We discuss in this interview:

  • Nicki’s journey from being diagnosed with RA at age 15 to becoming symptom-free thanks to the Paddison Program
  • Learning to know different types of pain
  • Unsuccessful efforts with methotrexate
  • The importance of education
  • Knee replacement
  • Gabe Golden’s “Lighting The Path” documentary
  • How starting the Paddison Program had an immediate effect on Nicki and how she has implemented it
  • Kinesiology and how Nicki has been able to start her own activity (www.kinesiology.co.nz) and help others
  • The power of consistency

Clint – Welcome back to the Rheumatoid Solutions podcast. My guest today is Nicki and she’s in the North Island of New Zealand. Aren’t we in for a treat? She’s going to talk about how after being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at 15 years old, she is now asymptomatic as an adult after being through the usual process with rheumatology and with medications and so on. She’s going to tell us how she managed to achieve that against the odds and the statistics and to be able to not just be asymptomatic with such a chronic diagnosis, but also to run a very successful kinesiology business and help others. And so it’s a real pleasure to welcome you to the show.

Nicki – Hi. Good Clint, thanks for having me.

Clint – Yeah, as I said, I’m really excited and we are in for a treat. Give us the trailer of this little movie that we’re about to experience.

Nicki – Little trailer? Okay, so. Well, I went from my CRP levels when the inflammation and the pain was just out of control, out of this world from about 100 maybe more, down to what probably would have seen about 2 months down to 3. And then I got it down to 1 within about 3 to 4 months. And it’s been 1 off and on pretty much 1 that for 5 years since I started your program. So. Yeah, so pretty amazing, all thanks to you.

Clint – Well, you’ve obviously invested a ton of energy and time and commitment to this to be able to get that kind of results. So you’re going to be a wealth of information and what to do, and what not to do, and we’ll get to explore that in detail. But before we get there, so when I say in the intro, asymptomatic, so you’re able to wake up in the morning and not have like 10 steps that hurt as you walk out of bed?

Nicki – No, not at all.

Clint – And hurt your hand as you pick up the kettle.

Nicki – No, oh, God, I did that, though I was there. I can pretty much now if I’ve got some type of pain I can pinpoint. It’s funny like I’ve got a food pain and I’ve got an emotional stress pain. So if my body is like that sharp, kind of like almost like that glass pain, you know, that real horrible glass pain. I know that’s the food that I’ve eaten that my body’s not liking. And so I will look back in the last two days to kind of go, okay, what was it? And it might have been because I’ve eaten something a bit naughty like a or I’ve been at the wrong oil or something’s been cooked with the food. But if I have more of a rolling pain, I call it, which is like more of an inflamed pain that for me I know there’s some emotional stress going on, so I then can identify what’s been happening in my life. And then I focus on trying to sort out that emotional stress. So no, but primarily, if none of those are on board, then I’m good to go.

Clint – It’s brilliant. I’m glad you gave that insight into different types of pain. We’re always looking for that, aren’t we? With our bodies? Yeah. So, for example, I talk a lot about the difference between synovitis, which is the true rheumatoid arthritis activity that we all think of versus tendinitis, which is usually initiated by the inflammation that’s present from the synovitis. However, it’s treated in a completely different way, even though it’s at the joint level. And so tendinitis requires a lot of engaged tissue, we have to use that part of the tissue and that can resolve it. But the synovitis needs a systemic approach. We can’t just go and bang, bang that knee out with 20 reps and expect synovitis. So yeah, I love it. I love discerning thoughts. That comes I think with being a kinesiology practitioner, you’ve got experience in the body at a different education than the rest of us. So we’ll talk about that too and what you’ve learned from that and helping others. But first, let’s explore your back story a little bit. Diagnosed at 15, sort of an awkward time to get something so horrible.

Nicki – Yeah, it was. Well, I wasn’t in any pain at that age, but I had a lump on my foot, which was quite painful. So they initially thought I had bone cancer, so they put me in for surgery, and then after the surgery, they came out to my parents. Good news, good news, it’s only arthritis. And so I guess at the time that was good news for them. But when I got my diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, yeah at 15. I mean as a teenager it’s pretty, I think when I initially was because I wasn’t in pain at that time, so I didn’t initially have that fear, I guess because I didn’t know what I was in for. But it was then I went to see because obviously had the disease, I went to see a rheumatologist, and that’s kind of where my fear started because the appointment there was pretty non-inspiring from the get-go to be fear. The rheumatologist I remember him walking in and he was all hunched over and he walked with a cane. I remember looking at his hands were so arthritic and I remember looking at them just going, oh my God, like, is this person, the specialist who I meant to be getting help for this disease I’ve got and he doesn’t seem to have been helping himself. I remember it was funny because I remember seeing his hands. I used to sit on my hands like I used to sit flat on them. Because at 15 hours that remains to be like that, you know, and thinking that that would solve it and I did that for years. But it was in that appointment that the rheumatologist told me, he said. So just know that the only job that you leave ahead will be sitting in a chair behind a desk, that’s all you’ll be able to do. And I can guarantee you you’ll be in a wheelchair by the time you’re 40. So that was when my fear started, and I was like, what was this man talking about? So, yeah, that was the diagnosis was that and then he just told me what my future was going to be like, and that was it. Then it was like, okay, off you go. So yeah, very, very non-inspiring.

Clint – Oh, my gosh. Now, what did you do from a medication point of view throughout those subsequent years?

Nicki – Well, at that point, I wasn’t put on any medication. I was given anti-inflammatories and that was medication. I said to take that if I ever felt any pain being 15, 16, I would just pop them anyway because I was just scared in my little mind thinking, well, I don’t want hands like him, I don’t want to look like him. So I’m just going to keep taking the anti-inflammatories now. So I wasn’t educated, I wasn’t told anything which I really wish that I was back then. But, we know a lot more now than we did back then, I guess. It wasn’t until around 20 when my pain kind of really set in, that I started noticing it. And that’s when I was living in New York at the time and living with my aunt in New York, and I both my knees was getting (inaudible) and I couldn’t get myself out of the bath because they were so swollen. So I used to call out to my aunt to come and help me out of the bath. Needless to say, I stopped doing both at her house after that for a while, but that was when I went and saw a specialist in New York, a rheumatologist in New York, and that’s when they put me on methotrexate. So yeah. So that’s when that started.

Clint – How did you respond to methotrexate? Rheumatologist Nisha Manek says, up to 40% of people don’t respond to methotrexate. And so, I mean, how were you?

Nicki – Well, initially I didn’t notice any difference in my pain or within the activity of the rheumatoid. I mean I was on it for many years and I still ended up having a full knee replacement, which I had 11 years ago. I’ve got damage in my joints, I’ve got limited rotation and extension in my elbows and this was while I was on the methotrexate. So it didn’t stop, it didn’t help me in any way well, I don’t feel. I also got the side effects I use to get headaches and dizziness and my obviously having to have checks and blood tests for my kidneys. And my kidneys started not functioning properly. So yeah, it was pretty scary. I didn’t at all enjoy being on methotrexate. I saw no point to it for me.

Clint – Likewise. I was fortunate to get, I probably guess at about 60% pain reduction, so I got a quite a significant amount, but I was at a 10 when I went on like 10 out of 10. Like I couldn’t walk, I was just like you described your rheumatologist with my posture and everything without permanent finger damage. And so after the methotrexate, I was able to have some improvement, but boy did the fatigue kicks me in the guts. Yeah, that fatigue was unlike anything I’d ever had. So I always use the phrase a walking zombie. I just was like, yeah, almost like drowning under the fatigue. That was, that was my unique experience with it. And so you went through and sort of stayed on that drug for how long and how’d you come off it?

Nicki – Yeah, I was probably on it for four years, maybe 3 to 4 years. And I wouldn’t advocate the way that I did it I think because of my experience, well, I know from my experience, from the rheumatologist in the medical system, I lost complete faith in them. So and I saw that I was having this reaction to the methotrexate and that I wasn’t feeling any better. In fact, I was starting to feel worse because I was traveling, I was in London, I was partying, I was doing all these things I shouldn’t have been doing to my body. So I wasn’t helping it by any means. But I still wasn’t seen, I’m still getting worried so I just stopped it myself. So I wish I really it’s one of the things I really wished now looking back that I did have, that rheumatologist will find that rheumatologist that was on the same plane as me who supported me in the way. What I wanted to do with nutrition and things like that, but I just didn’t have that awareness then. I didn’t I didn’t even know that existed, you know, so. So, yeah, I would do things differently now. But as I said, we know a lot more now so this is where the education, I think, is so important for people who get this diagnosis to know that there are other options to not have that future of a wheelchair, I guess.

Clint – Absolutely. So you did something, what, similar to me, which was end up coming off the methotrexate without actually having that final sort of handshake at the rheumatology and said, okay, you’re on 5 mg, you might as well stop.

Nicki – Yeah.

Clint – Because in my case I actually forgot to pack it from the US and that’s how it came about. By the time it actually got sent to me by my mother-in-law after a week after I realized I was meant to take it, where is it? It had been a month or something, and so I thought, well, let’s just see what happens. So that’s what happened with me. So you were living a sort of a mid-twenties life in Europe, having fun, and it just sort of fell out of your routine in a way.

Nicki – Exactly.

Clint – Thought was convenient at the time. This is life, these things happen.

Nicki – Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Yeah.

Clint – Right. And so have you ever taken another disease-modifying drug or anti-inflammatories? What have you done since your mid-twenties?

Nicki – I mean, I was still taking anti-inflammatories. I would just I’d just pop them like candy like I would have them I would have a slow-release one, so I’d take it at night. then I could function in the morning, and I would have them beside my bed. And I remember there was always that fear that if they weren’t there I was like, oh God, I’d go down to a 24 seven pharmacy to make sure that I had them. And so I was still taking them just to kind of try and function obviously. But no other medication after the methotrexate. Yeah. Just the anti-inflammatories for many years.

Clint – Let’s talk about your knee replacement. Just because I’ve never spoken about this before on another episode and there’s going to be a percentage of people who are either scheduled to get one thinking about getting one, having had one, or terrified of the whole experience.

Nicki – Yeah.

Clint – Let’s just spend a few minutes just sharing our experiences because I’ve had none as well. What happened with me real quick just to put this into a framework? My knee was replaceable back in around 2009, just three years after diagnosis, because I tore my ACL the same week I got diagnosed with R.A. The ACL added a tremendous amount of additional trauma to the knee. So it would not heal properly or it was just an inflammation, sort of a magnet, and I just couldn’t exercise it sufficiently to get a range of motion. I was doing Bikram yoga just to walk every day. It was a nightmare. And then I managed to avoid a replacement and did 10 years by lifestyle that I have and manage to put up with just a really arthritic knee right like a bone on bone in three compartments.

Nicki – Yeah, it’s painful.

Clint – But my life is working around these issues. But then I triggered my inflammation again several years ago at a restaurant by eating a massive oily meal.

Nicki – I remember reading that, yeah.

Clint – It went to my knee, I couldn’t recover the knee and the doctor said this thing, it must be replaced, so that’s what happened with me. What’s been your experience? When did you have it done?

Nicki – 11 years ago now.

Clint – How has been your experience with the whole thing?

Nicki – Well I mean, same it leading up to it was I lived with the pain for many, many years. And it got to the point we were living in Perth at the time and we would go walking. My daughter was young and we’d wanted to go walking on the beach and I couldn’t walk on the beach because I couldn’t bend my knee. It was just straight, it was just that bad. I remember at nighttime because I’m asleep on my tummy, and I’d wake up in the night and I’d be on my tummy and I’d be like, Oh, no, knowing that I have to flip over and I’d have to whack my knee back into place because it would just pop out. So the pain was excruciating, it was getting to a point that I just couldn’t function anymore. And so I went and had a knee replacement, I was pretty scared about the whole thing, you know, like, I’m not going to lie. I don’t like being cut open, I don’t like all of that something. The experience itself was quite scary, but that was but it was, it was fine. But afterwards they actually the surgeon told me that he thought that my knee will probably only last about 5 to 8 years. I’ve since been told that possibly around 10 years, however, that my recovery was really good and really quick and my knees been amazing since. And I do put it down to lifestyle now as following the foods that we put into our body and things like that. So yeah, it’s the best thing I ever did needing to have it done, it gave my quality of life back, It’s still good, it’s still motoring along my titanium knee.

Clint – What kind of range of motion are you able to do? Are you able to reach back and pick up your ankle from behind in a standing position like a standard kind of quadriceps stretch?

Nicki – I am. Yeah, I am, I’ve got full range of motion with it, so I guess I’m pretty lucky in that part. They were quite surprised at how quickly I did heel, so I was able to get the full range of motion pretty quickly. I do a lot of exercises and stuff, I keep my body active, so I’m always trying to keep that range of motion going, you know? So that’s a really important part of my day to day, Just to make sure it doesn’t seize up and things. So, but no, I do have a full range of motion. Yeah.

Clint – It’s brilliant, isn’t it? So I had a similar experience. I was absolutely terrified of getting it done. It was a lot of emotion and worry going through my mind about it. Believe it or not, it felt like just a bigger version of when I got my first steroid injection into the knee because in 2009, I felt like I’d failed, that I hadn’t been able to clear every joint in my body of inflammation because I felt like I’d worked it out, what to do. This is the early development of the Paddison Program years. But the knee was the non-responder. It wouldn’t do what every other joint you do. And so when I got a steroid injection so that I could walk down the aisle the following week. That felt like a failure. Yet it taught me that sometimes you just need some intervention because I’d done everything I’d possibly could.

Nicki – That’s right. Yeah.

Clint – And this felt like I failed again, I felt like a part of me had, like, almost failed the image of which I’d created for myself and the life that I lead to have to have that done. I thought I was above it. But just the past damage left me in a position where I was just fighting an uphill battle. I was mostly worried about infection, and if this is the area that most people need to pay close attention to about getting any kind of surgical procedure is the risk of infection. And my surgeon was extremely cautious about infection reduction. So I was scrubbing my body for a whole week of antibacterial skin lotion and up the nose, antibiotics, everything, because infections occur mostly with knee joints from the patient’s own skin bacteria.

Nicki – Yeah, right. I didn’t know that. Yeah.

Clint – It’s not from the surgeons, it’s not from the surgical room. It’s the skin that is on our own skin getting into our joints when we are under operation. And that bacteria can lodge onto the prosthesis, because the prosthesis is artificial, it doesn’t have a blood supply and it doesn’t have the normal white, white blood cell contact. Our body can’t fight an infection when it’s on a foreign body. Anyway, everything went well. My recovery is great and touchwood, as they say, all going well, just like you. Absolutely sensational. For those people who are interested more, maybe you and I can do a whole podcast about knee replacements.

Nicki – Yeah, that would be amazing.

Clint – But also Gabe Golden, who did a documentary Lighting The Path series about rheumatoid arthritis reversal that everyone should watch Gabe Golden’s Lighting The Path. He also had one very similar to me situation to me and yeah it really can be like the greatest thing.

Nicki – Yeah and I definitely agree. I think I felt that way too. Like I felt like I was even doing the kinesiology on it I was doing everything that I could. And I think when you just kind of have to just let it be for what it is and to know that you’ve done everything you can and this is going to give us that quality of life. The fear around it, it’s just that hope because you’re so vulnerable, aren’t you? So you’re so vulnerable and you’re putting your faith and trust over to somebody else. And you’re not conscious, you don’t know what’s happening. Don’t go YouTubing knee replacement, that’s what I did beforehand. I was petrified because I kind of knew what was it, don’t do it yet. Tell people don’t to YouTube but before your surgery. But it was the biggest thing I’ve ever done, as I said, it gave me that quality of life. I could go walk down on the beach with my daughter again. I could just enjoy life, life is sunny again, not walking around in that constant mind of pain so it was good. Took me a while though, I don’t know about you afterward because I had that motor pattern developed that I still limped for many years, I had to get myself out of that. Even though my knee was fully functioning, I still would limp. I still have that real brain connection that I had to work on that for a little while, which was interesting.

Clint – I developed problems with my right knee because of the degree of limping that I had been doing leading up to the surgery. My limping was so significant leading up to the surgery that my up and down stairs was just awful from a functional point of view. And I developed a ton of tendonitis around the right knee to the point where it was actually really bothersome because I was starting to get worried about that right knee. Now, as soon as I started walking again afterwards and we got off you push that sort of like a walker and you get on to get onto like a cane or whatever for just a couple of days. But it’s remarkable how quickly you get yourself back on track.

Nicki – That’s right.

Clint – Within a week or 10 days or something, you’re walking around just trying not to bump into anything or get knocked over by a three-year-old. But yeah, yeah besides that, everything’s cool. But then as you experienced, I had to get things going again on the right knee. Fortunately, things all worked out. But I just wanted to have that discussion and I’m really pleased with how it turned out for you. And likewise, I don’t hear that many bad stories about knee replacements.

Nicki – Neither do I. I know a few people my mom’s friends and things that are getting knee replacements and things. And the knee replacement seems to be a quicker recovery as well than the hips and things. So yeah, I think it’s not as scary as we think. I think once we get over ourselves and the whole idea of it then if it’s needed, it’s needed. Right?

Clint – That’s exactly right. If you do absolutely everything you possibly can and you are still walking around and it’s creating pain, it’s keeping you up at night, the x rays show tremendous degradation. As Dr. Nisha Manek, again, to quote her, she said, take advantage of the technology.

Nicki – Yes, that’s right.

Clint – Technology is remarkable. My operation was done under a robotic it was robotic guided. I had specific scans done prior to get a three-dimensional map of my entire leg and then plug it into a computer. And the robot does the whole thing.

Nicki – Oh, God, that’s kind of cool and kind of creepy all at the same time.

Clint – I know. And my surgeon said they got to within one millimeter of the alignment that was originally configured into the tool. Within one millimeter of the position that was intended originally.

Nicki – My surgeon when he showed me the x-rays, he couldn’t believe that I was functioning with my knee the way that it was. It was just pure bone on bone, and even the bone itself had worn away because I was just. Yeah, and I think, I don’t know your pain level, your pain tolerance just kind of after years and years of having this pain, you’re like, Yeah, well, I don’t know what you’re doing. You just get so used to living with it, don’t you? And then when you don’t have it, you’re like this. Like, life’s amazing. So, yeah.

Clint – I got two funny stories to share with you. Well, not funny, but, like, just to illustrate your point. So one was we had a member inside rheumatoid support who broke her toe and went 6 months before having it checked out and thought I was just rheumatoid.

Nicki – It’s funny. Yeah. You just put him everything down to rheumatoid. Oh, yeah, that’s right. That’s funny.

Clint – So it’s like, oh, it’s just another excruciating pain. And then likewise my knee was just like a train wreck right in it. Bone on bone behind the patella and both of the chambers inside. So. But it had been like that, it’d been like that for ten years. So I’d used to seeing that X-ray. But like so I think the surgeon for the first time and the end, he sort of just nods at me as he walks into my tiny little room after I’d waited for an hour. He had an A like a protege with him or like someone was training.

Nicki – Like a student.

Clint – And so he just looks at the X-ray and they must have stared at that thing for like 5 to 10 minutes. And the surgeon, who’s very highly regarded, Florida-based surgeon where all these knee replacements are at the forefront of the world because it’s all rich people and old and they all just want to get replacements and everything. And he’s just looking at things and he’s like. And see here, this leg doesn’t even look like it’s the same leg as this is this other leg because this one has bone density and this one has totally lost its bone density because he’s been limping on this and not weight-bearing. And I said. The three chambers here and there’s no life left in the other. And then eventually he looks at me because this whole time he just looked at his associate. He just turns around the most strongest American drawl, and he just goes, Your knee is shot, you need a new knee like that.

Nicki – It’s so funny. It’s so funny. Well, they initially thought because of my age, they weren’t going to give me the knee replacement because I wasn’t elderly, I went under the public system in Australia and it was almost like because I wasn’t going to get so ten years time they thought I’d have to have another one. So I was almost going to be an expense for them. So I had to plead my case. I had to take my daughter into the appointment and say, look, you know, I’m a mom, a stay-at-home mom. And just and finally, there was one amazing surgeon who he said, yeah, okay, I’ll do it. And but yeah, which was interesting. I was I think the younger ones would be more like, let’s give them more, you know? Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Clint – You’re totally right. Yeah. And the surgeon I saw in Australia, he basically said, look, the guidelines are you try and get to 52 or 54 one of those.

Nicki – And so for me, that was still a while. I’m 46 now, so like that was going to be a while away. And I’m like, Yeah, no worries. Because then we went to the States and then it all went downhill. And that’s when I started seeing surgeons thinking about I just saw him because almost like as a I almost got a premonition or something like I’m just going to go and talk to a surgeon and see where my knees at after ten years and then all hell broke loose later. But anyway, look, I was the same deal, and I was concerned because of my age. I said, Look, am I going to have this done? And then in 20 years, let’s say even 15 to 20 years, I’m going to need it done again. And then because when you have it done the second time, they have to remove some of your own bone tissue. Which means that really you can only have it done twice because you yun out of your own bones. However, my surgeon, he said, relax he said everything’s compartmentalized. He said when it comes time for you to have a revision, which is the technical term. He said, we’re just going to go in, we’re going to get the the polyethylene cartilage equivalent. He says, well pop it out, put a new one in and you’ll be good to go.

Nicki – I say perfect. It’s a support you need.

Clint – Exactly.

Nicki – Yeah, that’s awesome.

Clint – So look, whether or not that will actually happen remains to be seen because it depends on how the prosthesis is, the prosthesis, prosthetic, whatever and all that sort of stuff. But look, I think I think that, you know, if people if people are curious, go for it. It’s certainly been sounds like great for you, great for me.

Nicki – Yeah, definitely.

Clint – Now for those people who aren’t interested whatsoever in knee replacement discussions. Welcome back. We were on your story, but that discussion needed to be had because we haven’t talked about anywhere else. And it’s people ask me and then there was an opportunity. Thank you, and thank you to those who with us who weren’t as in need of that information right now. But it’ll be there for you in the future to come back on. You’ve done the Paddison Program. Just tell us the sort of the highlights, the challenges and the successes of that.

Nicki – Yes, sure. So I actually stumbled across you probably about 6 years ago now when I saw your story. And I was still at that time still having the anti-inflammatories and still in a lot of pain, trying to manage my pain and all of that kind of carry on. So I saw your program, but I actually sat on it for about a year, I didn’t do it straight away. I knew that I needed to do, but I didn’t jump into it straight away. I mean, 5 years ago, my dad passed away and it was after and going through that emotional grief and that trauma of that, the arthritis in my body just went through the roof like it was just the most pain that I’ve had ever since I was diagnosed at 15, like it was just excruciating. We were in Perth at the time and it’s summer in Perth, it gets pretty hot like 40 plus degrees and we just hit a sweet fan in our bedroom and so I would sleep with just a sheet on me at night. And it was that bed that I couldn’t even lift the sheet off me, like the pain down my arms was just excruciating. I couldn’t brush my hair. The inflammation in my hands were massive. But that’s sitting on my hands wasn’t working, obviously, and I couldn’t brush my hair. I couldn’t dress myself. My daughter at the time, she was 10, she would have to dress me and brush my hair. And and it was at that point, I was like, okay, if I don’t do something now, then I am going to be in that wheelchair. That rheumatologist all those years ago, he’s going to prove me wrong, I’m going to be in that wheelchair.

Nicki – So I got to your program and I pretty much right then and they started it and I was so it was overnight for me. I didn’t kind of ease into it. I had that motivation, I guess that pain. I was under a doctor at the time just purely because I wanted to see what my bloods were doing, so I wanted to be able to monitor it. And so, yeah, I didn’t really have any challenges as such on your program like I think I was really at that point in my life where it was a no brainer. You know, I had that motivation I wasn’t able to function. Even with my emotions, I was frustrated because when you’re in pain, it’s just all so consuming. So with your program, for me, it almost felt like it was home. I don’t know, I can’t explain it. It was almost like I had someone there that I could trust that was helping me I guess. I can’t explain it because I’d been let down so much by the medical system that all of a sudden it was like, here’s something that that actually resonates with me so powerfully. And then I started it when I first got my bloods done that, that’s when they were they were so high. They’ve always been so high, the CRP levels. So they were in the 100, over 100. I started your program and within two months, I think probably around two months I went and had my blood done again and my level was down to three. And the doctor even at that point, she was like, so I told her what I was doing. I emailed her all your stuff, I emailed you your links, I emailed everything. I’m like, You’ve just got to you’ve got to look into this. You’ve got to see this. And and so anyway, so she said she couldn’t believe the results. And she said to me, she can see you’re just doing this just by nutrition, just buy food. And I’m like, well, primarily, yes, I’m eliminating certain foods, but introducing certain foods.

Nicki – But I’m also looking at my mental health and looking at stresses within my health. I’m looking at the whole holistic self, right? And that’s what it should be about. And so she was just like, oh, you know, I mean, it was she was saying it black and white in front of you, but so kind of yeah, which was frustrating. And I remember there was one point I was in there and I mean here and I got on really well, we had a really good relationship. So we’d talk about it and I’d tell her what I was doing and she would probably roll her eyes most of the time, but we’d have a joke about it. But there was one point she said to me in one of my appointments, she said, Oh, my daughter my friend’s daughter has just been diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid at a live in. And I said, Oh, wow. I said, Well, great. Are you, are you letting them know, like what you’re seeing with the results, with what I’m doing with your program. And she just said, well, no, no, no. She my friend’s a nurse, she wouldn’t want a bar of it. And I was just like I was just gob smacked and I just said I couldn’t believe it anyway. But anyway, everyone’s got their right. So, I just haven’t looked back since that, was 5 years ago now. And I still eat the plant based diet. So I’ve been like that for the 5 years, and I still go back to your program. I have all the recipes I love loads of the recipes. If I do have a bit of a reaction to a certain food, if I’ve been a bit naughty and eaten, what we call the old vegan junk food or anything like that. Then I’ll go back to the baseline really and just give myself a good body, a good clearing it normally now because it will only take me 24 hours and I’m back to where I was. So the pain’s short and quick now so it doesn’t stick around, which is good and it’s so empowering. That’s what I’ve found has been the most amazing thing is, when you’re given this diagnosis and this and these scripts and everything and then almost like you hand yourselves over to the people that that are they’re meant to help you. Then taking that power back to self and seeing how you can do that for yourself and heal yourself. And you know, so for me, that empowering was such the motivator as well, which was pretty cool. Yeah.

Clint – Oh, beyond cool. Yeah. This is what I call the complete confidence and control stuff. You’re rocking it, you are the puppeteer of your own life.

Nicki – You are, and you just really get to know your body like you can just even kind of going, Oh yeah, what’s that? Ache and pain. And being able to identify where that’s come from and why. And I think it’s just dead in itself, just even on an emotional level. By having that kind of state of balance emotionally and knowing that you’re taking some power back, that I believe is healing on its own level.

Clint – Absolutely. Because you start to feel this again, this word control. You start to feel empowered and these start to, I guess, create these happiness hormones of associated that we know are associated with anti-inflammatory. I guess when we feel out of control, it’s a state of fear, isn’t it?

Nicki – It is. And we all know what stress does to the body. Right. So it’s the stress that will cause the disease. So if we can eliminate that stress at that baseline as well, or not the baseline, but ensuring that we look at the whole holistic self and not just foods but also the mental health and everything like that. Then that’s in itself is, that’s where the magic happens I believe.

Clint – That puts more clarity around something that I sort of did without much sort of intellect, which was just wanting at the time. Again, rewinding to about 2009, 2010, I just when I found something that worked, I just lived Groundhog Day. Over and over and over again. One of the main reasons is because it made me feel like I was safe. I also felt like if I can do long periods of feeling safe, then there have to be lots of healing going on on the inside. Maybe in the future I can eat some lentils or maybe in the future. This feeling of safeness, security, and empowerment is all crucial. It’s absolutely crucial, isn’t it?

Nicki – Yes, it is. I don’t ever say to myself that I’m never going to be able to eat this food again or I’m never going to be able to do that again. I just stick with today I don’t or today my body likes it this way. I think if we don’t put the life down for myself, I don’t put that huge like in day or whatever. Then, the actual journey is a lot easier and it’s actually you don’t feel like you’re missing out. People would they don’t feel safe so much anymore. But back in the day, they would say, don’t you miss blue cheese? Then, I’d be like, No, because it looks like a wheelchair and there’s no way I’m going to be taking it. With that, you change your relationship with the food when you see that the food is killing you, you know? Then it’s kind of like, we don’t get on and I’m not going to have that blue cheese. But who knows, maybe in a few years or I might try it. I don’t think I will, but it’s still could be an option. Who knows?

Clint – Yeah, I love it. It’s like you don’t completely categorize yourself as rigid. You just make the choices that support you and choices change. I love that.

Nicki – That’s right. Exactly.

Clint – Dr. McDougall, even I forget what he eats once a year, but he just does it to prove this point emphatically. I think once a year, but I don’t want to say anything out of line here. However, I believe once a year he eats outside of his recommendation. I can’t recall the specifics of what that is. It might not be animal products, but he might eat a whole bunch of nuts or something. He does it just to say, look, I eat for optimal health and that’s what I do. I’m not typecast as a vegan or I’m not plant-based because I just eat for health and so.

Clint – Can you tell us about kinesiology and how did you get into that? How do you use it on yourself? How do you use it for patients? How can we use it ourselves at home?

Nicki – Sure. With kinesiology, I got into that 16 years ago. We were trying to get pregnant and I couldn’t you know, we struggled with falling pregnant. I’d been trying for a number for a year or so. Then, a friend of mine then said, why don’t you go see kinesiology? I had no idea what kinesiology was at that time. Just because it was holistic health, I was like, I’ve got nothing to lose and I went along and saw her. It’s not only we did full pregnancy, she was pregnant because she not only looked at the physical because I had high acidity in my body with rheumatoid arthritis at the time. It was due to that was why I was struggling to fall pregnant because of the RA. Through different means and different ways, she was able to balance that emotional side of things. Yes, pretty much within a short amount of time we did fall pregnant, which was great. I kind was so blown away by how not only physically but how emotionally and things that I just felt better. I felt calmer, I felt happier, and life just felt a bit easier. I’m like, I just wanted to learn and I wanted to learn what she did. I was like, how do you do that? I wanted to do it just for my friends and family. Like, I never had any kind of idea to go out into business or do anything. It was just more that I was just intrigued and I wanted to be able to help my family and friends. Then, when we were in Perth, we lived in Perth and that’s where I decided to study. There was a great college in Perth, which was O’Neill kinesiology College. I studied under them and did a three-year advanced diploma in kinesiology, which is pretty amazing. The way that it works is the holistic side. We look at the presenting complaint, whatever it can be, anything hormonal, digestive, anxiety, structural, and any type of presenting complaint that you may have. However, we won’t just look at the symptom there because we’re not really worried about the symptoms. By using muscle testing, which is our primary tool, we will then identify within your body where you’re holding stressors. Those stressors can be physical or emotional. Then we look at the whole shebang and identify where those stresses are. Afterward, we use kinesiology corrective techniques to balance them out and that’s where the more holistic side comes in. The whole idea of it is that kinesiology will identify you. You tell the kinesiologist through muscle testing, through your own biofeedback, where your stresses are and how you need to heal them. So again, it’s all about being a facilitator of the person’s healing so we don’t heal the person or we don’t fix the person. We just facilitate that within the person themselves. Yeah, it’s a pretty amazing thing. I mean, I could go on about it for hours. The changes I see not only in myself but also with what I’ve seen in people over the years are just a pretty amazing modality.

Clint – It’s quite different from all the other modalities. It’s very self-diagnostic, but you can’t well certainly someone who hasn’t had the training doesn’t don’t know how to do that self-diagnosis. But when your body, for example, you ask a question and the body just has weakness on that particular, it does send a pretty strong signal to the practitioner that there’s something happening there.

Nicki – It does and that is identified through that biofeedback and it’s through the muscle state. Imagine if you go and you lift up a really heavy suitcase and you all of a sudden let go of it without actually even registering to go that’s heavy, that’s your biofeedback system kicking in to go. It goes from your muscle to your brain going, that’s heavy, severe, stress and let it go. With that, it all happens in a matter of split second and that’s the same thing. We use your muscles to identify stress within the body and your muscle will change state to identify that biofeedback stress. The whole time we’re talking to your subconscious brain. Your subconscious is where your blueprint is, that’s where all your good stuff is. Also, all your emotional traumas, all your experiences, and that’s what we access to facilitate the healing or to eliminate that tough stuff. It is because this whole conscious mind of ours just gets in the way, so we don’t want to talk to that one. We want to talk to your subconscious. The beautiful thing about it is that I do have a lot of kids that come to see and it’s been identified as almost like non-talking therapy. You don’t have to talk at all through the session. We can talk as much as we like and do what we like, but you don’t need to do anything because your body is telling the practitioners through the muscle. It’s really effective for kids, especially for anxiety and things like that, which is great and I love to see. Yeah, it’s pretty cool.

Clint – My only experience with kinesiology was when I was doing food sensitivity tests. This is again, in that era of sort of 2007-2009 looking for any insights I could gain around foods that were going to be helpful and not helpful. Of course, in these exploratory years, we were testing different meats and all sorts of processed snacks and all sorts of stuff. Just because this was really sort of new territory. The process was to raise my arm up and then ask me questions. Then apply pressure to my arm and my ability to resist that consistently applied pressure indicated my subconscious connection with those foods and so on. I just wanted to share that in case people were wondering what actually happens. It’s just basically, you’re getting applied pressure from the practitioner onto an arm, for example, and then your ability to resist that pressure indicates (inaudible).

Nicki – I do a lot of nutritional testing with people who are wanting to see it. There are a lot of sensitivities, food sensitivities, and as well as intolerances. We do as you say, we use muscle testing to identify what may stress your body out or what is okay for your body. I guess from where I’ve been trained to level up from that then I want to identify which organic stressing out. So whether it’s your stomach, your small intestine, your large intestine, or well wherever in your body, and also your brain. Then we go on to find out where those stresses are located, and then we want to facilitate the healing of that. The whole idea is this you might be intolerant to it now, but let’s look at excisions over time, including the emotional components that you may have to get you to a point where you can have that food or where it’s no longer a sensitivity. You get the information, which is great. However, we want to do something with that information and we want to facilitate that healing.

Clint – What’s the name of your practice?

Nicki – www.kinesiology.co.nz, that’s my website.

Clint – www.kinesiology.co.nz, that’s the sort of the New Zealand equivalent of like kinesiology.com.

Nicki – It’s either “.co” or “.au” Yeah, I know it was weird because I just kind of moved back to New Zealand and I’ve only been back here the last five years. Then, I rebranded and everything. When I went to that URL, I was like, I cannot believe that that’s actually still available. But yeah, which is pretty cool.

Clint – Yeah. Back in the day, I had Clint.com.au which was fun. My number plate was just Clint on my car and I had that for ten years. I got sick of people driving by me drunk on a Saturday night, and then they’d wind down the window and say, Clint! Then, I would be like, it must be a buddy of mine and it was just so funny. It’s my number plate and I wanted to have some fun that used to happen every one or two weeks. I’d get someone yell out Clint to me as they drove by.

Nicki – Well, do you know what, Clint? I’d be yelling out to you, too. I mean, you can’t let that go past without yelling out, especially if you get a few wines or something.

Clint – When we traded in the car to get something that could fit a baby because it was a two-door, I actually declined to keep the plates. I said just I didn’t want anybody or I don’t want people to yell at me when I’m a father with a kid. Then the Clint.com that I use, an IT friend of mine was managing that URL and I couldn’t get a hold of him and the thing didn’t renew. Like, I didn’t renew for me and I lost access to it, so not that I want that anymore either. We had a guest who is a very much loved member and we had a guest on our podcast who’s also a much loved member of Rheumatoid Support, whose name is Carrie. She’s a wonderful lady who also had a lot of kidney trouble. Now, she almost had like down to like 30% functionality on her kidney. After doing our program, then she got back up to the 60% and she’s been able to have good quality kidney health ever since. With that, I wanted to ask how your kidneys are, given that this was an issue that you experienced back in 2010.

Nicki – Absolutely fine. I mean, I actually get probably within six months they were improving, and then they’re fine now fully functioning. It was so interesting and even my iron levels as well had always been low. After my first lot or second lot of blood tests, my iron levels went through the roof. Well, at home they thought I had hematoma necrosis. But when I went and hit them again, they were normal. It was almost the same with my kidneys and things that the body. It was healing itself and it wasn’t stressed out. My body just started functioning properly and my levels ever since the last. Every year, I’ll get my blood done and I’ve just had them done recently as well. As a result, all my levels are perfectly fine. I’ve still got the RA and I still have the disease, which I want to get rid of it. But I heard that’s a bit tricky to actually get rid of it, but I still have that and all my other levels are fine. My kidneys and liver are fine.

Clint – Tremendous. Yeah, that was the last question I had for you. Thank you so much for everything that you’ve shared. We spend some time on the knee replacement and I hope that’s valuable to people. We covered your back story, methotrexate, and kinesiology. We also talked about how we still need to be careful of these food sensitivities and emotional sensitivities. It’s about now not getting complacent, it’s about keeping up the things that have gotten you to this place and just continuing to roll them out.

Nicki – Absolutely.

Clint – Thank you. It’s been a pleasure to meet you. Well done for all that you’ve done with your health and it sounds like your business is going well.

Nicki – Yeah, that’s great. Well, thanks for having me, Clint. I’m very honored to be on your podcast, I must say. Thanks for having me.


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