I landed in Vancouver where I immediately switched my phone off flight mode, and to my pleasant surprise EE notified me I could use my usual date, texts and minutes with no extra charge. Winner.
Upon getting through passport check, I was asked on 3 separate occasions if I had been to China recently. They seemed worried about the corona virus. I thought to myself, if people actually had working immune systems, then the virus wouldn't be so much of a problem. The problem is the average person's microbiome is not substantial enough to keep the flu at bay. Eat your organic fruit and vegetables, play in the mud, have some Probiotics. And less of the scaremongering.
Anyway, onto Vancouver and I caught the sky train to the city which was a stunning ride. I picked up a rental car here and headed starlight to whole foods. The plane food was awful, a chicken ratatouille, followed by a vegetable pasty, which I finished but it was nothing short of cardboard. Whole foods are a fantastic organic food store in America, and they have the best fresh to go deli I have ever seen. I opted for a veg chilli with veg rice, broccoli, Moroccan quinoa and salad. Back to the Air BnB where I was staying to get an early night before seeing Donny in the morning.
Because of the time difference, I went to bed at 8pm Vancouver time which was like 3am British. Surprisingly, I slept through until 6 am, waking once at 3am because my mother decided to call me 😂. She knew where I was but clearly has no concept of time difference, bless her. My sleep app was used again. I did 20 mins of yoga; 10 mins of hand/head stands and my attempts at a crab bridge. Getting better. I did another Wim Hof today and measured my timings on the app: getting to a 2-minute breath hold on round 3. This was my 3rd highest score ever! Surprisingly, because my resting heart rate this morning was 58, which is 10 beats higher than my average. I knew my body had been affected by the long travel and sitting for 9 hours on a plane. I decided to double my vitamin D dose to boost my immune system accordingly. Cold shower and I was ready to go.
I got to Donny’s office at 8.25 AM, where I was met by his lovely wife. I immediately felt welcome, before being greeted by the man himself. Smiling and content, he had an air of loving and calm about him. He invited me straight through to his office, where my eyes were drawn to this poster...
It was the most intricate and detailed diagram I think I've ever seen. I said what is that?! He laughed and said, 'this is your entire biochemistry’. This poster is the best way of explaining to patients that anything can affect everything. It's also a great way of explaining this is why we don't work on the symptoms. We wouldn't know where to start!!! We work on the body, and the body heals itself.
We had a great chat for 15 minutes about why I had come and what I wanted to learn. He explained that he loves people coming to shadow because he can explain what he is doing. The patients also love it.
First patient of the day was a young boy 9 years old suffering from fatigue. Donny said there's only really 2 reasons anyone ever presents to a doctor and this 1) they feel pain or 2) they feel tired. This boy had a rotated upper neck which led to gut dysfunction. As a very young child he had been absolutely full of energy and at age 7 he crashed. Donny explained that the early stages of his life had been in 100% sympathetic flight or fight mode and he had been destined for fatigue at some point. He had been seeing Donny for 4 weeks and had seen his energy levels return to normal. Sweet kid.
The next few patients Donny got me involved with some hands-on work, showing me how to feel the problematic area with the lightest touch possible, sometimes even hands off. Then he took me through his protocol for concussions which was just insane. I can't wait to get back and use the protocol because I know it will help so many of my patients...
And then he took me through the protocol of what to do if someone is in adrenal fatigue. He showed me how to test the ligaments the skin, the auditory and the visual centres of the brain in response to stress. He then showed me if they respond to stress badly, this is a sign someone is in a sympathetic state, and then showed me how to take them out of that state: Immediately. Something which I thought wasn't possible. Stewart it you are reading this you will benefit from this one tip more than anyone.
He then taught me how to test to work out if someone is ready or not to exercise, either aerobically or anaerobically, and whether they should stretch their tissues or not. He said in some cases stretching can make the person worse, because the tissues need to compress! Exercise can also be damaging if the person is in lactate accumulation. I always advise people on exercise and stretching, but never thought about these specific tests before.
Lastly there was a patient who was just about to undergo chemo and radio on a throat tumour. He explained he was checking their adrenals to make sure they WERE in a sympathetic state!! I said wait you've been taking patients all morning out of a sympathetic state, why do you want this man of all patients to be in a flight or fight state?
He said the body needs a strong defence mechanism against the process, so having the sympathetics working overtime will help him to keep his hair etc during the process.
Then it was my turn. If you didn't already know, I suffered a major concussion last March playing water polo where I inadvertently headbutted a swimming block getting out of the pool. Yes, you read that right... Getting OUT of the pool. Long story but I ended up having 7 staples in my head and a few weeks out of work. Mike my hairdresser still can't go near the skin on that area 12 months on.... I found out why today.
Although I had a decompression cervical adjustment from the master of seated occipital lifts, Dr Chris Gubbings (see our Instagram page for the video), 2 weeks after the injury, And I also had a Cranial realignment from Dr Megan Shaw, I thought my Cranials were fine: Donny explained otherwise. He said the structure of my neck and skull were OK, but the pressure of the lymphatic drainage of my brain wasn't correct, which was affecting my muscle firing patterns. Immediately as he adjusted my brain, I felt my whole body relax, and a wave of ease come through to my stomach. This was a big moment for me.
In all this time, he didn't adjust me or anyone with a traditional chiro adjustment, which was difficult to take. The chiropractic adjustment is the basis, the bedrock, the foundation of our education and therapy. His method really challenged my belief systems of what is possible without a high velocity low amplitude impulse with intent into the body. My hands have taken on a new level of understanding and intuition today. I can now detect and adjust the lymphatic drainage of the brain.
I had the afternoon off to digest what had happened and I headed up to cypress mountain to meet Ryan, the son of Richard Williams, a colleague and friend of mine from the BNI Cardiff City Chapter. As soon as he heard I was going to Vancouver Richard kindly put me in touch with his son Ryan, who is a ski instructor doing a season in Vancouver! He really looked after me and we had 3 hours on the slopes, had a pint, watched the sunset and then to my surprise the floodlights came on and we did another 2 hours on the slopes! Skiing at sundown looking over the sea and the city was something I will never forget. By the end I was cruising down the harder blue slopes feeling comfortable and content. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and was so grateful. I must say a massive thank you to Ryan and Richard. I headed home tired but ready for the next full day learning from Donny, and tomorrow his SON Brandon would also be working in the clinic....