Paul: Hey guys this is Pauly and welcome back to My Wellness Wishlist, today’s wellness titbit is surrounding heat with specific respect to soreness a lot of people have different opinions about soreness but the people that do support them say there are incredible studies that support the fact that it increases hard health and longevity, it has detoxification properties that can eliminate chemicals and heavy metals from your body and it also has athletic recovery it helps with arthritis and muscular pain relief, it helps also from muscle gain and fat loss, it can also help from immune system, skin rejuvenation, help with better sleep, increase cardio vascular performance, increase stress resilience and much, much more. Now, I have been experimenting with various/different types of heat techniques including soreness and with direct prospect to infrared soreness, I’m going to go check one of those out on the next couple of weeks, so, keeps the heads up for that. Speaking of heat my next guest on the show is a Chinese doctor who has a very strong belief that heat and maintaining heat within the body is incredibly important for health and vitality, his name is Alex Powerlett, he’s a very dear friend of mine on a personal level and his knowledge around creating balance in the body is astounding, given he has just become a doctor in Chinese medicine. He just came back from 6 weeks in china where he learned shaolin kung fu, tai chi and many, many other components to eastern martial arts and energy cultivation. He also worked everyday at a Chinese hospital. This interview is about his take on wellness and well being also all the many things that he has learned that can integrate eastern and western medicine together to create a more harmonious and more effective way of creating people in the future, check out Alex and his big brain. Alex how are you doing?
Alex: I’m good thanks Pauly, what’s happening?
Paul: I’m really good dude, I’m on my 4th day of a colon cleanse where all I’m eating is essentially saw dust and yes life is feeling pretty good. What about you?
Alex: I’m really good myself, just keeping warm in winter and trying to eat the right foods to keep my systems going and keeping myself warm
Paul: Nice, now you have just completed studying Chinese medicine it’s been a major part of your life some time, correct?
Alex: That’s right for about 5 – 6 years now
Paul: Well, firstly why don’t you take us to the introduction that you had to the eastern way of life.
Alex: Sure, I guess it started with the martial arts. I started doing Chinese Kung Fu at a young age. I started about 8 went through for my primary school then stopped for a while then started again in sort of mid to high school and from there, yes that’s sort of what first got me in to it and after that there’s a certain point where my father got quite sick and we’re pretty worried about him, there’s nothing really working he’s going to have ill pretty quickly and so my martial arts teacher said, hey bring your dad down to this clinic where I work and come see the Chinese doctor”, so I took down dad there. This old Chinese guy took dad’s pulse and straight away said “hey you’ve got a tumor in your neck and he even said it, you know, in English it was not that clear either. And so as soon as he said that, he said ok come through, walked that through gave him some acupuncture and some herbs and now up to this point dad hasn’t slept at all for about 3 months, it was pretty full on and yes after this acupuncture treatment plus these Chinese herbs that we had to grow up, which smelled ridiculous.
Paul: Just side note, why do you think every Chinese herb under the sun smells and taste like its come out of rhinoceros behind.
Alex: It’s not necessarily like that you see, I’ve had Chinese herbs before that had been quite sweet other than quite bitter some are sour. In Chinese medicine it’s not necessarily, not always what they might, they can make up of the compound that’s affecting you. It could be literally the taste that affects different organs. So, you get a variety of taste just depends what’s going on with you like if you have digestive issues, you’ll find that the herbs prescribed for you are actually tastes quite sweet because sweetness feeds the spleen in the stomach and really helps to solve them out. It is really interesting but at the same time there’s all this hundreds of different formulas for every single condition you can think of and it’s the Chinese doctors job to figure out for you and why.
Paul: Gotcha, sorry I interrupted your story about your fabulous journey to health. Why don’t you tell us some more.
Alex: Sure so, what happened after that quite, again like dad sleeps for first time in 3 months and that was unreal for him like if you think about not being able to sleep at all for even a week, think about how you feel and what your mind does
Paul: I suppose also the way your immune system is after being sleepless for that long
Alex: It reacts in really funny ways, information rises, there are so many other things that go along with it like at this point some other symptoms that he was experiencing where like a pounding like someone was like banging a drum in his ear 24/7 will sit right behind his ear. His blood felt like it was feeling in a boiling bathroom through his neck (inaudible), heartbeat. He couldn’t swallow food because of the pain. So lot’s of things, you know, he’s losing weight, couldn’t sleep, was getting constant headaches, lost his sense of equilibrium and balance though he’s constantly dizzy, which result him from doing such exercise. So, you know he’s in a pretty bad way
Paul: So, what did this herbs help assist to his journey back to health?
Alex: So, the herbs itself you have dad have at that time, bear in mind I know nothing about Chinese medicine that point. I didn’t believe in it. I was just like ok, you know, last resort give dad some placebo effect and see what happens. So, what happen was like after his first treatment he slept all night and wake up in the morning and went we’ve got to keep on going so we went back up or kept it like we went back every week for about actually months and by the end of that, that was in a complete state of wellness it was fantastic he’s playing golf again, he put on weight even his whole emotional outlook of life had completely changed he used to be an owner of a medium sized business, worked long hours, you know, for 30 years and he was very stressed because of that. The stress was gone like he’s healthier now both his body and his mind than he ever was. That’s what really blew my mind and after I saw this transformation in him I just said hey want to be able to do what this old guy can do, it’s bloody amazing.
Paul: So cool, do you still keep in contact with that dude?
Alex: Yes definitely all the time my martial arts master still works there and I visit every couple of months
Paul: That’s amazing. Speaking of visiting you’ve just come back from an enormous life altering journey to china. How long did you spend there?
Alex: This time around I spent 6 weeks. So I was in a city in the south called hangzhou a couple of hours south of shanghai and the time I spent there was basically for martial arts training and also for Chinese medicine internship although I did at the Sujong Provincial Hospital in hangzhou so it’s like one of the best Chinese medicine hospitals in china. So I have thousands of patients coming through there everyday for any number of conditions and I work mainly with under the head of acupuncture and also under the head of tui na and both of them are absolutely fantastic. It’s really interesting stuff blew my mind every single day.
Paul: That’s amazing. Can you break down as far as you know, what would you say the main reason or the main functions that differ between a western hospital and a Chinese hospital in terms of day to day operations and a patient comes in, that’s have a sort of a macro start
Alex: The hospitals would function as I would say pretty much looking from the outside but once you get in there it’s the treatment and the diagnosis that change. Actually in china they have a lot of western diagnosis as well to help this medicine diagnosis, that’s really fantastic. X-ray’s, MRI’s, put people with any sort of you know structural issues in tui na, which is basically Chinese medicine physical therapy and that’s where I specialize in. You work a lot with the spine, the joints and the softing connective tissue in the body. So, if someone has a neck issue, you’re not just going to bring them in and start pulling on the neck or pressing on it or anything like that. First, we send them to an x-ray or an MRI and it’s fantastic so you get that thing, you know exactly where the problem is and it just shows like how an integration of eastern and western diagnosis and medicine can really help each other out it’s fantastic.
Paul: It’s amazing. I myself have been seeing you for the last few weeks and have tremendous results I really enjoyed our time together. Do you think that china is going to be the first to adopt or has been the first to adopt and integrate western medicine with its own practices as oppose to western medicine integrating with Chinese practices?
Alex: China is definitely on top of the ladder in regards to that. In china they treat cancer patients who are going to chemotherapy; it has Chinese herbs and acupuncture the whole time as well, the results are amazing. I advice everyone to look it up it is fantasic.
Paul: I really truly believe that is the future and the way western medicine is going to, you know, eventually get towards and it just sound like Chinese medicine is already there.
Alex: Yes definitely and especially the Chinese western medicine in china like, I can’t give you enough praise what they’re doing, it’s just amazing. I’ve seen first hand like my mother she had cancer in the last year and she got quite aggressive breast cancer so the whole she was on a very strong dose of chemotherapy. I took her to the same man that treat my father and so she was on Chinese herbs the whole time as well, basically to keep her immune system up because probably as you know chemotherapy; yes lot like it’s really good, wipes out cancer cells, it wipes out a lot about cells and organisms that are eating your body as well and along with that is your immune system. So my mother along with a few other ladies were on the same treatment fell side at the same time, most of them were bed ridden and my mother was still working 5 days a week as a chef and enjoying it.
Paul: Wow. That’s just miraculous. Do you approach the western doctors that actually put your mother on chemotherapy and said I’d like you to meet this Chinese herbalist and start integrating and collaborating or was it more, I’m going to do this Chinese herbalism under the radar or you get two people to kind of convert?
Alex: Before I took my mom in I told her to speak to her oncologist on this because obviously I didn’t want anything to interfere with what they wanted to do. Yes, all for Chinese medicine and at the same time you need to have that communication because you can’t be working against each other. My mother’s oncologist said yes go for it there’d been some great results with Chinese medicine. So, that’s what we did we went ahead, you know like relatively speaking a lot of energy for someone whose on a very hard dose of chemotherapy and radiation and yes she spent the whole time still working as a chef and she got quite tired towards the end of the chemotherapy treatment as she would but still got a lot of energy that I’ve seen, other people come away with something like that with, it’s really good to see.
Paul: So cool. Let’s switch gears a little bit I want to come back to your Tui Na practice. Let’s talk about what makes Tui Na so effective and so amazing, from what I understand it’s this Chinese, obviously dated back a lot further than western practices but to put it in western language it’s this kind of combination between physiotherapy, ostio, chiro, all type of body manipulation practices as well as massage.
Alex: That’s right yes, that’s what Tui Na is it’s Chinese medicine physical therapy and exactly like you said it’s the Chinese medicine version of physio, ostio, chiro and massage. One of the reasons why I think it’s effective is that it’s not focusing on one type of tissue or one part of the body, you need to look at it as a whole like we do on Chinese medicine, we don’t just say, oh if you have a stomach weakness we and I’m just going to put one needle here, no you have to diagnose and state why the stomach illness there. Are they not digesting food properly is there an ulceration? That’s what we need to find out, once you need to find out I guess the root problem, you can work from there. Yes some acute things need to be dealt with immediately but you always come back to the root if you can help to heal and fix that root problem then everything else is going to flow it’s going to be fantastic
Paul: It’s amazing so let’s use maze for example. I hold my symptoms and my personal situation bear to the whole world to see so nothing’s sacred when it comes to this show. I came in to see you and what was the first thing you did when I came in to see.
Alex: Okay, as you remember we just talked about first what brought you to me and why and that’s always the main thing with any sort of practice otherwise you’re going to ask for your main complaint why did you come to see me. With you it’s more for your nervous ticks but then you a few out of things opened up as well, stiff back, stiff shoulders, stiff knees and all of these sort of things comes from in Chinese medicine terms, which called chi stagnation for those of you who don’t know Chinese medicine works with the body energy called chi as well as the physical body. So we want to treat the other and vice versa. You have these chi pathways called meridiums or channels running through your body and they’re everywhere. These pathways connected into different internal organs so through this reasoning you should be able to do a fit internal organs through surface manipulation and that is basically what I do like people eat, like we started out working down your spine and through your shoulders because like it felt there’s a lot of nodules lots of systolic tissue, lots of muscle ways in that area as well, which is generally like a symptom of chi stagnation. It also like if you experience any sharp pain, that’s where we go deeper, that’s when we think that’s something that we call blood stagnation as well
Paul: What’s the difference between muscle stagnation and blood stagnation?
Alex: So chi stagnation sits on the surface and it’s all like an ache like you feel that sort of thing, you’ve over used your muscles so there’s a lot of chi in those muscle in those area for long time. So it sits there and it does it closes an ache where is blood stagnation it goes deeper you feel more of a sharp pain and that’s a really easy sort of diagnostic tool that I can use to figure out the difference between those 2. Yes those surface, I guess problems are quite easy to figure out and as we go into things you know we find more are like, we find more tightness through your drastic spines so we worked through that after softening the soft tissue and the connective tissue around the vertebrae like as you remember we shifted a few of those and you felt the big release afterwards, which was quite fantastic
Paul: Absolutely, so cool. And acupuncture works hand in hand with tui na. Is that correct?
Alex: It sure does. Chinese medicine there are a lot of different, I guess techniques within that so 3 main techniques, there’s the Chinese herbs which I’m sure you know everyone has all have one first thing solve and I think Chinese medicine and there is acupuncture, which you perform with needles, both puncture through the skin and on the surface of the skin and then the third one, third my technique is tui na, which is Chinese medical physical therapy
Paul: What are the scenarios that we present a needle being punctured directly through the skin or a scenario where a needle will be just on the surface?
Alex: That’s a hard question just because you need to figure out again what the Chinese medicine diagnosis is for that person. In Chinese medicine an illness can sit six different levels of the body so lot like if it’s rather the surface level you might have need to even punctured the skin depending on what the diagnosis is that surface disease can be caused by something happening internally so it’s a very complicated thing going and probably a bit much
Paul: No, I totally understand. When it comes to the Chinese philosophy nutrition and diet, can we expand on that a little bit because I’m always fascinated by various different cultures take on various different aspects of health, it’s amazing how we live in one world and we share one world and there’s so many different prospective on it.
Alex: Sure. From the Chinese medicine point of view and from the view of a lot of Chinese as well, you need to keep your internal organs warm and therefore a lot of them very rarely east any sort of cold food even during summer. So in summer you’re walking around and you see people pull a tea time and start drinking a hot tea on a 40 degree day and that’s just a lot to do with keeping your internals at a constant temperature
Paul: Is there such thing as keeping yourself too warm? For example cranking, like this is in an artificial environment obviously but somewhere, cranking the heating up in your home, so you know you’re basically sweating in your own hands
Alex: I’d say it’s so hot that you’re sweating especially when its at the middle of winter, it’s not a good thing. If you open your pores like that and then you know so you walk outside for a minute to take the rubbish out, it’s again Chinese medically speaking it’s very, very you’ll get sick from that whereas when you’re warm and cozy but like silly sweating you definitely want to be warm even in winter you always, always want to keep your body warm
Paul: Gotcha. So what kind of food would you say are Chinese medicine suggest would create the most warmth
Alex: Chinese medicine again it works in constant with the seasons so basically what you want to do, you want to eat seasonal foods, things that will keep you warm, if you eat meat most meats especially red meats are warming they’re seen as hot foods even before you cook them and then there’s a way you cook them as well. If you boil something, Chinese medically speaking because it’s been in water the whole time it’s going to be more cooling where is if you pan fry a bit of meat or bacon then that food is going to be very hot, very warming. And again you want to eat seasonally, fruit, vegetables and things like that in winter, anything you can harvest in winter that’s when you want to eat it. They’re slower growing so they’re more <oilful tonafide> strengthening for the internal organs and especially for the stomach and the spleen, which basically some are organs like that’s the time they really shine
Paul: I see, the people out there who are vegetarian, I know you yourself don’t classify yourself as a vegetarian. You’re just somebody that hasn’t eaten flesh or animal products for the last 6 years, how do you, I mean there’s obviously different ways around that but what type of vegetables for example would create the most warmth within
Alex: So again the root vegetables they can get in winter, so sweet potato, pumpkin, carrot, all that sort of things especially roasted are really, really good food in winter. They’re also easy to make, so easy to cook, you don’t have to worry about it and then they’re ready to go. So a lot like root vegetable salads they too is another really, really good thing as well, then you add like some warming herbs and this herbs used in nutritional Chinese medicine as well. There’s garlic, garlic itself is extremely warming and it’s why some people after eating certain amounts of garlic actually feel quite warm they feel like they’ve given a hot flash almost.
Paul: Does Chinese medicine have anything to say about food intolerance for example my fiancé, she’s fructose intolerance she’s fructose intolerance so she’s unable to have garlic, she’s unable to have onion, she’s unable to have many fruits. Is there a diagnosis or a way that people have to develop this intolerance and is there a way that people kind of deal with it?
Alex: Sure, we lift that sort of thing again we’re looking at the organs that takes the most responsibility for digestion, responsibility for digestion and again in Chinese medicine it’s this thing with spleen, now, 2 organs going to come up over and over again it’s the food that anyone been talking about in Chinese medicine, these days we a lot of western culture in general, eats a lot of dairy, we eat a lot of cold and sugary things and all of these can damage the spleen and the spleen even though it’s such a little organ physically. In Chinese medicine it runs your digestive system it produces your blood, it’s basically the most, one of the most important organs in your body, Chinese medically speaking. If you don’t take care of it you will you will develop stomach upsets, you will have problems when you go to the toilet in passing stool it can be much too solid or way too watery. So this little thing, this little organ just above your stomach you really need to look after and you can do it by eating those food like those root vegetables and makes us talking about and definitely by staying away from cold dampening foods, which you know, anything lower than room temperature in winter, anything extremely sugary, which unfortunately most people are into and then there is dairy as well, which everyone wants in their coffee. So it just depends what you want to do if you want to take care of these stomach issues and at the same time like what it will do is help you drop weight. Your spleen is also like the master of your muscular system. So, if you’re looking after this little thing, you’re going to end up with or hypothetically speaking less body fat, more toned muscles, if you’re female you have menstrual issues, these issues should go away if you nourish your spleen, its quite fantastic.
Paul: Well, I guess the premise behind these is being able to develop that balance, that incremental balance. I want to talk a little bit about your experience in china from what I also understand you’ll be going back to china for an even longer of period of time next year, I don’t know if that’s confirmed yet but you were practicing tai chi in a centre? How did things go?
Alex: Well, if I say to you main is it sure of a like? That will be yes?
Paul: I’d love to set the scene here for all the listeners and the viewers because the way you talk about it, it sounds so majestic and so magical it sounds like you’re in like a land far, far away.
Alex: Yes, well, often it really felt like that. So, where do we train is on the shore of west lake in hangzhou, so this lake is massive like probably bigger than most lakes in Australia, you can see mountains far in the distance on the other side but where we were is like the city side of the lake. So, it was paved, a lot of trees around and where we trained is luckily quite close to hospital in a hotel so we had time for about 2 hours to train in the morning, which is fantastic. Most of the things I did there were shaolin kung fu with a master there and I did a little bit of tai chi as well, which I was revising last time I was able to 2 years ago. And so we we’re training every morning with him, you do your warm up in the sun and the sun comes up about quarter to five in the morning, which was fantastic for me because I love the sunshine. So you’re warming up with the sun coming down on you, there’s people walking past already, there’s a man who was on his 90’s just sitting on a splits and just rolling around just giving the thumbs up to his friends when they walk past
Paul: So cool
Alex: Yes just some really cool things like that happening and then you go through when you just go through your practice and like to everyone else walking past it was nothing out of the ordinary like they knew these masters who’ve been training people here and didn’t mind them for years.
Paul: Yup you feel like you need to wake up super early in the morning to do your practice in the park or around the corner because you’re going to scare the crap out of people, thinking you’re attacking them with a wooden stick.
Alex: Yes, definitely. Yes, exactly right like and that’s the reason I get up early to do it
Paul: It’s amazing to to see how vastly 2 different cultures could be
Alex: Oh definitely
Paul: I wanted to mention also, so, you had 2 hours in the beginning and then you had the meet of your day was spent at the hospital is that correct?
Alex: Yes, at about 8 in the morning we would quickly walk back to the hotel have a quick shower grab some breakfast on the way to the hospital and then we’ll be at the hospital until about 11:30 observing one of the doctors there and then at 11:30 you for your lunch break, which just to happen last for 2 hours, which is fantastic. So you go have your lunch and then everyone has a nap, they go for a siesta, which was, I think that was really amazing as well because everyday you wake up from this you know, it can eat lunch last a bit longer than your naps can be a bit or it doesn’t matter, you wake up feeling revitalized for the second half of the day.
Paul: I’ve just been doing some research on napping throughout the day and there were so much credit and so much value that they’ve found in napping in the middle of the day, you know it’s not just for lazy people. There’s a neurological reset that occurs and you can develop so much brain asset and power from doing this type of thing and obviously also various other biological advancements. So tell us about the end of the day?
Alex: Yes sure so after the nap we go back to the 2nd half so in the morning we genuinely do one sort of, I call them daily, so we need to do tui na or acupuncture in the afternoon we would do the one that we didn’t do in the morning. And we’re not finished enough about 5 or 6 o clock, so within that time period, sort of 8:30 to 11:30 and then from 1:30 to 5 or 6 we treat about 50 to 60 patients each, everyday. So a lot like it’s massive the amount of patients that come through there for every single kind of condition but at the same time it’s so much fun and so interesting, that time completely fine, I feel that the whole day last about an hour
Paul: So cool. You were talking about perhaps engaging in some form of fast next year when you go back to china do you want to talk a little bit about that and what you’ve seen surrounding that and the people that have actually been involved in things like this extended fasts and the biological effects that had happened
Alex: Sure, so one of the things that I want to do in china next year is to learn what’s called “Neidan Meditation”, Neidan means internal alchemy. It’s a daoist form of meditation and it’s basically what’s attributed to, if anyone wants to google it, look out the Daoist Immortals and Neidan is spelled N E I space D A N and you can see a lot more about it there, though you won’t see many details because it’s relatively secret practice
Paul: I’ve gathered many people that heed the word Daoist Immortals and don’t want to look that stuff. It’s probably the coolest thing ever
Alex: Exactly right and that was first sort of grabbed my attention to start with. So, this meditation, it comes from Chinese medicine and also Chinese philosophy and through this meditation you should be able to control the internal processors that go on within your body, what organs are doing what and when and how. So you should be rather consciously control these things that your body takes care of normally
Paul: Amazing and there’s an internal, is it something that you never gave yourself? Or is there guidance to sure?
Alex: There’s definitely guidance and it’s different guidance that you need for this sort of thing. I would recommend anyone, well they can try it a lot of people do it anyway, a lot of people do like a 7 day fast or something like that and that’s no problem a bit, before you do it sitting there meditating, you want to make sure that you’re meditating on the right things. And to be honest I’m not quite sure what the specific processes I get, I’ll find out next year
Paul: Very cool, that’s amazing. Alex we’re winding up to the end of the interview I just want to ask you a couple of really quick questions about general wellness and what would you, what are some words of advice that you can offer the people listening to this about things they can do today, they can help create great essensive, vitality, health and wellness in your advice.
Alex: Ok, well, there’s 3 things that I find really, really important one of them, well the first thing and the easiest thing of the day is just time some sort of physical practice doesn’t matter what it is as long as you get your blood moving in the morning it doesn’t have to be hard either, you just need to warm your body up, you can stand there and swing your arms around or rotate your hips, it doesn’t matter, you need to do something in the morning to enliven your system. The 2nd would be, so mental practice, it does again, it doesn’t matter how long you would do it or a bit but I would say everyone needs to stand still or sit down and just close their eyes and just try and relax it doesn’t matter how long or if it’s 1 hour. It makes no difference like it will be extremely good for them. And then the last is just to make sure that you eat good food, that’s probably the biggest thing that affects people these days. Try not to eat things that are too cold and too sugary in the mornings and just go with what you feel really
Paul: Love it, love it just beauty and simplicity of those words that’s really great. Alex I want to thank you once again for coming on the show. Your words were beautiful and I can’t wait to get these out to the rest of the people
Alex: Thanks so much Paul it was really good
Paul: There you have it guys, Alex the main with a great deal of knowledge and a very handsome face to boot. As I’ve mentioned first half of the podcast, I have been partaking in a 4 day colon cleanse, it’s been challenging in many different ways. I haven’t felt truly hungry at many aspects but what it has made me appreciate is taste and I’m really, really looking forward to tasting something other than, as I’ve mentioned before, saw dusts the only way to describe it but one thing I have noticed is my skin is a lot clearer, I’ve dropped a couple of pounds and my energy levels are a lot more stable. I’m going to go against my bitter instincts and not smash a burger as soon as I’ve finished this but rather have quite something bland in taste as Alex Powerlett has advised me, post fast. He said that my spleen has been deprived to certain nutrients so assaulting it with a whole barrage of different flavours could be not a wise move so I’m going to keep things pretty simple. On another note my yoga challenge is going awesomely. I did my first week with man flow yoga, I’ll put a link to it in the show note, I’ve moved on to like my yoga hero, he was the first person who got me on that mat, which was probably about 12 years ago his name is Brian Kirst, I’ve just signed up to his online program, it’s convenient, it’s really, really easy and convenient for me. I don’t have any tremendous amount of time so whenever I can find forty minutes to just do a flow session, I wack him on and a way I go it, I’ve got all sorts of visuals to keep you guys posted on various different social media tools. Alright that’s me for another week, thank you once again for your beautiful attention and I shall see you.