The Natural Evolution Podcast

Season 2

Episode 3

S2E3 – Restoring Balance with Alison Vickery

Alison Vickery & Michael talk about how prescription medication destroyed her life, how she was able to unlock her own healing journey, and how she now utilizes the Five Levels of Healing to help others restore health.

Alison Vickery spent a great amount of time working with medical teams to get better only to find herself getting worse. Until one day, a professor of Immunology told her “you need to learn to keep yourself well without medication”. This was her revelation. 

Alison Vickery began her journey seeking out mentors and training to learn how to take her health into her own hands and found her path as a “Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® practitioner, who specializes in irritable bowel disease, food intolerances, and mast cell activation.” Now, she seeks to teach others how to reclaim their natural state of wellbeing through taking charge of their own health and happiness. 

Alison helps reconnect people with their bodies so they can identify imbalance and work on restoring balance resulting in better health and happiness.

In this episode we talk about how prescription medication destroyed her life, how she was able to unlock her own healing journey, and how she now utilizes the Five Levels of Healing to help others restore health.

If you are ready to get out of your head and into your body, you can learn more at www.alisonvickery.com and follow her at @alisonvickeryhealth on Instagram and byron.bay.health on Facebook. 

Head over to https://rebelhealthtribe.com/kit to get a free download of our loaded quick start guide to help you along your healing journey.  If you like us, subscribe, review, and share us with your friends, and come join our Rebel Health Tribe group on Facebook.

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Alison & Michael talk about how prescription medication destroyed her life, how she was able to unlock her own healing journey, and how she now utilizes the Five Levels of Healing to help others restore health.
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About our Guest

Ten years ago, Alison’s life was turned inside out following a series of adverse prescription medications that saw her diagnosed with mast cell activation, chronic fatigue syndrome, and an acquired brain injury.

Since then Alison has undertaken extensive training and been mentored by cutting-edge practitioners which has seen her restore her health and go onto coach hundreds of people back to health.

She also continues to advocate for better prescribing practices, and has appeared in an Australian Health Inquiry, obtaining two recommendations, and appeared on the National News and National television as a spokesperson for better prescribing practices.

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Restoring Balance with Alison Vickery

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Podcast Transcript

Michael:

Hello, and welcome to the Natural Evolution Podcast produced by Rebel Health Tribe. I’m Michael, and I’ll be your host. Together, we will be hearing inspiring stories of healing and transformation, learning from some of the brightest minds in the world of functional medicine and holistic wellness, and exploring the world’s best health related products, services, tools, and resources. And we are live. Everybody, I am here today with my friend Alison Vickery. Alison, welcome.

Alison Vickery:

Thank you for having me.

Michael:

Yeah, this is going to be fun. The magic of technology we are across worlds from each other. We just found out, she’s in Australia, 7:00 AM, it’s 5:00 PM here. Thank you internet for bringing people together. I know we knock technology quite a bit, but without it conversations like this would never take place. So we’re going to have an interesting show today. It’s going to be a little different than some of the other ones we’ve talked about in this season. We’re going to talk about a little bit different angle of healing.

Michael:

But first I’d like to introduce Alison for those who are unfamiliar with her or her work. So 10 years ago, Alison’s life was turned inside out following a series of adverse prescription medications that saw her diagnosed with mast cell activation, and chronic fatigue syndrome and an acquired brain injury.

Michael:

Since then, Alison has undertaken extensive training and been mentored by cutting edge health practitioners, which has seen her restore her health, and go on to coaching hundreds of people back to health. She also continues to advocate for better prescribing practice and has appeared in Australian Health Inquiry, obtaining two recommendations and appeared on the national news and national television as a spokesperson for better prescribing practices.

Michael:

I was always amazed when I saw you posting those things, so congratulations on that. And it’s interesting how our own challenges and tragedies kind of lead us to the thing we’re supposed to be doing.

Alison Vickery:

Yeah. That’s right.

Michael:

And I’m sure if I said that 10 years ago, when you were going through that, you’d have been like, “Shut the hell up. I don’t want this to happen to me.”

Alison Vickery:

Absolutely.

Michael:

I’ve had people when we’ve gone through some stuff the last few years, it’s been really hard with Myra’s health, people will say to me, when we’re like in it, they’ll be like, “Well this is all going to be for the better, and you’re going to find your way through.” And I’m like, “I want you to just be quiet, go away.”

Alison Vickery:

Yes, that’s right. No. Well, my aha moment with my health and it’s probably a pretty good place to start is I knew I was sick. Actually, I sort of had delirium in fact, because it was simply being poisoned. And my specialist took one, look at me and said, “Oh, look, you’re being poisoned. The minute you stop being given the medication you can get somewhere.” And he said to me, “Look, you just can’t use medication. You’re going to have to learn how to keep yourself well without a doctor, in effect.”

Alison Vickery:

And I looked at him and I could hear myself going, “What the hell are you talking about? I’m sick.”

Michael:

This was a doctor.

Alison Vickery:

This was a specialist in immunology. And I was just lucky that he was actually open to medicine not working for everyone, but the message he gave me, which actually was one of the gifts of being ill was look simplistically you’re going to have to learn how to keep yourself well. And my visceral reaction to that was what the hell are you talking about? I’m sick. And then the penny dropped. The penny dropped that I was spending all this effort and all this time being sick rather than getting well.

Alison Vickery:

And I can’t think of a more blood black and white situation than that, than the medication you’re being given by a doctor is actually making you chronically sick. I mean, at that point, I actually couldn’t even speak in a full sentence. Didn’t know what I did the day before and so on. And yet me being-

Michael:

What were you doing before? What was your….

Alison Vickery:

Well before I was actually a finance director in a public company, which is a media company.

Michael:

Wow, that’s a different career.

Alison Vickery:

was running numbers and because my… Yeah, exactly. And I was doing lots of problem solving and piecing things together, which is sort of what I love about what I’m doing with health is sort of seeing the whole person and seeing how the bits fit together. Seeing the big picture and going, “Okay, this piece, that’s the important piece.”

Alison Vickery:

So many of those skills I’ve brought to this. But I think it took something of that extreme for me to wake up and go literally I’m spending all this effort wanting to be sick in effect, simplistically. And I actually have no idea, no idea how to look after myself. I mean, yes, I know how to, that I should eat certain foods and exercise and blah, blah, blah. But actually I don’t know how to look after myself. And so I actually picked myself up, shoved the cat in the back of the car, packed up everything. I hired an assistant to find me a house up in Byron Bay which is like a healing center, not sure what the equivalent would be in the US and I went right, “I’m going to go and find people that know how to look after themselves.”

Alison Vickery:

And so what I often see in my clients is, and having been there, it’s just a realization that I think a lot of clients need to make for themselves that quite a few of their actions or beliefs actually heading them in the opposite direction to the way they want to go. So some of the things I sort of see. And I ask my clients are you in a medical mindset or are you in a healing mindset? So a lot of my clients want a diagnosis.

Alison Vickery:

And that’s just another thing a bit like myself that I’ve got to remove from my belief system. I mean, one of the really good things that I reached pretty quickly was I refused to accept that my brain injury, which would’ve seen me not really able take care of myself would define my life.

Alison Vickery:

And so rather than chasing a diagnosis, which can be something, a label that you’ve got to remove from someone. I started identifying healing opportunities. And I just started chipping away in that way. Another way I often see that manifest is when people are using lots of medications or supplements. So I can have people come to me on literally 30 to 50 supplements. And they still have whatever the issue is that they-

Michael:

Do you even have to eat food at that point.

Alison Vickery:

Yeah, that’s right. That’s right. And look, the simple truth is, and this is just an observation is after about eight supplements, it’s stressing the body. So when we’ve tested people, we’ve actually found that some of the things they’re taking a bit like me with the medication I was taking. One of which by the way, was an antihistamine that was causing the delirium.

Michael:

Yeah. I was going to ask. Was it was antihistamines that caused your-

Alison Vickery:

Well, it started… Well, simplistically, it started with, I was given Metformin, which is-

Michael:

Blood sugar.

Alison Vickery:

I wasn’t tested, I didn’t have those issues. I wasn’t tested properly. And that locks the DAO enzyme that degrades histamine. So then I had histamine intolerance, with insomnia because histamine is like wake-amine. And then I was given phenergan, which I can’t metabolize. And I was given up with Codeine, which I can’t metabolize. And then I was given a sleeping tablet. And that is when the proverbial hit the fan. And the delirium started.

Alison Vickery:

And as simple as that, and the problem was, and this is something that we sort of need to be mindful of or what I educate people on. Is if you’re going to take medication, you need to ask or inquire, this is what I didn’t do. I assume medication’s safe, doctor’s prescribing it, it’s safe. But you can get the information of the known side effects and also how easy or otherwise it is to withdraw. And I’m a bit of an optimist. I look at the symptoms and go, “Oh, it’s never going to happen to me.” And I’ve changed my viewpoint to firstly, can I withdraw it now with lots of sleeping tablets, you can’t easily.

Alison Vickery:

And that was really my problem that I couldn’t easily withdraw what was causing harm. And secondly, if all of these side effects happened could I live a good and healthy life? And I’ve seen people, their doctors wanted to put them on medication you can’t withdraw that alters your heartbeat, but helps with their migraine.

Michael:

Which do you want?

Alison Vickery:

Which do you want? You can’t have it all.

Michael:

Do they allow… People in the US don’t know this, most, but a lot of countries, drug companies can’t market their products. They can’t have commercials and things. Can drug companies… Are their drug commercials, their TV, radio, newsprint, all that stuff.

Alison Vickery:

There are over the counter ads, but not that many. And there are not-

Michael:

For prescriptions, I mean.

Alison Vickery:

No for prescriptions, it could get to a point of there are occasionally ads where there are solutions ask you a doctor, but there’s never a direct [crosstalk 00:11:01]. Not like the US.

Michael:

Not this drug and this thing. I haven’t had normal TV for a lot of years. So it’s gotten way worse than when I used to have TV. But now when I’m somewhere that has TV and they have the normal commercials on and a drug commercial comes on, it is incredible. It’s incredible. It will be like six seconds of, “Do you have this condition? This drug can help.” And then 30 seconds of known side effects include, and it is normally like heart attack, stroke. I heard one the other day, anal leakage. Delirium, all this, this, this, this, this. And I was like, “What was this pill even for? I don’t even remember what it was for, but I know I don’t want any of those things.” But anyway, so this is how you got engaged so much with prescription practices and why you became an advocate in that area.

Alison Vickery:

Yeah. Well, I very simplistically and something that I like to educate everyone on is firstly, all medications have risks. They all do.

Michael:

And they don’t affect everybody the same. It doesn’t-

Alison Vickery:

No, it’s genetic.

Michael:

There’s ways this can be known. I learned this partially from one of the engagements you were involved in with the Australian government around, it was a certain drug or a certain gene or a certain something where these things are known and predictable. If we could genetically screen every patient that was going to be prescribed any drug, there are a number of classes of drugs and specific to drugs in which known side effects and reactions and negative outcomes would be predictable and known. And we could eliminate a good amount of that from happening. Correct.

Alison Vickery:

So very simplistically, the way we metabolize medications in our liver. So as the liver makes things more toxic and then adds things and [crosstalk 00:12:58] to the body. So in phase one where things are made more toxic, whether you have a function of about three or four genes is racially determined. So I must have a bit of something in me that’s… I must be a mixed breed in some way, shape or form.

Alison Vickery:

So most of our prescribing practice assume that we are white men. And the reality is if you are not a white man, the dose that you can handle could be dramatically different. So women need different doses to men. But more importantly, if you are of, for example, Aboriginal in Australia or Southeast Ireland or Asian. And it has been called Asian enzyme deficiency in the past. Then you may have so little function of that gene that you can’t do anything with that medication. Now, the gene that caused me all the problems, which is CYP2D6, just for those who are technical. I had less than 20% function of. And that was my problem. Now, the good thing is that there are medications that use one of different genes to work. So it’s not like you can never be sedated if you have a car accident or you-

Michael:

They just need to use something else.

Alison Vickery:

They need to use the right dose in the right person.

Michael:

Which is yeah, not only negative effects or anything, but it’s also why some people can get like loaded up as if they’re an elephant with certain types of tranquilizers and then still feel the thing that’s being done. And other people get a child’s dose and they’re whacked out for four days. We don’t screen any of this, at least in the United States. I know that for a fact. That it’s…

Alison Vickery:

Well there is very interestingly in Europe, it is now in the prescribing practices. So before you give certain medications that are more high risk, a person must be screened. And those practices are well and truly implemented throughout their medical system. The FDA have started recognizing, if you look up a medication, you are chances are, there will be information about which gene it uses. It will usually have CYP something, something, something. But the simple fact of the matter is that at least in Australia for about $100, which is not even… They’re small bucks, not even big bucks, $80 US, you can have control of your own body.

Michael:

I’d encourage you. There will be things to click below. You can learn more, Alison’s got information out everywhere. And I would reach out to her, check out her website, look at her stuff, to learn more about prescriptions. There’s been certain things that I’ve learned in this field in the last like 12 years that I’ve been in health and wellness. That the first time I hear it, I just think like, what? What do you mean that that’s a thing? And usually it’s terrible, whatever it is. It’s usually something horrible.

Michael:

And when I learned that the degree to which we currently have the capability to screen people who are going to be given pharmaceutical drugs for adverse reactions and negative… And then radically reduce the amount of negative outcomes and increase safety and that it’s easy to do. And that nobody does it in the US for the large part. And that it’s looked at as like totally [inaudible 00:16:59]. Like most people, if they brought that up to their doctor, they’d be like, “Oh, whatever.”

Alison Vickery:

50% of geriatric and 50% of mental health patients are admitted to hospital due to prescribing errors.

Michael:

It’s insane. It’s totally insane.

Alison Vickery:

Whenever I talk… I don’t talk about it all that much anymore, but when I’m in a private setting and someone asks me what I do and why I do it, sort of bit like you have. There’s inevitably someone that comes up to me and relays a store, but we’ve normalized it. My doctor or your doctor may think that’s just normal. Adverse drug reactions are normal. They’re not normal.

Michael:

Yeah. It’s something easy that could be done. That’s not being done.

Alison Vickery:

Yeah, exactly.

Michael:

There’s no reason for it. And so many people are harmed. We have so many people in our Rebel Health Tribe community that are from like fluoroquinolones and like those types of drugs and whatever, it’s maddening. But any who, that’s a topic… We’ll have another conversation about that. Because I’d love to get into that more and give a resource for people and educate them. But today we’re going to talk about something that really couldn’t be much more different than that conversation. Is your progression yourself with your own healing and your own progress or lack of progress, I guess I would say in some areas led you into a little bit different angle with healing. That’s kind of also been my course too.

Michael:

And it’s more in alignment with where I’m at now, and what I’m studying now and the things that I’m doing. Is beliefs and trauma and like the effect that these things have. And that at oftentimes if you’re having a hard time sticking to some sort of diet plan or protocol, or you find yourself repeatedly running into the same challenges or issues, and it seems to be like, no matter what I do this happens, or these things happen or all this… Or you can’t stick to this, or you’re not compliant with that, or no matter what you do, you only get marginally better. If anybody out there can relate to this, which I’m sure there’s some heads nodding.

Michael:

You want to, I guess, I’ll hand it over and you can just talk about what you discovered. And I just want to point out that Alison, as I knew her, when I first met you on Facebook FDN group, I don’t know, a million years ago. You were a specialist in histamine intolerance. At least that was my understanding. You had a really popular blog on that. You were like the go-to person that a million people would tag in our practitioner group all the time.

Michael:

Like, “Is this histamine intolerance. This is my client.” You are very clinical, a lot of labs, a lot of functional medicine stuff, very left brained, I guess I would say, or more analytical. And then now when I asked you what you wanted to talk about for this podcast, you brought up trauma and manifesting health and belief systems. And that couldn’t be more different than that. And I want to point that out to show that not everyone that finds their way to that type of feeling or advocating that type of feeling started there. That this comes from like almost exhaustion a lot of this time of like this isn’t working. Why isn’t this working? Oh, there’s this other thing.

Alison Vickery:

Yeah. So I want to emphasize a few points. And the first is as you said, the difference between doing something or not doing something is trauma. And I’m using trauma in a little T, a big T, a medium T. It’s anything that you have not managed to process, that’s gone into your unconscious. Because let’s face it, I’m working with a client at the moment that’s got a limited budget. And so she was starting to flag that she can’t afford all of the protocol.

Alison Vickery:

And I asked her, can you please send to me how much you have to spend and we’ll work from there. Now, she hasn’t done that simple request. And so I know that there’s a belief there or a trauma there or something. Because I’m just giving you an example of something very simple that if I asked you to do that, you could maybe have to think about it for a day or two. But like I said it’s not difficult. If I test someone and they really are gluten intolerant and need to be gluten and free and they’re not and they try and minimize it. There’s a belief there, there’s something there blocking that.

Michael:

I could never… Those words are usually now a big red flag. And I don’t even like to use the word red flag. It’s a big clue to me when somebody hears about something and people can probably relate to this. And I’m one of those people, there’s certain health practices that I’m like, “No way am I doing that.” One of them is cold water, for example, the cold water immersions. I don’t care if that adds 200 years to my life and I’m going to be a 300 year old person in perfect health. I’m not getting in an ice tub. We could dive into that. And there would be reasons why that is. But if you hear like, “Oh, I can’t eat… I could never live without that. Or I could never do that thing.” Is that what you mean?

Alison Vickery:

Well, the way I explain it is it’s extreme, so it could be behavioral, emotional or relational. And it’s really overdoing something or overreacting in a situation. So people that analyze lists and come up with three things that aren’t on all the lists, that’s stress. That’s just stress. And there’s an unconscious belief there stopping them from moving forward. But it can also be under-doing something, forgetting that you had to study something you didn’t want to study or losing the workbook or denial just saying, “Oh, well don’t think gluten or dairy affects me.” While you are limping away with neuro pain.

Alison Vickery:

So it can be I overdoing or under doing, but it is a unbalanced reaction to a situation. And look, we all have them. That’s the way the brain works and our job or our mission, should we choose to accept it, is to know our own mind. Know when we are getting out of whack, either overdoing something addictions, merging, people pleasing. You name it, we’ve all got some sort of ingrained way of dealing with stress or it could be completely ignoring something as well.

Alison Vickery:

So one of the things that I like to do with people, and one of the things I’ve personally found is important to do is not so much silence the mind, but know your own mind. And know when it’s unbalanced. So in the same way that… Everything we’re trying to do is balance things. So for myself, I can go about my day, how do I feel? What do I need? Yeah, I get this done, get that done, blah, blah, blah. And then something will have happen. And I can actually feel it in my brain. It’s not actually about that situation, but it’s stress. And there’s always an underlying belief. And when you clear that underlying belief, and there’s lots of ways you can do that, there’s just an enormous rush of dopamine, almost a disinterest in that scenario again.

Alison Vickery:

And it doesn’t… It’s not an issue. And partly that’s because you’re bringing it up from your subconscious, making it conscious and really growing up the belief, or growing up the belief that’s triggering that response. And just a very simple example of that is I find… Or something that, a bit ashamed to say this, but I’m going to say it anyway, but I had a belief that I’ve inherited. So we can inherit beliefs as well, that women were there to serve men.

Alison Vickery:

Now I’m the most educated person in my family. I’ve been highly successful in my career, yet when I looked at what was tripping me up, and I felt sick. But I knew that was what was playing out subconsciously for me. And just working with that belief absolutely revolutionized not only in my life, but the stress in my brain. Rather than quieting our mind, which is valid reasons to do that.

Alison Vickery:

I think it’s sort of like knowing our own mind, knowing how our brain is actually not that smart. And I have a lot of clients that are professionals that they could be lawyers, barristers, whatever, make a living through their mind. And yet their mind is their biggest obstacle to achieving health. Because when you start to listen to what your mind’s doing it has lots of fantasies. And as I say to them, our mind is not that smart. Our intuition is, but our mind is not connected in the same way that our body is.

Alison Vickery:

So one of the things I love to do, and one of the things that happens when people work with me is when they are in that stress response, which they will inevitably be, we’re coming up to Christmas, they can’t eat gluten, can they have Turkey. Everybody else is going to be eating it. It’s just the perfect learning opportunity and healing opportunity.

Alison Vickery:

So when people are activated in that way, it’s a perfect opportunity to shift stress. And some of the biggest healing opportunities I’ve seen are not on the physical level. And I think it might be sort of helpful, the person who really changed my view of the world was Dr. Klinghardt, which hopefully some people be familiar with. And I know you’ve had Christine on quite a few of your podcasts.

Alison Vickery:

And I went down to Sydney, did some training with him. And I literally had to reorganize my brain for about a month after hearing him speak, because I realized, and this is where it really made the switch from just doing labs. And I still do labs to seeing the whole person and trying to work out the biggest healing opportunities and how I can shepherd those into being. And so in our world, we focus a lot on the physical level and the physical level is sort of like super important, because it’s actually the found on which every other level lies.

Alison Vickery:

And it creates the energy to do these things. And just on a very basic level, I often find when I start working with people that the basics aren’t even right. There’s a lot of emphasis on say supplements or-

Michael:

Protocols, lab tests.

Alison Vickery:

Lab tests and I’ve got a [crosstalk 00:29:29]-

Michael:

Biohacking.

Alison Vickery:

And all this stuff. And then literally when I ask for a food diary, when I start working with people, it couldn’t be more pristine. But then when I start delving into the symptoms and connecting their diet to symptoms, and I’m using metabolic typing a lot, in that respect. You start to see how the diet that they’re following, which may have been suggested by someone else isn’t the right diet for them. And they haven’t been taught how to listen to their body and get their diet right.

Alison Vickery:

I find a lot of people think exercise is something that buff, fit people do. Lots of throwing of ropes and pumping of iron and all that sort of thing, without really an understanding of how movement facilitates the healing process. So just getting the basics right. And sleep and everything else, just getting those basics right is the foundation on which everything else rests.

Michael:

I’ve seen that a lot too. I don’t work with clients anymore, but when I did, they would come in and they’d have like a stack like this. Well, now everybody’s on video. A lot of papers with a lot of lab tests and a lot of requests for the lab tests that they specifically want to run now and the box of supplements and the protocols. And they bought this $4,000 gizmo for their house and they have this other thing and they have this other thing.

Michael:

Yet they’re still waking up tired. And then I ask them, “What do you do in the evening?” And they watch TV till 2:00 in the morning. And I’m just like, “Oh man, throw all that stuff in the trash. We got to start at square one.” And don’t run the labs and don’t do the thing. Like that stuff, if you’re doing all the foundations and all the basics and all the diet and the lifestyle and the things, and you’re still having a whole bunch of issues. Great. Well not great. Then we go into the labs, then we go into the supplements. Then we go into the gizmos and the gadgets and the things. And there’s this romanticizing of like, “I’m complex, my illness is complex. So to fix this, I need to do 27,000 things.”

Alison Vickery:

And it’s never like that. And really what’s going wrong is people like me are disconnected from our bodies. So we are doing what somebody else tells us to do, which is giving us the care they think we need, rather than the care we really need. So to get this right, we actually need to know how our body feels, how it acts when it’s getting the right stuff, when the diet’s right. Often with diet, I was working with someone recently, who’s starving, underweight got depression and mood issues and eating one teaspoon of fat a day. Or a meal, I think it was, one teaspoon, a meal. We put a tablespoon in all done and dusted. Symptoms resolved.

Michael:

No $4,000 gizmo.

Alison Vickery:

No $4,000 gizmo. And so the key to this is to master ourselves. It really is.

Michael:

We need to be able to observe our mind.

Alison Vickery:

Absolutely.

Michael:

And I think, at least in my experience, I say, I think to observe my mind. But anyways, in my experience, because I’ve done a lot of training in the last couple years in states of meditation and states of awareness. And then kind of advanced certain traditions and lineage of Buddhism. And the practices literally are designed to bring you into a state where you are observing the mind.

Michael:

And while that can get really advanced, also it doesn’t have to be. And I think the people that you’re describing and that I was one of them too, and you were one of them too. They observe every single little tiny thing that’s going on outside of them. They observe this person said this or this happened, or this happened here or this person did this or I ate this or I took this supplement. Or they’ll come in with a list of like every single thing they’ve eaten or taken or done or been around or something else for weeks at a time and whatever.

Michael:

And you ask them what’s going on in here. And there’s like a blank stare of… And I think that in our culture and in our society. And I mean, I know culture in Australia is a little bit different than it is in the US, is a little bit different than it is in like Western Europe. But Western culture, the colonized Western world culture, which is merged into one giant conglomerate of nonsense at this point, consumerism and stress and all these things. We don’t even realize and we’re never taught or shown that we are not… Like what you really are, is not the stream of thoughts that’s going on in your head.

Alison Vickery:

Absolutely.

Michael:

And then, so to observe the mind, the first step is to realize, or be shown or taught or pointed to. For me with the programs I was in, it was a lot of pointing and like showing. If you can observe that it means that you are not that. You cannot observe something that you are. The eyes can’t see themselves.

Alison Vickery:

It’s very interesting. I’m not sure if you like reading and archetypal stories and how the hero survives, but often the thinker is killed off in the story in order to allow the hero to battle the demons within.

Michael:

I’d like to briefly interrupt this conversation, to let everyone know that we’ve got a free downloadable Foundations of Wellness starter kit. It’s available for you right now over at www.rebelhealthtribe.com/foundations. If you’d like a little help organizing and implementing all your learning from this podcast, a gift from our team over at Rebel Health Tribe, producers of this show. And now back to your episode.

Alison Vickery:

One of the key things that I learned and really the message that I took from this professor immunology was that I’m battling externally and I did battle for a while with that doctor, who did the wrong thing.

Michael:

I’m going to show him.

Alison Vickery:

But really the minute I started coming within is when the true healing began. And I think just to point out that we all come with parents that have done their very best, that may have given us skills. We’ve been to schools where being able to express yourself may or may not have been okay. So we all have beliefs around observing our own mind. What I like to do is a couple of things. So firstly develop self-compassion skills so that it is safe to actually observe. And I find a lot of people have no self compassion.

Michael:

Yeah. When they notice or realize something that they did or that they said, or the first time that they face… I’ll say me because I don’t want to point the finger at anybody. Yes. When I first started doing that work and I had to like, really look at things that I had done and said. The first reaction is like, “Oh man, you’re such a terrible person.” And learning to realize that you’re always doing the best that you can with the tools and skills and awareness that you have. It’s like expecting a six year old to be able to drive a Ferrari.

Alison Vickery:

And look the reality is that whether you think you deserve… You think you do, or you don’t deserve understanding and self compassion, it’s purely a practical decision. Because it puts you out of a stress response into a non-stress response where you can act in a way that’s in everyone’s best interest. And I really like the work of [Christian Nev 00:38:34] and Paul Gilbert. Christian Nev has a lot of free material on her website, including meditations. But there’s a very simple self-compassion break where this is a moment of suffering. May I be kind to myself. And I’ve seen just engaging people with the tools of self-compassion to radically change their mental health.

Alison Vickery:

I organized a training locally with a professor of medicine who was trained by Paul Gilbert and we put into that program about 20 people with a history of chronic depression and everything that goes with that. And I couldn’t believe the change in people. And they were happy. They were joyful. Because they were bullying themselves.

Alison Vickery:

So giving people some basic skills to have compassion for whilst they’re observing things they may have done wrong. Or I shouldn’t say wrong that they regret or would’ve done differently or whatever. And then the other thing I really like to use is just a simple five minute reflection at the beginning of each day and the end of each day. So we are not necessarily in the moment. But observing how our day went really.

Alison Vickery:

And I’ve actually got a worksheet where I actually have a list of human ways. We all do it. It’s programmed into our DNA of acting when we are stressed. And just observing that and work with them. One of the things I can best do as a coach is observe when they’re having a stress response and work those tools for them to realize, to learn their own mind. And I find also, so self-compassion skills and then some people may not have learned nonviolent communication. So those two skills are pretty important to get right where it’s how I feel, what I need.

Michael:

You did this.

Alison Vickery:

You did this, you did that. You’re this, you’re that.

Michael:

When you do this, it makes me this. Learning nonviolent communication was… I was resistant to it because it pointed out all the ways that I had communicated violently and by violent, I mean…

Alison Vickery:

It’s not really violent.

Michael:

[crosstalk 00:41:12] violent relative, but yeah, but like you just mentioned, I feel this, I need this is different than you did this and made me feel that. And so it changes the dynamic in… I had a therapist that taught me that. And then I had to face all the ways that I had been communicating.

Alison Vickery:

We do the best we can with what we’ve got. And at a point in time, we either want to learn the skills that are going to make us happy or we’re not. And it’s not a hard task. I mean, I facilitate that process as well. So we need to know how to ask for what we want, which is how we feel, what we need and do we need support. And sometimes people don’t need support. They just need to feel heard and understood. And having some form of self-compassion.

Alison Vickery:

And I also use awe and wonder to turn off a stress response. And I think awe and wonder is a really, really interesting neurological state. So I’m not talking about whether you believe in God, whether you read the Bible or whether you’re in prayer group, any of that stuff. I’m talking about a simple technique, which has been well documented, to switch your brain into another state. Just to switch the neural pathways. So I try to get those things set up, up front. And look virtually, nobody knows how to do all of them is the reality, but getting those foundations right, just makes everything easier. So, as I probably mentioned, there are five levels of healing and only one of them is physical.

Alison Vickery:

So all the rest are where the juicy bits are. And I think one of the lessons is that if you are running the labs, taking the supplements and you’re not getting better you’re dealing with the wrong level. And that’s the time to start to dig deeper. And so I do work with people where they’ve just got a leaky gut. You’ve got to chuck a few things in, get the diet right. Done and dusted. But because I tend to be working with people that have been to other practitioners and done that and not got the results they want. We tend to be looking at the other layers and particularly our unconscious beliefs, which I’ll come to. And honestly, when we start to look at these levels, I don’t recognize people when they come back. I send them to professionals where I can guarantee the results.

Alison Vickery:

And I literally do not recognize them when they come back. It’s like, I am truly seeing them for the first time. And I just want people to think about that, about the healing potential. Because that’s what I see. And that’s what drives me is to get someone better. So the second level is to do with our nervous system and nerve and muscle function, and that’s called the energy body.

Alison Vickery:

And so that’s where we deal with things like EMF protection, acupuncture, I’m using life wave patches and getting fantastic results. Cranial sacral, qigong, also remedial exercises and particularly things like Feldenkrais I really like. And the surprising thing is our brain is not there for us to think. When you look at the space taken up with thought processes, which is why our brain is not that smart, the vast majority operate on this energy level to give us movement and coordination between our nervous system and our organ function and so on.

Alison Vickery:

So I do find issues on this level. And often it can be sort of something structural. But I do find particularly people that have been sick. Even if you have an inflamed gut that can affect your core and communication, if you don’t sort of reconnect it through movement. The next level is what we’ve sort of started talking about, which is the mental body.

Alison Vickery:

And this is trauma. And it is where we have that are stopping us from moving forward. And I don’t think there’s anyone that I’ve worked with that does not have a belief setting them back. And the way I like to work with it is to deal with what’s brought to the session. So the more activated a person is about something, that’s where the meaty stuff is. And the minute they realize that they can get an instant relief and turn that around is often the moment where they realize healing, true healing is within them and possible, and they can manifest their health, which I’ll talk about at the end.

Alison Vickery:

And so I have a client who when I was talking about how the brain works and recognizing how we are in stress, sort of said to me, “Oh, none of that applies to me.” I’m going “Okay. You’re triggered.” That’s good. I love this work. We’re triggered. And then she had an event happen in her life and was sort of forced to do EFT, which is the way she went. And she’s-

Michael:

You mean this kind of EFT? The tapping?

Alison Vickery:

Yeah. The tapping with a really highly qualified professional. And she is a transformed woman. She knows she has the power within her now to manifest her health. And I will talk about that shortly. So I just find these are sort of fundamental skills that we all need. I like EFT. There’s a program out of the University of San Francisco, which is called emotional brain training, which is neuroplasticity.

Alison Vickery:

I really like that. Particularly if people haven’t had a lot of basic skills. But really any non-thinking modality that gets you into your body is where these beliefs come up from. So level four is the intuitive body. And by intuitive, I really mean or often mean inherited beliefs. So this is our unconscious. And I see a lot of unresolved transgenerational family issues. And very interestingly at the moment, I have someone who’s German whose family has had pretty much tragedy in every generation after the war. And I’ve got a client whose family came from a country occupied by Germany with pretty much the same trauma manifesting itself. Now this is also where beliefs around the roles of women and the roles of men, which I was talking about before in relation to myself often sit.

Alison Vickery:

And so these can often be beliefs that we have that are holding us back. In my case that I’m a modern woman in a Victorian world. Which I still think’s super funny and it’s not just women, it’s men. So there can often be unconscious beliefs. And I have seen huge shifts in people by sort of really handing back the trauma to that person. And I love family constellations work for this area. There’s lots of ways to do that intergenerational stuff. But I’ve got a really good family constellations practitioner, and I’ve just seen people come into their purpose in this world. Know what they’re about, be very centered in themselves by handing back with love what was never theirs to begin with, and which could never be resolved by them.

Michael:

Which is much of what most people are carrying.

Alison Vickery:

Exactly. And the last level’s the spiritual level, and this is between the individual and the spiritual. I don’t get involved. I do facilitate with introducing people like Joe [Dispenser 00:50:27], and I’m sure you’ve got lots of modalities in that area. But I’m surprised at how many people have lost that connection. So could be someone died. I actually had a trauma on this level because I consider I nearly died. And yet I couldn’t make sense of that. Now in that moment, I was super dependent on the doctor. So it was sort of like in the doctor’s business rather than God’s or mine.

Alison Vickery:

And so you can have spiritual traumas as well. And something that should be self evident. And I just want to make clear is just because you believe in God and have a spiritual practice doesn’t mean that nothing else is going on the mental, intuitive or spiritual level. And I quite often see this with people that have say been… I have quite a few women that have, say, had breast cancer. And a lot of the cancer institutions do quite a bit of spiritual work, which is fantastic. But they actually haven’t dealt with their beliefs around what’s happened. Or at least that’s what I see. And I’m not sure whether you’ve seen that in your work.

Michael:

Yeah, cancer treatment centers are generally far more progressive when it comes to deeper levels of healing stuff than any other more conventional disease management facilities I’ve seen. I know there’s some that do. I think jumping to spirituality kind of skips some steps just like in those levels there, though. I think the spiritual work helps people be less afraid of dying, which is valuable in the really dangerous health conditions situations. I think it also helps them better connect with life while being alive. But it skips some steps of like, what are my stories? What are my beliefs? What’s happened to me here? Why do I have these patterns? And it kind of bypasses right to what am I, who am I questions. And yeah, I agree. And I think that there’s steps in between.

Alison Vickery:

And I mean, I think working with experts that get these levels and can guide you. Because the answer to the question that probably a lot of people want to know is how do you transform your health? How do you manifest your health? And this is what I believe, anyway. So I believe this is an inside job.

Alison Vickery:

And I think the first step is to have an experience that leaves you transform, that you have generated and created. So I gave you the example before of a client being in a situation where they actually had to, or felt compelled to reach out and do some EFT work. And when you do EFT work, it’s not the practitioner that’s doing the work. It’s you feeling it and manifesting it in your body. And often that, or the dietary work of connecting to your body and you knowing what your body wants is the first step in manifesting your health. To understand that this is something you can actually do for yourself.

Alison Vickery:

And the second level of transforming your health is being in the flow with your physical, mental, emotional, intuitive, and spiritual bodies. Now you are never going to be completely in flow, but just like we were talking about knowing when your minds off kilter, knowing when your diet’s off kilter, knowing when you’ve got feelings that you can’t really identify, you don’t think yours and dealing with them. So balancing all those five levels in some form of alignment so that you are in flow.

Alison Vickery:

And from that, I firmly believe and I’ve seen it repeatedly that you can manifest health in that way. So I think as a coach, it’s sort of really important to sort of facilitate those experience for clients. So it’s not here’s the food list, take this food list. It’s about teaching people and allowing them to have that connection for themselves.

Alison Vickery:

And I think some of the things that get in the way of that. We’ve sort of touched on some of them, but I just want to run through a few of them briefly. And look, we’re all wired for these responses. So this is the question of being wrong. It’s a question of using a hammer to turn a screw. And so part of recognizing what’s happening in your mind and seeing when you’re trying to force things and it’s not working and continuing to force it is what I’m talking about here. And so the first we’ve already touched on, which is seeking out external solutions. Because the key lesson is that the external battle is standing for the real battle that’s happening within us. And I absolutely know that to be true. Another one I see a lot of is over analysis and obsessive thinking.

Alison Vickery:

So this is Google central, how many tests can I run? Google, Google, Google, but not doing anything. And as I mentioned before, interestingly in a lot of mythology, this character’s actually killed off with good reason. And I think the minute we realize that our brain is not that smart or at least the left side of our brain. The right side of our brain, which connects to all of our body is extremely wise. But I see a lot of over analysis when people are stressed and it just doesn’t get you anywhere. Look, there’s one thing-

Michael:

It’s looking for safety in a place where it doesn’t exist.

Alison Vickery:

Doesn’t exist. Yeah, exactly. And look, there’s one thing to want to be educated, but here’s a clue. If you’re spending more time Googling and running tests, and consulting experts, but not doing that suggests to me that your mind’s operating the extremes are not from a balanced point of being.

Michael:

Analysis paralysis, I think is [crosstalk 00:57:52].

Alison Vickery:

Analysis paralysis. Now another one I see a lot of, and there’s not many more, don’t worry is focusing on avoiding pain. So I get a lot of people come to me and say, “Oh, I’ve got to cut out gluten and dairy. I’ve got to eliminate foods, could I get a supplement.” So with this and I think it was Freud, I’m not sure said that people either make choices to avoid or decrease pain or choices that create or increase pleasure.

Alison Vickery:

And so what I’ve noticed is that particularly with people that are scared of pain or obstacles or-

Michael:

Discomfort.

Alison Vickery:

… Discomfort in any way that often comes from poor, poor self-compassion skills, or poor self-tolerance skills. And so often if you can just sort of bolster up those, it can really help. And so I use self-compassion skills, but I also emphasize and encourage them to look at the obstacles they’ve actually overcome in their life. Often they’re sort of-

Michael:

Which they will downplay immediately.

Alison Vickery:

Yeah. And so my role as a coach is to go [crosstalk 00:59:21].

Michael:

I’m a professional at this one, so I can chime in here.

Alison Vickery:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. So hang on, wait a minute. We’ve got rid of heavy metals, we’ve got you sleeping, we’ve sorted the diet and feeling hungry and depressed. And so the irony of this is those people often have physical pain. And I just think that’s really looking at the five levels of how avoiding that pain can actually take down the nervous system.

Alison Vickery:

But I see that a lot as well of people cautious about taking risks. And look, I understand that supplements can cause reactions. But I’m not talking about risk risks. And the other is neglecting their own needs and not themselves. And I see this a lot. So we really need to look at why we are not doing that and what belief is driving that.

Alison Vickery:

And often I find there is an underlying low self-esteem issue, which once it’s addressed, they just transform. So I see that a lot and I see it very prevalent in women as well. And this is where the intuitive body and inherited stuff comes in, that you are here to serve others and not to serve yourself.

Alison Vickery:

The other thing I see a lot dislike for routine and the need, which is needed for success. So these are the people that have taken that supplement. So what now, or that meal’s not exciting enough for me or wanting to try something really new the biohacking when they haven’t got things right. And this comes because they thrive on creating, exploring whatever. And the real lesson they need to learn is that we all have a need for creativity and exploration, but health is not one of those areas that we need it.

Alison Vickery:

Health is built by what we do day in and day out. And I work with a client who is an explorer. She is an explorer of herself, explorer of the world. She’s into all the things you are building.

Michael:

I can relate.

Alison Vickery:

Yeah. And I couldn’t get her to take her supplements, which she actually did need. She wasn’t on that many every day, because it was boring. And the minute she just went “I’m going to do a Reebok and just do it.” And make sure we’ve got enough creativity and exploring in the rest of her life, big things started happening. So I think there’s sort of a bit of a trend where people try something, that didn’t work or I’ve done that now. Or at least that’s what I see. The final one I really want to touch on is taking responsibility for ourselves and our own life.

Michael:

Whoa, whoa, let’s not get crazy.

Alison Vickery:

[crosstalk 01:02:57]. So the first step is really just decide that you’re going to adopt a self care model. And I can see extremes in this, either people feel powerless, which is why it’s really important for them to have those initial experiences, which I as a coach need to help facilitate where they can see that they’re not powerless in this situation or in themselves. In its extreme you can see people who are obsessed with the rules, they don’t actually even seek help.

Alison Vickery:

They won’t consider what you are thinking or your viewpoints or anything else. It’s sort of a control point. And the reason this is so important is, and I think we’ve touched on this is if we outsource our health to another, we get the solutions perceive we need, not the solutions we need to restore health. And that is one of the biggest lessons I learned from my scenario. Yes, I need support. Yes, I need guidance. I’ve actively sought out people that can do teach me things and mentor me. But I need to know me and I need to take responsibility for my own health and happiness.

Michael:

People can help you. They can’t do it for you.

Alison Vickery:

Yeah. And everyone’s different. Everyone’s different.

Michael:

I think a lot of people, I think there’s those in the meme world, on the internet, now there would be comments saying, “I feel attacked.” Just because I think pretty much anybody listening can relate to some pieces that you shared and can identify with some of the roadblocks that you mentioned at the end. Because I know that on a couple of those, I think I’m PhD level of experience with them.

Alison Vickery:

But I think the important point is that these are all universal ways that we operate.

Michael:

For a reason too. That thing that is in the way of you now, there was a reason that developed and it developed out of necessity. And at the time that it developed, it was helpful for you. And in some way it was protective or helpful for you and learning and really believing that for me was like the gold that helped me shift some of those things. Because it was like, “I suck, I do this thing and it sucks.” Instead of that, it’s I learned to do that thing because I was scared and-

Alison Vickery:

Well, I think to take that up a notch, these are always being that are within all of us, which we go through a period of mastering to use appropriately. So in the last point of taking responsibility for yourself. As you evolve, as you understand yourself, you can take control of the situation for the benefit of others. So these aren’t wrong, they’re just the wrong… They’re just a stress response being used in the wrong scenario. That’s the way I see it.

Alison Vickery:

I mean is it wrong to love someone and want to care for them? No, not at all. Arguably that’s one of the deeper skills that we can learn, but is it a balanced non-stressful response to do that at the expense of ourselves? So I just want to be clear that it’s more about when it’s not working than is it right to have these qualities or not have these qualities? Does that make sense?

Michael:

Yeah. Is it working? Is it not working? It’s not am I good or am I bad? It’s, is what I’m doing, working in me or not, not working for me.

Alison Vickery:

And look, the thing is that we all have a primary way of coping with stress that we’ve not dealt with before. And I can share, I’m a overthinker, over analyzer. And when I was sick, I was thinking if I can just sleep, I can work this out. No. And so I have a history of being able to think through things and work things out. But in this situation, that tool is never going to work ever.

Michael:

Well, your primary symptoms were not being able to use your brain. So overthinking and over analyzing your way out that one’s going to be tough.

Alison Vickery:

It always goes to the weakest part? So these aren’t negative things. They’re really just… They’re actually skills and it wasn’t really the purpose of our conversation, but in different scenarios these are perfect. We can talk about people that are rebels. Like I have clients that are rebels. If there is a protest, they’ll be there. And God love them for holding people accountable and all the rest. But in your own health, you’re rebelling against yourself. So I want to be a rebel. I want to have people in my life that are rebels. I love rebels, but when you’re a rebelling against yourself, nothing good can come of it.

Michael:

If you’d have told me six years ago, or whenever we first met in the FDN group. And both of us were kind of like lab test protocol nerds. That we would be having this conversation on a podcast in six years or however long. I would’ve been not believing that and confused and probably disinterested. And so kudos to the journey that you’ve been on and what you’ve learned from it too, and your own… And it’s taking your own experience and what you’ve been through and what you’ve realized with yourself. I can tell there was a lot of personal touch in there in what you shared in what you just explained. I could feel that a lot of that was coming from experience and from you and from self compassion. I could feel that coming through and there was like a twinge of sadness in some of there.

Michael:

And it is sad, I’ve experienced sadness. When I’ve started to learn self compassion, there’s a sadness for what was lost. For what wasn’t there. For the times that you weren’t compassionate. And it opens up the door for the emotions to come through, which then was very evident here. So it’s really a transparent way to communicate too, that teaching the way you do and pointing people to professionals that aren’t you as well is something that a lot of coaches won’t do and don’t do. And they want to be the everything to everyone and they want to be this thing and this thing and this thing. And you can’t do it.

Alison Vickery:

It’s absolutely not the right thing to do. If there are any coaches listening, do not do it. Because you are not their mother. You are their teacher. I train in EFT, I’m an EFT practitioner. I’ve trained in this, that and the other. But I soon realize that the key to this is really connecting the person to themselves. Because all the answers are there.

Michael:

They already know everything they need to do.

Alison Vickery:

They do. They do. And it’s only these beliefs getting in their way really. And I’ve seen some of the most amazing transformations of people. And I still do traditional lab work. I still treat this, that and the other. But I treat the whole person. I see whole person. And my aim at the end of doing this work on five levels is to really see that person.

Michael:

I think you’re doing a hell of a job.

Alison Vickery:

Oh, thanks, Michael. I love your work too. [crosstalk 01:11:47].

Michael:

Thank you. Yeah, we have a lot, we’re going to hopefully be collaborating in. It’s great to see somebody on a parallel trajectory on the other side of the world. And then kind of like pinging along the way. And we just seem to kind of follow the same and are learning the same lessons. Which it’s not always fun to learn these lessons, by the way. This is speaking of a, after the fact I learned this. These discoveries when they happen, they’re not always… It’s not sunshine and rainbows always.

Alison Vickery:

Yeah. I think the discomfort is a sign that you are over something that is meaty. It’s the juice, it’s the key to the city. And if I could end on anything it’s that those hard lessons or whatever you want to call them are where the true healing turns. In my experience it’s not lots of things. It’s just a few things repeating themselves. And how sweet it feels to be able to be yourself and love yourself and accept yourself just the way you are. And have the tools too lovingly observe yourself and act in your best interests.

Michael:

Beautiful. Well, Alison, thank you so much for everything you shared here and for going through all that so that you can share it and teach it and guide people. So if people are interested in learning more about your work and what you offer and what you’ve got, we’ll put links below so they can click in the show notes. But where do they go and what will they find there?

Alison Vickery:

Yeah. So if they just go to my website, which is Alisonvickery.com. I also am on Instagram, which I sort of prefer and post a bit more than Facebook. I have a roadmap to recovery from histamine intolerance and muscle activation, which gives really a overall view of mostly the physical level of healing.

Alison Vickery:

And I am going to be writing a lot more on this topic. So probably by the time this is out, there’ll be more materials on my website. I provide a lot of free information on my website and I do encourage people to choose a coach, whether it’s me or somebody else that can really work with the unconscious beliefs that are coming up, be it around food or whatever else. And if nothing else, I hope that when people read my work, they see the opportunity and the possibility from healing. The reality is if I can go from not knowing where I am and what I did yesterday, not being able to speak in a full sentence. Sent off into the world, almost going, sorry about that. Good luck. What can your listener do?

Michael:

And that wraps up another episode of The Natural Evolution podcast. Thanks for listening. And please check out the links in the show notes below to learn more about our guests and grab your free downloadable Foundations of Wellness starter kit, which will help you implement what you’re learning here and make powerful shifts in your health and your life right away. Just go to www.rebelhealthtribe.com/foundations. And you can be started in only a few minutes. If you enjoy the show, please drop a rating review or subscribe to stay in the loop with future releases.