The Natural Evolution Podcast

Season 2

Episode 5

S2E5 – Aligning with the Natural World with Dr. Michelle Veneziano

Dr. Michelle Veneziano believes true balance and harmony are accessed through alignment with the natural world. Her practice is centered around Cranial Osteopathy to restore the state of flow each of us are born with.

In this conversation we talk about what Cranial Osteopathy is, how it helps us realign with the harmony inside of us, and how this process can trigger all sorts of healing physically, mentally, and spiritually.

To read more about Dr. Michelle Veneziano and her practice, view her courses, or learn about Osteopathy visit www.michellevenezianodo.net

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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Dr. Veneziano and Michael define what Cranial Osteopathy is, how it helps us realign with the harmony inside of us, and how this process can trigger all sorts of healing physically, mentally, and spiritually.
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About our Guest

Michelle Veneziano, DO (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine), is a family physician and an adjunct clinical professor at Touro University in Northern California.

Her approach to osteopathic medicine is rooted in Cranial Osteopathy, a hands-on, evidence-based therapeutic practice that sources both western & eastern philosophies to support the body’s ability to heal itself.

She shares practices and insights for awakening the doctor that resides within each of us, for connecting with who we really are and for living in alignment with nature.

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Aligning with the Natural World with Dr. Michelle Veneziano

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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. I am here today with Dr. Michelle Veneziano. Michelle, thank you for being here.

Michelle Veneziano:

Thank you for having me.

Michael:

And this will be fun. I always enjoy our conversations. Michelle, for those who don’t know, Dr. Veneziano is a family physician and an adjunct clinical professor at Touro University in Northern California. Her approach to osteopathic medicine is rooted in cranial osteopathy, a hands-on evidence based therapeutic practice that sources both Western and Eastern philosophies to support the body’s ability to heal itself. She shares practices and insights for awakening the doctor that resides within each of us for connecting with who we really are and for living in alignment with nature. All right. So I used a few words in there that not everybody might be familiar with. So before we get into details, I think I want to define a couple things if that’s okay with you.

Michelle Veneziano:

Absolutely.

Michael:

And these are somewhat undefinable? I don’t know the right word there. Difficult to define, but we’ll do our best. So doctor of osteopathic medicine. People might be familiar with seeing a DO after somebody’s credentials. And this can be somebody who practices a more, we’ll call it, alternative or integrative approach. There are also D.O’s that you might find in an emergency room. Doctor of osteopathic medicine. So I guess I want to first define what is osteopathic medicine or osteopathy before we get into craniosacral.

Michelle Veneziano:

Great. It’s really such a fun conversation and your answer will depend on who you talk to. So from my perspective, firstly, factually, MD, DO is equivalent in the US in all respects. And we the same training. And then osteopaths receive additional training in using our hands to do a much more in depth assessment of the structure of the body and circulations and the connections between the nervous system and the organs and everything. It’s really beautifully sophisticated. And actually dovetails really beautifully with Western medicine. Although, a lot of DOs find it challenging to do both. So I, for instance, did emergency medicine for quite a while and attempted this is great, because it leads into the story that I think will illustrate our fun topic today that I attempted to do both right run this really perceptive, more feeling channel while I had a very active linear mind and really medicine is art.

Michelle Veneziano:

And I think osteopaths have an opportunity to beautifully combine those two. And we also have a lot of MDs who love osteopathic medicine and study it. So you could go through osteopathic school like I did and not really learn the original. The foundational craft of osteopathic medicine goes back to the 1800s. And then as medicine became more and more technological and medication focused, there was a time in the ’60s when there was an actual opportunity to hand in your DO degree and pay a fee and get an MD degree instead. But there was this core culture of old school DOs who knew the magic of this profession and refused to surrender it. And they just held fast through the time of when breastfeeding wasn’t in vogue and a lot of really moving away from nature in the way that we live that happened in the ’50s and ’60s.

Michelle Veneziano:

And then as the cultures come more around to gee, well living in alignment with nature has its benefits. This tradition has come forward and become a lot more popular with the students entering schools. So you’ll find now a lot more receptivity and also awareness in people seeking care that they’re looking for some of the original benefit, real magic of osteopathy. And I just chose, honestly, to do both as hardcore as I could. I don’t know why. I just was driven to do that. And I recognized how challenging it was and didn’t judge those who just didn’t choose to pile that much on their plate. And then craniosacral is kind of an offshoot of cranial osteopathy. In my bio, I name myself a cranial osteopath. We don’t actually use the term craniosacral exactly.

Michelle Veneziano:

But there was a DO named Upledger in the ’80s who said, “What we have here, this knowledge is so good we can’t keep it contained in this quite small profession. We need to really make it more available.” It was controversial. And he went out and he started teaching massage therapists and physical therapists. And I personally feel like I’m so grateful for that because without having him pushing the edge there, let’s just say many more percentage-wise have been exposed to craniosacral. And then the cranial osteopathy, it’s a pretty small society. It’s almost like it’s own little secret society. So I, myself, I’m really about bringing the brilliance and the wisdom of it to more people. That’s really what feels like is needed in the world now. So that’s my mission.

Michael:

So it was pretty controversial within the osteopathic community? It’s almost like letting the secret out of the bag? Or was it, this is ours. We should keep this? Or that they didn’t feel that there would be a competency?

Michelle Veneziano:

All of it. All of it. In a sense you could say, well, there are ways that any methodology could be misused. And when we get into working with what it really is about our subtle relationships in the body… And it’s an interesting principle because I actually believe I named the topic of what we’d focus on today coherence. Coherence is the word of wave motion in the body. Imagine we’re all like musical instruments. And what we do is tune the instrument so that all the different wave motions of the body, harmonics and fluid dynamics are all pulsing in this really integrated, coherent smooth way. And this is just essential to life, right? Oh. But the point of it is when you reach that place in a person, they become very moldable. We become very fluid.

Michelle Veneziano:

So you really need to not be a bull in a china shop. When you interface with the body in this really nuanced way, you can have a lot of impact with very little effort. So it’s important to remain very present and nuanced with your attention. However, it’s really important to be very present and nuanced with your attention in life period. And I think that’s the point. That we all have this innate skill we’re born with, right? It’s how we used to track game and figure out where to plant our food and how to harvest and what the weather was doing. So we all have this native ability to tune into nuance and resonance in the environment. And it’s an essential skill that I really feel passionately that nobody’s not excited about getting back to that state. Right? It feels so much more like life makes sense. And we connect with our sense of belonging to something larger through resynchronizing, as one word I use, or coupling in training again with the greater of life and nature.

Michael:

Okay. I was curious how you would try to explain it, because I’ve been through some craniosacral therapy myself. And my first experience, I liked it. It felt great. And then Mira, my wife, and some of my friends and colleagues were like, “What is it? What do they do?” And I’m like, “I don’t know.” They’re like, “Well, what happened?” I said, “Well, I laid on a table and she had a hand under my back of my neck, my lower part of my skull and that stayed there for a long time. And then I was kind of out of it for a while.” They’re like, “Was it a massage?” I’m like, “No, her hand didn’t really move. And then it was over. And then I felt like I gotten a massage, but she didn’t touch any of the rest of my body. And I had to sit in the car for like 10 minutes before I drove home because I felt kind of stoned. And I was super not stressed. And my body felt really relaxed and my mind felt relaxed.”

Michael:

They’re like, “But all she did was touch your neck?” I’m like, “I think so. I’m not really sure.” Most cranial sacro therapy practitioners I’ve encountered are pretty interesting people. And she was pretty interesting. And I said, “Virginia, what did you do to me?” And then she’s like, “I’ll give you the short version.” And then 10 minutes later, I didn’t understand it any better than I did when I asked the question. And so I never know how to explain it to anybody, but I’m a huge fan and I always recommend everybody goes and gives it a try. But what I learned was that she was feeling the tide or the flow of both energy and is that cerebral spinal fluid? What is-

Michelle Veneziano:

All the fluids have to come into coherence with each other. So I don’t really make one more important than another. Although you would say that if the cerebral spinal fluid isn’t… If you’re out in the ocean, the swells are laminar waves. There’s this smoothness, right? This kind of long wavelength. And then when you walked into her office, you may have been more like turbulence, like the water at the edge of the ocean. And so you couldn’t participate in the larger rhythm of the whole sea, which would have you just be able to kick back and be a part of something huge that would just hold you and support you and move you and really do all the work of living. So when we’re not actually entrained or synchronized or coherent with those larger forces, we feel very out of touch and frenzied.

Michelle Veneziano:

I connect with that sense of the ocean in myself and my body. I tune into the space outside. So it’s like I have one leg in that space. Well, I have both my hands on you. But part of my awareness is in synchronized with that larger thing. And then I’m connecting with you and I’m reconnecting you with it. Your system just pretty much sits there and recognizes the state I’m holding in my body by some kind of mirroring experience. And then in the mean time, I’m putting my hands where my nervous system drops. Because that’s your body telling me almost like an autonomic response test that if you support me here, it could be one spot on a tailbone or it’s one pivot point, we call them fulcrums.

Michelle Veneziano:

This is the point of support that will allow me to organize back to my wave. It’s like the Cat in the Hat balancing all the things. You want to find all the little fulcrums that allow the system to find that sweet spot of resonance and balance. So it’s like tuning a musical instrument. You walked out of there coherent and harmonious and that expressed itself and how you felt, what you were inspired to do, how much work it was to be in a body, how much healing could happen, how efficiently all of your physiologic processes could happen. And then I think the biggest piece I’m imparting with the vision I have for the significance of this wisdom is that we are then maestros, right? We come in kind of all thumbs out of tune, making not great noise.

Michelle Veneziano:

My daughter and I have code for this, because she’s really sensitive and she gets scrambled. So she’ll say whitewater. She’s not in the swells anymore. She’ll say, “Whitewater, mom. It’s time to go.” It’s time to go or time to switch gears to bring her back. But then the patient leaves. You left that day. And then what I’m teaching now is a grouping of things that allow the instrument to stay in tune. Because a lot of what we do is we go in, we get tuned, we’re harmonious, everything’s running on all cylinders-

Michael:

And then life happens.

Michelle Veneziano:

It’s a flow state experience, right? It’s actually what the entirety of existence is doing except us. Right? So it’s not like, Ooh, what a cool new concept. That’s a great idea. Why isn’t life that way? Life is that way. We are out of sync with life. So the practitioner assists you like a liaison with bringing you back into coherence and then it’s up to us to play the instrument and tune it periodically or notice, oh, it’s going out of tune. Let me ground myself. Let me hydrate. Let me get in a body of water. Let me tune into my heart. Let me notice how I’m relating to my chair. Let me notice what I’m doing when I’m walking. Like I love what you said when we opened. I think it was before we started the recording. Because we were talking about what would we do if we had nothing pulling on our time. And I, like you, have this dream of reading a ton and learning a ton, being in nature.

Michelle Veneziano:

I also want to do more deeper practices. And I’m practicing 24/7, Michael. I’m tuning into this resonance state such that no, I don’t actually do yoga most days. I don’t actually set aside time. I’m in a steep learning curve with developing my book and some other things. I’m so excited in that lane and because I’m checking in and attending to the coherent state or the attunement of my instrument all the time, I’m never quite out of it entirely. So if say I decide to go crazy one weekend and go windsurfing for two days straight, which normally would destroy a person. If they haven’t been on a board in three months or something. I don’t have that experience.

Michelle Veneziano:

I maintain through this attention to coherence a baseline fitness and hydration state, which is like just imagine there’s an electrical component, right? You get the music, you get the instrument tuned. There’s a lot of coherent and powerful wave motion that is actually like static cling on a sock. It takes every cell in your body and inflates it and creates this buoyancy and literal springiness in the skeleton so that we are reversing what we are constantly doing when we’re not attuning. We’re actually deflating.

Michelle Veneziano:

Imagine a tire is just slowly shrinking and in a body, to me, it feels like, oh, you’re beef jerky today. Pretty much everything drained out and it’s so incremental we don’t notice. And then in the session, we reinflate. We literally expand. You’ll see the skin become more plump and their color comes into the face. This is a very predictable outcome and we feel fabulous. I literally call this the hydration process, even though when I talk about hydration I’m also referring to life force circulation. That the electricity comes in and it’s coupled with the water and it’s also supported and held by the state we maintain in our consciousness with our thoughts and our feelings. So a big part of maintaining coherence is attuning to what we’re grateful for and loving feelings.

Michelle Veneziano:

And well, when I was asked to choose a title for this interview I was like, the heart. The heart is really the organizer of everything I’m talking about, right? The love frequency. But literally the heart structurally as well and in terms of our emotions if you want. And even in terms of hydration, the way that the fluids become really efficiently moved and reoxygenated and delivered from the central blood volume to the periphery, there’s this pump action. I’m basically describing the instrument I’m talking about as a life force lung or a life force pump. And then we have this experience. Wouldn’t it be lovely if we all lived in an experience that was really about a constant micro inflation happening at all times so that we were always expanding, always hydrating, always kind of existing in our fluid potential.

Michelle Veneziano:

And what I experience with adults, even of advanced age, is when they really get this, they can have a car accident and bounce back like a teenager. They start to say things like, gee, I used to take this flight and it would level me. And it would take this many days to regroup. Just imagine, I’m talking about literal return of resilience and adaptability, right? And this is not something we’re not aware of. We see in very hundred-year-old yogis and martial artists and practitioners of qigong, well, they’re very youthful. They have a lot of energy and they move with this fluid nuance of a young body, like babies. Babies are using every cell all the time. All the functions of the body are bright and constantly engaged. So even just to put it simply, this is a tension based. If you’re noticing the music coming from your body, tuning into all the wave form and the way that the tissues feel interfacing with that wave form, which could be heat, or it could be energy, or it could be enthusiasm.

Michelle Veneziano:

It is literally hot. Since I’ve gotten the hang of this, I no longer have a cold intolerance. Because my basal body temperature is just higher. Right? And then what we see people do is they slowly, literally cool down, their engine starts to be inefficient and kind of losing power. And then they start needing thyroid support and adrenal support, right? And people say, oh, my problem is I have a thyroid problem. No, you have a heat problem and the thyroid’s working hard to compensate for it. The deeper thing is the thing I’m talking about, this coherence and natural ability to log onto this larger pool of power and intelligence, that is our fuel. That is the source of our power in life. And to the extent that we’re not accessing it, we’re having to compensate in all kinds of other ways.

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.

Michael:

You keep mentioning that there’s ways to adjust this. It is something that someone can do with you, for you, aligned with you in a room on a table together. And there’s practices that one can implement moment to moment, all the time in the day, little things to keep track of or do. Maybe focused practices that bring the principles of craniosacral to a self-healing, self-aligning way.

Michelle Veneziano:

Perfect.

Michael:

And I know you’re a big fan of those.

Michelle Veneziano:

Yeah. Here’s the thing. So it’s been so beautiful for me to be running my practice and recognizing that literally I’m teaching people to be their own osteopaths. So there’s like 80% of what I’m talking about or more. I’m just roughly saying bigger than half is in the patients or person, I don’t even love the word patient, is in their power. And the analogy I love is that you’re the author of this book. I’m not going to come in and write your book. That’s not going to honor your creative process or your relationship with this experience of being in a body. It’s just so boring. And it doesn’t really create beautiful outcomes that can happen when there’s actually right alignment with the roles. So I consider the person being treated, sometimes it’s me, the author of the book.

Michelle Veneziano:

And then I love to come in and be the editor with the fresh set of eyes that you will never be because you wrote it. I will see things, I will do very medical things. Sometimes I will attend to something fixed in a particular part of a bone from a trauma and I’ll go, oh, well you’re in coherence but you can only get this level of, what would be the word, volume or voltage in your system because you have this fixation holding the tone down. So I will go in and I’ll say, oh, and by the way, your brain stems entrapped. So if you’re trying to get to the place where in coherence, yes, the nervous system yields. But if the brain stem is entrapped and the cranial nerves aren’t free to communicate with the rest of the body, which of course includes the vagus nerve, you will reach a certain plateau.

Michelle Veneziano:

And then so you will call in someone who can feel that and say, oh, you have a whole fascial adhesion kind of pattern here from old, old, old. It’s related to the way you walk. Maybe it’s related to sometimes I’ll go in and look at what people’s workstations are like. The incremental things we don’t even think about, like sitting unconsciously in the wrong chair with a low level of awareness in the course of a year equals a car accident to my hands. Right? So these tiny of little things that can be adding no extra time to your day and feel amazing and have your system stay bright all the time with more connection to… When I’m aware of my cells, I get more signals from my body about how to navigate in the world.

Michelle Veneziano:

I’ll get a distinct surge of something. I’ll even say heat. If something’s a yes, my body wants to do it, I’ll get this little power surge in my body. If I’m not tuning into that, I might miss the yes that wants to come through toward a certain ask. Or I’ll miss the no. And then my days may be filled with things that aren’t quite aligned with me and I’m going to have a hard time finding the wherewithal to tune into those subtle conversations because I’ve got my day filled with all this unmatched stuff. Right? So actually a lot of what I also do with people and myself is the sort of the constant conversation of uncrossing some of the wires about what wellness really feels like. And what’s actually exciting versus what we learn through conditioning is supposed to be the right thing.

Michelle Veneziano:

Because I think we can look at how most of us live and how the planet’s doing and say that maybe our reasoning and logic are not quite informed by this larger body of wisdom and power.

Michael:

That would be putting it mildly, I think.

Michelle Veneziano:

Yeah, exactly. So I love what you said before we started talking. Because I was like, Michael, I’m so excited. If I had all the time in the world, I’d be on a beach and I’d invent my own new form of yoga, which is actually something I’m doing. Maybe for a month. I might get bored. But the point is, if you live in coherence, additional exercising is really optional. You’re kind of exercising all the time. You’re lubricating and running your voltage all the time, the current through your body, keeping all of your cells lubricated. Do you think primitive man on went and got a set of boulder dumbbells and worked out or any of that stuff. If you’re engaged with your environment in a really engaged, if you’re really engaged, right, you’re using everything. You’re interfacing with everything. You’re curious. When I’m walking I’m noticing, is every cell in my body engaged with this way I’m relating to the ground. And I can get a ridiculous workout.

Michelle Veneziano:

I did amazing rehab on a Achilles’s tendon repair I had last year. I thought that PT was boring. I did not want to do it. So I invented it in my body. I did the work micro in a way that changed over time as my body morphed by tuning in and listening to what was needed through all the movements I was doing throughout my day. I think we can all do this. That’s what I’m teaching. It’s very, very specific. I’m also teaching about the relationship of the tongue with the palate because that’s almost like a placeholder for the coherence state. Next time you get a treatment, notice if your tongue’s rushing across the roof of your mouth, it almost sets. It’s almost like a placeholder for the entirety of our electrical circulation to orient to this central axis, right? It’s the organizing reference axis of all the systems in the body, the hearts at the center of it.

Michelle Veneziano:

And I consider this tongue-palate relationship all the way down. Our awareness of our pelvis, our connection with the ground. Maintaining this orientation to this presence that above us connects with the heavens, below connects with the earth, we can rest in this. And of course, all the chakras are related to that. And I didn’t even know what those were so much. And then when I started to get deeper into my work and more experienced, I started to feel areas of brightness just pop on as the body as all the fluids came into coherence. I’m going to call the bones of fluid because when they’re humming with this resonance state, it’s a literal harmonic experience that in a sense defies solidity or the arbitrary assignment of the definition of solidity to any matter, especially biological matter.

Michelle Veneziano:

So it’s a very deep dive, this tongue business. So I mean, I started out doing this accidentally because I couldn’t see everyone in my office. And I said, “Do these handful of things.” I’d send them a little video of how I sit in this fluid way and how I tune into my breathing and how I make sure I’m hydrating. That’s a really intricate fun topic. “But just do those three things. Don’t sit in a hole. Make sure most of your weight is on your thighs. Free up that midline so it’s more like a serpent than a rigid pole.” And at least 50% of the time, people didn’t even need to come in at all. And I was like, oh, I’m really onto something. That’s so satisfying.

Michelle Veneziano:

People get what they need, they don’t need to spend the time and money to come see me. I feel less like an enabler. My time is freed up to put attention on the people who actually need me. They’ve kind of hit a wall because they’re doing their work, they’re figuring things out, they’re processing their trauma and then get to a point where they need some reflection and grounding and holding. And it’s really appropriate.There’s a certain amount of healing that we just need partnership for. And there’s a huge amount that, the better part of it, that we actually give to ourselves. It’s like, great. It’s great to be loved by someone. But self-love is the origin, right? You can’t outsource that. I can’t do your self-love for you. I’m actually coming back to this harmonious, coherent bit.

Michelle Veneziano:

Because if life is a symphony and then I’m not supposed to play all the instruments, I am playing my instrument, you’re playing your instrument, and then we come together collaboratively. And it’s a product of the moment and what is being called for and what state and work we bring to the table is new every time. It’s a deeply creative process. Being in a body is a deeply creative process, but only if you’re actually present to know that. To experience it, right? It can completely pass you by if your conditioning is such that you kind of go to sleep and go on autopilot and check out. It’s not fun. You said something about self-care practices, they’re kind of work. And I’m like, wait. Erase. Erase that. It’s just the opposite.

Michelle Veneziano:

Right? It’s where’s the joy in it? Where’s the ease in it? Where’s the belonging in it? And as I’m saying these words, I’m getting this whole flood of happiness and heat. And it’s like my body’s going, exactly. Tell them. Tell them. Help them remember who they actually are. Because you’re actually already an expert at all of this stuff. You just went to sleep somewhere, probably in adolescence. And maybe you had a lot of birth trauma and you had a hard time locating your ease or your flow rhythm early in life. We have a lot of impacts in modern life that can create challenges from the start. And the original intelligence and the blueprint from everything I’m saying exists in every person. So I’ll give another example of a patient I am treating who had a fairly serious genetic disorder that rendered her completely corkscrewed and choreatic with her movements. It’s like jerky movements.

Michelle Veneziano:

She didn’t ever really manifest in a functional, integrated nervous system or neuromusculoskeletal balance. And we basically went this deep fluid resonance state and she hummed all that stuff open. We just kept doing it, layer after layer. Maybe I saw her weekly for a good handful of months. It was a pretty severe case. And it all started to express from somewhere deep in her system that hadn’t never really had a chance to have its voice or to manifest as physicality. But the blueprints in there, the body’s always seeking. In osteopathy, we talk about the health with the capital H. It’s an intelligence and a potency. We’re born with it. It does not diminish. We simply dissociate from it.

Michelle Veneziano:

So as we come back into dissolving any of the density and compression that we inherit, I don’t even consider this necessarily a bad thing, it’s a difficult thing. But we come into this world, we have lots of challenges. And then our journey here is to relate to those things and sometimes grow through them. Sometimes grow because of them, right? So it can become really inspiring and fascinating and personal and vulnerable to, almost like archeologists, excavate our way back through all these layers that we inherit back down into something more original, our essential being.

Michael:

You’ve mentioned the heart a few times. And you mentioned the word coherence a few times. To me, like when I hear the heart and coherence, I think of heart-brain coherence and heart rate variability and those type of things. I think you probably have a bit of a different…

Michelle Veneziano:

No, it’s all the same thing. Those are simply-

Michael:

That’s just one way to measure.

Michelle Veneziano:

Yeah. Ah. The story I never did tell you. Well, first I want to name one thing. I’m really glad you brought up the heart right now because I’ve seen also in my practice that not only does the energetic pattern but the physical pattern seem to originate and return to the heart. It just never ceases to blow my mind. So mechanically, emotionally and energetically, the heart seems to be the great equalizer, organizer or reference fulcrum. And then for my thesis of my DO training, remember, we started this conversation with this balance of masculine, feminine, linear, creative art and science of medicine and how life is all of those things. It’s not either or ever. So I was attempting to bridge the worlds and integrate them in my being and in my training.

Michelle Veneziano:

And so I’m learning this subtle work with taking my time to spend a few weeks here and there with masters during my even medical school time when I was doing all my anatomy lab. And then I’m out on my rotations in different hospitals and doing internal medicine and surgery, which I also loved. But still, I had the most beautifully illustrative experience when I was working in an emergency room. That was one of several months of learning to do emergency medicine. And I had a preceptor attending physician who was an MD, who was one of these naysayers. Like, “Oh, you guys and all that woo woo stuff.” And I’m always like, oh, this could be fun. I don’t tend to take things personally. I’m kind of an east coast person.

Michelle Veneziano:

So we had this patient come, some healthy soccer mom person. Literally. She was taking her kids home from soccer and she fell and she hit her head on the curb. And they took her in. Her CAT scan was negative. Her pain was off the chart and no pain meds would work. My favorite kind of situation. No one else can fix it. And I’m a resident. I don’t really have a lot of experience at this point. And I am believing in this thing. I had felt it. I had touched it. With my mentors, I was guided. And I said, oh, let me try to do some of this osteopathy. And I also felt in my body, what are you saying? This is a crazy, busy emergency room with people running everywhere and bells and alarms and people in distress. And I just went in there, I sat down, I held her head.

Michelle Veneziano:

I didn’t even know what I was doing. But I knew enough firstly, to know about the cranial base and the brain stem and just the contact there can be so powerful. I knew enough to feel that I would not be blunting any wave that was coming through her body. Because we don’t grab. We have to feel the pulse and match it like a surfer on a wave. I did this thing. I noticed the bells. I just made note of them without an opinion. It was 10 minutes. And this woman, whatever happened, things came into phase, some synchrony happened. Her body recognized life again and wasn’t blown out like a deer in headlights, completely dissociated and disconnected. That’s a shock state. Sometimes meds can relieve it, sometimes not. If the being actually wants something more refined and deeper, a drug isn’t really going to cut it.

Michelle Veneziano:

And so she literally hopped up and skipped out. And then the doctor, he was like, “Well, that was really amazing.” And he said, “My grandfather was a DO.” And I was like, oh, I guess you’re okay then. So the tables turned. Just getting back to heart rate variability. It’s a long way to respond to you’re bringing that up. So he said, “Look, I run the hyperbaric unit and we have all this really sensitive equipment that measures physiologic change. Let’s do some research.” And I was in a position of having to come up with a thesis project. So I was like, “Great. Let’s do it.” So I designed a study a few different ways. I knew that it was my attunement, my nuanced detention that was able to connect myself, my own system with this greater wave.

Michelle Veneziano:

Right? This is what happens in meditation. We get quiet so we can entrain again with this rhythmic motion and this integrated, coherent, resonant motion of life. Once we do that, all as well. So I was trying to figure out how could I test touching someone’s head without this awareness, just being checked out and touching it with this conscious connection to this larger thing? So the first design of the study was that I would listen to an audio tape and be tested on it so that I couldn’t divide my attention. You can multitask. You only really need a tiny little bit of your attention, really, to attune to this thing. Kind of like peripheral vision. Kind of like those optical illusion posters where if you try really hard to see the image in all this speckles, you won’t see it and then you give up and you turn away and the image emerges. And it’s really because it’s not more looking. It’s this nuanced right amount of awareness that will have you see this pretty much invisible thing until you’re in it. And then it’s really, really loud.

Michelle Veneziano:

And so the way I designed the study ultimately was to just have some person, like a front office person do the holding of the head. It was specific to the head, which it’s really not a mimic of nature. But it was having to be simplified in terms of variables for consistency. Anyway, long story short, the outcome was outrageous. What we saw when we analyzed the data was the heart rate variability of the human by this transcutaneous oximetry assessment was hugely statistically significant, which then we know that heart rate variability is a mirror of the autonomic state. Now to me, at this time in my life, I look at that and I’m like, duh, that’s pretty much all of medicine. That’s the entirety of what’s relevant about being in a biological system. But at the time, and I would say even in most of medicine, the concepts are still a little elusive.

Michelle Veneziano:

This concerns me, Michael. However, I’ll tell you in the class I taught last year, I took 30 doctors through the seven things and kind of the reasoning around why we would do all of this and some realtime practices. And I took a poll. Maybe half of them were cranial osteopaths. Some were family practice docs. Some were different specialties. There wasn’t a single person who’d even heard of heart math. I wanted to know. Right? So I’d loved the technology simply because it’s like a biofeedback tool anyone can carry with them and tell whether or not whatever they’re doing with their breath, their attention, if they’re actually in coherence as measured by this, right? Oh, you’re actually in your heart. You’re actually not spending your whole day in frustration. You are attuning to what you’re grateful for. And what happens is people recover from illnesses. Their nervous system spends more time in coherence than not, which allows the immune system to work and allows the body to rest in a response able integrated state that supports all the physiology. And then they get better.

Michael:

I usually have one of their gizmos on my desk that I would lift up right now, but I’m in between moves. So it’s somewhere else.

Michelle Veneziano:

Yeah.

Michael:

But I’ve interviewed Rollin twice from HeartMath. And for the science people out there who might be foo foo’ing some of what’s being said in this interview, the HeartMath Institute has an outrageous amount of irrefutable studies. How you were talking about yours with the changes in heart rate variability of the person receiving. Just the, what do you call that, suboccipital… What was the-

Michelle Veneziano:

Suboccipital brain stem region.

Michael:

They’ve shown that replicatable without someone holding their head or touching them. They had trained people who have learned some of these practices in a room at a table with untrained people who didn’t know they were even being monitored, who are just sitting at a table with some strangers to them. And the whole study that they’re supposed to participate in is literally just, go sit at that table. You don’t have to do anything, just sit there. And they measured those people’s heart rate variable. When the trained individuals started doing their thing.

Michelle Veneziano:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). It’s music, Michael.

Michael:

And it shifted the people who had no idea what was going on.

Michelle Veneziano:

Yeah. You don’t need to touch a person to sing in harmony. We’re just talking about wave form. There are so many scientific groups demonstrating these very basic principles of nature, people. This is not esoteric. It’s not new woo woo or any kind of fringe. It’s the basis of everything. And I actually had a list here. I’m not always so good at holding onto names, but I came across this one researcher. I guess I’ll start collecting them because there’s so many brilliant, brilliant minds around the world collecting data on, to me, what is so obvious. And then we have so much impression from a less resonant way of thinking about existence and living in it that I imagine what happens is our systems and our psyches become quite dense and not quite penetrable to our knowing of these things on a deeper than intellectual level. Because we all do.

Michelle Veneziano:

There isn’t a single person who couldn’t get back there if they intended to do it. They would need to be doing their thawing and dissolving and resonating and also maybe experiencing some of the very difficult and confronting aspects of moving trauma out of the body. Right? It sometimes isn’t meant to happen because the elements of safety that would allow it to move aren’t present. So it may not even be a good idea without the right conditions, right? These are the kinds of intelligences that a society that actually had the wherewithal to support healing at a deeper level would be putting in place, right? How do we actually support people moving through? We’d have a lot more, in other words, knowledge of responding to trauma in the medical world. Because it’s still not that understood. Not regarded as relevant, which is very concerning to me.

Michelle Veneziano:

I had a close friend, gosh. A woman I love from early in life and she’s a therapist. She’s telling me about all this physical stuff and health stuff that’s happening. I’m like, “Honey, you need to start moving your energy.” And she’s like, “What does that mean?” I’m like, “You got some catching up to do.” This is some really basic stuff, right? And you’re not going to really be able to be in service to others if you don’t resource yourself and log on to this larger pool of power and intelligence.

Michael:

I hope all the practitioners out there hear that because I know so many who run themselves into the ground trying to help people and don’t resource themselves, so.

Michelle Veneziano:

That’s our training.

Michael:

We can’t be a resource for others if we’re not resourced ourselves. And I’ve had to learn that the hard way too as a full-time caretaker for several different periods of our life with my wife’s health situation that if I’m not taking care of myself and putting myself into a state that is healthy… I don’t know how to use the same flowery language that you do.

Michelle Veneziano:

Resourced. Resourced.

Michael:

Resourced, yes.

Michelle Veneziano:

Hydrated.

Michael:

I’m not much good to her.

Michelle Veneziano:

Yeah.

Michael:

And so, well, where can people go who want to learn some of these practices?

Michelle Veneziano:

I’m really, really excited to tell you because I actually… First, I want to couch that the stuff I teach is the fun, easy stuff. I mean, I really do think it’s like the source of reconnecting with delight about being in a body. And I just had a team come together around writing this all in the book and I’ve already written a lot of it. So it’s being compiled in a book. And I also just yesterday launched my class for practitioners. So this is an MD, DO, continuing medical education 20-hour program that starts in January. Let’s see. They can go to my website, michellevenezianodo.net/courses. And I’m enrolling now right through that portal. I really want to teach every doctor that exists.

Michelle Veneziano:

And I love it if patients would even reach out to their own physicians and say, “Hey, this is available.” We all need credit. There are few continuing medical education offerings that are about physician self-care. So this is a very physician self-care focused program. And then I have a study group on Facebook that I just started it for fun because I really love engaging with people from different disciplines. We have continuum movement teachers, we have breath instructors, we have yoga people, we have tantric people, we have craniosacral people, we have osteopaths all in there kind of joining their wisdom. And really, it’s for collaborating communally, right? Because really, coherent life is about all contributing our medicine and we all have different gifts.

Michelle Veneziano:

We’re all taught in our conditioning to kind of play all the roles. Like you were saying before, you’re playing so many roles that aren’t who you are that’s bringing you out of coherence. But when we join more communally, we all contribute the thing that really lights us up and that creates a sort of synergistic whole is greater than the sum of the parts vitality experience that’s really generative for every person. So my classes are that kind of experience. We come together as a group, find out where it is that we can bring. We go into polyvagal theory and coregulation and social engagement and that gets to the waking up of the heart and the reconnect ability and balancing of the nervous system that are all really essential for this surrendering of our rigidity that’s required to find ourselves back in coherence and flow. So those are three things, right? The website with the course. The Facebook group, totally free, open to everyone. And the book that’s coming soon that I’m really, really excited about.

Michael:

You have an ETA on that? I know books are tough to predict.

Michelle Veneziano:

Middle of next year. It’s 2022.

Michael:

Great.

Michelle Veneziano:

I would say.

Michael:

Thank you so much. I look forward to connecting more. [crosstalk 00:55:10]. Good luck on the book. 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.