbins spectrum over here, which are the people that are just really hyper focused on literally next-level thinking, next-level thinking. Then you have your medical community over here who, they’re on next-level thinking, but it’s been interesting, we’re running a study, a co-study, with Stanford and Harvard, $10 million dollar study, on chronic back pain. Our preliminary study that happened maybe for 90 days, with a very small amount, already saw, with minimal effort, from one or two of our clinics, a two-point drop on the perceived pain scale.
You’re taking people who are in this mindset of stress going, “Chronic pain, chronic pain, chronic pain,” and you’re unlocking their belief system by saying, “What if you just made this change?” “Well, it can’t be that simple. I’m special.” No, you really are special, but your pain is not special. Let’s go to the cause. To get these institutionalized places to medically realize this, with this I was just watching the news a little bit, which of course that just pisses me off when I watch the news, but when you start thinking about it, from the opioid crisis, what you’re doing chemically – and again this isn’t Brian Bradley talking about how great your stuff is, but I truly believe this. What you’re doing chemically for the opioid crises could literally stop it. What Egoscue is going to do is attack the reason why these people have the pain in the first place.
Dave Asprey: Right.
Brian Bradley: I know that’s a crazy statement, I’ll probably get yelled at for that one, from people sending me emails, but I welcome those. Ideally it comes down to educating people as to deal with cause, not symptom. Symptom is boring, cause is something that’s very exciting. What we’re going to do is, we’re going to change this mindset. One of our Petri dishes is an NFL team that we’re working very closely with. We dropped a guy on site, and now we’re even going after the total dysfunction as it relates to injuries. You have, let’s say it’s me with my separated fractured rib. That should be out for okay, that may take six to eight weeks to put you back in the field. Then when the person gets back their shoulder is here and their heads up here like this, and all of a sudden, they tweak their neck. No, our job is to get that football player back on the field as well as possible and as fast as possible, like a Ferrari that’s in a race car at 24 Hours of Le Mans, put new tires on it, align the body, get them back out there, and not allow that injury to have its own mindset, and create and wreak havoc. The same thing you’re doing chemically.
Dave Asprey: Very powerful analogy. We’re coming up on the end of the show, and I’m really curious what you’re going to say here. I’ve asked every guest for more than 400 episodes here, if someone came to you tomorrow Brian, and said, “Based on everything you know in your life, not just your career with Egoscue, what pieces of advice would you have for me if I just want to perform better at everything I do as a human being?” Three most important things, what are they?
Brian Bradley: Number one, this’ll sound harsh, but shut up. Open your ears to open your heart. I know that sounds a little foofy, and I’m from the east coast, so my friends are just rolling their eyes right now, but honestly if we can get people out of their head and into their heart, trust your instincts, not Dr. Google, when you go to search for something when something’s wrong with you, because you’ll just get scared. Trust your instincts. Do I feel like that is right or wrong? In a conversation, the person in charge of the conversation is the one listening. Because what I’m doing with my clients, I’m going, “Where is my little avenue in? What’s important to them? What’s missing? Oh, they haven’t been able to pick up their grandkid in two years. You can bet I’m writing that one down, and we’re going to move forward with that. Oh, they’ve never known love like this because of their partner, but they can’t give it back because their stress levels are so high. These are big deals in avenues in.
Number one, get out of your head and into your heart. Number two, shut it down a little bit as it relates to talking, which of course I have no problem doing, talking, but I’ve also, I think, mastered listening, because I’m looking for ways in to help a person discover, as I’ve done on my own … I had to open my mind and my heart to Bulletproof. For me, as a non-coffee drinker, to say I come from a nutritional background, you want me to eat what? Now I’m up to almost a stick of butter a day. I know people will go crazy with that, but the way I prep my food, I’m in better condition now than I’ve ever been, as it relates to 50.
Then the third one, honestly, the amount of water people drink, I think, is so underrated, we have to really push the hydration. They’re so dehydrated, and again, that makes my job harder. It allows me to work with beef jerky instead of a nice grass-fed filet.
Dave Asprey: Mm-hmm (affirmative). I like that one. Beautiful. That’s a great set of advice, and I don’t know that hydrate has ever made the list before. I’ll have to check.
Brian Bradley: It’d better with 400 people.
Dave Asprey: It’s a great piece of advice. Just the whole thing, listening … Thanks for sharing, Brian. You said that you had an email, or sort of a way for people to get the exercises that we talked about? Because it’s really hard, if you’re driving, to translate what we say, it’s not going to work right, so you want to see a video. You said they could go to YouTube and Google for Egoscue Anywhere, and that you’d send them another program. How do they get it?
Brian Bradley: If they want to email, I have a couple emails, but this email’s easy to remember. It’s PainFree@Egoscue.com. It’s P-A-I-N-F-R-E-E @ E-G-O-S-C-U-E dot com. What you’ll do is, you just let us know whether you liked … You’re just going to go, “Hey Brian, I listened to you on the podcast; can I get those east-west breathing courses?” We’ll just populate it and give it to you.
Dave Asprey: East-west breathing course. All right, good deal. Just so you guys know, there’s no financial arrangement or affiliate or any of that stuff.
Brian Bradley: Zero.
Dave Asprey: This is all just sharing good knowledge for you. On that note Brian, thanks for being on Bulletproof radio, and thanks for all your work, and I love what you do in front of 50,000 people and Tony Robbins. It’s fascinating to watch, and I’m usually out there in the audience doing all those crazy exercises along with everyone else. I look forward to seeing you in a little while. I think we’ll be in Florida together at another one of Tony’s Unleash the Power Within events. Until then, peace.
Brian Bradley: Thanks again. I appreciate your time.