Your heart is not just a pump; it’s the conductor of your body’s symphony, orchestrating communication between mind, emotions, and every cell, creating a beautiful rhythm of health and well-being. Today, we have the brilliant Dr. Stephen Hussey, Chiropractor and Functional Medicine practitioner. In this eye-opening podcast episode, we explore the vital role our hearts play in maintaining our overall well-being and the real root causes of cardiovascular diseases. Throughout this episode, Dr. Hussey explores the intimate relationship between the heart, the body’s collagen network, and emotional well-being, unveiling the secrets to living a coherent and harmonious life. Don’t miss this opportunity to gain valuable knowledge from Dr. Stephen Hussey, as he unravels the mysteries of the heart and offers practical advice for achieving a healthier and more balanced you. Tune in now!
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Understanding The Heart With Dr. Stephen Hussey
We have an awesome guest we’re bringing here to you for this episode. I’m very excited to have him on. We have Dr. Stephen Hussey. He is a Chiropractor and Functional Medicine Practitioner. He attained both his Doctorate of Chiropractic and his Master’s in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine from the University of Western States in Portland, Oregon. He is a health coach, speaker, and the author of two awesome books, The Health Evolution: Why Understanding Evolution is the Key to Vibrant Health and Understanding the Heart: Surprising Insights into the Evolutionary Origins of Heart Disease―and Why It Matters. Welcome to the show, Dr. Stephen Hussey.
Thanks for having me. I’m happy to be here.
I mentioned to you before we do share a very similar perspective on cardiovascular health, to us here at Natural Heart Doctor. You take an understanding of ancestral health and apply that to a lens to better understand and better educate your patients. That’s awesome and why I wanted to bring you on so we can further educate our patients.
This should be an awesome conversation.
We often talk a lot about the heart as the pump that drives blood around the body. You have an interesting perspective on this. There’s some science that elaborates on why this may or may not be true that the heart is the soul driver. If you could elaborate on this for us.
The True Function Of The Heart
When studying an organ and how it may get the disease. It’s important to understand the true function of that organ. I have this special interest in the heart because of my own health history. Looking into all this information about the heart, I had no filter. I would consume any information I could find. I found a lot of things contrary to what is the conventional wisdom about the heart and heart disease. Also, what we’re directly taught in medical school as far as what the function of the heart is.
It turns out that there is a large body of evidence that suggests that the heart is not the main mover of blood in the body. A heart the size of ours would be impossible to create enough energy and force to move the blood throughout the entire body. If people are interested, there is an entire book on the subject, including my book. Also, there’s a book specifically about that by Dr. Franco First. He championed this idea.
If we think about that or if we accept that idea, then the natural question is, how does the blood move if it’s the heart not forcefully pumping it? This requires us to a little bit about water, which we’re all told that we’re 60% or 70%. Some people say we’re 80% water. There are lots of water in our bodies. However, most of that water in our bodies is not in a liquid state. It’s in more of a gel-like state. This is called the fourth phase of water or exclusion zone water or structured water.
This phenomenon has been confirmed by many scientists over the years, whether it’s James Clegg, Mae-Wan Ho, Gilbert Ling, or Gerald Pollack. Lots of different scientists have confirmed that this does in fact happen in the body. When we look at it, there are places in the body where there is liquid water. Blood is one of them. Lymphatic fluid also is one. Cerebrospinal fluids all have this more liquid-type water.
In the cells and most other spaces, it’s more this gel state or this fourth phase of water. Within the blood, it turns out that water has these specific or unique properties and that it can hold energy. When it holds energy and it gets next to a water-loving surface or a hydrophilic surface, it structures itself. It rearranges the molecules of water and it structures itself into a specific orientation that is more like a gel state. You could think of jello or when you make a bone broth and you put it in the fridge and it forms a gel. That’s what we’re thinking here.
It turns out that all biological surfaces are hydrophilic and that there are lots of water in the body. On the lining of the arteries, the blood is about half water. On the lining of the arteries, we get this structured water if we have intact healthy water and lining of the artery. This does two things for us. If we get the lining of the artery that has structured water on it, structured water is also called exclusion zone water because it excludes anything that’s not it. Only small hydrated ions of minerals can penetrate it.
Anything bigger than those cannot. Even the smallest protein in the blood albumin cannot penetrate this water. If you look at all the things that are bigger than that albumin like lipoproteins, red blood cells, bacteria, and all the different blood elements, nothing can get through that water. This water acts as a protection for the lining of the artery, which we know is a big deal because people deal with trying to prevent atherosclerosis or hardening of the artery or damage to the lining of the artery.
Water plays a key role in the protection here. The other thing that water does, which is more pertinent to the question of what moves blood is that because of the way the structured water forms, the structured water or this gel-like water on the lining of the artery is more electronegative. It pushes some of the hydrogen from the water out into the middle of the artery. That creates a charge separation. We have this very negative spot and a very positive spot.
I hope people are thinking, “What else has a charge separation?” A battery. We always put the positive and negative ends in particular spots to charge something. It turns out that experimentally, if you put the wires from a light bulb into the positive and negative parts of this water, it will light the light bulb because it creates energy. In the lining of the artery, this charge separation creates the work of a battery and does the work of moving the blood and moving fluid. They’ve proven this in Dr. Pollack’s lab with experiments such as tubs of water with hydrophilic tubes.
They’ve also confirmed in chicken embryos and different animals that this does indeed happen to water, or the blood does indeed move on its own through this fourth-phase water mechanism. They’ve done experiments where they stop the heart of the animal and the blood continues to move after that happens. This is how blood flows. Hopefully, people’s natural question is, “Why is the heart there if it’s not responsible for moving blood?” It’s doing this “pumping” but it’s not pumping. It’s contracting. It’s not this forceful pressure propulsion pump. It acts more like a hydraulic ram.
The reason that the heart is there is twofold, in my opinion. One is that if you look at the orientation of the muscle fibers of the heart, most of the fibers are oriented in a spiral-like nature. There’s one scientist from Spain named Francisco Torrent-Guasp who has discovered that the heart muscle is one big band of muscle that’s wrapped up in itself. When it contracts, it twists and spirals.
That vortex the blood or swishes the blood. It spirals it around. One of the ways that water gains energy, according to Dr. Pollack and his lab is if we spiral that water in the presence of oxygen or we vortex it in the presence of oxygen, which is what’s happening because there’s oxygen always present in the blood. Even the venous blood has oxygen, even though it’s less than the arterial blood. The heart is vortexing that blood in the presence of oxygen and energizing the water so that when it gets out into the blood vessels, it can more readily structure itself onto the lining of the blood vessels and move the blood.
It’s like recharging.
In a way, you could say that the heart is responsible for the movement of the blood, just not nearly in the way that we think. The heart does do some pumping. It does enough to move the blood through the ventricles and the atria itself but it can’t do much more than that. The other reason the heart is there is because it acts like a damning up organ, stopping the flow of blood. If we were to do exercise and our tissues demanded more nutrients, oxygen, and nutrients to do that exercise, what we see is we see the blood forcefully go over to the arterial side to deliver nutrients to tissues and things like that.
If the heart wasn’t there to stop the flow of blood, too much blood would go over to the arterial side. The vein side wouldn’t maintain enough pressure and it would collapse. That would result in very problematic things. We would probably die if that happens to the heart. There’s plenty of research to show that times of exertion slow the flow of blood. Athletes who have this hypertrophy of the heart think, “It’s pumping harder.” No, the research shows that it’s because it’s more effective at stopping the flow of blood. There’s a bigger musculature to stop the flow of blood.
That pressure response.
The Real Causes of Heart Failure and Other Cardiovascular Disorders
It’s like a backstop. It’s a bigger backstop because there’s more flow coming through it. It’s pretty fascinating. It turns things on its head. It’s very important to understand these things because if we’re trying to understand what goes wrong, especially things like heart failure, which is blamed on the heart not pumping enough as well as it should. What if the heart was never designed to pump in the first place? What if heart failure is a breakdown of these other mechanisms of blood flow? How do we address that? If we want to address that, we have to effectively know why that happens.
We often talk about endothelial lining as the core of cardiovascular disease. That’s where the plaque accrues and the problem all starts there. If we look at it from a different perspective and it’s not cholesterol buildup, and it’s not this and that, how is it that we can better protect that endothelial lining, better charge everything that needs to be pumped through the blood, and not from a heart muscle perspective?
It’s very interesting. We talked about the heart as this spiral shape and vortexing the blood, there are some people out there drinking charged water and getting barefoot on the earth. Would you say that that’s another way to derive some of these electrical charges from our environment to further improve that fourth phase of water lining?
Yes. Hopefully, people are asking themselves, “How do we structure the water? How do we energize the water in our body so that it can structure itself?” It’s not just the vortexing of the heart that does it. Water can gain energy from lots of different places. In Pollack’s lab, he found that far infrared light at the 3,000-nanometer wavelength is the most absorbed by water. It doesn’t mean the other frequencies of light can’t also energize it but that’s the most absorbed by water. The most natural source of infrared light is the sun. There’s always infrared present. Sometimes there’s also blue light there at more times or different times of the day, but there’s always infrared and red light present energizing the body.
The other thing is that putting your feet in direct contact with the earth like exposing your skin to the correct electromagnetic fields also energizes this water. One of the interesting things here is that not only does the water structure itself onto the lining of the arteries but it also structures itself on the elements of the blood, the red blood cells and lipoproteins. Anything that’s in there is hydrophilic.
There are cool experiments with grounding that show that if you ground, you increase what’s called zeta potential, which is that charge of water around the red blood cells. You increase zeta potential and you prevent clotting. You increase blood flow. Grounding is incredibly important to gain those electrons from the earth and energize that water. There are also other things as far as creating more structured water and energizing the water as far as avoiding different toxins. Glyphosate has been shown to interfere with the formation of structured water or non-native electromagnetic fields.
WiFi and cell phones and those types of radiation have also been shown to deplete structured water. Also, things that cause oxidative stress. Heavy metals, plastics and fluoride, and things like that can also break down structured water. We want to eliminate those things from our life or decrease our exposure to those things as well. All this stuff helps us increase structured water.
Also, therapeutically, we could do an infrared sauna if we want to get a more concentrated dose within the modern world. We could use an infrared sauna to do that. The studies on heart failure and infrared saunas are phenomenal as far as the results they have for people with heart failure. It drives home this theory or this idea of the heart not being the mover. If we increase the structure of water in the blood, it creates blood flow and takes pressure off the heart, and heart failure gets better. The ejection fractions go up, heart size goes back down, and edema goes down. These people, it changes their lives.
It’s important to bring a different perspective to people so that they can be like, “Maybe if I changed a few things. Get back out to nature and out in the sunshine.” Put your feet on earth. We’re humans. We have to accept that if a houseplant can’t survive indoors. What makes us think that we can? We got to get outside, get in the sun, and get barefoot. We’re not meant to have rubber soles on our feet all day long. We need to get back to nature, avoiding the toxic soup that, unfortunately, we can be living in. That’s important. Getting rid of some of these toxins in our day-to-day life is going to help more than just the heart as well.
If you’re up against cardiovascular disease and looking for new answers, this is something you ought to consider. That brings us back to atherosclerosis and the crux of cardiovascular diseases, how we can better protect the lining of the arterial wall, prevent plaque formation, prevent blood clots, and so on. I don’t think that your body would produce something that’s innately bad.
One of the largest discrepancies between functional and conventional cardiology is the idea of cholesterol being so bad that we want to drive cholesterol down. You and I know and we agree on the fact that we know cholesterol is essential. Conventional cardiology recognizes and maybe doesn’t appreciate that so much. How is it that we can further elaborate on the idea of cholesterol not being the problem when it comes to atherosclerosis?
This is the big conversation around heart disease. If people don’t know the backstory, I won’t go into the full thing here, but this cholesterol was wrongly blamed for heart disease. Back in the ‘50s, everybody was worried about heart disease. It was this growing thing and there was some bad science that was done that pointed to cholesterol. It was science. They can’t prove anything. It’s the lowest science. There is epidemiology. They came up with this theory and heavily tested theory after that. The research they did showed that eating saturated fat and cholesterol doesn’t cause heart disease. Eating more polyunsaturated fat is what caused it. However, the idea had already taken off and there was lots of money backing this idea. The idea that cholesterol causes heart disease took off.
If you look into the research, in my opinion, there’s no sound research that cholesterol causes heart disease. If there’s any instance in time where cholesterol says, “I’m going to go embed myself into the lining of that artery because that’s what I do.” That doesn’t make sense. There’s no real evidence for that. To put the cherry on top of that, when we analyze what cholesterol is or what plaque is, we take it and analyze what it is. It’s clotting tissue. The largest percentage of it, 87% or 90% of it is clotting tissue. There are other things. There’s some calcium, macrophages, white blood cells, and things like that.
There’s maybe some cholesterol present but it’s very small amounts. A large amount of it is clotting tissue. Hopefully, the natural question is, what causes clotting tissue to form on the lining of an artery? What would do that? What happens when you cut your skin? A clot forms to stop bleeding. What would make an artery bleed from the inside? That’s when we get damage to the lining of the artery.
We have to have damage present for the body. We have to have it to an amount that the body can’t repair itself to the point where the body says, “We have to plug this up somehow, or else we’re going to bleed.” The arteries have blood vessels that feed the arteries, so they can start to bleed. The body has to form clotting tissue there so that doesn’t happen. If we get more clotting tissue building up on it, we can get this narrowing of an artery.
Whether or not that narrow an artery ever causes an issue as far as a heart attack is subject to debate based on some research that I found. The fact of the matter is if we want to prevent heart disease, we’re over-analyzing these lipid panels. Some people would say, “Cholesterol doesn’t matter if it’s oxidized,” or if it’s ApoB or ApoA-1 ratio or all these different subfractions of lipoproteins. That’s what we need to analyze.
However, I feel that those subfractions are only giving us a small indication of if there’s enough damage to be causing damage to the lining of the artery. If oxidized LDL is present, that could be a contributor to damage to the lining of the artery. What causes oxidized LDL or small dense particles or whatever is the same thing that’s causing damage to the lining of the artery.
We’re seeing them at the same time. It doesn’t mean that oxidized LDL is the major problem that’s happening. It just means that there’s damage in the bloodstream and it’s damaging the lining of the artery. What can cause damage? That’s the question. The answer is many things. Lots of different things. We talked about different toxins, heavy metals, endotoxins from endotoxemia from poor dental health or poor gut health. There could be plastics and psychological stress. It increases clotting factors and damages the lining of the artery.
There could be stagnant blood flow. Pulling of blood is one way that if there is atherosclerosis in the lining of the artery, it can change flow dynamics. It can interfere with that and create stagnant flow, which is a clotting-type situation. There’s a lack of sunlight and a lack of fourth-phase water on the lining of the artery making it more prone to damage. It’s all kinds of things. It’s going back to that ancestral way of living and removing these toxins, putting yourself in contact with nature, eating whole animal foods, and things like that are going to help decrease this damage. The kicker is insulin resistance.
There’s supposed to be wear and tear on the arteries. That’s why there’s all these mechanisms, the fourth phase of water, glycocalyx, and all these things that protect it because there’s this normal wear and tear that’s supposed to happen. However, we’re supposed to be able to repair that. Insulin is the hormone that signals growth and repair. If you’re insulin resistant, type two diabetes, but you can be insulin resistant well before that, then your body never gets that signal to repair.
The artery is forced to do something like clotting to repair that. That’s why insulin resistance or type two diabetes is so heavily associated with higher rates of atherosclerosis. All these different things are what’s causing damage to lining your artery and clotting. It has very little of anything to do with cholesterol.
It’s inflammation and oxidative stress. We have to step back and do a little bit of detective work and what is causing that. Is it consuming heavy amounts of glyphosate? You’re maybe inhaling glyphosate or what have you. You’re exposed to these toxins that are producing the oxidative stress and inflammation that’s there by going to the arterial lining. You’re getting some plaque and cholesterol gets a bad rep.
It gets framed.
We have to put on our detective hats and figure out what it is that’s in our lifestyle that’s producing that. What is it that you suggest in terms of nutrition to better improve and avoid cardiovascular disease?
In my book, I talk a little bit about how it makes no sense that all these nutrients we find in animal foods. If we take them out of isolation and say, “Is this beneficial for the heart?” The answer is yes to many different things. It makes no sense that one aspect of this food is causing heart disease but these other aspects are great for the heart. It makes no sense because saturated fat and stuff don’t cause heart disease.
There’s quite a bit of literature that suggests the heart prefers to burn fatty acids and ketones over glucose. Even in the presence of glucose, there’s this thing called oxidated priority, in which your body will usually burn glucose first. It seems like heart tissue prefers fatty acids and ketones over glucose. There’s a reason for that.
It makes no sense that saturated fats would be bad for us if that’s what the heart prefers to burn on as a fuel source and makes it more efficient. There’s also interesting stuff about collagen protein as far as collagen’s ability to increase antioxidant production in the liver, which will decrease the oxidative stress that causes damage to the lining of the artery. Also, collagen protein is the connective tissue matrix that literally goes throughout our entire body. All the way down to the level of the DNA, including the lining of an artery. It’s very important for the structure and function of the health of the lining of the artery. Collagen protein is found in animal foods, the connective tissue parts of the animal foods.
It makes no sense that saturated fats would be bad for us if that’s what the heart prefers to burn on as a fuel source and makes it more efficient.
There are also nutrients like CoQ10, which are incredibly important for the health of the mitochondria in the heart. The heart has some of the highest amounts of mitochondria of any organ or tissue in the body. CoQ10 is found specifically in beef heart and things like that, but also in liver and muscle meat and things. There’s a slew of other nutrients like creatine, carnitine, carnosine, and taurine that are all very beneficial to the heart. Taurine is critical for the health of the lining of the artery and the endothelial cells. Carnitine is critical for the use of fatty acids by the heart, which is the preferred fuel source, taking those fatty acids and getting them into the mitochondria to burn.
Carnosine has been shown to help injured heart tissue teal heal, which is incredibly important, especially for people who have had heart attacks or have scarring on the heart for various reasons, whether chemical exposures or excessive endurance exercise and things like that. If we start to step back and look at all this, it makes no sense that these foods are driving heart disease when they’re giving us so many critical nutrients to help the heart stay healthy and heal the heart if it gets damaged.
Very few of what you mentioned, if any, are going to be coming from a plant-based diet. We quite literally are what we eat. If we want to maintain structural integrity, we have to consume these foods that are rich in these amino acids and collagens, and so on. It doesn’t add up to avoid all of these foods that we need to pay into our cellular makeup.
Interestingly, you mentioned plant-based. We’re designed to use cholesterol. That is an animal fat and the plants use phytosterols. We eat a super high amount of plant fats in the form of vegetable oils, which are high in these phytosterols. There’s research that shows that if your body is forced to use high amounts of phytosterols, especially in red blood cells, it makes them more rigid. When they’re trying to get down to the capillaries and squeeze through these small little capillaries, they can cause damage and rupture which can lead to stroke.
There are studies that show that the more phytosterols people eat, the more they’re associated they are with having a stroke in rats and in people too. Also, some of these phytosterols have been shown to deposit around the valves of the heart because the body can’t do much else with them. Saturated animal fats are what we’re supposed to have, at least in higher amounts.
Our body knows what to do with them. It’s more compatible. Maybe that can segue us into talking about the collagen network of the body and some of this discussion about heart rate variability and coherence.
This is one of my favorite things because it’s one of the most mind-blowing things I’ve figured out about the heart or read about the heart. There’s a reason we say things like, “It’s at the heart of the matter,” because we subconsciously recognize that the heart is the center. It’s what drives things. Even though we think of the brain as this control center or whatever, we don’t say, “It’s at the brain of the matter.” We say, “It’s at the heart of the matter,” and there’s a reason for that.
Understanding Heart Coherence and Communication
That is because the heart has a dense amount of mitochondria and because the motion of the heart and mitochondria creates an electromagnetic field. The heart’s electromagnetic field is the largest of any organ in the entire body. It’s the only organ that has a big enough electromagnetic field that it can communicate to every single cell in the entire body. Because of that, the heart is what largely sets the tone for what’s called coherence in the body.
The heart’s electromagnetic field is the largest of any organ in the entire body.
Coherence is when all elements of a system are synced up and communicating. Because they’re communicating, they are doing what’s best for the system as a whole. Whereas incoherence would be where a certain tissue or cell is unable to communicate like a cancer cell, we could say. If it’s not communicating, then it’s doing what’s best for itself rather than what’s best for the system as a whole. The heart is what sets the tone for that.
There are many ways that the heart communicates its information. One, I mentioned the electromagnetic field. If people can’t think that the heart couldn’t possibly communicate through an electromagnetic field, think about wireless technology. If people are communicating wirelessly all the time and the heart has that same electromagnetic field or a more compatible one. It’s not the same as those, but as a field that communicates.
Also, lots of information from the heart. It communicates not just through the fluid in the blood but also communicating electricity and electromagnetism through the blood because it’s in a salt-based system. There are plenty of electrolytes that can conduct electricity through it. That’s why we can do an electrocardiogram and it’s why we can put the electrode on the toe and still pick up an electro signal from the heart because it literally goes everywhere in the body.
We can also pick up thermography and heat from the heart or sound from the heart, and the magnetic field. Lots of different things can be communicated through blood in that way. Another way that the body communicates. People think about the nervous system and how we communicate that way. The connective tissue network of the body of collagen, the fascia, and the living matrix, there are lots of different names for it. It’s the collagen protein network that literally holds us together.
Some people think of it as like this Spiderman suit on top of us but it’s way more than that. It penetrates all the way down to the level of the cell’s nucleus. It literally interweaves everything together. The cool thing about collagen, especially collagen with structured water on it is what we call a semiconductor, which means that it could conduct lots of different types of information throughout the entire body.
The heart is what’s communicating through this connective tissue network. It’s the coherence of the body, setting the tone, and setting the beat, so to speak so that everything’s synced up. Light, sound, electricity, protons, and all these different things can communicate through this collagen network, which hopefully, makes people realize how important this connective tissue network is and how keeping it healthy is important.
Heart Rate Variability: A Measure of Balance
It’s not just for your structure and things like that but also for the ability of your heart to communicate coherence. If you’ve got scar tissue somewhere or a stored past trauma somewhere in the tissue, which is a real thing, it can block that communication. The heart is trying to send it and it gets blocked in that tissue. It’s no mistake that the way that we measure coherence in the body is through heart rate variability. Heart rate variability is the best measure of balance in the autonomic nervous system. It’s also this balance or this indication of how coherent things are.
Heart rate variability is basically it’s the best measure of balance in the autonomic nervous system, but it’s also this balance or this indication of how coherent things are.
One example that I give, as far as proving this whole theory is that when we affect scar tissue, we affect collagen. We do so in different ways, whether it’s different types of massage or chiropractic or these types of manipulation of the collagen network. We see increases in coherence through increases in heart rate variability. It’s interesting to connect all that together and see how proper health of the body is basically about communication, which you could say about anything.
The proper health of a society is about proper communication. Everybody’s on the same page doing what’s best for society as a whole. You can take that down to the body, down to the cellular level, and you can take it all the way up to the universe. It’s this beautiful thing and it all takes us back to the heart, which is one of those things that the heart has taught me.
In my study of how to figure out how it works, it taught me how life works at a very high level. It’s pretty fascinating stuff. It’s cool that we can measure it too through heart rate variability. That’s a very measurable thing that you can look at. You can also do things in your life and try to affect them and see if things are working. It’s all about this coherence and making sure your body is communicating.
That is fascinating. As you say, how can I best improve my heart rate variability and track it? Would you suggest some of these wearable devices to track heart rate variability? What are your thoughts on that?
Heart rate variability can be improved in a lot of ways. First of all, I’ll discuss what it is. If a healthy heart is not very steady, it’s going up and down. It’s the heart rate variability. It changes from beat to beat. A healthy heart changes from beat to beat because you think about it like this. If the heart was functioning on its own and not interacting with the environment and changing in response to its environment and things like that, it would be this steady thing. There will be nothing affecting it. A healthy heart is indicative of change. The ability to adapt to your environment.
If you look at the heart rate variability of a diseased heart like heart failure or something like that, it’s a very straight-line monotone thing. If you look at a normal healthy heart rate like having a healthy heart, it’s up and down. It’s varying, which is cool. What are the ways that we increase heart rate? If you take the pulse on a wrist and you take a deep breath in, you’ll feel your pulse quicken if you pay attention. You take a slow breath out, you’ll feel the pulse slow down.
The difference between the fastest when you breathe in and the slowest it gets when you breathe out is called respiratory sinus arrhythmia. It’s another measure of heart rate variability. It’s the same measurement. It’s the ability to go back and forth and adapt. That’s what it is. There are devices you can get that you can measure this heart rate variability. It’s more of a number rather than touching your pulse or whatever. There are things like the Oura ring, Biostrap,r Apple Watches, Fitbits, and things that will do it these days.
I’m not too big on wearable tech. I don’t want too many wireless devices around me. I do have the Oura ring but I put it on at night when it measures heart rate variability. I put it on airplane mode so you can turn off the wireless signal from it. I let it measure that then I’ll turn my phone and put it back on in the morning, get the reading, then take it off. I don’t wear it at the end of the day. I’m a chiropractor. I use my hands. If there is a ring on there, it interferes with things but I don’t like wearing this stuff anyways.
We’re such electromagnetic beings. We don’t need something on our body impacting that.
We don’t want that all the time. If I can turn that off at night and have it measured, then that’s good. The other thing is that once you measure your heart rate availability for a week or two and you get your baseline, then you know what it is. You don’t have to necessarily be monitoring it all the time. You know what your baseline is. Let’s say you’re going through a week that’s pretty stressful or you started a new health hack or whatever. If you want to see if it affects that, then you can always put it on and start measuring it again. You can see, “It’s better than my baseline” or “I’m worse than my baseline” or whatever. That’s how I use it. I don’t want to be completely a slave to the numbers.
Addressing Past Trauma for Heart Health
I’m trying and treat the number rather than treat me and how I feel. If I’m wondering if it affects the number, I can always test that but you got to get your baseline first. That’s how I use it. There are so many different things that can affect heart rate variability. Some of the ones that are most impactful, as far as decreasing it are unresolved past trauma. It is a big one.
People don’t necessarily realize that. When I think about coherence and how heart rate variability is a measure of coherence and how stored past trauma is in a tissue in the body or the somatic storage of it, that can definitely interfere with coherence. The work of Peter Levine has shown this type of stuff and how he helps people process that and get it out of the body. It can help with that.
If that’s something that people want to look into then somatic experiences or some trauma therapy like that could be helpful. Also, we have to remember that when we’re born, the baseline stress response to the nervous system has not been developed like many things when we’re first born. That’s why we look at babies with these soft faces and we give them reassuring safety signals. That’s what makes them happy because we’re training the nervous system as to what is safe. That is why childhood trauma especially in the first 6 to 12 months is a huge issue. That baby learns a different baseline of what’s safe. They’re more likely to get into that stress state and have this imbalance in the autonomic nervous system.
That’s something to take into account if you’re someone who’s struggling with incoherence and poor heart rate variability and things like that. Those things can make huge differences. The EMF environment and exposure to nature are huge like minimizing EMFs and exposing yourself to nature. Those coherent sounds and signals and all the stuff we get from nature are what we evolved in for millions of years.
It makes sense that would be the signals that tell us that it’s safe. It’s ironic that some people these days would get a stress response from being in nature because they’re so scared of it. They’re so far removed from it. That goes to show that our brains are unlike any other animal on the planet. We can think our way into a stress response and think something is bad going to happen to us because of preconceived notions or other things that we’ve seen when in reality, those are the sounds that are most normal to our body.
Humans are interesting in that sense and how we’re completely removed from that and have a whole different brain capacity. There are lots of different things. Even cold exposure or splashing your face in cold water can increase heart rate variability. Think about the stresses in life that can have a negative effect on heart rate variability. The stresses that make you feel like you’re in unpredictable situations or you’re out of control are the ones that are most detrimental to health. We can all think about COVID and what that must have done for people and all this mess that was going on. Studies show that it’s those types of stresses that are the most detrimental to heart rate variability and lead to the worst health outcomes.
Stresses are good if we feel like we’re in control of them. A CEO of a company is in control of everything. There are tons of stress and you’re busy all the time, but you’re fine because those are stresses you control. Whereas, if you’re lower down in a company and you got an insecure job, insecure pay, insecure hours, and different things like that, and you don’t know what’s coming day to day, that’s very stressful. Those are the types of stresses that have a negative impact on these things. There are lots of different stuff and we could talk on and on about it.
The issue of the stored trauma within the fascia and this almost like emotional scarring on the body is fascinating on its own. I have patients say, “I’ve got this old shoulder problem. Is it an injury?” No. If you work back through the emotional history of that individual, “I was holding something.” It’s interesting the way humans work and store even emotions within that collagen network.
That’s the whole phenomenon of going through shock. If something traumatic happens to you, the body is processing that shock or processing that trauma and you don’t let it do that. It’s not necessarily a harmful thing. It’s got to go through that shaking that body movement. That’s why it’s involved. Unfortunately, Western medicine is to suppress that response. If someone is going through that, they try and suppress it. That’s when trauma can get stored.
Physical and Emotional Release for Healing
It’s very interesting. To treat it, Peter Levine and others have methods of doing this of walking people through things mentally and emotionally, and uncovering that trauma, and figuring out where it is in the body. Also, you hear stories of practitioners like massage therapists and things who go through tissue or whatever. All of a sudden, the patient has this emotional response. It’s the release of it. It could be either way, from the emotional side or the physical side, and release that trauma but has a huge impactful when it happens.
If you are working on someone, be it chiropractic or some bodywork you’re working through this, you have to work through it emotionally as well because you’re digging up old trauma. You still have to process it because by sweeping it under the rug, the first go-round didn’t pan out very well. You have to be prepared to deal with it and address it at that point in time.
As a chiropractor, if I’m adjusting someone and doing different modalities, and I’m only getting so far, it’s always a question I have to ask this person, “Are there any past traumas that you feel are so affecting you?” Even if they don’t feel like they are. Maybe they’re stored somewhere. That’s something you’re going to have to address and get them to the right person to figure that out or give them the right tools to figure that out themselves.
We’re at the end of our time here. We could go on and on. We’ve brought up a lot of interesting topics. I know that I could go in-depth with a lot more of these and just ask away. Thank you so much for joining us. Please let us know where they can find more about you, and where they can get your book, and keep the topics rolling.
My website is ResourceYourHealth.com. I run my online health consulting business there. My books are on there. I have a blog on there. People can check that out. I’m on social media. It’s just Dr. Stephen Hussey. People can contact me there. I’m always posting my latest findings and stuff on there. People can keep up with that. My books are on Amazon but they’re also on the publisher’s website if people don’t want to use Amazon. There are lots of different places to find me.
Thank you so much. I know I will continue to follow along. Thank you for all your work and everything you continue to share with us. I appreciate your time.
Thanks for having me.
- Dr. Stephen Hussey – LinkedIn
- The Health Evolution: Why Understanding Evolution is the Key to Vibrant Health
- Understanding the Heart: Surprising Insights into the Evolutionary Origins of Heart Disease―and Why It Matters
- Natural Heart Doctor
About Dr. Stephen Hussey
Dr. Stephen Hussey MS, DC is a Chiropractor and Functional Medicine practitioner. He attained both his Doctorate of Chiropractic and Masters in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine from the University of Western States in Portland, OR. He is a health coach, speaker, and the author of two books on health; The Health Evolution: Why Understanding Evolution is the Key to Vibrant Health and Understanding The Heart: Surprising Insights Into The Evolutionary Origins Of Heart Disease – And Why It Matters