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There are a lot of similarities between pain (even chronic pain) and emotions. But the most important similarity is this:

Your pain and emotions are an opinion!

This fact is backed by the leading neuroscientist on pain research. And it’s great news.


Because opinions can be challenged! And by challenging your opinions, you can stop decades-long depression and chronic pain in its tracks.

In this episode, you’ll discover why pain is just an opinion your brain has, and how this makes it easier to overcome your pain.

Listen now.

Show Highlights Include:

  • How to take control of your experience with chronic pain (without relying on painkillers, therapy, or physical therapy) (1:23)
  • The “Pain in your Brain” secret for significantly reducing the pain you feel in your body almost immediately (3:36)
  • The weird way even watching a hammer smashing a hand on TV can cause low level aches in your hand (and how to use this “power” to eliminate your pain) (4:42)
  • Why a clinical neuroscientist believes that pain you feel is 100% made up in your brain (8:19)
  • How to reverse 7 years of excruciating back pain by getting punched in the back (11:13)
  • The scientific explanation behind why chronic pain isn’t actually “pain” (and how this helps you get rid of it for good) (12:04)
  • Why tickling the side of your face can clam even the most debilitating headaches (17:42)

Need help unlocking mental, emotional, and physical freedom in your life? Grab my new book, Built for Freedom: Adventures Through Stress, Anxiety, Depression, Addiction, Trauma, Pain, and Our Body’s Innate Ability to Leave Them All Behind on Amazon (or Audible) here: https://www.amazon.com/Built-Freedom-Adventures-Depression-Addiction/dp/B0BS79GMYN

Or head over to https://thefreedomspecialist.com/ and book a call where we can look at your unique situation and give you the roadmap you’ve been missing.

Read Full Transcript

It's time to rip the cover off what really works to ditch addiction, depression, anger, anxiety, and all other kinds of human suffering. No, not sobriety. We're talking the F word here, freedom, wheelchair straight from the trenches what we've learned from leaving our own addictions behind and coaching hundreds of others to do the same. And since it's such a heavy topic, we might as well have a good time while we're at it.

(0:34) All right, welcome back to the alive and free podcast, we have the group reassembled for our book club, all in attendance, say Aye. Aye, aye. And we have a new participant. Tucker couldn't be here for this round of beer torture, let's be honest, we're just talking about a book. But it's good stuff. So Jasmine decided to join us Hello. And so she's going to be chipping in when she feels the need. Usually that will be involved in some sort of like baseball signal that she'll hate. And she'll, she'll send me that so that I know she wants to steal third, because we also need a lady in the room for us to behave.

(1:13) That is likely the case. All right, so we left off after chapter five, we entered chapter six with a cellular opinion, the adventure number six here. So this is something that not a lot of people are aware of or familiar with. And there's a lot of people in the world that are struggling with chronic pain and pain itself and feel like the only option out is some sort of like therapy, physical therapy, or some sort of opioid or some sort of painkiller or something else. And they don't realize just how much control they have over their experience of pain. So this was another one of these kind of big chapters to open up to the general populace and awareness of just how much they have control over this situation.

(1:53) I think the story that you open up the chapter with is huge. And I had I hadn't there's a video yet shows us and I didn't see it until afterwards. But it is completely fascinating as the power of the brain, and what it's able to do in the way of not feeling pain, as well as feeling pain yet. So that's true, right? This can't happened. The story that happens? Did you see it just is on the TV show magic for humans. I think I stopped. We were sitting there and in the evening time and I was like, watch this. This is red, and how he had spent ice scrubbed back and forth. And in the actual buffering of the video like to try and see if there was some weird sleight of hand. Because he would he went further and he like stuck a pin in some dudes hand. And the guy didn't feel a thing. It was absolutely incredible. And so this was a magician illusionist, he says in the beginning of the show, no, there's no sleight of hand. There's nothing here. This is like honest to goodness, we're just messing with people's minds. And there's no camera tricks, but it's still I'm looking at it like no, that can't be the case. And yet very, very much. So it is

(3:00) I saw a clip recently where it was with a woman who does a flame thing. But then he gets on a hammer and slams it on her hand. Right? And it hits the rubber hand. Same one, yes. She reacts like, like, pulls her arm back, you know, like she was feeling it. This reproduces experiments done by scientists like back in the 70s 80s. Like, I've seen black and white photos of these videos of these experiments where they're doing this kind of thing. So it wasn't just like a gimmick for a TV show. This is something that I've seen more and more of. And so you're you're confronted in this one episode with, hey, pain is in your brain. And it's not actually in your body.

(3:40) So should we describe a little bit what happens in the experiment every now I mean, it's in the book right yet the book guide for crying out loud. This is a book club, and we're giving you like one chapter a week. It's not even like you have to read the whole book. But basically a man through a series of experiments where he's using a fake hand and a end and the person's hand, whether it's a guy or a girl, whoever it is, is doing. He like covers the fake one up so that it looks like it's coming from the other person's body. And then he like brushes it with a feather. And then he does some other things to just try and get them to sync up their sensations with the visual cues that that is their actual hand. And then pretty soon he stops actually touching their hand and then their body starts creating the sensations just in response to visual cues which which goes farther than pain. Like it goes far beyond just your pain. This is like every sensation you have can be produced by other cues that your brain has woven sensations together before I'm getting the baseball cue from third baseman.

(4:41) So I thought it was interesting because while we were watching that, you know, I'm just watching two people on the TV screen so I'm not even in the room. It's not happening to me. But as the hammer gets slammed down on the hand, like my hand drifts away and it starts getting this like low level ache in my hand, just from what Seeing that, so like, I have nothing to do with that experiment, but just from watching it mean like, oh, that's gonna hurt, my hand actually almost starts hurting things like that, which is like every other kind of movie. You're right, you're kind of simulating putting yourself into the situation of the other person.

(5:15) My mom called me one day and she's like, Yeah, cut my finger and like kind of happened. She's like, I was reaching in the knife drawer, and I reached to the back and, and I caught it goes, oh, you know? And then she was like, no, no, that's not how it happened. And she went to explain it three more times. I'm like, Mom, please just stop. Because, like, I was feeling it in my chest like that, like that feeling that you get when you cut yourself? You know, we were on the phone, just like we're here saying I wasn't even there. It's what this teases out for me, in a very, very real way is one that I don't think a lot of people spend a lot of time like, ruminating on, we kind of laugh it off, or we look at it for entertainment value in a television series, or, or we kind of like joke about it with friends, or we use it to our advantage and practical jokes. Or the next time I'm on the phone with you. I'm going to describe something that happened a very visceral way. And do you want to talk about parasites?

(6:09) No, no, you guys that's coming up. We talked about it. We recorded an episode. Not good doing like two months? Yeah. Bob, I can imagine people are listening to this and be like, No way, that's not even possible. But I don't know about them. But there have been times where I'll get to the end of the day. And I'll notice that there's a cut on my finger. And I have no idea when it happened or how it happened. Like, I've spent some time like kind of freaking out like that's kind of weird, but like it happened. And I didn't feel it. I didn't notice until much later.

(6:40) Yeah, and or how many people have had like, found a bruise on their body at the end of the day or something and you just like, How'd you get a bruise, I don't know, it's just I must have hit something. And this, the conscious experience of pain did not didn't was not there, that doesn't mean that the body didn't suffer some form some form of damage. But just the only thing that you have in your life, the life that you're calling you. And maybe this is something Jeff will have questions about because this touches on the idea of consciousness, like your body is having experiences, but you are only having the experiences that you're kind of conscious of. And you only have like, and so like when that's not happening, your body may be undergoing whatever else it is, but your life and your experience of it, whether it's pain or something else really depends on your awareness of the situation and what you make of it.

(7:30) And the context to like I was just talking to a buddy of mine. He's telling me about like, just the I think he was reading some book about pain, but he was saying, like the experience of lifting weights or something, you know, there's some stress and pain in your muscles, you kind of know, like, oh, in this context, this makes sense. And I can kind of like, minimize this pain. But if you wake up in the night, and there's no context for why the pain should be happening, and you're feeling that pain, it's like, way more acute. Yeah, because your brain is like trying to figure out another and and for some reason, we're really good at making up horror stories when there's no context, Randall being I don't know someone's doing voodoo on me, which I've actually thought before, in certain contexts, so, yes, I'm weird.

(8:18) Well, I think it's important to say that you're not the only one saying this. Yes. Like, you quote, Lorimer, Moseley, a professor from clinical neuroscience. And he's like one of the leading researchers in pain science right now. And he has a beautiful TED talk is like 20 minutes long, where he describes and I allude to it a few times in the book, getting bit by a snake himself, and then running into a twig and thinking he got bit by a snake again, and his body reacting kind of the same way. And his opinion there. I mean, his statement there is that from everything that we can see, pain is 100% and opinion about what's going on. It's like it's 100% made in the brain. It's an opinion that your brain has about what's happening in your tissues. And there's an entire website called pain dash science.org. It's, like 1000s of art, like hundreds of 1000s of words, like more than anything I've written in this book, articles covering all forms of different types of pain and ways of helping it and whatnot, and he has an article, the guy who Proctor's that website has had a whole article on like, pain is weird, you know, and here's why. And he quotes normal mostly because all these other people like for the longest time, nobody really knows what pain is. What's his first name? Lorimer Lorimer, cool say that 10 times fast? Lorimer alarm alarm alarm or alarm?

(9:39) That didn't work? Wait, we can't say that. Oh, we've said much worse. Okay, so in this chapter, we introduce that idea and then Amber becomes like the sort of star pupil we talked about me getting whipped and My experiences with that my childhood bike ride and night gown boy, if you have to get the book if you want to know all about night yeah. It was just favorite story of the book. It's a good story. gentleman says we should get a theme song. Jasmine, you didn't do your baseball signal. Also just for the just for the listeners, Jasmine's wearing a full catcher's mask and baseball.

(10:32) She's also squatting behind home plate. Anyway, so we introduced those stories. And those are those are examples of where pain is something that just shows up, contingent upon experience or doesn't show up based on context, and breathing and how it can be changed by all of these factors. The same factors that we work with, with people really intensely in the retreat space, and in the online programs we do is like showing them how to modulate not just emotions, but pain itself, since emotional states are created by the brain or our response of the brain to whatever's happening in the body. Same with pain states, and how has we already gotten to the part in the book where you punch amber in the back?

(11:17) That's happened? I don't know, did we? That might have been cardio or this is the cardiac response one. And this so we might have, I think we've already done that. Okay, once I because I was just, we're about to do a another retreat, and I was talking to a woman who's coming to this and you seems like you did it again. You punched another lady and I was talking to her on the phone. Right after you punch her. Yeah. And she was like, seven years, I've had terrible back pain. And that was like, in I talked to Bob punch me two weeks ago, and I haven't had the back pain. worked twice, guys. I mean, maybe more than that. But twice that I've heard I'm like, Why? Why does how does that relate to this? So

(12:03) it does, it does, like so you've got a couple of different kinds of nerve cells in the system, right? You have the sort of heavily myelinated ones that are super fast conducting and they they shoot up to the brain and they're all of the nerve cells are giving the brain just information based on like, something's touching me right here, right? intensity and location is all that they're doing. We cover that in this chapter, right? And then you have these like slow moving ones that are called nociceptors, which basically means like danger, receptors, danger receptors, they're Decepticon danger receptors. But when we say like, what exactly are the receiving, we're still down to electrical charge, basically, some kind of mechanical pressure, whether that's electromagnetic or something like that is placed on the nerve cell, and it fill it like pushes fluid to one end of the axon, and it creates an electrical potential or a differentiation. And when it's big enough, then it fires because it's attracted by whatever else and that gets sent along down the chain. And all it's showing is like at this intersection, because every every cell in the body has anywhere from three to 40, every nerve cell three to 40 Different nerve cells connected to it. So your elbow, obviously, your weenus obviously has like very little, that's the name of the flap of skin on the outside of the elbow, we won't tell you what the inside is called. And so that one you can pinch to your to your heart's delight, but hole this is why we keep Jeff around. So, so that one you can pinch and your brain is getting information about it, but it's very few nerve cells that are getting excited. Whereas you have others that have a lot more so your your feet have loads of nerve cells, and they're very, very sensitive. Some of the most sensitized areas of the body, hundreds of 1000s of nerve endings, and then there's no receptors, which are, they're kind of like free floating, they're not myelinated they're a little bit slower. And all they do is they're like the people in a riot, which they don't know why they're rioting, but somebody's writing and they're like down with the government. And so they're just like, yes, you know, we want out and they don't know what they're chanting for. And they don't know why they're beaten up the the sofa in the you know, whatever else it is, and those things get turned on with chronic pain responses. So they just start firing because other nerves were firing a lot. And so they send the information to the brain and the brain has to is trying to put together the whole picture. And so when there's a lot of nerves firing, it muddies like there's a lot of pain here, but if they go on for too long, then what happens is they become less and less precise in terms of how they can pinpoint what's going on. And they just start firing it will fire it will boil fire at will. And pretty soon you just have a chronic state of what your brain makes as pain just because nerves are just randomly firing. So when I hit amber in the bag, and she's so funny because I received like thump in the book and I'm using all of these kinds of nice terms. so that it doesn't sound like I'm punching people. She's like, No, he punched me in the back. Fair enough, it was involving a fist. And so when I do that, it's this massive context change for the brain. It's so used to things firing at a certain level. And when you have pain, you tend to baby it so that nothing touches it. So it's not getting any new context. And all of a sudden, this massive upsurge of information comes to the brain and all the other ones go like, why are we writing about this, there's a tidal wave coming in from the beach. And then at that point in time, they calm down, they're like, You know what, maybe we can just forget our problems. It's like, you know, everybody hates each other until China invades. That makes me China, though. Yeah, yeah. If you or someone you know, is looking to drop the F bomb of freedom in their life, whether that's from past trauma, depression, anxiety, addiction, or any other host of emotional and personal struggles, but they just don't know how, or want some help doing it, head on over to the freedom specialists.com/feel better now, and check out some of the things we've got in store for you, or book a call. So we can look at your unique situation and get you the help that you're looking for. I did study Chinese martial arts, so maybe you

(16:16) do a great impression of a Chinese hate me. In the meantime, that was Yan can cook from back in the day, just so you know. Yeah, I got in trouble for doing my Chinese accent at one point, which is why there isn't one in the book, you know, we I don't think so. Like I was doing emotional Ninjitsu and talking about it for some other program. And they were like, we're gonna release this in China, please talk in an American accent so that we don't offend the people we're releasing this to and I was like, oh, sorry. I didn't mean to. I was just honoring your culture. And so. So yeah, so that's where it's the context change is really what happens at a really biological level. And it's not one that's thought through it's one that the body just goes Oh, alright, nevermind. It's like finding your keys in your pocket when you've accused everyone in the house of sealing them. And then you're like, nevermind.

(17:15) Yeah, you've one time on, when we were hanging out, I had a headache. And you popped me on the top of the head really suddenly, and headache went away. Oh, and then I tried that on my wife, about a week and a half ago. Oh, she got so mad. But ready to go. Oh, there you go. Okay. There are other things you can do with headaches. So just so you know, people listening, it's not always a punch, you can tickle the outside surface of the skin. And just slowly drag your fingers down. And what we're doing is we're we're giving neurological data to the brain to function with. So headaches are usually deep inside the brain. If you tickle the surface, the brains like I don't understand what's going on, I hurt but it feels so good. But it hurt. And sometimes you can just drag it away with 20 or 30 seconds of just kind of using your fingertips to draw down the front of the face and the back of the head and down the arms. And so if those of you listening have learned a we actually used to do this as a game when I would present in these groups with young people teaching them how to like, heal their kids in in sort of like stealth mode ways. So we call that shiver me timbers. And the whole goal of the game was to get the other person to get goosebumps and go, whoa. So yeah, you can do that too. And it also works for headaches. But you can also punch them just you know, if it's your wife, maybe a warning. Did she feel better about it now? Yeah. Oh, good. See,

(18:40) she was like, Is that a thing? It's like, Yeah, I've seen this thing. randomly. Do you hate me? Do we have a bigger problem here than I thought we did? Maybe I thought the headache was the least of my worries. All right, moving on. Sorry. We got to deep derail there. Oh, no, it does kind of point. I mean, just start with his wife kind of points through what's happening at the end of the chapter and that there's long established things that people have just accepted for a long time and never questioned. Right? And then you come into these people that are starting to question, what's really there? And what's really happening? Yeah, which is, and you refer back to the several different stories in the book of people, you know, about the number of neurons and just different things like that. And, yeah,

(19:27) yeah. And what's interesting in Amber's situation is that her doctor is just simply not trained to deal with anything psychological. Really, you know, they're not really doctors are not really trained in nutrition. Some go down roads where they get some more nowadays, but they didn't used to be trained at all in nutrition. And her doctor is incredible, like so open to anything that will help she can play both sides of the line, the holistic and the functional medicine kind of crowd as well as the sort of traditional route and extremely well versed in A lot of things. She's been to all of these conferences, we had dinner with her at one point. And she was just like, yeah, like, I can get rid of an addiction, and I can get rid of all of these other things. But when it comes down to it, like, they go back to it, because it's like trauma, and I don't deal with trauma. And in my brain, I was like, Okay, it's not, it's not actually trauma either. But it's just an entire side of the world, like how the mind interfaces with the body is just a whole side of the tracks that they're not they're not equipped for. So when she didn't have anything left in her bag of tricks, then she sends Amber to me. And I'm like, no pressure. Cheech, okay, well, if you had more cardiac inflation, they would be putting together an end of life plan. And then she sends you to me, that Bob put a stick in it, you know. And as I'm working with her, what's happening is, yes, we're working with areas of the body that are associated with the heart, the heart itself, along with some areas on the arm, bottom of the feet, things like that. But then we're also all of a sudden, all these memories start coming up of times when she was a kid, where things kind of got trapped, and were like, her brain has associated those physiological experiences with those memories in such a way that they didn't get fully processed, she was super scared in those spaces, and whatever else so that we start to handle that we handle the memories at the same time, and then the whole person gets addressed. And lo and behold, her cardiac inflammation goes from a four to a point five, right in the normal range. So and then from there, we end with the question about, like, how did we get to this place, where even in medical students medical schools today, pain is described at like nociceptors are called pain receptors still, and pain is still kind of described as this thing that happens that seems to be inherent in the tissues? And how did we get to the point where, I mean, this was my big lead in into a total sidestep of, of the industry itself, which was, I had to ask myself the question like, which I addressed in the book, you know, with the Aerobus, in the plane crash story, you know, it was just two degrees of difference, and then they ran into a volcano. So this one is like, well, what what could possibly have been the two degree difference, and I was looking for something that happened in the psychology industry, but the more I looked at it, the more I was, like, why is everybody like missing the fact that the body is the mind. And that led me back into ancient Greece. And so that's where we, we get to start the next chapter. So any other particular insights from this chapter?

(22:29) I think it's so significant in the understanding of all of it, you know, just that idea around pain and where it's made up, and just my own experience with the freedom specialist and, and we'll talk to me about how you see that link, like, like, because you're linking this, like, all of the rest of this is tied into this link. And I remember at one point, I was talking with Amber, who was reading the book, like, what she was one of the original readers, and I was talking about what addiction is, and I sidestepped that to talk about cancer and placebos. And because if I just tell people, it's addiction, it's all in your mind, there was like, No, like they were, they would like fire back like I would have back in the day. And then, but if I go back, and I go, here's documented cases of people like having cancer that don't actually like, or having cancer remission, which, from a totally phony, like a useless drug or from sterile water or from and then getting it back when their beliefs change. And at that point, she was like, Well, I guess it is in my head. Not that that means the person knows what to do about that yet. But just to know that it's not where you think it is.

(23:36) I'm just thinking of this one retreat that we had, where you asked me to be the demo. And, and I had been through this experience with you before where you're trying to find the tension in the body and, and I had reacted more strongly, you know, and more strongly meaning like he was, he was like, trash talking. That all you got? Is that how you got little man? Six foot 10 He has a large back, and I'm working along his spine, and he's like, taunting me. And I'm like, Come on, man. I'm doing my best. I'm a tiny guy.

(24:11) Well, you know, going into that experience, like I had built all these stories up in my head about what that experience was going to be like, and, and I had fulfilled some of those stories as I went through the experience. But fast forward a year and a half later, when you asked me to be the demo, and I'm sitting down, you know, it was a half hour before the demo time, and I'm starting to freak out a little bit. Like I'm gonna have to do this. And then and then just the question came to me like, What if there's no story? And for me what that meant was like, what if it's just a feeling? What if what happens next is just a feeling and I don't have to build a story of terror, or horrible pain or anything around it. And that's how I had it into that experience. And felt bad for everyone after I got done with the demo because I hadn't zero reaction. Because I hadn't had I had said, this is just a feeling. And this part of my body, and it doesn't mean I'm in danger, or I'm gonna die or anything like that. But it was, it was a huge moment for me to recognize that link between what I was creating and what I was actually feeling.

(25:19) Yeah. And then how did that link to emotional stuff later on? Did that like, tread? Because this was this has been my project from the beginning? How can I give people a physical experience that like, that they can't ignore? Because it's their own experience that then automatically starts to just trickle down into all of the other places? Yeah, it translates directly to emotions. And I think I've talked about this on a previous podcast, but like, there was times in my life where I'd wake up and like, my first thought was like, I'm depressed. And then because of this, they have the ability to say, is this depression? Yeah. And as soon as I questioned that, it went away. Because then my brain had to say, Okay, if it's not depression, what is it? But without that question, I would just be taken by the depression throughout the day, the following day, and maybe a week later, yeah. But the simple thing is saying is this depression opens up the possibility of other options. And then one of those other options could be like, Did I have sugar last night? And do I feel sore, or groggy or stiff, or, you know, and I can stretch, or I can breathe, or I can drink water or whatever, but it changed everything because I had, because I didn't know I could challenge it. I didn't know that there could be something else happening. And part of doing the body work translated into the emotional work, to give me that permission to question and create something else.

(26:39) Right. So those of you that are listening that may be experiencing chronic pain or acute pain, you know, little pains here and there. I mean, the first thing to ask, I mean, obviously, get yourself into safety, like, if you break an arm, whether it's painful or not go fix the day or so like, obviously be wise about it. But when you're experiencing pain, a great question, even while you're in the middle of it is like, is this pain? Or is this just information like and what is this information telling me about what to do next? Sometimes it might just be lay low, chill out, I need some time to rest. That might be what your body's saying. Other times it might be you need to get out of here. You know, you're standing on a nail. You should probably it's not about the nail. It's not about the new. Okay, watch the YouTube video.

(27:23) Yeah, watch the nude YouTube video. It's well worth it. We will mention it again on another podcast because we've already recorded that one. I know I'm prophetic that way. Anyway, so as we wrap up adventure number six a cellular opinion. Consider that that's what we're dealing with in opinion, your emotions are an opinion, your pain is an opinion, and opinions get the chance to be challenged.

And that's it for today's alive and free podcast. If you enjoyed this show and want some more freedom bombs, landing in your earbuds, subscribe right now and wherever you get your podcasts from and while you're at it, give us a rating and a review. It'll help us keep delivering a great stuff to you. Plus, it's just nice to be nice.

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