Hey everybody, it’s Robby Besner. Welcome back to an amazing… another amazing interview on the “Healing From Lyme and Chronic Ailments Naturally Summit”. Today, I have James Schmachtenberger… How’s that?
It is pretty good.
Pretty good? You got a lot of vowels and a lot of syllables in your last name, so I’m sorry if I mispronounced it.
It just kind of all gets squished in there.
And I’m gonna call you James from now on, but even though it was a little hard for me to get through, pronouncing your last name properly, which I try to do the best I can, the information that James has to impart today is invaluable, and it’s a topic that is not very well understood. It has to do with the way your brain works. And James heads up an amazing… really, I have to say it’s a movement. He started a collective that he calls Neurohacker Collective, he’s the CEO of that. And basically, he focuses on all of the latest innovations in neuroplasticity, basically items, and supplements, and protocols that help your brain be more efficient.
And of course, brain being the command center of the universe, or at least of our bodies, can help with things like, you know, sleep, and focus, and brain fog, and energy-related stuff. And I mean, there’s just so many things that are connected in our systems that tie back to brain activity. And so I am so, so happy to have James to join us today.
He’s down in Southern California, and he brings… he’s a serial entrepreneur, so I totally relate to that part of him also. And so I want to introduce James, welcome to the Summit, James, and let’s spend a couple of minutes, just give us sort of a little backdrop on how you got started, and interested, in this area of research, and certainly development, in your companies, that you’ve built around that. And then we’ll kind of walk forward to where we are today, and some of the things that we think are really important for people to know.
Absolutely. Well, first, thank you for having me on, a delight to be here today. So yeah, I guess a little bit on how I got started in this space. You know, I think it’s probably a somewhat similar story for how many people got started, which was I was having pretty severe health issues, and was trying to figure out how to heal them. I was… So when I was 18, I was gonna a vocational college that taught alternative medicine and psychology, and just became deeply passionate about the work that was being done there. And so right around that time, as I was graduating, there ended up being an opportunity to actually acquire the school.
And so, you know, in my naivete as an 18-year-old, I thought that was something I could do, and I went and raised some money, and ended up taking over the school. And I absolutely loved it, but didn’t have even close to the necessary skillset to actually run an organization like that. And so I, you know, I started taking all kinds of courses to learn business, but I also just largely made up for my lack of knowledge, with 20 and 22-hour work days.
And like there were long stretches of time where I never went home, and I would just, you know, work, take a short nap in my office, wake up in a panic at all the things I hadn’t gotten done yet, get back to work. And so after about three years of this, I hit pretty drastic career burnout. So like by the time I was 21, I was dealing with severe brain fog. I ended up getting diagnosed with a number of adrenal-related disorders. My working memory, particularly, was just shot.
Like I would… You know, working memory is sort of the ability to hold information, in real time, for a complex topic. And like I would find routinely, that as I was trying to focus on something, by the time I would get to the end of it, I had already forgotten where I started. And so it made just everything difficult. I was experiencing a lot of sort of depressive tendencies, because I was just so burned out. And then I started going through an existential crisis, because here I was working on something that I was deeply passionate about, that I thought could help people, and I barely had the energy to force myself to do it. So that ended up driving me down, research into this area, to start to heal.
And, you know, I was really fortunate, in the sense that I was already working in alternative medicine, had access to quite a bit of the cutting edge, so I got to explore things that people often don’t. And I, you know, I tried all types of things. I tried various types of psychological practices, to be able to support and address the level of stress I was under, tried all types of different therapies. And there was a number of things that helped, but what ended up being the most meaningful for me, was I found a research position in Mexico that had developed this IV therapy for rapidly healing neurotransmitter damage, and balancing brain chemistry. And his work had actually been focused on addressing cognitive issues, as a result of drug abuse.
But when I went and met with him, he was like, “Hey, you haven’t slept in three years, you basically have the nervous system of someone who has been an extremely heavy heroin addict for a long time, I think the same thing will work.” So I did this three-day IV drip for about eight, nine hours a day. And it just completely changed my world. And like, you know, normally with most therapies, things are kind of subtle, and they take time. And this was just a remarkable experience, where it’s like, the before and after, it was like, the lights completely came back on.
Cognitive function not only came back to where I had experienced it before, but it was heightened. My sense of motivation and capacity went up, the depressive tendencies went away. Like there was just all these remarkable benefits. And that was really the inspiration for deciding to move down this path, was the recognition that there were really incredible technologies and tools out there, but mostly not accessible, right?
Like most people aren’t gonna go to some random clinic in a hole in the wall in Mexico, spend many thousands of dollars, and put things intravenously into their arms. So it was like, “Okay, how do we take and understand what’s happening there, and start to develop things that can be accessible to progressively broader audiences?” Because there’s so many people who are in need of this type of work. And most of them either don’t have access to, or just aren’t gonna do some of the more complicated and expensive things. So that was essentially the starting point for me.
Amazing, you know, I’m just listening to you, what a great story, but how many 21 year olds get the burnout fatigue like you did? That usually, they’re career people, and then towards the end of their career, they’re getting that burnout. And then yet, at 21, you’re immortal. So you wouldn’t think that gonna Mexico, to some, you know, sort of extraneous, in a way, clinic somewhere, the risks involved with that, you don’t think about that, because all you have is upside in your mind, and about your abilities, and your youth, and your immortality, in a way.
So you had this incredible situation set up, where you took this risk, and the result was you found a whole other path of, you know, that’s so super vital important. Because that lack of sleep, and that stress, and the burden, and the adrenal stresses, and all the things that stress can do, to your ability to perceive the world, because that’s what your brain does. It sorts out all of those stimuluses, and kind of creates some kind of pattern that you can intellectualize them, to make decisions from, you know, at least from a conscious point of view. And so, you know, we’re addressing the Lyme community, and they come at it from a different way, because they’re… they’ve got brain toxicity, they’ve got… they could have Lyme brain, where they actually have Lyme, and/or co-infections, that have migrated into their brain, that do affect their thinking and create brain fog.
And many of the symptoms that you were expressing, just from being stressed out, they’re getting from a biochemical, or a different situation, or orientation, but the net result is the same. So what’s super interesting is that it doesn’t… how all roads lead to Rome, meaning the brain, how all these roads get there, and that we can have access roads to sort of unwind that situation, and you’ve come up with real solutions. And I think that is so important for people to know about. So I love hearing about your journey. And so now that you got to a point where you kind of figured some of it out, and you got some real results for yourself, you have to sort of now bridge the gap, from having your own personal experience, to bringing it to the public. Or harnessing it in a way that other people can also experience the same kinds of things that you did, in terms of remedies.
Right. Yeah, I mean, and that’s where, you know, Neurohackers become a really interesting and very, I think, unique organization, because, you know, like the type of thing that I experienced, though, phenomenal, and I, you know, strongly recommend people doing some of those types of things, they’re just not broadly accessible. And, like for instance, one of the primary ingredients in the drip that I did is a molecule called NAD. And, you know, NAD is the primary energy source that all cells use. So it kind of helps address health from the most foundational levels. It also has incredible benefits, in terms of balancing brain chemistry, but NAD is a very unstable molecule. And so it works in an IV, but you can’t take it orally, it’ll completely break down in the stomach acid, right?
So it’s like, “Well, it’s not probably realistic if we’re gonna be trying to help hundreds of thousands, or millions of people, to do it through an intravenous path, it’s just too hard to scale, too hard to get people comfortable with.” So, you know, it required a lot of research, not only in terms of new things that we were developing, but also looking out, you know, what were some of the things that I had experienced, and what were the mechanisms that made them work? And then how do we kind of reverse-engineer into some of these things, in ways that are more accessible? And so, you know, for us, what that ended up looking like, was we actually ended up having to develop, effectively, a whole new scientific model for how we do research and development, that’s based on complex-systems sciences.
And now, I think, for this community, this is probably a slightly more common topic, because any time you’re starting to get into complex disease, something like Lyme, you have to take a complex-frame approach. Otherwise, the likelihood of success is almost non-existent, right? Net allopathic medicine is incredibly powerful for certain things, but most of it operates off of a relatively reductionist approach to science, right? You’ve got one disease, you’re trying to find a single cause, and then for that single cause, you’re trying to find a single molecule, or a surgery, that will fix it, right? And so for anything that follows that path, modern medicine is extraordinary, right? If I get into a car accident, there’s a clear cause for my injury, there’s a clear path to fix it, that’s what I want. But when you start to get into various kinds of auto-immune diseases, neurodegenerative, et cetera, modern medicine doesn’t have cures for any of them.
There’s some ability to manage symptomology, but there’s not really the ability to address them in a meaningful sense, because there isn’t a cause, right? There might be dozens and dozens of causes, and each of those causes aren’t affecting a single thing, they might be affecting multiple things. So there’s a necessity when you’re dealing with more complex topics, whether it’s on the disease side, of addressing Lyme, or more of like where we focused, which is on the optimization side.
When you’re addressing complex systems, you have to be able to actually understand the complexity of them, and understand how all the different parts work together, and how different systems interface with each other, and what those dependencies are. And so this was an area that we go very deeply into, and spent, actually, about the first two years of the company, exclusively focused on developing a sort of formalized approach to applying complexity science, to understanding physiological systems, and then how to do meaningful upgrades from there. Yeah, so that’s-
It’s a complex problem, which needs a complex solution to it.
And what I love about what you said is that you are taking a full-body, or a systems approach, not the, you know, zero-point reductionism, like you mentioned, or where it’s broken out, because there are so many facets. And particularly the people that are listening from the, you know, Lyme community, the Lyme mimics so many other diseases, that right off the bat, you have symptoms that you might be being treated for, by someone who is a practitioner, that doesn’t necessarily… isn’t Lyme-literate. And so, for instance, like MS is a neurological challenge that Lyme often mimics. And so you got a doctor that’s looking at your symptoms, and they say, “Well, you got symptomatic of MS, so we’re gonna treat you, and we’re gonna diagnose you that way. And so we’re not treating you for what you have, and we’re treating you for what you don’t have.” Bad combination.
Robby Besner PSc.D..
You reworked it. What you did was you did the Uber of brain plasticity. So you created a model that looks like a Western model, in some ways, but you created your own parallel path, to be able to look at the body as a whole, and come up with a delivery system, which is the second thing that I heard you say, that allows you to actually get real results. And I think that that is an incredible thing to overcome, or at least, project to take on, and to develop, and become effective at it. And so this is, again, super important for us to understand. And so now you’ve got a platform, and you have a delivery system. What are your next steps?
Well, I mean, once… So we, like you said, we developed the platform, and I wouldn’t necessarily say we developed it, we developed a first iteration, right? ‘Cause we’re constantly working on redeveloping and iterating on that. You know, I think as new research is coming out, and as our team becomes increasingly more knowledgeable, there’s always more to add to it. So it’s a continually evolving model. And then yeah, from there, there’s delivery system, which in our case is, you know, we decided to take the path of creating things that fell under, sort of the supplement, or nutraceutical space.
Though there were some phenomenal opportunities for us to go, or down, the drug path. One of my core goals was to be able to start having positive impact as quickly as possible, and as accessible as possible. And when we looked at the drug path, you know, now you’re talking 7 to 10 years for approval, and then once it’s approved, it can only be prescribed for whatever narrow set of conditions it was approved for. And we realized that, you know, though there were certain unique things that could be done, through the creation of novel molecules, the vast majority of that could be done through using natural ingredients. And essentially, you know, just sort of reverse-engineering, looking at, you know, what is the outcome that we need to effect?
What are the mechanisms to get us there? And then going back through all of the literature to look at what ingredients already exist, that impact these mechanisms. And then start to do a refinement process, to be able to create something that actually works. And so that’s essentially the path we’ve taken. And most of our research and work has been in and around cognitive function. But then, over the years, as you know, our model kind of continually developed, and we realized how much benefit there could be, in terms of other systems. And we started to move into product development around longevity, around sleep support, around immune function, you know, any number of things, but the cognitive is really still the kind of core. And it’s interesting, ’cause like the products that we create, don’t have a strong, direct correlation to someone who’s working on healing from Lyme.
You know, there’s definitely sort of secondary correlations, because any time your system is working more optimally, it’s easier to heal from virtually anything, but it’s not something that we’re directly addressing. And I wouldn’t say that I even have a particularly deep knowledge base online, as an individual, but one of the places where I think that, like our products, or similar classes of things, can be really impactful when dealing with Lyme, and other kind of chronic illness, is the ability that they can give you to have the capacity to do what you need to heal.
So like in my circumstance, when I had hit such a severe degree of burnout, I knew a number of things that I needed to do that would make it better. And like, I was aware that having a consistent sleep schedule, and having proper sleep hygiene, was gonna make a difference. I knew that having the right exercise was gonna make a difference, cutting sugar out of my diet, doing any number of dietary changes, actually. But I was just so exhausted and burned out that I didn’t actually have the necessary energy, or cognitive ability, to take those steps. And so for me, when I got introduced to Nootropics, that was actually one of the key things, was not only did it help bring my brain back on, so that I wasn’t experiencing some of the symptomology that was otherwise there, but where it was really empowerful for me, was I then, all of a sudden, had enough clarity of thinking, and enough energy, to actually make the other changes.
And so the Nootropics themselves, directly had some positive impact, but they had a much bigger impact, because of the way that they were able to be utilized, to then make the necessary lifestyle changes, right? Getting sleep on track, exercise, all of these things. And I think that that’s one of the places where, you know, I would tend to look at the arena of Nootropics, and cognitive enhancement, through the sort of Lyme and chronic illness lens. Is, you know, I think there is some interesting research, regarding their ability to be directly impactful. And I only understand that part to a small degree, but I think where it becomes really interesting is, you know, if you’re already have a good clarity on what needs done, or you’re working with a strong integrative practitioner to be able to help understand what needs done, but the actual capacity to take those steps is lacking. Then being able to utilize Nootropics, to have a meaningful enough enhancement that you can actually make the changes, ends up opening up a whole world of opportunity.
I totally get it. And we’ve even seen this in our clinic, James, that oftentimes, the order that you do your protocol, and the way that you dose your protocol, can make all the difference between just a okay result, moderate results, optimal result.
And for the people that just tuned in, basically, you know, a lot of it is just what you said, you know, like you get frustrated because you’ve been trying, as a Lyme patient, you’ve been trying different protocols. Some of them worked for awhile, and then you come… you have another episode, of sort, and you go, “Oh, back into that again.” And it gets depressing, because you basically feel like you’re stuck, it’s sort of a zero-sum game. You get some results, then, you know, then you feel better, and then you’ve… then you have another relapse, and then you don’t feel so good. And then you’re wondering and questioning, “Is it the right protocol to begin with?”
But having a… having your brain online, at least as part of getting you to the point where you can get focused enough to be able to get started, is really an important step. And as they say, what is it, “The journey of a thousand miles starts with one step”. And so maybe today’s step is just, what you say, talk about Nootropics, and the effect of just getting your brain online, to give you the inspiration, and the hope, and the direction, a little more clarity, as to what you need to do, when you need to do it, in order to get your ducks lined up, and get back on track. So Nootropics is kind of a fun word, because it’s a newer word in the hacking community. Is there something that needs to be defined about that, to start with? Like, what is Nootropics? Like, is it a big broad category, or is it really, really refined?
No, it’s a good question. I realized I was using a word that maybe people aren’t entirely familiar with. So Nootropics, essentially, is a word that means any substance that can have a meaningful and positive impact on one or more areas of cognitive function, with little to no harm.
And so it’s actually a fairly broad classification.
Any number of things that can fall into that, based on how it’s defined. And, but, you know, the piece about being able to have improvement with little to no harm is key, right? ‘Cause there are things that people might think of as a Nootropic, because they do have a positive impact on cognition, but I wouldn’t classify them as such, right? So like a lot of the pharmaceutical psycho-stimulants, in Adderall, or Ritalin, or things like that, absolutely will increase focus and attention, but they’re gonna, typically, have a whole series of consequences on the backend. And so those wouldn’t fall in. But you know, any number of different types of botanicals and amino acids, even coffee, right, would fall into the class of Nootropics.
Obviously, too much coffee can have some negative consequences, but relatively small amounts of caffeine are generally not harmful and often even positive. But that’s essentially what it means. A lot of people tend to use the word a little bit different than what its intended meaning is. And so it can be important, when you’re exploring the area, to know the distinction. Oftentimes when people say “Nootropics”, they’re actually talking about one or two particular classes of compounds, that are often referred to as either racetams, or ampakines, which are both really, really intriguing classes of compounds. But they’re, you know, they’re, in my view, a pretty small subset of what the whole Nootropic arena is.
And most of those are ones that we actually don’t work with, just due to regulatory challenges, but there actually are quite a lot of things in that space that are really pretty powerful. And so, you know, for people who have enough of their own scientific, and kind of biochem background, doing research into racetams and ampakines, specifically, can be interesting. But for Neurohacker, as an organization, we’ve tended to err around those, and work predominantly with naturally occurring substances. Both, you know, due to the safety profiles, but also to be able to avoid some of the regulatory challenges, to get things in people’s hands quicker.
Right, well, the regulatory issue, people are well aware of these days, and they’re… With that, you know, used to be that we were comforted, and there was safety, in knowing that there were some agencies that were kind of looking over these activities, before they came out to the public. These days, we’re getting a lot more information about misinformation, and disinformation, and things like that, that are also included in some of these studies and things that are out there.
And so, you know, as a naturopath and homeopath, my own approach to life, and certainly the things that we do at our company, I can certainly appreciate, and people out there, tuning in, can appreciate, that the closer you get to harnessing the nature, in a sense, extracts that come from plants, flowers, you know, even animals, you know, through research, can really be a better fit, both energetically and biochemically, with our bodies, to create the expected, or at least, a good result.
So I’m happy that you took the route that you did, not to avoid agencies or anything like that, but mostly because of the way that it works with the body. And I think that, in the pharmaceutical approach, even though it looks the same under a microscope, it doesn’t act the same when it’s lacking the energetics, and the life force behind it, that a natural ingredient, coming from a source like a plant, or an animal or a, you know, or flower, can do on the body. And so-
Yeah, I mean, there are just things that occur in nature that we have not gotten adequately good at being able to replicate, right? Like a good example, I worked for many years in the cannabis space, and particularly, on the research and education side of things. And, you know, in that space, most people at this point are pretty familiar with some of the benefits of CBD, right? So we’ve seen incredible research, regarding its effects on epilepsy, you know, supportive in cancer treatment, any number of things, right?
For pain relief, sleep, anxiety, all that. Sure, and this is well documented.
But then, you know, because there was all of this research that started to bubble up around CBD, what started to happen was you had companies that then tried to create synthetic CBD, and bring that to market. Partly because it had certain easier aspects, from a regulatory perspective, partly because it was more scalable. And as soon as they started to do studies on the isolated CBD, it was nowhere near as beneficial. And so over time, there ended up being research that came out that talked about the entourage effect. And how, though CBD, in and of itself, does have all these great medicinal properties, many of them are heightened, or even sort of turned on, by the presence of smaller amounts of other cannabinoids or terpenes.
And so, even if you’re taking a particularly high dose of CBD, but it’s an isolated molecule, you’re not gonna get the same benefit that you do, if you get it as a whole plant extract. And like that’s an example of a particular ingredient where there’s been very substantial research that has sort of backed that. But as a general rule, I found that to be true, right?
Oftentimes when we’re trying to take something in isolation, we’re just missing so much information. And, you know, though, there are times where an isolate is the appropriate path, it takes so much research to actually be able to identify that. And most of the time, being able to use natural extracts that still have small amounts of all of the other active ingredients, that come from the plant or, you know, whatever the natural source is, ends up having a substantially better effect, and also often has less harm. When you’re dealing with isolates, there does tend to be more propensity for creating imbalances, right? It’ll improve the thing you’re hoping to improve, but oftentimes in a way that is sort of disproportionate to other things, that ends up creating cascading effect of different kinds of imbalances and breakdown. So generally, we have found that natural extracts are the best path in almost all circumstances.
Right, well, ’cause they’re recruiting more mechanisms, both biochemically and the interaction with your body. I look at the world through a energetic… a lens of energetics. And so, when it’s lacking that energy, then the cell doesn’t quite receive everything that it could receive. Another way to look at it, too, is the way our autonomic nervous system responds. And there’s the sympathetic side, which is your fight and flight, that anxiousness, that burnout, the things you just described earlier in our talk.
Versus the parasympathetic, when you’re calm. And when you can calm your brain down, and calm your nervous system down, whatever other protocols you’re doing, they will be much better received, and have a much greater impact on sustainability on your overall health. And so back to you, and what you’re on, and what you discovered, you have learned and figured out a way, and a delivery system, and a whole entire product line around that, that calms the body and brain and nervous system down. And so, if you got to start somewhere, like I always look at the world through sort of a wagon-wheel approach, you know? There’s the hub of the wheel, and the brain, in this discussion, is the hub of the wheel. And then we’ve got all the spokes that come out, and those are different systems. And if the hub isn’t turned on, if it’s not completely operational, then the information going to the spokes cannot be delivered in a real expedited, efficient manner.
So let’s shift a little bit to brain fog, it’s a big category. I had the opportunity recently to meet with another great research doctor, named Dr. Allan Lindsley out of Wisconsin. And we were just discussing the gut-brain reaction, or relationship. And that there’s, what’s called, a cytokine, or a cytokine storm, that occurs in the brain, which is a biochemical imbalance. Sorry about that.
That occurs, oftentimes, from the very situation that we’re talking about today, where Lyme disease, or the co-infections, actually cross over the blood brain barrier. They create a challenge, neurologically, both from the synapse point of view, where there aren’t the proper firing of information, from one nerve to another, to get into the body, to get the proper response. And it creates this cytokine storm, they call it. And ultimately, brain fog is what people experience, where their short-term memories are shot, things that you articulated earlier, that happened to you, as a young adolescent, you know? And so, help us with this a little bit. Talk to us a little bit about brain fog, your experience. I know you talked about it directly, but tell me how… what kind of solutions, and where you feel the research is best served to help the people listening in today?
Yeah, no, it’s a really good question. ‘Cause yeah, I think like, so the point that you were just making, there’s any number of reasons that people will end up in a place of brain fog, right? In my case, it was predominantly stress-induced and lack of sleep. It can be due to any kind of underlying co-infection, and, you know, there’s so many different reasons, and to an extent, they’re all addressed differently. But they do tend to create very similar symptomology, and there are ways of being able to help alleviate that, that are good for almost all of the causative factors. I mean, generally I… You know, when someone is dealing with any kind of chronic illness, I do think they should be working closely with an integrative physician, and kind of running as many decisions as possible by them.
But, you know, I think a few places to look, as a general rule, exploring Nootropics is definitely one, right? So, obviously, I’m relatively favorable to the ones we’ve created. We have a number of cognitive products, but our sort of flagship is one called Qualia of Mind. And it’s the most comprehensive of all of them, where it’s designed to create both meaningful short-term impact, right, noticeable changes in clarity of thinking, ability to focus, recall, et cetera, as well as long-term sustained benefits, right? There’s a number of ingredients we’re working with that have research showing their ability to support increases, in things like angiogenesis and neurogenesis, new blood flow to the brain, new synapse development. So, you know, Qualia of Mind, I think is, from what I’ve seen, the most comprehensive, most impactful cognitive formula, that’s out there.
And so I think that’s a great one to look at, and there are definitely some other good products out there. So in general, this sort of class of Nootropics is a worthwhile place for people to spend time and explore. And, you know, kind of going back to what I said earlier, I think one of the key things in that space, is to not just take Nootropics to feel better in the short-term, but to take them, and then when you’re already feeling a little bit better, to use that energy and clarity to then do all of the other things, for deeper levels of healing. And then that ends up being what makes it very sustainable.
So that’s an area that I think is very powerful. The molecule I mentioned earlier, NAD, that was one of the major ingredients in the IV that I did, is actually a very worthwhile place for people to explore. There are… There’s actually quite a number of clinics and doctors around the US, now, that are starting to use it. When I first experienced it, it was, you know, no one knew about it, but it’s become pretty popular. I actually just did an NAD IV yesterday. I tend to try to do them once or twice a year, as sort of a boost and a refresh. Now that is, NAD, is the primary molecule that energy’s used for producing energy.
And so when your cells are all functioning at a higher level, that tends to be supportive of healing any form of chronic illness. And then NAD also specifically has a whole series of benefits associated with balancing brain chemistry. So that’s a really interesting one. The most impactful results there, typically, are through intravenous use, though there are starting to be more and more companies that are also creating it as a nasal spray. And then there’s a handful of companies, ourselves included, actually, that are… have products where they’re precursors to NAD, where if you take them, then it allows your body to produce more of it naturally. So like we have a product called Qualia of Life, where one of the key things that we’re trying to do is increase the amount of NAD that the body produces, and increase its utilization.
And we were able to do some really interesting studies to show efficacy there, but I think that’s a really good one. Cold therapy, extraordinary for cognitive function. Definitely not the most pleasant thing to do at times, but, you know, I have a cold plunge in the backyard. And, you know, I think a lot of people now have gotten these very fancy cold plunges. I just bought one of those top-opening freezers, and filled it up with water, put it on a timer, so it doesn’t turn into a total block of ice, but stays at that inappropriately frigid temperature. And I’ll do kind of hot-cold therapy on a regular basis.
But also just like, middle of my work day, if I’m starting to have a little bit of brain fog, or kind of that energy drop-off that can happen in the afternoon, I’ll go jump in the cold plunge for a minute, and all of a sudden, everything’s back to good. I mean, cold therapy has obviously, a very real-time impact, but it’s also doing quite a bit on the backend for long-term sustained benefit. And, you know, if you don’t have a cold plunge, a cold shower does a pretty good job. And then one of the things that I found, as like, key to having the right type of cognitive function, is actually boredom. And this is something that I think people don’t look at very often. But, you know, we live in a society where we’re just constantly bombarded with stimulus, where either, you know, working, and we’re actively engaged in something there.
And as soon as we’re not doing that, we’re scrolling Facebook, or watching Netflix, or answering phone calls, and text messages, and got music playing in the background, there’s the news on. And like, having that kind of stimulus all of the time, really damages, not only cognitive function, but psychology. The ability to be quiet inside, and present, and clear, are all somewhat contingent on having periods of time that have no stimulus. And when you’re in a state of boredom, right, and there’s nothing that’s grabbing for your attention, now it gives you the opportunity to actually have your own volition over your attention, and to put it in the directions that you want it to go. So if that’s to actually deeply contemplate the health issues that you’re going through, and start to think about, you know, “What haven’t I considered yet that could be useful here? What are the tools and resources that are in my world, that I haven’t actually tapped into yet?” Or, you know, it can be, you know, that attention can be applied towards any number of solutions.
It can be applied towards going inward, and having a deeper understanding of self. And I mean, one of the things I’ve found over the years, is I have yet to come across any kind of major illness that doesn’t appear to have a deep psycho, emotional, spiritual element to it. So even if you’re not directly working on a tangible solution, having free attention to explore your inner landscape, and get a better sense of who you are, what motivates you, what drives you? What are the patterns where you’re stuck? And be able to really deepen that sense of self-awareness, ends up being beneficial across, virtually, everything. Not only in terms of how do you feel about yourself, but having a clear sense of who you are, and how you feel about yourself, also tends to translate into a greater ability to take action on that, which is going to move you towards your goals. Yeah, it’s something I don’t hear people talk about a lot, but I think boredom is actually critical for having the right kinds of brain function.
I love that. I never would have, sort of… encased it, and use the word “boredom”. I do love looking at the world through contrast, and I think that’s what you described. And just like intermittent fasting, or fasting, gives your body a chance, and your systems a chance, to just be quiet and not process food, not this, not that, and sort of like a hard reset. What do we do for the brain, to give the brain a hard reset? Absent, you know, like having a seizure of sort, which is like a shutdown of the brain, and a restart, like a reboot of your computer. Your brain is going 24/7, it’s analyzing and sorting out trillions of stimulus through the day. And not to mention the ones that are brought on emotionally, like you just pointed out.
From our own anxiety, our own emotional baggage, that we carry around and so forth, you know? And getting an opportunity to get a rest from that, in a mindful way. And I think that leads me to guided meditation, and different ways that you can quiet your brain down, to create that clarity. And I try to do that, actually, when in my infrared sauna routine, I get up very early in the morning, and that’s what I do, at that 4:30, 5:00 in the morning, I am asking for forgiveness. I’m focusing on my intentions, and what I’m grateful for.
I organize my thinking for the day, both from what happened yesterday and somewhat of the past, but mostly to get me really focused on the most relevant things that can move myself forward in the day to come. And I think that it’s easy for us to talk about it, but certainly, when you’re in the middle of panic, and you’ve got this chronic challenge, and you’ve got brain fatigue and brain fog, it’s really hard to settle back and do that. And that’s why I love our discussion today, because these are simple solutions. I mean, you don’t have to go anywhere, you don’t have to spend a whole lot of money to get a quiet brain; we could learn how to do that. We can learn it through breathing techniques, we can do it through guided meditation, we can do it by just sound therapy, bringing in quiet music, nature sounds, things that can ground us, to just get your brain settled down so that you can get more clarity, and get back on track, as to the way to sort things out, to give yourself a better life and purpose.
So I love where you went, and I love… I never would have put it in terms of “boredom”, but I can understand what “quiet brain” means. And I think that that is a super important point to bring out today. And so, first off, let’s… how do people get ahold of you? And tell us a little bit about like, The Neurohacking Collective, you know, like how… tell us about that. And yeah, I’d like to just, you know, finish up, we have a few more minutes, so give us a little bit of input.
Where do we find you and your research, and your company, and all the supplements and things? That you really come up with some really unique solutions, and they’re proven, they’re tested, they’re… You’ve done everything, that GMP, all of the important testing services that you need, in order to prove that they work. And you make them in an affordable format, and an easily attainable format. So how do we find you, James?
Yeah. Well, I mean best place is our website, neurohacker.com. And that’s a great place to go, both for, you know, trying out some of the products, but also for education, right? We focus very heavily on educating people. Because, in my view, you know, supplementation is critical, but it is a small piece of a bigger picture, right? By the very nature of the word it is, supplements are supposed to be supplemental, right? There’s so much else that is core. You’ve got to have all the basics of lifestyle in place, psychology, et cetera.
So, you know, we try to provide the most meaningful chemistry that we can, in the form of supplements and substantial education. So we’ve got a podcast called “Collective Insights”, where we’re constantly putting out new information, on the cutting-edge of health, as well as… We have sort of a whole segment of the podcast that goes into a focus on existential risk, and how to address sort of the hard problems of the world. So those are areas, but then, you know, as it pertains directly to health, tremendous numbers of articles and research that’s available on the site.
For each of the products that we create, you know, for those who want to have a deeper understanding, there’s a section on the site that you can go to where you can click on essentially understanding the formulation. And we produce generally about 25, 30-page documents on every single formula, that explains each of the ingredients that we’re utilizing, why we’re utilizing them, what research we’ve been able to find, regarding the synergistic effects of how those ingredients work together, what mechanisms they’re affecting in the body. So there’s quite a bit there to be able to become educated on, for those who want that. And for those who just want the experience, there’s also the ability to just try the products.
One area that I’ll touch on just briefly is, you had mentioned earlier in the conversation, the importance of neuroplasticity, when it comes to, you know, Lyme and other chronic illness. And though that is an area that we focus on, you know, from my own research, what I found that has the greatest impact on neuroplasticity, are actually psilocybin and LSD. And, you know, these aren’t things that we directly work with, for legal reasons, but those two substances have more positive impact on neuro-plasticity than you can come across. And so, even though it’s not an area that we directly work in, we have quite a bit of published information regarding some of that. Because that can also be a really interesting domain, with different kinds of micro-dosing protocols, where you’re taking small enough amounts, that you’re not actually feeling them, so you’re not altered, but they’re having the biochemical effects to be able to improve neuro-plasticity over time. So there’s also quite a bit of research in that arena, and it’s on the site.
That goes back to, let me see, I think it’s the early ’70s, when that was… became really Vogue. And I was in Boston on my undergraduate work, when they were doing the altered state, sense-deprivation tanks, and experimenting, in many different ways, with psychedelics. And now there’s a whole re-emergence of that, and the importance of that in, in not just psychology, and bringing out some, maybe, recessive emotions that need to be worked through, but also the biochemical reactions that go on in the brain. And I think that it’s another big area that’s opened up for great research, and great strides being made there. And it looks like you guys are on the forefront of that, as well as the other things. So people can reach you at neurohacker, spelled N E U R O H A C K E R collective.com, or is it just neurohacker.com? What’s the best way?
So yeah, neurohacker.com, or neurohackercollective.com, will both bring you to our site.
Great, awesome. And then… So we can learn more, and then we can actually purchase, if we want some of the supplements, and then we can kind of get started with managing one little piece of the puzzle, which is just getting the brain online to create a better experience, and maybe settle the body down into a healthier pattern. Because we do have that epigenetic part that affects our own genetics, that’s our environmental influences. Some of it we have control over, some of it, we don’t. And then we also have the way our body processes and interprets all of that.
And to make it even more fun, we bring in Lyme, and co-infections, and Epstein-Barr, and all this other fun little organisms that used to live in harmony in our bodies. But now, because of all the external influences, and so forth, have seemed to be playing havoc, not to mention exogenous frequencies like EMF, and 5G, and all the other things that are going on. So today’s interview, this information, the things that you guys are doing at The Neurohacker Collective, are super, super important to know, to know about you. I’m so happy that you joined us today. And in the few minutes we have left, James, I’m sure that you have way more things to talk about, but are there any, are there some few… or is there some information that we didn’t get a chance to mention, that you would like to let us know, before we’re done today?
Yeah, I mean, I think the main thing that comes to mind that I think is useful is… So I largely work within sort of the bio-hacking, or neural-hacking arenas. And one of the things that’s core to the idea of being a biohacker or a neurohacker, is trackability, right? It’s not just about being willing to experiment with different things, but it’s the ability to actually determine what is, and is not working, in general, but more so, for you as an individual, right? ‘Cause you’ve already spoken to like, how profoundly different everyone’s physiology is, how the effects with epigenetics, et cetera.
So being able to track the impact of a particular therapy, particular compound, is really key, and also to be able to track the evolution of a chronic illness. And so I think that anyone who is… well, for sure, anyone who’s dealing with chronic illness, but also just anyone who’s actually trying to meaningfully do optimization, tracking is really important. You know, like before you start a big round of whatever protocol, do a baseline assessment, and, you know, there’s different kinds of assessments to do, based on what you’re working on. But, you know, as clearly as possible, try to track where you are, so that, you know, a week later, a month later, or six months later, you can go back and look. Because, you know, to a point that you made earlier, whenever you’re addressing complex disease, it doesn’t tend to be a totally linear path, there’s ebbs and flows.
And when you’re on an upswing, you can tend to be very helpful and things feel really good. And then every once in a while, it goes down, and it can be very easy to go into a sort of hopeless, depressive place, of thinking, “Hey, I’ve already been working on this for a year, and I still feel terrible, I’m never gonna get better.” But if you’ve been tracking, and you actually have the ability to look back, and say, “Hey, even though I’m feeling terrible today, I actually have significantly less of these three symptoms.” Or, “Even though this thing is bad, this other thing is actually noticeably better.” And so I think that tracking is just super important, and that takes all kinds of different forms.
I mean, like I use Oura Ring for tracking sleep, and what things I do throughout my day, that impact that. But I also just regularly am taking notes, and be like, “Okay, how am I, you know, how am I feeling today?” Both from a physiological level, and a sort of psycho-emotional level. And, you know, with that kind of tracking, it allows me to both kind of boost myself back up, if I ever do go into a hopeless place, of thinking that what I’m working on, isn’t showing effectiveness. But it also allows me to get really clear on which things are actually having the most impact. So there’s the ability to then focus more energy there, and kind of let go of some of the therapies that are less impactful. But I think that the trackability seems to be something that doesn’t get adequate attention, in my mind, and is every bit as important as having the right diagnostics and the right treatments.
Wow, I love that. And of all the interviews I’ve done over the last 10 years, not one single person has brought that up. And it is a technique that we do have in our own coaching service that we offer at Therasage. And we just ask the patient, or the customer, to just simply give us three to five of their symptoms that they’re experiencing, and we ask them to journal, and every day, just put a number on it. Because what happened for me, for my adult… with my daughter, was she would… she was experiencing a lot of body pain. And I said to her, “You know what? I don’t even understand what that means. Like your level of pain, your threshold, is much different than mine, but what I care about is how your body, and how you’re interpreting it, so put a number on it. Julia, are you a 10 out of 10, 10 being the worst pain, or are you an 8 today?
Give me some way that I can metric, that I can actually relate to, because it’s all about how your body is interpreting it.” And so having a way to track, or creating this journal, for me, was a way for my daughter, and for us as a family, for us to understand. And I’ll go even further. So she would go to her practitioner, and the doctor would say, “Well, Julia, are you in pain?” And she would say, “Yeah, I’m in pain.” But to your point, when she started out the month, she was like an 8/9 out of 10. And at the end of the month, after doing protocols, she was a 5/6. Is she still in pain? Yes, but she’s not an 8/9, she’s a 5/6. So are the things that we’re doing, we were doing, the protocol, to bring her pain thresholds down, were they working? Yeah, they were.
But if you ask the broad question, “Are you in pain?” She answered it appropriately. And so you can kind of get caught up in that, and being able to micromanage those subtle changes… and as we already identified, we are a system, you know, that’s pretty complex, of a whole different things. And our bodies will tune up in different ways.
Yours is different than mine, and the next person. And so being able to identify and track how your body’s interpreting, and the changes that are happening for you, not only shows you a progression, but also gives you hope. It takes you away from trying things, and not understanding how the subtle changes are affecting you. And those kinds of things really keeps you on track. And really improves, what we’ve seen in clinic, are patient and customer compliance, because when they can see subtle changes and subtle improvements, they stay with the game. And if they stay on track, generally speaking, they’re gonna get a better result. It may not happen as fast for you, as it has for me, but we’ve going to get results. We’re gonna see a positive movement. And sometimes it’s a centimeter, sometimes it’s an inch, sometimes it’s a mile. And I am so pleased you brought that up, in closing today, because I think it’s an important, simple thing, inexpensive, we can all do it, and we can see and track what’s working, what’s not, make the adjustments. You know, if we were managing a stock portfolio, we wouldn’t stay with the loser, we would keep adding to the winners, right?
And so I’m super happy that you joined us today. I loved everything we talked about. Thank you for your work in this area. Thank you for The Neurohacker Collective, and all the research you guys are doing, and the time and the amount of attention that you’re putting into a well, underserved category. And understood, well, understood… not well-understood category. So, oh, James, thanks again for joining us. We appreciate your time and your work. And this is a guy that you need to know, and you need to know Qualia. You need to know The Collective, and you need to check in with the research and his work. James Schmachtenberger, thank you for joining us.
Thank you so much, it was great to be here today.
Hey everybody, it’s Robby Besner, thanks so much for joining us today. Please share this content with anyone that you think might benefit from it. And we’re looking forward to having you with us tomorrow for another great interview.
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