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Discover the chemical that will age you the fastest and stop the flow

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Sanjeev Goel, MD, FCFP (PC), CAFCI 

Hi, everyone. I’m Dr. Sanjeev Goel. And you’re listening to the Advanced Antiaging and Technology Summit. And today I have Dr. Keesha Ewers with me. Welcome, Keisha, how are you?

 

Keesha Ewers, Ph.D, ARNP-FNP-C, AAP, IFM-C

It’s a delight to be here. I’m great, thank you.

 

Sanjeev Goel, MD, FCFP (PC), CAFCI 

Thank you so much. I’m gonna just start off with your bio so people can get to know who you are. Dr. Keesha Ewers is an integrative medicine expert that’s a doctor of sexology, family practice ARNP, psychotherapist, herbalist, and board certified in functional medicine, Ayurvedic medicine, and is also the founder and medical director of the Academy of Integrative Medicine Health Coach Certification Program. She’s been in the medical field for over 30 years. After conducting the HURT study in 2013, healing unresolved trauma is what HURT stands for, she developed the HURT model for understanding how past childhood trauma impacts adult health. This led to the creation of the You Unbroken online program for patients to heal their own trauma and the Mystic Medicine deep immersion healing retreats she leads at her home on San Juan island in, I don’t know what W, I’m sorry, what state is that?

 

Keesha Ewers, Ph.D, ARNP-FNP-C, AAP, IFM-C

Washington. I’m so sorry, Washington state.

 

Sanjeev Goel, MD, FCFP (PC), CAFCI 

I should know that, okay perfect.

 

Keesha Ewers, Ph.D, ARNP-FNP-C, AAP, IFM-C

No, I don’t know why.

 

Sanjeev Goel, MD, FCFP (PC), CAFCI

I don’t know why I don’t know all of these off by heart. Dr. Keesha is a popular speaker, including at Harvard and from the TEDx stage, and the bestselling author of “Solving the Autoimmune Puzzle, The Woman’s Guide to Reclaiming Emotional Freedom and Vibrant Health,” “The Quick and Easy Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook, Anti-Inflammatory Recipes for Seven Ingredients or Less for Busy People.” That sounds awesome. And “Your Libido Story,” a workbook for women who want to find, fix, and free their sexual desire. You can listen to her on Mystic Medicine radio show and find her programs at www.drkeesha.com, doctor, and then keesha.com. So, welcome.

 

Keesha Ewers, Ph.D, ARNP-FNP-C, AAP, IFM-C

Thank you.

 

Sanjeev Goel, MD, FCFP (PC), CAFCI 

A lot of interesting things there I want to talk about. So maybe let’s start off with how did you actually get into this field? Because I can see that you started off as a family practice ARNP, so I assume that must have been maybe your first–

 

Keesha Ewers, Ph.D, ARNP-FNP-C, AAP, IFM-C

I didn’t actually, I started out as an RN. And so I started out as a registered nurse in the hospital, in the ICU setting, doing thoracic ICU and, you know, high intensity adrenaline kind of junkie, used to skydive, run marathons. And then when I was about 30 years old, I, and this is how my patients describe it, too, I “all of a sudden” got sick, which of course was not what happened, but just overnight I wound up with 10 pounds of extra puffiness all over my joints and they were red and inflamed and it was like someone had taken the batteries out of the Energizer bunny. And I got in to see somebody.

And in the course of the history taking process, she asked me, have you ever had any history in your family of rheumatoid arthritis? And I said, “Yeah, I think my grandfather had that. “He died when he was 56 and he was in a wheelchair.” And I’m 56 today, not today, my birthday, but I’m 56 right now. So he died at the age that I am right now, not knowing any of the stuff that we know today, around this stuff. And so she said, “Well, okay, here are two prescriptions. “One’s for methotrexate “and one’s for a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. “Take these and when you get worse,” not if, “Come back.” And I heard the when, and I went, “Well, hang on just a second. “I’m really disciplined. “I run, I make all my own food. “I have these four amazing children I’m raising. “They get everything healthy.” And I said, “Is there anything else?” And she said, “No, I’m afraid you drew the genetic short straw.”

 

Sanjeev Goel, MD, FCFP (PC), CAFCI 

It’s like a death sentence, it sounds like.

 

Keesha Ewers, Ph.D, ARNP-FNP-C, AAP, IFM-C

That’s it, right? Close the book, put it on the shelf. That’s the end of the story. And, you know, bye! Door knob. And I was like, “Okay.” So I went home. On the way home I remember thinking there has to be a different thing than my model of medicine offers. And at that time I knew nothing about any of the stuff you read in my bio. Nothing. And so I went into PubMed and started looking for what is there for something besides methotrexate for RA. And I started finding some pretty compelling studies on yoga and autoimmune disease in those days. And so I’d never been to a yoga class. I went to my very first yoga class the next day. And in the course of the, you know, time where you’re holding the asana, the teacher said something enough that it piqued my interest about this Ayurvedic medicine thing. And so I went back and I, again, dial up modem, I asked Jeeves about Ayurveda. You know, I don’t know if you’re old enough to remember AskJeeves on a dial up modem.

 

Sanjeev Goel, MD, FCFP (PC), CAFCI 

I do, I do. I’m pretty much outdated myself. 

 

Keesha Ewers, Ph.D, ARNP-FNP-C, AAP, IFM-C

Yeah and so, the thing that I learned about Ayurveda, when I was reading through the information I was finding, was, “Oh,” I kept saying that. “Oh, this guy that I remember that was 30 years old “that died of an MI, “that was a marathon runner, “and we knew no reason “why he should die of an MI at that age “when he wasn’t smoking, drinking.” None of the JAMA seven big things for heart disease and yet he died, right? In the ICU bed when I was taking care of him. And things like that started clicking in. I started seeing it as these patterns and I thought, “Oh, these guys knew that we’re not all the same.” And then they also, this thing I read, said autoimmune disease is undigested anger. 

And I remember sitting back in my chair and thinking about this concept of having to digest your emotions, and thinking, “I’ve never heard of such a thing, “and that’s interesting.” And then I was learning to meditate with this, with all of the stuff I was exploring here. And one day along this, in this month period, I started thinking about the word, in my meditation, autoimmune. I thought, “Oh, this means I’m attacking me. “Okay, okay. “That must mean something here.” And so when is the first time I wanted to die? And that was a really interesting question. Like, how come you want to die? Because you don’t right now. So was there a time in your life you did? 

And so I started going back, I call it the kind of breadcrumb trail, back in my memory, and I found, I landed on this 10 year old little girl version of myself who was being sexually abused by the vice principal of my elementary school. And I remember thinking when I saw her in my mind’s eye, like, “Oh yeah.” My dad was in the Navy. He was out to sea at the time. I had tried to tell the people in my life what was going on but I didn’t even, I was raised with no television, so I don’t even think I knew what the word sex was, or molestation, or abuse.I don’t think I even knew the vocabulary of what was happening, and I didn’t understand it. And so the things I would say to my mom were, “I don’t want to go to school, I’m afraid,” things like that. I would cry. And I was, like, loved the school before that. And so this, when I saw that and I made that connection in that meditation that day, I thought, “This has to have something to do with my RA. “This is 20 years ago “but I’ll bet you this is connected.” And sure enough, now we know through some of the science, like the Adverse Childhood Experiences study, that the higher your ACEs score, or that past trauma component, the higher your risk for all the chronic illnesses we see in our culture today. And when I got that, I went into it and started really delving in and healing that trauma and my rheumatoid arthritis was gone within six months, and it’s never been back.

 

Sanjeev Goel, MD, FCFP (PC), CAFCI 

Oh, wow.

 

Keesha Ewers, Ph.D, ARNP-FNP-C, AAP, IFM-C

Yeah.

 

Sanjeev Goel, MD, FCFP (PC), CAFCI 

So how did, so how did you make that, what did you do that, how does it get into remission like that? Like, just take us a little bit on that journey.

 

Keesha Ewers, Ph.D, ARNP-FNP-C, AAP, IFM-C

Yeah so, the piece around that undigested anger, that was huge, just that guidance to that concept. I started realizing, I’m not an angry person. I don’t consider myself an angry person. I’m a people pleaser. I’m a perfectionist. I’m a Pitta dosha in the Ayurvedic lexicon, and I have this past trauma. So I always say autoimmunity has these four P’s. And I could identify that those were belief systems and behaviors I had set in place when I was a child, in response to this trauma. And they probably weren’t serving me anymore. I could reflect. 

In Tibetan Buddhism, there’s this idea of the mind witnessing the mind. And I was beginning to learn to do that. Like, “Oh, I’ll bet “that this people pleasing thing that I do,” “this perfectionism where I just drive myself, “to my personal records all the time,” like, my watch drove everything, from running to everything. And I just realized this level of nervous system arousal, sympathetic nervous system arousal, I started learning the physiology and what could happen as a result of that, and that that constant hypervigilance of my mind, always looking to see if I was safe, good enough, all of those things, that that was creating a level of energy that was being spent that my body wasn’t able to use because it was so focused out here, then it was being taken from the bank account, so to speak, and I was in deficit. 

And so then I could go back and go, “Oh, acne.” I took Accutane, multiple UTIs when I was a child, and strep throat, and so antibiotics. I could start pulling together some of these physical things that had happened, too. Oh, you’re a sugar addict, ’cause every time you would come home from school with a horrible thing that had happened, there’d be this lovely homemade dessert cooling on the counter for dinner that mom had made. And that was my comfort. So then I was a complete sugar addict. And so I could start to peel these things apart in relationship to this early trauma and what the behaviors that had emerged from that, that were really not working in my life. And I could start to soften them and ramp them down and really change them. And so I always say, the ability to do this just takes willingness to self confront. 

Like, okay, what is it that’s motivating you to want to be the best at whatever you do? And you’re the one you’re competing against, not everyone else. Okay, oh, that was, I have to actually be perfect to survive in this classroom, in this school. It wasn’t even I have to be perfect to get respect or love. It was to survive. And so I could see that, and I could see the level of energy that that took and that it was probably wiping out my mitochondria and it was causing my genetics to express in a way that, my genetics had their RA, my grandfather had it. So I was like, “Oh, it’s not really about my genetics.” It’s about the things that I’m doing that are triggering them to express in this way. So way ahead of what we knew about epigenetics, I was starting to be able to figure this out. So that’s what drove me back to school.

 

Sanjeev Goel, MD, FCFP (PC), CAFCI 

You mentioned four P’s. Just for the listeners again. Is this people pleaser, perfectionist? I’m just trying to catch some of the key words you’ve kind of mentioned, but what are the four P’s?

 

Keesha Ewers, Ph.D, ARNP-FNP-C, AAP, IFM-C

Yeah, I always see this in my patients with autoimmunity, and now I’ve taken care of thousands of people with autoimmune disease and helped them reverse it. And I always say, “There are these four PS that are present “and start looking for them, for yourself.” Perfectionism. And most people that are perfectionist don’t really see that they are, because they have this bar that’s way up here. And they’re like, “Are you kidding? “I’m not a perfectionist. “I’m this far away from that.” Well, the fact that you’re measuring that is actually what I’m talking about. And then people pleasing. Women get 80% of the autoimmune diseases. I mean, by far more autoimmunity than men do. And, you know–

 

Sanjeev Goel, MD, FCFP (PC), CAFCI 

Do you think that’s cultural? Or that genetic…

 

Keesha Ewers, Ph.D, ARNP-FNP-C, AAP, IFM-C

There’s a question in the literature, like, what is that about? And I think part of it is we have more estrogen receptors and we have more estrogen-reproducing chemicals in our environment. We have that part. And then we also have this thing in our era of women feeling the need to bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and look hot at the same time. It’s just perfectionism, driving ourselves. We have to be super mom, super wife, super everything. And we’re not wired to be able to do that, and we will eventually wipe out the, exhaust what Ayurveda calls your ojas. 

It’s your life force vitality. And you’ll just like, it’s like kicking the bucket over. You don’t have any more, you die. So it’s good to really think about it like a bank account where, are you putting anything into that account as you’re withdrawing? And so that piece around women culturally, I also think we tend to caregive a lot more than we realize. And if you don’t have yourself on your to-do list at the top of it, and you’re caregiving everyone else, and then wanting someone that you’re caregiving to turn around and witness you and say, “Oh, I see you need something,” then that can cause a lot of resentment. I use the Enneagram a lot and I see a lot of ones and twos on the Enneagram with autoimmune disease in my practice, which are perfectionists that are also exceptional caregivers, but they don’t put themselves on their list. So they exhaust themselves with it.

 

Sanjeev Goel, MD, FCFP (PC), CAFCI 

So I saw that you have, you’re also an expert in helping women with their libido and helping people, busy people. So it sounds like this could also tie in to what you’re kind of putting together, this piece of helping people with that. Is this tied in, are you helping people–

 

Keesha Ewers, Ph.D, ARNP-FNP-C, AAP, IFM-C

I would have all these women coming into my practice and they would say, “I need bio-identical hormones. I understand.” “My daughter, my friend, my sister, “you prescribed that for them and they feel fabulous “and I want some of that.” And so I started asking questions like, “Well, why do you think you need to be on hormones?” And then I would get this sort of common theme. “Well, I don’t have any more sexual desire. “My poor husband, he’s so patient, bless his heart.” Or, “That ship has sailed. “I don’t really care if it’s gone, but it’s, “it’s kind of a sign that I think something’s wrong.” These kinds of things. 

And then I would ask a follow-up question like, “Well, do you like your partner?” I would often get women just bursting into tears. “Oh, I do. “I love him, but.” I live in the Seattle area where there are a lot of engineers and there are a lot of emotionally sad women here because that match of, you know, emotional need and then more of the left brain, kind of analytical, and a lot of, and I started thinking about that like, “Oh, that’s interesting. “This is not gonna come back with hormones,” this libido that’s gone away and left you. And so I was getting a lot of stuff like that where, “He had an affair five years ago. “I’ve forgiven him, “but I haven’t wanted to have sex with him ever since.” 

Each one of these things are a story that has nothing to do with hormones. And so I started looking in the medical research and not finding anything for what I was seeing. So I went back to school and I got my PhD in sexology because I was wanting to really explore human relationships and dynamics and the impact it was having on women’s libido. And what I discovered was, oh, the same concepts in this HURT model also apply to autoimmune disease and hypertension and obesity and cardiovascular disease. It just means you are draining your bucket dry when you have this trauma–

 

Sanjeev Goel, MD, FCFP (PC), CAFCI 

In a traditional medicine thing, would you say that, you’re saying that’s sympathetic nervous system over-activeness and cortisol, excess cortisol levels and adrenal fatigue perhaps.

 

Keesha Ewers, Ph.D, ARNP-FNP-C, AAP, IFM-C

Exactly. But all of that, the really interesting thing about that is that all of that’s driven by perceptions. So we tend to go in when we’re talking about that, on a neuro-biological level, we’ll talk about the adrenals and the hypothalamus and how the thyroid is governed by the pituitary. And then we’ll go through this whole thing about how it all happens, but we don’t put in the most important part of this. Oh, and by the way, that cortisol wipes out, starts to break apart your gut wall and then you can have dysbiotic flora, and then that’s going to affect your mood and your weight. We do this axis, the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal-gut axis, but we don’t talk about what’s above it, which is your perceptions. Your perceptions govern the entire thing. And so if you think yourself overwhelmed, then all of that gets set into motion. If you think yourself unsafe, not good enough, not fast enough, whatever it is, then if you feel rejected, if you feel betrayed, all of this is about your perceptions. And so I started studying…

 

Sanjeev Goel, MD, FCFP (PC), CAFCI 

Yeah, the thoughts have such an effect on your health.

 

Keesha Ewers, Ph.D, ARNP-FNP-C, AAP, IFM-C

That’s it, the whole thing. That’s the only thing that starts your adrenals going, is you, right? Is you.

 

Sanjeev Goel, MD, FCFP (PC), CAFCI 

Tell us, that was your research, that was your, your studies, was in particular the impact of cognitive thinking.

 

Keesha Ewers, Ph.D, ARNP-FNP-C, AAP, IFM-C

The meanings you created on those early events, the beliefs you put in place, and then the adaptive behaviors that your child brain, remember our brains are not fully developed ’til we’re 26. We don’t have a fully developed prefrontal cortex ’til we’re 26 years old. So with our child brain, which is more that limbic system, we formed beliefs and meanings and adaptive behaviors for what was happening for us. And it doesn’t need to be capital T trauma that I’m talking about. 

It can be failing a test, or not getting to the top of the rope in PE in front of everybody, or not getting picked for the ball team, whatever it is, then you’re going to create an adaptive behavior in response to that, which will drive everything once you do have a prefrontal cortex. Now, when you get into adulthood, it’s those moments when things aren’t working that you get an opportunity to kind of sit back and go, Oh, oh, that meaning, that belief, that behavior, that’s not really serving me anymore and I can see now. That was really smart of my child self to do that, it really got us through it, but now we can do something different. And so that’s all perceptual.

 

Sanjeev Goel, MD, FCFP (PC), CAFCI 

You had this ACEs study. Can you just talk a little bit about that? Like, what is the ACEs study?

 

Keesha Ewers, Ph.D, ARNP-FNP-C, AAP, IFM-C

Yeah, the ACEs study was conducted between 1995 and 1997 by the Centers for Disease Control and Kaiser Permanente. And Kaiser Permanente, being big health insurance HMO in the United States, had a weight loss clinic, and it was really successful in the numbers of people that were able to lose their weight. And the director of the clinic started noticing that several people that were kind of a higher percentage than was comfortable, I suppose, that’s what brought it up, were dropping out before reaching goal weight, in spite of being successful at losing weight, and started going back and interviewing those people, and finding out that most of them had sexual abuse in childhood. 

And so this instigated this great big study of over 3,500 Kaiser Permanente enrollees, with the CDC and Kaiser looking at what they called adverse childhood experiences. And they asked a set of 10 questions of all of these participants, largest study of its kind, and said, before the age of 18, did you experience any of these things?And it would have been sexual abuse, domestic violence, emotional abuse, abandonment, neglect, having a caregiver addicted to a substance, or mentally ill, or incarcerated, or divorced, or dead. Big capital T traumas. 

The higher the, if you did a quick mark for each, that was an ACE score of one, two, three, depending on how many you experienced. The higher that ACEs score, the higher your risk for every single chronic illness we see, including heart disease, cancer, autoimmune disease, and then also it could affect sexual desire, also truancy at school and work, and your level of desire to engage in self care activities. This is a big one that hit home for me. It’s one that I don’t hear a lot of people talking about, but it’s the one that made so much sense to me. If the belief that you had after you went through trauma when you were a kid, is, “Oh, I must not be worth taking care of,” then as you get into adulthood, this is the patient that gets in front of you that says, “I’m good for a while and then I’m bad. “I’m off the wagon. “I self-sabotage. “I can’t seem to stick with a diet. “I can’t seem to do this.” This is because of this piece of, “Oh, I must not be worth taking care of.” And none of this is conscious. It’s all back here in this child brain.

 

Sanjeev Goel, MD, FCFP (PC), CAFCI 

You said, I am not worthy, or I am, what is the statement? I’m not worth, I’m not lovable–

 

Keesha Ewers, Ph.D, ARNP-FNP-C, AAP, IFM-C

Any of the above, right? I must not deserve protection. I must not be worthy of love and protection. I must not be worth taking care of. Depending on how high the trauma is, it’s going to be a more deeply ingrained belief around that. And so that has to be healed, instead of going at it from a cognitive behavioral therapy approach, where you just change your behavior. Your behavior’s happening with executive function in your adult brain, but if you are triggered back into a child’s space, you don’t have access to that, which is why the bag of Doritos opens at night while you’re watching late night TV, or a whole package of Oreos goes missing and you don’t know how that quite got into your body. That kind of thing, that will happen sometimes with our patients, or an exercise program, you’re on it, and then you’re off and you can’t figure out, you know, oh, I went on vacation, and now everything has gone down in flames. This is the kind of thing that I started making this connection with. So the higher the ACEs score, the more likelihood of all of these things that we’re talking about happening, and it’s triggered by perceptions.

 

Sanjeev Goel, MD, FCFP (PC), CAFCI 

And tell us about the HURT study.

 

Keesha Ewers, Ph.D, ARNP-FNP-C, AAP, IFM-C

So the HURT study, I got curious about why the findings were the way they were in the ACEs study. You know like, well, how does that happen? So the things I just described between child brain and adult brain, that’s not illustrated inside of that ACEs study. That came out of the HURT model. Yeah, so what I discovered was, you first have some experience, so we’re little humans trying to figure out how to be a big human in a world governed by and dominated by big humans. And in that space, we are told if we’re good or bad. That’s how it works when we’re getting, when we’re growing up by our caregivers. And so in that very black and white way of being, as we’re growing up, we’re learning the mores of our culture, how to stay alive, how to be a good human, from the people that are teaching us that. 

All of us go through experiences during that upbringing where we don’t have a very very well attached, well-grounded caregiver in our pocket 24/7, where we go off to school, or we go anywhere without a parent, and then even our parents sometimes are not well-attached and well-grounded, and mentally great. And so we’ll have experiences that occur, like maybe you had three friends out on the playground one day, and the next day they’re talking bad about you and you’ve just been left out of the group. Stuff like that. We are wired biologically to know that if we’re stuck on the outside of the firelight circle from our tribe, the saber-toothed tiger can eat us. So these are experienced as traumatic events for us as children, these things that just occur as life. The lunchroom, not sure, can I sit at that table? And so–

 

Sanjeev Goel, MD, FCFP (PC), CAFCI 

This sounds like everyone’s experience.

 

Keesha Ewers, Ph.D, ARNP-FNP-C, AAP, IFM-C

It’s everybody. Everybody has trauma.

 

Sanjeev Goel, MD, FCFP (PC), CAFCI 

I’m just wondering…

 

Keesha Ewers, Ph.D, ARNP-FNP-C, AAP, IFM-C

Everybody has trauma.

 

Sanjeev Goel, MD, FCFP (PC), CAFCI 

So what makes, somebody’s trauma becomes trauma, becomes outwardly manifesting in maladaptive behaviors and other people maybe not as bad. How does that happen?

 

Keesha Ewers, Ph.D, ARNP-FNP-C, AAP, IFM-C

That’s the very interesting thing that I love to talk about, is because everybody has had trauma of some kind, whether it’s, I call it lowercase T or capital T trauma, and the maladaptive part that you just said, in the HURT model there are two branches. So the first thing is you have that event, you don’t understand what just happened, you have an emotion. So you’re going to have an emotion. Maybe it’s anxiety, maybe it’s fear, maybe it’s anger, maybe it’s sadness. In that sympathetic arousal that will follow that emotion, usually in childhood it’s freeze. It’s not fight. It’s not fleeing. 

You don’t have power as a kid. It’s usually freeze. So then that gets frozen in your body in that place where, wherever now you hold your stress there, around that thing, and then you have a meaning you create about that moment. And we’re all going to be different about the meaning that we create. And so from there, we’re going to do this adaptive behavior response for that moment. Some people’s adaptive behaviors are going to work for them their whole lives and they may run them as patterns until they die. And they may be culturally acceptable, like overachieving. We’re very rewarded as adults for being overachievers. And so that may never show up as something that could be causing some problems. And so it’s the moment in adulthood where you come up against something, and Joseph Campbell calls it the hero’s journey, right? 

Where some big challenge occurs. Those are the moments you get to go back and reevaluate these things, where the challenge is there, you don’t have the skills to get through that challenge, and you have to go find a mentor, in Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey. And in my case, it was functional medicine and Ayurvedic medicine. ’cause my paradigm didn’t have my answers, and then I got to confront, what is it in my own being that’s set this up? And then I get to integrate that and come out, and now I have a different, an evolved state of being. And then we keep doing that throughout our lifetimes. So it’s when that pattern or that strategy that you have isn’t working for you that you start to notice it. Sometimes, like I said, people are adaptive, so it doesn’t feel like there was a trauma there, and they can get all the way through until death, and they’re still running the same pattern because the culture accepts it.

 

Sanjeev Goel, MD, FCFP (PC), CAFCI 

Hmm. So what does the, so it looks like the healing, everyone’s healing journey is probably a little different, but what are your recommendations? You were saying mentorship perhaps, or, how do you recommend that we should start to address these unresolved traumas that we all–

 

Keesha Ewers, Ph.D, ARNP-FNP-C, AAP, IFM-C

It depends on if it’s causing you trouble, right? The question you just asked is a very relevant one. The summit that we’re talking about here is antiaging technology. And one of the things that ages us the quickest is unhappiness. And I always say the toxin that’s present there is resentment. And that resentment actually is the most toxic substance on the planet. And it’s not manufactured by corporations and dumped into the air, soil and water. It’s manufactured right here. And if you’re bathing your mitochondria in resentment, in the hot tub of resentment, you’re going to get sick. And that’s what the ACEs study shows. There is a direct correlation to your aging process. If you have an ACEs score of six or more, studies show that you live 20 years less than somebody that doesn’t have an ACEs score. This is huge. 20 years.

 

Sanjeev Goel, MD, FCFP (PC), CAFCI 

That’s a very important, how could our viewers understand their ACEs score? Is there a site out there where they can do their own test on that and get their number?

 

Keesha Ewers, Ph.D, ARNP-FNP-C, AAP, IFM-C

Yeah, there is. I have it in my book, “Solving the Autoimmune Puzzle,” in the very beginning, and then I have you take the quiz, and then I say, “And now you have a number,” and that means just, it’s just data for you. Just like the number on your scale. It’s just data. And now you know, here’s what we’re going to do with that number. And you can switch all this stuff. Just because you have an ACEs score of six or more, doesn’t mean that all the things that are shown in the research have to happen, because what they’re showing, what they’re pointing to is, this is what happens if you just keep going in the same way. But if you do this intervention, like I did, if you get in there and you heal that up, and it doesn’t mean you have to go in and relive it, it’s actually not that hard to do this work. And so I guide people in that process. And while I’m looking at their genetics, while I’m helping them with their toxic load of chemicals and healing their Epstein-Barr, and all of those other things that are also aging them, while we’re healing up that gut, we’re doing this part.

 

Sanjeev Goel, MD, FCFP (PC), CAFCI 

How do they know how much resentment? How do they know how much resentment they have? How can one know that–

 

Keesha Ewers, Ph.D, ARNP-FNP-C, AAP, IFM-C

You can look at it and you can say, “How often am I reactive in my mind? “How often am I reactive?” So in other words, if the politician that’s in power at the moment causes you reactivity, and you’re–

 

Sanjeev Goel, MD, FCFP (PC), CAFCI 

Yeah, it was causing me a lot of stress. Even in Canada, I was getting very stressed by the previous president. I’m really calm now. It’s surprising how much impact this has had.

 

Keesha Ewers, Ph.D, ARNP-FNP-C, AAP, IFM-C

I know, and he was an amazing teacher for this, for me, for being able to help people to not react, stay in a space of grounded, anchored, calm and equanimity, and make the life choices that you want to make to change what you don’t like out here, but it doesn’t have to drag your nervous system with you. You can still be an activist. You can still stand for what it is that you want to be on this planet, without resentment, without anger, and the anger and the resentment are literally going to kill you and age you like smoking does. I mean, it’s really crazy. It really does. 

And I love that 25 years ago, I read this thing. Ayurvedic medicine says autoimmune disease is undigested anger ’cause it’s, undigested anger is the thing that causes the lines between the eyebrows, what we call the liver line. It causes the down-turned mouth and these deep creases here that actually indicate you’re not absorbing your nutrients very well. And you can look at your tongue and you can see all the yellow stuff in the back that’s a coating that’s saying, “I’m not digesting my food very well,” because when you’re angry, you’re a zebra being chased by a lion, in your own mind, in your own perceptions, and if that zebra is being chased by a lion and it’s fearing for its death right now, it knows it’s not safe to stop and poop right now. 

So your digestion shuts down. All your reproductive hormones shut down because that zebra knows it’s not safe to reproduce right now. And so if you have a politician on your tail, if you’re always in a place like that, where you perceive that things are not the way you want them to be, and then you bring your body with you, your body is going to age faster than it needs to.

 

Sanjeev Goel, MD, FCFP (PC), CAFCI 

Right, okay. Just a complete throwing it out there question, what about impact of psychedelics in healing? Have you had any experience with–

 

Keesha Ewers, Ph.D, ARNP-FNP-C, AAP, IFM-C

I have had a lot of experience with that, and I absolutely love the role, and I love to talk about it because, as yoga came over to the United States and North America from India, years and years ago, our culture shifted it from a practice of eight limbs, where you’re actually taking these yamas and niyamas, the do’s and don’ts of life, which mean non-reactivity, learning how to meditate, learning how to focus, learning how to really have union with what’s sacred, we took it and we made it an exercise program. We took the third limb of yoga, the asanas, and we made it into a workout. And we’re doing the same thing with psychedelic medicine, exact same thing. 

What we’re doing is we’re saying, “Ooh, you know, “when I take this plant medicine and I work with it, “it slides my left brain aside,” the analytical brain that’s judgy, that actually has to have proof, that’s like this, we slide that aside, we let our right brain come forward and have these beautiful visuals in a playground of, “Oh wow, there’s more to all this than I thought,” but we think we’re passive observers in the process. And then, what I’m witnessing now, is our culture doing the exact same thing it did with yoga, where people are going on yoga retreats in order to feel better and reduce their stress in their own heads, but they’re not integrating what the lessons from the meditation cushion or the mat are when they’re upright. They’re still honking at everybody in the traffic. They’re still eating the Oreos. 

They’re still getting angry at the politician. They’re not realizing that, oh, this thing that I get to, samadhi, needs to actually be changed, needs to be put into every breath of my life. Same with psychedelic medicine. You need to integrate. And so that means not taking it all the time, not seeking these great big events that then you share with everybody and talk about, and say how cool it is, but then you’re not actually saying, “Okay, what do I need to confront about my own being, “my own personality strategies and patterns “that I can shift?” And so sometimes, like, I remember working with ayahuasca in the jungle with my daughter. I took her on her, like every one of my kids, I took her on a little vision quest, and we worked with Ayahuasca for–

 

Sanjeev Goel, MD, FCFP (PC), CAFCI 

How old are you, just jumping in there, how old was it that you recommend taking your kids, begin the Ayahuasca journey? ‘Cause that’s something I’m thinking about for my kids.

 

Keesha Ewers, Ph.D, ARNP-FNP-C, AAP, IFM-C

She was 17. And so all of my kids were between 17 and 18 when I would take them on their vision quests. And so seven, seven Ayahuasca journeys over a 12 day period with the Shipibo, and so they… There was a lot of stuff that came out of that. And I remember when we were at the airport, I said, “I probably don’t need to work with Mother Aya again “for a long time,” because so much came through. I knew I had to work on this for a long time, and it was. It was five years before I worked with it again. It was like, that’s enough. There’s so much that I have here that I have to now put into integration. And so instead of chasing the experience, it’s important to then apply it. And so what I do with my patients is I actually help them integrate. And so I’m a huachumera which is called San Pedro in common–

 

Sanjeev Goel, MD, FCFP (PC), CAFCI 

Yep, San Pedro, yeah.

 

Keesha Ewers, Ph.D, ARNP-FNP-C, AAP, IFM-C

But it’s huachuma. And so that’s one that I’ll work with with people, as well as some other things, and then integration is the most important part of the entire experience. So opening up the heart, letting the left brain take a back seat. All of those things are really important so that you can learn how to find the one in there that you have abandoned. Instead of looking out here for all of the things that have abandoned you, where are you self abandoning? Like when a whole pan of brownies disappears, you’ve just self abandoned. You went, you disassociated, right? And so it helps you to know where are the boundaries that you have to have with yourself first? Then you start applying that here. So leaky boundaries means leaky gut, and so that’s, and a hypervigilant mind means a hypervigilant immune system. And so it’s working here first, not out here all the time. Yeah.

 

Sanjeev Goel, MD, FCFP (PC), CAFCI 

Wow, okay. That’s very powerful. Tell us about the, you run the Academy for Integrative Medicine Health Coach Certification Program. Who needs to know about this, who’s this for?

 

Keesha Ewers, Ph.D, ARNP-FNP-C, AAP, IFM-C

I think anyone that this is speaking to that is really interested. I found that I had probably some of the most intelligent patients of anyone in the world. They would come in with notebooks that were highlighted and tabbed for all the members of the family. They asked me such intelligent questions and they had watched a zillion summits. I call my program, it’s for the summit junkies. And they had all this information but they didn’t know how to apply it to them as individuals. 

And so what I do is I teach them as health coaches, how to take food sensitivity testing and stool testing, and adrenal and hormone testing, and SIBO breath tests, and how to work with that information along with the emotional component, the emotional healing. Why are all those things off? That’s gonna have to do with your perceptual field, first and foremost. And so now how do you heal them both? Because you don’t just heal your perceptions and not pay attention to your gut. You have to heal at the same time.

 

Sanjeev Goel, MD, FCFP (PC), CAFCI 

Yeah, no, that’s very exciting. We’re just about to end soon. How would you, what would be the message you want to get out to them? Whatever from today’s kind of talk, what’s the main thing they should take back with them? There’s so much there. I have what I’ll take and I’ll tell you in a second, but love to hear it from you, how you put it together.

 

Keesha Ewers, Ph.D, ARNP-FNP-C, AAP, IFM-C

Yeah, so the whole thing I was talking about with resentment and draining that bathtub of resentment that your cells are bathing in, that has to happen in a stepwise process. You don’t jump from, I call forgiveness the free medical tool. You don’t have to spend thousands and thousands of dollars on it. It’s free, but you don’t hop to that immediately. You have to go through this process of actually digesting what has happened in your life. Again, not having to live through it, and a lot of people that have had trauma say, “I don’t remember my childhood. “Is that gonna get in the way of me healing?” I say, “Absolutely not.” What we want to find are, what are these meanings that you created? 

You don’t have to have the images of whatever went on that you wanted to forget and that’s why you don’t remember your childhood. So it’s really taking the parts that you have disowned about yourself, the parts in there that have protectors around them now in your ego structure, and being able to fall in love with them. Like, I read a Tibetan Buddhist meditation book one time, I’m a Master’s of Divinity student right now in a Tibetan Buddhist college, so I’m reading a lot of this stuff, and in the beginning of it, the one that was translating from the Tibetan Lama, the Tibetan Lama had liver cancer. And his student who spoke English, he was giving these teachings before he died for Westerners. And he said the attendant would come and get him and wake him up at like one in the morning and say, “Lama’s ready for you,” and he’d go in there. 

And the Lama was in this abject misery and pain but he was beaming love because he would call his cancer the mother that was teaching him compassion and about impermanence. And he said that, then these teachings would come out of him. And he was so in love with his cancer because it was teaching him all of this wisdom. And so the guy that was writing the book said in the foreword of it, “I couldn’t imagine with my own weak mind “being able to do that.” And I remember reading that term, weak mind, and just bursting into tears, and thinking in my entire life I have never allowed myself to think that I could have a weak mind. It’s always had to be very intelligent. 

That’s what I lead with. And I thought, “Oh, there’s one in there who has a weak mind, “who just stays hidden from the world and me.” And so this process of learning to fall in love with the part of you that you don’t want anyone else to know about, that you’ve hidden away from you. So I brought that one out and I was like, “Hello, hi, little weak minded one.” And that lets resentment go, because then you’re not impatient anymore with somebody around you that you might judge as having a weak mind. It makes judgment go away. Then you’re not reactive and you’re not unhappy and you’re not angry.

 

Sanjeev Goel, MD, FCFP (PC), CAFCI 

Do we have resentment a lot against ourself, parts of ourself, is that what–

 

Keesha Ewers, Ph.D, ARNP-FNP-C, AAP, IFM-C

Yeah. We have parts that we don’t want anyone to see and we don’t want to know about ourselves. All humans have the same personality, but we do the traits differently from each other. Like, we’re all cruel. We’re all kind. We’re all jealous. We’re all tolerant. We have all of it in us. But it’s whichever one that we spend the most time feeding that grows the strongest. And so you can see somebody outside of you, like the politician that you’re upset with in Canada that created a lot of stuff here, and you can see that one and you can go, “Oh, what is it about that one that’s bothering me “that’s within me?” And so there’s a whole process that I take people through, where you begin to find that one that you project out here and you go, “But that one is like that,” but then you don’t react to it in the same way when you can have compassion for it. So at the same time, you can also work to make sure it’s not leading your country. So it’s two things, right? You have to fall in love with all aspects of how we show up and then also work to have the world that you want to live in, at the same time, and sometimes we think of it as an either-or.

 

Sanjeev Goel, MD, FCFP (PC), CAFCI 

Thank you so much. That’s so helpful. I think it’s, what I’ve taken away is that, that apart from the medicine part, which is, you know, tests and medications and things like that, supplements and all that, there’s a whole emotional aspect and spirit aspect which you deal with, and I didn’t really think about too much about the connection, and I think you’ve really helped me bring that, and I think our viewers, to get understanding of the critical importance of that, of that whole piece, and I really appreciate that. Thank you for your time.

 

Keesha Ewers, Ph.D, ARNP-FNP-C, AAP, IFM-C

Thank you. It’s been a pleasure.

 

Sanjeev Goel, MD, FCFP (PC), CAFCI 

All right. Thank you, everyone. This was Dr. Keesha Ewers with us at Advanced Antiaging and Technology Summit. I hope you enjoyed the interview today.

 

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