Medical Cannabis acts as a modulator when we feel chronic pain. It has benefits that reach out to muscle spasms, seizures, and concussions. Aside from decreasing inflammation, CBDs provides psychological components that help war veterans who are suffering from PTSD. Above all this, Dr. Ryan Dawson explains that medical cannabis assists our bodies in helping itself get back into a neutral state. Dr. Dawson is on a mission to save one spine at time with his chiropractic practice. He is big with things that are good for the soul such as hiking, camping, getting outdoors, eating right and exercising.
Dr. Ryan Dawson is a chiropractor out of San Jose, California. We will be talking about things that are good for the soul, hiking, camping, getting outdoors, eating right, exercising, and improving the quality of everyday life.
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Good For The Soul with Dr. Ryan Dawson
It’s an honor to have Dr. Ryan Dawson back on. He was one of the first people I had on the podcast. If you want to check out his previous episode, it’s called Psychedelic Experience with Dr. Ryan Dawson. You get a little background on where he’s been and how he came to be the doctor he is now. It’s always a pleasure talking to you.
It is so good to see you, Kev. I’m excited to come back on here and get down to work and get down to business and talk about what we do and how we’re going to get out whenever we get stuck in those ruts, feeling stagnant, feeling like we aren’t getting our messages across. Especially as chiropractors, we’re up against a lot. We’re up against a whole community of not only medical doctors that may not know what we do, but we’re up against so many people and patients. I’ll go out and do a screening and it’d be like, “No, sorry,” I’m sure we’ve all heard this, “but I don’t believe in chiropractic.” I’m like “That’s great. I don’t believe in anything that hasn’t worked for me either that I haven’t tried yet either.”
I was talking to Dr. Kevin Fischer. I love when people come up to me and be like, “You do chiropractic. I don’t believe in that.” I was like, “That’s pretty funny because it’s not a religion.”
We got a whole practice here out of non-believers. I’m trying to build my practice out of people that have no idea what it is. Every once in a while, you get lucky and you’ll get the patient that comes in and it’s like, “I want to take care of my back. I want to make sure that I do whatever I have to do so that in the future, this doesn’t bother me.” I was like, “Who are you and where are you from?” because we need more of that.
Patient education is huge. Sometimes I’ll slip up and forget to tell somebody something and got to re-instill it every visit. This is a healing. It’s is a process that takes time. You got to be in it for the long haul. I don’t think our bodies or us, as humans, are designed to live in the type of environments we’re living in now where you’re sitting on the freeway for hours out of the day. There’s so much stimulus in front of you constantly, whether it’s advertising, billboards, cars whizzing by. Every time you get to go to a place like the Redwoods, it’s therapeutic.
Take a step back, gain some perspective, and try to reconnect with not only the nature, but reconnect with yourself. That’s one of the beauties about living up here. I like living in Santa Cruz. I was in Santa Barbara and I love it. It’s always going to be one of my little slice of home. I had a great opportunity so it’s been about six months now. I came up here and started working right off the bat. I’m working in a correctional base chiropractic office. We do a lot of workshops. Patient education is crucial. One of the things I’ve been doing more of is my workshops, trying to get better at my referral statements.
I want the practice to be passive that it’s like breathing. Whenever a patient leaves, they know that they had an amazing product, amazing adjustment, amazing experience. They got all the love in the world in that little amount of time and then all the sudden, that little thing’s going a little bit extra and giving awesome adjustment, but also giving them the love and the passion. Put a hand on their shoulder and say, “We’re going to make more sense. Looking at your x-rays, if we could help your friends and family out before they got to a point where you were, wouldn’t that save so much time and so much effort and money in the long haul?” What we’re trying to do is build a community and be that savior in the community.
A lot of people come in. You treat one person in the family, and they get better. Before you know it, the whole family is in the office. You have the other people that bring their family members in and they’re watching you to see what it’s about. It’s almost like they want it for themselves, but they’re sending somebody else in first to see how it goes. I love seeing those patients because right after you adjust their family member, they come to you like, “This is what I have going on.” This person wanted it from the beginning. They were just trying to see what’s going on.
In the beginning, they’re like, “I have nothing wrong with me. I’ve never had back pain in my life. I’ve never had a problem in my life. I’ve never been under any stress,” but as soon as they see what’s going on, it’s like, “There might be something to this after all. I did have this little twinge in my neck. Can you check it out?” When that happens, I push them back a little bit. Instead of running and jumping at every single person that’s like, “I need a chiropractor,” I push them back a little bit and be like, “We still have to do the exam. We still have to make sure that we are doing everything,” because that’s where we build our significance.
At least here, we build our significance in that exam. We don’t even adjust on the first day even if they want me to. Sometimes I will adjust on the first day if somebody is in acute pain. I had a guy coming in here that was crawling. He was a big old football player that could barely walk. He comes in, I gave him a great adjustment, and he went and worked a double on that Saturday. He comes back on Monday, he’s sore again and can barely walk and back in the same state he was on Saturday. I gave him another great adjustment and I never saw the guy again.
There’s a disconnect there between pain symptoms and understanding that what you have going on has been there for years. For a lot of these people, it’s getting them to bridge that gap of “This is how I currently feel” and “This is how it began.” We’re in the same body that we’ve always been in. Sometimes the pain is there so quickly, and it leaves so quickly after a great adjustment. There’s a disconnect they almost forget that they were in that pain and they had that experience. He will come back and he’s like, “I think I’ll be okay.” I was like “A few days ago, you were barely walking and now you’re like, ‘Okay, I’m good to go back to work. I’ll come back whenever it’s bothering me.’” That’s the opposite of what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to get down to the reason why, the root cause, and making sure that we get back to chiropractic.
It’s something that I had to relearn over the last six months. I got so far, and I love it. I love science, I love getting into that, but I got to realize and I got to remember this on a daily basis that information doesn’t get people scheduled. Giving people all this information sometimes goes over their head. It’s like glutathione. Why am I telling my patients about glutathione? I’ll just go ahead and give that to them. It’s the same thing with the exercise prescription. I was so big on exercise, I still am, but now I value the adjustment so much more. I would rather give a specific correction. Go home and you do the exercises there. We’ll give you some supplements and a list of things that we have pre-packaged. They just buy the package, open up that package, that’s their morning capsules, they take those, and they’re ready to go. They’ve got probiotics, anti‑inflammatories, and some anti-oxidants.
How often do you use supplementation with your patients? Do you have everybody on supplementations? Is it only for certain types of people?
I talk about it with all my patients, but I don’t prescribe any supplements anymore. I try not to get lost in the supplement game. I don’t get lost in the physical therapy exercise game. As awesome and as amazing as they are, I realized that it didn’t set me apart from a physical therapist. There is no difference at that point. I needed to remember what my niche was. My niche is supplying a specific chiropractic adjustment to an area that shows spinal degeneration. They have nerve conduction that’s not working the way they’re supposed to. It’s getting back to that basic concept of no matter what your religion is, what your race is, what your sex is, what your diagnosis is, you’re going to be better off and more well-equipped for the stresses ahead and whatever life has to throw at you if you’re well-adjusted and you’re in alignment, and you’re clear and brought back to center. I don’t think anything can bring you back to center and into that moment and bring that mind-body connection back together than a chiropractic adjustment.
Specific chiropractic works. If you’re doing specific chiropractic, you’re going to get results. I’m very skeptical when I walk into an office with a lot of gimmicks like they got all the supplementation on the walls, they have all the PT workout stuff, they have everything. It’s like they’re doing everything else but chiropractic. When you have specific chiropractic and you’re hitting the right spot, that’s all you’re going to need. It’s not all the patient is going to need, but you did your job and then you can refer them to a physical therapist down the road or refer them to certain people. If you know exactly what you do, and you do that well, you can’t be stopped.
I don’t want to think that I don’t have time for them or I have to refer them out to PT. That’s why we do the classes and the workshops after the shift because whenever they come in for an appointment, I want to be focused on finding that area that needs specific correction, and then that’s it. They come to the classes later on in the week. We’ll go over their exercises then. We’ll talk nutrition and stuff then, but when they come into the practice and they lie down on that table, we’re all focused on getting that correction and making sure that they get exactly what they need on that particular day.
All of a sudden, I started having more fun with that. Whenever I got out of school, I want to tell everybody everything I knew, and I wanted to do every single thing on every single patient that I had learned. I’m over here doing heat, e-stim, and doing five different muscles and myofascial release before I ever adjust. All of a sudden, the patients are like, “Are you going to do that thing to me again?” A normal visit turns into a 30‑minute visit.
Now I come into the room, I give someone acknowledgement and say, “Mrs. Jones, it’s awesome to see you. I’m so glad that you’re here today. I’m so glad that I’m allowed to serve you. I didn’t know if you realize this, but we’ve been serving your family for over five years now. Isn’t that amazing? Who else can you tell about your amazing story?” That’s my referral statement. All of a sudden, we get down to business. It’s like, “Let’s find out what you need today,” give her a nice adjustment, clear it, and that’s it. That’s the groove right there. That’s the meat and potatoes on the table.
Whenever a patient comes in, it starts when they walk in the door. It is a lot of theatrics. I’m not trying to tell you or anybody else how to run the practice. For me, the whole thing that I’ve gained in my knowledge over the last three months is my energy and the passion in which I talk to my patients and making sure that it’s not just another adjustment. It’s not just another visit. We’re not just blending in. We don’t want to blend in our communities. We don’t want to blend in our visits. Every time they come in, it’s amazing because we’ve got to remember all this crazy stuff that’s happened in our societies, all these school shootings, all this other stuff.
We got so much distortion in our society that we need to be the safe haven where people know they can go, they can get an amazing product and amazing adjustment. They’re going to be around people that love them more than anything. They’re going to be around other people with amazing stories that are uplifting them, and this can be their tribe. We are tribal beings and we need a tribe. We all have spines, so why not make that our connection? That’s where we’re at right now. Being able to inspire and stay inspired is important. That’s one of the things that I always have to have because the energy got to stay up.
That comes from you taking care of yourself too. I’m sure you get adjusted regularly, making sure everything’s turned on so you can be the best doctor for your patients.
I try to be the very best for my patients every single day. It starts with my mindset in the morning. Sometimes I’ll listen to a podcast on my way to work, drive and just getting that set.
If you set an intention every morning, it doesn’t have to be a huge long ordeal, if you take five to ten minutes every morning, say what you want to get done that day, your intent. I have way better days than when I just wake up and go to work. If I take ten minutes to myself, I plan out what I want to do, say what I am grateful or thankful for, and then get on my day, it goes way better than when I just roll out of bed and I go right to work.
Usually what happens on the second part is you roll out of bed, go right to work, and then you end up hitting every single light on the way. There’s a tree down, and some squirrel is chewing on the power lines over there, so it doesn’t work. All these things start happening. It’s like, “Damn, if I only just got up ten minutes sooner,” but you got to take care of yourself especially when you’re adjusting 50 to 60 upwards. One day, I adjusted 110 people. I’m running the show, getting lots of practice, getting lots of adjustments and it’s awesome. It’s awesome getting my hands on everybody.
I’m on a mission to save the world one spine at a time. If we have our intention set, we recognize those things, and the most important for me over this last year was not only just the energy but understanding that I don’t have to do this all myself. I want to go into my own practice. I want to do all these things. I want to go ahead and start and be like Dawson Chiropractic across the front and start running before I could even crawl. I bit the bullet on that and I was like, “I’m going to get coached, I’m going to be open to whatever they have to say, I’m going to go ahead and get started on being a team player.”
Whenever we have a chiropractor trying to be the chiropractor, trying to be the front desk, tried to do the billing, trying to be CA, there’s no way you have the energy to give the patients what they need and also the love that they need. It’s multifaceted. You have to have that team approach. Whenever you surround yourself with a team and everybody’s on that same goal, it seems like we get so much done. It’s like, “Why did I spend so much time trying to do it myself?” versus having that team around you.
My office is set up. My front desk woman, Maria, is an angel. She is so good at what she does that all I have to worry about is adjusting people and she takes care of a lot. I also hired my cousin. It’s very important to surround yourself with people that are going to help you and have common goals. It makes the business running way better.
You can just focus on being a chiropractor. That way you can focus on your training, focusing on what you do, that idea of not having to do all this stuff on all the patients on every visit and be the doctor, the CA, the biller, and the marketing people all at once, it makes your world so much easier and allows us to focus on what we need to do and focus on making spinal correction. Getting back to the basics of what we do, getting back to a little bit more of the chiropractic side, I’m having more fun treating that way and having more fun talking to the patients and getting them stoked about their adjustment.
I may only adjust one, two or three segments that day. I’m not doing full spine, flip them over, racking them and cracking them all day. I tell them exactly what they need this for, build it up, give a specific good one, and then tell them how that went perfectly, that’s exactly what they needed, pat them on the back say, “See you on Monday.” All of a sudden, they’re like, “That was an amazing experience,” versus trying every single vertebra, every single spot, trying to chase the crack noise, trying to chase the popping sound. If it doesn’t go once, the patient is like, “What happened there?” I don’t even double check anymore.
It releases endorphins. When you go after every bone or every crack, it’s going to feel good because it does release those initial endorphins, but the question is how is that patient feeling three or four hours, even the next day later? Are you adjusting the same exact thing on them every time? Are they healing and getting better? What you’re saying with the specificity goes so much longer because you want that to hold and go to something else where you can focus and get that person better rather than twist, crack, pop, go, twist, crack, pop, go.
That is exactly where we need to be as chiropractors. I don’t think I’m as specific as what you practice with your upper cervical, but I try to build it up that way to the patient. I’m also using the x-ray, using my exam notes, and then getting in there and being specific. What we have around us in this beautiful, amazing world, especially here in Santa Cruz, we have a lot of medical cannabis. This is something that’s on the rise.
When you have a person who’s got some heavy chronic pain, even if it’s acute, can you tell that person legally, “Why don’t you go to the dispensary and pick this up for your chronic pain?” How does that work?
I don’t ever make prescriptions like that, but I will mention that I have several patients that do take the CBDs, cannabidiol. You can get that at Whole Foods and the grocery stores. A lot of my patients are already medical patients. They’ll come in smelling like they just burnt one down in their car before, and I was like, “Which one is that? Is that Sativa or Indica? What’s going on here?” I can tell by the blood in their eyes that it was clearly a Sativa.
What is your argument against it? At this point, with all the research and what we know now with chronic pain, muscle spasms, seizures, and the neuro-protective properties it has with concussions, some people even say it’s stopping cancer cells from spreading. It decreases inflammation. You also have that psychological component where it’s helping a lot of war veterans with PTSD and it can also be very introspective on yourself to figure your own stuff out. What is the argument here? What are we talking about?
One of the main reasons why cannabis is such a great component for our health is because much like chiropractic, it’s a modulator. It can go in and if a neuron is firing too fast and it’s over-releasing some neurotransmitters, say dopamine, then the CB receptors are going to modulate that. They’re going to slow it down and have more rhythm and better frequency to the release of those neurotransmitters. If it’s too slow, it will pick it up and speed it up.
It basically helps modulate. It doesn’t speed up or slow down. It’s based on whatever that component needs and then the side effect is better function, just like restoring proper dynamics to a vertebra ops and then all of a sudden, that nerve has free motion. It has free conductivity to the organs and to the other tissues of the body from the brain down and out, and all of a sudden, it’s able to modulate itself better. Cannabis has all these benefits. It’s also helping the body help itself. It’s helping the body get back into a fine state.
Do we have cannabinoid receptors in our body that it literally can latch on to and help regulate things?
Yes, we have two different ones. We have CB1 and CB2 receptors. It’s the endocannabinoid system in our body. It’s actually built in there already. That’s why cannabis can be stored in the body for so long because unlike alcohol, if you take too much, your body doesn’t try to eject, it doesn’t try to get rid of it, it actually stores it in fat cells. The CB1 and CB2 receptors are good because those are on the outside of the cells and they help act as modulators, especially in the nervous system, especially for modulating the pain gate pathway. Not only is cannabis great for pain, but a lot of the pain pathway is regulated by serotonin. Whenever we look at serotonin, it’s regulating our mood. There’s high correlation between depression and pain. Almost about 30% to 80% of people that are in chronic pain have depression. Most of the people that are chronically depressed have some pain. It is a vicious cycle. Once you’re in that cycle, it’s hard to see the light and try to step out of that.
I don’t want anybody to be ever dependent on anything. I don’t want anybody to be dependent on drugs, on chiropractic, on anything other than the love of their family and spouse and just being a good person. That’s what they should depend on and then everything else will fall in. From time to time, that is required. It’s required to get the adjustment. It is required to take care of yourself. There’s a ton of benefits to this medical cannabis. The CBD is way ahead of the game as far as its benefits.
One of the problems with the whole medical culture and the culture of this, especially in Santa Cruz, is sometimes you have people that are in excruciating pain that had never gotten a glimmer of hope from anywhere else that they’ve went. This cannabis is the first thing that’s finally done anything. On the other side, we have people that just turned 21 and they’re abusing the system. That’s going to come with anything at the same time. That’s one of the problems with it, but there’s a problem with anything.
A lot of people say, “I don’t do drugs. I don’t do that.” It’s like, “How many cups of coffee did you have today?” or, “What’s that Ritalin you’re taking?” People think they’re not taking anything, but we are all medicating ourselves in one way or the other with stimulants or going the other way with it, just trying to relax. There’s a huge opiate crisis that obviously we both know of and it’s in one form or the other. Everybody is doing something to peak performance or calm down or do something, whether it’s legal or not.
Psychedelic comes from the Latin term “psyche,” which is mind and “delos,” which is manifesting, so it means manifesting the mind. That means that every single thing that we take in from our outside surroundings, our world, this universe around us and within us, is all being conducted through this nervous system and being integrated in that system, and that system is highly regulated by biochemistry. Those drugs act on the same pathways as the neurotransmitters. A lot of these drugs are meant to mimic the job of these neurotransmitters. They don’t have a very good feedback mechanism, so they end up flooding the brain in all this serotonin.
Then people get lost in this vicious cycle of symptomology and coming out of being depressed and then taking their pills and then having an exit strategy off those things. I have patients come to me all the time and they’re like, “I’ve been everywhere. I’ve tried everything, I’ve been to this, this, and this specialist, done all these things,” and they just get passed around. They got a laundry list of drugs and I’m like, “Let’s get back to the basics. Let’s get back to figuring out how you are teaching your body how to move properly, freeing up areas of stagnant energy in your nervous system, getting you on a well-rounded whole food, plant-based diet, getting you to take some anti-inflammatory supplementation,” so the CBD combining with THC works.
Turmeric, I talk about all the time with my patients, the antioxidant support. Glutathione is the regulatory master molecule of all the antioxidants. That’s like the master antioxidant. We go into the supplementation, but I don’t want people to depend on it and be like, “If I take magnesium, I don’t need to come and get adjusted.” It will help. The same with the medical cannabis, it will help. It’s a better option and it’s got a lot of benefits to it. That’s the future. There’s some new information coming out and actually being put on the ballot to legalize psilocybin mushrooms. Some of these mushrooms, especially the shiitake mushroom, reishi, and the lion’s mane. The lion’s mane in particular is a medicinal mushroom that has been shown to cause neurogenesis, especially in the periphery. You take your lion’s mane and you drive that home with a strong anti-inflammatory support.
Is the lion’s mane psychoactive? Are those magic mushrooms or no?
No, those are not. Every mushroom does have some medicinal benefit, but the lion’s mane is not psychedelic. The reishi mushroom is good for immune support, good for helping your body adapt to stress, and it acts as one of those modulators as well. Going into all the different little more edible medicinal mushrooms like the shiitake mushrooms, those are going to be good just boosting the immune system and also helping with those neurotransmitter connections and being able to regulate our systems better.
I see a future of integrating psychology with physical medicine because there’s so much overlap. I’ve had a couple of patients where I adjust them, and right off the bat, they start bawling. I’ll ask them, “What happened? Are you okay?” They’re like, “I’m fine. That was awesome, and I felt like I needed to cry afterwards.” Sometimes, you have this huge emotional release because it’s stored in the body somewhere and there’s a psychological component too.
You can take it the other way too where people go everywhere else and they are like, “The other doctor is not listening to me at all. I tell him what’s wrong. He’s not paying attention to me,” and then they come to your office and you just listen to them for five or ten minutes. Sometimes, that might be all they need that day, just to have somebody hear them out and that goes a long way.
That’s the problem. I was having this idea of going around to schools and implementing some course where we teach kids and students good bedside manner. When we’re going through school, they teach us all the L, O, P, Q, R, S, T, and it’s good for the history-taking, but it’s like, “You got a lot of pain. Where is that pain?” It’s never like you’re saying, “You were in a lot of pain. I can see that.” It’s been going on for so long and this is insane. Just being able to take it a little bit extra, just talk a little bit farther, dive in, be empathic and listen, that’s 90%.
Then you give a nice adjustment after all, everybody wins. Everybody’s feeling good.
We’re trying to build a team around these patients. I firmly believe that you are the equivalent of the top five people you hang out with.
Who you surround yourself with is who you become definitely.
It takes practice. You got to practice being positive. You got to practice being energetic. I have a mantra that I do in the morning. I have made this big picture and it’s like, “Smile, love, focus and deliver a great adjustment and then expand from there.” That’s my step-by-step process. Whenever I go into a room with a patient, it’s like whenever I would get into a funk or something on the mound, I’d have to step off and wipe the dish clean and maybe toss it and get a fresh ball or something, but you got to be able to step back and get that fresh perspective, so you can go right into that next person and give them 110%.
There are some people that are like, “You shouldn’t feel that way,” or, “You shouldn’t have any bad days,” like it’s yin and yang, like you can’t have good without the bad. If there’s a lot of bad shit coming into your life, I welcome it. I don’t like it, but I also know that there’s something better coming. It’s all the bad stuff’s coming and it’s making way for the good stuff coming because you can’t have one without the other.
When everything’s going good, that’s when I start looking over my shoulder and watch out for the sledge. It always happens. As soon as you think you’ve got it figured out, life kicks you right in the behind.
That’s where that mantra that you just said comes in huge because there’re days you probably wake up and you’re like, “I’m not feeling it today.” You reading that, putting yourself into that good spot or zone, definitely helps you set the tone for the day even when you weren’t feeling as good as you thought you were going to do that day.
Part of that is I work hard and supply great energy, but at the end, you got to be able to take care of yourself and get back and reconnect. That’s one of the reasons I love living up here in Santa Cruz, and one of the reasons I love being in California. There is so much variety and being able to connect with nature and there’re a lot of opportunities. There’s a lot of opportunity here. There’s great opportunity to go around and explore.
It’s an amazing thing. It’s important and it’s so crucial that we get back in connection with nature, not only from a political standpoint when we’re talking about all these global warming, but also just as individuals, individually being able to take a step back and go for a hike, get your heart rate up, get some fresh air, be able to clear your mind, active meditation, and basically re-immerse yourself in nature and get out of your head for a second, get some fresh perspective, take a step back, and then you’re like, “This is amazing. This is awesome.”
That would solve so many world problems on a huge level if everyone started taking care of themselves first and foremost. We all innately know what to do, but it just gets crazy. Life gets in the way and we forget. We do a lot of crazy stuff and I feel like we’ve got to take that time for ourselves.
We end up in these cycles of getting stuck. We’ll get stuck in a rut. All of a sudden, it’s like whenever I’d be hitting, it’s like you go up to the plate twenty times in a row and it seems like you can never sniff the guy at all. You can’t ever even put the bat on the ball. It came and you get a foul pitch, “What am I doing wrong here?” The more it builds up, the harder you try and the harder it gets. Usually when that happens, I start to get that feeling. It’s trying to control and being better how we react to what happens to us because I feel like we’re an accumulation of not just the things that happen to us but majority of how we react to those things that do happen to us. It’s how to control our reactions and how to not go based off that first instinct as soon as something happens.
Do you think that a lot of people just shut off that gut feeling? We’re all thrown roadblocks and some are more major than others, but there’re people that will just turn it off like, “It’s going to get better if I just keep doing this,” and they ignore it. There’re other people that once they get that gut feeling that something is not right, they’ll listen to their gut and it takes them on a completely different path. Do you think there’re a lot of people that are just shutting that off?
Absolutely. Not only are they shutting it off, but they’re actively shutting it off. I’ve been that person too. You find that escape and you think that your escape might be healthy for the time being, maybe a temporary relief or coping mechanism. All of a sudden, that becomes what you’re a slave to. Like last year, I loved it. I learned so much. I met so many amazing, great, awesome people at these festivals. By the time I go to the summertime, I’ve been to so many festivals and I was just burned out on this. I was so passionate about it at the beginning of the year and it became this other social thing where I felt like I was in this clique from all these people that I’d met at other festivals and it’s like, “I’ll see you at the next one.”
There’s this spontaneous, childhood feeling where it’s like, “I’m here, camping out with friends and dancing and having fun,” that all of a sudden became a routine. I never want my fun to be a routine, and part of that is not working as much as I should have and playing too much. You have to have that proper balance. You can’t work too much and not play at all and you can’t play too much and not work at all. There’s a satisfactory feeling that is missing whenever you’re at two ends of that spectrum, so you got to find that balance, and right now I’m in the middle of that. Hitting the sweet spot and knocking it out of the park. The pitcher just threw a fat hanger right down the middle. I blasted it over the centerfield fence, 450, baby.
Are you still hitting the gym hard? What have you been doing for a little activity there?
I don’t go to the gym anymore. That’s too boring for me. I love it there and I always have a connection with bodybuilding. I love going to the gym, but I’ve turned a page. I want to spend more time learning things that I haven’t ever done before. I’ve been taking up time learning how to make me think and try to be better like reading more often, learning new things. I want to make this life about not necessarily being good at one thing.
One of the reasons I’m so happy is I feel like not making it to the Major Leagues was the best thing that ever happened to me because I would’ve been one-dimensional. That would’ve been all I’ve known and all I did up until this point whereas now, I feel like I’ve lived two or three different lives already and I still have plenty of time where I can do this amazing thing that I love. I feel fortunate to be a chiropractor at the age I am and just getting started, but twenty years from now, you never know. I might go on tour like a little bluegrass band or something like that.
I’m excited for what the future has for us. I’m excited for not only where we’re going as a collective, but I’m excited to see what some of our other classmates are doing too. It’s peculiar to me that we have people that we worked so hard with in school that aren’t even practicing. It’s sad to me, but I feel like if we know something’s right and people in your environment and community are misinformed, we have a moral obligation to get the word out there and tell every person that you can with every amount of breath that you can for the amount of time that we’re on this earth to tell them the truth and tell them, “You don’t need to take these drugs. There is an alternate path, and the alternate path isn’t alternate to health. It’s alternate to the mainstream, which has become very unhealthy.”
This is where we’re at in our society. We got diabetes, heart disease, cancer, obesity, and autoimmunities. They are chronic lifestyle-based disease and dysfunction, and we know that. That’s something that we probably knew going into chiropractic school. We draw it at home and around all these people that believe the same thing and they know this stuff. Then we get going back out into society. Some of these people forget that you can’t eat a bag of Cheetos every single day. I know they’re delicious, but it’s getting back to the very basics.
We have a moral obligation to tell people and teach them how to take care of themselves and not spend too much time getting wrapped up in how their office looks or how many patients they’re visiting or how much money they’re making. Money is awesome. It’s a byproduct to great service, and I’ve made more money than I have in my whole life or any year in my whole life. I have the best financial year in my life, but it’s a byproduct of good energy and great service. It’s not a byproduct of me being salesy and insecure and hoping that a patient is going to walk in the door.
If you put the money as the first thing, you’re missing the point. It’s going to be a long miserable haul for you if that’s what you’re putting first right in front of pretty much anything.
I’m not afraid to talk about money. I’m not afraid to talk about finance because that’s part of our health. Financial health is a branch of health for me and it’s a branch that is unregulated and unchecked and it adds to people’s stress. In teaching some of our patients, part of what we do is talk to them about managing their lifestyle and part of that goes into managing savings. We have patients that are 60 to 70 years old who have all these medical bills at the end of their life that they didn’t save for retirement, they didn’t save for their health at the end, so it’s like, “That’s such a crucial aspect.” I know money’s not the most important thing, but it does extend our reach and allows us to get the services that we need later on. It’s so important to save and to be smart with how we spend and invest back into our communities, back into these local farms, and start rebuilding as if our dollar is our voting and how we cast our vote.
A lot of people should turn the TV off. The TV is poisonous. The phones are bad too. We are very fortunate where we have access to all the information. YouTube is so phenomenal where you can just watch a video on how to learn anything. The information’s out there. You just got to put your head in the right spot.
YouTube got some sensations out there. Getting out of these ruts, getting back to the basics, getting back to what makes us human, getting back to what we are. At our deepest level, part of this has come from my life lessons, some of it comes from people I’ve talked to, and some of it comes from psychedelic experiences. I feel like at our core, what we are is love and energy. Being able to pull that out in and have that vibration sent out into the universe, we can directly affect our communities just by being more positive and loving and then being the best listener/doctor in your community and also supplying the best treatment in your community.
I feel like chiropractors need to be the Bruce Waynes of their communities, like the Superman or Batman of the community. You need to know that you are a standout and you need to know that you’re the type of person that not only thinks differently, but you’re okay with thinking differently and you’re comfortable with thinking differently and you should think differently. It’s a hindrance against your own life and it’s almost a sin against the universe to not do that. You don’t want to always blend in. One of the biggest things is trying not to blend in.
Whenever we’re at the grocery store, wherever we’re at the gym, whenever we’re at a hike, I challenge my patients. I challenge other people to strike a conversation, tell somebody, “I like your bag. I like your coffee mug. That’s the coolest coffee mug I’ve seen this week. I bet it has a great tasting coffee inside of it too.” It’s working on that bonding. It could be totally random, totally stupid, but it’s better than walking up and being like, “Do you have a chiropractor? I bet you need a chiropractor. Come with me. Let’s go get you a chiropractor.” Starting with that basic connection, getting back with being a loving person, telling people that, “You’ve had this going on? Why don’t you come by? We’ll get it checked out,” give them a glimmer of hope, and then next thing they know they’re telling their friends and family about it.
I have this cool story of this baby who’s about a year and a half old. She’s a little Down syndrome baby. She was constipated for six days. She didn’t go to the bathroom, she just couldn’t go. Mom has given her pears, given her apples, went to the pediatrician, gave her laxatives. I was like, “Bring her in. Let’s check her out.” She came in, I went straight down to S1-S2, and I noticed that it was a little bit more firm than it should have been. It didn’t feel like that nice little squishy baby feeling like it’s supposed to, so I gave it three little pulses. It’s almost like the pressure in which you would check a ripe tomato, just three little pulses down. Two seconds later, there’s poop in her diaper. The mom was like, “This baby has been on drugs and changing her diet so she can go to the bathroom,” when it was just a small little blockage in the nervous conduction between her brain and her distal colon. It’s pretty cool whenever we see those miracles like that.
Part of what I want to do is be better about getting these kids checked and making sure that they start a life in chiropractic because we know that kids in chiropractic versus the allopathic model are just going to be healthier long-term. They’re not going to be on as many drugs long term. They’re not going to be required to have as many interventions long-term. They’re going to have better relationships and better bonds. One of the biggest problems in our society is we want a quick fix for everything. We want a pill for everything. There’s no pill or like button for long-term relationships and bonds and long-term health and vitality. That’s part of something that we just got to get across and get down to work on. It’s cool whenever that light bulb turns on for patients and they’re like, “I was resisting a lot before,” and I was like, “Of course you were. How many times have you ever been successful at something that you didn’t commit to?” It’s impossible to not be committed to something or someone and get the best response out of them or that situation.
It’s important to take care of your pain because pain definitely plays a role in our relationships. It plays a role in a depression and our anxiety, so helping people to understand that depression isn’t a diagnosis, but it’s a normal human emotion. If you didn’t ever feel depressed or ever feel sad, that’d be the same as never feeling happy. We have to have the compass in order to know where we’re at and orientate ourselves. The problem is that we get stuck on one end of that spectrum for too long and it is hard to get out. This is theoretical and this is like 50 years into the future, but I feel like if you could have an experience where a patient is working with a therapist, say a psychologist, and they take say MDMA or psilocybin and they go through one of these psychedelic/psychotherapy sessions where you take the drug and then you have the spiritual experience, you come out of it a new person.
You have your reflection with that therapist and right at the end, you get a good spinal adjustment that sends that thing home. It’s almost like you’re bringing that realistic feeling into the center back into the moment, so you’re taking what I just learned during that experience and then combining it with the present moment with that adjustment, and then at the end, you give them some of the lion’s mane and some of these other supplements and they’re going in and they’re restoring. We know that. Psilocybin has neurogenic factor. You’re rebuilding neurons.
What if you did the adjustment before to get the neurons already functional properly and then you get it, then you take it, then everything’s functioning on the highest level?
It’s already opened up. We might have to conduct a study one day and see which one might work better. We get back to being tribal. You have some good connection with whoever you’re there with, your spouse or your friend or your therapist and then you have some good rhythmic music that takes you out of your head, and then the drug kicks in. You have a self-loving empathic feeling, then combine that with a stellar adjustment and then you get them going on this rehab program using medicinal herbs and supplements. The mushrooms that go in and help the body heal itself on top of everything else we’re doing. There’s no way that that cannot be some catharsis to that where you’re a different person after. Most people report being a different person after psilocybin.
It’s educating the people and teaching them it’s not dangerous and that it could be therapeutic. You mentioned any one of those things like mushrooms or DMT, and people are just like, “What? Drug? No, not for me. I’m not ever doing that.” Their brain shuts off before you even start speaking about it. It goes with anything else, just educating.
It’s a daunting experience to know that you’re about to go into yourself. You’re about to face something that you probably had buried for years, maybe ever since your childhood, that it has affected how you developed. You’ve been carrying that with you ever since that your body literally has had that for so long that it clings to it because it doesn’t know what other experiences are out there. It doesn’t know what’s going to happen once you let that go, which we all know what happened. It’s like, “I’ve been holding onto that for so long.” You take a different perspective on an old problem and you have better feelings towards it afterwards. There’s this forgiveness that takes place and you start to move on with stuff. That’s a great therapy.
That’s one of the things that we’re missing in our tribes. We don’t have those interactions, not even with ourselves but also within our tribes and within our communities. That’s something that we have to get back to basics on as well. The food that we eat, the way we socialize, the way that we conduct our behaviors and how we use those behaviors to actually stimulate our life on a physical level, on a mental level, and on a freaking financial level, that’s one of the things I learned from a psychedelic experience too. It is in order to be the person I want to be and have the impact I want to have, I have to make a difference, I have to extend my reach, and I have to serve as many people as I can so that I can keep doing it.
I would love to eventually have multiple practices, but it’s important to team up on it, getting back and not thinking that you have to do it all yourself and telling that to the patient like, “You don’t have to do this yourself. We are here for you and building an environment around you that’s going to support you and give you exactly what you need and give you all the coaching you need on top of the product that’s amazing. At the end of this three month program, you’re going to be a different person.” Then you start adding in going on hikes, maybe trying to do some coping breath work, using medicinal cannabis, changing your diet and then possibly under a controlled setting with the right environment and the right group of people, you could have a psychedelic experience. You don’t even have to take a psychedelic to have a psychedelic experience.
It’s being able to reconnect and shed layers. Shed those layers so you can get back to you because a lot of times we get so caught up in our egos that we forget that what if we’re trying to accomplish is serving my future and my goal or is it serving the ego and just a temporary thing. One of the things that I constantly deal with is going from service and back and forth between that. You went to chiropractic school, you were a baseball player, you’re doing all these things. You’re an accomplished guy. I sit there, and I’ll tell myself that, and it’s like I got to remember I don’t know shit. Once you realize that you don’t know anything, and you can be open to other people. That allows people to open up to you so much more.
The most arrogant thing you can do is sit down in front and act like you already know what’s going on with them. One of the things I hear from my patients who have been to a lot of medical doctors is they go into the office and they don’t even look them in the eye, they don’t palpate, they don’t touch them, they don’t even converse with them at all, and then all of a sudden it’s like, “I have to get an MRI done, and the only thing that you can do for me is either a surgery or epidural. I don’t want to take those drugs, so what do I do?” There’s no direction and there’s no guidance there, so they end up coming to us.
I have to explain to them what drugs they’re taking and how those are actually interacting because for some reason, the five different specialists they’ve been going to didn’t ever communicate that to them. It’s crazy just like the baby I was talking about having to take the laxatives before ever checking the spine. I have other patients coming in that have been everywhere and I feel so sorry for them because they’re stuck in this medical mindset. They’re in this symptom-based mindset and it’s like, “You’ve been dealing with this for a long time and it’s going to take a long time for it to get better, but it can happen. We just got to start with the right steps and go on the right path.
If they came to us first and then if we couldn’t help them out with something, then they try the medication and maybe then it would do something. It’s certainly not the case there. There definitely is a place for medicine, especially emergency, like ER stuff, which is just phenomenal. To have somebody on medication for very long periods of time, there’s a better way to do it.
Look at some of these medications like cholesterol medication or high blood pressure medication. They changed the guidelines for blood pressure, so they lowered it ten points. Now, 30 million more Americans are qualified for blood pressure medication. They changed the guideline for it and not necessarily anything else. We all know that proper diet and proper exercise are going to help regulate those things. We’re beating a dead horse here, but this is it.
We have to get back to eating right, connecting with nature, connecting with the loved ones that you are around, appreciating the fact that you’re even alive and you have an opportunity to not only be a great person, but you can actually help other people. That’s an amazing thing. I don’t want to let anybody stand in my way of my destiny. I also feel like you’re not going to miss out on your own destiny. Don’t spend too much time stressing about if you’re on the right path or not. You’re not going to miss out on your destiny. It’s going to unfold. It’s going to do it.
If you want to finish off with anything you’d like to leave the good people with, that’d be great.
I’m Dr. Ryan Dawson. I appreciate each and every one of you. I appreciate you, Kev, for going above and beyond and allowing me not only to come on here and talk to you, but also all the other podcast that you’re doing. It’s amazing and I love that you’re doing this show. It’s going to proliferate into something truly awesome. This is going to be a big thing. I’m excited for you and I’m excited for everybody else. I look forward to the next one.
If anybody wants to, they can go and check out my professional Facebook page, it’s Dawson Chiropractic & Human Optimization. You can follow that page. I’m going to be putting on some different talks and workshops. Some of them are mostly going to be Facebook Live. I’m going to start doing it so that other people around the world and around the country can watch those. I have done some of them but not all of them yet. I’m working on a having a little studio so that we can make it legit. Watch out for that.
What days do you work?
I’m usually at work all day.
Daws, thanks so much for coming on. I appreciate it.
I freaking love you and I hope you have a great day, Kev.
Thank you so much.
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