Warrior Monk Conversations 014: How To Optimize the Human Body for Movement with Dr. Peter MacKay
Updated: Jul 24, 2020
I talk to Dr. Peter MacKay—a board-certified chiropractor in the State of California and a Qualified Medical Evaluator—and we discuss how to optimize the human body for movement, prevention of injuries, and tips for seniors to stay healthy.
Dr. MacKay also talks about customizing exercise based on one’s default pattern, the importance of sleep to seniors, how vital sleep is for deep learning, and using essential oils to enhance sleep.
Furthermore, Dr. Peter MacKay explains about the olfactory system and the Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields (PEMF) in the context of repair and rehabilitation in healthcare.
Finally, Dr. Peter MacKay touches on the secret to what makes an elite athlete. Find out what that common denominator is in this episode. Also, don’t miss the simple exercise to adjust your gait which Dr. MacKay shares towards the end of this episode.
Dr. Peter Mackay is an Honors graduate of the University of Toronto and the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College. He is a former consultant to the Toronto Blue Jays and director of therapy for the Canadian Open and Canadian PGA Tour.
Read more about Dr. Peter McKay and The Elite Performance Institute here: www.episandiego.com
Contact Dr. James Meschino here: meschinohealth.com
Intro and Outro Music: Hearts on Fire by Immersive Music
Read more about the Warrior Monk mission here: www.thewarriormonk.com
The repository of Warrior Monk Conversations podcast episodes are found here: www.thewarriormonk.me
Warrior Monk Conversations 014: How To Optimize the Human Body for Movement with Dr. Peter MacKay
Welcome to Warrior Monk Conversations, a treasure trove of inspirational discussions in personal and professional development.
I am Poonacha Machaiah. Join me on this journey where I have immersive conversations with the most thought-provoking leaders and everyday heroes from our communities to inspire, educate, and empower you to build resilience and reach your highest potential. Join me on this mission to create a positive societal shift to the compassionate transformation of humankind.
Dr. Peter MacKay is an Honors graduate of the University of Toronto and the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College. He is a former consultant to the Toronto Blue Jays and director of therapy for the Canadian Open and Canadian PGA Tour. He has co-designed numerous products including the Therapeutica Pillow and the Core Grip. Peter brings a unique combination of expertise in golf biomechanics and injury prevention to his role on the Titleist Performance Institute Advisory Board. He's currently in private practice in San Diego, California, and works with athletes from multiple sports, focusing on an integrated approach for longevity and peak performance.
Poonacha: So excited to have my good friend Dr. Peter MacKay here today, and we're going to really spend some time unpacking human performance. Dr. MacKay has dedicated his life to really helping people excel in, I would say, the body and also the mind. He's worked with some of the elite athletes and also people in all walks of life. For me, he's really helped me personally with my own hip injury, my son who's aspiring to be a golfer, and really keeping us fit.
So I'm really delighted to have Dr. MacKay on my podcast today, and we're going to really spend some time really having a conversation on how to optimize the human body for movement, which is such a primal part of everything we do. Two, we're going to kind of get into prevention, not many people talk about prevention. And three, I think he's going to share his tips, which he has kind of really worked on over the years, and what we can do, especially targeting the seniors. I think a lot of seniors who are now, let's say, in senior assisted living homes have issues with fall, and there's a big statistics on fall. So let's kind of figure out what are some of the tips we can provide them to stay healthy.
So thank you, Peter. Thank you for joining today.
Peter: Thank you, Poonacha. Great to be here.
Poonacha: So let's kind of start off with really jumping right in. When you look at movement, what are some of your pillars or what do you think are essential in looking at optimizing the human body for movement?
Peter: Well, it is interesting because there has been a transformation in the last 20 years to the whole concept of creating core stability. Most people are familiar with all the new techniques that have come out, especially over the last 20 years, seen the advantages that elite athletes have had and the techniques and tricks of the trade they use. So that spilled over to the average population, and in our clinic, we try to bring much of that to the forefront.
But what I find that the most important thing is reverting back the other way. It's more now into getting into a natural flow. It's understanding the sequences and the patterns that we should use to just do simple things like tying our shoes and brushing our teeth and washing our face. Those are the critical elements of movement that we forget about.
Peter: And, of course, there always comes the idea of dosage, like how much, when, and where, you know. We're used to being very strict about our dosages with our, say, our medications or whatever, but we have to be just as diligent in figuring out how much exercise to do because, believe me, I see many, many people overtraining and many people inappropriately training.
With age comes a certain deference(4:14) to basics. You have to try to maintain what we know in a whole biological world is homeostasis, right? And so if you overtrain, you deplete, you run down, and you do just the opposite of what you're trying to do which is stay healthy.
Poonacha: Right. I think, when I look at my grandmother and, you know, coming from India, it is interesting. We have Indian style toilets, right? So there's squatting. I always look at it as amazing how mobile she was in just the movement of the hips and the joints.
Poonacha: So joint movement---I think, today, with our Western lifestyle of sedentary sitting, sitting is now the new smoking, and I was looking at, I forgot the name of the person who ran across the UK [Tony Riddle]. He's all about barefoot running and looking at rewilding. I think he told the whole thing about sitting down. You look in Asia, you see people like squatting down and sitting and having a conversation.
Peter: Well, let's, you know, if we look at the evolution of how our bodies have developed, and you look at how great apes developed, and you look at how hominids and man developed, we became hunters and gatherers. And even though we're very connected with the great apes, as far as DNA composition, etc., one thing we have in common, for example, great apes and men do not have to get vitamin C from external sources. Most mammals produce their own vitamin C, and it's quite curious because historically, we were so bountiful with fruit, we're getting so much vitamin C, that we genetically started to remove that from our coding because it wasn't necessary.
Just about everything that happens genetically is to conserve energy and to make things more efficient. So if you think about the great apes, they need all that fruit, so do we. But if you look at the great apes, they don't have cardiovascular disease, but man does.
Peter: And so, if you think of that same concept, what's happened with man is, as he became a hunter/gatherer, he had to walk consistent distances every day. So his activity level went up!
Peter: Now, the great apes, as big and strong as they are, they sit in the trees and other than having a little quarrel or battle once in a while, they don't do very much! And they're built with large digestive systems to accommodate all the fiber they eat, right? So if you look at that, great apes, no cardiovascular disease, but man battles cardiovascular disease, and especially in the last hundred plus years.
Peter: Again, our activity levels have gone down, our bodies have changed. We become programmed to sit, which changes the way our muscles fire, and that's the big epidemic we've seen in the last 30-40 years. It's this too much sitting. So it's quite interesting that the whole process comes down to how we get programmed, right?
Poonacha: Absolutely. So you almost have this kind of cookbook, like the MacKay method. If you recommend, let's say somebody like me, I'm in my 50s now, do you have a cookbook of saying, 'look, people in the 50s, this is kind of the standard protocol,' like we should do at least the hip-hinge, pull, push, carry. Are there certain things which you recommend for certain ages?
Peter: Yeah, I think it's all risk-reward. I've seen golfers, for example, on a PGA Tour that turned 50, and then they're on the Senior Tour. Then you see them in the gym, and they're taking 30 pound weights and putting it over their head and trying to do power lifting techniques, and it's just not appropriate, right?
Peter: And it's certainly not conducive to where they are as far as their requirements for golf. The biggest thing that I always say to a lot of my seniors with golf: "your fitness is your recovery, your recovery, your recovery." That's what it takes to stay in the game, right?
Peter: So exercises always have to be customized. Everybody is different, and I find that there's usually three or four critical exercises that you can give a person based on what we call their default pattern. So your default pattern is that your hip moves forward in one plane, and it rotates in the other plane. So I've given you, and I have shown you specific exercises to help counterbalance that, right?
Peter: So if the practitioner, the doctor, the physical therapist, chiropractor, takes the time to really analyze things, they can come up with a custom program, and that's what people really need. The generics will work across the board, certain things you have to do, but for every individual, there's a default pattern, and there's a movement preference pattern. You like to move in certain planes and avoid other planes, and so that gets you into trouble.
The Chinese concept is, as you lean, you start to fall, and as you overwork certain patterns. Right now, we talk about the text neck, and we have exercises that are specifically to counteract that. So hopefully, today, we can demonstrate a couple, and you can attach them to the audio.
Poonacha: Absolutely. I think this is really important. I love what you're saying, that if you can understand somebody's default preferences or default paths of how they move, you can then come up with some protocols. So I will actually share the link to your website EPI San Diego.
Do you have plans to, now, maybe do some of this online? Because if you can, you can look at the video, and I think a lot of people can benefit from this, right?
Peter: Yeah, we have some. We have some videos online. And at this point, I've got to tell you, today, I'm not sure how accessible it is, whether or not you need a pass. I know most of my patients have access.
Poonacha: Okay. But this is something we can look at.
Peter: Yeah! Absolutely.
Poonacha: Once you understand somebody's default preference or path of how they move, then you can recommend a series of exercises which you have recommended for me, right?
Poonacha: So when you look at seniors, you know, which I feel is an audience which we really don't address online as much. I know you're still very active. You are competitively playing softball and things like that. What are some of the things you would recommend? What are your thoughts when you look at how we look at healthy aging in seniors?
Peter: Well, it comes down to the key pillars of health that we've talked about before in our while (10:04)programs. You need to hydrate appropriately. You need to---the big, big one, we just alluded to movement. The big one, though, is sleep, and we could do a whole session on sleep, and we'll touch on a little bit today.
But for seniors, their circadian rhythms will change somewhat, their levels of hormones, like melatonin, will change somewhat, and you have to, first of all, get into a routine, and that routine will be such that it allows you to get your seven to eight hours good sleep a night. You know, there are so many factors with senior men, like having to get up to go to the bathroom, etc.
But if you realize, for example, we talked to your son earlier about having a test tomorrow, and I suggested to him that, "when you have things that you've learned and you've practiced on a given day, when you get into your REM sleep, that is exactly when your brain rehearses that information, that material. That's when you do your deep learning." If you do a functional MRI of someone's brain after they've been practicing shooting foul shots in basketball for a couple of hours, you'll see those circuits go off when they get into their REM sleep.
Peter: And we also talked about how you can enhance that by coupling and conditioned response. For anybody who's not familiar, it's like the typical Pavlov's dog. You'd ring the bell, and the dog gets his food, but ultimately, he starts to salivate just by the ringing of the bell. So we do that in so many aspects of our daily routine, and what we found with elite athletes is, we can have them practice under certain conditions, that they get conditioned to whatever they're exposed to during that practice session.
For example, if we expose them to a specific aroma, like we have this Stress Away essential oil, they inhale that essential oil, and they practice their chipping for an hour, half an hour or whatever. When they go to bed at night, they have a diffuser by their bedstand. And guess what? It diffuses that same essential oil!
Poonacha: So it is creating this connection to neurons.
Poonacha: 'Cause neurons which wire together fire together, right?
Peter: Yeah, if they fire together, they wire together.
Peter: And so, the research is out there now. This is exactly why our sensory system is so powerful. The olfactory, for example, is the most powerful because, as far as memory and emotion, the olfactory system is so important because it goes directly to the hippocampus and the amygdala---your emotional center, your fear center---and it bypasses the need to go through the thalamus and do more complex things. So we get an immediate hit of an emotion. That's also evolutionary very powerful because that gives you the trigger to get out of the way.
Peter: You know, as does your hearing and as does your sight. So a lot of these things are programmed to be immediate, right? But getting back to the idea of getting the sleep, when you have that REM sleep, and you enhance it with an aroma that you used earlier and was conditioned, the functional MRI will show that the cortical patterns, like that network we talked about wiring together, will start to fire that's consistent with what you were doing. But then when you add the oil to it, now it's enhanced. It gets more prolonged and higher levels of EEG.
So this is information that's coming out, and it's so important for the world we're living in today to understand that aspect of our immune system, for example, are tied into that.
Peter: The inflammation that's ravaging our bodies with arthritis and different things, when you're in your REM sleep, that's when your body's taken care of stimulating your immune response. That's when it's all going on, and also that's when you're battling the inflammatory processes that we're all subjected to.
Poonacha: So you touched on one thing---inflammation. So that's obviously a big topic. Reducing chronic low grade inflammation is so important, especially arthritis and things like that---just pain in general. Do you have tips which you---in your routine, from a nutrition perspective or supplements, what do you do to reduce inflammation and what are your recommendations?
Peter: Well, one of the things I do is, I always rely on experts in a specific field. So I'm connected with specific physicians like, you know, Dr. James Meschino in Canada.
Poonacha: Yeah, amazing nutritionist.
Peter: I look to them for the specifics because, I've got to tell you, if you try to become an immunologist, good luck. If you ever tried to figure out between the interleukins and interference and the T cells, you have to go to the experts and find that, 'okay, if I do the screening of my blood, and I have such a level of zinc, for example, but I don't have any copper, how's that going to affect my prostate?' You see how complicated it gets?
Peter: You can't just throw mud at the wall anymore. You have to rely on the experts that are going to be able to analyze your blood panels, and then make suggestions based on your profile.
Poonacha: Right. Now, I think what we will do, in the show notes, I'll put a link to Dr. James Meschino's site. He has tons of videos also, and then people can arrange for a consultation because I know he does a lot of stuff online, one on one.
Poonacha: So going back to the topic of seniors, we talked about when---we will obviously add a video to this is. What are some of the simple things they can do to prevent falls? Do you have any thoughts on that?
Peter: Yeah, that's interesting because it's kind of an oxymoron to think of it as a simple thing.
Peter: Because the dilemma in the physical therapy chiropractic world and the rehab world with stroke victims, etc., and anybody who has balance problems is, 'how do you challenge them without putting them at risk?' You know, you can't put them on a pair of ice skates, for example, and just push them out the door.
In other words, you have to get creative, and we have some creative ways that we use in the clinic. One of our strategies is to have an individual brace against the wall, and if you can imagine, when you slip, you usually have one leg go out in front of you.
Peter: One leg goes forward, then your upper body's falling backwards. So what we do is we use the wall as a brace, and we challenge how much lift they can get in their leg while they're still very stable. You know, this is all done supervised.
Poonacha: Oh, yeah. Controlled. Controlling moment.
Peter: Once you teach the brain what it's like to be in those positions, God forbid, if they are challenged, it's not like it's just something totally unique. Their bodies or core, for example, their glute muscles and their abs, we try to teach them how to turn them on when their body gets in a certain level of inclination.
Peter: So it's quite interesting, and you do have to be creative. You have to be careful. There's the most simple one. Hopefully, we can demonstrate today. It is basically a sit-stand exercise. When many seniors try to get out of a chair, you'll see that it becomes quite problematic because to get their weight in the right position to get up out of the chair, they sometimes don't have enough lower body strength. Their coordination is starting to fail a little bit and their balance, of course, and so the sit-stand test is the gold standard across the world for teaching people how to work on coordination, balance, strength, even endurance.
What I think is one of the most important things is the sequence of how you move. It's what really prevents injuries. So that's all accomplished with a sit-stand test, and we add a couple of things to it, where they go from sitting in a chair to standing and then into extension where they're leaning backwards, much the way they would do when they're going into a fall.
Peter: You know, it just made me think of something, Poonacha. When I was a young guy, and I was learning how to fly, I went up in this little Cessna 150 one day, and the pilot told me to put the plane into a stall, and I looked sideways, (Poonacha chuckles) "what do you mean?" And we did. We went into a stall.
So, as a pilot, they teach you how to make that plane start to fall, so you learn how to come out of it. So I guess that's a pretty good analogy: you teach people to get on the premises or on the edge of feeling that without actually falling---we were lucky the day we did that, by the way, it was over Silver Lake Ontario, and we came out of it. Anyway.
Poonacha: So I think this is important because we talked about resilience. Resilience is really preparing the body to bounce back, right? When we take people through these scenarios and prepare them, so if, God forbid, they are in that situation, then they can basically subconsciously activate some of these memories to kind of prevent and minimize injury.
Peter: Exactly. If you've never gone down that pathway, if you've never fired those circuits, then you're not going to be prepared for that ultimate challenge. Right?
Poonacha: Absolutely. I think, while I was listening to you, you know, you've always pushed the envelope when it came to recovery and using technology in your practice and with your athletes and other professionals. You've worked with PEMF, right? And you've really been using the BEMER. It's done wonders for me. Can you share some of your thoughts on how technologies like PMF and specifically what the BEMER does which can help people, especially in microcirculation?
Peter: Now, we're flipping the switch into that world of what's not considered the hard science of Newtonian physics, right? Now, we're going down the complex systems pathway, and that's a whole lecture on when we reduce things to the lowest common denominator, take things apart and put them back together, often, we're surprised that it doesn't work quite the way it did.
Peter: I'm talking about natural things. Like the classic example is around the turn of the 1900s, they decided they wanted to try to mimic breast milk. So they put together all the ingredients that they found that they could identify in breast milk, and lo and behold, it was carnation milk, which never really turned out to be exactly what the whole was of true breast milk.
So when we have reductionist thinking, analytic reductionism is what it's called, we sometimes miss the big picture. It's great for calculus. As you know, as a mathematician, the world of Newtonian physics is fantastic, but there's a whole other world out there, that is the unknown of molecular particles, and the more we go down the rabbit hole of analyzing, we're at that level of quarks and string theory right now, but we really don't understand it.
And I totally believe that it's what we don't understand there that is going to answer a lot of these big questions. So how our bodies respond, for example, our biological systems are complex systems that are based on sensory input. It's not like the brain is the complete commander of everything. The brain is reacting to what the senses feed it.
Peter: So it's more of an orchestrator, and that's what we have to teach our golfers. We have to teach our golfers, "no! Stop thinking about that. Let the automatic pattern take over." It's like driving the car over here today. I was doing many things while I was going through a green light, stopping at a red light----when your brain is on automatic pilot. We have the misconception that the brain controls everything. It doesn't. Much of what we're doing and as we're living is reaction to what's coming into our sensors.
When we look at health care, when we look at how our bodies heal, we have to start to now look at that unknown area. The perfect example, we talked about the olfactory system, there was an Italian researcher a couple years ago that noticed that boron and sulfur had the same aroma. These are two different chemicals, two different molecular structures, but yet the brain registers them both as the chemical, the smell of sulfur, right?
So they tried to figure out the lock and key in identifying the molecule, explanation doesn't make sense. 'So what does make sense?' Well, they did find it. The molecular jiggle, or the vibrational pattern, that of sulfur and boron was identical. So the brain was identifying the vibrational pattern versus the molecular structure. So this is a key example of how it's not all just about molecules and structural entities. It's about energy.
Peter: That's exactly what Tesla said. If you want to know the big answers, you got to look at energy, frequency, and vibration. So getting back to your question on PEMF, I think that's where it's all going.
Poonacha: Yeah, absolutely. I think energy medicine---I've been doing a lot of work of late just looking at the whole new frontier, right? It makes common sense if 75% of our body is water, right? That means it can be energized. It can be manipulated. There's an entire frontier out there, which we are just beginning to uncover, right? With energy medicine, frequency, sound, sound healing, there are things happening that we don't know, but that doesn't mean it's not happening, right?
Poonacha: I think it requires a lot more study to do it, and I guess 10 years from now, we'll have the science to kind of prove some of these things.
Poonacha: But, yeah, I think there is definitely, using things like PEMF, looking at very, I would say, focused abilities to deliver sound frequencies to the human body, right? There's an entire science around that.
Peter: And so as we reach health crises in this new millennium, we start to blend now. I see it. The forces are coming together. Well, back when I first got introduced to Deepak, for example, we're talking 1990. I mean, it was like the east and the west, and they were so far apart, right? But I think by necessity now, just like complex systems theory, there's an emergence that happens.
Peter: And it emerges towards a necessary pattern, right? Which is that there's so much to be benefited from movement, such as yoga, breath work, and sound. And if we take the attitude, the Newtonian reductionist attitude of, 'we don't have a double-blind study for that,' we are in trouble. But as we're seeing right now, doctors are going by what they're seeing.
Poonacha: The results.
Peter: And what's applicable and 'does a high dose of vitamin C,' for example, 'help your immune system?' Absolutely! But how many double-blind studies do we have for that? Not a lot, but in the frontlines, we see that it's working, right?
Poonacha: Absolutely. I think, talking about Deepak, I think, since we both know him personally, it took almost 25 plus years to see that yoga, meditation, and a certain lifestyle helps you; and that only happened because we could now do genetic studies and look at the lengthening of telomeres after following a certain protocol.
Poonacha: Good then, but it took 20 years for this epigenetic telomere study, right? To be published in Nature magazine. That did not mean that for 20 years it did not work. It did work. It just needed the validation.
Peter: Of course. Of course, and I think that we can't be myopic. I think if we all take the attitude that it's what we don't know that could be the answer, and you know what the placebo effect does, and there's also the nocebo effect. (24:41) And nothing drives me crazier than to see someone who's been given a negative message, 'oh, that acupuncture can't help you. That's not going to work.' Well, if that person has faith in you, then it's the 30% chance that might not work.
Poonacha: You have done that very well in your clinic. You have combined acupuncture, because I've gone through sessions, and you also have the latest technologies. You use everything from brain entrainment. I've seen, and I've used it myself. So I think the---which is what I like is always being able to open to the possibility as long as it helps the person who's going through it, then it is as good as any pharmaceutical intervention out there.
Peter: And not creating any kind of false hope.
Peter: But creating hope. (chuckingly) And there's a lot to be said about having hope.
Poonacha: Absolutely. I think hope, and I define hope always: hope is a belief that tomorrow is going to be better than---the future is better than the present, and that you have the power to make it so.
Poonacha: Right? Otherwise, it's just a wish. It's not a hope.
Poonacha: So I want to kind of switch gears a little bit. You've seen elite athletes, professionals, CEOs over the years, what is the X Factor? If you look at two people and see one becomes, you know, Tom Brady or somebody else, so you look at these golfers, and from the---everybody's there at the 90%, and then somebody just breaks out a 99. What does that---what is that you find? Is that a common thread?
Peter: I think there's, especially when you look at my career, I can go back to days when hockey players would train on beer after a game, you know. I've got reports of what the Toronto Maple Leafs did in their spring training in 1962. So it's kind of funny to see the changes in what it takes at this state in time, 2020, to become the elite of the elite. But I think the one common denominator that's there now for the elite guys especially because it pertains to longevity, I have an expression in golf that I use: it's not how far you hit it, it is how long you hit it far.
So when you look at the Tom Bradys and the Drew Breeses, and we know our friend Tom House(26:42) has worked with both of them, one of the common denominators I see is the ability to have a process and a structure to their process that allows them to walk into the lion's den and see nothing but their objective which is to get the prize---to get to where they need to go.
Peter: Now, sometimes, we see athletes that seem to be motivated by the fact that they perhaps weren't drafted in the right draft position or whatever. After a while, that's got to wear thin when you, you know, you get, like Tom Brady, for example, I don't think that's been totally what's made him.
Peter: But from my interpretation of what I see, like with Tom Brady, he's the emotional glue that held that team together for all these years. You can talk about all you want about how great the coaches are, and I'm a big proponent that coaches are, especially in the National Football League, a big deal.
Peter: But when you have that emotional edge, when you have that drive to bring and be a leader and bring people together, they'll follow you.
Peter: And so when you talk about team sports, that's the key thing. When you talk about the driven golfer or tennis player, there always seems to be that ability to, as we talked about cliché, being in the zone or not being distracted. I think it comes down to a lot of psychological issues with respect to self-awareness and self-love, and being able to not be too concerned about what's happening with other people and what they think of you, and all those factors come into play. So that neuro emotional stability is usually seen in the best of the best, you know?
Poonacha: Neuro emotional stability and EQ, what are your insights into this? Can you just---are there some tips you can share or something you think can help people work on it?
Peter: Well, into that, I believe you really need to connect with a coach who can help you.
Poonacha: That bond.
Peter: To bond and to appreciate your potentials as such. There's way too much negative energy out there about, and think about it, it's by nature of competition, right? Whoever you're competing with is usually not propping you up.
Peter: They might be slapping you on the back after the game, but in the heat of the battle, it's your ability to rise to the top, and unconsciously, you make these decisions, you know. You know the classic situation that, the one that comes to mind right away is The Rise of Superman.
Peter: Laird Hamilton, the big wave surfer, he's in Tahiti, and they're hooked up, so he can hear the tower, and they're telling him to go or not to go, and they told him to pull back, apparently, on one wave, because there was a rogue wave. There were two waves coming together, and the waves were going to double. It was going to turn into like a 70-foot wave, apparently, but he didn't hear the call back, and he continued through the wave and, thankfully, got through it safely.
But he made some moves on that wave, and they asked him afterwards, one particular move where he reached back to pull on the backside of his surfboard and just lifted it up a little bit. It physically looked like an obvious attempt to maintain his balance and to shift his center of mass, right? But when they asked him about it later, he had no clue what they were talking about.
This was all done in unconscious motor networking, right? His brain was working in such a way that he was on automatic pilot, right? So that's obviously a trait that elite athletes learn, and you learn through success, and you learn through by not breaking your neck. I often wonder how some of these extreme athletes ever learn how to do some of their stunts. My God, how do you practice that? Well, there are ways, but.
Poonacha: Right. I think, you know, Jamie Wheal and Steven Kotler, basically, The Rise of Superman, and you know, Stealing Fire, and they talk about when people are in the state of flow. They have this STER principle: selflessness, timelessness, effortlessness, and richness of experience. Everything feels like it's slow---it's in slow motion.
But I guess for them to get to that flow state is what you talk about. You need to have a process. You need to have a structure. Right?
Peter: Well, as you mentioned that, we have techniques like the brain endurance training out of Europe with the Formula One drivers, for example, and I loved it in the movie recently, Ford v Ferrari, where Christian Bale is explaining to his son about the idea of when you're in a vehicle at 7000 RPM, he says, 'you're not looking here, you're looking there.'
In other words, you're opening up your field of vision; you're seeing everything. You're not narrow focused on---because if you aren't prepared for everything, you won't make that turn, and that takes you back to, you name the athlete, Wayne Gretzky, Joe Montana. They see the field, and they see a lot about what's going on that the average person doesn't allow themselves to see.
So we have a neuro tracker in our office whereby you have these balls flashing all over the screen, and you can be dribbling on a basketball or stickhandling, and you've got to be able to figure out which balls were lit up, and they're going all over the place. So if you try to focus on one spot, you'll never do it, but if you allow your vision to follow the whole field, you'd be surprised how much you catch on the detail.
Poonacha: So what are some of the---I guess we are getting to the end of this, so what are some of the tools or, you know, or technologies out there that you're using today which you find very promising?
Peter: I think the assessment of brain waves, for example, is becoming refined to the point where we can see patterns developing that we want to nurture, that we want to enhance for performance, right? And along with sleep and everything else. So, that type of assessment and looking at the functional MRIs, it's been a kind of a raw tool.
Peter: People misinterpret the functional MRIs because it's really just an analysis of where the blood is flowing. And so, that takes us to the other point where we get back to pulsed electromagnetic fields, the impact that has on circulation, you know. So by improving oxygen to tissue, by improving the return and expelling of waste materials, that's truly going to turn into longevity.
Peter: When we can start to enhance the efficiency of how our body takes in energy and gets rid of the waste products, we are going to live longer and healthier lives. No doubt about it. So that technology is coming. It'll be like Star Trek where they had the little wand, and they can assess where the blockage should have resistance.
And now, you think about your chakras from ayurvedic medicine. I mean, it's all starting to go into a literal flow as far as how---and Western medicine and Western civilization is finally opening up to that fact.
Poonacha: I was actually doing an online certification the other day with my good friend, Tiffany Barsotti and Dr. Constantine Korotkov's company called Bio-Well, where they can now measure and at least try to quantify the human biofield---bioenergetic field. So a lot of science is advanced there. (33:19)
So the last topic, I think, and we will actually do a video on this, is sharing insights on how you look at balance, right? Which is such an important thing. So maybe, is there a simple exercise that people can do just to kind of adjust their gait? Is it possible?
Peter: Yeah, the simplest exercise---hopefully, we'll do a little video; if not today, I'll have it on my website---is you stand in a narrow doorway, and you stand with your feet square, about shoulder width apart, and you take your hands, the back of your hands to the doorframe.
So you're standing in the door frame, contacting with both hands and standing as tall as you can. So you literally just lift one leg and hold it at about hip height, and with your eyes open. So we call this the four-point stance, right?
Peter: Three-point stance to four-point stance, and then we do it for 15 to 20 seconds. Then we learn to take away the support. So if your right leg is up in the air, you need your right hand against the doorframe, right?
Peter: To break your fall, but you don't need your left hand. It'll be fairly easy for most people to take that left hand away. So we go through a progression like that, and then we do what's called a short-foot, where we teach you how to feel the platform of your foot and be stable on that platform.
And then we go right into the---the progressions get to the point where your eyes are closed, you're standing on one leg, and you're doing like a Heisman Trophy stance, and you're coordinating your arm and leg movement, and it gets pretty difficult.
Poonacha: Awesome. So thank you, Peter, so much for today.
Peter: Hey, great to be here. Thanks, Poonacha.
Poonacha: And I think I will be sharing your website, putting up the videos online, and for people listening, do get in touch with Dr. MacKay or the EPI San Diego. The website link will be in the show notes, and stay tuned.
I think these are exciting times, and everything we can do to prevent and optimize human performance is the need of the hour. So thanks a lot. Thank you, Peter.
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Warrior Monk Conversations 014: How To Optimize the Human Body for Movement with Dr. Peter MacKay