Under his Instagram handle, the Barefoot Sprinter, Graham Tuttle has gathered a lot of material explaining why barefoot walking can be beneficial and how our body is capable of getting healthy at any age. Today he talks with us about having the right mindset about moving our body.
We discuss in this interview:
- Finding the correct stimulus and exercise for our body
- The pain conversation and the performance conversation
- Health insurance and taking back control of our health
- Keeping sight of the body’s potential
- The role of pain as feedback
- Structure and functionality in the human body
- Movement and the right mindset to approach it
- Meditation and prayer
- The athletic mindset perspective
- Taking action
- Articulating points in the body
- Walking barefoot
Clint – On Instagram, I started following a person called Graham Tuttle, and his Instagram handle is the Barefoot Sprinter. The reason I started following Graham is because he started talking about barefoot walking to improve your feet and also the health of your lower limbs in general. And then he started talking about hanging from bars for your shoulders. And I’m like, hang on this is exactly the sort of things that we’ve been talking about on our podcast for the last few years that have not just helped me but other members of our community to reduce pain in those areas and improve mobility and so on. And so I reached out to Graham and he agreed to do this podcast today with us, which is exciting. He’s a strength and performance coach, he’s now based in California. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree, he studied kinesiology and exercise science and achieved the Dean’s list for academic performance. He has a huge following online. I am now part of his customer base having bought one of his programs, and I’ve been following along many of the lessons that he has provided as part of that course, which is all around the shoulders. And so that’s what I’m up to in the engagement that I’ve had so far with Graham has been brilliant. And so with that, I’d like to welcome Graham to this episode.
Graham – I appreciate you. It’s a pleasure to be welcomed and to be seen.
Clint – Well, thanks for joining us, my friend. Today we bantered about because you have got so much content, we bantered around what’s the best way to get a sort of a bite sized chunk here for a really valuable episode? And you made a really good point that everyone’s got different problems in different areas and that and that ultimately what we all have in common is a human body which has some fundamental human systems that we all need to get right. And so I’m going to hand over to you and I’d like to hear about what are some of the crucial aspects of a human body that we must get right, whether or not we’ve got rheumatoid or whether or not we’re a barefoot sprinter like yourself who’s in great shape.
Graham – So one of the things I think is valuable to start off from the beginning is we get this this segmented idea of populations where there’s athletes who are at the top of the food chain, and then we get our geriatric injured rehabilitative people or patients who get stuck in the swim pool and they’re doing aerobics, swimming, aerobics and stuff like that. So in some capacity, I think we have this bifurcated view of what the body is. And so we say, Oh, people that are super healthy, too young to fit their athletes and people that maybe have certain diagnosis, they have a certain they didn’t get the genetic roll of the dice. They no longer have this aspiration to have the capacity of their body. So personally, starting off, I had very poor eyesight. So what happens when I wear glasses is there’s two things I’m very far side, it’s a very thick glasses. You learn everything you see is magnified, so everything you’re looking at is bigger than it actually is and you don’t get peripheral vision meaning out to the side. So you can imagine if you put your blinders up, your hands up to the side of your eye, basically cuts off your ability to see things and move. And so because of that, I didn’t really develop much of this coordination, like I’d say an athletic field. So I was always kind of blocky and chunky in my movement and which is hard because the thing I always wanted to be was like a professional athlete, be able to play, be able to move. I did not take well out of sitting in school, I did not take well to just the sedentary lifestyle of like sitting there, listen, regurgitate.
Graham – So in this process, I grew up wanting so badly to be this idea of like some level of an athlete. I kind of was the undergirding of all the pursuits I took, like lifting weights and moving. Also, no one really teaches you this stuff when you’re in third grade or fourth grade P.E., you are kind of left to figure it out. I did a lot of bodybuilding stuff like that. But ultimately, what I really wanted to do was feel coordinated, I wanted to feel balanced, I wanted to feel healthy, I want to feel natural, and powerful. I just like the things that you look at an athlete and whether or not I could hit a baseball out of the park or dunk a basketball. It was kind of second to the point of like what I really just wanted to feel was like I felt like I knew how to use my body. It’s not like when you get in a new car for the first time or let’s just say you’re in a big truck and you don’t really know what to do. Once you get in a car, then you know when it fits like there’s this familiarity and in some capacity that was always the driving thing. I would train and do a lot of the movements and I would end up in these like ankle problems, foot problems, knee problems, back problems, and shoulder dislocations. It’s just my body wasn’t cooperating with the stimulus. I was putting on it and led to this thing where like the physical training. I was doing the right stuff by getting outside, moving, and being fit. Yet, I was constantly getting feedback from my body and it was just like anything from stiff back to disc problems, ankle sprains, and turf toe. I think it was a common experience for most people because, in some aspect, I guess maybe I kept pushing you a little bit further. It is because of this underlying drive and desire that I want to be athletic, I want to be the best, and I want to go and move and train and push myself. Whereas most people get through this first round of pain and painful feedback, maybe a first serious injury, and they kind of like back off. They say, I’m not really going to go and try to run anymore or maybe my plantar fasciitis gets bad. Maybe running is not going to be in the cards for me and this is very much a psychological process. In some capacity, even though the barefoot sprinter sounds like potentially intimidating, I don’t run barefoot. I’m not a masochist and I don’t do this stuff. But to me, sprinting is like the ultimate expression of physical exercise. If you can sprint as a human, a lot of stuff is going well. If you can hang or if you can swing or if you could throw, a lot of stuff is going well. Thus, I want to do is to say that your body is capable and the ability to be able to do things barefoot and coming from a place where my feet are playing fasciitis, achilles, tendonitis, turf toe, and metatarsal neuroma is all the problems people have. I started to have to unpack that. It led me to this process of letting me look at the body and figure out what was going on. Because I was at 22, 23, 25, 26 I just struggle to just accept that you either look really good and you just accept being in pain or you’re just naturally athletic and gifted or you’re just another. It’s like, I don’t want to just go to the gym and just do the vanity stuff and sacrifice feeling good in my body or the joints, which is what I had done. I obviously was aware that the genetics of being super athletic, coordinated, and being professional wasn’t in the cards for me. The problem is if you sit with those are the only two options you damn the rest of the population. What happens to the 98% of people who just like me who just weren’t there? I ultimately got to it and started to really test as a hypothesis is that assuming that the base level of nutrition and lifestyle choices that I mean, you’re somewhat outside. Thus, you’re not constantly doing something that you hate and you’re eating real food, those are like the foundation of a healthy body. When it comes to movement, if you give your body the right stimulus, which we could talk about though, what that looks like. It is just a general very simple overview and understanding of what the body is and how it could move a lot. Your body is really smart and it starts to do all this stuff together. In a sense, even if you’re 60 years old, some of the research you’re looking at plyometrics like jump roping and hopping, your body will still remodel and very smart tissue called fascia. That’s a connective tissue that wraps around our whole body and they will form together. So in a sense, it’s like you don’t have to sacrifice between looking good, being capable or athletic meaning having access to your body and that is true at any age. hen, also being healthy like those aren’t the same training. The same approach will accomplish all three of those. So that’s kind of where I’ve left me now, and I try to explain that as best I can via content and stuff to make it palatable for people.
Clint – Yeah, No, that’s so true, isn’t it? We do definitely compartmentalize ourselves to having a problem. Therefore, limited scope in the future, with our exercise versus, as you said. Those who feel healthy and well, and feel entitled therefore to do everything and ideally be pain-free. However, as you said, the vanity approach at the gym is going to lead to joint pains. Everyone I speak to at the gym who’s my age, often younger, is dealing with something you see between sets. They’re moving their shoulders and something’s not right.
Graham – Go right back to and it’s ironic, right? We train with machines and then we move like a machine and then we go, my shoulder hurts. Well, let me do another set.
Clint – I hear which is why I’m talking to you and why I haven’t had anyone on the show ever who lifts weights. You said a nice phrase earlier, and I forgot the exact phrase. However, it’s along the lines of the correct stimulus for every human body in terms of exercise and let’s explore that part.
Graham – Let’s just say I’ve had the pleasure and blessing in the last really year and a half, to travel up and down the country and to Canada. Just a pretty decent tour of a lot of the coaches and some of the best sneakers. Also, I’ve learned from a lot of people because ultimately I think there are two conversations there’s the pain conversation and the performance conversation. It’s easy to talk about the top basketball players, the top football or cricket rugby. You’re talking like all these elite athletes and it’s fun to talk about how we’re going to get Usain Bolt like 0.1 second faster on the track and running a minute faster in a marathon, that’s the performance. There’s a lot of people get really excited about that. Those are typically the things that people become physical therapist. Every single person I’ve ever talked to that would be a physical therapist. Oh, what do you do? I want to work with athletes. Well, guess what? That’s the quote unquote athlete you’re thinking of is not going to be the quintessential aspect of your client. Then, the other side is the pain thing and that’s where you get the ads seen on TV ads in America and that’s kind of the setup. There’s this how can we get you a pill, a product or a procedure to try and assuage your pain in that sense. There’s a whole lot of psychology that goes into a misunderstanding of what pain is and it gets very simple. There’s a pill you ingest to do something that allows you to numb out the sensation. It could also be a procedure, shot, injection, surgery, or something like that. Then a product, orthotics, braces, knee sleeves. The hardest part is that there is no money to be made and dead people and healthy people. For example, my mom had early onset Alzheimer’s and my dad’s Parkinson’s is more advanced case. They just had deep brain stimulation. Between the insurance companies, between the doctors and the specialists and the special specialists and the radio technicians, and the amount of X-rays. Then, you go to your nutritionist and you go to your physical therapist and you go to your surgeon, physical therapist. It’s like everyone, even though individually they’re doing what is a good with the best of intentions, collectively they form this overwhelming weight of just I feel now like my life has just got. We were talking about health insurance, okay? I have this basic health insurance and I feel like my life has gotten so expensive to maintain. The pressure of that I have to go and work and slaved away just to be able to afford to manage, not improve, and that’s the modern insurance is like this. The point is, if it’s not on the performance side, it’s in this pain conversation. The hardest part is that when you get beat down and just say when you don’t get this clear interaction. One of the things that I find with people like you, for example, that have taken ownership of their ability and it start with yourself. Thus, it’s always individual process. I’m going to take control back to my life, which I think the most damning thing of any single diagnosis is you now feel like I’ve lost control. I have this thing like, for example, it’s already we have immutable characteristics. I’m white, I’m a man, and whatever your height is like. But now it’s like on top and now you’ve got this thing. Then because of this, you get to this pill and this side effect. This pill, the side effect is going to visually where you don’t need the surgery. It’s like you feel like you’re piled on top of yourself and you never get to choose who you are or how you express yourself. It’s step like, I’m not going to just be a victim here. They take a step back and say, okay, maybe I need to do some research and I become empowered with the knowledge. Those people that then step back and they’re able to express themselves. Then, what ends up happening is you remove the layer between, I’m a doctor, it’s not a doctor patient. It’s the doctor who has to refer to the insurance company, who talks to the medical lab company, who orders the test, and then they go to the specialist. The phlebotomist who orders it, and then have some of the reviews that it gives the technician. Like there’s 17 points of information between doctor and patient. People who go and say, Hey, I’m a person you’re a person and let’s talk together. There’s a lot more passion and I think that’s like the natural electricity between people. When you and most of the people in your program, they feel like they’re finally talking to a person or someone that understands them. A person who sees them and honors them is not just another diagnosis or a broken specimen in the insurance chain and obviously different from country to country.
Graham – But in general, these large corporations incentivize care this way. All that to be said is you find that people are very passionate when they’re able to connect to the person. I think that’s happens a little bit more in the athletic side. I want to do is to blend these together and communicate in a way that you do this so that you can do that, and this is the biggest problem. You’ll go in and say physical therapist and say, Well, your shoulder is feeling a little iffy. Okay, let’s do some bend movements, let’s get some rotation, maybe some needling and cupping, and we’ll just hang. Then you can adjust like, well, maybe then your shoulder won’t hurt. They’ll also tell you should be careful when you’re lifting overhead. They probably told you you shouldn’t hang anymore if your shoulders are bothering you. They definitely told you that. You said you probably shouldn’t play squash or cricket. You should swing things like, okay, so what am I allowed to do now? It’s like you’re a four year old being told what you can and can’t do. This rehab work, because you just told me I couldn’t do anything. Same thing with knee pain or ankle pain. We probably shouldn’t ski anyway. What if I love the ski? What do you think about that? Well, no, because you’re not an athlete and it’s like you’re not on the performance side. Thus, we just have to manage it. It is just like drilling your thumbs, waiting to die. I think the only difference I have in terms of my communication is I don’t go and say, your feet should move so that you can run, jump, walk, hike, and stay in balance. It’s like connecting people to this dream that they once had. This is the thing when you look at anything that happens, a kid with this abduction or shooting. Anything that happens to kids, the reason it’s so terribly devastating is because of the loss of potential. Yet slowly over decades, we get used to this, like chipping away a little bit. Well, you’re 30 so you could hurt or you’re 40 and you’re going to be stiff. Well, you’re 50 and your knee is going to go. Well, 60 on your hips, or maybe you should look at hip replacement. It’s like it becomes you the environment we live in. Unfortunately, that just chips away at your ability to see yourself as any potential. Then it’s like, well, we should go to physical therapy because of your shoulder and it’s like maybe it won’t hurt. The only thing people can aspire to is just not to hurt. There’s no difference between not hurting you and being numb. The best you can aspire to is being numb. Then, you don’t have any dreams and your body is partly in your brain, but it’s this very intellectual system that is wired in your neurons, your parasympathetic and sympathetic feedback system. They could tell if you talk to a plant, you think about it. If you talk to a plant, the way doctors talk to people, plant would die. The plant will literally wither based off the energy you put into it. Then people go to a doctor, which is no sunlight, no natural air, and it’s just very sanitized. Now, you don’t see people’s faces and it’s like they get treated just like, well, how’s the medication or do we need up to dose like this? It’s like they literally, after getting beat down because they don’t get this this electric passion that you have. I see in your eyes like I see this person as a person and I can actually help them. For example, they lose it because they go, after 5 minutes for this person, I’m always running late and I have to see 100 people in an hour in a day. Then all of a sudden, sorry, I don’t have any energy to show up and treat you like a real person. The last thing I say because this is actually what I didn’t realize this much more personal than I was. I’ve spent a lot of time sitting with my dad, in his Parkinson’s. So Parkinson’s basically is a neurological disorder for those who don’t know where your brain stops functioning with dopamine, there’s not a clear onset of why it happens. I mean, there are a lot of potential things that go. But suffice it to say, I think almost all these neurodegenerative disorders, Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s, you name it. It has something to do with when we’re sick we don’t we longer get the stimulus we need, whether it’s sunlight, fresh air, we’re doing something. The brain isn’t healthy and we have this stress that builds up over time. Thus, we see this rising epidemic of it. But I would sit in and my dad, so I go sit with this doctor and the doctor is great. He is a really smart guy, definitely entrepreneurial-minded, and wants to get out there. I’m being an outsider, I just come in because I was very blessed and very grateful to be a healthy 29 and have a healthy 30 year old almost. It’s like, I don’t have this day to think of like, this isn’t my 10th year sitting and going to the doctor to be beaten up. Most people think they just, you got your doctor and your specialist and all you know them and it’s like, Oh, I have to do it again and it’s not new. I come in with a little bit of fresh perspective and I’m listening. The, my dad’s doctors ask questions about how you feel about this. How is your energy, how’s your sleep? Then, my dad just started talking. This is the closest thing to a social interaction that my dad gets in terms of somebody that is not related to him, that will ask him questions and listen. It’s so amazing to think that for most people, their primary care or the doctor, my dad pays extra to have a concierge for a doctor who will sit with them for more than 10 minutes, like a 30 minute session. Then you realize that, like most doctors, the weight of that is to be an expert. But people are so isolated, they’re so alone that the closest thing they have to a friend is the doctor. The only reason to go to their doctor is their pain and so there’s no way to dream bigger because it’s really tough. The doctor unfortunately doesn’t know everything. So they ask, how’s your eating been? Oh, well, I’m doing pretty well. It’s like they don’t know and they can’t replace you as a real friend. It’s tough because there are so many things. Ultimately, what I get to is when you look at any type of diagnosis and medical situation, it is far more than just the pain. It’s far more than just the physical sensation. It’s psychological, it’s an identity, or it’s your entire life shift and changes in a way that you just thought you were going in for a bum ankle. Also, you walk out with this thing where now I have a whole list of foods I can’t eat. I have things I have to stay away from. Then, I have new medications to be on. Then, I have a new specialist to talk to. By the way, my insurance premium hopefully doesn’t go up. If you’re not living in Australia, wherever it is and I don’t think people honor that. Then under the weight of that, they don’t have someone to talk to. They start to see themselves as not just a human. They go, I’m a human with this. Oh, I’m Graham, I’ve got this. Then because of that, you stop treating yourself as though you could be an athlete. An athlete is a very scalable thing and the loop is altogether. You get stuck in the pain camp, which is basically just, we’re going to shove you in this box and get you to pay this stuff until you die. It is because there’s no chance for you to get better. If we started to understand, the athlete is simply referring to your capacity to have autonomy and competency in your body. If that means you’re 65 and you now go from sitting on a couch to walking, that means you have now taken a step and it’s a spectrum. You’ve become more athletic because you went from sedentary to walking. If I go from walking to being able to jump rope for 5 minutes, that’s a step up. However, it does not mean you are dunking basketballs and it doesn’t matter just because that person is good at it that’s great, but it’s a spectrum. If you could get people to start to think about that any step they take towards more activity, more incorporation of their body. They become a more athletic individual, which means they are being healthy. It’s the same exact thing, it’s the same process. It’s how you bring hope back to people and that’s the biggest thing I see. Especially, when you get to a population of people per se that have a collective. Their identity is based on a collective diagnosis so to speak and it’s a lot there.
Clint – But yeah, I love it. I can see the passion coming through. Obviously, you’re been so heavily affected personally as well by the diagnosis of your dad and your mom both with those brain conditions. Then, tying that all into what you do professionally in the way that you help people and the way that you want to convey to us, I love the passion. It’s absolutely fantastic.
Graham – I didn’t answer the question either, but I have an answer for that now.
Clint – Well, let’s jump to that in a second and just a little note. I hosted a conference just recently where a couple of neuroscientists who are experts in treating Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, they’re called TheBrainDocs on Instagram. You might want to check them out and I’ll send you the link poster, but they’re Dean and Sherzai. They’re incredible people and that’s something to look into. Did you want to go with a systems or stimulus approach now for the human body?
Graham – Let me answer the question.
Clint – Yes, let’s go with that. I’ve got more questions now. In fact, I’ve actually increased the number of questions as opposed to decrease. It is because I then want to talk about how we instill an athletic mindset into people who are in that medical state. Yep, let’s do that too.
Graham – The most important part and so this is really what the conclusion if we’re doing a lot of stuff wrong in a sense. By wrong, I mean in a way that didn’t honor listening to the feedback. I thought I was kidding and that’s all pain this is as feedback. When you understand and listen to it, it grounds you in your body. Pain is the first teacher that really sorts you to say, Oh, this is hot or this is cold because it is a form of feedback. The thing that differentiates pain from all other feedback is it contracts your attention. If I touch something, it’s hot and it causes pain and it just means now my attention is there. I could have been having a great conversation, but I step on a rock and I got to pay attention. So anything that contracts your attention is simply a pain and that is a very broad definition. ain is literally it’s unquantifiable, it’s immeasurable, it’s individual, and it’s absolutely ubiquitous. Every single person knows what pain is and yet we don’t have a definition for it. So that’s what I thought a lot about, is like pain is something and it could be psychological, mental, and emotional. Generally in a physical realm, it’s just something that grabs your attention. By training and doing a lot of stuff that you’re grinding through (inaudible), like I’m doing a lot of bench press, for example. My shoulders are hurting, but I’m not honoring the fact that my body is giving me feedback. It’s pointing to, hey, something is there and it’s a little thing. If I pay attention to the little friction, let’s just say at the beginning, that didn’t feel very smooth and like that didn’t feel very natural. I can then make adjustments and say, maybe there’s something I’m not learning here. All that being said, I started to understand that if you train with machines, you move like a machine. I’m not talking about those fancy modern-day robotics. I’m talking about very blocky or like demolition crew things. But when you start to understand this is like there is a system that moves the body. So fundamentally, the modern medical establishment has been formed around the idea of cadaver science because it’s unethical to cut somebody open. It’s still alive and look at their body. So we’re kind of resigned to what happens when someone dies. Once someone dies, there are all kinds of dehydration aspects that have this rigor mortis. There’s even if you get someone immediately, they’re no longer pumping blood through the body. You can imagine this in a sense, like a car engine that runs out of oil seizes up. So the second there’s no oil, there’s no lubrication and there’s no life force flowing through it. There is no ability for this thing to operate as it would have. In the same way, when we look at cadaver science, we start to think we were able to create conjecture, think, and pontificate around the body. It’s like, this looks like this muscle and that this pulls on this and this, this here. We look at animal studies, we look at cadavers, and so we form this thing. In general, once you take away the living force of living circulation, what you are left with are muscles, ligaments, tendons, organs, bones, and skin. In a sense, it’s very like you get this structural thing. So if you Google Anatomy of a Human body and these are the pictures used to see, you see a skeleton. Then, you see a skeleton with muscles, these big red muscles that are doing that. Then, you also see nerves going around, blood vessels, organs, and it all is pretty clean. But if you look at a cadaver, they look nothing like that. If you look inside somebody, it is all this very throbbing, vibrant life tissue that flows together. The thing that is lost in this translation. The question to always ask when you hear medical studies. This is really important because if you can educate people on the framework for how to think about these things, you then give them an insight into what it is that they’re learning about. So, for example, if you’re looking in the RA community, the biggest thing you’re probably looking at what’s the newest study says. Like, what is the bias that informs the way the researcher was thinking about it? For example, I think there was Eric Weinstein or Brett Weinstein and he did research regarding this. He found out that the research that was done on mice to inform the longevity of all these cancers, they take lab mice, right? Like, all right, we’re looking at the telomere length and what happens when you give the mice certain drugs? Well, he found out that all the mice come from the same exact place and they all have the same genetic modification, have longer telomeres because they’re made for labs. What is the bias or is this a real comparison? This means that in vitro mouse versus a lab message, one specific modified. If every single thing is coming there, what is the underlying assumption that we’re no longer even thinking about? You step back and you realize it’s really hard to study. Like, let’s just say the first ten, 20, 30, and 5000 years of scientific physiological study have been done on cadavers.
Graham – What do we not see? For example, the first 20-30 years of study were done before bacteria were there. If you don’t consider bacteria, you may just think people are dying because they’ve got possessed by a spirit. It’s like, they got sepsis and that’s why they died, it’s like all these things. You look back and say, what was the underlying thing? So, figure one another deeper and what happens is we’re all faster. f you think of the plantar fascia, which is this tissue everyone knows, especially if you have plantar fasciitis. This layer of sheath of tissue on the bottom of your foot is basically a tendon, but fascia is another example. It’s like a sausage casing or if you look at a chicken breast. There’s that kind of film that wraps around the chicken breast fascia is this connective tissue, so it’s fibrin or it’s elastin. There’s a little bit of like there’s a collagen protein that wraps around in between those muscle fibers, which are like the individual cubicles. So to speak, that form up the actual base of the spindles, which are cells that run perpendicularly parallel to one another. A lot of them form like a bundle of sticks, so to speak. There’s fascia that wraps around that as the encasement. There’s fascia that wraps around that muscle as a whole. Then, there’s fascia that wraps around the entire system that goes from the tendon, which is the tissue that connects the muscle to the bone and wraps around the bones, around the organs, and creates the structure. When you look at this, instead of thinking of the body as this compressive Roman Roman Colosseum-like structure. Wherein, there’s a layer of rock that’s sitting on top of a column, sitting on top of a foundation and it’s very compressive. Everything is stacked on top of everything else. Then, you go to a chiropractor, you go to people who talk about alignment. They talk about things being just So this is the idea of posture, right? We set up with good posture. It’s like, Oh, what does that mean? I stack my body up correctly. But if everyone’s walking around and the Victorian era, this is what you see in previous understandings. The Victorian era of posture is familiar, it’s like chest back, shoulders upright, and we sit prim and proper. It’s like sitting in a deep squat as we look at an ancestral indigenous tribe. They’re sitting in a deep squat hunching over and eating things in their hands. It’s very brutish and savage, and to be very prim and proper to sit upright. Pulling your shoulders back and using utensils, it’s like you see the opposite of that. So is one better than the other? No. They’re both shapes you can make, but you start to see this idea of like we think of the body. It is because we’re used to looking and saying, the bones, the knee bone sits on the thigh bone. You kind of like just the way you’re taught as kids and say, oh, muscles move, muscles and bones form the structure. But the thing is, the bones are not supposed to touch one another because everything is suspended in this matrix. Another example of fascia is called a pin integrity system, meaning that everything is connected. When one part contracts, another part contracts, you can think about the fibers in your T-shirt. If I grab the bottom of my T-shirt and make a fist, it pulls. I could feel a pinch in every other part because all of the fibers are connected sending a spiderweb. If I pull on one side, the rest of the spiderweb goes. When one part gets rejected, everything else as well gets rejected. But when one part expands, everything else expands because the system is both the structure and the form.
Graham – Now, this is very hard to understand if all you’re looking at is a dead person on the table and if you’re looking at someone that by the time they’re moving, because this fascia is not just a set of tissues in the same way that you look at skin, for example, obviously we understand that if you have a sun dried tomato versus a tomato, the only difference is hydration, it just sucked out. So there’s this kind of shrinking that happens. So that’s one aspect. But in real life, fascia is constantly being layered down by something called fibroblasts, which basically are these tissues that are building in a sense of laying it out. And you can think of it like snow falling over the ground. If you’ve ever been out like you watch snow, I don’t know if it snows and I’ll show you much, but you see the snow, it’s constantly laying. So you go out, you shovel the driveway, you clear it out. But guess what? If you don’t continue to shovel it out, the snow gathers. And so that’s where you can think if I sit down for long and I wake up, I’m like, oh, my hamstring will be stiff or I’m sleeping my hands feel like, I will get out of bed as the quintessential sign is I was fine. I didn’t do anything. I went to sleep and I wake up and my feet feel like they’re on fire. They’re pins and needles. And I feel like a step like, Oh, let me stretch out my toes. What’s happening is that in the period of sedentary existence, the fibroblasts are now laying down stuff. And so if you haven’t shoveled the snow pile and movement is how we do that. So meaning if I have a well trodden path, even if it’s snowing, it’s going to just by nature the fact that it’s being used. You look at humans where it movement comes before consciousness, the ability to move came before the ability to be consciously aware of it. So meaning if I’m a single-celled bacteria, I don’t need to be conscious of stuff. I need to know that light is good, dark is bad, acid is hot, or this is good. I’m moving in response to my environment. Movement is the thing that fuels every other aspect of our existence. If I have movement, then this whole system starts to say in tune and in flux. The problem is when I have a whole anything, whether it’s a diagnosis, whether it’s a misunderstanding for training, whether it’s an allocation and athleticism is only for some people. You shouldn’t really go do this because it’s dangerous in bed. Anytime I advocate movement, I decided that I shouldn’t go jump or bounce because it’s too much for my feet. I got plantar fasciitis or I need to wear an orthotic or stiff shoe or a brace, or I have to wear crutches. Anything that abdicates movement means that this layering these fibroblasts cells that are layering, the snow is falling that creates this buildup. Then, you see what happens when they get built up. You push the snow over to the side and you get these big ice blocks. Now, in some places, that’s totally fine because that forms the general structure of the body. So your IT van, your Ilio tibial van, that long thing that runs from your hip down to the bottom of your knee on each side, that is all fascia and every connective tissue. So the difference, is it’s like it’s all tissue at the same time. The way to think about this is the highway system. If you have a long highway that runs up to, say, the east coast of Australia. At some point, it’s going to be two lanes or it’s going to be five lanes or it’s going to go back to three. It’s the same road and it’s the same length. For example, I had a car that was driving outside and there was a pileup or an accident somewhere else, it feeds back and impacts everything else. However, it’s got different widths and different capacities. At some point, the fascia chain will expand to accommodate for tissue within the fascia muscle to be circulated. This is important because I need to get blood flow to this to allow it to regenerate. It is because I’m holding on to something for leverage. This is where you look at say all the same tissue, but there are different proportions to it. When I look at something like an iliotibial band, which is part of a long highway that goes from my feet all the way up to my the side of my neck and to my ears, that long thing. I don’t want much movement unless my femur is breaking in half that tibial band should not be moving very much, and in some cases this is good. You don’t want to sit there and roll on some smash and cause pain in some areas. But what you look at and you could study, this becomes all the way back to the beginning. The value of looking at athletes and not just saying, they’re doing a performance thing like dunking and jumping and running, and all this stuff is just for them. It’s because they formed the highest expression and movement. Now it’s a scalar, meaning if you’re dunking, it might just be jumping in place or holding on to something. Thus, I’m supporting myself in bouncing or I might not even believe in the ground. I’m just bouncing up with my toes on the ground and doing like basic jump ropes without leaving the ground. That’s the same movement, but in the same way that the military or an asset creates the highest expression of technological capacity. Then, they get filtered down to general use. Formula One racing starts to create the highest output for cars. You see, sport in the high-tech analogy filters down. You want to look and say, what are the movement patterns required or what are the systems required? Because when you look at the Masai tribe, for example, there’s this tribe in Africa that is been of importance since late. These kids 15 to 20 years old, just bouncing 30 inches off the ground and their other hands are by their sides. They’re literally bouncing 25-30 inches in. They’re barefoot and they’re not even been in their knees. You look at these top runners that are running and they’re just they’re hitting the ground. They’re running 100 meters in under 10 seconds and it’s mind-blowing. You realize that’s not happening from this like attract muscle thing. For example, bodybuilders don’t look like really good athletes in large part because they’re not they’re training muscle and bone. If I think about how I organize this so we can pause and come back to actual tangible things, I’ll talk about how this works. The greatest thing you can understand is the system that enables you to either feel stuck or bound to contract it in. It is like a spiderweb cocoon is pulling you in and contracting and locking down, which is really what happens in Parkinson, for example, or even in rheumatoid arthritis. When you start moving, you feel my calves get stiff, I must have everything that feels just stiffer. We’re dehydrated and it’s like you’re slowly looking at Benjamin Button kind of thing, but it’s the opposite of that. Elderly people become dehydrated and stiff. They shrink and lose size in their physical form that is inter which is informed by the facial skeleton. Meaning, under your skin, you have a whole set of fascia that wraps around everything that is either getting stretched, opened, or lengthened. It feels so good to do things that just pull your palm hanging or it’s not. You’re contracting slowly and being pulled in by gravity and everything, contracting and squeezing you down to a core. That’s the thing, because once you understand that, it puts a whole different importance on movement and it changes your entire perspective on a factor like pain just means that gears are grinding my, my brakes are now rotating and things are being broken down. And all I’m saying, okay, well, maybe there’s a whole set of movements we want to explore that open you up, and that is accessible to everybody. And it’s also the exact same thing that will lead you to a better performance and an athletic capacity. But it only happens when you think about opening up and enlightening myself. As opposed to thinking, how do I just maintain and hold a position? Those two mindsets will take you to dramatically different places.
Clint – So good, so good. This also explains why in your materials and in your online content. You aren’t compartmentalized into one area with the connectivity of the fascia and the illustration you gave off. Grabbing hold, squeezing your t-shirt, and having it pull all through was this fabulous illustration because the body is all connected. You’re not just working on one area, not now, you’re addressing everything. I was so surprised to see in your materials that we’re working on shoulders in one of your course materials. We’re actually also dealing with our hands and we’re breathing, and we’re doing all these things. I’m like, okay, this is very different because it feels very 360-degree approach for a problem that is a 360-degree issue. Also, rather than just isolating that area like at a physical therapist and I love it. Let’s now explore some of those specifics. I also don’t want to let you off the hook with talking about how we instill that mindset of athleticism. I know it’s a word that’s not used much in our community. Not many people would say I’m athletic or I’m an athlete with rheumatoid. There are some famous surfers and there are some famous tennis players, but how can we all tap into that? Is it affirmations or is it visualizations or is it conversations we have? I mean, what can we do to get that mindset like that?
Graham – I’ll start with that one first because this is why before I consider the affirmations of visualization. Maybe this is bio neurosis, but if I don’t understand the context, nothing else has meaning. If I can’t paint the big picture for what is it that I am aspiring towards, in a sense, then I don’t know what to aim for. I think it is this idea I’ve been thinking about a lot, the idea of meditation and prayer. Even though they’ve been ascribed to a more religious context, the words themselves are just words and we ascribe to the meaning. But when you think of meditation, it’s to listen, to pause, to pay attention, and to think. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s just I turn to close my eyes because it’s just to observe. If I sit here and just pay attention, meaning I’m just absorbing feedback and listening to my body, I’m in a sense meditating. I wake up and I just sit on your bed and just think, do a little assessment. I just move my shoulders and that feels good or my fingers feel stiff. I’m just meditating, sitting, and being in a moment. This prayer is really practice because it is just to show up and do it. So, for example, I use the example of Kobe Bryant. The reason he was such a phenomenal basketball player is that he prayed every day about it and it is what you go and do. It’s not a mindset of like, I’m going to just go home. It’s like, let me go and transmute this into actual action, and I show up and do that stuff. It’s my really most valuable thing is to empower people to understand that the process of meditation and prayer happens within yourself. Thus, my body is the most beautiful thing that has been honed over millions of years of slight little improvements or slight little adjustments. It can tell you, like the number of things that we just stopped being able to do. But like the humidity, temperature, space, and feeling of energy. Just being able to like, I get a good feeling about the person or not.
Graham – The idea is that your gut, the microbiome, and who knows if it’s even our body versus just the bacteria that live in our macro or acid mantle and all this stuff. The point is just to say that, but you don’t do that. If you don’t, at the very least say like, I matter and I have the capacity. I’m important and just to say self-love. I said, you do have self-esteem and everyone has valued worth. It’s like, what’s the point of that? But the point is to listen to yourself because if you listen to yourself and say, you could just say from a very basic human dignity thing, I’m a human and I exist. Well, the hard part is we do a utilitarian thing because if you get a diagnosis and now you’re not as useful as the person who’s healthy. Well, guess what? You’re not as useful. You’re not as worthwhile as a human and that’s a whole different level of like, especially for someone that’s used to being able to perform the move to be a worker, a provider, and all said you’ve been damned by diagnosis. If your version of worth is a utilitarian version where it’s like, I was a beautiful car and now I’ve got this massive scratch, or I’m missing an engine, like I’m no longer a car. For example, a car that doesn’t run, let’s say a car that isn’t a tire, is it a car in a sense. We understand that in terms of like material objects. But then when it comes to people, there’s a whole different level of like, how do we understand this? In a sense, this is part of the modern expression of understanding a wider array of what it is to be a human. It’s more than just our physical capacity, what we can or can’t do, because obviously that’s limited. But we look and say at some level, if we understand beauty and the intricacy of what something is able to do. For example, if we only ascribe to the one hierarchy of athleticism. Then say, well, the most worthy human is the one who wins the decathlon or the Olympics. For example, they can run, they could jump, and they could do all the stuff. The most worthy human the best athlete like Michael Jordan, so to speak. Well, then guess what? Everybody else is less worthy, so that’s where people go. They buy into that because their whole identity is like being an athlete and they can’t let go of it. When it’s there, you get injured and that’s another side. But then you look at say, well, the person that is able to fill their own purpose. This is where the change isn’t about visualization and affirmation, it’s about gratitude. Simply understanding that when you look at your pain as a sensation. Let’s say we have a tool, for example, like an antenna that gets more is able to open up and receive more feedback is more valuable than intended. For example, in eyesight, we can see a certain amount of visual light per spectrum. But guess what? We can’t see what insects see and you can’t see all this stuff. They have a more sensitive feedback system now that also, if they’re not aware of that, can feel overwhelmed. You can look at someone who’s this is again, this is my hypothetical projection. I can’t say that this is like I think belief is very important.If you choose to believe something, this to me would be the value of my own experience with choice. It just didn’t hold up as much as a lot of people that did a lot more than me and had a lot less pain to me. Okay, so what I’ve had to learn 11 shoulder dislocations later is I better learn how things works really well. In a sense, the pain is an invitation to learn about your body. It’s not that you have, let’s say, a liability and say you’re going to be it’s an invitation. Maybe it’s a call in whatever you want to say that tells you you will learn how to use your body in a way. Just because you by nature have a lower threshold for movement. I can’t just run anyway and I can’t just jump. I can’t just throw any old way and I can’t just do things mindlessly. Also, I have to be present and patient. There’s an idea that people that go to practice that we think are like monks who are very present and very integrated into their bodies. It’s like we honor those people because they’ve practiced and done this stuff. But in the same way, pain is the first teacher and it doesn’t form us. Someone who can understand pain as a gift that just allows me when I’m doing something that’s not right for my body, people with aura that they’re very clear. You get a set aside near the canary in the coal mine for, it’s not that I can’t do this thing. It’s just that you shouldn’t be doing this thing either. It’s just not you haven’t figured it out yet. I’m getting the warning signal 10-20 years earlier than you. But it’s not that I am incapable of doing the thing. I have to be more integrated and mindful of my movement. The harder it is though, because in substances, the longer you wait before you really perceive it. In that sense, you do get degradation of the body. These are the idea of consequences. It’s not just like, I’ve had a for 30 years or 40 years and I’ve had degradation of my joints, there’s going to be a different set of possibilities. But if you start to understand that pain isn’t a damning thing, it’s just really good feedback. I’ll take this from a different example. Let’s say in a relationship and someone who’s emotionally sensitive, well, they’re going to be more conscientious. If I said something that was mean, I’m really sorry that was insensitive and I didn’t mean to hurt. Even though it’s not that big of a deal, we appreciate when someone else acknowledges that we’re not just getting busted over. The person who’s kind of oblivious is low on a conscientious scale is just going to, like, steamroll everybody else. Well, it’s not you’re feeling it’s not my responsibility to do whatever. Those are the people that we tend to like to be around because they’re conscientious. If you thought of your relationship with yourself in that same way. The pain you feel physically is saying, hey, that didn’t feel like nice. Maybe there’s something to rethink about this movement pattern. Thus, if you start to look at pain as feedback and when something isn’t true for you, meaning it does not honor the system. The thing that you’ve been blessed with, is this amazing and beautiful body. By looking at that thing as an amazing and beautiful thing, you then aspire towards the beauty which is you and that gives you a way to honor yourself.
Graham – It goes back to it’s not just about your utility, it’s about the fact that you have this beautiful and finely crafted thing. Instead of thinking, I’ve got a diagnosis, I’m broken, I’m bad, I’m flawed and I’m worthless, You say, I’m here for that and there’s a reason that I exist in the way in the frame. Potentially there are things with the food, with the things that are inflammatory to me. Thus, let me honor that and look at that. But beyond that, what if I thought about the things that there’s something for me to explore. Wherein, most people will never get to explore because they’re just kind of oblivious in a sense. There’s a whole level of curiosity and gratitude that’s more than just wishful thinking because it does position a place to be curious. When you’re curious, you explore. When you explore without comparison and limitations on someone else saying, you’ve got this and you can’t do this. You see something no one else has thought about. For example, this might be a mis telling of the story. The wheel and it’s simply like the Greeks had the wheel, like chariots in different places or like different civilizations had the wheel. It’s maybe a misspelling of this, but I’m fairly certain the Native Americans had a pottery wheel that spun this way. However, they never thought to turn it sideways and just as a roll. The point is, we don’t know when we’re looking at something. Do you ever like see those pictures that got like two different meanings? Once you see it, you can’t unsee it. But so often with our bodies, we’re looking at both the question and the answer. We just only see the question and we only see the out. Maybe we only see the answer, but it creates this judgment and negativity that then limits how we could even possibly comprehend this. Thus, it creates the thing of I can’t think about an athlete. It is because I’m not expanding with the curiosity of what that means. This goes back to the point of once you determine and define athleticism. It is the ability to have competency within it is to move on a spectrum that is to honor the frame and move in a direction that is towards better competency as a physical being. Thus, you go from sitting to walking or to walking to running or walking to jumping, to jumping to running. Even in the slightest small thing and for small amounts, just any modicum of moving forward into that capacity is moving on. The spectrum of that is it’s a scale and it’s not a binary yes or no. Yes or no is a scary place because if you get injured, you’re no longer an athlete and that’s a whole identity crisis. But if you thought about it as a motivation and say, I can become more athletic or it can become less athletic based on my capacity to honor that system. Now, that’s important because that mindset, along with the visual. Also, the gratitude to say, my body’s just going to be really attuned to what I can only move like a really good athlete. Instead of thinking I just need to go up and do some exercise, and go to the gym and do the thing. It’s like, No, I need to study what the best surfers look like. The best skateboard is or what the best weightlifters. I need to mimic and hold myself to the highest standard. By holding yourself to the highest standard, you show up with the most meaningful form of meditation and practice. Then, you express your highest form in spite of or in action. In spite of this diagnosis, so to speak, and so there’s a lot of psychology there. But that’s why I start with this big picture the body is not simply muscle and bones stacked on top of one another. As you’ve been told, for most societies, it is really the system that if you start to honor the fact that these long lines. This is the next thing we talk about. This is the tangible what can they do today to start to feel better and feel the system? That’s where you start to understand actually, just like a spider web. When I start to open up and release my clench to the bottom of my shirt, the whole shirt starts to relax. What can I do to start to restore different areas of my body? Then, the entire thing is not lost to me the idea of being enlightened. Being enlightened is like letting go of the friction which seeks to hold you down. It enlightens you because you are enlightened, you are lighter, and these limiting beliefs. This gravity or this thing that is holding them in space is contractions like muscles, contract gravity presses down. These things can find is shapeless and to be enlightened is to let go, to be unencumbered. These are so valuable and there’s so much in the etymology of these words that then can literally inform us how to use our body so well.
Clint – Okay, So if I’m now to sort of try and I won’t do this justice, to try and put that in the simplest possible way for us to to think through. So I guess we’re all athletic, as you said, the gift of this perfect, beautiful body based on such a huge amount of evolutionary time that we are already gifted with something absolutely beautiful and unique. And that being able to do any form of physical activity is a step into a direction of ultimately a scale of either at the sort of beginner end and the professional athlete end. And to be able to have that beautiful body, all already should be enough for us to apply deep gratitude. The process of deep gratitude is the connection that we need to make to then be able to explore further degrees of athleticism of which we already are part of. So that we’re not distinct from other athletes, we are just in a part of the spectrum that isn’t as much seen on TV, for example. And then we can proceed to explore with gratitude that we’ve already been given this vehicle of expression, our human body that’s beautiful and just move along using some guidance like you provide and other experts. So that we can explore that a little further with systems that apply to all human beings.
Graham – Amazing. One quote that I think will summarize that perfectly is swimming is the thing you start doing when you stop judging yourself for having bad technique. Meaning you’re in the water moving and you’re not drowning, you’re swimming. And yet how many people think that they can’t swim because they’re like, Well, I don’t I don’t know how to do it. No one taught me and I bad, I’m afraid. You can be afraid, you can look sloppy, it can be bad, you may have no idea what you’re doing If you’re not drowning, guess what? You’re swimming. And the second, oh I like to swim. If you just spent it, like, if the barrier that stops you from even trying is the judgment, you’ll never do it. But if you go I’m kind of treading water, swimming is cool. And so like, I’ll try. And you said, Naturally, as humans, we have this interesting capacity to take a little step further. Oh, maybe I could go from here to here, maybe go from here to here. And so you kind of like you could do a lap and like, that’s amazing. Like that, right there is the whole thing in this side. The other qualifier to that, and I think this is really important because as with every progression, take a long arc of history bends liberal and I think there’s a huge progression to this more body awareness, body acceptance, which I think is valuable.
Graham – But it’s always important to understand that there is personal responsibility in this. For example, there are some foods and some things and this is the hard part, there’s two parts to this, one of which the only role, let’s say only, but I say the primary role of a government should be to provide the simplest way for humans to manifest healthy, safe existence. The water should be clean, air should be fresh, the water should be fresh, air should be clean, the food should be real, and the money should be consistent, in a sense. When you start to see governments that take advantage of that and let’s just maybe not so much in other countries, but I know in America there’s definitely examples of like advocating response, but the water is just dirty. It’s like that’s not acceptable in a sense, because for the people, there should be in the same way with your kids, you would want your kids to know that, like the tap water is whatever we drink out of the fridge is at least safe. Like you would want to know that there is a bare minimum because when they’re not worried about their constant existential safety, they’re able to explore. So in a sense that government does that. So that’s the hard part because when people are eating what they’re told to eat or drink of the water, they’re told to drink and there’s toxins or things in it that’s not their fault. That is that is a travesty. That is a travesty and a failure of leadership message when you look and say, because you’ll find out that like, oh, using these chemicals. In America, there’s all kinds of like red 40 and things like that that are just still in food, that are very legal in other countries yet which is there. So that’s a tragedy and a failure in leadership, but that still has real ramifications. The other side of that, though, is let’s say we know some foods are going to be more inflammatory for the body, and that definitely plays a role in the progression of rheumatoid arthritis. If you find out that you didn’t know beforehand, now you do. It’s not your fault what happen but at this point, moving now you’ve had the naivete ripped off. There is a responsibility and let’s just say you do say, I know I shouldn’t eat this, but whatever. And then ten or 20 years later you decide to take it seriously. The hardest part of this is that there are real consequences in a sense. So you want to be able to go and say the body positive, except everything you said is beautiful. Also realize that the time, the harshness of life is youth is wasted on the young. We learn things, we can’t go back and then do them. And so as soon as you start to get this painful feedback from your body, the longer you ignore that painful feedback, the more you’re digging yourself a hole. And so within that, there is still you get the best time to start with yesterday, the next best time to start is right now. So it is still upward movement.
Graham – So everything you said, you’re still on this path, but the longer you go and you emotionally, first off, you fight it with like every tool, every pill, everything like that. And then you start to fight it with emotions, you’re just angry, resentful, and you start to realize this beautiful quote from Anthony de Melo is beautiful thinker, but it’s basically this man’s yard has dandelions all over the place. It’s just horrible. It’s like he’s tried all the different assets within his means to do it. So he writes a letter to the Department of Agriculture and says, I’ve got these dandelions, this is what I’ve done. And eventually the reply comes back. Take some time. They go, Well, we suggest you learn to love it. And so at first he hated it and he tried everything with as a means to go and use chemicals, use spray, you pick them up this stuff, and he couldn’t get it away. Then he just got angry and mad and he’s like, well, you know, resentful and negative energy and focus and just wishing it all the way. And finally he just sort of have a conversation. And so it was like the point is that dandelions were, if you personify them were uncertain because this is someone trying to kill us many times. So eventually, after the conversation, they start to open up and it goes from bitterness to acceptance to friendliness, congenial to eventually loving. And so the tagline to the story is that at the end of the day, there’s consequences because my yard was ruined, but my garden was beautiful. In a sense it’s like and it’s not so much just a simple change of perception, but it’s like the initial thing he had viewed for himself based off some arbitrary model of desire, externally focused. Meaning, I’m going to have this beautiful yard, it’s perfect and larger, and the grass, even the lines are perfect and go like, well, it’s not like lawn anymore, but it’s a garden because there’s all these pretty dandelions and flowers and stuff. And again, I know that it’s hard to walk that line of like not being is wishful thinking and semantics because it is a real painful thing and it is a real situation. But so much of this is like, look at what you have and understand that there is ample movement in any direction, but the quicker you start to bring yourself emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually, ideologically around to looking at things for what they are, which is my version, like love is to see things clearly. The quickier, is to love yourself and just to be. This is what we got, this is where we’re at. Like, let’s start here and honor the fact that there is something to be learned from here. These are got it’s just don’t forget that there are consequences for ignoring what your body is telling you.
Clint – Yeah, totally. You know, like in descriptive terms, you know, it’s a progressive and debilitating and ongoing disease that we have to take massive action basically against ongoing progression. And as you said, yesterday was the best place to start, but if not right now. Sometimes in these conversations I’ll have with others, I feel like there is some sort of like a preamble, if you like, before we get to the good stuff in inverted commas. I actually feel that the conversation we’ve had so, so far is the good stuff because your content is so freely available online, you’ve got so much stuff on Instagram, the Barefoot Sprinter, it’s just so helpful with short tips. In fact, it’s a great illustration for ways that I’d like to improve my channel where you’ve got really useful stuff in really like entertaining and valuable clips that can be implemented easily for folks who are interested in this stuff. And it’s great. But what we don’t get on Instagram, what we don’t get through other channels is the content that you’ve shared with us about the spirituality, the deepness behind this, the mindset, the philosophy, the concepts around whole body movement and that non sort of tactical but more philosophical stuff is just so valuable. And that goes much deeper than just a quick tip around a joint, right? Of which we know that you have endless supply. But, I just wanted to throw value back on all that we’ve talked about and, and now we, let’s just, let’s now go on to tangible things, but we don’t need to go into every single joint or let’s just talk some tangible tips for us in terms of whole body improvement philosophy, please.
Graham – Absolutely. So to give credence what you’re saying, the entire structure set up in a way that I understand that if I just are talking about this stuff, there’s a lot of preconceived notions about like spirituality, what it means, and like etymology of words and stuff. We never give it a fresh look. And so the goal is to say that I’ve got a foot program in hip program and a shoulder program, relatively speaking, because that’s how people have been trained become the social media the first instinct someone has is very simple words, very small, very direct, very meaningful, very actual, I can do that. To empower someone to just if I can give from never having known you to you watch something, you raise your arm, then it’s a win, it’s a step in the right direction. And now it’s a dollar to start the trial. Okay, I’ll try that. Oh, this will work. I’ll do the program and then the program slowly, you’ll see the language is like we’ll talk about the stuff as slowly. I start to see in ideas around diagnoses and beliefs and how your body sort of. It’s like it’s a little seeding through the first three programs to kind of relaunch your body. Then a lot of the spiritual stuff is really come with the break of like that more combined, like let’s start to work on some of these interior things. So after a span of six months with four books and understanding this stuff, it’s like you’ve gone on a journey because you can’t speak to children in a way that adults do in a sense. And it’s not to belittle people, but I’m saying literally, you don’t speak to children in the same way you would speak to a fully grown 50 year old adult that’s had a lot of experience. So you talk to people and you go through this and you start to every single step is a little bit more than what to do. But you empower them, educate them, and there’s a journey you go across. And so if the body is nothing more than a tool for our ultimate development and self-understanding, I think that’s the most important part of the whole criteria is to start to look at that. So but to give people these very simple things to start looking at.
Graham – What I want you to start to visualize is most if there’s low hanging fruit for anything is to take your shoes off. So now what I want you to visualize is you have a shirt and you hold like we did the analogy earlier, you grab the bottom of your shirt in the fist, you pull down now because you’re condensing a lot of fabric and you’re pulling you’re creating a tension everywhere else. So I’ll say this way, there are six articulating points of the body. You get your right foot, your left foot, your right hand, your left hand, you get your pelvic floor, meaning literally your ability to contract the sphincters at your anus and at your uterus and for a minute a vagina. Those are the six areas that we can start to think about, like, oh, I have capacity to do this. And so just like the end of a chain, if I’m pulling on something, I want to create tension. So these areas, the hands, the feet, the jaw and the pelvic floor are what we can do to create tension because like everything else is in the middle, it has a beginning and end. Whereas the fingers I grab and I latch on. So there’s open and closed movement, meaning my bicep, the section between my shoulder, my elbow. They can only there’s only so much movement available because the bones don’t move so much my fingers can grab and the more things they can grab different positions, different leverages they can get. And every time I grab in a different pronation, meaning a different ankle or a wrist position, or every time I use my feet and I’m on my toes or I engage with things or I grab my jaw, those create tension throughout the rest of the body. So from those points you want to think, How can I start to create motion and movement there and restore circulation to the tissue then opens up. Because ultimately, even though the cell is to say, do this exercise, do the exercise, this exercise, my underlying belief is that health and vitality should be democratized and decentralized. You shouldn’t have to go through some mediating authority to have access to your body. This idea of like walking, and when you talk about like shoveling snow off the driveway or just walking on a path, those things happen naturally. And there will be, especially when it comes to the feet, if you’ve not moved your feet or your toes in decades, there’s going to be a little bit of a learning period where you have to say, okay, how do I start to just like learning Chopsticks is a skill involved, which will be frustrating and it’ll take time at first. But as soon as you get over the hump of this base level, understanding the very activities of your daily life will keep you healthy.
Graham – My thought is you have to look at what blocks the feedback that prevents that from happening. Meaning if my toes and feet should be natural. For example, we don’t get ingrown toenails on our fingers, right? We don’t get ingrown fingernails. We don’t get metatarsalgia, which is like pain in the bottom of the foot. Basically metatarsalgia and aromas. Or when there’s compression on the side of the foot and it squeezes in between those nerve compression inside that we don’t get those. We don’t get turf toe at our thumb. There’s obviously some of these are going to be different when you look at the arthritis of the thumb and some of those and there’s a whole lot that goes into the grip and the strength of that position. So as you’re seeing with the upper body program, the mood trust, the hand positions you go through, it’s very weird. But you think, Oh wow, why can’t I actually move these fingers? And so when we start to look at that, the inability to move fingers individually, independently creates a stiffness at the risk that then put the pressure on the nerves going in and creates a loss of movement at the bar and the hypothetical or the hypothetical imminence. So those are the fancy word for the palm of the thumb or the palm of the pinky. But the same thing with the toes. If you haven’t moved those, what happens is if you can move your toes and you walk barefoot or at least you have some access, they naturally get they get circulated, they get movement, they get pressure, they get stimulus. But when you have something that blocks the feedback, we then have a problem. And so that doesn’t mean shoes are bad. Shoes are an amazing technology to protect your feet, keeps them warm and doesn’t let them keep them safe, so to speak. The problem is that the ability to continue to take a pill and numb the softer is more comfortable, is better.
Graham – And so you get something where there’s one last, which is one foot shape that is used to make all shoes, regardless of the shape of the shoe. And regardless of the fact that just like your hand can make many different shapes, your foot is able to make many different shapes as well. One example that people don’t think about is the quintessential signal for I’m doing good as a thumbs up. It means I have access to flex and extend my four digits and my thumb is working opposed of those. Meaning my thumb can move, my fingers can flex, and my thumb can extend, meaning I have access to my hand. And if I have access to my hands on both sides, I’m okay. I’m doing good. Like we said, we don’t think about these positions. Like, what are they signaling? Why does okay, some signal that that’s what’s going on now. You should go do that for your toes as well. You should go to flex your toes and extend your big toe. Very painful and very difficult for a lot of people to do. Now, if I am wearing shoes that are either thick or they’re supportive shoes, they’re orthotics or have an ankle brace or I’ve got some type of like something that holds the toes in place or I’ve had surgeries that prevents the actual feedback from just as I walk the day and move, I would have to. Your balance gets better as you’re able to move your toes your health of the tissue in between your bones and the actual muscles and tissue in there that improves these things happen naturally. One last point of that is the calves function as a second pump of the heart, Meaning if I walk, people talk about how walking is so good for getting blood flow. Well, it’s actually if you look at it, if you stood beside your desk and didn’t even walk, but just did catchphrases like 20, 30, 50, 100 catchphrases and kind of bounce up and down, that’s more effective than 20 minute walk because you’re actually pumping blood back up. So the way the blood system works is that your heart pumps blood out through your arteries, which have a vascular constrictive aspect that continues to reverberate that pump and pushes through all the way to the arterioles, to the capillaries, which exchanges down at the wherever, the blood, the oxygen is going to go because of carbon dioxide. Veins don’t have that same constrictive timber, constrictive feedback. So they only have venules or the veins and veins they have. So basically they block backflow of the blood. The blood can squeeze through, but then they get kind of daisy cups that close off and prevent backflow. But you could see that if I have gravity working and working with the heart to pump blood, all of it under my feet, I give this edema, the swelling, and if my toes don’t move, think about like.
Graham – It’s not ironic that most diabetics lose access to their toes and they have foot amputation, toe amputation. It actually has a lot less to do with the disease diabetes, and much more to do with the underlying loss of movement and healthy. Because in general, this type one diabetics are a whole different thing. Type two diabetics where they’re not moving, they don’t have the circulation well they’re not getting motion to the toes. And just like frostbite, if I can move and get circulation to this. And so I have to have it, I don’t lose access to my fingers. And so the toes are same thing. If I can’t even move my toes, let alone are wearing socks that squeeze them and shoes that break them down and orthotics and prevent these tiny little motions that would happen. Guess what? I’ve lost the ability to have any type of circulation to that. And that creates a situation where instead of being able to go for a walk and feel the ground and move and get all kinds of circulation through the 28 bones, 33 joints and hundreds of muscles, ligaments, tendons in my foot, ankle, lower leg. Well, guess what? I had that. And so then that creates a stiffness. And so guess what? When my feet get stiff, my plantar fascia locks down the tissue that runs from your big toe to your heel, that plantar fascia tissue doesn’t stop there. It literally wraps the same line of tissue wraps around the heel and up into your Achilles tendon. And that forms a fascia that wraps in your calves, that forms a fascia that wraps around your hamstrings. That form is what trying your glutes that forms of goes to your lumbar, which is your thorax and your lumbar meaning you’re that low back spot where people have all kinds of pain is their disk. You press down L5, S1, a contract that basically you’re surrounded. There’s a whole sheath of fashion in that lower back that keep everything stuck that wraps around your latch, which your upper back that goes to your shoulder blades, your shoulders and goes down to your up your neck, around your forehead, into your eyebrows and down the back of your arms. So simply by saying, when I don’t move my toes, I basically am grabbing the bottom of my shirt and pulling down as hard as I can, and then my calves get sick, my Achilles gets tender, I get Achilles tendonitis, I stop running. When you stop running, I stop extending my hips. When I stop jumping, I stop extending my hips and I’m sitting down all day, which is my hips are 90 degree fashion, my knees are bent. Guess what? My hamstrings never get opened up all the way. That takes away from the glute engagement. My glutes get stiff and so that pulls on the store to lumber our fascia, the tissue in my lower back, and that compresses the spine.
Graham – And then not only do you have weight and the size of the disc to get bigger into this L5 S1. Think about this chicken, this sausage casing that’s wrapping around is that gets stiffer. That’s pulling it. It’s more and more compression. My pelvic floor doesn’t get any motion because we don’t talk about sexual health at all other than pregnancy for women. For a very brief moment, men never talk about it at all, talking about key goals and reverse key goals and moving and engaging that that tissue gets no movement that’s stiff and broken, that pulls everything. So my entire pelvic floor, my sexual organs, my bowel movement, all of that is locked down because it doesn’t get any motion. And then it’s all concentrated on this low back where all the pressure is going. And no wonder this goes because everything around us got dehydrated stiff. And so then that goes up the chain to my back, gets stiff, and I can no longer move the shoulders. So instead of rotating the shoulder because the scapula would naturally flow with it. So we get stiff frozen shoulder impingement, bicep tendinitis all happen. And you should look at like, why I can’t actually use my bicep, my triceps because my shoulders won’t rotate, biceps get stiff and tight, pulls in the elbow. I get tennis or golf elbow that pulls in the hands. I’ll send my thumbs or stuck and locked and now my thumb is being pulled back into the joint. Guess what? Rheumatoid arthritis. Now my thumb is being messed up because my feet won’t move when my fingers don’t move and extend. I can’t extend them and open up the wrist that the outside of the elbow. So the outside of the wrist affects the golf tennis elbow because I’m not able to extend the wrist anymore. There’s up to the shoulder, the neck, the trapz is so locked and tight that pulls down because a lot of the male pattern baldness, because literally you’re pulling down the skin and killing the hair follicles and copy your head tension, headaches. I no longer move. My jaw gets weak. And it starts to pull the one side or the other. They get TMJ. You get all kinds of stuff. You lose circulation to your bones and that causes mal occlusion in your teeth. I start grinding my teeth at night. I can’t sleep well, then I’m not breathing through my nose and now I’m not even moving the ribs and diaphragm. So it gets harder. So instead of being able to breathe through the nose, get deep, full breaths and pull the diaphragm, I’m doing this shallow breathing. The whole thing is going there. And I’m not saying it’s just from the feet, but any one of these inroads, any single one of these inroads, the feet, the hands, pelvic floor of the mouth can cause that. And that thing goes to the rest of the body.
Graham – So if you want to do this, it is so, so simple. It’s just understanding what is the pain I’m feeling? Where is the tissue that is affected by that? How do I create a very simple set of movements to open things up? And it could be as simple as moving a walking through your toes, getting your hands to extend and go through a full range of motion grabbing, hanging to open up your shoulders, using your jaw to chew real food open and closing your mouth, doing some very simple neck movement and then breathing in a way that your ribcage, your diaphragm and your pelvic floor should expand and contract. It’s just basically thinking when I move, I am like a car engine. Every time I move and a tissue, I get oil going to that. And when I do that, it’s healthy. When I water the plant, it stays healthy and grows. If I don’t do it and I feel stiffness, tingling, numbness, pinching, tearing, shearing, anything along those lines is kind of anything that feels a painful situation, which is any of those things that contract and break. Oh, that’s interesting. I feel that that’s a problem. So that’s where you pay attention to it. Does that makes sense? There’s a lot there, but it’s impossible to say one without looking at everything.
Clint – Yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s awesome. I’ve found my little 90-second clip for sharing their you on an absolute rant of how it’s all connected as fabulous, as entertaining and interesting and uplifting all at the same time. I know that you said it doesn’t all begin with the feet and you’ve got those other points with the hands, also pelvic floor, the mouth and so on. Now, it all connects in together. But why don’t we just because it’s as we said right at the start, it’s hard to find out like where would be like the one point to to narrow down on. But why don’t we just do feet a little bit more justice here? And before we wrap this up, let’s just stay on the feet here because some objections may come forward that I get when I recommend that same thing that you’ve just said with the feet, get out, do some barefoot walking. Which, by the way, I say start with just maybe 60 seconds. If you’ve not walked barefoot for a long time on very soft grass, because if there’s inflammation in the metatarsals, which can happen with rheumatoid, then we’re very reluctant to walk on hard surfaces. So start on very soft grass just for 60 seconds. My experience with doing this is not only does it get rid of inflammation, but it also desensitizes the feet so that after a while you can actually walk not just on soft grass, but firmer surfaces. And now I can walk on tarmac like roads and things barefoot, not entirely comfortably, but I can walk a couple of hundred meters as if someone said, Go on, show me that you can do it. Yeah, I can do that. But the desensitization and the reduction of inflammation are both crucial things that I can’t see that you can achieve any other way other than actually getting the shoes off.
Graham – So there’s two things. This and just one is too simple. Everything I said, the two lowest hanging fruit or things you said at the very beginning, hanging. And that doesn’t mean your feet have to leave the ground. Fine. It could be a tree band, something that pulls your arms. You could literally go into a gym to do a lap pull down. So basically where the thing you grab and you put it on your dress, don’t just put some weight that’s like half your body weight and just let your arms extend and just something that pulls your ribcage off of your spine. Basically, the decompression is just fine. Just hang and just rotate and breathe and rotate and breathe. Eventually you work up a little more weight and you can hang with your feet on the ground. Like hanging is so crucial, it literally remodels a shoulder joint. Another thing is the taking shoes off of walking. And so the benefit of doing it because there’s all kinds of pads people. So could I do it on the sand? It’s like of course you do it on the sand. The hard part were the same is that you can get into some like the sand that really starts to go. You’d want a little bit more of a firmer sand and people go to the beach is not the options. But if you get the really deep sand that you step, you really get in, you start to pull those toes in situations which healthy feet can totally handle. But if you haven’t done it before, it’s kind of like taking a rubber band that’s kind of get a little bit dehydrated and deflated, it’s like it’s going to snap. And so in a sense just easing into it and working on that. So sand is going to be good, but the benefit of doing something on an organic surface that could be sand, like wood. I guess, let’s just say like grass soil and it touches the ground. You get the grounding effect too, which is basically Earth acts to absorb excess electrons. And there’s a whole level of science behind this and it’s way beyond my pay grade. But basically it’s like a grounding source. And so that’s a really valuable thing. It does help with the inflammation, but the idea of extending, you don’t even have to walk. If you can find a patch of 12 inches by 12 inches of dirt or ground, and even if you’re walking, just kind of lift up.
Graham – So if you think about your foot and you lift your feet off the ground and just start to rotate left and right and just feel the toes start to rotate and pull and you can put the top of your foot on the ground and just start to stretch out the top of your foot and start to do put the foot down, do some ankle circles. There’s all kinds of stuff you can do very simple things where you don’t have to have a walking stimulus and a long path, but you can find a space and just start to feel it’s really important you’re on a soft ground because there’s. And the stimulation. There are thousands of nerve endings that grow on the bottom of your feet. And so those nerve endings allow you to reintegrate this very intellectual, very instinctive part of your body, which tells you how to balance, how to move, how to bifurcate sensation. Because if the only thing we’re wearing socks and then we’re walking on something, it feels like a two dimensional cloud. And we’re never getting the movement of the bones, our feet get locked up. And so if you look at that basically in between the bones. So if you look at your hand, you spread your fingers apart, you’ll notice that you have the ability to start to create. You can press the the the metacarpal, which are the bones, like your knuckles. You can press the outside and kind of pull them in. If you make a fist, those bones are spread apart. You can squeeze them in.
Graham – There’s some healthy play in those, and so when you lose that at the feet, but you end up getting these inflammation simply because you’re actually creating tension and friction on the nerves and the tissue in between these bones. Nothing to do with the fact that the bones may be completely healthy. And to someone that’s in an RA situation, it’s like I have worked with thousands, if not exaggeration, thousands of people who have the same sensation, and there’s no rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis. It’s simply that their feet are not helping to smash together. So this goes to the other part, which is after talking, to spend more time with my dad on this stuff, it’s like just because you got diagnosed with something does not make you not a human. He’ll go and say, Well, I can’t see because of a Parkinson’s. Well, no, you also have caffeine at all hours of the day. You’re on artificial light, you don’t get outside, your stressed, you’re managing all this stuff. Every other person in the world if they did, this would have trouble sleeping, too. And so, yes, there are differences and distinct aspects because of the situation, the syndrome and the diagnosis you find yourself in, but it’s always helpful to consider in what ways am I still a normal person? And I have thousands of people that go through the program for the feet that all had the same problem.
Graham – And it’s mostly because they’re wearing shoes and their feet are trapped and they don’t know how to move them. So by being able to move, you don’t even have to start with walking, just standing at something and just taking turns, kind of like shifting up on one calf, shifting up on the other calf, and you sort of move, feel the toes spread, feel the ground. Just the perspective on this, it’s not that many centuries ago, maybe two or 300, the idea of inside and outside wasn’t even a concept. Like all you want to go inside? What do you mean, inside? Well, like, we’re outside right now and like, wait, no, we’re just here. Like, the idea of inside. Like, side is the suffix for to split, inside-outside. The second, we decided that nature was out there. But there are people who live their entire life without ever wearing shoes. And there’s still right now that live on this earth in another country, another place that have lived, will live their entire life without wearing shoes, and it will never go inside. And in some sense is like there’s a nice sensibility of getting out in the weather and elements and stuff. It’s like, if I’m living in the Caribbean, it’s a bit easier than somewhere else.
Graham – But the point is, it remains that we have the capacity to do this stuff. And even just exposing yourself to a little bit of nature in some capacity has so many far reaching benefits that if you can compound variables, so you go out in the morning for 3 minutes, 2 minutes, one minute and just kind of feel the ground, just roll the ankles around, put your hands over your head, big breath in, just move left or right. You’re getting sunlight in the morning, you’re getting the vitamin D, just a little bit of exposure. You’re kind of setting your circadian rhythm, getting in touch with the earth and moving your joints in your bones. That’s how you stack five variables. And the most powerful multivitamin you could do is to go out and spend 2 to 3 minutes out in sun, in on soil, barefoot and just breathe. And just like this, it does so much. And it’s so amazing how valuable that can be for someone that’s starved for that type of motion. So there’s a lot of stuff there, a lot of really valuable stuff that once you get over the fear because I’ll say the other thing too, if you notice how you walk. So pay attention to the sensation. And it’s not just the feet, but whatever else happens. So this is the idea of like what else is going on there, the system of the body. If you notice what happens to your feet, to your body when you walk on like a harder surface. Let’s say you’re walking in something like, Oh, I can feel the ground, my shoulders tense up. I get there’s a lot of fear. I don’t know where I’m standing. And so people walk around and their shoulders tense, their elbows intense, their jaws tense, and they’re very uncertain. And so by being able to expose yourself into small little modicum amounts of presentation to that fear, you start to feel your shoulders relax. You have to trust yourself more. So there’s so much of this, like emotional process of developing trust that you’re okay and that you’re not a fragile thing outside of nature. It’s like it is scary, it will feel uncomfortable, there will be sensation, but the exposure to it greatly outweighs it. And so if you if you’re too afraid to go walk outside, find a little patch and just do some basic movement. And even if you need to start inside with a little bit of texture, totally fine. So the point is that the direction to your health is always in the direction of moving into manageable discomfort little by step by step. That is, the free will that humans experience is the ability to choose this comfort intentionally.
Clint – Oh, that last bit was absolutely awesome. Walking into and embracing manageable discomfort and then incrementally, incrementally being able to tolerate more, it totally, therefore, takes all the fear and power away from it, because now we’re engaged with it at a level that’s tolerable, but we’re incrementally introducing more in our life without setting ourselves back. And that diminishes the fear and empowers us and leads us in the right direction for sure. So that’s awesome. Why don’t we leave it there, Graham, you’re going to be one of our guests next month for our members inside the room. So rheumatoid solutions, membership powers and program membership. If you’re a member in one of those platforms, then Graham is going to be doing a live Q&A with us coming up soon. We’ll post the date for that inside the members area. Graham, you’ve got wonderful content on your the Barefoot Sprinter Instagram channel and over at your website, www.GrahamTuttle.com, you’ve got your courses which are very reasonably priced. So if you’re looking to take this to another level and you like what you see for free on Instagram of which there is so much content, then you can do one of several of Graham’s courses which cover different aspects of the body in huge amount of detail. They’re very comprehensive. I’m still not through the 30 days of detailed content around the shoulders and it’s all being collected in my special folder there to go through in detail in the future. But I’ve just been cherry picking information that I’ve found implementing it. And the funny thing that happens is I’m like, Well, that actually helps and then I’ll watch the next. Well, that actually helps too. And then I’m like, Well, that actually helps too much of it I’ve never seen before as well. Some of this stuff I’m thinking, where does he pulling this from? Because it’s very functional, it’s very helpful and it’s very original. And so I want to compliment you on your content that you’ve created as well. So with that, thank you Graham this has been a journey that’s different than I expected. I thought we might be spend a lot of time just going through functional things in the body. But we went to a much higher place and we talked about the philosophical approach and I think it’s very motivating for people and hopefully they adopt a lot of your strategies. So thank you very much.
Graham – My pleasure. Absolutely. Thank you so much for the opportunity.